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This is a graded discussion: 20 points possible


 Hi Professor Terwilliger and classmates! The true definition of democracy according to Roskin is a “Political system of mass participation, competitive elections, and human and civil rights” (10/2013, p. 315). If you were to ask anyone at random what a democracy is, we would probably get answers like: a government for the people, by the people and of the people; or a government in which every individual has the right to vote and has a voice. It is an accurate depiction. In general, a democracy is a (usually) fair way to make most of the people content or happy. No one is in too much control over your daily life or personal space.


Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from

Edited by Kandice Malizia on Nov 6, 2017 at 2:37pm



Originally, Democracy was defined as you defined it in your post. However, the original democracy system was not efficient. There had to be a change to make it work. The Democracy we know today, however is a representative democracy. Roskin (10/2013) defined this type of democracy as being ruled by representatives elected by the people to make decisions based on the majority vote. In this, not every citizen has to attend every meeting to make a decision and vote on every issue. Citizens only vote for representatives who have similar viewpoints about politics. Then, the representatives make the decisions and vote on the issues that arise to create laws. Traditional democracy will not succeed since every citizen must be present to change laws.



Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from

Hi Leona! I agree that there are a couple different types of democracy and that a representative democracy is the only one that can truly work. There is also an illiberal democracy, which are, “Regimes that are elected but lack democratic qualities such as civil rights and limits on government” (Roskin, 10/2013, p. 86). A great democracy is an efficiently attuned system that needs mindful citizens, restrictions on power, reign of law, and careful attention to human and civil rights. Interestingly enough, not every country is capable of becoming a representative democracy. They may try but it just doesn’t work for everyone.


Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from


Absolutely!! It is very interesting that not every country can become a representative democracy. I believe this is in part due to the fact that many countries have had the same government style for thousands of years. Attempting to change the mindset of people in those countries who have deep roots in their culture and way of life is like telling us in the United States that we will be transitioning to a dictatorship. There is NO way that would succeed in our country. We know freedoms that many other countries do not. Attempting to take those freedoms away by overthrowing our democracy would cause an uproar. People in other countries with differing government types than democracy, I am sure, feel the same way about us attempting to force them to change their government.


Hello Kandice and Leona, Great post by you both. I agree with what you both are saying. I too believe democracy equals freedom of speech and decision making. However in our current time it almost feels different. In today’s government I feel like we as citizens, do not have a voice and if we do express ourselves we are immediately silenced. Some people feel as if we are not allowed to make decisions. This is sad but this the world we live in now. Leona I agree with you 100% when you speak of the places that do not have democracy. I think they are accustom the way things have been for years. If those places were offered democracy, I agree they would not like it at all. Like we are accustom to having such freedom they are not accustom to having this type of freedom. I think we would lose our minds if our “freedom” was limited or taken away. Great conversation ladies!

 (1 like)

Hello Aesha,

In the current times we are living in, I am amazed that our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, has not been taken away. However, just like you stated, when someone stands up and exercises freedom of speech, they are quickly shut down if it is not popular opinion. It seems we are not allowed to have beliefs or opinions that disagree with anyone else, even if it’s not against popular opinion. There have been so many occasions in the past few years that have shown groups of people attempting to exercise their freedoms. These people are either shown to be leading the way to a new way of thinking or they are shown to be the minority and media shuts them down quickly. It all depends on media, it seems, these days. Great input!!



I agree with your post. So many times in this day and time people are ridiculed for speaking up.They are often made to “feel bad” or are shut down due to their opinion. As wrong as some may think it is the NFL topic and kneeling for the national anthem could be chalked up to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression and the separation of the state from social and business organizations is essential for a democracy to function effectively. In countries where the government controls the press or operates businesses, abuses of power can undermine attempts at establishing and maintaining a democracy. I do feel that the government is getting away for the “by the people, for the people” aspect.

Hi Kandice,

What you stated about asking random people what a democracy is, I feel you are absolutely correct. When I answered this post my exact explanation included me saying to have a voice. When people like myself do not know much about politics, that is the best way to explain it. I have been learning more about politics in these last few weeks although sometimes it is like another language to me. Although I find it difficult and challenging, it is also interesting.

