American Ideas Vs. Democracy

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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Analyzing the foundational ideas of the U.S. and how they align or diverge from traditional democratic principles. This piece will discuss concepts like freedom, individual rights, and federalism in the context of democratic governance. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about Citizenship topic.

Category: Citizenship
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Democracy and American ideas, in theory, should go together like mom’s apple pie and baseball, but not everyone likes apple pie and baseball. American ideas and democracy are rapidly being lost to misconceptions, representation, and the lack of initiative by citizens. People are not naturally driven to contemplate or exercise democracy. It is a foolish idea to think that an individual citizen of the United States would set aside their personal ideas and beliefs for the good of the majority, but that is what Americans settle for in our so-called democratic process.

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The misconception about ideology and democracy starts with the manipulation of factual data.

Understanding delusion in democracy is comparable to movement and progress. A person can run in place all day long but never go anywhere. There is a fallacy in the idea that American freedom is singular and superior to other nations. Approximately three-fifths of the global population are under a democratic rule and have freedoms equivalent to the United States. There are democratic countries such as Norway, Ireland, and Switzerland that retain more wealth and create a bigger GDP than that of the United States. In fact, the Arab country of Qatar is twice as wealthy as America. The Monarchy of Brunei Darussalam is the second wealthiest country in the world and the citizens do not pay personal income tax, and their cost of living is half of the United Kingdom. Twisted misconceptions about American Ideas and democracy are a derivative directed by elected representation.

Representation by the people, for the people, as the Declaration of Independence noted, is all but absent in American government today. In contrast, Americans have settled for the voice of the people to be conveyed through an elected official that obtains authority from the electoral college and not from the majority of American voters. Elected officials can wield power and beliefs nationally and internationally without asking a single American citizen. In a comparable quote from the author Jeffery Rosen, “Modern presidents’ rule by executive order rather than consulting with Congress. They direct a massive administrative state, with jurisdiction over everything from environmental policy to the regulation of the airwaves. Trump’s populist promise ‘I alone can fix it’ is only the most dramatic in a long history of hyperbolic promises, made by presidents from Wilson to Obama, in order to mobilize their most ideologically extreme voters” (Madison vs. The Mob). In theory, this is more representative of a Monarchy than a Democracy.

Spiritual and religious freedom in American culture is also misrepresented when it comes to equality from religious persecution. The very first amendment of the Constitution protects freedom of religion and freedom of expression. This unfortunately applies only if the citizens happen to be in the majority religious group, as Christians. Racist ideas have been deep-seated in the minds of people for centuries and are still present today, because of ignorance. Suppression today is comparable with past traditions in religion. The Muslim Ban that President Trump put in place in 2015 connected Muslims to terrorism in the same way that historians have connected Christianity to the racist ideas linked back to Cotton Mather. Issues regarding religious discrimination and inferiority can manifest in social themes and prove almost impossible to eradicate.

Understanding that American ideology at its core is linked from knowledge to power, in this transformation, assimilation of the masses is needed to strengthen the ideas of a select few. This principle alone suggests the first stage of discernment, or humanity discrimination. There have been plenty of examples throughout history displaying this appalling behavior. Democracy has no place for humanity discernment. There is a democratic doctrine that says all men are created equal, and governments are instituted among men. Power and greed harbor these ideas, and citizen initiative and involvement are required to overcome such ills.

Citizen engrossment in local, state, national, and international affairs is in sharp decline. This can and will cause impairment to the footing that American ideas will foster for future generations. In contrast, younger generations should be encouraged to engage in civic groups and activities, with the same intensity they are invigorated to participate in extracurricular sports. Focus on political programs should be interjected at all levels of education, so individuals rising through the years recognize the significance of a democracy and the role it plays in all levels of government. Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1882 said, “The American idea, Emancipation, appears in our freedom of intellection, in our reforms, and in our bad politics.”

In conclusion, American ideas and democracy can and will perpetuate this nation’s future. Understanding how misconceptions, representation, and initiative played key roles in the past can guide our future successfully. In a speech given in November 1860, Abraham Lincoln said, “We are gravely requested to have no opinion, or, having one, to suppress it, on the one topic that has occupied caucuses, newspapers, Presidents’ messages, and congress, for the last dozen years, lest we endanger the safety of the Union,” he wrote. But, he contended, “In a democracy, it is the duty of every citizen to think; but unless the thinking results in a definite opinion, and the opinion leads to considerate action, they are nothing.” It is our responsibility as Americans to compare our ideology with one another and intellectually reach a solution to our deficiencies. Contrasting issues that are left unresolved can and will affect humanity for generations to come.

Works Cited

Appelbaum, Yoni. Americans Aren’t Practicing Democracy Anymore. The Atlantic,

Neklason, Annika. 160 Years of the American Idea. The Atlantic,

Rosen, Jeffery. America is Living James Madison’s Nightmare. The Atlantic,

Showerman, Grant. The American Idea. Vol. 19, No. 3 (Mar. 1911), pp. 145-161 The University of Chicago Press, Accessed: 23-09-2018 13:40 UTC

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American Ideas vs. Democracy. (2019, Jan 10). Retrieved from