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Single Idea 19825

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / a. Nature of democracy]

Full Idea

The sovereign can entrust the government to the entire people or to the majority of them. This is given the name 'democracy'.

Gist of Idea

If the sovereign entrusts government to at least half the citizens, that is 'democracy'


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], III.03)

A Reaction

Note that democracy is here a form for the executive, not for the legislature. I take it that the general will must come close to unanimity, and a mere 51% support for fundamental legislation would never do. Increase the percentage with the importance?

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.178