Liberal democracy is a liberal political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of classical liberalism. Called Western democracy, it is characterised by elections between multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, a market economy with private property and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies draw upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world. A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms as it may be a constitutional monarchy or a republic, it may have a presidential system or a semi-presidential system.
Liberal democracies have universal suffrage, granting all adult citizens the right to vote regardless of ethnicity, sex, or property ownership. However some countries regarded as liberal democracies have had a more limited franchise and some do not have secret ballots. There may be qualifications such as voters being required to register before being allowed to vote; the decisions made through elections are made not by all of the citizens but rather by those who are eligible and who choose to participate by voting. The liberal democratic constitution defines the democratic character of the state; the purpose of a constitution is seen as a limit on the authority of the government. Liberal democracy emphasises the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and a system of checks and balances between branches of government. Liberal democracies are to emphasise the importance of the state being a Rechtsstaat, i.e. a state that follows the principle of rule of law. Governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure.
Many democracies use federalism—also known as vertical separation of powers—in order to prevent abuse and increase public input by dividing governing powers between municipal and national governments. Liberal democracy traces its origins—and its name—to the European 18th-century known as the Age of Enlightenment. At the time, the vast majority of European states were monarchies, with political power held either by the monarch or the aristocracy; the possibility of democracy had not been a considered political theory since classical antiquity and the held belief was that democracies would be inherently unstable and chaotic in their policies due to the changing whims of the people. It was further believed that democracy was contrary to human nature, as human beings were seen to be inherently evil, violent and in need of a strong leader to restrain their destructive impulses. Many European monarchs held that their power had been ordained by God and that questioning their right to rule was tantamount to blasphemy.
These conventional views were challenged at first by a small group of Enlightenment intellectuals, who believed that human affairs should be guided by reason and principles of liberty and equality. They argued that all people are created equal and therefore political authority cannot be justified on the basis of "noble blood", a supposed privileged connection to God or any other characteristic, alleged to make one person superior to others, they further argued that governments exist to serve the people—not vice versa—and that laws should apply to those who govern as well as to the governed. Some of these ideas began to be expressed in England in the 17th century. There was renewed interest in Magna Carta, passage of the Petition of Right in 1628 and Habeas Corpus Act in 1679 established certain liberties for subjects; the idea of a political party took form with groups debating rights to political representation during the Putney Debates of 1647. After the English Civil Wars and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and liberties.
The Bill set out the requirement for regular elections, rules for freedom of speech in Parliament and limited the power of the monarch, ensuring that, unlike much of Europe at the time, royal absolutism would not prevail. This led to significant social change in Britain in terms of the position of individuals in society and the growing power of Parliament in relation to the monarch. By the late 18th century, leading philosophers of the day had published works that spread around the European continent and beyond; these ideas and beliefs inspired the American Revolution and the French Revolution, which gave birth to the ideology of liberalism and instituted forms of government that attempted to apply the principles of the Enlightenment philosophers into practice. Neither of these forms of government was what we would call a liberal democracy we know today (the most significant differences being that voting rights were still restricted to a minority of the population and slavery remained a legal instituti
Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme authority and where that authority is not restricted by any written laws, legislature, or customs. These are hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature; some monarchies have a weak or symbolic legislature and other governmental bodies the monarch can alter or dissolve at will. Countries where monarchs still maintain absolute power are: Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Vatican City and the individual emirates composing the United Arab Emirates, which itself is a federation of such monarchies – a federal monarchy. In Ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh wielded absolute power over the country and was considered a living god by his people. In ancient Mesopotamia, many rulers of Assyria and Sumer were absolute monarchs as well. In ancient and medieval India, rulers of the Maurya, Gupta and Chalukya Empires, as well as other major and minor empires, were considered absolute monarchs.
