Is America really a democracy?

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America prides itself for being a democratic state with institutions that have been designed to ensure that there is the promotion of the rights of its people. It is a country that is often considered the ‘leader of the free world’, a term that is used to demote it as being the most prominent democratic state in the world. However, despite these statements in its favor, the United States has a long history of operating like a non-democratic state to such an extent that rather than promoting democracy, it has essentially promoted a situation where it creates anarchy in the lives of individuals across the world. This paper makes an assessment of some of the characteristics of the United States that show that it is not truly a democracy including its history of racism and discrimination, and its Electoral College.

The credentials of the United States as a democracy have constantly been marred by its history of racism and discrimination. This is especially the case considering that the United States, despite its considering itself to be a democracy since independence, is a nation that continued to promote such an institution as slavery. The slavery that was prevalent in the United States prior to 1861 was an institution that essentially one that did not support the tenets of democracy and this was to such an extent that human beings were essentially forced into situations where they were considered property. It was also a situation where human beings, mostly African slaves, were treated worse than animals through the use of government sanctioned policies (Quijano 216). Such policies, including the one drop policy, which essentially relegated individuals born to parents who were slaves into slavery, went against the very beliefs that made the United States a democracy. Even after the age of slavery, the one drop policy, which made individuals of African descent different from the rest of society, continued to be enforced. The discrimination against members of the African-American community can be considered one of the worst atrocities against human beings in the history of the world. This is because it involves a situation where a considerable number of people have been and continue to be forced into lives that essentially consider them to be inferior to others in society. The institutionalization of discrimination has its roots in slavery and it has led to a situation where minority groups in the country are treated differently from the majority who are of European descent.

Another institution that proves that the United States is not a democracy is the Electoral College. This is an institution that was developed to ensure that there was the protection of the interests of states rather than that of the people themselves. A consequence of this situation is that it led to the development of a situation where there was a considerable discrepancy between the will of the people and that of the establishment. The Electoral College tends to fail to consider the will of the people because these individuals are often disregarded when it comes to those situations where they vote for their preferred candidates (Bormann and Golder 368). Preferred candidates despite having the most votes end up not being declared president, following elections because the Electoral College has the authority to overrule the will of the people. It ends up leading to a situation where the candidates that do not have people’s support end up being declared the winners. Under such circumstances, the United States is a country that does not follow the real democratic process because rather than being the symbol of the ability of people to establish their will over the people to head the government, it ends up suppressing the will of its people. It is therefore essential to consider that the United States is a country that, despite being called a democracy, has failed considerably when it comes to advancing the will of its people when it comes to the government.

In conclusion, the United States is not a democracy because the will of the people’s will is not respected by the established elite. A consequence of this situation is that the country is one of the most undemocratic because it has led to the institutionalization of a situation where there is not only disrespect for the will of the people, but also the advancement of a form of racism that has essentially led the country into an identity crisis because while its majority live normal lives, the lives of its minority is that of considerable suffering that has to be mitigated.

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  1. Bormann, Nils-Christian, and Matt Golder. “Democratic Electoral Systems around the World, 1946–2011.” Electoral Studies 32.2 (2013): 360-69.
  2. Quijano, Anibal. “Coloniality of Power and Eurocentrism in Latin America.” International Sociology 15.2 (2000): 215-32.
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