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8.28. The student will be able to compare and contrast democracy and R epublic. Warm Up. How is it possible that a president can lose the popular vote but still win? Is this the way our system should function?. Two types of democracy. Direct democracy Power vested directly in the people

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The student will be able to compare and contrast democracy and Republic.

Warm Up

  • How is it possible that a president can lose the popular vote but still win?

    • Is this the way our system should function?

Two types of democracy

  • Direct democracy

    • Power vested directly in the people

      • All citizens take part in each decision made

      • Majority rule, no protection for minority

  • Indirect democracy

    • Citizens elect representatives to make decisions for them

      • This is also referred to as a Republic

Definition of a republic: power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them. Protection by rule of law.

Democracy is a powerful idea…

Senate from Star Wars- Democracy or Republic?

Getting voted off the island by a small group of people- Democracy or Republic?

So you think you can you dance…Republic or Democracy?

  • Start- Audience has small part and (unelected) judges vote.

  • End- Popular vote.

USA- Democracy or Republic (Indirect)?

Key elements of our system:

  • Citizen Involvement

  • System of Representation

  • Rule of Law

  • Electoral System

  • Equality

  • Freedom, Liberty, and Rights

  • Education

Direct Democracy: Citizens take part personally in deliberations and vote on issues. Citizens debate and vote on all laws.

Representative Democracy: Citizens choose (elect) other citizens to debate and pass on laws.

1) Citizen Involvement


  • Voting.

  • Political parties and/or interest groups.

  • Political meetings or public hearings, discussing politics, calling your representative.

Elitist theories of democracy

Proponents Say:

  • Elites (usually “experts” but not necessarily) should rule.

  • Citizens choose between elite proposals.

  • Result is a smoothly running and efficient government and society.

  • Politics is too complex for average citizens to be able to create good policy.

Elitist theories of democracy

Opponents Say:

  • Efficiency is not as important as citizen influence on policy making.

  • Average citizen is capable of understanding the complexity of politics.

Participatory Democracy

  • Low voter turnout should not be “rationalized.”

  • Advocate “Citizen Law Makers” People are more likely to follow laws they help make.

  • If we must have representative democracy then we must create incentives for more participation.

    For example:

  • Term limits

  • Recall Elections

Why is voter turnout so low in the USA?

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTnqr4jyk1g

Participatory Democracy

  • Opponents Say:

    • Impractical in large republics

    • Policies will less often be made by experts

Should we be

Forced to vote?

2) A system of Representation

  • Citizens delegate power to representatives to act for them.

    • Based upon the 2010 census there is one representative for every 710,767 citizens.

Should representatives simply reflect the interests of its constituency or should they be independent agents?

  • Edmund Burke (1729-1797): representatives are independent agents.

  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778): “Any law which the people have not ratified in person is null, it is not a law.”

3) Rule of Law

  • Law is supreme,

  • nobody is above the law, even those who make law

  • against divine right


  • popular sovereignty—all power emanates from the people.

4) The Electoral system

  • Conflict over procedure of choosing representatives

  • Electoral process begins with the selection of candidates—But how does one become a candidate?

  • Importance of access to information.

  • Result of not voting is the transference of political power to others.

Honors… Is this how a republic should work?

  • A presidential candidate could be elected with as a little as 21.8% of the popular vote by getting just over 50% of the votes in DC and each of 39 small states.

  • This is true even when everyone votes and there are only two candidates.


    • From Jesse Ruderman

Majority Rule

  • %50 + 1

  • US system is “Winner take all” or “first past the post”.

  • Result: Minority view is not well represented?

In Europe…

  • Proportional representation

  • Seats are allocated in the legislature on the basis of percentage of votes cast for party A=%35 B = %30 C= %25 D = %10.

  • Governments are formed in coalition with other parties in order to make %50 + 1.

Minority Voice

  • Some rights can’t be taken away by the majority.

  • In the USA, government cannot take rights away without 2/3rd house and senate and ¾ of state legislative

5) Equality

  • Definition: sameness in relevant aspects

  • Disagreement over definition:

  • political equality

  • equality before the law

  • equality of opportunity

  • economic equality

  • equality of respect or social equality;

Natural Rights and Civil Rights:

  • Natural Rights: Rights a person has a human being

  • Civil Rights: Rights derived from government.

How do we limit Government?

  • Frequent elections

  • Watch dogs

  • Civil disobedience

  • Protest

  • Revolution

Simulation Direct Democracy Versus Indirect

  • 2 parties

    • Stars - Majority

    • Stripes- Minority

DOL/ Exit Ticket

  • Do you think the founders wanted everyone to be able to vote?

  • Honors- Why do you think that only white, land owning males were allowed to vote in the early days of the American Republic?

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