Conceptions of Democracy - republicanism


Conceptions of Democracy - republicanism

  • Major discourses of republicanism were enuniciated by Marsillius of Padua in his defensor Pacis, three main conditions for republican government: 
  • Princes chosen by election 
  • Opearate within the established law 
  • all ruling councils accountable in a system of checks and balances 
  • challenged the rule and power of the monarchy 
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Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) The discourses(151

  • Break with medieval thought - focused on man to man relations not god to man. 
  • rejected identificaiton of the state with church , state and church distinct. 
  • people are better judges of men than princes 
  • princes and kings are paranoid 
  • a republic allows greater freedom of expression 
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Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)- the social cont

in the social contract Rousseau wants to consider: 

  • how to avoid men falling into corruption 
  • association - principle of unity - foundation of society 
  • to move into civil society - individual places all powers under the direction of the general will 
  • for Rousseau the move into society is a transcendence of our former selves 
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General will

  • objective common good distinct from the partciular interests of individuals composing society 
  • assumes that in any situation - always some policy that will serve the common good 

Rousseau's problems with the general will: 

  • general will , simply not the outcome of whatever the people will - it is decision whcih if enacted sustains society 
  • general will has to come from and apply to all 
  • freedom and legitimacy easier achieved in small states 
  • guard against the emergence of party politics 
  • for the general will to emerge , citizens must be present 
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Mary Wollstonecraft

  • attempts to bring women into political thinking 
  • rejected any form of political thinking which subsumed the interests of women under the interests of the male citizen 
  • need a knowledgeable citizenry+liberty+equality  - avoid the extremes of poverty and wealth 
  • make women rational creatures and free citizens 
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Mary Wollstonecraft- Criticisms

  • didnt offer alternative model of democracy 
  • speaks of need for participation- but does not give a model on how to achieve this 
  • addressed her argument to mainly middle class women - ignored working class women 
  • said that emancipated women needed female servants- reinforcing the above stated point 
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