HI Irene,

I can relate with what you stated in your post. I find politics very complex and difficult to understand.  This class has by far been more challenging for me than nursing courses I take.  I have to study, read and take notes to wrap my brain around the topics we are going over.  I am glad I am not alone in that!

I have found the information in this course interesting and everyones viewpoints in our online discussions.

Thanks for sharing!


Democracy is a complex, balanced system that depends on a political culture that grows best under a market economy with a large, educated middle class and a tradition of pluralism ( Roskin 2013 pg. 100). There is equality in a democracy, as all adults are able to run for and vote for public office (Roskin, 2013 pg. 89). Decisions are made by the majority vote, however the minority rights are still respected. The people must be able to control the general direction of government policy. (Roskin, 2013 pg. 89).

Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., James A. Medeiros, Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from

Greetings Kandice,

Its kinda of humurous to me that in order to remember the intention or purpose of a current system we have to look up the definition of what it was intended to do. In America because of the privileges of a democracy we the people hold the control of who our publicly elected officials are by a majority rule. A democracy makes everyone feel invested in the wellbeing and fitness of the system of leadership that governs the land.


Enjoyable reading, I especially liked your quote…”for the people, by the people and of the people.” Although all democracies are not the same they all have some unique characteristics. the fundamental principles remain consistent in every form of democracy, and true democracies share essential characteristics such as citizens rule, majority and minorities, the principle of protection, and limiting the lawmakers. ( (Links to an external site.)) In a democracy citizens share the power and responsibility to make decisions. A true democracy upholds the basic human right such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, Powers are shared and elections are held so not one person has all the power. A true democracy shares the role and power.

Democracies defined and compared across various nation-states

Class, our text defines democracy as “a political system of mass participation, competitive elections and human and civil rights,” (Roskin, et. al., 2013). The word itself comes from the roots “dem,” meaning, “people,” and “crat,” or, “cracy,” meaning, “rule.” So therefore the word itself means rule by the people. I think the idea of democracy is great in theory that the rules are agreed upon by those who are ruled by them. The problem is that this leaves us without order at times. For example, if an agreement cannot be made, how do we proceed? Is it a vote? Who makes the rules of the vote? And what about those who lose? And how are the rules enforced?

I found it very interesting in the lesson and reading that the term “democracy,” could be described as a “corrupt,” form of government, (Roskin, et. al., 2013). I think this is because as I described above, there is no order. The term, “polity,” describes rule by the people with rules and order, which is more like our own government. In thinking of today’s democracies, are they in fact “true” democracies or are they representative democracies? What is the difference between the two forms of democracy?

Professor Terwilliger,

Democracy has had its challenges over the centuries, Initially the Greeks had a true democracy (A system in which periodically to enact laws and elect officials). (Roskin,85) This became more difficult as population grew. There have been other examples of true democracy as in town hall meetings in the colonies when everybody fit under one roof. Eventually it transformed into the representative democracy we have today. Best represented in the U.S. as we elect representatives to the Senate and Congress. The country also uses an electoral college to elect President’s under much debate. Too truly have a represented democracy there has to be “Alternation in Power” (the reins of power must occasionally change hands with the “in’s becoming the out’s” in a peaceful and legitimate way). (Roskin,87) There should never be one political party or person retaining an executive power for extended periods of time. There should also never be just one candidate for democracy to truly take place. Democracy can definitely be corrupt as it has been pointe out within all media outlets. The hot topic of gerrymandering to control electoral votes and making it easier for incumbent representative to stay in office. This is why I believe that there should be term limits on representative’s also. Congress should not be a lifelong career as this does allow new ideas or power to shift within the government. There are great examples of false democracies such as Russia and South American countries. The people in power never change but they still hold elections.

Representative democracy is still better than no democracy as you at least have a group of different people making decisions. Although it is not always what THE PEOPLE want but hopefully in the best interest of the country. AS long as Majority groups and minority groups get proper representation then the democracy should survive and continue to adapt.


Roskin, Michael G., Robert Cord, James Medeiros, Walter Jones. Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 10/2013. Vital Book file.

In Athens, the only people eligible for citizenship were adult non-slave males whose families had been residents for three generations. This reflected an unfair, misogynist, slave-based culture which was prevalent at the time.

In the United States today we live in a seemingly more just society than ancient Athens. Through the media, the Internet, and social networking sites, government processes have become more transparent, allowing more people to be informed about the workings of the government. However, political power is still unfairly balanced towards the rich and the powerful.


