Understanding Democracy – The Importance of the Constitution

According to the historian Roger Osborne, the American Revolution was the most decisive event in the history of democracy. Within the first seventy years of the new United States of America’s existence, every white adult male had the right to vote in state and federal elections, almost every important public official was elected, a series of national and state institutions had been set up to protect citizens from the power of the state and from the tyranny of the majority, political parties had been established that relinquished power peacefully after elections, and a culture of mass participation in politics had emerged.    Continue reading

Advertisements

Centuries of Change 2

The American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Age of Invention, the Spread of Democracy, and women’s rights…

Ian Mortimer’s magnificent new book ‘Centuries of Change’ describes the myriad ways in which European societies have been transformed over the past thousand years. This series of blogs summarises Mortimer’s work and asks just how much progress have we made?

This second post looks at the increasing pace of change during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period that defined the modern world.   Continue reading

Cultural Tyranny

The biggest danger to our rights today is not from government acting against the will of the majority but from government which has become the mere instrument of this majority…. Wrong will be done as much by an all-powerful people as by an all-powerful prince.

James Madison

When psychopaths and people with other dangerous personality disorders hold power, the result is political tyranny. Continue reading