The Instigator
WillClayton
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
East
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The USA is a Democracy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 750 times Debate No: 68743
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

WillClayton

Pro

The United States of America is a Democracy.
East

Con

The USA was never meant to be a democracy but a republic. A democracy is rule by omnipotent majority, and a republic is meant to limit the power of the majority to protect minority rights [A]. Even though the USA is supposed to be a democratic republic, a recent Princeton study found that the USA is actually more of an oligarchy, because politicians value special interest groups over their constituents [B].

[A] http://www.diffen.com...
[B] http://www.washingtontimes.com...
Debate Round No. 1
WillClayton

Pro

Thank you East for accepting the Debate

1: Democracy

East defines a democracy as “rule by omnipotent majority.” This definition does not come from the link he sourced, or any dictionary known to me.

Here is dictionary.com’s definition of a democracy.

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”(1)

Here is Merriam-Webster’s definition.

a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting”(2)

The USA has a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting. This is evident by the elections held within the USA. The US fits both of the dictionaries definitions of a democracy.

Even East’s link A, which argues that the US is a republic, defines republic as “a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term. Even in a republic, it's the voice of the majority that rules through chosen representatives”(A) Once again this is consistent with both dictionaries definitions of a democracy.


Our republic is a type of democracy.

When East says “The USA was never meant to be a democracy but a republic” we realize that while the US was never meant to be a direct or “pure” democracy it was meant to be a republic, AKA a “representative democracy,” Still a type of democracy.

My opponent essentially concedes this point saying “the USA is supposed to be a democratic republic.”

2: The Princeton study

East says “a recent Princeton study found that the USA is actually more of an oligarchy.” Rather than dive into the link provided, Here is the link to the actual study. (3)


This study shows the inefficiency and perhaps corruption of the US democracy. Even the oppression of said democracy by an Economic-Elite. It does not however conclude, as the link my opponent shared, that the US is not a democracy.

Summary:

The USA is structured by definition as a republic. This republic is a type of democracy known as a representative democracy. Studies have been done which show the US democracy inefficient or perhaps corrupt. However, still a democracy. The resolution is affirmed. The U.S. is, by definition, a democracy.

(1) http://dictionary.reference.com...
(2) http://www.merriam-webster.com...
(A) http://www.diffen.com...
(3) http://www.washingtontimes.com...

East

Con

1. Pro says he does not know where I got my definition of democracy from, so I will post the source.

"The chief characteristic and distinguishing feature of a Democracy is: Rule by Omnipotent Majority. In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man."

vs.

"A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual"s God-given, unalienable rights...The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution" [A].

Based on these descriptions, we can see that the United States falls under the category of a republic. Will does not deny that the US is a republic, but says that a republic is a FORM of democracy. Just because something is a form of something does not mean it is equivalent to that thing. So while democracies and republics do not contradict and they DO overlap, they are still different. They are two separate things that can still be compared, and that is what is up for debate.

There are all types of democracies, and a republic is one of them, but they still have different characteristics and definitions. Consider fascism. Militarism is a form of fascism [B] and yet the two are separate ideologies that can be compared even though they are not opposites and are closely related to one another [C].

To illustrate some more differences between the two, "A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals, while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good) [D]. The USA is not ruled by the majority (mob rule) so does not solely qualify as a democracy.

In a democracy, authority is derived through mass meeting or any other form of direct expression. But in the US, authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them. So we can see the US is not a democracy in this regard.

"What distinguishes a republic is that it has an elected government. Representative democracies are, therefore, a kind of republic" [E] and not the other way around. Remember, the Constitution itself was partly a reaction against democracy. The founding fathers did not mean for the US to be a democracy just because it adopted democratic principles.

2. Pro says that just because US government is inefficient and corrupt, that it is still a democratic republic. But what something intends to be is not the same as what it actually is. I might intend to be an amazing baseball player, but if that is not how I am functioning, then I am not an amazing baseball player even if that is my intention or goal. While the US is supposed to embrace democratic principles, research shows policy is more influenced by the elite and special interest groups as opposed to voters [F] making democracy in this regard moot.

