Essay Example on the Democratic Government Legitimacy and Citizens' Right to Vote

Published: 2022-03-01
Essay Example on the Democratic Government Legitimacy and Citizens' Right to Vote
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Democracy Civil rights
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1374 words
12 min read

The right to vote is considered as a fundamental right for citizens of every country in the world. Many countries focus on availing equality for its citizens because of undeveloped political and economic systems. However, some "democratic countries" have not established the requirements of democracy (Duncan, 1983). If a government decides to take action on behalf of its citizens without asking them, it is likely to be acceptable in some circumstances. We can take lessons from history. For example, in war, decisions should be made quickly, since, asking for public's opinions might take a lot of time, which might severely and directly affect all citizens and maybe even future generations. Therefore, the essay will explore democracy and the circumstances of being in a democratic country, the history of suffrage, rational theory, and freedom for war, and support these sections with real-life examples.

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In a democratic state, people elect their political leaders by voting, which should be free from injustice, bias, and unsteadiness. People make decisions among the present political parties to get leaders, who are entrusted with the responsibility to run the country. The citizens of a democratic state may use the power of their elective choices to change their verdicts on the elected government. The residents in a nation are independent as an authority, but the administration exists to serve all its citizens, and its actions are dependent on its citizens' choices.The political leaders and elected parties should be ever-vigilant for citizens' demands. (Emerson, 2011) However, in some cases, the system may not work according to its definition because on some occasions, the citizens may not foresee hidden potential problems. Hence, they might not be able to make reasonable and rational decisions.

The history of universal suffrage is not bright. The terms "citizen" and "voter "were not synonymous words because citizens were discriminated by their gender, race, and property. Not very long time ago, women did not have any political rights such as the right to vote in many countries. For instance, until 1971, women in Switzerland were not allowed to vote. Likewise, women had the right to vote in Monaco in 1962, Belgium in 1948, Italy in 1945, and France in 1944. (Marlene, 2001) In some instances, women in the high social class were allowed to vote, while poor ones were denied their right to vote in state elections. In early polls, the most important criteria used to determine the involvement in the voting process was the property one owned. According to Marlene (2001), from the beginning of the colonial period, men had to possess substantial private property for them to get involved in voting in their preferred leaders. Therefore, their opinions, beliefs, knowledge was not an essential criterion. Additionally, in England, women were not considered as voters until the country lost a significant number of the men's population during world war 2.

Discriminating citizens can never be considered as a fair move in a democratic regime. Every gender, race, and origin should have the right to vote. The right to participate in an election should not depend on human's appearance; instead, it should be organized according to the prevailing situations. In such conditions, it is difficult to estimate their potential results, and these decisions should be taken by considering the country's interest. For instance, in Catalonia's independence case, some people believe that Catalonia has right to be independent of Spain and support the conduction of succession elections (Marlene, 2001). However, other people hold the opinion that, being in the union will be beneficial to the two boundaries, instead of dividing it into two separate nations. Therefore, in such a case, the government makes the ultimate decision to block or cancel the elections, since, the state's interest will be compromised if the country adopts the will of its citizens.

Politics has a substantial relation to the rational choice theory that helps to decide what the society needs. In recent decades, the rational choice theory has appeared as compelling, persuasive, and enthusiastic fields in political science (Terence, 1988). Some politicians believe that they can take the most healthy decisions for their citizens. Hence, through rational choice, the members of the society are awarded a chance to vet the politicians and decide on the one which optimally represents their needs and wants (Petracca, 1991). Citizens thus engage in social interactions, which allows them to weigh the benefits they will yield from a specific leader once elected to represent them. The power of society members, in this case, is based on interests they will generate from each leader, and one who represents a better promise takes the day. This thus presents the need for a collective decision, where they are awarded the chance to chose an individual who will maximize on the societal gains.

However, according to Deutch and Soffer (1987), the government has limited rational choice to a level that cannot understand what citizens need. The assumption that self-interest is a salient feature of human nature brings a significant problem in supporting and preserving a political cycle, which opposes the essential tenets of the normative democratic theory (Scott-Foresman and Row-Collins, 1991). This necessitated the involvement of the public in general dilemmas, such as electing politicians and political parties. Nonetheless, there is instance such as war, when the government acts on behalf of its citizens, without even consultations. Thus, such cases such as independence of the state do not require sanction from the public, since such a move would either weaken or compromise on the strategies adopted by the state. Hence, the administration in such cases takes away the democratic right of its citizens, and make decisions on their behalf without any consultations.

In a democratic system, the government should consider, and requests sanction from the parliament before engaging in most of its actions, such as cross-border operations. Even though the state chooses to expand its borders; the administration ought to ask the authorization from the delegates of the public in the parliament through voting (Duncan, 1983). In addition to that, the common belief of war is that it affects everyone in the society, and hence, everyone's opinion is essential to decide on the further actions to be adopted. For instance, during the World War Two, millions of women and men in all levels of the community lost their lives. Therefore, this indicates the importance and the need for elections and the collective decision to be made compulsory during wars.

However, in another research, during the war, leaders have essential and sensitive roles because the decisions made at all levels of the command causes failure or success of many members of the armed forces. Security intelligence and privacy are the most important strategies that government should apply because, if the enemy gets access to such information through the process of voting, the mission will probably fail. In addition to that, the previous war elections show that politicians might manipulate such polls to their advantage (Regens, Gaddie and Lockerbie, 1995). For example, during the World War One and Gulf War, members of the U.S Congress could not express their position freely, since anyone who opposed the referendum would face tough reelection battles. Consequently, asking the public and Congress opinion thus proves to be an ineffective move in such a scenario. War is a unique situation in a democracy, and the army Generals should be allowed to make significant decisions since they have the logical idea on how it will affect the future of such a country.

Reference List

Deutsch, K.L., and Soffer, W. eds., 1987. The crisis of liberal democracy: a Straussian perspective. SUNY Press.

Duncan, G. 1983. Democratic theory and practice. CUP Archive.

Emerson, P., 2011. Defining Democracy: Voting Procedures in Decision-Making, Elections, and Governance. Springer Science & Business Media.

Marlene, S. (2001). Europe << Women Suffrage and Beyond. [online] Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2018].

Petracca, M.P., 1991. The rational choice approach to politics: a challenge to democratic theory. The review of politics, 53(2), pp.289-319.

Regens, J.L., Gaddie, R.K. and Lockerbie, B., 1995. The electoral consequences of voting to declare war. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 39(1), pp.168-182.

Scott-Foresman, H, and Row-Collins, 1991. The Economic Approach to Politics: A Reexamination of the Theory of Rational Action. American political science review, 92(1), pp.1-22.

Terrence B., 1988. The Economic Reconstruction of Democratic Discourse," in Transforming Political Discourse. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

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