• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!
  • Welcome to our archives. No new posts are allowed here.

When did America become a democracy?

When did America become a democracy

  • 1776

    Votes: 1 9.1%
  • 1789

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • 1865

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 1920

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • 1964

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • Not there yet

    Votes: 4 36.4%

  • Total voters
    11

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
First, a couple things I'm assuming about a democracy, although you are free to argue the definition. One is free, fair, open, and competitive elections in which people participate. Two is political equality. Three is political liberty. Without those, a democracy doesn't exist.

For those of you who aren't up to date on American dates, here's the run down:

1776: Declaration of Independence

1789: US Constitution ratified

1865/66: Slavery abolished and blacks in theory given the right to vote

1920: Women given the right to vote

1964: 24th amendment ends segregation/aka equal rights.




So what do you think? Kinda seems to me like we weren't a democracy till 1964 or possible 1920.
 

Kandahar

Enemy Combatant
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
20,688
Reaction score
7,320
Location
Washington, DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
The definition of democracy, as you noted, is very ambiguous. So the answer to that question depends on what you consider a democracy.

I'd say that 1920 was when we became a modern democracy, but America was a democracy to some degree even before 1776.
 
F

FallingPianos

Kelzie said:
First, a couple things I'm assuming about a democracy, although you are free to argue the definition. One is free, fair, open, and competitive elections in which people participate. Two is political equality. Three is political liberty. Without those, a democracy doesn't exist.

So what do you think? Kinda seems to me like we weren't a democracy till 1964 or possible 1920.

an unfortunate fact about a pure democracy, is that the majority always rules, even if they are wrong. if the majority believes that blacks shouldnt be able to vote, then blacks wont be able to vote, but the place can still be considered a democracy.

a republic is better, because minorities are given better representation, but it too is far from perfect as has been demonstrated in our own country.

though, i cant say that I have a better idea.
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
Kandahar said:
The definition of democracy, as you noted, is very ambiguous. So the answer to that question depends on what you consider a democracy.

I'd say that 1920 was when we became a modern democracy, but America was a democracy to some degree even before 1776.

Hmm. So as an example, South Carolina's population was 3/4 slaves (according to my prof.). Of the 1/4 left, 1/2 were women. Of that 1/8...maybe half again were land owners. So we had 1/16 of the population actually participating. Would you call any country that had the same today democratic?
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
star2589 said:
an unfortunate fact about a pure democracy, is that the majority always rules, even if they are wrong. if the majority believes that blacks shouldnt be able to vote, then blacks wont be able to vote, but the place can still be considered a democracy.

a republic is better, because minorities are given better representation, but it too is far from perfect as has been demonstrated in our own country.

though, i cant say that I have a better idea.

The definitions I've seen for democracy require things to work together. For example, the majority rules, but there must be political equality. If there's not, whether because the majority takes it away or for some other reason, than it is not a democracy.
 

Kandahar

Enemy Combatant
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
20,688
Reaction score
7,320
Location
Washington, DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Kelzie said:
Hmm. So as an example, South Carolina's population was 3/4 slaves (according to my prof.). Of the 1/4 left, 1/2 were women. Of that 1/8...maybe half again were land owners. So we had 1/16 of the population actually participating. Would you call any country that had the same today democratic?

No, but 1/16 is still more democratic than one person (or a group of <100 people) deciding everything. It definitely wasn't a full democracy, but it was a "starter democracy." If you happened to be part of the favored crowd, you could influence the government regardless of your views.

It certainly would be appalling by today's standards, but at the time it was more democratic than lots of places in the world.
 
F

FallingPianos

Kelzie said:
The definitions I've seen for democracy require things to work together. For example, the majority rules, but there must be political equality. If there's not, whether because the majority takes it away or for some other reason, than it is not a democracy.

here's what wikipedia has to say about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy
Democracy... is a system where the population of a society controls the government. It may be narrowly defined as that of nation-state government specifically, or more broadly to describe a society as a whole, which can also exert political power and social power.

