In a democracy the people have the power to change society. Western democracy, as varies from that which existed in pre-modern societies, is generally believed to have originated in city-states such as classical Athens and the Roman Republic, where various schemes and variations of enfranchisement of the free male population were observed before the form vanished in the West at the beginning of later years. The English word dates to the 16th century, from the older middle French and middle Latin dittos. Typically, democracy ensues that any issues in the society that the government sees as needing change, the people do have the power to decide what they want to be the solution to that particular issue. Most times, the uncertainty of which outcome may come to fruition causes many of the ideals to be constantly fought over and refined by the creators of the solutions. Additionally, some ideals aren’t heard and this causes all forces to repeatedly fight for realization/ attention of their interests.
According to American political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. Todd Landman, nevertheless, draws our attention to the fact that democracy and human rights are two different concepts and that “There must be greater specificity in the conceptualization and operationalization of democracy and human rights” (Landman, 2016). This quote is saying that the purview and/or regarding of human rights is much different than actually acting on or respecting these rights.
Due to the discrepancies that democracy can instate, it is seen as a bit of a liability by those that are well aware of the issues it can transpire. Additionally, this form of public engagement can lead to the miss use of the people’s power and this can lead to the distrust of authority. Despite these obvious issues, democracy is still used as the form of government and decision making in Americas society contrast to aristocracy or a dictatorship. Both of these forms of government strip the people of their power entirely. In an aristocracy, an elite, usually the richest man and/or woman, is the one that makes decisions for the people. In a dictatorship, the populous is forcefully ruled over by a ruler or form of oppression to the people in question. Many civil rights activist such as Nelson Mandela and Benazir Bhutto fight for the freedom of the people through acts of denying the oppression the satisfaction of 100% obedience from their people.
In conclusion, democracy requires three fundamental principles: upward control (sovereignty residing at the lowest levels of authority), political equality, and social norms by which individuals and institutions only consider acceptable acts that reflect the first two principles of upward control and political equality. Without these qualities, democracy is as effective as that of a dictatorship or aristocracy.
In reference to Frederick Douglass, his beliefs on democracy where influenced by his own personal intuition. He took his own goals into consideration and worked on reaching them, without outside help for the most part. He constantly revised his opinions on the world by using the power of books and the advanced viewpoints on life that this influx of knowledge gave him. He realized that people, no matter skin color, religion, or beliefs, deserve opinions. He also believed that everyone’s voice should be heard in an equal fashion. This is why he grew to dislike his slave owners due to them stealing the voices and freedom of the African people and kidnapping them to a land that was unbeknownst to them, having their dignity as humans stripped from them in the process.