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Democracy

political century freedom representative

Democracy, system of government under which all members of society have a say in making political decisions, either directly or indirectly. Direct democracy, in which political decisions are made by citizens meeting together, has generally been superceded by representative democracy, under which the population elects members of a decision-making body. Historically, the portion of the population permitted to participate in the voting process has expanded over time, racial, religious, and sexual restrictions being removed. Many political theorists argue that other rights (besides voting) are equally essential if a system is to be democratic. These include freedom of speech and the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to organize politically, and so on. The concepts of natural rights and political equality expressed by such philosophers as John Locke in the 17th century, Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century, and Jeremy Bentham and J.S. Mill in the 19th century are vital to the theory of representative democracy.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party [next] [back] Demeter

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