Democratic government aspires to serve under "the people" rather than ruling over them. This ideal is pursued by implementing some form of a voting system, usually involving indirect representation (see also republic).

Liberal democracy is defined as democracy over an entire society, and implies individual liberty and individual responsibility as a citizen of that society. It extends the concept of distributed power all of the way to individual citizens in their personal domains - personal sovereignty and private property tempered by civic duty. In such a society, sovereignty originates in the people and is delegated to government rather than vice versa.

Because democratic government and democratic society are inter-related and used interchangeably, they are often confused, usually when one expects all of the benefits of democratic society to follow from the mechanisms of democratic government. While a democratic society has a democratic government, the reverse is not always true. A democratic government, while preventing despotism of abuse of power by a governing minority, does not protect other minorities from social forces from other members of society with other forms of power that may be played out through plutocracy within an existing democratic government, or majoritarianism. Democratic governments may be "liberal", where fundamental rights of individuals in the minority are protected by law, or they may be "illiberal" where they are not.

if we're talking about a democratic government, then I suppose in the strictest sense, a government can considered democratic if all of its citizens are allowed to vote, regardless of what they choose to vote.

Kelzie said:
Hmm. So as an example, South Carolina's population was 3/4 slaves (according to my prof.). Of the 1/4 left, 1/2 were women. Of that 1/8...maybe half again were land owners. So we had 1/16 of the population actually participating. Would you call any country that had the same today democratic?

that would definatly not be democratic, sinse only a 16th of the population could vote.

but, supposing that there was a nationwide election to decide whether slavory was abolished, so as everyone including the slaves themselves were allowed to vote, the country could still be considered a democracy even if the outcome of the election was to keep slavory legal.

I think the framers were reacting so strongly to a society where the power was very concentrated in a small number of people, that they under estimated how much the majority could be oppressive to the minority.
 

Gardener

free market communist
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
26,657
Reaction score
15,927
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Until we rectify the fact that a person living in Wyoming has 4 times the voting clout of somebody living in California, I can't imagine we are living in a democracy.
 

Deegan

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
5,528
Reaction score
2
Location
Chicago
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Gardener said:
Until we rectify the fact that a person living in Wyoming has 4 times the voting clout of somebody living in California, I can't imagine we are living in a democracy.


Don't even get me started on the that issue, any higher, and Cali makes all our decisions for us, that is hardly a democracy either.

That said, I thought we had a Republic?:doh
 

Gardener

free market communist
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
26,657
Reaction score
15,927
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Deegan said:
Don't even get me started on the that issue, any higher, and Cali makes all our decisions for us, that is hardly a democracy either.

That said, I thought we had a Republic?:doh


But you ARE started, Deegan, you are!

and of course, you are right about the republic.


Were it up to me, though, I would abolish the electoral college. It may have served a purpose back in the days when presidential candidates made whistle-stop tours in order to expose themselves to the public, but it is an anachronism in this age of communication in which we now live.
 

Synch

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
564
Reaction score
16
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
First, we're a democratic republic..

2nd, I say 1789 when people started to vote, you can argue that since people below 18 can't vote, we're not a democracy....:lol:
 

Deegan

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
5,528
Reaction score
2
Location
Chicago
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Gardener said:
But you ARE started, Deegan, you are!

and of course, you are right about the republic.


Were it up to me, though, I would abolish the electoral college. It may have served a purpose back in the days when presidential candidates made whistle-stop tours in order to expose themselves to the public, but it is an anachronism in this age of communication in which we now live.

I would be more then open to your alternatives, as of yet, I have not heard one worthy of changing the system in place today. I am very aware that ten points more in California has their pony winning every election in the future, and I don't buy the "bigger is better" argument, but please, feel free to share.;)
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
Deegan said:
Don't even get me started on the that issue, any higher, and Cali makes all our decisions for us, that is hardly a democracy either.

