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    explain the ideas about democracy depends on the sources, should include as much the sources,



Subject Law and governance Pages 4 Style APA



According to process democrats, democracy refers to the manner of making judgments in which the vote of the majority makes decisions. On the other hand, principle democrats argue that democracy is a significant theoretical concept founded on principles such as upholding of the minority rights and individuals liberty. Despite the procedures such as torture, which are employed in achieving objectives of democracy, being dreadful, the philosophical aims of democracy are more significant.

History records that the ancient Greeks used to practice democracy. For example, in the dialogue between Socrates and Crito, Socrates emphasizes the rule of the majority when he states that he fears the policies of the multitude who would be prepared to call individuals to life if they have the ability as they are to kill them (Crito by Plato). All citizens, particularly the adult males, voted on government guidelines/policies. However, opposition from prominent personalities such as Aristotle and Plato hindered the thriving of democracy in ancient Greece. Aristotle embraced aristocracy for the benefit of all citizens as he argued that the elites were well equipped to govern. Plato claimed that democracy endangered the rule of the mass. As he argued that individuals of high statuses should govern favoring “philosopher kings”. As a result, Ancient Greece terminated democracy.

Following the emergence of industrial revolution, and empowerment of individuals in the Middle Ages, optimism founded on the excellence of science and reason resulted into some thinkers advocating that individuals were equal. As a result, people began challenging the legitimacy of customs and institutions, which distributed wealth and power unequally among citizens, within the society. The argument was that since all people were equal, nobody had a greater mandate to rule. Contrastingly, the community chose rulers since leaders were required to maintain order.

Proponents of democracy argued that legitimate political authority originates from the people, a principle that is in line with the popular sovereignty theory. Eventually, the contract theory developed, and people began exercising their authority and establishing a government to which they approved.  

Examples of eminent personalities that highly advocated for social contract theory and, hence, democracy development, were Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacque. Hobbes argued that social contract was an agreement among ordinary persons, hence, not obligatory to the king. His contribution to the development of democracy was noted in his argument that legitimate political authority originates from individuals and not God. Locke advocated the natural law that encompassed estate, liberty, and life. He claimed that individuals should be at liberty to exercise their rights provided they do not interfere with others’ rights (Excerpts from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government –Chapter II: Of the State of Nature). He also stated that natural law applies to all individuals in an equal manner.

According to Sen (1999), freedom can be categorized into five forms, which are manifested in economic facilities, political freedoms, transparent guarantees, social opportunities, and protective security. As a social contract philosopher, Locke embraced the aspect of private property, and claimed that accumulation of private assets enabled individuals to meet their needs as well as those of their families. His argument concerning the function and nature of the government was that the government was meant to serve the people and to increase individuals’ rights and liberties. He also recommended the separation of the legislative and executive powers to prevent people from changing the government, an opinion that favored democracy. Jacque advocated the creation of an organic society that could guarantee moral existence. He added that people in such a society/group were to surrender their powers and rights to the society/group, an act that could make all individuals equal since they could become full players or contributors to the group. Just as in the case of Locke, Jacque also proposed the separation of the legislative and executive powers. The emergence of social contract theory paved way to the emergence of other social theories such as feminism, which advocates for equality between men and women in terms of resources and responsibilities (Watkins, 2002).

The contribution of the social philosophers to the establishment and progress of democracy was evident in their agreements. These individuals agreed on the creation of the government by the people, existence of natural law, and the fact that all individuals are rational. They claimed that all persons were bound by natural law, which was a code of moral behavior, and that all individuals owed one another natural rights. They also noted that since all people are rational, the creation of the government was significant in issues that people faced within the state of nature. Henry David Thoreau highlights the fact that all men are rational when he states that all individuals recognize the right of revolution, which is the right to decline allegiance to, and to rebel against the authority that is tyrannical and inefficient.



Plato. Crito: Persons Dialogue.

Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks

Excerpts from John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government –Chapter II: Of the State of Nature

Thoreau, H. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Watkins, G. (2002). Feminism is for Everybody. Cambridge: South End Press.



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