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Dahl, on Democracy Essay

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Democracy has become the most widespread political form of government during the past decade, after the fall of all its alternatives. During the second part of the 20th century, the 3 main enemies of democracy, namely communism, fascism and Nazism, lost most of their power and influence. However, democracy is still only to be found in less than half of this world's countries. China with a fifth of the total population "had never experienced a democratic government" and Russia still doesn't have a well established democracy. By adopting a democratic perspective, 3 types of governments emerge, non-democratic, new democracies, and old democracies, and all have a different challenge to overcome: either to become democratic, to "consolidate"…show more content…
The role of this assembly was to select citizens for public duties. Whereas key positions were selected through election, other public duties were decided by lottery. Although this is the first record attempt of democracy, many of the ideas of that time have been ignored, when talking about modern democratic governments. Concomitant with the Athenian system, in the city of Rome popular government was introduced as well, albeit under a different name, respublica (from "res" – thing and "publicus" – public). Consequently the republic was similar with Greek demokratia. At the beginning only aristocrats or patricians were allowed to participate at the governing act, but "after much struggle the common people [….] also gained entry" (Dahl, 1998: 13). Only male patricians, later lower castes as well, were able to govern, meaning that women, same as in Athens, were denied any political rights. Starting as a city-state, the Roman Republic conquered territories far beyond its initial borders and gave Roman citizenship to the conquered people. Even though this system might seem sturdy, the impossibility to adjust the institutions of popular government to the increasing number of citizens and the ever-growing Republic is a major flaw. In order to exert their political rights, the conquered people turned into Roman citizens had to participate in meetings in the city of Rome, a tedious and expensive effort, which corroborated with the increase in
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