Characteristics Of American Democracy (Essay Sample)

Abraham Lincoln once stated that democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Democracy is, therefore, a form of government where the supreme power is entrusted to the people. Democracy can be exercised directly by the people or through elected representatives. The different states might have the same concept of democracy but with some variations in the ideology. However, democracy in all forms has the main goal of promoting freedom through its ideas and principles.

The American democracy rests on certain specific concepts. The first concept is the recognition of the fundamental dignity and worth of every individual regardless of their status in the society. Dignity and worth of an individual in the society is a very important concept to the point of overriding the thought of democracy. However, in some instances, the welfare of minority is overlooked for the sake of the majority. For instance, people can be required to pay taxes or observe traffic signs for the sake of interests of the majority.

American democracy emphasizes the need for equality of all people. The American democratic system promotes the concept that every individual is entitled to equality in opportunities and the law. Every person has a right to develop themselves as fully as they wish without any kind of limitation. On the contrary, the concept of equality does not imply equality of condition. Therefore, this concept does not in any way suggest that all people are born with same abilities mentally or physically.

In addition, the American democracy promotes the concept of the majority rule and the minority rights. Democracy holds that the majority will often be right than wrong. Therefore, the will of the people determines the public policy rather than few individuals in positions of power. However, democracy does not imply that the majority will always make best decisions on the matters of public concern. Democracy is meant to arrive at satisfactory solutions.

The American democracy recognizes the necessity of compromise in the decision-making process. The various competing interests consider the compromise factor in arriving at most acceptable decisions. Compromise is necessary because democracy insists on equality yet any society is made up of many people having varied opinions and interests. Compromise is, therefore, a process of achieving an agreement that is acceptable to the majority of the population.

Besides, the American democracy recognizes individual freedom. Democracy requires that every person must be free to do what they want as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. However, it is always hard to distinguish when the rights of other people are affected by freedom of others. John F. Kennedy stated that “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” This implies that every democratic government has a duty to ensure that rights of individuals are continuously checked not to affect other people’s welfare.

The American democracy has responsibilities and duties of citizenship which upholds the rights of individuals. This gives a guide on who is a citizen; one who holds the rights and responsibilities of America. There are various duties a citizen should obey such as paying taxes and obeying the law. The taxes, in turn, help the government funding for essential government services hence serving all citizens as required in a democracy. In addition, citizens have certain responsibilities such as electing representatives in various public positions.

The American democracy promotes the concept of private enterprise system or rather a capitalism. Such a system does not rely on the government to dictate the type, price, and quantity of items to be produced or sold. The decision is left to the consumers and sellers and also forces of demand and supply.

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