Discussion: Influence of Classical Democratic Theorists
Since ancient times, the idea of how people should govern has been a mainstay of philosophers and political theorists. One of the most enduring notions to emerge from early theorists is the basic belief that people are capable of governing themselves. The concept of democratic governance developed out of those early intellectual discussions. Democratic governance enjoys widespread acceptance in many parts of the world today. Yet, the exact meaning of democratic governance and how it should be implemented still remains a topic of debate. Democratic theory has evolved because of contributions from classical democratic theorists such as Aristotle, Plato, Rousseau, Locke, and Jefferson. It is important to consider of the ideas of these classical theorists when thinking about modern democratic theory.
To prepare for the discussion
• Review the Course Introduction. Keep this overview in mind as you work through each week of the course.
• Review the article "American Nightmare: Neoliberalism, Neoconservatism, and De-Democratization" in this week's Learning Resources. Think about the effects of political democratic theories on contemporary democracy. (•Brown, W. (2006). American nightmare: Neoliberalism, neoconservatism, and de-democratization. Political Theory, 34(6), 690-714.)
• Review the article "Rhetoric and the Public Sphere: Has Deliberative Democracy Abandoned Mass Democracy?" in this week's Learning Resources. Consider how Plato's theory of deliberative democracy influenced contemporary theories of democracy.
(•Chambers, S. (2009). Rhetoric and the public sphere: Has deliberative democracy abandoned mass democracy? Political Theory, 37(3), 323-350. )
• Review the articles "John Locke" and "Jean Jacques Rousseau" in this week's Learning Resources. Think about how social contract theory is related to contemporary democratic theory. (•Bertram, C. (2010). Jean Jacques Rousseau. Retrieved from
• Uzgalis, W. (2012). John Locke. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2014 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke/)
• Select at least one classical democratic theorist and consider his influence on contemporary democratic theory.
With these thoughts in mind:
Provide an analysis of the influence of at least one classical democratic theorist on modern democratic theory. Be specific and provide examples.
Note: Place the name of the theorist you selected in the first line.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.