The Concept Of American Democracy

1699 WordsMay 1, 20177 Pages
Democracy is perhaps the most elusive concept of all times. But if there has to be something more elusive, it will surely be the concept of American democracy. In 1858, Abraham Lincoln is known to have written: ¨As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master … This expresses my idea of democracy. Whoever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.¨ The initial understanding of American democracy takes the form of an antithesis of English colonialism and slavery. Based on this understanding, there is little doubt that the foundations of the ´greatest democracy on earth´ are to be found in the darkest, the most blatantly majoritarian and atrocious times. There is little disagreement among constitutional…show more content…
How does the American concept of democracy reconcile with the ¨rule by the people, of the people and for the people¨ conception of democracy today? While America truly is exceptional in its dynamism, it is also shockingly imperfect in ways that most true patriots refuse to accept. Itś greatness and freeness is by no means premised on empirical facts. If anything, the situation is otherwise. Freedom House, is an independent watchdog that rates countries based on their civil and political rights accessibility to the citizens. According to their 2017 report, America scored the highest mark on each front, just like many other European countries, but it ranks much lower according to the aggregate score, which takes into account factors like electoral process, political pluralism and participation, and functioning of government, freedom of expression and belief etc. For me, as a foreigner, the idea of American democracy can be better understood as a culture, rather than a system of government. As someone not fully versed with the specifics of the political history and the intricacies of the electoral system, I view American democracy as a set up characterized by three things: An unprecedented level of individual autonomy A deep distrust for the government The concept of limited government (which has increasingly become a contentious feature of American governance) Based on these
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