An Analysis of Democracy

Essay by AlethiaUniversity, Master'sA-, May 2004

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On April 28, 2004 CBS's 60 Minutes aired photos depicting prisoner abuse in Iraq. These photographs illustrate US military personnel partaking in cruel and disgraceful treatment of Iraqi prisoners. During a speech at the Pentagon on May 10, 2004, while addressing the issue at of dereliction of duty among the United States military personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, President Bush said, " One basic difference between democracies and dictatorships is that free countries confront such abuses openly and directly." The overpowering sentiment in America toward democracy is one of high esteem and greatness. Democracy has ended the long reign of Christian principles as king and now sits upon the throne in the hearts and mind of the majority of Americans. Democracy is often directly associated with other high ideals in America, such as justice, individualism, equality, fairness, and freedom to name a few.

Contrast President Bush's depiction of democracy with these words from a member of the American Anti-Socialist League (AASL): "The inherent morality of democracy claimed by its champions is a figment of the human imagination.

It derives not from a logical analysis of democracy, but from a vague, instinctual feeling that justice and the protection of rights are linked to majority rule. Nothing could be further from the truth."

While the AASL member is adamant that our common depiction of democracy in America (and abroad for the most part) is not the result of a logical analysis, he fails to say what a logical interpretation of democracy is. In this essay I will attempt to formulate a formal representation of what democracy is.


According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary the word democracy has four possible meanings.

1. Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is retained...