Democracy: Agreement or Acquiescence?

Russell Hardin

in Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy

Published in print November 1999 | ISBN: 9780198290841
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599415 | DOI:
 Democracy: Agreement or Acquiescence?

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We can divide consent theory into two branches: constitutional and post‐constitutional. Popular sovereignty and social contract theories fit largely into the first branch; democracy fits in the second. One might appeal to popular sovereignty or contractarian consent in proposing to change a constitution, although in actual practice even constitutional design must be done by some kind of procedure that would hardly fit a full consent account. Constitutions typically restrict the scope of democracy—otherwise there would be little need for creating the many blocking institutions that constitutions typically mandate.

Keywords: acquiescence; consent theory; constitution; democracy; popular sovereignty; social contract

Chapter.  17440 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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