The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of the United States of America, adopted by the Continental Congress on the 4th of July, 1776. It proclaimed the secession of 13 British Colonies that were located in North America. This document was extremely valuable for the whole world as it was the manifestation of the ideals of the U.S. democracy. This document promoted equal political voice and democratically responsive government.
At first, few words about the American democracy should be mentioned. In the famous Gettysburg Address (1863), President Abraham Lincoln described it as the “direct self-government , over all the people, for the people, by the people”. The key features of American democracy include “federalism and the separation of powers”. Federalism presupposes the division of national government and state governments. The separation of powers is the sharing of powers between three main branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.
It is worth noting that the word “democracy” originated in Ancient Greece. However, its current meaning is differs greatly from the Ancient Greek. The original meaning of the noun “democracy” was “the rule by people”. Today, there arouses a feeling that Greeks had little idea of the rights of an individual (this is the core ideal of modern American democracy). American democracy presupposes majoritarianism, and Greeks granted the right of political participation to a small group of people, in other words, to elite. The key idea of the American democracy is that a government is just the servant of the nation, and it does the things, which the majority of people want. In the Ancient Greece, the situation was completely different as no one took into account the wishes of people, and all the political decisions were taken with the help of direct voting. However, it is impossible to reject the close ties between the U.S. and Ancient Greece. It should be stated that such significant for the American democracy things as self-determination, nation-state, and liberal democracy originated in Ancient Greece.
It should be pointed out that American democracy is often compared to the government of Ancient Rome. Researcher McLaughlin (2006) expresses very subjective and controversial viewpoint to this issue. He states that American democracy used to be a wonderful thing; however, with the course of time people have forgotten why the democracy was created. Americans are compared to sleepwalkers, who follow the leader. Researcher points out that
“One recalls the ancient Roman Empire and the old saying history repeats itself. Ancient Rome crumbled and fell apart in the much the same way that America is falling apart today”.
The ties of the U.S. and ancient Rome also should be mentioned. There exist a number of similarities between the governments of these states. The government of ancient Rome has experimented with democracy. The upper classes even made attempts to share some political and economic power with people. In the Ancient Rome masses have elected representatives to carry out their wishes. The U.S. government has applied this system later.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that democracy has a long history. It used to be the key political system even in the ancient times. Its essence lies in implementing the will of the people. Democracy allows maintaining political stability and provides the community’s feedback to the governmental decisions. Democracy was popular even in the ancient times (people started using it even in ancient Greece and ancient Rome). However, the research has shown that ancient democracy and modern American democracy had a number of divergences.