Notes on Indirect and Direct Democracy

Includes description and notes. Very helpful for Unit 1 of AQA Gov and Pol

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  • Created on: 23-12-12 20:35
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KT Liberal Democracy: a style of democracy incorporating free, fair and regular elections. There is
an underlying belief in the importance of key rights and responsibilities. They guarantee freedom of
speech and extend to right to all citizens.
KT Direct Democracy
Origins in classical Athens where citizens would come together to vote on issues
MODERN EXAMPLE: New England `town hall meetings'
- Held in New England states in the USA such as Massachusetts and Maine.
- Operates on a small scale
- Tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands.
- Often limited to populations of under 10,000
Under Direct Democracy citizens have a direct input into the policy making process
In Western democracies it is often achieved through referendums
KT Representative Democracy
Electing people on behalf of citizens to make decisions
More practical as Direct Democracy is not achievable for millions of people
Q Edmund Burke to his Bristol constituents in 1774: "your representative owes you
not his industry only but his judgement" Burke argued, "and he betrays you if he
sacrifices it to your opinion"
The Burkean view is that citizens elect representatives to represent them in a legislature and
that these individuals should represent the interests of their constituents until the next
However represents are not simply delegates sent with instructions to follow. They may
make their own decisions that may go against constituents wants.


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