Lecture Outline No. 1:
I. Democracy: from the Greek "demos" (people) and "kratia" (rule)
II. Participatory or Direct democracy: practiced in ancient Athens, New England town meetings, Israeli kibbutz. Defining principles:
1. All adult citizens participate in major decisions: the people are the government
2. Participation and face-to-face democracy is enlightening
3. Problem of scale
III. Classical Representative Democratic Theory (J. S. Mill, John Locke, Jefferson, Dewey)
"rule by the few, controlled by the many": Fundamental principles:
A. Popular Sovereignty: the ultimate source of authority rests with the people and the government does the people’s bidding. Know it when we see it by:
1. Govt policies reflect what people want
2. People participate in the political process
3. High-quality info and debate are available
4. Majority rules
B. Political Equality: Each person carries the same weight in voting and other decision making.
C. Political Liberty: basic freedoms in the formation and expression of the popular will and its translation into policy.
D. Delegate Representation
3. Politically active:
4. Pol. Tolerant:
2. Complexity of issues:
3. High quality information and debate available?
IV.Revisionist/Guardian/Elitist Democratic Theory (Joseph Schumpeter; Michels, Lippmann; really has roots in Plato's Republic and idea of Guardians). Another model of rep. demo, but with different assumptions of mass soph and different form of representation.
1. Background: Democratic “realism” after WWI and WWII: “ideal” forms of representative democracy are usually unstable because they rest on unrealistic assumptions of mas sophistication.
a) Masses are unsophisticated, Lack capacity to govern.
2. Elite Role: downgrade role of masses; upgrade role of elites
a) Trustee Role of Representation: Much less responsive to public opinion. Rep's should follow their own conscience
3. Barriers to limit impact of universal participation as much as
A. Empirical: Do the theory's principles fit the "facts" of American political life? How applicable is the theory as a description or explanation of the current state of affairs? Revisionist theory claims to fit the facts best.
Normative theory evaluates rather then merely explains. If the theory fails to fit the facts, it may
be used as a reconstructive ideal, as a guide for change. Direct democratic theory is primarily
normative, while representative democratic theory is a blend of both normative
Direct Representative Revisionist
1. Mass Very active, informed Some attentive enough to very low; just select leaders
Soph. interested keep track of elected w/out deep reflection. Select
officials in- or out-parties based on
simple performance vs. issues.
2. Human Ave. citizen capable Middle: capable of ration- Not capable of self-govt. or
Nature of self-govt. Humans ally selecting leaders, even intelligent selction of
very bright; very based on issues. leaders. Can't change
optimistic; high lack of capacities.
3. Mass In actual decision- Some may go beyond voting, Vote only; the less
partic. making; expected to but not necessary or involved, the better.
take part in all encouraged.
aspects of governing
4. View of Suspicious; disallow Trust, but some cynicism. Benevolent. Let them go
Elites them. along; they take care
5. Elections No elections of rep's; Very imp. Elect. Rep's. Extremely imp. Where
Citizens are gvt.; Voting on issues means "guardians" are
policy decided by maj rep's may govern with elected. Policy voting too
mandate and are accountable difficult for voters. Elites
to voters. given free rein to implement
whatever policies they want after
6. Linkage Congruent; masses Some, though slippage on None necessary. Elites
make policy. specific issues. free to do what they
want betw. elections.