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by Verena Muth and Susanne Freyling
The main points of democracy
USA – Declaration of Independence Comparison to England
The question which asks for the kind of government can be decided with aid of Aristotle:
- Who rules?
- How many people rule?
- Which is the purpose of the rule?
After answering these questions you can decide whether a state is a monarchy, aristocracy or democracy.
We want to make sure that it is understandable what democracy means.
The origin of d emocracy:
The word democracy comes from Greek: “demos”, people and “kratein ”, to rule.
It’s a name for a variety of kinds of political orders, in which the power originates from the will of the people and accounts to them.
Its origin goes back to the Greek ancient world and means the participation of the people in the political affairs of the states, but in thos times not everyone had the right to take part in the elections, women and slaves were excluded and stood apart from political life.
Luckily, the times have changed and today, in the USA since the 4th of July 1776, the Independence Day, all adults are allowed to vote in elections.
The main points of democracy:
The principle is equality and connected to this the participation of the whole people. Furthermore, the government in a democracy is chosen in a free, secret and general public election and can be dropped by the people or the house of representatives.
Another important point of democracy is the high level of freedom of speech and writing a nd the existence of an opposition.
Every democratic state has got a separation of powers: the executive, the legislative and the judicative power. This system is very necessary for a state based on fairness:
That means the police is a part of the executi ve; the executive consists of all public organs who perform the laws; consequently the administration, the police and the army, but also the government are part of the executive. The highest position in Germany is occupied by the Federal Chancellor, and fo r instance in the USA by the president.
The legislative is the legal force. In Germany it consists of the Federal Parliament and Council and the Parliaments of the states. In the USA it consists of the Congress, Senate, the House of Representatives and the states.
The judicative consists of the courts of justice.
A good and important example for democracy is the “Declaration of Independence” in the United States
The beginning of the declaration of independence of the 4th of July 1776:
In Congress, July 4, 1776, THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. *
Comparison to England:
Great Britain is a democratic-parliamentary monarchy, but does not, other than most other democratic-republican countries in the western world have a constitution.
Today the British parliament consists of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the monarch on top.
In the House of Commons there are 651 elected members: 524 from England, 72 from Scotland, 38 from Wales and 17 from Northern Ireland. There are 3 important political parties, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats.
The House of Lords consists of about 1200 non-elected members: 2 archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England; dukes, earl and barons.
The monarch has made about 350 respected citizens to members of the House of Lords. Only 60 of those are women.
The House of Commons represents the people of Britain and is the most important part of Parliament. By questions, debates and through committees the work of government is controlled by the Lords and the Commons.
Nevertheless, laws made by the Commons can’t be stopped by the House of Lords. Even if the monarch does not agree with a law, he or she has to sign it.
Wenn es im Zug der Menschheitsentwicklung für ein Volk notwendig wird, die politischen Bande zu lösen, die es mit einem anderen Volk verknüpft haben, und unter den Mächten der Erde den selbständigen und gleichberechtigten Rang einzunehmen, zu dem Naturrecht und göttliches Gesetz es berechtigen, so erfordert eine geziemende Rücksichtnahme auf die Meinungen der Menschheit, die Gründe darzulegen, die es zu der Trennung veranlassen.
Folgende Wahrheiten erachten wir als selbstverständlich: dass alle Menschen gleich geschaffen sind; dass sie von ihrem Schöpfer mit gewissen unveräußerlichen Rechten ausgestattet sind; dass dazu Leben, Freiheit und das Streben nach Glück gehören; dass zur Sicherung dieser Rechte Regierungen unter den Menschen eingesetzt werden, die ihre rechtmäßige Macht aus der Zustimmunng der Regierten herleiten; dass, wenn immer irgendeine Regierungsform sich als diesen Zielen abträglich erweist, es Recht des Volkes ist, sie zu ändern oder abzuschaffen und eine neue Regierung einzusetzen und diese auf solchen Grundsätzen aufzubauen und ihre Gewalten in der Form zu organisieren, wie es ihm zur Gewährleistung seiner Sicherheit und seines Glückes geboten zu sein scheint
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