In the Khmer Empire, the kings were called "Devaraja" and "Chakravartin", exercised absolute power over the empire and people. Throughout Imperial China, many emperors and one empress wielded absolute power through the Mandate of Heaven. In pre-Columbian America, the Inca Empire was ruled by a Sapa Inca, considered the son of Inti, the sun god and absolute ruler over the people and nation. Korea under the Joseon dynasty and short-lived empire was an absolute monarchy. In the Ottoman Empire, many sultans wielded absolute power through heavenly mandates reflected in their title, the "Shadow of God on Earth". Throughout much of European history, the divine right of kings was the theological justification for absolute monarchy. Many European monarchs, such as those of Russia, claimed supreme autocratic power by divine right, that their subjects had no rights to limit their power. James VI of Scotland and his son Charles I of Scotland and England tried to import this principle. Charles I's attempt to enforce episcopal polity on the Church of Scotland led to rebellion by the Covenanters and the Bishops' Wars fears that Charles I was attempting to establish absolutist government along European lines was a major cause of the English Civil War, despite the fact that he did rule this way for 11 years starting in 1629, after dissolving the Parliament of England for a time.
By the 19th century, the Divine Right was regarded as an obsolete theory in most countries in the Western world, except in Russia where it was still given credence as the official justification for the Tsar's power until February Revolution in 1917. There is a considerable variety of opinion by historians on the extent of absolutism among European monarchs. Some, such as Perry Anderson, argue that quite a few monarchs achieved levels of absolutist control over their states, while historians such as Roger Mettam dispute the concept of absolutism. In general, historians who disagree with the appellation of absolutism argue that most monarchs labeled as absolutist exerted no greater power over their subjects than any other non-absolutist rulers, these historians tend to emphasize the differences between the absolutist rhetoric of monarchs and the realities of the effective use of power by these absolute monarchs. Renaissance historian William Bouwsma summed up this contradiction: Nothing so indicates the limits of royal power as the fact that governments were perennially in financial trouble, unable to tap the wealth of those ablest to pay, to stir up a costly revolt whenever they attempted to develop an adequate income.
Though some historians doubt if he had, Louis XIV of France is said to have proclaimed "L'état, c'est moi". Although criticized for his extravagances, such as the Palace of Versailles, he reigned over France for a long period, some historians consider him a successful absolute monarch. More revisionist historians have questioned whether Louis' reign should be considered'absolute', given the reality of the balance of power between the monarch and the nobility; the King of France concentrated in his person legislative and judicial powers. He was the supreme judicial authority, he could condemn people to death without the right of appeal. It was both his duty to stop them from being committed. From his judicial authority followed his power both to annul them. One of his steps in creating an absolute monarchy in France was to build the Palace of Versailles, where he lived with many of his nobles and other important people, in order to control and watch over them. Absolutism was underpinned by a written constitution for the first time in Europe in 1665 Kongeloven of Denmark-Norway, which ordered that the Monarch "shall from this day forth be revered and considered the most perfect and supreme person on the Earth by all his subjects, standing above all human laws and having no judge above his person, neither in spiritual nor temporal matters, except God alone".
This law authorized the king to abolish all other centers of power. Most important was the abolition of the Council of the Realm. In Brandenburg-Prussia, the concept of absolute monarch took a notable turn from the above with its emphasis on the monarch as the "first servant of the state", but it echoed many of the important characteristics of Absolutism. Frederick William, known as the Great Elector, used the uncertainties of the final stages of the Thirty Years' War to consolidate his territories into the dominant kingdom in northern Germany, whilst increasing his power over his subjects
Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity is an individual, the despot, as in an autocracy, but societies which limit respect and power to specific groups have been called despotic. Colloquially, the word despot applies pejoratively to those who abuse their power and authority to oppress their populace, subjects, or subordinates. More the term applies to a head of state or government. In this sense, it is similar to the pejorative connotations that are associated with the terms tyrant and dictator; the English dictionary defines despotism as "the rule of a despot. The term has been used to describe many governments throughout history, it connoted the absolute authority and power exercised by the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, signified nobility in Byzantine courts, designated the rulers of Byzantine vassal states, acted as a title for Byzantine Emperors. In this and other Greek or Greek influenced contexts, the term was used as an honorific rather than as a pejorative.
