A.) Introduction – Democracy Definition by Latin roots and suffixes a. Background- Articles about the common topic of Democracy and its different definitions. I. Dahl- Dahl’s view in political system.
b. Thesis – Through observation from Dahl’s point of view, I will explain the meaning of the ideal democracy while considering how it began during the founding years of the United States and discuss the deficiencies from personal reflection. B.) 1st Topic – Dahl’s Ideal Democracy
c. What is Dahl’s ideal democracy?
II. Consisting of five standards, Dahl’s ideal democracy is “a designed set of rules and principles, a constitution, that will determine how the association’s decision are to be made. And your constitution must be in conformity with one elementary principle: that all the members are to be treated (under the constitution) as if they were equally qualified to participate in the process of making decisions about the policies the association will pursue.” In order to govern this association, all members are to be considered politically equal.
III. Five Standards
1. Effective participation
2. Voting in equality
3. Gaining enlightened understanding.
4. Exercising final control over the agenda
5. Inclusion of adults
d. Why is Dahl’s democracy significant?
IV. There are 10 main benefits from practicing the ideal democracy. 6. Democracy helps to prevent government by cruel and vicious autocrats. 7. Democracy guarantees its citizens a number of fundamental rights that nondemocratic systems to not, and cannot, grant. 8. Democracy insures its citizens a broader range of personal freedom than any feasible alternative to it.
9. Democracy helps people to protect their own fundamental interests. 10. Only a democratic government can provide a maximum opportunity for persons to exercise their freedom of self-determination – that is, to live under laws of their own choosing.
11. Only a democratic government can provide a maximum opportunity for exercising moral responsibility. 12. Democracy fosters human development more fully than any feasible alternative. 13. Only a democratic government can foster a relatively high degree of political equality. 14. Modern representative democracies do not fight wars with one another. 15. Countries with democratic government tend to be more prosperous than countries with nondemocratic governments. e. Why Political Equality?
V. Political equality is highly recommended under this observation for intrinsic equality and civic competence.
C.) 2nd Topic – The Founding Years
f. The Constitution
g. The Articles of Confederation
h. The Democracy in Both
i. The comparison between the beginning democracy and the ideal democracy j.
D.) 3rd Topic – My Reflection and the Deficiencies
k. How Do I compare the US Democracy to Dahl’s Ideal Democracy? VI. After the founding up until the 1960’s civil rights movement l. Discuss the Democratic deficits
m. Discuss improvements since the 1960’s
n. Discuss the development including developing improvements and imperfections. E.) Conclusion
From the definition of the Latin words, the root demo means people and the suffix -cracy means government or rule. When putting the two together to form the word democracy, by definition, the words means to have the people rule the government. This means that all of the people should have their opinion accepted about everything that affects their daily lives. Most people of the United States of America believe that we live in a democracy. To live in a democracy means to have the freedoms that are considered fundamental to human freedom and flourishing. According to an article on the ideal democracy, though democracy is widely considered to bet the most preferable form of government, this conviction alone is not enough to establish its supremacy as the ideal form of government often having flaws when actualized (Coffrin, 2012).
Robert Dahl, often called “the Dean” of American political scientists, is one of America’s most prolific democracy professors and critics. One of his many contributions is his explication of the varieties of power which he defines as “A” getting “B” to do what “A” wants but preferring the more influence terms. In his book On Democracy, he provides his definition of the real “Ideal Democracy”. This democracy isn’t much like the democracy we practice today in America. Through observation from Dahl’s point of view, I will explain the meaning of the ideal democracy while considering how it began during the founding years of the United States and then discuss the deficiencies from personal reflection.
There are a number of ways in which the term “democracy” is used. When looking upon the definition from the Merriam Webster dictionary, democracy has five separate meanings; two being “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections” and “the principle and policies of the Democratic party in the US” (democracy, 2012). These definitions are describing the actuality of what democracy is however Dahl’s ideal is not mentioned in the dictionary.
Dahl’s ideal democracy is only in his imagination. He believes that democracy is really “a designed set of rules and principles, a constitution, that will determine how the association’s decision are to be made…and that all the members are to be treated as if they were equally qualified to participate in the process of making decisions about the policies the association will pursue” (Dahl, 37). In order to govern this association, all members are to be considered politically equal in order to provide opportunities for effective participation, equality in voting, gaining enlightened understanding, exercising final control over the agenda, and inclusion of adults (38).
According to Dahl’s outlook, the ideal democracy has at least 10 advantages. Democracy helps to prevent government by cruel and vicious autocrats, guarantees its citizens a number of fundamental rights that nondemocratic systems to not grant, it insures its citizens a broader range of personal freedom than any feasible alternative, it helps people to protect their own fundamental interests, is only a democratic government that can provide a maximum opportunity for persons to exercise their freedom of self-determination and for exercising moral responsibility, it fosters human development more fully than any feasible alternative, it can foster a relatively high degree of political equality, never fight wars with another democratic organization, and countries with democratic governments tend to be more prosperous (Dahl, 60).
These selections of standards and advantages are designed to enhance and motivate members to be a part of the ideal democratic process. But the key point to the ideal democracy is political equality. Political equality is highly recommended under this observation for intrinsic equality and civic competence. For intrinsic equality we need to express a moral judgment about human beings intending to “say something about what we believe ought to be” (Dahl, 65).
As the words of the Declaration employed, with moral judgment we claim that one person’s life, liberty, and happiness is not intrinsically superior or inferior to the life, liberty, and happiness of any other (65). We should adopt this principle for ethical and religious grounds, the weakness of an alternative principle, prudence, and acceptability (67). In this intrinsic equality, there must be application to the value to the government of the state in which the government must give equal consideration to the interest of every person.
For civic competence, there must be a rejection of the Guardianship as a satisfactory way of applying the main idea. “Among adults no persons are so definitely better qualified than others to govern that they should be entrusted with complete and final authority over the government of the state” (Dahl, 79). This theory suggests that we be governed by ourselves.
From what I’ve learned in part one of Dahl’s Ideal Democracy, the United States of America isn’t so democratic as it is represented to be based upon the founding of the US Constitution and the Articles of Confederation.
Kolar, M. (2005). What is democracy. Retrieved on March 11, 2012 from
Coffrin, T. (2012). Ideal democracy. Retrieved on March 11, 2012 from