Unit 1

  • Created by: Abid
  • Created on: 08-11-12 12:28

What is democracy?

  • Democracy means power to the people. (Political power is shared amongst the people).
  • The two main types of democracy are representative democracy and direct democracy.
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What is direct democracy?

  • The people vote on every single issue regarding on how the country should be run.
  • People are directly involved in political decision making.
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Forms of direct democracy used in modern democracy

  • Referendums: A referendum is the most common form of democracy.
  • A referendum is when an important issue is put to the people, rather than being determined by the government. It is in the form of a yes or no question. Majority vote wins.
  • It is a form of direct democracy because the people make the decision themselves rather than the government.
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Advantages of direct democracy

  • Purest form of democracy
  • Spreads power equally. Prevents few from having majority power.
  • Decision are more acceptable to population.
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Disadvantages of Direct Democracy

  • Minority views are disregarded.
  • Decisions may be too complex for the poeple to understand.
  • Creates emotional rather than rational response from people.
  • It could lead to people becoming "politically fatigued" and hapathy will grow
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What is representative democracy??

  • A representative democracy is when people elect individuals to act on their behalf and represent their views within the government. The decisions made by the political party in power should reflect the views of the people.
  • For example, currently in the UK, we have a coalition government between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who represent the people of the UK. 
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Features of a representative democracy

  • Free and regular elections
  • A choice of candidates
  • Secret ballot
  • Free media
  • Every adult has the right to vote
  • A level playing field between parties
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Advantages of a representative democracy

  • Elected or appointed representatives may have better understanding and knowledge than the people to make decisions
  • Representatives are more likely to make rational rather than emotional decisions
  • Representatives can be held accountable which helps to make them behave responsibly
  • People don't have enough time or care enough to be continously involved in making political decisions.
  • Representatives can distinguish between different sections of society which avoids the tyranny of the majority.
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Disadvantages of a representative democracy

  • Representatives may not accurately represent the opinions and demands of the wider population
  • Representatives puts a high level of political power into the hands of few people rather than dispersing political power equally amongst the people.
  • Arguably no country has a representative democracy that follows all the features of a representative democracy which shows a flawed concept. For example, the UK doesnt have an equal playing field between parties as the bigger parties, e.g. conservatives, have more media time than smaller parties, e.g. green party.
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