Due to its reflexive connotation throughout history, the word despot cannot be objectively defined. While despot is related to other Greek words like basileus and autokrator, these connotations have been used to describe a variety of rulers and governments throughout history, such as local chieftains, simple rulers and emperors. Of all the ancient Greeks, Aristotle was the most influential promoter of the concept of oriental despotism, he passed this ideology to his student, Alexander the Great, who conquered Persia, which at the time was ruled by the despotic Darius III, the last king of the Achaemenid dynasty. Aristotle asserted that oriental despotism was not on consent. Hence, fear could not be said to be its motivating force, but rather the servile nature of those enslaved, which would feed upon the power of the despot master. Within ancient Greek society, every Greek man was capable of holding office. In contrast, among the barbarians, all were slaves by nature. Another difference Aristotle espoused was based on climates.
He observed that the peoples of cold countries those of Europe, were full of spirit but deficient in skill and intelligence, that the peoples of Asia, although endowed with skill and intelligence, were deficient in spirit and hence were subjected to slavery. Possessing both spirit and intelligence, the Greeks were free to govern all other peoples. For the historian Herodotus, it was the way of the Orient to be ruled by autocrats and though Oriental, the character faults of despots were no more pronounced than the ordinary man's, though given to much greater opportunity for indulgence; the story of Croesus of Lydia exemplifies this. Leading up to Alexander's expansion into Asia, most Greeks were repelled by the Oriental notion of a sun-king, the divine law that Oriental societies accepted. Herodotus's version of history advocated a society where men became free when they consented lawfully to the social contract of their respective city-state. Edward Gibbon suggested that the increasing use of Oriental-style despotism by the Roman emperors was a major factor in the fall of the Roman Empire from the reign of Elagabalus: As the attention of the new emperor was diverted by the most trifling amusements, he wasted many months in his luxurious progress from Syria to Italy, passed at Nicomedia his first winter after his victory, deferred till the ensuing summer his triumphal entry into the capital.
A faithful picture, which preceded his arrival, was placed by his immediate order over the altar of Victory in the senate-house, conveyed to the Romans the just but unworthy resemblance of his person and manners. He was drawn in his sacerdotal robes of silk and gold, after the loose flowing fashion of the Medes and Phoenicians, his eyebrows were tinged with black, his cheeks painted with an artificial red and white. The grave senators confessed with a sigh, after having long experienced the stern tyranny of their own countrymen, Rome was at length humbled beneath the effeminate luxury of Oriental despotism. In its classical form, despotism is a state in which a single individual holds all the power and authority embodying the state, everyone else is a subsidiary person; this form of despotism was common in the first forms of civilization. The word itself seems to have been coined by the opponents of Louis XIV of France in the 1690s, who applied the term despotisme to describe their monarch's somewhat free exercise of power.
The word is Greek in origin, in ancient Greek usage, a despot was technically a master who ruled in a household over those who were slaves or servants by nature. The term now implies tyrannical rule. Despotism can mean tyranny, absolutism, or dictatorship However, in enlightened absolutism, which came to prominence in 18th century Europe, absolute monarchs used their authority to institute a number of reforms in the political systems and societies of their countries; this movement was quite triggered by the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. The Enligh
Anarchy refers to a society, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. The word meant leaderlessness, but Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his 1840 treatise What Is Property? to refer to anarchism, a new political philosophy which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations. In practical terms, anarchy can refer to the curtailment or abolition of traditional forms of government and institutions, it can designate a nation—or anywhere on earth, inhabited—that has no system of government or central rule. Anarchy is advocated by individual anarchists who propose replacing government with voluntary institutions; the word anarchy comes from the ancient Greek ἀναρχία which combines ἀ, "not, without" and ἀρχή, "ruler, authority". Thus, the term refers to the state of a society being without authorities or an authoritative governing body. Anarchism as a political philosophy advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions; these are described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more as institutions based on non-hierarchical free associations.
Anarchism holds the state to be unnecessary, or harmful. While anti-statism is central, anarchism entails opposing authority or hierarchical organisation in the conduct of all human relations, including yet not limited to the state system. There are many traditions of anarchism, not all of which are mutually exclusive. Anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications. Anarchism is considered to be a radical left-wing ideology and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflect anti-statist interpretations of communism, syndicalism, or participatory economics; some individualist anarchists are socialists or communists while some anarcho-communists are individualists or egoists. Anarchism as a social movement has endured fluctuations in popularity; the central tendency of anarchism as a mass social movement has been represented by anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, with individualist anarchism being a literary phenomenon which did influence the bigger currents and individualists participated in large anarchist organizations.
