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tyranny of the majority

A fear expressed variously by Plato, Aristotle, Madison, Tocqueville, and J. S. Mill. If the majority rules, what is to stop it from expropriating the minority, or from tyrannizing it in ...

tyranny of the majority

tyranny of the majority   Quick reference

A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
390 words

... of the majority A fear expressed variously by Plato , Aristotle , Madison , Tocqueville , and J. S. Mill . If the majority rules, what is to stop it from expropriating the minority, or from tyrannizing it in other ways by enforcing the majority’s religion, language, or culture on the minority? Madison’s answer in The Federalist is the best known. He argued that the United States must have a federal structure. Although one majority, left to itself, would try to tyrannize the local minority in one state or city and another majority, left to itself,...

tyranny of the majority

tyranny of the majority  

Reference type:
Overview Page
A fear expressed variously by Plato, Aristotle, Madison, Tocqueville, and J. S. Mill. If the majority rules, what is to stop it from expropriating the minority, or from tyrannizing it in other ways ...
Democracy

Democracy   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
5,165 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...1821 throngs insisted that her cortège should pass through the streets of London on its way to Brunswick so that the people could pay their last respects. In a clash with troops two men were killed, and some 70,000 people later attended the funeral of these ‘martyrs’. The prestige of the monarchy and the stability of the Tory government were both badly shaken: the radicals were able to restore the freedom of open political agitation despite the repressive legislation of 1819 . The vast majority of radicals and reformers used constitutional means and peaceful...

Class

Class   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
6,846 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...on the culture of labouring freeborn Englishmen created in many cases a bitter sense of injustice, articulated from below partly in terms of a language of slavery and bondage, inflected by the discourses of constitutionalism, class, and religion—three major linguistic battlefields throughout the first half of the nineteenth century. Especially from the 1770s onward, those opposing ‘Old Corruption’ had used a rhetoric of *patriotism and constitutionalism to legitimize themselves and to castigate a tyranny that turned free Britons into slaves. During the...

Local and Regional History: Modern Approaches

Local and Regional History: Modern Approaches   Quick reference

David Hey

The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, Local and Family History
Length:
4,365 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...the peculiar nature of English regions. Such studies have contributed greatly to our understanding of the economic and social history of England as a whole. The region remains an elusive concept, for it can be defined in so many different ways. See Edward Royle (ed.), Issues of Regional Identity: In Honour of John Marshall (1998) , and J. D. Marshall , The Tyranny of the Discrete: A Discussion of the Problems of Local History in England (1997) . The local historian is faced with the problem of identifying local societies that are wider than the town...

majority tyranny

majority tyranny  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Philosophy
The Achilles heel of modern democracies, whereby once one party has gained power it can systematically ignore or predate upon the interests of the minority. The idea of a constitution, and of ...
masses

masses  

Reference type:
Overview Page
The body of common people in a society. Anxiety about ‘the masses’ is as old as anxiety about democracy (see e.g. Plato; Aristotle). It took clearer shape with eighteenth‐ and early ...
polyarchy

polyarchy  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Literally, ‘rule by the many’. Term resurrected by R. A. Dahl (1971) to denote a representative democracy with substantial interest‐group influence on government. Dahl defended the pluralist ...
Musa al- Sadr

Musa al- Sadr  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Religion
(d. 1978?)Iranian cleric and leader of the Shii movement Harakat al-Mahrumin in Lebanon. Educated in Qom, Iran. Moved to Lebanon in 1959, where he took on the role of charismatic mullah. Asserted the ...
Iron Heel

Iron Heel  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
Novel by Jack London, published in 1908.Purportedly written in 1932, this “Everhard Manuscript” tells of events said to take place between 1912 and 1918, when, by a process of evolutionary ...
republic

republic  

Reference type:
Overview Page
A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch. The Republic is the English title of ...
Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville  

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Overview Page
(1805–59)An early French sociologist who travelled to the United States between 1831 and 1832 to observe democracy at work. His classic work Democracy in America (1835–40) identifies within ...
absolutism

absolutism  

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Overview Page
A state-form typical of societies in the process of transition from feudalism to capitalism and in which power is concentrated in the person of a monarch, who has at his or her disposal a centralized ...
republicanism

republicanism  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
An ideal of government that emphasizes the role of the active, participating citizen in government, often looking back to the role of the citizen in ancient Rome or Athens. Institutionally it aims at ...
tyranny

tyranny   Quick reference

Andrew Reeve

A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
122 words

... In classical thought, a corrupt form of monarchy in which a person ruled in his own interest. More generally, the abuse of the state’s coercive force in the absence of the rule of law. This absence more particularly suggests government by the will of the tyrant (cf. dictatorship ) and the arbitrary treatment of citizens, if not the systematic use of terror. Democratic theorists like J. S. Mill have been concerned to avoid the tyranny of the majority. They fear that the rights of minorities and the stability of expectations built on settled law could be...

majority tyranny

majority tyranny   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
63 words

... tyranny The Achilles heel of modern democracies, whereby once one party has gained power it can systematically ignore or predate upon the interests of the minority, for instance by changing the electoral system to facilitate its future power. The idea of a constitution, and of judicial review of law-making in the light of the constitution, is one check on this...

republicanism

republicanism   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
63 words

...An ideal of government that emphasizes the role of the active, participating citizen in government, often looking back to the role of the citizen in ancient Rome or Athens. Institutionally it aims at checks and balances to prevent the emergence of faction and majority tyranny, but also to the town-hall politics whereby decision-making has a bottom-up rather than a top-down...

majority rule

majority rule   Reference library

Dictionary of the Social Sciences

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2002
Subject:
Social sciences
Length:
364 words

...majority rule and more than two candidates, the winning side may be opposed by an absolute majority (the combined vote for other options). Absolute majority systems do not have this drawback, but may systematically exclude smaller parties from power and leave minorities with limited means of redress when their rights are threatened. This is the principle behind fear of thetyranny of the majority,” described by James Madison in the late eighteenth century, Alexis de Tocqueville in the nineteenth century, and the liberal tradition of political thought more...

despotism and tyranny

despotism and tyranny   Reference library

The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Early history (500 CE to 1500)
Length:
263 words

...that a tyrant’s killer was praised, but recommended Christian acquiescence. Further, he addressed the tyranny of the majority (as in a *city-state ), extending the application of the concept outside monarchy. The emergence of the one-man rule of lords ( * signorie ) in Italy from the mid 13th century further focused discussion of tyranny. Their republican opponents described them as tyrants or despots. *Bartolo of Sassoferrato distinguished two kinds of tyranny: through defective title to rule, and through acting tyrannically. As signorie became seen as...

polyarchy

polyarchy   Quick reference

A Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics and International Relations (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
105 words

...Literally, ‘rule by the many’. Term resurrected by R. A. Dahl ( 1971 ) to denote a representative democracy with substantial interest‐group influence on government. Dahl defended the pluralist institutions of a modern representative democracy both against those who claimed that countries were governed by narrow ‘power elites’ and against those who were fearful of thetyranny of the majority’; Dahl’s case‐studies showed that neither was true, at least in New Haven, Connecticut. In more recent work (notably A Preface to Economic Democracy , 1985 ),...

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