History of liberalism Liberal democracy traces its origins—and its name—to the European 18th-century, also known as the Age of Enlightenment.
At the time, the vast majority of European states were monarchieswith political power held either by the monarch or the aristocracy. The possibility of democracy had not been a seriously considered political theory since classical antiquity and the widely held belief was that democracies would be inherently unstable and chaotic in their policies due to the changing whims of the people.
It was further believed that democracy was contrary to human natureas human beings were seen to be inherently evil, violent and in need of a strong leader to restrain their destructive impulses. Many European monarchs held that their power had been ordained by God and that questioning their right to rule was tantamount to blasphemy.
These conventional views were challenged at first by a relatively small group of Enlightenment intellectualswho believed that human affairs should be guided by reason and principles of liberty and equality.
They argued that all people are created equal and therefore political authority cannot be justified on the basis of "noble blood", a supposed privileged connection to God or any other characteristic that is alleged to make one person superior to others.
They further argued that governments exist to serve the people—not vice versa—and that laws should apply to those who govern as well as to the governed a concept known as rule of law.
Some of these ideas began to be expressed in England in the 17th century. The idea of a political party took form with groups debating rights to political representation during the Putney Debates of After the English Civil Wars — and the Glorious Revolution ofthe Bill of Rights was enacted inwhich codified certain rights and liberties.
The Bill set out the requirement for regular elections, rules for freedom of speech in Parliament and limited the power of the monarch, ensuring that, unlike much of Europe at the time, royal absolutism would not prevail.
These ideas and beliefs inspired the American Revolution and the French Revolutionwhich gave birth to the ideology of liberalism and instituted forms of government that attempted to apply the principles of the Enlightenment philosophers into practice. Neither of these forms of government was precisely what we would call a liberal democracy we know today the most significant differences being that voting rights were still restricted to a minority of the population and slavery remained a legal institution and the French attempt turned out to be short-lived, but they were the prototypes from which liberal democracy later grew.
Since the supporters of these forms of government were known as liberals, the governments themselves came to be known as liberal democracies. The conservative monarchists who opposed liberalism and democracy saw themselves as defenders of traditional values and the natural order of things and their criticism of democracy seemed vindicated when Napoleon Bonaparte took control of the young French Republicreorganised it into the first French Empire and proceeded to conquer most of Europe.
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|Democracy — Global Issues||Voter turnout is even lower in midterm election years when the president is not up for reelection. Many journalists, pundits, and political science scholars have studied the low voter turnout rate with the goal of determining why voter turnout is so low in America, and what might be done to improve turnout rates.|
|It remains to be seen if high primary turnout will translate to high general election turnout when Americans vote in less than a month. In the presidential election, just|
|Democracy in the United States Elections Essay – Free Papers and Essays Examples||Democracy, with all its problems, also has its paradoxes.|
Napoleon was eventually defeated and the Holy Alliance was formed in Europe to prevent any further spread of liberalism or democracy. However, liberal democratic ideals soon became widespread among the general population and over the 19th century traditional monarchy was forced on a continuous defensive and withdrawal.
The dominions of the British Empire became laboratories for liberal democracy from the mid 19th century onward.
In Canada, responsible government began in the s and in Australia and New Zealand, parliamentary government elected by male suffrage and secret ballot was established from the s and female suffrage achieved from the s. Liberalism ceased being a fringe opinion and joined the political mainstream.
At the same time, a number of non-liberal ideologies developed that took the concept of liberal democracy and made it their own.
The political spectrum changed; traditional monarchy became more and more a fringe view and liberal democracy became more and more mainstream. By the end of the 19th century, liberal democracy was no longer only a "liberal" idea, but an idea supported by many different ideologies.
After World War I and especially after World War IIliberal democracy achieved a dominant position among theories of government and is now endorsed by the vast majority of the political spectrum. Rights and freedoms[ edit ] In practice, democracies do have limits on certain freedoms.
There are various legal limitations such as copyright and laws against defamation. There may be limits on anti-democratic speech, on attempts to undermine human rights and on the promotion or justification of terrorism.
In the United States more than in Europe, during the [Cold War] such restrictions applied to communists. Now they are more commonly applied to organisations perceived as promoting actual terrorism or the incitement of group hatred.
Examples include anti-terrorism legislationthe shutting down of Hezbollah satellite broadcasts and some laws against hate speech. Critics claim that these limitations may go too far and that there may be no due and fair judicial process.
The common justification for these limits is that they are necessary to guarantee the existence of democracy, or the existence of the freedoms themselves.
For example, allowing free speech for those advocating mass murder undermines the right to life and security. Opinion is divided on how far democracy can extend to include the enemies of democracy in the democratic process. If relatively small numbers of people are excluded from such freedoms for these reasons, a country may still be seen as a liberal democracy.Voter turnout in the United States fluctuates in national elections.
In recent elections, about 60% of the voting eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections.
The United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among developed countries. In the presidential election, only about 55% of the voting age population cast a ballot.
Voter turnout is even lower in midterm election years when the president is not up for reelection. We took a look at how America's voter turnout compares to other democratic developed countries.
What we found is surprising. United States Government. Foundations of American Democracy. Declaration of Independence; This was a low point for the U.S.
because there hasn’t been a turnout this low low since , a total of 72 years. Such detrimental behaviors in Texas and other states with low voter turnout are an affront to a robust, inclusionary American-style democracy that thousands of people have fought and died for to maintain, the last + years.
Voter Turnout in the United States: Describe several possible reasons for declines in voter participation rates. Key Takeaways Key Points. Wealth and literacy have some effect on turnout, but are not reliable measures. Implications of High and Low Voter Turnout. any registered voter can vote in an open primary; only a voter registered with a party can vote for that party's candidates in a closed primary During ____________, members of Congress from the presidents party are especially vulnerable to electoral defeat.