Your post is very thought-provoking.    If you look at the U.S., we were like that until 1920 when the 19th amendment was ratified for women to be able to vote.  If this was not changed, what would our world be like today?  The men would still be ruling, and some excellent ideas and policies would not be in place.  This last election we would not have had the opportunity to vote for a female.  Our government is great and allows us to be part of it as much as we want.  It is at times very unbalanced but with the checks and balances that our forefathers placed in it makes it great.


Michelle, I agree with you 100% when you say the government lean more toward the thoughts and opinions of the rich and powerful. I feel this is unfair because everyone has a voice and I think everyone should have the chance to be heard. I mentioned in my post, people are not treated as humans. I feel the government and their affiliates treat some people as they are disposable cups. If a person is not in a certain class, i feel they are overlooked. I hate how we have become as a nation. My fear is things aren’t getting better, they are getting worse.
At times I think things are getting worse and leaning toward the wealthy when it comes to laws and taxes. I heard a report on NPR about bails set for people who are charged with a crime. It points out that people that can post bond get out without a good look at whether they are a threat to society and those that can’t stay jailed. It’s an unfair practice. The piece was talking about changing the system so the judges can look more at the threat of that person and not just having the ability to post bail. I was surprised at the unfairness of this practice we look at as usual. What is great is that with our form of democracy practised here in the United States, there is hope that our elected officials pass fair laws. The power lays in voter education on topics and voter turn out. “In 2016, for the first time in American history, the Rising American Electorate — which makes up the majority of citizens eligible to vote at 59.2% — also cast the majority of ballots, at 52.6%. But nearly two-thirds of the projected drop-off for the 2018 election will come from the RAE, and large percentages of unmarried women (32.5%), Latinos (42.7%), and millennials (39.3%) aren’t registered to vote — underscoring the huge potential of the RAE and the importance of making sure that every eligible American is registered to vote”(Voter Registration, 2017). I’d like to think that we the people do have the power but we must participate if we want it to stay fair and balanced.


Voter Registration. (2017). Voter Participation Data Center. Retrieved November, 9, 2017, from (Links to an external site.)

Aesha and Angelica, 

I also fear that people in higher classes or the wealthy have far more influence in our government.  Its typically all about money and the agendas of these people.  There is most definitely corruption.

People who have money for bail or expensive lawyers tend to have better outcomes than those who do not have the money for those things.  Yes, people who cannot afford it have rights to a court appointed lawyer but they are often overbooked and underpaid and results are not like they are with an expensive attorney getting paid well.



A democracy is a ” political system of mass participation, competitive elections, and human and civil rights” (Roskin, Cord, Mederios, Jones, 2014 pg 86.).  Today’s democracies are representative democracies.  As mention in the lecture, true democracies in the ancient world was rule by the people directly.  Assemblies would be called by the rich or affluent men of the time and they would spend all day discussing topics and making decisions.  Most of the time it was chaos. And most pushed their own agenda, if not influence by someone else to support their agenda.  Todays democracies are not ruled by the people so directly.  The mass/majority vote for someone to represent them on all levels, local, state, and nationally.  These representatives are suppose to carry to thoughts and wills of the people or group to the “assemblies”.  At times the assemblies of todays democracies have taken on the chaos of democracies of the ancient world.

Roskin, M., Cord, R., Medeiros, J., and Jones, W.  Political Science: An Introduction. (2014).  (13th edition),  Pearson.

Edited by Robyn Hooker on Nov 7, 2017 at 8:05pm


Robyn, I can agree with your post. We do have to ability to vote for who we want to represent us in our government, but just like in the ancient world, our politicians still have their own agenda. I feel that sometimes a lot of them are more interested in their own agenda than what the people want and need them to do.


Good morning Professor and class,

In thinking of today’s democracies, are they in fact “true” democracies or are they representative democracies? What is the difference between the two forms of democracy?

“A “true” democracy , a system in which all citizens meet periodically to elect officials and personally enact laws, has been rare: Athens’s General Assembly, New England town meetings, and Swiss Landsgemeinde are among the few.” (pg. 86)

“In representative democracies, the voters elect representatives to act as legislators and, as such, to voice and protect their general interest.” (pg. 88)


Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version].


