By Robert A. Dahl
Robert Dahl’s Preface helped release democratic conception fifty years in the past as a brand new region of analysis in political technology, and it continues to be the traditional advent to the sphere. Exploring difficulties that were left unsolved by means of conventional proposal on democracy, Dahl the following examines influential models—the Madisonian, which represents winning American doctrine, and its habitual challenger, populist theory—arguing that they don't appropriately painting how sleek democracies function. He then constructs a version extra in keeping with how modern democracies truly functionality, and, in doing so, develops a few unique perspectives of well known sovereignty and the yankee constitutional method.
For this fiftieth-anniversary variation, Dahl has written an in depth new afterword that reevaluates Madisonian concept in mild of contemporary examine. And in a brand new foreword, he displays again on his influential quantity and the methods his perspectives have advanced for the reason that he wrote it. For any pupil or student of political technology, this new fabric is an important replace on a highest quality within the evolving box of democratic idea.
“A Preface to Democratic thought is easily definitely worth the dedicated consciousness of somebody who cares approximately democracy.”—Political technological know-how Quarterly
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Extra resources for A Preface to Democratic Theory (Expanded Edition)
This goal was taken as a postulate. Because it was not seriously questioned at tbe Constitutional Convention or elsewhere and has never been seriously questioned in this country since that time, the goal has pretty much remained an unexamined axiom. 18 Hence one cannot 16. On this question, however, sec the comment of Elisha. P. Douglas, Rebels and Democrals (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1955), p. viii. 17. Tilt Fedtrali'st, No. 39. ''It is essential to such a government that it is derived from the great body of society, not from an unconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it.
Copyrighted material JQ A PREFACE TO DEMOCRAT IC THEORY by which such an ingenious proposition could be satisfactorily established. •• Hence the net effect of Hypothesis 9 seems to be this: because majorities are likely to be unstable and t ransitory in a large and pluralistic society, they arc likely to be politically ineffective ; and herein lies the basic protection against their exploitation of minorities. This conclusion is of course scarcely compatible with the preoccupation with majority tyranny that is the hallmark of the Madisonian style of thought.
Then it is plain that "legislative, executive, and judiciary" by no means comprise all the power relations or control processes in a society. For example, electoral processes make it possible for some individuals to control others; certainly they assist non-leaders in controlling leaders. Hence it is not obvious that the mere accumulation of legislative, executive, and judicial power must lead to tyranny, in the sense of severe deprivation of rights. Popular elections (and competing parties) might be sufficient to prevent such invasions of basic rights.
A Preface to Democratic Theory (Expanded Edition) by Robert A. Dahl