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October 6, 2011

The Seeds Of Democracy

Like a plant susceptible to winter’s grasp, the growth and fruition of democracy as a political ideology has not survived without a fair bit of struggle. As with any belief that opposes the status quo, it has a turbulent history that is stained with violence and blood-shed. Nevertheless, its seeds were sown in fertile soil, and across the world it survived amongst a variation of conflict and political shifts.

At the turn of the 20th century, Russia was facing extensive political and social issues. By the time the First World War had finished, Nicholas II, the last Tsar (Emperor) of the Romanov dynasty had abdicated his throne. In the aftermath of his abdication, a civil war sparked between the Bolshevik party and the anti-Bolshevik parties (aided by certain Western countries). At the point that the Bolshevik victory was secured, the fate of Russia as a communist state was sealed. Whilst on paper this form of socialism seemed to share the same sense of individual equality that democratic states embraced, its political system compromised of a single party state – the Bolshevik party. After Lenin’s death, Joseph Stalin took over and chaos followed. It was not until 1989 that communism ended in Russia. Today it exists as a multi-party representative democracy.

For Russia, the road to becoming a democratic state was a turbulent one, to say the least. It took the deaths of millions for the change to occur, and tore at the nation’s cultural heart throughout the 20th century.

America, too, arrived at being a democratic republic through similar strife and hardship. The Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, has become one of the most recognized documents of democratic ideology. It marks the beginnings of modern day America. Before this time, the British Empire had dominion over the Thirteen Colonies that comprised mid-18th century America. By the end of the century, however, these colonies had secured their independence and gained autonomy.

England saw a similar struggle to achieve democratic right. Since the middle-ages discontent had grown and the subjugation of the people through the feudal system had resulted in increasing social and political unrest. By the time of the 16th and 17th century, this had escalated drastically, taking the form of numerous rebellions. By 1642, England was set in a civil war which saw numerous instances of armed conflict between the Royalist factions and the Parliamentarians.

It resulted in the execution of King Charles I and the establishment of the republican Common Wealth. It formed the foundations of England’s modern day political system and symbolised the growing strength of the people’s voice. In essence, these three instances depict the struggles that followed hand-in-hand with the arrival of a democratic world.



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