An analysis of limitations to democracy

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An analysis of limitations to democracy

Posted November 13, We have seen in eight posts since November 1 that there are several limitations to American democracy. The American Revolution began in as a movement led by the American elite, which called upon the masses for support, invoking a rhetoric that was nationalist and anti-British but vague on contradictory class interests within the American colonies.

However, the elite was able to retake control of the movement, and the Constitution of was the culmination of the victorious elite countermovement. Thus in the final analysis the American Revolution was a bourgeois revolution, although it did establish the foundation for a popular discourse and movement that could expand and deepen the meaning of democracy to address the interests of the popular classes.

An analysis of limitations to democracy

The Constitution of the United States, as a document of a bourgeois revolution, contained limitations in relation to popular interests. It established the balance of power, in order that the elite could check the power of the popular classes.

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It established larger voting districts, facilitating the dependence of candidates on financial resources. And it confined the proclamation of democratic rights to political and civil rights.

In the years since the American Revolution ofpopular classes in the United States and in the world have sought to expand the meaning of democracy, so as to include persons initially excluded, and to deepen the meaning of democracy, in order to include rights that had not been addressed.

The expansion of democracy involved above all the inclusion of people of color and women, and the struggle for their inclusion essentially had been won by the s, although the legacy of the earlier period of exclusion and denial survives in subtle and indirect forms. The deepening of democracy has involved the proclamation of rights in new areas as well as the proclamation of the rights of nations and peoples.

Thus humanity has affirmed: And the deepening of democracy also has involved the development of popular power, a form of democracy characterized by the direct participation of the people, as an alternative to representative democracy.

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At the time of the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies had entered the world-system in a semi-peripheral role, profiting from a lucrative trade relation with the slaveholders in the Caribbean. The spectacular ascent to hegemony distorted popular discourse in the United States, as popular interests came to be understood as tied to the rise of US economic and political power.

As a result, constraints were placed on the capacity of US popular movements to reflect on the expanding and deepening meaning of democracy occurring throughout the world.

The notion of the protection of social and economic rights came to be much more widely accepted in Western Europe and in the Third World than in the United States. And the rights of nations and peoples, such as the rights of self-determination and sustainable development, have been essentially beyond the scope of popular discourse and reflection.

The analysis of the concept of democracy and its historical evolution on the basis of different approaches and schools of thought would be dealt in Part I of the project. This demand for further description on the analysis of the concept of Democracy in different countries, and the same would be dealt extensively in Part II of the project. What limitations there are on a democracy depend upon what democracy is being considered. Democracy can take many forms, and so can the limitations. Disadvantages and Limitations of Parliamentary Sovereignty. Now let's look at some of the disadvantages and limitations of parliamentary sovereignty.

It is widely believed in the United States that it is the most democratic nation on earth. There is some truth to this belief. The Constitution of the establishes the United States as the longest-standing constitutional democracy.

And the nation has a strong tradition in the protection of political and civil rights, although it also has a record of periodically violating political and civil rights in the defense of its neocolonial interests.

However, in reality, the United States has a limited understanding of democracy. And the political debates concerning foreign policy assume that US economic and political interests in the neocolonial world-system should be defended, with little concern for the rights of nations and peoples of the world to self-determination and sustainable development.

An analysis of limitations to democracy

At the same time, US popular culture lacks structures to facilitate popular reflection on the meaning of democracy. Thus, as the peoples of the world have sought to deepen the meaning of democracy during the course of the twentieth century, the people of the United States have been largely absent from this global process.

As a consequence, both the political elite and the people have a superficial and limited understanding of democracy, which leaves the nation unprepared to act responsibly in the world. There was a time when it was not so. In the or so years following the American Revolution, the United States of America was viewed as a symbol of the promise of democracy, especially in Latin America, in spite of its recognized expansionism in relation to the indigenous nations and Mexico.

But as the United States rose to neocolonial hegemony, it increasingly intervened in other nations in order to promote its economic and political interests, hypocritically pretending to be defending democracy.

And the American promise of democracy was transformed into the American Creed, a belief in opportunity for material success integrally tied to a consumer society. Thus the potential for the development of a democratic nation unleashed by the American Revolution has not been realized.

We the people of the United States should seek to renew the American promise of democracy. I will seek to address this question in the next post. Third World, revolution, colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, democracy, national liberation, sovereignty, self-determination, socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Cuba, Latin America, world-system, world-economy, development, underdevelopment, colonial, neocolonial, blog Third World perspective, American Revolution.Excerpt from The Masses in the Mirror: Being an Analysis of the Fundamentals of Government and the Limitations of Democracy Is liberty a plant that will grow and blossom anywhere, even on the barren rocks of ignorance and selfishness?Author: Leigh Hadley Irvine.

The analysis of the concept of democracy and its historical evolution on the basis of different approaches and schools of thought would be dealt in Part I of the project. This demand for further description on the analysis of the concept of Democracy in different countries, and the same would be dealt extensively in Part II of the project.

Benedict de Spinoza: Political Philosophy. The body of Benedict de Spinoza’s writings on political philosophy in the 17th century should be seen as a paradigmatic species of European Enlightenment Philosophy. Spinoza rejected the teleological account of human nature and its implications to political societies in favor of rational, scientific understanding with its contractual implications.

CESRAN International is a think-tank specialising on international relations in general, and global peace, conflict and development related issues and challenges. Published: Mon, 5 Dec Democracy is best defined as “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” (Abraham Lincoln) Democracy implies both popular participation and government in the public interest, and can take a wide variety of forms.

In the years since the American Revolution of , popular classes in the United States and in the world have sought to expand the meaning of democracy, so as to include persons initially excluded, and to deepen the meaning of democracy, in order to include rights that had not been addressed.

Eric Foner: American Historian