Higher History Essay Plans Democracy

Putting aside, for the moment, the arguments of Hobbes and Locke, I believe, on the basis of plain historical fact, that governments come about naturally and maintain themselves naturally without the general will of the people; indeed, I believe, with many others I suspect, that our long established democratic governments in the world (the United States and Canada being among them) did not come about by the general will of the people, at all; nor is it necessary that it should it be maintained by the will of the people.3 One should not conclude, therefore, that democracy is necessary for good government: It may not be.

What is necessary for optimum prosperity is a state of acquiescence, which, as it happens, is the hallmark of western democracies.

A precise definition of democracy might be had by consulting the OED.

The whole country was in the hands of nine magistrates, called archons, who were elected according to qualifications of birth and wealth.It was a spontaneous and defused movement which fed on itself and led to the great scientific discoveries from which we all benefit today.Beliefs in natural law and universal order sprung up, which not only promoted scientific findings and advancements of a material nature; but, which, also drove the great political thinkers of the time, such as: Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733), Charles Louis de Secondat Montesquieu (1689-1755), Voltaire (1694-1766), Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-88), David Hume (1711-76) and, of course the brightest political light of all, John Locke (1632-1704).These ruling magistrates held their positions for life, except for that latter period when they served for a term of ten years.In time, this Greek notion of democracy was set aside in favour of the draw. the method of election in the choice of archons is replaced by lot; some way must be found to keep the rich from buying, or the knaves from smiling, their way into office.A man is not permitted to hesitate about its merits, without the suspicion of being a friend to tyranny, that is, of being a foe to mankind?2 The notions of government and of democracy are independent notions and do not, from what I can see, depend on one another.What is likely required for the masses of people, as we see in "modern" world societies, is an established system of government.Where there is a need for an established system of government, it will likely naturally come about; and do so, whether, or not, it has the consent of the people, -- real or imagined.The best of the thinkers saw a process, -- call it democracy -- by which groups might bloodlessly choose a leader.That each of the governed should have a say, or least an opportunity to have a say, is a high flying ideal; but any system by which the peace is kept is an admirable system and democracy, such as it has evolved, has proven, in many cases, to be just such a system.

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  1. Yet if we look more closely, we shall find Most have the Seeds of Judgment in their Mind; Nature affords at least a glimm'ring Light; The Lines, tho' touch'd but faintly, are drawn right.