Hi everyone!

A real democracy, is an age-old system where all citizens have the right to participate in decisions that affect them, their community, and their nation.  The people have the ability to “…propose, decide, and change Constitutional laws; initiate referendums; and choose and remove public officials who are not effectively doing their jobs” (Difference Between, n.d.).  A real democracy takes a “majority rules” approach which helps to protect the people of the community.

The USA is considered to be a representative democracy, where “government is based on free elections of political elites that rule on the citizens’ behalf. This system has been the dominant one in the West for the last two hundred years and is now being exported across the world and promoted as the only possible alternative to outright dictatorship.” (Hansen, 2013).  Many assume that representatives have the people’s best interests in mind, but, they do not always follow what the people want.  There are external factors that can influence the decisions of the government, which benefits the representatives more than the people of the community.

Difference Between. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from

Hansen, C. (2013, October 1). New Compass. Retrieved November 09, 2017, from (Links to an external site.)


Democracies defined and compared across various nation- states

Rules of the vote is determined by whether an electoral or party system.

I do not think that there is a true democracy in in todays society. Democracies are a complex and carefully balanced system that needs thoughtful citizens, limits on power, rules, laws and human and ciivil rights. Not every country that calls itself a democracy is an actual democracy and I think that is because there is no true democracy.

The difference between illiberal and representative democracy. Representative democracy is one in which the people do not rule directly but through elected and  accountable representative. Democracy does not always make everyone happy or does it always result in facilitate freedom. Illiberal democracy are regimes that are elected but lack democratic qualities such as human and civil rights and limits on the government.


Ruskin, M, Cord, R, Mederios, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science: An Introduction(13th ed). Hoboken, N.J. PearsonAccording to Roskin a true democracy took place during a time where the people meet and work together to make laws. While a representative democracy is when the laws are being made by those that the people chose to represent the majority (Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, & Jones, 2017, p.86). The difference between the two democracies is that in a true democracy the people were directly involved in law making decisions and with representative democracy those chosen by the people are involved. This allowed for less cooks in the kitchen when it came to representative democracy.

Professor and Class,

Democracy has no one, concrete definition.  As per our text, democracy can be described as a “complex and carefully balanced system that needs thoughtful citizens, limits on power, rule of law, and human and civil right.” (Roskin, p.85).  But upon further explanation of the term “democracy”, it is evident that not every “democracy” comprises all the aforementioned factors comprising the term.  The United States falls under the term as a democracy with the existence of competitive political elections, human and civil rights and mass participation by citizens of the country; however, referendums exist where a mass vote is held to manage an issue as opposed to being handled by candidates in office.  Furthermore, subsections of democracies exist such as “illiberal democracies”, to name one example, such as that of Turkey and Egypt where rights and freedoms do exist, but the developments of regimes within those democracies are formed and take advantage of those freedoms.

It became apparent to me through our reading that Democracy is an umbrella term to describe the larger governmental goal with breakdowns into smaller divisions based on cultures, beliefs, etc. specific to different countries.

– Dana

Roskin, M., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: an introduction (13th ed.). Pearson.


Dana, good point! Democracy is an umbrella term to describe the larger goal. Democracy is supposed to be fair and just, but like you said, there are some countries who take advantage of that.


Professor Terwilliger and Class,

What is the true definition of democracy?

Democracy means different things to different people. According to Roskin (2014), democracy is a complex and carefully balanced system that needs thoughtful citizens, limits on power, rule of law, and human and civil rights. Today, the concept of democracy is valued as fair way of governing. Historically, it has not always carried a positive connotation. Aristotle called it rule by the needy and it has often been associated with “mob rule”. The concept of every citizen voting on every issue from electing leaders to enacting laws is now a logistical impossibility. In ancient times, when states were smaller and populations concentrated into a few urban areas, this form of rule was plausible, but now we have more efficient and effective means of ensuring democracy. Ultimately, in a democracy, power is vested in the people, not in an elite ruling class.

In thinking of today’s democracies, are they in fact “true” democracies or are they representative democracies? What is the difference between the two forms of democracy?

