Democracy in Reconstruction

Democracy in Reconstruction

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Democracy in Reconstruction

Democracy in Reconstruction

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Excerpt

The term "democracy" has a social as well as a political connotation--a fact that, in the years immediately to come, is very likely to be impressed upon the minds of all those who concern themselves with matters of public interest. It is, however, especially with its political implications that democracy will be discussed in this chapter.

The general welfare . The fundamental nature and ethical justification of a human institution are determined rather by the ends which it seeks to realize than by its outward form of organization or by the administrative methods employed for its operation. Certainly this is true of States or their governments if all divine or other mystical conceptions regarding them are put away, and they are viewed simply as humanly created and operated agencies for satisfying certain recognized needs of men. Thus regarded, a government is good or bad, irrespective of its form, according to the ends which it seeks to attain; it is efficient or not according to the methods it employs in seeking to attain them.

Democracy starts with the premise that the sole end for which political rule may be justly established and maintained is the welfare of all the people over whom its authority extends. This proposition carries with it the denial that there are any individuals or classes of individuals who, by heredity or any other inherent attribute, may claim special rights to rulership or to the exercise of the suffrage or other privileges of so-called active citizenship.

As thus viewed solely in its "final" or purposive aspect . . .

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