Key Thinkers on Democracy

  • Created by: cg97
  • Created on: 06-01-15 15:26


(1 – Fault with Democracy): He argued that many ordinary citizens were not competent enough to rule wisely and that governments should be dominated by guardians in the form of an enlightened dictator (those who had the expertise to rule). He believed that democracy prevents the experts from running the country and fulfilling the jobs that they were born to do.


(1 – Democracy): Conscious of the fact that participation by citizens was desirable but was worried that, without restraints, democracy could turn into mob rule. He therefore preferred a system that contained elements of democracy and oligarchy (ruled by a few) which he called polity.

Joseph Schumpeter – 20th Century Socialist Philosopher

(1 – Democracy): His theory of democracy suggested that the democratic process was just a battleground in which power-seeking politicians sought to win citizens’ votes. He said ‘democracy means only that the people have the opportunity of accepting or refusing the men who are to rule them’.

Bernard Crick – Democrat Socialist

(1 – Democracy): He wrote ‘democracy is perhaps the most promiscuous word in the world of public affairs’ – democracy can mean almost anything to anyone. This may mean that the term could actually mean nothing at all. There is no settled model of democracy, even though the West tends to use forms of liberal democracies.

Thomas Jefferson – Main author of US Declaration of Independence and 3rd president of USA, Liberalism

(1 – Liberal Democracy): He stated that democracy was “nothing more that mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine”. He therefore wanted limited government who were laissez faire.

Francis Fukuyama - Liberalism

(1 – Liberal Democracy): In 1989, he believed that ideological struggles were over and Western Liberal Democracy had proved to be the best way to run society.

Charles Fourier – Early Radical Socialist

(1 – Liberal Democracy): He believed that people should live in independent communities where everything is shared equally and decisions are made collectively and that liberal democracies are not representative of communities.

Tom Bottomore – Radical Democrat

(1 – Liberal Democracy): He believed that only through continuous and direct involvement in the democratic process will a system by democratic. He believed direct democracy through referendum would enhance civil virtue and responsibility like self-governing.

John Locke – An early advocate of Liberalism

(1 – Liberal Democracy): He believed in representative government and tolerance and that democracy should mean a system of “government by consent”. He raised the question of who should give consent and wanted to limit it to property-owning classes.

Alexis de Tocqueville – An early advocate of Liberalism who also influenced conservative thinking

(1 – Liberal Democracy): He felt that liberty was threatened by public opinion…


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