The simple man in the street and the sophisticated reader of "liberal" weeklies may have little else in common, but they share a touching faith in the sovereignty of The People. The tyranny of the majority (or tyranny of the masses) is an inherent weakness to majority rule in which the majority of an electorate pursues exclusively its own objectives at the expense of those of the minority factions. Photo credit: Erika J Mitchell / Shutterstock.com. The alchemists had sought for a philosopher’s stone which would transmute lead into gold; but the thing which really haunted the mind of, ever since Plato was the search for a philosopher-king. The people of Europe searched in vain for a philosopher-king, but never found him; we of the modern world have found our philosopher-king, and his name is The People, expressing itself through majority rule. So when someone asks, "Do you believe in majority rule?" Their Dissenter’s faith disposed them to individual liberty, and in the Natural Law they had a device to limit arbitrary rule. His nine-month sojourn led to the writing of Democracy in America, universally regarded as one of the most influential books ever written. And not without reason, when the matter is viewed historically. What Shall Be Government’s Scope? One of them, James Wilson, wrote: "The United States exhibit to the world the first instance, as far as we can learn, of a nation, unattacked by external force, unconvulsed by domestic insurrection, assembling voluntarily, deliberating fully, and deciding calmly, concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live." A rather silly European Socialist, presumably with this in mind, referred to our Constitution as "very nearly a plot against the common people." Majority rule is not a fixed, well defined group 3. majority rule must take into account minority rights 4. majority rule must be accompanied by other democratic principles The answer our forebears gave to the question: What shall be the extent of rule? Each member of the congregation had a vote in the election of officers, and each congregation was considered as independent and autonomous of every other and not subject to the authority of any centralized church hierarchy. The second question is: Who shall rule? One senator in my state of New York represents about 8,000,000 people; in the state of Washington, one senator represents about 1,400,000 people. But under the new dispensation "The Majority" is almighty. American politics does not suffer from an excess of majority rule. The manual was first published in 1876 by U.S. Army officer Henry Martyn Robert, who took the rules and practices of the House of Representatives and adapted them to the needs of groups outside the legislature. . Human beings, however, are called upon to make moral decisions just because they are human beings. The Constitution declared that the President would not be chosen by mass vote. They were not easy-going people, nor were they easy to live with; but perhaps it took a certain kind of fanaticism to make the ocean voyage in the first place and, in the second place, to survive in an extremely hazardous situation. Would you deny them these benefits? Theoretically, a bill might have the unanimous support of the voters, be passed into law by the Congress, and then be thrown out by the Court on the grounds of unconstitutionality. It is standard journalistic procedure to divide the world into two camps. But does today’s popular notion of a free society have anything in common with the model erected by the venerable Founding Fathers? The fourth form is the one that seems natural to us: Impose a few qualifications for the privilege of voting, and then by balloting let the voters freely choose their representatives, the candidate who gets the majority of votes being the winner. James Madison once wrote, “It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.”. This book has long been recognized as a classic in political philosophy, and the document whose virtues it expounded, The Constitution of the United States, is still—nominally at least—the law of the land. in 1620. Typically, when we talk about “government by the people,” we mean government by majority rule. The first Congress under the new Constitution met at, The men who drafted our basic political document and set a new government in motion represented a people who were exceedingly alert intellectually and politically. Third, is the device of aristocracy, where a few families comprise the ruling caste, as in Venice. Third, is the device of aristocracy, where a few families comprise the ruling caste, as in. The simple man in the street and the sophisticated reader of "liberal" weeklies may have little else in common, but they share a touching faith in the sovereignty of The People. A so-called majority is really a numerical minority manufactured and manipulated by a small group of determined and unscrupulous men. Majority opinion, as determined by balloting, is one such device. Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. A 2008 Gallup poll showed that 6% of the U.S. population believe that no god or universal spirit exists and 34% of them reside in Vermont, coincidentally, the state … We need to take a careful look at these commercial corporations for colonization for, in structure and function, they were models used by the colonists in their political experiments. MAJORITY RULE Excerpts From Speech By Senator James A. Reed Of Missouri (U.S. Senate, June 4, 1926) I am getting a little tired of hearing about the sacred rights of the majority; that this is a country ruled by the majority; and that the majority has the right to have its way. These include mutual agreement on how majorities are determined, the limits of debate and speech, and how community members can propose motions or laws. Another problem is that majority rule can lead to what is known as “tyranny by the majority”. What that means, in our democratic system of government, is that the majority elects representatives to legislate on their behalf, and those representatives, presumably, will carry out the will of said majority. ", is free," most of them would say, "because The People in free elections choose their own leaders. This was their equipment, and then they were given an opportunity, unique in history, to draw up the fundamental rules for a society in which men would be free. However, in a democracy, we still need to ensure that the rights of the minority are protected. The famous East India Company was organized in 1600, and was probably the model on which the Virginia Charter of 1606 was framed. He was the founder and coordinator of the Remnant, a fellowship of conservative and libertarian ministers. To the contrary, these men worked overtime to devise ways of protecting society against the action of majorities. The fourth form is the one that seems natural to us: Impose a few qualifications for the privilege of voting, and then by balloting let the voters freely choose their representatives, the candidate who gets the majority of votes being the