The People's Government is premised on the idea that democracy is based on two fundamental rights: freedom and liberty. Liberty is the right to be left alone, while freedom is the right to participate in a political community. How people view democracy depends on which of these two rights they think is more important. Liberal democrats place a higher value on liberty, while free democrats see freedom as the primary right. From this starting point, the author adds five dimensions to define and distinguish democratic societies: rights, participation and representation, inclusion, equality, and power. Liberal democracies emphasize individualism, negative rights, representative government, inclusive citizenship, equal opportunity, and limited government. Free democracies stress community, positive rights, direct participation, exclusive citizenship, equal outcomes, and robust government. The book examines the most important arguments for and against democracy, and explores the life cycle of democracies - how countries democratize, mature, and fail. Finally, the author uses the five dimensions established earlier to evaluate and grade American democracy.
Del Dickson is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego. He especially enjoys teaching the courses Introduction to Political Science, Constitutional Law, Judicial Behavior, and Comparative Law. He has earned numerous teaching awards and was recently named one of the best 300 professors in the United States by Princeton Review. He received his BA in Political Science at Humboldt State University, his JD at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his PhD in Political Science at the University of Southern California. He clerked for Chief Justice Robert Gardner of the California Court of Appeal and practised law at Sherman and Howard in Denver, Colorado. His book, The Supreme Court in Conference 1940-1985, earned the Association of American Publishers award as the best book in Government and Political Science in 2001. Other work includes the articles 'State Court Defiance and the Limits of Supreme Court Authority: Williams v. Georgia Revisited' and 'The Selection and Appointment of Magistrates in England and Wales'.