By the same measure, the US was not a democracy, given the presence of
the requirements of poll taxes, proof of property ownership, etc in
order to vote at the time. Using a current day definition of what
constitutes a 'democracy' is a fatuous qualification. At that point in
time, the US and British societies were the most free and progressive
ones on the planet. Name one other country in the world that was MORE
free than either one of these at the time.
> The British monarchy in 1812 was a parliamentary monarchy where the elites
> tended to form an oligarchy, united by kinship, money and domination of the
> centres of power (Church, Parliament, and land).
> One could set up a freedom index based upon institutional or structural
> criteria but this would not reflect the actual experiences of the historical
> actors. (For example, the lack of a bureaucratic and rational state
> structure interfering in people's freedom of action is more than made up for
> by social, religious and economic pressures). I am not sure if sufficient
> historical evidence could be gathered to construct a consistent and
> comparative index of freedom before the last century. Too many doubts over
> methododlogy, I suspect.
> Philip Chaston
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
> > Sent: 27 November 2001 09:02
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: Re: WAR: appropriate first use (was: If we do get
> > Afghanistan...)
> > On Mon, Nov 26, 2001 at 06:08:43PM -0500, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > > Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > > So far, democratic nations have never declared war on
> > each other (of
> > > > > > course, plenty of nations *call* themselves democratic,
> > but we are here
> > > > > > talking about real democracies).
> > > >
> > > > No two countries with a "MacDonald's" franchise have ever gone to
> > > > war against each other, democracies or otherwise.
> > I actually think this rule of thumb was broken during the Balkan
> > conflict.
> > > Furthermore, both Japan and Germany were led by governments
> > > democratically elected by parliamentary systems prior to WWII. Going
> > > back in time, the British government was democratically elected in 1812
> > > when it engaged in war with the democratically elected US government.
> > > Going even further back in time, both Sparta and Athens had their own
> > > democratic systems when they engaged in the Pelopponesian War, and Rome
> > > was still a Republic when it took over Greece later on. On the other
> > > side of the world, Pakistan and India, two democratic nations, have
> > > fought at least three wars against each other when both were led by
> > > elected leaders. Then, for instance, Israel, a parliamentary democracy,
> > > has fought a war against the Jordanian kingdom, a constitutional
> > > monarchy structured along British lines.
> > I think several of these examples twist the term democracy; see my other
> > post about the need for a stricter term. That Germany and Japan had
> > parlamentary systems doesn't mean they were democratic. And the forms of
> > democracy of Athens and Sparta were highly different from what we
> > currently call democracy, and I have a *very* hard time viewing the
> > spartan system as a democracy - it has been described as a democratic
> > timocratic monarchical oligarchy, and the democratic part seems to have
> > been fairly thin.
> > The 1812 war is more interesting; does anybody have any estimates of the
> > freedom index of respective nation at the time?
> > --
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
> > email@example.com http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/
> > GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:22 MDT