The vast majority of today’s democratic states utilize some form of a representative democracy (some more legitimate than others). They are not true democracies in the sense that the populace does not vote on leaders and laws directly. Rather, they are representative democracies in which representatives are elected to office to represent the interests of the people. Typically, representative democracies are guided by a constitution which outlines and limits the wielding of government authority. Roskin (2014), lists essential characteristics of a democratic democracy:


  1. Popular accountability of government –Leaders are beholden to


  1. Political Competition – Voters have a choice in candidates or parties.
  2. Alternation in power – Power must occasionally change hands.
  3. Uncertain Electoral Outcomes – Elections must have an element of


  1. Popular Representation – Elected leaders must protect the interests

of the people.

  1. Right of Dissent – People have the right to resist the government.
  2. Political Equality – All adults are equally able to participate in politics.
  3. Popular Consultation – Leaders must be responsive to the needs and

demands of voters.

  1. Free Press– The media informs the populace and keeps leaders


One last area that I think is underemphasized as crucial to a fair and lasting democracy and that is the need for a sizeable middle class (or working class). If the middle class remains the dominant class, this helps to ensure a stable and fair representation in government. Too many rich leads to a ruling elite class and too many poor lends itself to exploitation by the rich, which ends up being the defacto ruling class.

Thank You,



Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Professor and class,

Democracy has many different meaning to many different people. The term democracy, according to Roskin, is a “Political system of mass participation, competitive elections, and human and civil rights (Roskin, 2014, pg. 86)”. Roskin also goes on to explain that not all who claim to be democracies are truly democracies. Our lesson states that in a true democracy, all people would meet to make decisions periodically by way of voting with majority ruling. But we must ask ourselves what about the minority in the votes? They must conform to the majority rule.

Our democracy today is a representative democracy. We elect officials who represent our population. These officials vote on policies and laws on our behalf. This is our congressmen and women. A true form of democracy is still seen today in what we call referendums. Referendums are when a vote is made by the masses instead of by those elected officials. If we were a true democracy then we would have “a system in which all citizens meet periodically to elect officials and personally enact laws (Roskin, 2014, pg. 86)”. This would mean that every citizen would have to vote on every issue. This would be quite time consuming and confusing. The representative democracy is more fluid.


Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th end). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson


Professor and Classmates,

After reading the chapters assigned for this week I found that Roskins defines democracy as a “political system of mass participation, competitive elections, and human and civil rights”, but I feel that there is no true definitive definition for democracy. Dictators tend to misuse the word democracy to make the people believe that they live under a fair government system while they are actually being constantly told what to do with no say in the matter. Only a few examples of a true democracy are actually documented in history: Athens’s General Assembly, New England town meetings, and Swiss Landsgemeinde are the ones found in Roskins review (2014, pg. 86). Representative democracy evolved as the only workable system after a Parliament meeting in London where many argued their varied opinions aloud. During this meeting, Englishman John Selden, stated “The room will not hold all” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 86). In representative democracy the people do not directly rule what is chosen, but they rule through officials that they elect into the positions. In a democracy of any kind the leaders must first obtain the support of the citizens and be accountable to them for carrying out the majorities wishes. It is important in a democracy for the ruling party to change throughout the years, if one party stays in control for many years then it can no longer be considered a democracy.  “One unstated but important function of alternation in power is control of corruption” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 87). According to economist Joseph Schumpeter, “Our chief problems with the classical (democratic) theory centered in the proposition that ‘the people’ hold a definite and rational opinion about every individual question and that they give effect to this opinion—in a democracy—by choosing ‘representatives’ who will see to it that the opinion is carried out” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 88). We as free people with opinions tend to always feel those opinions are correct and true, but so do many others with different opinions of the same subject,  and this is where the majority vote in democracy is so important. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr and Gandhi two examples of civil disobedience to bring light to unjust laws that were placed within an unjust democratic system. “Without a free and critical press, rulers can disguise wrongdoing and corruption and lull the population into passive support” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 90). As much as I dislike how negative the media tends to affect our nation today, I also know that without the openness of the media then we as a society would often only know partial truths within our government and economical systems. I still feel that many reporters and/or their employers tend to involve their opinions when reporting on these stories, which inadvertently does create some bias with the general public when passing along the stories. There are so many facets of democracy that can be discussed or drilled into, but I will leave it as democracy is a perfectly imperfect system that is greatly differentiated by those using it in practice.


Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:
An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.


