On Democracy

2000-2-13 23:24:00

To Sterling on Democracy: That the United States was established as a Republic and not as a pure democracy is not an argument. I think most of us realize this.

Now what is democracy but majority rule? Many often technically make a mistake in calling this nation a democracy because the election process within this nation is governed by majority rule or democracy. So in comparison to Cuba for instance we do have elements of democracy and they do not.

I decided to check the thoughts of the Big Kahuna as far as founding fathers of our governing documents go. That man is of course Thomas Jefferson. I'm sure other founders thought along the same lines.

Thomas Jefferson was largely responsible for initiating the Democratic Party because he was a big believer in democracy. I guess he sided with the devil as I have in your opinion.

Here are some of his statements about majority rule:

"The only way a republican government can function, and the only way a people's voice can be expressed to effect a practicable control of government, is through a process in which decisions are made by the majority. This is not a perfect way of controlling government, but the alternatives?decisions made by a minority, or by one person?are even worse. Rule by consent of ALL the governed is not practicable, since it would mean that government would be paralyzed on controversial issues. To be just, majority decisions must be in the best interest of all the people, not just one segment."

"The fundamental principle of [a common government of associated States] is that the will of the majority is to prevail." ?Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 1809.

"Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent." ?Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia, 1782.

"I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law." ?Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793.

"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possesses the right of self-government. They receive it with their being from the hand of nature.

"Individuals exercise it by their single will; collections of men by that of their majority; for the law of the majority is the natural law of every society of men." ?Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on Residence Bill, 1790.

"If we are faithful to our country, if we acquiesce with good will, in the decisions of the majority, and the nation moves in mass in the same direction, although it may not be that which every individual thinks best, we have nothing to fear from any quarter." ?Thomas Jefferson to Virginia Baptists, 1808.

"Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends; the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them." ?Thomas Jefferson to Annapolis Citizens, 1809.

"[Bear] always in mind that a nation ceases to be republican only when the will of the majority ceases to be the law." ?Thomas Jefferson: Reply to the Citizens of Adams County, Pa., 1808.

"Absolute acquiescence in the decision of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism, I deem [one of] the principles of our Government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration." ?Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801.

"This corporeal globe, and everything upon it, belong to its present corporeal inhabitants during their generation. They alone have a right to direct what is the concern of themselves alone, and to declare the law of that direction; and this declaration can only be made by their majority.

That majority, then, has a right to depute representatives to a convention, and to make the constitution what they think will be the best for themselves."
?Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

This is just a small sample of his writings that support democracy.