The term “democracy” can mean two different things in our political lexicon. Some refer to a form of government in which a constitutional government is set up. Others prefer to describe it as representative government, in which the people decide who among many alternatives can best serve their needs and want a say in how the country’s affairs are run. Still others call it government by the people and for the people.
A key aspect of democracy in America is a constitutional government, in other words a government which operates according to rules established by the constitution and the laws. The meaning of” democracy” is “Government by the people and for the people,” and the U.S. has long been considered a democratic country. It was a model of a government by the people and for the people. It is the model that modern democratic governments around the world hope to emulate. One example of a fully fledged democracy in America is the American system of representative government.
In discussing the evolution of democracy in America one should not leave out the role of the state. A healthy democracy needs a strong state that can enforce its will through the use of force and monopoly money. States throughout the United States developed through the efforts and sacrifices of the statehood men. They made certain that their states-men were invested with the rights, powers, and privileges of citizenship, and they enjoyed equal suffrage, orship, and executive authority with their counterparts in other states. The right of suffrage ensures that all citizens have a voice and can change the policy of the state.
A second important aspect of the evolution of democracy in America is the rise of the national-industrial revolution. The development of these machines revolutionized the process of producing goods and services for the American people. As this revolution exploded in productivity, wealth, and technological superiority, the political system of the country began to evolve toward more progressive taxation policies. In the end, it was the rise of the national-industrial revolution that led to the development of state-to-state competition within the framework of the U.S. system of government.
A third aspect of the evolution of democracy in America is the impact of the Great Depression on the level of political participation and freedom enjoyed by citizens. The widespread loss of industrial jobs and the ensuing poverty caused by the loss of business transactions and personal savings compelled the masses to seek better means of securing their financial future. Political organizations and mass assemblies were organizing to find better means of amassing funds to finance political campaigns. At the end of the 20th century, political organizations had assumed a new role of devising better strategies for securing economic prosperity for the people.
It is easy to see how the concept of democracy has been deeply rooted in the history of the nation-state of the United States of America. The American people have long rejected any notion of an ethically bounded political community based on race, gender, religion, or ethnicity. Instead, they have accepted the universal values that are woven into the fabric of democracy. It is these values, which underlie everything from our Declaration of Independence to the protection of civil rights to the guarantee of individual rights to the protection of the environment to the promotion of scientific progress, that have made the democratic idea a vibrant part of the cultural and political life of the modern world.