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  1. #1

    Was USA really meant to be a Democracy?

    Today, it's no secret that US of America is supposed to be a democracy. I couldn't help but to notice that there's absolutely nothing on democracy in the consitution, bill of rights or the declaration of independance. Did the founding fathers really intend for US of America to become a democracy? To me it sounds like they didn't want for it to head in that direction.

    Perhaps they thought it was a bad idea? Is Democracy even a viable government type? It all ends up with 51% of the people controlling the other 49%, as was shown in the presidential elections. Maybe that's what the founding fathers knew and wanted to avoid.

    Hopefully we can get some interesting discussions going on this. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    No, it was set up as a republic obviously.

  3. #3
    The Insane Didactic's Avatar
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    No. The Founders were just as fearful of mob rule as they were of despotic monarchy; ergo, they included a number of undemocratic measures as checks against the power of the People. Not limited to:

    - The Senate
    - The Electoral College
    - The Supreme Court
    Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
    - Thucydides

    There is a modern myth that people have always tended towards democracy, constitutions, electoral rights; but in truth, love of freedom has never been the predominant note of popular politics. At most times, popular demand has been for a strong government.
    - Eugen Weber

  4. #4
    The Unstoppable Force RICH816's Avatar
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    Democracy seems to be the lesser of all evils at the moment, it is a poor system but its the best one that currently works.
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    I do sympathize with these so called terrorist organisations. As far as I'm concerned, at least they are fighting for something they believe in, and for what they see to be the greater good. They're not fighting to line the pockets of statesmen, governors and oil barons. I wish we could the same about the people on this side of the planet.
    Hobbes talking about Al Qaeda and ISIS.

  5. #5
    The Insane Didactic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RICH1471 View Post
    Democracy seems to be the lesser of all evils at the moment, it is a poor system but its the best one that currently works.
    I disagree, you're thinking of democratic republicanism.
    Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
    - Thucydides

    There is a modern myth that people have always tended towards democracy, constitutions, electoral rights; but in truth, love of freedom has never been the predominant note of popular politics. At most times, popular demand has been for a strong government.
    - Eugen Weber

  6. #6
    Titan Adam Jensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic12 View Post
    Today, it's no secret that US of America is supposed to be a democracy. I couldn't help but to notice that there's absolutely nothing on democracy in the consitution, bill of rights or the declaration of independance. Did the founding fathers really intend for US of America to become a democracy? To me it sounds like they didn't want for it to head in that direction.

    Perhaps they thought it was a bad idea? Is Democracy even a viable government type? It all ends up with 51% of the people controlling the other 49%, as was shown in the presidential elections. Maybe that's what the founding fathers knew and wanted to avoid.

    Hopefully we can get some interesting discussions going on this. What do you guys think?
    That's why they wrote the Federalist Papers, set up the system of checks and balances and warned us of the Tyranny of the Majority.

    Of course, the system isn't perfect, but their intent was a democracy/republic mix that ruled fairly and gave everyone a voice but at the same time didn't give the majority too much power. The ability to amend the constitution would be in part to build upon that idea and improve it further.

    If a video game developer removed tumors from players, they'd whine about nerfing their loss in weight and access to radiation powers. -Cracked.com

  7. #7
    The USA is not now, nor has it ever been, a democracy (sorry, your teachers lied to you about this). We are a democratic republic, which is a very different (and arguably better if still flawed) beast.
    It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning.

    -Kujako-

  8. #8
    Moderator Kasierith's Avatar
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    No, it was not. In fact, one of the most significant purposes of the Bill of Rights is to protect the interests of individual citizens against the will of the masses.
    “…the whole trouble lies here. In words, words. Each one of us has within him a whole world of things, each man of us his own special world. And how can we ever come to an understanding if I put in the words I utter the sense and value of things as I see them; while you who listen to me must inevitably translate them according to the conception of things each one of you has within himself. We think we understand each other, but we never really do.”
    XKCD is always relevant. Always.

  9. #9
    I thought democracy and republic are essentialy the same in its core? About giving power to the people instead of single ruler or group

    republic coming from latin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_publica
    and means "the public thing"


    democracy coming from ancient greek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demokratia
    and means "the people hold power" or "people's power"
    I have enough of EA ruining great franchises and studios, forcing DRM and Origin on their games, releasing incomplete games only to sell day-1 DLCs or spill dozens of DLCs, and then saying it, and microtransactions, is what players want, stopping players from giving EA games poor reviews, as well as deflecting complaints with cheap PR tricks.

    I'm not going to buy any game by EA as long as they continue those practices.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by procne View Post
    I thought democracy and republic are essentialy the same in its core? About giving power to the people instead of single ruler or group

    republic coming from latin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_publica
    and means "the public thing"


    democracy coming from ancient greek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demokratia
    and means "the people hold power" or "people's power"
    they are similar but not the same.

  11. #11
    Scarab Lord JfmC's Avatar
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    Everybody knows theocracy is the solution, eventually (in maybe 100 years) a completly objective AI will rule us all!
    00011001001001111001001001100100110000011111001010110 for president!
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    Leaving the EU would not in any way pose a negative impact on the UK's economy or means/ability to trade with countries within the EU.

