is an expression used to refer to personal qualities or standards of government behavior that are felt to be essential for the continuation of a democratic policy
. Advocates for causes across the political spectrum use this expression in attempting to engage in persuasion, particularly by contrasting some situation which has been allowed to continue for pragmatic or social reasons, but which those advocating an opportunity, and that equality is a democratic ideal. Other times, advocates of one political outlook or another will use the expression to energize support among their constituencies, despite knowing that their political opponents use precisely the same phrase to do precisely the same thing.
was rare before modern times, democratic ideals were originally conceived by ancient philosophers and were implemented in early examples of democracies such as Athens
In the 20th century, T. H. Marshall
proposed what he believed to be central democratic ideals in his seminal essay on citizenship, citing three different kinds of rights: civil rights that are the basic building blocks of individual freedom; political rights, which include the rights of citizens to participate in order to exercise political power; and finally social rights, which include the right to basic economic welfare and security.
Frequently the importance of human rights
is listed as a central democratic ideal, as well as instilling in military and civilian governmental personnel the attitudes and methods which will prevent their actions from infringing on those rights.
The United States Bill of Rights
in the Constitution of the United States
is a prime example of the democratic ideal of human rights and liberties being implemented in the foundation of a country's governance. These individual freedoms include freedom of speech
, freedom of assembly
, freedom of religion
and the right to a fair trial
Voter enfranchisement and political participation are two key democratic ideals that ensure the engagement of citizens in the political sphere. Who has the right to suffrage
has changed over the centuries and universal suffrage
is necessary for a nation to be considered a democracy and not a dictatorship