You posted this..."I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the implication that the US had democracy to begin with. When was this?
Hasn't the US from it's inception mostly always been a system of serf-creation (and for some 260 years direct slave creation if you had the wrong skin color] and exploitation of the poor and lower class peoples?"
if your points were true the US never had a democratic form of government ...
We may be talking at cross purposes. I'm talking about democracy rather than a democratic form of government (Soviet Russia had "democratic forms").
At what point can we say that the US adopted democracy? I will use the following definition of democracy suggested by Ven.Payutto:
In olden times countries were usually governed by monarchies, in which the King had absolute power. In such a structure, the assumption is that the greater mass of people are not capable of governing themselves, they need the guidance of one who is more gifted or capable. In more recent times we have come to feel that people are more educated and possess sufficient knowledge and understanding to govern themselves, to think rationally and make decisions for themselves, to discern between right and wrong and to act accordingly. When people govern their own country like this, it is called "democracy."
I think this is a low bar to meet. So, was the US a democracy during pre-independence colonial times? The Founding Fathers didn't think so and anyway there was a large slave population that could make no real decisions about their lives. There had been an indentured servant population as well. And women had no voice to speak of in most politics of the time. And even rich males had grievances with the Crown that they felt were unaddressable (and at least 1/3 of the common non-slave folk felt the same). Okay, were the states under the Articles of Confederation a democracy? Well, we still had a large disenfranchised population, again mostly slaves, women but also definitely the poor at this point as male voting as based on land owning. So a minority of the population had the possibility of engaging politically. Okay, was the US a democracy after the adoption of the Constitution in 1789? No again, due to the disenfranchised population at least of slaves, women, non-landowners and people who didn't own enough land. However certain liberties were guaranteed to a US citizen based on the Bill of Rights (except for the slaves who were only 2/3rds of a person).
Okay, was the US a democracy after the Civil War? Perhaps, as people had legal guarantees to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (except women still couldn't vote so probably not). However the actual facts on the ground were that Blacks were oppressed and murdered as a fact of life (and Indians were considered non-people generally). This was intensified during Reconstruction. In fact after women got the right to vote, US citizens were still disenfranchised from politics and from the actual, factual exercise of the right to participate in the governing of their own country. In many places they were told where they could and couldn't live and where they could and couldn't work and who they couldn't engage in personal relationships with. This situation persisted until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So, was the US a democracy then? Well, different groups of people still could not live freely in many parts of the US, so I'm hesitant (and BTW there were still many people disenfranchised from actual participation in the political process due to sexual orientation and according to some, religion).
However it would appear that the US can first lay claim to being a democracy in 1964, 19 years after it saved the world from complete barbarism and taught democracy to Germany and Japan.
However, people who have been historically deprived of liberty on the basis of their ethnicity or skin color might take exception to this. One, is an Hispanic friend of mine from Texas born in the 40's. His personal experience growing up was overt oppression as he tells it. More recently Indians (Native Americans) and Chinese have been able to take part fully in the political process.
One cannot claim that the US was a democracy prior to 1964 based on the above definition. One must also admit that the US still had barriers to political participation and the simple liberty to live where one wanted, marry who one wants, have equal access to employment and many other supposedly secure liberties of a citizen until 1968-1972.
So, if we now take the US to be a democracy, it is a very recent democracy.
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