- Origin and meaning of the term
- History of development in ancient times
- History of development in modern times
- Basic and characteristic principles
- The concept of the individual in a democracy
- Importance of rights and freedoms in society
- Human right - what is it?
- What are the rights of the individual
- The founding legal document of democracy
- Diversity is a hallmark of democracy
- What is the backbone of democracy
Today, most of the countries of the world are democratic. This concept is very firmly rooted in the minds of a civilized person. But what are the signs of a democratic regime? How does it differ from other types of government, what are its varieties and features?
Origin and meaning of the term
Before describing the signs of a democratic regime, it should be said that the very word "democracy" came to us from the Greek language. The word demos means "people" and the word kratos means power. In a literal translation, this phrase means "power of the people" or "democracy". It was first used in the work of the famous Greek philosopher and thinker Aristotle called "Politics".
History of development in ancient times
Traditionally it is considered that the prototype of democracy is the ancient Greek city of Athens in the sixth-fifth centuries BC. Signs of a democratic regime were clearly manifested already at that time. In the early periodexistence, ancient Greek democracy was perceived as a kind of model for organizing the life of the state, a special form in which not one person has power (tyrant, monarch) and not even a group of specific persons (oligarchs, aristocrats), but the entire population. It was also assumed that the "demos" (the people) would have equal rights and make an equal contribution to the government of their state. These were the main signs of a democratic regime.
History of development in modern times
The formation of states that have signs of a democratic regime as an integral system took place much later, approximately in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries of our era. The process developed in such countries as France, the United States of America, Holland, Great Britain. The rapid growth of trade and commodity relations, the development of large cities and manufactories, geographical discoveries, the growing importance of colonies, serious scientific and technical discoveries and inventions, the transition to machine production from manual, the development of communications and transport, the accumulation of financial resources - these are the main social economic origins that revealed to the civilized world the characteristic features of a democratic regime. The growth of contradictions between the old aristocracy and the economically powerful "third estate" required radical changes in the political regime of society. Such philosophers and thinkers as Montesquieu, Locke, Rousseau, Payne, Jefferson, at that time described in their writings the main features of a democraticmode. The peoples of the United States of America, France, and England were able to put them into practice, defeating monarchism and laying the legal, economic and social foundations of democracy, creating the prerequisites for the restructuring of states.
Basic and characteristic principles
The signs of a democratic regime of a democratic state are the main distinguishing features, the main of which is the unconditional sovereignty of the people. Democracy as a concept includes the recognition of the people as the highest and only source of power in the state. Citizens, of course, have the right to decide their own destiny. State power is obliged to rely on the expression of approval from its people and is legitimate only when its existence and formation is supported by people (voters) in accordance with all rights and norms. The most important features of a democratic regime are free elections and the will of the people. People themselves choose representatives, have real levers of influence and mechanisms of control over their activities in the process of governing the state. During elections, in accordance with legal norms, the people have a full right to absolute or partial change of state power and to introduce structural changes. All of the above are the main features of a democratic regime. It should be noted that the people have every right to prematurely remove the elected government from power if they notice a clear abuse of their powers. This distinguishes the signsdemocratic and totalitarian regime (in which these functions of citizens are absent by definition).
The concept of the individual in a democracy
Perception of a person as the epicenter of a political and social structure, the primacy of society over power are signs of a liberal democratic regime. It is the personality of a person that is the highest value in the state. What signs of a democratic regime does this give rise to? The people and society are considered as the sum of different individuals independent of each other, and not as a monolithic single will. This amount reflects the combined interests of individual individuals. The signs of a democratic regime are also the recognition of the priority of the interests of individuals over the state and the recognition that each individual has a sum of freedoms and rights that are called natural and are inalienable. An example is the right to life and existence. The democratic regime, the concept, features and characteristics of which are based in everything on personal freedom, will also include such rights as the inviolability of the person, independence, protection and preservation of private property.
Importance of rights and freedoms in society
Signs of a liberal democratic regime are ensuring the right to dignity and respect for the individual, the right to live life in appropriate conditions, the unconditional opportunity to live in one's own country and on one's own land, the right to found a family andraising their children. The source of all these inalienable and natural freedoms and rights is not the state, not society and not the family, but human nature itself. That is why all of the above cannot be questioned in any way. These rights cannot be taken away from a person or limited (naturally, we are not talking about cases where a person commits crimes). Also, the signs of a democratic regime are the presence of many other rights and freedoms (political, economic, social, spiritual, civil, and so on), most of which also automatically acquire the status of mandatory and inalienable.
Human right - what is it?
If the signs of a democratic regime are based on certain rights of the individual, then what does this mean? Human right is a set of norms that regulate the relationship of free people among themselves, society and the state, providing the opportunity to act according to their own choice, to receive benefits for their lives. Freedoms also provide opportunities for choosing activities and behavior. It is the totality of rights and freedoms that are the main features of a democratic regime that form an integral system.
What are the rights of the individual
Any individual has many different rights. These are “negative” ones that protect human freedom and include the obligations of the state and society not to commit incorrect actions in relation to the individual (torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest, and so on). There are also“positive”, meaning the duty of the state and society to provide certain benefits to the individual (rest, education and work). Moreover, freedoms and rights are divided into personal, political, cultural, social, economic, and so on.
The founding legal document of democracy
The signs of a democratic regime were first fully described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted back in 1948. Curiously, the Soviet Union did not sign it at the time, and only during Gorbachev's time was it recognized. This Declaration displays all political and civil rights, a list of positive and negative freedoms is given. It also reveals the meaning and content of political, economic and cultural rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is part of international law. In addition, the United Nations has adopted many other conventions, covenants and declarations aimed at establishing a democratic society and upholding human rights and dignity.
Diversity is a hallmark of democracy
Pluralism is an integral feature of all democratic regimes. This means the recognition in public and political life of many different autonomous (but at the same time interconnected) social and political parties, groups, organizations, whose attitudes and ideas are constantly in a state of competitive struggle, comparison and competition. Pluralism acts as the antipode of monopoly and is the basic principle of politicaldemocracy. There are some characteristic signs of it:
- competitiveness of many different policy subjects;
- division of power and differentiated structure of the hierarchy of power;
- exclusion of any monopoly on political competition and power for the sake of any party;
- multi-party political system;
- free access to a variety of channels of expression and interests for all;
- competitiveness and the possibility of changing elites, their free struggle and competition;
- within the framework of the law, alternative social and political views have the right to exist.
In the post-Soviet space after the collapse of the USSR, due to the accelerated process of democratization, the process of establishing pluralism was very difficult, since the traditions of the "old" totalitarian system have not yet been completely eliminated.
What is the backbone of democracy
Citizens themselves act as the main social and political stabilizers and regulators. In the economic sphere, this is the private property of people, which creates the basis for the complete independence of a single individual from the institution of power and various religious, social and political groups. A multi-party system, ideological and political pluralism, the implemented division of state power into several independent branches with the formation of a system of balance (balance), free elections - all this creates a solid basis for the existence of democracy in the modern world.