Studies have shown that both absolutism and democracy have their advantages and disadvantages. There are various differences and similarities between the development of the nation-state ruled by an absolute monarch like in France and in a democratic government like in England.
Thomas Hobbes was one of the first English philosophers during the enlightenment, he believed human beings were naturally brutal, there was always a competition between men causing war. The U. Democratic Republic, the Roman Republic, and the Athenian Democracy have similar and different functions of how they run their government. One such example was the Christianisation of Iceland in , where the Althing decreed, in order to prevent an invasion, that all Icelanders must be baptized, and forbade celebration of pagan rituals.
Contrary to most states, the Icelandic Commonwealth had no official leader. In the early 13th century, the Age of the Sturlungs , the Commonwealth began to suffer from long conflicts between warring clans. This effectively brought the Commonwealth to an end. The Althing, however, is still Iceland's parliament, almost years later.
This painting is an allegory of the power of the Republic of Venice. In Europe new republics appeared in the late Middle Ages when a number of small states embraced republican systems of government. These were generally small, but wealthy, trading states, like the Italian city-states and the Hanseatic League , in which the merchant class had risen to prominence. Knud Haakonssen has noted that, by the Renaissance , Europe was divided with those states controlled by a landed elite being monarchies and those controlled by a commercial elite being republics.
Despite their wealth they had little power in the feudal system dominated by the rural land owners, and across Europe began to advocate for their own privileges and powers. The more centralized states, such as France and England, granted limited city charters.
Beginning of the Republic of Metz. Election of the first Head-Alderman in , by Auguste Migette. Metz was then a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the more loosely governed Holy Roman Empire , 51 of the largest towns became free imperial cities.
While still under the dominion of the Holy Roman Emperor most power was held locally and many adopted republican forms of government. The towns and villages of alpine Switzerland had, courtesy of geography, also been largely excluded from central control.
Unlike Italy and Germany, much of the rural area was thus not controlled by feudal barons, but by independent farmers who also used communal forms of government.
When the Habsburgs tried to reassert control over the region both rural farmers and town merchants joined the rebellion. The Swiss were victorious, and the Swiss Confederacy was proclaimed, and Switzerland has retained a republican form of government to the present. Many of the towns thus gained considerable independence and adopted commune forms of government. Completely free of feudal control, the Italian city-states expanded, gaining control of the rural hinterland.
Political theorists and statesmen now recognized what the Levelers had seen earlier, that the nondemocratic practice of representation could be used to make democracy practicable in the large nation-states of the modern era. Representation, in other words, was the solution to the ancient dilemma between enhancing the ability of political associations to deal with large-scale problems and preserving the opportunity of citizens to participate in government.
To some of those steeped in the older tradition, the union of representation and democracy seemed a marvelous and epochal invention. New answers to old questions Suffrage Representation was not the only radical innovation in democratic ideas and institutions. The faith placed in humanity as discussed above might backfire on society, as people might not have sufficient political knowledge and experience to make decisions that would benefit themselves and society as a whole.
By the time young people are granted suffrage often at the age of 18 , many of them will not have had any political education in school, and it becomes even trickier to receive such education after graduation. How then, can we be expected to know what voting behaviour will be in our best interest assuming that we know what is in our best interest? This problem might be solved by providing effective political education in schools and beyond.
Extremist nationalist parties, for example, tend to offer highly simplified solutions to controversial problems, without providing clear guidelines of which actions they will undertake.
Another issue with democracy in practice is that an elected body hardly ever follows up on the promises made in their campaign. The promises that get them elected are of course aimed at gaining support, and often leaders are not sure of what is feasible before entering office. However, surely it is not fair of the ruling body to not fulfil the promises they were elected for?
This is a recurring flaw in the democratic form of government, and one solution that is often put forward is to hold referendums, which is when citizens vote on political issues. In the 18th century only the American revolution produced a sustainable democracy. During the 19th century monarchists fought a prolonged rearguard action against democratic forces.
In the first half of the 20th century nascent democracies collapsed in Germany, Spain and Italy. The progress seen in the late 20th century has stalled in the 21st. Freedom House reckons that was the eighth consecutive year in which global freedom declined, and that its forward march peaked around the beginning of the century. Between and the cause of democracy experienced only a few setbacks, but since there have been many.