Some anarchists oppose all forms of aggression and support self-defense or non-violence while others have supported the use of militant measures, including revolution and propaganda of the deed, on the path to an anarchist society. Since the 1890s, the term libertarianism has been used as a synonym for anarchism and was used exclusively in this sense until the 1950s in the United States. At this time, classical liberals in the United States began to describe themselves as libertarians and it has since become necessary to distinguish their individualist and capitalist philosophy from socialist anarchism. Thus, the former is referred to as right-wing libertarianism or right-libertarianism whereas the latter is described by the terms libertarian socialism, socialist libertarianism, left-libertarianism and left-anarchism. Right-libertarians voluntarists. Outside the English-speaking world, libertarianism retains its association with left-wing anarchism; the German philosopher Immanuel Kant treated anarchy in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View as consisting of "Law and Freedom without Force".
For Kant, anarchy falls short of being a true civil state because the law is only an "empty recommendation" if force is not included to make this law efficacious. For there to be such a state, force must be included while law and freedom are maintained, a state which Kant calls a republic. Kant identified four kinds of government: Law and freedom without force Law and force without freedom Force without freedom and law Force with freedom and law Although most known societies are characterized by the presence of hierarchy or the state, anthropologists have studied many egalitarian stateless societies, including most nomadic hunter-gatherer societies and horticultural societies such as the Semai and the Piaroa. Many of these societies can be considered to be anarchic in the sense that they explicitly reject the idea of centralized political authority; the egalitarianism typical of human hunter-gatherers is interesting when viewed in an evolutionary context. One of humanity's two closest primate relatives, the chimpanzee, is anything but egalitarian, forming hierarchies that are dominated by alpha males.
So great is the contrast with human hunter-gatherers that it is argued by palaeoanthropologists that resistance to being dominated was a key factor driving the development of human consciousness, language and social organization. In Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, anarchist anthropologist David Graeber attempts to outline areas of research that intellectuals might explore in creating a cohesive body of anarchist social theory. Graeber posits that anthropology is "particularly well positioned" as an academic discipline that can look at the gamut of human societies and organizations to study and catalog alternative social and economic structures around the world, most present these alternatives to the world. In Society Against the State, Pierre Clastres examines stateless societies where certain cultural practices and attitudes avert the development of hierarchy and the state. He
Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions. Traditionally, libertarianism was a term for a form of left-wing politics; such left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty. Classical libertarian ideologies include—but are not limited to—anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism and egoism, alongside many other anti-paternalist, New Left schools of thought centered around economic egalitarianism.
Modern right-libertarian ideologies, such as minarchism and anarcho-capitalism, co-opted the term in the mid-20th century to instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights such as in land and natural resources. The first recorded use of the term libertarian was in 1789, when William Belsham wrote about libertarianism in the context of metaphysics; as early as 1796, the word libertarian came to mean an advocate or defender of liberty in the political and social spheres, when the London Packet printed on 12 February the following: "Lately marched out of the Prison at Bristol, 450 of the French Libertarians". The word was again used in a political sense in 1802 in a short piece critiquing a poem by "the author of Gebir" and has since been used with this meaning; the use of the word libertarian to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Déjacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.
Déjacque used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire, Journal du mouvement social, printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 in New York City. Sébastien Faure, another French libertarian communist, began publishing a new Le Libertaire in the mid-1890s while France's Third Republic enacted the so-called villainous laws which banned anarchist publications in France. Thus, libertarianism has been used as a synonym for anarchism and libertarian socialism since this time; the term libertarianism was first used in the United States as a synonym for classical liberalism in May 1955 by writer Dean Russell, a colleague of Leonard Read and a classical liberal himself. Russell justified the choice of the word as follows: "Many of us call ourselves'liberals.' And it is true that the word'liberal' once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons.
