The importance of Democracy

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Democracy in the UK

In the UK, there are 3 types of democracy:

  • Participatory democracy:
    • Where everyone has the opportunity to vote.
    • Means 'Government of the People.'
    • This provides them witht the ability to participate in politics. 
  • Direct democracy:
    • Where people can make political decisions themselves. 
    • This has a sensitivity to public opinion. 
    • E.g. The Scottish Independence referendum 2014.
  • Representative democracy:
    • This is where representatives are elected to represent and govern the people. 
    • Therefore, these representatives are held accountable as the people have elected them. 
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Why is democracy important

Democracy is important because it:

  • Establishes and protects freedom
  • Protects minorities
  • Control government power
  • Encourages popular participation
  • Disperses power more widely.
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Democracy establishes and protects freedom

Democracy is important because it establishes and protects freedom given to the people:

  • The turning point for western democraqcy was the French Revolution in 1789, which was an attempt to free the people from the autocratic monarchy. 
  • Today, democracy ensures that no government can threaten freedom. 
    • E.g. In 1990 the Soviet Collapse, where most of the new states adopted a democratic system.
  • Most recently, the 'Arab Spring' of 2011-2012, was where the people living in states, such as Tunisia, Egypt and Syria rise up against the government, because they didn't want to be ruled autocratically. 
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Democracy protects minorites

Democracy is also important because it protects the interests of minorities:

  • This is known as pluralist democracy. 
  • This means that the minorities will be free of discrimination.
  • It also means that all groups need to be taken into account. 
  • However, it has been argued that democracies is where the majorities rule 'tyranny by the majority' where the minorities are left behind. 
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Democracy controls government power

Government power is controlled by democracy:

  • It is believed that power tends to corrupt those that wield it.
  • Therefore, if the power is in the hands of the people, by elections, the people can feel safe from corruption. 
  • Democracy stops corruption and prevents the leader from having all the power. 
  • This is done through general elections every 5 years, which secure fixed term Parliaments. 
  • It is also done through defeating the PM and their government by a vote of no confidence.
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Democracy encourages popular participation

Democracy is also important because it encourages popular participation:

  • Democracy ensures that people have the right to be informed and directly involved in influencing decision making. 
  • People can be politically educated, through the media etc. 
  • They can also participate in politics, through voting in GEs and referendum, singning a petition and joining a PG. 
    • E.g. In North Korea, people cannot use Google. 
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Democracy disperses power more widely

Power is dispersed more widely in a democracy:

  • In countries, such as Syria, China or North Korea, power lies in the hands of small elites, where power is taken from the people. 
  • However, in a democracy, this power is spread out to the people, Parliament etc. 
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