Direct Democracy

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  • A pure democracy where all decisions are made directly by a majority vote of the people of a nation. The framers of the U.S. Constitution were fearful of tyranny through majority rule under a direct, or “pure,” democracy. The framers instead preferred a representative government—also called a republic—where legislators elected by the people make laws and appoint officials. During the Progressive Era (1890–1913), social reformers lobbied for the introduction of direct democratic measures in an effort to curb abuses by the local party bosses. The most significant of these measures was the introduction of the initiative, referendum, and recall at the state level. The first state to have these measures was South Dakota in 1898; at present, 24 states have the initiative and referendum process ...

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