1. Democracy
    A political system based on the idea that government should serve the interests of the people.
  2. Legitimacy
    the extent to which a government has the right to rule and exercise power.
  3. Power vs. Authority
    Power= the ability to make someone do something that they would not do of their own free will e.g. Coercion – the use of force to achieve ends – the military

    • Authority = the right to exercise power (based on the consent of those being ruled) e.g. - Legal/rational HoC & Traditional – HOL
  4. What makes a government legitimate?
    • Referendums (‘Yes’ answers)
    • High turnout
    • Free, fair and regular elections
    • Lack of dissent
    • Displays of public support
  5. How legitimate is the UK?
    • Legitimate: 
    • House of Commons is elected
    • Government elected with mandate to govern
    • House of Lords has traditional authority and political influence is widely recognised

    • Not Legitimate:
    • Electoral system unfair and distorts political representation (FPTP)
    • Every government elected has only achieved the minority of the popular vote
    • House of Lords members are not elected and so do not have the people’s consent
  6. What are the two types of democracy?
    • Direct Democracy
    • Representative Democracy
  7. What is Direct Democracy?
    The people themselves directly make the important decisions which affect them The people are directly consulted on political decisions Action taken by the people shapes political decisions (via protests, e-petitions, strikes)

    E-petitions: 10,000+ = written statement in response – forces government to be accountable

    100,000+ = eligible for House of Commons debate
  8. Advantages of Direct Democracy?
    • Purest form of democracy
    • Disperses power widely among population

    Decisions may be more accepted  

    Increases democracy as it increases participation
  9. What are the disadvantages of Direct Democracy?
    • Direct democracy = tyranny of the majority
    • Many decisions may be too complex for the people to understand
    • Can create emotional rather than rational responses from the people
    • Undermines the role of elected representatives
  10. What is Representative Democracy
    • The people elect representatives from different political parties to form an assembly which
    • These representatives form an assembly which reflects the will of the people
    • Representatives govern in the interests of all sections of society
  11. Ideas on how a representative should act in a representative democracy
    Delegation – follow very closely the wishes of those who elected the representative

    Burkean representation – use their own judgement rather than follow the exact wishes of their electors or party

    Parliamentary representation – representatives should strike a balance between their own judgement, the wishes of their electors and the policies of their political party
  12. Features of a representative democracy:
    • There are free elections to representative assemblies
    • There government rule ‘for the people’

    Political associations and pressure groups operate freely and represent various causes, believes and interest groups

    The rule of law
Card Set
AS Edexcel Politics Democracy notes