Alexis De Tocqueville
It wasn’t until the 19th century that people finally started to see that democracy was a good thing. Aristotle’s classification of governments defines democracy as governing by the many in the view of ones own self. The whole idea of democracy is based on the decision making process. The biggest question being who should make decisions. In order for a democracy to be able to achieve the maximum results this question must be answered. Citizens must also know what is required of them in order for the democracy to survive.
There has been many people throughout history that have stated their views of democracy, some of which were for the better others for the worse. Such people as Alexis De Tocqueville who feared democracy because of its equalities of conditions. One example being how people in the US owned their own land compared to those in Europe where they had nobles. He also saw the lack of a difference between the rich and the poor as a problem along with the idea that the majority rule. Then there were people like John Stuart Mill who believed that democracy would make a citizen better because of their involvement in the political system.
One of Tocqueville believes of democracy as stated in “Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal” is: “The people who join with their neighbors to settle common problems and disputes will learn the importance of cooperation, feel a strong attachment to their community, and develop those “habits of the heart” which lead them to identify their own welfare with the welfare of the community as a whole. ” (Ball and Dagger 36) I believe this is one of the biggest demands that democracy has on people. People must be willing to communicate with their neighbors.
If they don’t they become an outcast from society. People must hear the views of their neighbors in order to educate themselves. And as Ball and Dagger say of Tocquevilles belief, “By offering all citizens the opportunity to participate, democracy promises to cultivate a widespread and deeply rooted devotion to the common good” (36) Another very important demand on citizens is there political participation. One of the easiest and most important ways people can become politically involved is by voting. Every citizen has a chance to choose who they feel should be in office.