To build from of your understanding of limited and unlimited governments and parliamentary systems of government, today we will take a look at another high emphasis topic on the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Social Studies subtest: liberal democracy.
When we break this term down into “liberal” and “democracy,” we see two separate ideas:
- Liberal is a point of view that believes in new behavior and opinions, and rejects tradition when necessary.
- It’s important to also understand liberalism, which is a worldview rooted in the ideals of liberty and equality.
- Democracy is a system of government run by officials elected by the entire population.
Together, according to USLegal.com, a liberal democracy is a form of representative democracy that:
- Holds fair elections
- Operates under a separation of powers (sometimes has branches of government)
- Protects civil rights and liberties
Sound familiar? That’s right. A liberal democracy is a limited form of government, where there are established and respected laws and restraints of power, and citizens elect representatives to lead the nation.
USLegal.com notes that a liberal democracy can operate under different constitutional forms, such as a:
- Presidential system, as seen in the United States
- Parliamentary system, as seen in Great Britain
- Constitutional republic, as seen in Germany
- Constitutional monarchy, as seen in Canada
Features of Liberal Democracy
According to WiseGeek.org:
- Liberal democracies prohibit majoritarianism – which is a political philosophy that rules by majority vote, even when it harms the minority.
- Some liberal democracies have additional systems of referenda – or public votes – to give citizens a chance to overrule the decisions of elected representatives.
- Liberal democracies allow all eligible citizens the right to vote, regardless of race, gender, or property ownership.