      • Damaris DelToro

        Professor Terwilliger

        Checks and Balances, there are the three branches in the United States government that is recognized by the Constitution.

        !. Legislative Branch makes the law. Let me add examples of legislative branch: Checks on executive, Impeachment power (House), Trails of Impeachments (Senate) Selection of the President & Vice President and may override Presidential vetoes, power to declare war.

        2. Executive Branch executes the law. Let me add examples of Executive branch: Checks on Legislature, Veto Power, Vice President is President of the senate, Commander in chief of the military.

        3. Judicial Branch interprets the law. Let me add examples: Checks on Legislative and Executive laws, Judicial review, and Seats are held in good behavior

        The powers of one branch can be challenged by another branch and this is what the system of check and balances entail.

        Does it work? I believe although it does have its hiccups, it is in place to maintain a balance which will not allow any branch of government to have more power over another.



      • Collapse SubdiscussionTravis Hindmarsh

        Checks and Balances of Government

        Legislative Branch: The House and Senate have the power to pass bills, Vote Judges to the Supreme Court, Trials of Impeachment, Override a Presidential Veto.  The President cannot declare War without their approval.

        Executive Branch: Checks on Legislature, Has Veto Power, Commander in Chief of Military. Vice President is President of the Senate. Can call emergency sessions of the House and Senate. May also force an adjournment when the House and Senate cannot agree. Has the power to Pardon people of their crimes aka (Friends). They have the power to appoint judges but they have to be approved by Legislative branch.

        Judicial Branch: Check’s on Legislature. Review’s law’s and interrupt’s them to help clarify any question’s. Help determine the fine line of Laws vs Constitutional right.

        These all help keep each branch in check. This prevents one becoming more powerful than another. Another check and balance are our ability to vote people in and out of congress and the presidency. This by design should help the congress keep in mind what the people want not just their agenda.

        The system does still work today, although it appears to be chaotic with these system’s available there  should always be a balance of power.


      • Uhuru Bullock



        Separation of Powers is a doctrine that branches should be distinct and should check and balance each other. this system helps to ensure that no brach of government is too powerful.

        The Executive Branch is headed by the president. He carries out federal laws and recommends new ones, directs national defense and foreign policy. Powers include directing government, commanding the armed forces , dealing with international powers, acting as chief  law enforcement officer and vetoing laws.

        The Legislative Branch is headed by Congress which includes the House of Representatives  and Senate. The main task of these two bodies is to make the laws. Its power include passing laws, originating spending bills (House), Impeaching officials (Senate ).

        The Judicial Branch is headed by the Supreme Court, its powers include interpreting the constitution, reviewing laws and deciding cases involving States’ rights.

        Each branch is restrained by the other two in several ways.

        The system still works today, thus far it has helped to  avoid dictatorship and tyranny.





        • Kandice:

          You are correct, the system that we have is far from perfect.  We have the best opportunity and freedom living in the United States.  We can express our feelings as the founding fathers wanted us to do.  If it were not for them, where would we be today? We might not have all the forms of media that we have, the ability to say what we want or buy items because of our free market. This is one of the great things about being in this class.  I am learning by the text and lesson, what it might be like in other parts of the world and how our government works compared to theirs.

          I have thought about what it would be like to live in other countries. The thought of not being able to express my opinion is disturbing. I think we as Americans should take a look at the freedoms that we do have. Many in this country speak of the injustices that they see, how corrupt our country has become. I can agree to this to some extent. But when I think about the individuals who do not even have the freedom of speaking out about injustices done to them or others, I am grateful for our great nation. I can only imagine where we would be if it was not for our fore fathers. I will take our imperfect government of those others anytime.

          Great response! I agree democracy is the best option available to the people, but as you said people who do not agree or in some cases those who govern the democracy may do so unjustly. As written by Plato, “The ignorance and incompetence of politicians, is the special curse of democracies. Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequal alike”. (

 (2012). Is democracy the best or weakest form of government?. Retrieved from the-best-or-weakest-form-of-government-20120513

          Hello Professor Terwilliger. To respond to your question, the statement above, democracy has been defined to note that it is far from perfect, but it’s the best system mankind has, means that democracy may not exactly be perfect but it certainly is the closest to perfect compared to other options. It is the fairest to all of the people. It gives people a sense of feeling involved and included. It makes people feel that they contribute and have a say in what happens in that country. It is far from perfect however because you will always have people who do not agree on everything whether it be about religion, education, taxes, gay marriage, etc. As John Lydgate wrote, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” (n.d.).