  12. #12
    The Lightbringer DEATHETERNAL's Avatar
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    No and it was never meant to be nearly so democratic as it is now. Voting privileges weren't meant to be and never should have been expanded to anywhere near what they are now (including to myself).
    And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.
    Revelation 6:8

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by procne View Post
    I thought democracy and republic are essentialy the same in its core? About giving power to the people instead of single ruler or group.
    The big difference is in how people vote.

    In a democracy, each person (the definition of person has changed over the years) gets a vote in more or less everything. In a representative republic, we elect people to do the voting for us.

    A good example of this is the electoral collage that chooses the president. Each state has a small group of people that are supposed to represent the will of the people in the sate. However there is no rule saying they HAVE to vote the same way. So even though a given candidate had the most votes in the state, the representatives COULD vote for someone else.
    It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning.

    -Kujako-

  14. #14
    One of the ways its not a democracy is the Senate. All states get 2 senators, regardless of population. This helps smaller states have a voice.

    One of the ways politicians short-circuit a republic and turn it into a democracy is the existence of political parties. If one political party has total control, then power can effectively transfer from government to the party. When the democrats have control of the white house and both houses of congress, that interrupts checks and balances. Instead of an honest debate on the issues, everyone toes the party line and passes legislation in the best interests of the party.

  15. #15
    The Insane Didactic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grummgug View Post
    One of the ways its not a democracy is the Senate. All states get 2 senators, regardless of population. This helps smaller states have a voice.

    One of the ways politicians short-circuit a republic and turn it into a democracy is the existence of political parties. If one political party has total control, then power can effectively transfer from government to the party. When the democrats have control of the white house and both houses of congress, that interrupts checks and balances. Instead of an honest debate on the issues, everyone toes the party line and passes legislation in the best interests of the party.
    Political parties are necessitated by the system the Founders designed. You think they get very little done as is? Without parties, it would be far worse.
    Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
    - Thucydides

    There is a modern myth that people have always tended towards democracy, constitutions, electoral rights; but in truth, love of freedom has never been the predominant note of popular politics. At most times, popular demand has been for a strong government.
    - Eugen Weber

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JfmC View Post
    Everybody knows theocracy is the solution, eventually (in maybe 100 years) a completly objective AI will rule us all!
    00011001001001111001001001100100110000011111001010110 for president!
    I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Until then, the democratically elected Republic kinda works and seems like it's better than the alternatives.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Didactic View Post
    Political parties are necessitated by the system the Founders designed. You think they get very little done as is? Without parties, it would be far worse.
    And yet, they where dead set against political parties. It took the founding of the federal bank to split them into north vs south which lead to the two party system we have.

    As James Madison said ""The public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties."
    Last edited by Kujako; 2013-01-04 at 06:14 PM.
    It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning.

    -Kujako-

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Grummgug View Post
    One of the ways its not a democracy is the Senate. All states get 2 senators, regardless of population. This helps smaller states have a voice.

    One of the ways politicians short-circuit a republic and turn it into a democracy is the existence of political parties. If one political party has total control, then power can effectively transfer from government to the party. When the democrats have control of the white house and both houses of congress, that interrupts checks and balances. Instead of an honest debate on the issues, everyone toes the party line and passes legislation in the best interests of the party.
    This is one of my biggest concerns as of late. With the GOP self imploding due to idiocy, we will end up with a dominant party. When that happens the will of the majority will overun the.will of a smaller group. The back up plans put in place will be mute. We will then be under a tyranny of incombants who.become to powerful without the threat of being usurped.

  19. #19
    The Insane Didactic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kujako View Post
    And yet, they where dead set against political parties. It took the founding of the federal bank to split them into north vs south which lead to the two party system we have.
    They were, but they failed to realise that parties are an organic necessity of any representative system.
    Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
    - Thucydides

    There is a modern myth that people have always tended towards democracy, constitutions, electoral rights; but in truth, love of freedom has never been the predominant note of popular politics. At most times, popular demand has been for a strong government.
    - Eugen Weber

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Kujako View Post
    The big difference is in how people vote.

    In a democracy, each person (the definition of person has changed over the years) gets a vote in more or less everything. In a representative republic, we elect people to do the voting for us.

    A good example of this is the electoral collage that chooses the president. Each state has a small group of people that are supposed to represent the will of the people in the sate. However there is no rule saying they HAVE to vote the same way. So even though a given candidate had the most votes in the state, the representatives COULD vote for someone else.
    You mean this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy ?

    My point is, I think that for most of the world republic and democracy are basically synonyms. At least they are in my country, which is a republic by name, but Americans would call it a democracy I guess.
    I have enough of EA ruining great franchises and studios, forcing DRM and Origin on their games, releasing incomplete games only to sell day-1 DLCs or spill dozens of DLCs, and then saying it, and microtransactions, is what players want, stopping players from giving EA games poor reviews, as well as deflecting complaints with cheap PR tricks.

    I'm not going to buy any game by EA as long as they continue those practices.

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