Why is Democracy fragile? My Salvadoran View

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What is democracy?   Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.  Pure democracy does not exist except in small groups. Most nations that we call “democratic” are actually democratic republics.  Democracy is fragile because it is trying to give voices to all the people but too many voices will lead to a fight within the government.  Big democracy and unequal society can easily have civil war.  Democracy always needs compromise because of human disagreement. Democracy also needs a good economy to stay stable.  

What is a democratic republic?  The  democratic republic is one leader of the groups of citizens who vote for the leader.  This person commands the groups of a country or organization.  In the United States we have a democratic republic because voters choose many different people such as the President, members of Congress, Governors, even school board members to make decisions for them.  Leaders in a republic make decisions for all citizens but the citizens give those leaders power to lead by voting.  In a democratic republic there is also disagreement but there are better ways than war or fighting to find compromise for the value of all the people. 

A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy.

Democracy is a form of government where the citizens of the nation have the power to vote. A representative democracy is a system where citizens choose government representatives. A direct democracy is when the citizens form a governing body and vote directly.



What region of the world first had the idea of democracy?  Athenian democracy developed around the sixth century BC in the Greek city-state  of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of and is often described as the first known democracy in the world.

Even in Athens the philosophers like Aristotle said Democracy was a fragile government.


The American colonies began developing a democratic tradition during their earliest stages of development.

How did the ideas of democracy spread to America? New ideas about government came from Europe.  The English brought ideas about democracy based on the humanism of the renaissance.   English thinkers like John Locke affected colonists like Thomas Jefferson in 1776.

What was the American Enlightenment?

In North America people came from England and Germany and even France to find land and work and own property.  Natives lost property and Africans were used as slave “property”.  The Democratic Republic of Thomas Jefferson and the American founding fathers was one for the European white settlers.  These people made a large “middle class”.


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Why did many democratic revolutions like in France 1789 seem like they failed at first?

Democracy needs compromise and balanced power.  France was not balanced in power.  France had unequal social classes.

Who was Montesquieu and what did he say about the 3 powers?

Montesquieu called the idea of dividing government power into three branches the “separation of powers.” He thought it most important to create separate branches of government with equal but different powers. Three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.  Montesquieu was French and he influenced the French Revolution in 1789.


The ideas in France were good but the social class was unequal and could not balance the power.

It seems like democracy was slow to spread.  Why is it necessary to have a middle class or a society that is not unequal?

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The ideas for independence and democracy came to Latin America in the 1800s.

Why has it been hard to keep democratic governments in Latin America? 


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Latin America today is radically different from what it was only three and a half decades ago. Today is more consolidated democracies and more integrated democracies.

Today democracy is growing in Latin America but it is still hard.

When did El Salvador become a democratic country?  What is government like today in El Salvador?  

El salvador with the other countries of Central America, declared its independence from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821, and was part of a federation of Central American states until that union dissolved in 1838. It became an independent democratic federal republic in 1841.

The government in El Salvador has a duration of the presidential office for five years. The government of El Salvador has a system of representative presidential democracy.  It has 14 states.

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This map represents the 14 states of El Salvador and I lived in the Southwest state of Sonsonate.

El Salvador is a country in Central America.  The Constitution of El Salvador is the supreme law in the country and dictates the government system in El Salvador as that of a representative presidential democracy where the president is both the head of state as well as head of government.


This is a central city hall of Sonsonate

I lived for 17 years in the city of Sonsonate, El Salvador.

What I remember about the government is that the best part of the government was in public schools.  I went to a public school where the teachers were happy to see their students.  There were about 35 or 40 students in every classroom. Public education the best way to create good citizenship and it is necessary for democracy to exist.  

Freedom of speech and belief is necessary because education can also be used for propaganda. Sometimes the students would learn topics given by the government but this happens even in the United States. The biggest difference of school in El Salvador and the United States was that in El Salvador they would have to go to school walking and in the United States the bus passes by anywhere to pick up the students.

The same is with food in the United States.  We have the benefits of having the free food but in El Salvador the government does not give the necessary food to the students.  In the united States, the students in the school work with computers. In El Salvador we use paper and pencil and we also use a machine to write in the classes and in the exams we have to give the money for the copies of the exams and in the United States does not have to pay anything.

I think that the police in a democracy should help the people and defend the sovereignty or the rights of the people.  Police should be the security of the democratic government.  They are the safety of the people but this is not always the reality.  Sometimes the police are good and sometimes they are bad. They are good when they help with the needs of the community.  That is their job,  but sometime they need money because their families are poor and they take money for helping the corrupt and bad person. The democracy only works when the police of the community are for a good social service for the all citizenship.

The president is the principal of the government because he is the leader of the big group in the one country and they have the mayor of different cities and the governors of different states that help with the leadership of democracy in their country. In Sonsonate the city was big and I did not know the mayor. My parents and my family thought of the government as sometimes good because it depended on the leadership of the mayor.   Some mayors are corrupt and the people they do not have the support for the mayor.  This is more often happening when the people are poor.  A democracy needs a good economy.  My mother and father are hard working people and they left my home country because the needed better work.  They still work hard and they have given me the good opportunities of living in the United States.

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This is a picture from my school in Sonsonate.