democracy n.
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Democracy PowerPoint Presentation


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  1. Democracy • Direct democracy: merging of ruler and ruled • Indirect democracy: also known as representative democracy; rulers are selected in genuine, competitive elections for a fixed time period 1. freedom of expression 2. popular sovereignty 3. political equality

  2. Principles of American Democracy • Definition: Democracy is a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences. • Democratic Theory (Robert Dahl) • Equality in voting • Effective participation • Free press and speech • Citizen control of the agenda • Inclusion • Majority Rule and Preservation of Minority Rights

  3. Theories of U.S. Democracy • Pluralist Theory • A theory of government and policies emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies • Groups will work together • Public interest will prevail through bargaining and compromise

  4. Assumptions of Pluralist Theory • Many centers of power • Voters exercise meaningful choices and new elites can gain access to power • Multiple access points to government as power is dispersed on many levels and branches of government • Method of governance: bargaining and compromise • Electoral majorities rarely rule; active and legitimate groups can make themselves heard, manifested through rise in interest group activity

  5. Theories of U.S. Democracy Continued • Elite and Class Theory • A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization; elitists content that American democracy is less democratic than the pluralist believe • Not all groups equal • Policies benefit those with money and power

  6. Assumptions of Elitism • Society is divided along class lines • Upper class elite rules • Wealth is basis of class power; few have the power to act as policy makers • Big business is at the center of power and democracy • Elite consists of three interwoven strata: corporate, military, and political elite

  7. Theories of U.S. Democracy • Hyperpluralism • A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened. • Groups control policy and prevent government from acting • Difficulty in coordinating policy implementation • Confusing and contradictory policies result from politicians trying to placate every group

  8. Challenges to Democracy • Increased Technical Expertise • Limited Participation in Government • Escalating Campaign Costs • Diverse Political Interests (policy gridlock) • Institutionalization of power a. Revolving door in Washington b. K-Street Allan Cigler(political scientist at Univ. of Kansas): "The growth of lobbying makes even worse than it is already the balance between those with resources and those without resources."

  9. According to Top Sector Spending between 1998-2006