CONCLUSION

Even though a republic is a type of democracy, it is still not the same thing as democracy. Democracy and republic are defined differently. They can be compared, and the US qualifies more as a republic. Pro has to prove that the US actually functions as a democracy and not just that it "intends" to.

[A] http://www.lexrex.com...
[B] http://www.philosophybasics.com...
[C] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[D] http://www.c4cg.org...
[E] http://www.williampmeyers.org...
[F] http://www.commondreams.org...
Debate Round No. 2
WillClayton

Pro

I confidently restate that the U.S. is in fact a republic. I also maintain that our republic is a form of democracy.

West says “Just because something is a form of something does not mean it is equivalent to that thing.”

The resolution states “The USA is a Democracy.” The following links lists types of democracies. (1) If the U.S. is any of the types listed, it is by definition… a democracy. West seems to be arguing that the U.S. is not a “direct democracy.” He would be correct. However, this is not what the debate is about. A direct democracy is a specific type of democracy, much like our republic is. My resolve does not contend for any particular type of democracy the U.S. is, just that it is a type of democracy.

“In contemporary usage, the term democracy refers to a government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative. The term republic has many different meanings, but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term, in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected or appointed head of government such as a prime minister.”(2)

Again my opponents link only serves to affirm the resolution stating “That makes the national government democratic in form…”(3) A form of democracy is still a democracy.

West says “So while democracies and republics do not contradict and they DO overlap, they are still different. They are two separate things that can still be compared, and that is what is up for debate.”

To clear up any confusion I will use an analogy.

Dog = Democracy
Golden Retriever = representative democracy
Poodle = direct democracy

Golden Retriever is a type of dog. A Poodle is a type of dog. Likewise, a representative democracy is a type of democracy. Direct democracy is a type of democracy. When I say the USA is a democracy, I am not arguing a specific type.

The U.S. has a form of government that is a type of Democracy and is therefore a Democracy.

West says “The founding fathers did not mean for the US to be a democracy just because it adopted democratic principles.”

These same founders feared republics for the same reasons they feared democracies… Consider

James Madison said "In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.”

The founders used Democracy and Republic almost interchangeably.

West says “But what something intends to be is not the same as what it actually is.”

This is an interesting point. West then gives this example

“I might intend to be an amazing baseball player, but if that is not how I am functioning, then I am not an amazing baseball player even if that is my intention or goal.”

Whether amazing or not, you would still be a baseball player. This analogy only helps my case. The U.S. intended to be a type of democracy. Whether efficient or not, it is still a democracy.

West says “ Democracy and republic are defined differently.”

I again share the definition from dictionary.com for democracy. “governmentbythepeople;aformofgovernmentinwhichthe supremepowerisvestedinthepeopleandexerciseddirectlybythem orbytheirelectedagentsunderafreeelectoralsystem.”

Here is the definition of republic from the same dictionary “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.”(4)

The definitions are essentially identical.

The definition for democracy has been provided multiple times. The US meets those definitions and therefore is a democracy.

Thanks for the debate West!




(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) http://www.williampmeyers.org...
(4) http://dictionary.reference.com...

East

Con

East forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
The US is a Representative Republic.
Posted by WillClayton 2 years ago
WillClayton
I did it through the whole round.... I am so sorry.
Posted by WillClayton 2 years ago
WillClayton
Lol! I am so sorry. I said "West" when I meant "East." Forgive me.
Posted by Shrek_sDrecKid 2 years ago
Shrek_sDrecKid
Ha - East is gonna lose for sure!
Posted by UndeniableReality 2 years ago
UndeniableReality
Nope, and we're becoming less democratic due in small part to american influence.
Posted by Shrek_sDrecKid 2 years ago
Shrek_sDrecKid
There is no such thing as true democracy...

And America is half republican, half capitalist. Even Canada isn't a democracy...
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