Is Rousseau A Defender Of Direct Democracy?

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Is Rousseau a defender of direct democracy? Critically discuss.
In the book ‘of the social contract’ by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Rousseau dissects and tries to understand what or whom gives authorities like kings and law makers their power, in doing so he identifies the general will of which he considers to be the main legitimiser of such powers, as will be looked at in detail later in this essay. Prior to examining this particular concept, I will attempt to address the question this essay is bent towards answering: ‘Is Rousseau a defender of direct democracy?’. Firstly, by asking what in fact is direct democracy and what does it look like? Then I will proceed to deconstruct in as much detail as possible the chapter of the text titled ‘of democracy’
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A Direct democracy is a democratic system in which the general populace has a direct influence on their society or organisations policy, usually via voting (this being the formal form). This is distinct from the common form of democracy in use in many modern states, where the people elect by popular vote representatives who act on their behalf to decide policy - this is known as representative democracy. The earliest example of a direct democracy can be seen in ancient Greece, the Athenian democracy in which citizens (non-enslaved, Athenian men) would gather in various law making, enforcing and punishing institutions to vote, the general consensus of these politically active men composed all of the state’s policy and its …show more content…
He also adds to this ‘a people that would always govern well would not need to be governed.’ - the age old argument against populism that people do make bad choices. similarly, Winston Churchill once said ‘the best argument against populism is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter’. this is to say it is in having a diverse populace that a percentage of it would have less than perfect reasoning and that subsequently in a direct democratic system policy changes would often be uninformed whims of the general public, and the only solution being according to Rousseau ‘trias

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