1. on What Grounds Have Liberals Supported Democracy?

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1. On what grounds have liberals supported democracy? Democracy is rule by the people. Its ‘liberal’ features are reflected in a network of internal and external checks on government in order to protect citizens against the state and guarantee liberty. Therefore, democracy in most of the western countries takes place through a system of regular and competitive elections, universal suffrage and political equality. Classical liberals defended democracy on the basis that it was found on consent. John LOCKE developed a limited theory of protective democracy which argues that voting rights should be extended to the well educated, who could then defend their natural rights against government. According to Locke, if government can possess power through taxation, then citizen are fully entitled to protect themselves by controlling the tax-making body. The idea that franchise should be expanded to the illiterate and those who pay taxes was supported by James Mill. He believed that the central virtue of democracy is it promotes personal self-development in individuals. By participating in political life, citizens enhance their understanding, strengthen their sensibilities and achieve a higher level of personal development. Thus, democracy can be seen an educational experience. BENTHAM developed the notion of democracy as a form protection for the individual into a case for universal suffrage. Utilitarian’s have argued that individuals will vote so as to advance or defend their interest. Bentham believed that universal suffrage is the only way of promoting the greatest happiness for the greatest number. However, liberals also have an ambivalent view of democracy. Liberalism places great stress on the protection of individual’s rights while democracy emphasise on collective control. Classical liberals thus saw democracy as threatening or dangerous. They
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