Democracy and Government Administration


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The United States of America (U.S) is perhaps the first icon of democracy in the world. Hanson expounds on the development of democracy and its effect on administrative governance. According to Hanson the power of democracy lies with the people and under democracy people have a platform to launch their needs to the government and civically lobby for them to be fulfilled. The needs of the citizenry are boundless and granted these powers they are likely to put more pressure on the government to yield to their needs continuously to extreme extents that may render the system over-burdened by demands of the citizens. Thus a need develops where politics and administrative practices require separation under technocratic terms in order to enhance efficiency within the government. This implementation is meant to consider whatever is necessary for the development of the economy and state, but not whatever is fair and equitable.

Hanson uses the American example of the welfare programs to demonstrate how an overload may occur on the government[1]. The welfare program was intended to enhance an equitable and inclusive society in response to the democratic call of equity and poverty alleviation for the marginalized. As the U.S government struggled for its legitimacy it was losing on the fiscal front because of the high demands placed on it by its citizens. Prior to the Reagan presidency this challenge had adopted a two-fold challenge-more minority groups that deserved inclusion into the welfare programs were demanding their inclusion via their democratic rights and on the other hand financial hardships had shrunk the economy to a bad extent and there would have been no ways to fund the program without going against the tax payers will by increasing taxes. The Reagan administration responded to the challenge though gradual shrinkage of the plan.

Hansons arguments are based on the American historical case and the influence of the American politics helps him in expounding and exemplifying his ideas. Liberal democracies such as in the United States example only depend on the citizenry’s self restraint which is rare in most cases. This finally results to the crisis of democracy which emerges from the conflict between liberalism and democracy. The acquisitive nature of liberalism portrayed in liberal democracy shows a form of individualism which is portrayed by high demands placed on the government. Hanson further highlights the differences developing between western and eastern democratic forms of governance, where the western type is more liberal and permissive to the citizenry in terms of placing the demands on the government. The contradiction evidenced between governance and democracy is identified as a structural feature that is common to all modern societies with a capitalist nature.

Hansons work greatly highlights the political movements since the abolition of slavery and how several sections of the population including the workers and producers have through time tried to unite under umbrella parties to push for their agenda in the political arena. The whole highlight on democracy done by Hanson greatly draws from the American examples in highlighting his ideas about liberal democracy[2]. Hanson identifies equality and liberty as a bad combination under a democratic leadership because it guarantees the success of unfit people in society and reduces the health of competition in society and therefore affecting its capitalistic nature and progress in a negative way.

Hanson identifies inequality as an inevitable necessary ill in society that needs to exist and the governments intervention to counter it may have negative results as seen through the U.S history and economy. Hansons work draws a lot from the historical perspective of the American nation and the developments through time with regard to the production industry and development of the monetary systems. Hansons examples are quite relevant to the American liberal democracy and they serve to strengthen his arguments in the line of streamlining liberal democracy through acculturation of control in demand making.  His use of the American examples helps him in creating a solid argument based on actual historical instances in which the balance of liberal democracy has shown effects on the economic and policy front.

On the other hand, Huntington presents similar content that highlights the govern-ability of democracy. He explores the rise in the spirit of democracy in the period spanning the 60s and 70s. The rise in this led to challenges on the executive held powers and other social, economic and political institutions during the sixties. Huntington offers American examples of how heightened liberal democracy can affect administrative activities of the government. Within this period there was also an increase in calls for equality across gender and all groups. Huntington explores this revitalization of the democratic spirit, and the tools that were used to assert the democratic rights and powers held by the people. The period was marked with a lot marches, demonstrations, cause organizations and protest groups.

The democratic movement led to more government inclusion of minorities and female gender in government and this improvement can be attributed to this movements era. However, behind the curtain of heightened democratic activities there were other antidemocratic acts that were going on at the moment. These included the suppression of free speech in the campuses, the elitist discrimination practiced against the middle class in the American society. Minority extremists were also notably involved in the use of violence and coercion. These anti-democratic acts interspersed the revitalized democratic movement period and they were a portrayal of responses that characterize the reaction of both the government and minority that were unable to rise above the crowd to air their issues. Concerns of equality also increased and people debated about it and championed for a realization of equality in the economic sense.

Huntington explores the challenges involved in controlling the government. Through the words of the James Madison, Huntington offers insight in to how well a government could be governed: You must first enable the government to govern the controlled and in the next place oblige it to control itself[3]. Through these few words he shows the essence to separating politics from administrative duties as a means towards improving the governments administrative abilities. He emphasizes the need to strike balance in the culture of democracy between these two elements so that the leadership can be enabled to deliver instead of getting compromised by democratically launched demands that may be hard for the government to bear. Huntington states that the attainment of the balance is actually the essence of constitutional democracy.

Huntington extensively explores democracy and authority and power and liberty through the American perspective. He extensively makes use of the American examples throughout history to portray how democracy may be tough to uphold at times and how the nation has managed to maintain high levels of democracy. Huntington notes that there may be slight swings between the two forces that need balance, but he quickly notes that the swings should not be extremely large because this will destabilize the situation and compromise the functionality of constitutional democracy[4]. Extreme swings are likely to produce too little authority or too much government power exercise.

The 60s period in democratic revitalization led to a large swing in this balance and as a result the excessive lobbying led to a decrease of the power held by the government and an increase in governmental activities participation. As the 70s reached the American people were demanding more from their government and having very minimal levels of trust in their government. Huntington uses the classical American examples in political history and transformation to portray how democracy and the related imbalances may affect administrative activities of the government. His use of American examples strengthens his argument on the need to balance the limits within which democratic rights can be exercised without affecting or influencing government authority.

Conclusively, both authors cover issues on the extremities of democracy and its effects on governments in terms of meting the demands placed on the government by the people as well as the effects that this may bear on leadership and administrative abilities. Both authors use classical American historical examples that help them show through use of real life examples of the influence of democracy in exercising power and authority. They both also realize that there is a need for a balance to exist between the exercise of democratic rights and the exercise of authority by the government in order to enhance good leadership and control of the nation.

Works Cited

Huntington, P.S. (1991),. The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century, University of Oklahoma Press

Stephen, E. H. (201),.Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia, Cambridge University Press

[1]Stephen, E. H. (201),.Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia, Cambridge University Press

Stephen, E. H. (201),.Post-Imperial Democracies: Ideology and Party Formation in Third Republic France, Weimar Germany, and Post-Soviet Russia, Cambridge University Press


[3] Huntington, P.S. (1991),.The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century, University of Oklahoma Press

[4] Huntington, P.S. (1991),.The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century, University of Oklahoma Pres

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