Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 June 2019

Democracy 

  1. The cure for the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.
    Jane Addams 1860–1935 American social worker: Democracy and Social Ethics (1902)
  2. Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.
    And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.
    Alcuin c.735–804 English scholar and theologian: letter 164 in Works (1863) vol. 1
  3. The basis of a democratic state is liberty.
    Aristotle 384–322 bc Greek philosopher: Politics bk. 6, 1317b
  4. Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.
    Clement Attlee 1883–1967 British Labour statesman, Prime Minister 1945–51: speech at Oxford, 14 June 1957
  5. Democracy is the best revenge.
    Benazir Bhutto 1953–2007 Pakistani stateswoman: attributed, in Washington Post 11 June 1989, and quoted by her son Bilawal after her assassination
  6. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
    James Bovard 1956–  American writer: Lost Rights (1994)
  7. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: speech in the House of Commons, 11 November 1947
  8. So Two cheers for Democracy: one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism. Two cheers are quite enough: there is no occasion to give three. Only Love the Beloved Republic deserves that.
    E. M. Forster 1879–1970 English novelist: Two Cheers for Democracy (1951) ‘What I Believe’; see Swinburne
  9. No, Democracy is not identical with majority rule. Democracy is a State which recognizes the subjection of the minority to the majority, that is, an organization for the systematic use of force by one class against the other, by one part of the population against another.
    Lenin 1870–1924 Russian revolutionary: State and Revolution (1919)
  10. Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
    Abraham Lincoln 1809–65 American statesman, 16th President 1861–5: address at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, 19 November 1863, as reported the following day, in R. P. Basler (ed.) Collected Works… (1953) vol. 7
  11. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
    H. L. Mencken 1880–1956 American journalist and literary critic: A Little Book in C major (1916)
  12. Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
    Reinhold Niebuhr 1892–1971 American theologian: Children of Light and Children of Darkness (1944) foreword
  13. The basis of democracy is the willingness to assume well about other people.
    Marilynne Robinson 1943–  American novelist: in New York Review of Books 5 November 2015, posted online 12 October 2015
  14. I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden.
    Richard Rumbold c.1622–85 English republican conspirator: on the scaffold; T. B. Macaulay History of England vol. 1 (1849) ch. 1
  15. Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
    George Bernard Shaw 1856–1950 Irish dramatist: Man and Superman (1903) ‘Maxims: Democracy’
  16. It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.
    Tom Stoppard 1937–  British dramatist: Jumpers (1972) act 1; see Somoza, Stalin
  17. The world must be made safe for democracy.
    Woodrow Wilson 1856–1924 American Democratic statesman, 28th President 1913–21: speech to Congress, 2 April 1917