As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is subject to misunderstanding. Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word'libertarian'". Subsequently, a growing number of Americans with classical liberal beliefs began to describe themselves as libertarian. One person responsible for popularizing the term libertarian in this sense was Murray Rothbard, who started publishing libertarian works in the 1960s. Rothbard describes this modern use of the words overtly as a "capture" from his enemies, saying that "for the first time in my memory, we,'our side,' had captured a crucial word from the enemy.'Libertarians' had long been a polite word for left-wing anarchists, for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over". Robert Nozick was responsible for popularizing this usage of the term in philosophical circles and Europe instead.
According to common meanings of conservative and liberal, libertarianism in the United States has been described as conservative on economic issues and liberal on personal freedom and it is often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism. All libertarians begin with a conception of personal autonomy from which they argue in favor of civil liberties and a reduction or elimination of the state. Left-libertarianism encompasses those libertarian beliefs that claim the Earth's natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Contemporary left-libertarians such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman believe the appropriation of land must leave "enough and as good" for others or be taxed by society to compensate for the exclusionary effects of private property. Libertarian socialists promote usufruct and socialist economic theories, including communism, collectivism and mutualism.
They criticize the state for being the defender of private property and believe capitalism entails wage slavery. Right-libertarianism developed in the United States in the mid-20th century from the works of Euro
Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide on policy initiatives directly. This differs from the majority of established democracies, which are representative democracies. In a representative democracy, people vote for representatives who enact policy initiatives. In direct democracy, people decide on policies without any intermediary. Depending on the particular system in use, direct democracy might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials, conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory deliberative democracy. Semi-direct democracies in which representatives administer day-to-day governance, but the citizens remain the sovereign, allow for three forms of popular action: referendum and recall; the first two forms—referendums and initiatives—are examples of direct legislation. In 2019, Thirty countries allowed for referendum initiated by the population on the national levelA'compulsory referendum' subjects the legislation drafted by political elites to a binding popular vote.
This is the most common form of direct legislation. A'popular referendum' empowers citizens to make a petition that calls existing legislation to a vote by the citizens. Institutions specify the timeframe for a valid petition and the number of signatures required, may require signatures from diverse communities to protect minority interests; this form of direct democracy grants the voting public a veto on laws adopted by the elected legislature, as is done in Switzerland. A'citizen-initiated referendum' empowers members of the general public to propose, by petition, specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government and, as with referendums, the vote may be binding or advisory. Initiatives may be direct or indirect: With the direct initiative, a successful proposition is placed directly on the ballot to be subject to vote. With an indirect initiative, a successful proposition is first presented to the legislature for their consideration; such a form of indirect initiative is utilized by Switzerland for constitutional amendments.
A deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design. Power of recall gives the public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term; the earliest known direct democracy is said to be the Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC, although it was not an inclusive democracy: women and slaves were excluded from it. The main bodies in the Athenian democracy were the assembly, composed of male citizens. There were only about 30,000 male citizens, but several thousand of them were politically active in each year, many of them quite for years on end; the Athenian democracy was direct not only in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but in the sense that the people through the assembly, boulê, law courts controlled the entire political process, a large proportion of citizens were involved in the public business. Modern democracies, being representative, not direct, do not resemble the Athenian system.
Relevant to the history of direct democracy is the history of Ancient Rome the Roman Republic, beginning around 509 BC. Rome displayed many aspects of democracy, both direct and indirect, from the era of Roman monarchy all the way to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the Senate, formed in the first days of the city, lasted through the Kingdom and Empire, continued after the decline of Western Rome; as to direct democracy, the ancient Roman Republic had a system of citizen lawmaking, or citizen formulation and passage of law, a citizen veto of legislature-made law. Many historians mark the end of the Republic with the passage of a law named the Lex Titia, 27 November 43 BC, which eliminated many oversight provisions. Modern-era citizen lawmaking began in the towns of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1847, the Swiss added the "statute referendum" to their national constitution, they soon discovered that having the power to veto Parliament's laws was not enough. In 1891, they added the "constitutional amendment initiative".
Swiss politics since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative. In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendums; the populace has been conservative. Some of the issues surrounding the related notion of a direct democracy using the Internet and other communications technologies are dealt with in e-democracy and below under the term electronic direct democracy. More concisely, the concept of open source governance applies principles of the free software movement to the governance of people, allowing the entire populace to participate in government directly, as much or as little as they please. Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 600 BC. Athens was one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, though most