Democratic Values and Principles Cluster 2 Unit 6
What is democracy? • Democracy is: • A process • People listen to one another • People say what they think • People make decisions together by accepting a vote by majority • Taking people’s opinions into consideration
There is no democracy when: • Some people speak while others are silenced. • People speak but are not listened to. • One person, or small group of people, make decisions that affect everyone • People vote with little knowledge.
Informal democracy – generally the way a family or a group of friends functions. • Representative democracy – voting for a group of people to work together and make decisions on our behalf. • Constitution – the set of rules that make it clear what our elected representatives can and cannot do and for how long.
History of Democracy • Demos means people and kratos means rule. • Democracy refers to a way of life and a form of government. • People in a community were to be treated as free and equal and were to be either directly or indirectly involved in their government. • Ancient Greece only allowed men to participate in government, therefore it was not a true democracy.
The British Magna Carta of 1215 was a collection of written promises between the king and his subjects. • There were 63 clauses all together, but, the most important was that, for the first time, the king was subjected to the law of the land, just as everybody else was.
The American Constitution of 1787 was modeled on the Magna Carta, including a belief in the rule of law and that the government serves the common interest of all citizens.
6 Important parts to democracy 1) Freedom of Expression - Have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom to meet or assemble. 2) Free Elections - Have the right to vote. 3) Majority Rules and Minority Rights - Decisions are made by the principle of majority rule, the majority must respect wishes of the minority.
4) Political Parties - Voters are provided with a choice of candidates. This means different view points are expressed and heard. 5) Private Organizations - Newspapers, labor unions, and businesses are allowed to exist within a democratic society. 6) Constitutional Government - Provide the rules within which a government operates. The document outlines the power and duties of government and sets limits on power.
Canada’s democracy • Requires laws that protect equality and freedom for all. • Establish programs like: - Employment insurance - Health insurance - Education - Health care **These programs are paid with tax dollars. It is believed that the benefits to society outweighs the cost to the individual.
3) A New Government must be elected at least once every 5 years. This ensures that violence and revolutions are not necessary to change who is in charge. 4) Large scale economic and social changes are more likely to develop in a democratic society.
Making democracy work • Vote! – if you do not vote, your voice is not heard. • Get Educated! – It is important to know who you are voting for and why. • Do not discriminate! – Inclusion is key in democratic societies. • Consider the needs of others! – Individuals need to work together for the betterment of the whole group.
Alternatives • Democracy has only been popular since the revolutions of the 18th century. • Prior to this, many countries were rule by “divine right” – the claim that a monarch has supreme control over a country. • Authoritarian government means that the government is in power without the support of the majority of the citizens.
Authoritarianism • In countries with authoritarian governments: • individual freedom is limited • citizens are subject to violence • government officials are not accountable for their actions • freedom of expression is denied. Nazi Germany under Hitler and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin are 2 examples.
Dictatorship • A dictator is an all-powerful leader of a country. • Dictators abolish other political parties. This limits the ability to challenge their power. • Dictators are the leaders of most authoritarian governments.
Democracy does have limits. • Democratic freedoms are limited for the security of the society at large. • At school, you can eat in certain places, cannot wear what you want, and are told when to enter and leave the building. • These restrictions are designed for collective safety and well-being