          A quote by John Lydgate. (n.d.). Retrieved November 06, 2017, from

        In our system of federalism, the Constitution also sets forth a concept of “checks and balances” by dividing the federal government into three branches. What are those three branches of government, and how do they serve to act as checks and balances on each other to limit government and prevent abuse of power? Does the system work to this day?Professor Terwilliger,

      The drafters of the Constitution were deliberate in the shaping the meaning of the document. It outlined federal powers, more specifically, it placed limits on the government, thus preventing it from abusing its power. Often, “checks and balances”, the separation of powers, are mentioned and they are indeed written into the Constitution. These checks and balances stem from the division of federal power into three branches: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary. By design, the power of each branch has a check (or several) in place to prevent one from becoming too powerful. According to Sharp (1935), the fear of power concentrated in the hands of any single class or group has, among other things, influenced the doctrine of the separation of powers among the various organs of government. Checks and balances works like this (simply put):

      Executive Branch:   Approves legislation only after it has passed both

      houses of congress. (Limited power) So, no

      independent laws or decrees from this branch.

      Can veto legislation from the Legislative Branch

      (check). Electoral College from the states chooses

      the president (state power – Check).

      Legislative Branch:   Votes on bills to pass them along for Executive

      Branch approval. Can override a presidential veto

      If enough votes are present (check). Voted into

      office via state elections (check).

      Judiciary Branch:   Can review laws passed by congress and signed by

      the Executive branch for constitutional compliance

      (check). Judges nominated by the Executive branch

      (check). Nominees confirmed by Senate – Legislative

      branch (check).

      All of these checks lead to balance.

      Another powerful feature of the Constitution is the fact that is gives states powers not reserved for the federal government. At the time, many states already had strong state constitutions and the framers did not want to infringe upon state’s rights, a check and balance between states’ rights and the federal government’s power.

      This system works well even today. Although, there are increasingly accusations of “activist judges” whom some feel override legislation to meet personal or moral beliefs and do not adhere to strict Constitutional interpretation.

      Thank You,



      Sharp, M. (1935). The classical american doctrine of “the separation of

      powers”. The University of Chicago Law Review. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)

      Gorden, thank you for your explanation of the branches of the federal government. It made it easier for me to understand. I love that you pointed out the checks and balances. The common thread in all this is that our representatives are all elected! We the people can select who we want to represent us. One of my concerns would be that of the supreme court justices are termed for life. What happens if after one is appointed, they change the platform under which they are confirmed? I know there are other justices but its a concern of mine. I don’t think there is a perfect system but we have a pretty good one.


      Professor Terwilliger,

      The quote that democracy is far from perfect but is the best system mankind has speaks to the imperfections that are all governments, in general.  Governments are developed by people, for people; therefore, there is bound to be flaws within the system as no man is perfect.  There are discrepancies among those who develop the government, those differences remain throughout the maintenance of the existing government and those issues with carry forward as new problems arise within the government to be managed.  Furthermore, governments are ruled by majorities with the intent to keep the peace among citizens by a fair vote.  When a majority rules in favor of something, there are always those who did not get their way in the vote.  This is not necessarily an imperfection, but it can be seen as such by those who are on the losing side of the poll thus creating issues and negativeness within the government.

      Winston Churchill said “Many forms of government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” Churchill’s quote mirrors the aforementioned quote above and agrees that democracy is not perfect but does not agree it is the best system mankind has.  Democracy is potentially the worst system mankind has; I suppose until the next form of agreed upon governments comes along for citizens to manage.

      Alexander Hamilton was quoted as saying “I never expect to see a perfect work from an imperfect man.”  Perhaps Hamilton agrees with the originally posted quote and with Churchill’s opinion on democracy.  No man is perfect; therefore, any works developed by man are found with flaw.  Democracy has existing imperfections in the mechanism of it’s structure; democracy will continue to unfold new imperfections over time.  This is not the best system overall, but, it is the best system we have to work with so mankind will continue to press forward with democracy and maintain the best possible government we can.


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