Many nominal democracies have slid towards autocracy, maintaining the outward appearance of democracy through elections, but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system. Faith in democracy flares up in moments of triumph, such as the overthrow of unpopular regimes in Cairo or Kiev, only to sputter out once again.
Outside the West, democracy often advances only to collapse. And within the West, democracy has too often become associated with debt and dysfunction at home and overreach abroad. Democracy has always had its critics, but now old doubts are being treated with renewed respect as the weaknesses of democracy in its Western strongholds, and the fragility of its influence elsewhere, have become increasingly apparent. Why has democracy lost its forward momentum? The return of history THE two main reasons are the financial crisis of and the rise of China.
The damage the crisis did was psychological as well as financial. Governments had steadily extended entitlements over decades, allowing dangerous levels of debt to develop, and politicians came to believe that they had abolished boom-bust cycles and tamed risk. The crisis turned the Washington consensus into a term of reproach across the emerging world. Larry Summers, of Harvard University, observes that when America was growing fastest, it doubled living standards roughly every 30 years.
China has been doubling living standards roughly every decade for the past 30 years. The Chinese elite argue that their model—tight control by the Communist Party, coupled with a relentless effort to recruit talented people into its upper ranks—is more efficient than democracy and less susceptible to gridlock. The political leadership changes every decade or so, and there is a constant supply of fresh talent as party cadres are promoted based on their ability to hit targets.
Advertisement Many Chinese are prepared to put up with their system if it delivers growth. Some Chinese intellectuals have become positively boastful. Zhang Weiwei of Fudan University argues that democracy is destroying the West, and particularly America, because it institutionalises gridlock, trivialises decision-making and throws up second-rate presidents like George Bush junior.
The first great setback was in Russia. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in the democratisation of the old Soviet Union seemed inevitable. In the s Russia took a few drunken steps in that direction under Boris Yeltsin. But at the end of he resigned and handed power to Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative who has since been both prime minister and president twice. This postmodern tsar has destroyed the substance of democracy in Russia, muzzling the press and imprisoning his opponents, while preserving the show—everyone can vote, so long as Mr Putin wins.
Autocratic leaders in Venezuela, Ukraine, Argentina and elsewhere have followed suit, perpetuating a perverted simulacrum of democracy rather than doing away with it altogether, and thus discrediting it further. The next big setback was the Iraq war. This was more than mere opportunism: Mr Bush sincerely believed that the Middle East would remain a breeding ground for terrorism so long as it was dominated by dictators.
But it did the democratic cause great harm. Left-wingers regarded it as proof that democracy was just a figleaf for American imperialism.
And disillusioned neoconservatives such as Francis Fukuyama, an American political scientist, saw it as proof that democracy cannot put down roots in stony ground. A third serious setback was Egypt. But the euphoria soon turned to despair.A map of the Roman Republic The modern type of essay itself is different from any type of state found in the classical world. This includes reflective practice gibbs essay help Athens and the Roman Republic. While the structure and governance of these states was republic different from that of any modern republic, there is debate about the democracy to which classical, medieval, and modern republics form a historical continuum. Pocock help argued that a distinct republican tradition stretches from the classical world to the present.
Most of the Greek republics were annexed to the Macedonian Empire of Alexander.
The first great setback was in Russia. The Supreme Court and, indeed, lower courts too can determine which laws are constitutional and has the power to uphold or overturn laws it judges to be unconstitutional.
Things are not that bad these days, but China poses a far more credible threat than communism ever did to the idea that democracy is inherently superior and will eventually prevail. In the other states various forms of autocratic republic existed until most were liberalized at the end of the 20th century. The term "republic" as used today refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term. An online hyperdemocracy where everything is put to an endless series of public votes would play to the hand of special-interest groups.
Citizens United is a conservative organization that sued the Federal Election Commission over its restrictions on campaign financing. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, called the United States Bill of Rights , guaranteed certain natural rights fundamental to republican ideals that justified the Revolution. In conclusion, democracy is the best form of government, mostly because of its strong philosophical basis.