Essay on Democracy in America
American democracy has been in existence for decades. However, in the recent years due to change in governments and the overwhelming power of money, it is reasonable to say that it is under threat. It is largely brought about by the political class elected who have conflicting ideologies from their predecessors. In all democracies, the citizens have the power to choose the government in place through elections. It is viewed as one advantage especially in American Democracy. It gives a chance to the formation of a well-structured government, which helps in maintaining democracy. Many scholars have written on this topic including de Tocqueville who focused on the understanding of how a regarded as the stable and democratic government worked.
De Tocqueville mainly focused on the issue of democracy in America. All the literature he developed surrounded issues of democracy and how the country managed to stay democratic. De Tocqueville had moved from France where he believed that democracy was still underdeveloped. He, however, viewed America to be one of the places that democracy was well developed. Therefore, his aim was to gain an insight into how democracy remained stable in different areas around the world and especially America; he needed to understand the various strengths, and weaknesses of the concept so that various governments would identify how to maintain the strengths and mitigate the shortcomings.
History of American Democracy
A theme that is present throughout the work is De Tocqueville view of democracy in America; he believes that despite all other aspects liberty remains stable in the land. He felt that the issue of freedom went beyond the government and the society had a significant role to play in what generated as liberty. He stated, “I speedily perceived that the influence of this fact extends far beyond the political character and the laws of the country and that it has no less empire over civil society than over the Government; it creates opinions, engenders sentiments, suggests the ordinary practices of life, and modifies whatever it does not produce” (De Tocqueville 16). He maintained some words that were American including the executive, Mississippi, Arkansas and Illinois.
Despite the stability, he sees in the American democracy; he identifies various challenges with the system. The problems that de Tocqueville noted in the American Democracy was in societal attitudes and tendencies. He pointed out that democracy represents the will of the people and therefore because the legislatures are elected they tend to exercise more powers than the other organs. If this power is not controlled the political class will use their tyranny to exercise authority. Another problem where the representatives are elected for a short term, which contributes to mediocre leaders who only serve their interest and not of the people, they represent. He states in chapter seven, “Formerly tyranny used the clumsy weapons of chains and hangmen; nowadays even despotism, though it seemed to have nothing to learn, has been perfected by civilization” (de Tocqueville).
Another challenge is the issue of equality. The people believe in a sovereign power of public opinion. Given this, they perceive that no one is to exercise power above the other and that every person has equal rights and freedom. Therefore, the majority rules or the decision made by the majority is final. It indicates that there are no free thinkers or their right to give opinions is curtailed. Also, there are other factors, which are significant in the American democracy. The bulk of them is related to the preponderance of democratic power. That is the legislature has more power than the other organs since it is a representation of the will of the people. One of the assumptions that were made by de Tocqueville was that individualism is always harmful and its effects are visible in the society. However, this view is partial since it was not indicated to what extent are the tendencies inevitable or destructive.
De Tocqueville, Alexis. “Democracy in America Volume 2.” (2013).