That said, I thought we had a Republic?:doh

A republic is a form of democracy.
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
Synch said:
First, we're a democratic republic..

2nd, I say 1789 when people started to vote, you can argue that since people below 18 can't vote, we're not a democracy....:lol:

So if you were analyzing a country today where women and black people couldn't vote, along with people that didn't own land, would you say that was a democracy?
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
star2589 said:
here's what wikipedia has to say about it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy


if we're talking about a democratic government, then I suppose in the strictest sense, a government can considered democratic if all of its citizens are allowed to vote, regardless of what they choose to vote.



that would definatly not be democratic, sinse only a 16th of the population could vote.

but, supposing that there was a nationwide election to decide whether slavory was abolished, so as everyone including the slaves themselves were allowed to vote, the country could still be considered a democracy even if the outcome of the election was to keep slavory legal.

I think the framers were reacting so strongly to a society where the power was very concentrated in a small number of people, that they under estimated how much the majority could be oppressive to the minority.

Here's what my American Political System has to say about it:

To help further clarify the definition of democracy, we add three additional benchmarks drawn from both the scholarly literature and popular understanding about democracy. These benchmarks are popular sovereignty, political equality and political liberty. A society in which all three flourish, we argue, is a healthy representative democracy.

I really don't think you can deny most the people in your state the vote and still be considered a democracy. It is no longer "rule by the people"...more of a rule by the privileged.

Hi by the way. :2wave: I haven't welcomed you to the forum. I usually don't, but I like your posts. Very intelligent.
 

earthworm

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 21, 2005
Messages
5,728
Reaction score
904
Location
Goldsboro,PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
Synch said:
First, we're a democratic republic..

2nd, I say 1789 when people started to vote, you can argue that since people below 18 can't vote, we're not a democracy....:lol:
Voters should naturally be qualified; children are not qualified - is this not common sense , I speak of ??

IMO, we are a socialistic/democratic republic.

For instance, the city and township has water issue has reared its ugly head in York haven , PA.
I am told that the people cannot vote on this, that the borough council has already decided to install city water, even though a rough majority of the people do not want it..
Yes, we do have, to an extent, a representative government(more or less), but not a democracy.
This we are not ready for, we cannot even get people to vote, much less make intelligent decisions...
I'd vote for the year 2106 !:rofl
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
earthworm said:
Voters should naturally be qualified; children are not qualified - is this not common sense , I speak of ??

IMO, we are a socialistic/democratic republic.

For instance, the city and township has water issue has reared its ugly head in York haven , PA.
I am told that the people cannot vote on this, that the borough council has already decided to install city water, even though a rough majority of the people do not want it..
Yes, we do have, to an extent, a representative government(more or less), but not a democracy.
This we are not ready for, we cannot even get people to vote, much less make intelligent decisions...
I'd vote for the year 2106 !:rofl

I think I'll put that up. A good argument can be made that democracy's a goal that can never be obtained.
 

Trajan Octavian Titus

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
20,915
Reaction score
546
Location
We can't stop here this is bat country!
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Kelzie said:
First, a couple things I'm assuming about a democracy, although you are free to argue the definition. One is free, fair, open, and competitive elections in which people participate. Two is political equality. Three is political liberty. Without those, a democracy doesn't exist.

For those of you who aren't up to date on American dates, here's the run down:

1776: Declaration of Independence

1789: US Constitution ratified

1865/66: Slavery abolished and blacks in theory given the right to vote

1920: Women given the right to vote

1964: 24th amendment ends segregation/aka equal rights.




So what do you think? Kinda seems to me like we weren't a democracy till 1964 or possible 1920.

1789, we're a Democratic-Republic not an absolute-Demcoracy the F.F.'s knew full well that the unwashed masses were to damn stupid to know what was in their own best interests.
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
Trajan Octavian Titus said:
1789, we're a Democratic-Republic not an absolute-Demcoracy.

Interesting. So you'd call a country today where only a fraction of the population controls the direction of the government democratic?
 

iron butterfly

New member
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Private
One vote every 4 years is a pretty wimpy role in our government I say .



