What They Said
DEMOCRACY, n. [Gr. People, and to possess, to govern.] Government by the people; a form of government, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which the people exercise the powers of legislation. Such was the government of Athens.
“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
–John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814
“The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.”
–Fisher Ames, speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, January 15, 1788
A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct” expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic – negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demagogosm, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.
-United States Army Training Manual No. 2000-25, 1928, p. 91.
Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to [do] evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest [judgment:]
What They Say Now
Because the United Sates is a democracy, the majority of the people decide how our government will be organized and run – and that includes the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The people do this by electing representatives, and these men and women then carry out the wishes of the people.
–The Soldiers Guide, Department of the Army Field Manual, FM 21-13, June 1952, p. 69.
(these last two definitions were derived from “Foundations of Liberty: Our Glorious Republic” by the East Moline Christian School)
“A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them” – wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
“The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.” – G.K. Chesterton
What I Say
There is quite a difference between our current day’s idea of democracy and the Founding Father’s idea of democracy. America is a Republic, not a democracy. We ought to strive to keep it that way. The sophistry of politically-correctness has permeated and destroyed much of our English language. We need to stand up for the right definitions of words, or be buried in endless debates of semantics.