winner. If democracy is a system of government in which every citizen is equally represented, and where policy is determined by sampling majority opinion, then the Founding Fathers tried to circumvent "democracy"—in this sense—and succeeded. Take a random sampling of our citizenry and ask them to explain what they mean when they declare that this is a free society. Referring to the Virginia Company, Beard writes: "Like the State, it had a constitution, a charter issued by the Crown… like the State, it had a territorial basis, a grant of land often greater in area than a score of European principalities… it could make assessments, coin money, regulate trade, dispose of corporate property, collect taxes, manage a treasury, and provide for defense. The idea is simple and easy to grasp, and there is a sort of Gresham‘s Law at work at the mental level which rules that complicated ideas are killed off by the simple, just as bad money drives out the good. Thus was majoritarianism invoked, and under its guise, things have been done to individuals which they would never have tolerated from any monarch. The real intent of the document was quite the opposite: it was to protect the common people—which includes just about all of us—from political adventurers. It lacks a fundamental understanding of American government. The lucky people of. When government was thus limited, it conformed to the Natural Law, those norms of liberty, equality, and justice which are part of the nature of things. No majority had the right, under our original system, to impose its religion on any minority, or impair its freedom of utterance or deprive it of property. Examples of majority population in a sentence, how to use it. The eighteenth century thinkers who conceived and launched the American System envisioned a society of free men, and however questionable some of our current beliefs and practices may be, we still honor their memory. Otherwise, in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, author of the book Democracy in America, “If it be admitted that a man possessing absolute power may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should not a majority be liable to the same reproach?” If the majority could wield its power without restrictions, it could easily tyrannize the minority. In giving this sort of an answer, the Founding Fathers broke with a long and powerful European tradition. The statement In theory and in practice, majority rule is not a reliable guarantee of democracy is true of the US government today. Democracy is defined in Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary as: Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them either directly or through their elected agents . A significant number of the colonists were learned in history and political theory, but Americans were not a bookish people; they were experienced in self-government and at home with charters and compacts. That led, most notably, to the bicameral structure of our legislative branch. One senator in my state of, represents about 8,000,000 people; in the state of, , one senator represents about 1,400,000 people. And then, by letter writing, lobbying, and delegations to. However, the principle of majority rule ensures that decisions can be made and minorities can’t prevent the majority from deciding an issue or election. Once you decide to limit government to policing functions, how do you go about selecting men for the jobs? Four such devices are available. Majority decision at the polls is an excellent way of choosing personnel for political office, but it is a violation of the moral law for the majority to vote away any man’s freedom. From the Cambridge English Corpus He then explores how the protection of minorities through constitutional measures may develop over time, when the constitution is amendable under majority rule . In America, however, we use Robert’s Rules of Order as a guide for parliamentary procedures and votes. What sounds simpler than the suggestion that the human situation would be immensely improved by first creating elaborate and powerful governmental machinery, capable of running society and doing wonderful things for The People, and then finding the wisest and best men to operate this mechanism? ‘s Law at work at the mental level which rules that complicated ideas are killed off by the simple, just as bad money drives out the good. Now suppose I am not in sympathy with some part of the national government’s program—not, so farfetched an assumption—and I utter some criticisms of it. That text states concisely, “American Parliamentary Law is built upon the principle that rights must be respected: the rights of the majority, of the minority, of individuals, of absentees, and rights of all these together.”. Political philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in his essay On Liberty, “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others.” This principle is typically exercised in the form of mutual agreements about respect for individual rights. They did not believe in, nor did they practice, what we have come to call "religious toleration." For minority rule to makes us into a one-party country, traditional America must die. The only exception to this rule is in this sector of political science. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual. Whatever one’s reaction to this, he cannot call it equal representation. A French aristocrat visits Jacksonian America In 1831, an ambitious and unusually perceptive twenty-five-year-old French aristocrat, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited the United States. In which case, majoritarianism makes a modicum of sense. There is no difference of opinion on this score; every scholar agrees that disputes in his field are to be settled by laboratory experiments, by field tests, or by reason and logic—in short, by weighing the relevant evidence. As understood today, that means the minority’s rights must be protected, no matter how alienated they are from the majority of society. Alexis de Tocqueville, “Tyranny of the Majority,” Chapter XV, Book 1, Democracy in America. "The Majority," as mentioned earlier, is a politician’s or a "liberal’s" way of meaning "A Minority." In other words, about as much time had elapsed between the settlement in Jamestown in 1607 and the Philadelphia Convention as between Philadelphia and ourselves. The purpose of this article is to examine critically the concept and actual practice of 'majority rule … “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville is one of the most influential books ever written about America. Majority rule is a concept inherent in any democracy. Most people favor social security, and under our system of government where The People are sovereign they should have it. During the 1500′s, individual adventurers like Sir Walter Raleigh conducted colonizing efforts at private expense, but in the 1600′s companies were chartered by the English Crown to establish colonies and carry on trade. 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