The electoral coledge got bush elected ,what worst could be said about it ?

:roll:
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
iron butterfly said:
One vote every 4 years is a pretty wimpy role in our government I say .



The electoral coledge got bush elected ,what worst could be said about it ?

:roll:

Yeah but a vote every year would be too chaotic. Nothing would ever get done.
 

Gardener

free market communist
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 5, 2005
Messages
26,657
Reaction score
15,927
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Deegan said:
I would be more then open to your alternatives, as of yet, I have not heard one worthy of changing the system in place today. I am very aware that ten points more in California has their pony winning every election in the future, and I don't buy the "bigger is better" argument, but please, feel free to share.;)


Well, for starters, I would say that there are at least two different sets of assumptions we might make when it comes to the electoral college. The first springs from the question "is it fair?", and the second "Does it serve my own political ends?". I prefer dealing with the first question rather than the latter because I believe principles trump expediency.

California has 35 million people, yet it has but two senators. The states of Wyoming, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota , Montana, Delaware, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Nevada, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, and Oklahoma have combined populations of less than California, yet have 46 senators between them. Californians are tremendously underrepresented in the senate, and this is compounded when voting for president since those two senatorial votes do not very from state to state and are part of the formula which determines electoral votes. Already shafted once, Californians are shafted again.

Again, if you only worried about electing your guy, the current way works just fine, because the bulk of these small states vote conservative. The question should be one of principle, however, and that principle should be to equalize the clout of each individual voter. Now, you can't do much about California's extreme lack of representation in the senate without totally tearing things apart, but it wouldn't take too much to either do away with the electoral college, or simply base the thing just on house seats, which are at least more proportional to population. That way, you could keep the electoral college, but the big discrepencies between voting clout would be reduced.

It all depends upon whether you want a syatem that is fair or a system that favors your point of view.


I go for fair, myself.
 

Trajan Octavian Titus

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
20,915
Reaction score
546
Location
We can't stop here this is bat country!
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
Kelzie said:
Interesting. So you'd call a country today where only a fraction of the population controls the direction of the government democratic?

No we're a Representative Democratic Republic, the F.F.'s knew full well that the unwashed masses were to damn stupid to know what is in their own best interests.

Allthough I will concede that the whole land owner sceeloe was a bit much. Gotta do a search now to find out when that ended because that's a better date than 1789.
 
F

FallingPianos

Kelzie said:
Here's what my American Political System has to say about it:

To help further clarify the definition of democracy, we add three additional benchmarks drawn from both the scholarly literature and popular understanding about democracy. These benchmarks are popular sovereignty, political equality and political liberty. A society in which all three flourish, we argue, is a healthy representative democracy.

I think the keyword there is healthy. Its possible for an unhealty society to have a technically democratic form of government.

Kelzie said:
I really don't think you can deny most the people in your state the vote and still be considered a democracy. It is no longer "rule by the people"...more of a rule by the privileged.

yes, agreed. I think its hard to consider it a democracy if any of its people dont have the right to vote, with the exception of minors.

Kelzie said:
Hi by the way. :2wave: I haven't welcomed you to the forum. I usually don't, but I like your posts. Very intelligent.

hello! :2wave: and thanks. I just came here from a very strongly conservative forum. over there, if your anything less than extremely conservative, they will think you're a flaming liberal and a troll. so, I feel vindicated now :mrgreen:
 

Kelzie

The Almighty
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
13,534
Reaction score
1,000
Location
Denver, CO
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Liberal
Trajan Octavian Titus said:
No we're a Representative Democratic Republic, the F.F.'s knew full well that the unwashed masses were to damn stupid to know what is in their own best interests.

Allthough I will concede that the whole land owner sceeloe was a bit much. Gotta do a search now to find out when that ended because that's a better date than 1789.

So what if just half the people could vote. Would that still be democratic?
 
Top Bottom