Mill and Tocqueville on Tyranny of the Majority

Philosophy / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper examines the fact that although both theorists differ moderately in their approaches and definitions of despotism of the majority, they agree it hinders the liberty and individuality of the citizens and is tyrannical.

“Political theorists have long pondered the formula for a successful governing system. In doing so, despotism and majoritarian rule have arisen as two possible forms of government. John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, and Alexi de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America, both refute the idea of despotic rule, not of a single ruler, but of the majority. The “tyranny of the majority,”[1] as Mill describes, is worse than straightforward dictatorship and should be avoided. Tocqueville concurs that unlimited power, in the hands of an absolute majority that is able to exercise both physical and moral control, is dangerous to the sovereignty of the individual. ”


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