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Essay: Majority rule

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  • Subject area(s): Politics essays
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  • Published: 2 October 2015*
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  • Words: 858 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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Would the people most likely wish for a government where the majority decides what is right for the people, or a single unknowledgeable ruler? If the majority had a strong conscience that would only benefit the government, the society would be able to stay strong and powerful. On the other hand, if a society had a single ruler, more complications would arise with only one individual expressing their ideas or opinions.
Henry Thoreau, author of ‘Civil Disobedience’ states his opinion on majority rule: ‘It is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest (223).’ Thoreau believes that majority rule are physically strong, but they have to follow their own consciences in order to have a successful society. He states later that majority rule is not entirely based on justice, and scans the idea of basing a government off of a conscience as a possibility. The majority rule has more capabilities and is stronger than a single individual as a ruler, seeing that they have more power and ideas to share, which they would use to benefit the society.
An issue still going on in different areas is the opinion of whether or not abortion should be allowed. Many people have different opinions on abortion. Below, (see Fig. 1) a cartoon explains the abortion issue.
The rhinoceros helps explain how immense the abortion issue is because of its size. Majority rule can change the opinions of the people who do not think abortion is right by explaining to them why it is right for a woman to choose what she wants for her body. Likewise, they can help these people see different sides to major issues they might have never thought about, which is how a better society is created. Since majority can help convince others who disagree about abortion, majority should be able to rule.
Accordingly, Thoreau uses taxes as an example to explain that if the majority wants something, they should force themselves to achieve that goal. He says: ‘If a thousand citizens were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible (231).’ Thoreau explains that one should not pay taxes if they believe the government is walking in error, and if majority did this, the government would be more likely to adjust their plans. Nevertheless, many might argue the government would not change its ways even for the majority, but there cannot be a successful government without change. If the majority stood up for their rights together, it would benefit the society by encouraging positive change, and promoting the idea that change can occur if a group feels strongly enough about it.
Majority rule should occur everywhere. The amount of support South Africa has been getting from the U.S., as written in the article below (see Fig. 2) is a strong reason why.
The newspaper article explains Nelson Mandela’s objective of a majority rule in South Africa. The reason Mandala chose majority rule was because blacks are majority in South Africa. Mandala’s choice of majority rule was better than a single ruler, due to the fact that a great amount of people in his country agreed and support him, making there no need for a single ruler. Contrarily, many people in the United States might argue and say that the U.S. does not have full support towards their president from all of the people living there, and therefore they should stop having majority rule. This includes the immigrants who are now U.S. citizens, who might not agree with his decisions at all. But this should not discourage the U.S. from having any type of majority rule, as majority rule can be constructed without a group of people having the same race, ethnicity or gender. The U.S. is not basing majority rule off of ethnicity, such as Mandela is, because not everyone is of the same ethnicity there. However, if a group can agree with each other on general topics and share logical opinions with each other, then that group can still be capable of ruling.
In summary, majority rule can help a society more than just a single ruler in the fact that they have more people to brainstorm ideas, and to give off their opinions on how issues should be solved. Thoreau’s opinion over majority rule is relevant today because of the amount of people who disagree with government decisions over what is considered right and wrong. The people who hold the most favored, or popular idea in Thoreau’s viewpoint are to be considered the majority rule. Finally, while reading the newspaper or watching a television broadcast in the future about the government, ask yourself whether or not they are making any mistakes over issues the society might be having, and if a government ruled by the majority would fix them.

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