When did democracy become popular?

When did democracy become popular?

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After the Greek and Rome, democracy died out. So when have this system become popular? Which country were the first to adopt it after Rome? And how did it become so widely used?

How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy

Business didn't always have so much power in Washington.

Something is out of balance in Washington. Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures—more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million). It’s a gap that has been widening since corporate lobbying began to regularly exceed the combined House-Senate budget in the early 2000s.

Today, the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public-interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 consistently represent business.

One has to go back to the Gilded Age to find business in such a dominant political position in American politics. While it is true that even in the more pluralist 1950s and 1960s, political representation tilted towards the well-off, lobbying was almost balanced by today's standards. Labor unions were much more important, and the public-interest groups of the 1960s were much more significant actors. And very few companies had their own Washington lobbyists prior to the 1970s. To the extent that businesses did lobby in the 1950s and 1960s (typically through associations), they were clumsy and ineffective. “When we look at the typical lobby,” concluded three leading political scientists in their 1963 study, American Business and Public Policy, “we find its opportunities to maneuver are sharply limited, its staff mediocre, and its typical problem not the influencing of Congressional votes but finding the clients and contributors to enable it to survive at all.”

Things are quite different today. The evolution of business lobbying from a sparse reactive force into a ubiquitous and increasingly proactive one is among the most important transformations in American politics over the last 40 years. Probing the history of this transformation reveals that there is no “normal” level of business lobbying in American democracy. Rather, business lobbying has built itself up over time, and the self-reinforcing quality of corporate lobbying has increasingly come to overwhelm every other potentially countervailing force. It has also fundamentally changed how corporations interact with government—rather than trying to keep government out of its business (as they did for a long time), companies are now increasingly bringing government in as a partner, looking to see what the country can do for them.

If we set our time machine back to 1971, we’d find a leading corporate lawyer earnestly writing that, “As every business executive knows, few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman, the corporation, or even the millions of corporate stockholders. If one doubts this, let him undertake the role of 'lobbyist' for the business point of view before Congressional committees.”

That lawyer was soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., whose now-famous “Powell Memorandum” is a telling insight into the frustration that many business leaders felt by the early 1970s. Congress had gone on a regulatory binge in the 1960s—spurred on by a new wave of public-interest groups. Large corporations had largely sat by idly, unsure of what to do.

In 1972, against the backdrop of growing compliance costs, slowing economic growth and rising wages, a community of leading CEOs formed the Business Roundtable, an organization devoted explicitly to cultivating political influence. Alcoa CEO John Harper, one of the Roundtable’s founders, said at the time, “I think we all recognize that the time has come when we must stop talking about it, and get busy and do something about it.”

This sense of an existential threat motivated the leading corporations to engage in serious political activity. Many began by hiring their first lobbyists. And they started winning. They killed a major labor law reform, rolled back regulation, lowered their taxes, and helped to move public opinion in favor of less government intervention in the economy.

By the early 1980s, corporate leaders were “purring” (as a 1982 Harris Poll described it). Corporations could have declared victory and gone home, thus saving on the costs of political engagement. Instead, they stuck around and kept at it. Many deepened their commitments to politics. After all, they now had lobbyists to help them see all that was at stake in Washington, and all the ways in which staying politically active could help their businesses.

Those lobbyists would go on to spend the 1980s teaching companies about the importance of political engagement. But it would take time for them to become fully convinced. As one company lobbyist I interviewed for my new book, The Business of America Is Lobbying, told me, “When I started [in 1983], people didn’t really understand government affairs. They questioned why you would need a Washington office, what does a Washington office do? I think they saw it as a necessary evil. All of our competitors had Washington offices, so it was more, well we need to have a presence there and it’s just something we had to do.”

To make the sell, lobbyists had to go against the long-entrenched notion in corporate boardrooms that politics was a necessary evil to be avoided if possible. To get corporations to invest fully in politics, lobbyists had to convince companies that Washington could be a profit center. They had to convince them that lobbying was not just about keeping the government far away—it could also be about drawing government close.

As one lobbyist told me (in 2007), “Twenty­-five years ago… it was ‘just keep the government out of our business, we want to do what we want to,’ and gradually that’s changed to ‘how can we make the government our partners?’ It’s gone from ‘leave us alone’ to ‘let’s work on this together.’” Another corporate lobbyist recalled,“When they started, [management] thought government relations did something else. They thought it was to manage public relations crises, hearing inquiries. My boss told me, you’ve taught us to do things we didn’t know could ever be done.”

As companies became more politically active and comfortable during the late 1980s and the 1990s, their lobbyists became more politically visionary. For example, pharmaceutical companies had long opposed the idea of government adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, on the theory that this would give government bargaining power through bulk purchasing, thereby reducing drug industry profits. But sometime around 2000, industry lobbyists dreamed up the bold idea of proposing and supporting what became Medicare Part D—a prescription drug benefit, but one which explicitly forbade bulk purchasing—an estimated $205 billion benefit to companies over a 10-year period.

What makes today so very different from the 1970s is that corporations now have the resources to play offense and defense simultaneously on almost any top-priority issue. When I surveyed corporate lobbyists on the reasons why their companies maintained a Washington office, the top reason was “to protect the company against changes in government policy.” On a one-to-seven scale, lobbyists ranked this reason at 6.2 (on average). But closely behind, at 5.7, was “Need to improve ability to compete by seeking favorable changes in government policy.”

While reversing history is obviously impossible, there is value in appreciating how much things have changed. And there are ways to bring back some balance: Investing more in the government, especially Congress, would give leading policymakers resources to hire and retain the most experienced and expert staff, and reduce their reliance on lobbyists. Also, organizations that advocate for less well-resourced positions could use more support. If history teaches anything, it's that the world does not need to look as it does today.

This post appears courtesy of New America's Weekly Wonk magazine.


Liberal democracy traces its origins—and its name—to the European 18th-century, also known as the Age of Enlightenment. At the time, the vast majority of European states were monarchies, with political power held either by the monarch or the aristocracy. The possibility of democracy had not been a seriously considered political theory since classical antiquity and the widely held belief was that democracies would be inherently unstable and chaotic in their policies due to the changing whims of the people. It was further believed that democracy was contrary to human nature, as human beings were seen to be inherently evil, violent and in need of a strong leader to restrain their destructive impulses. Many European monarchs held that their power had been ordained by God and that questioning their right to rule was tantamount to blasphemy.

These conventional views were challenged at first by a relatively small group of Enlightenment intellectuals, who believed that human affairs should be guided by reason and principles of liberty and equality. They argued that all people are created equal and therefore political authority cannot be justified on the basis of "noble blood", a supposed privileged connection to God or any other characteristic that is alleged to make one person superior to others. They further argued that governments exist to serve the people—not vice versa—and that laws should apply to those who govern as well as to the governed (a concept known as rule of law).

Some of these ideas began to be expressed in England in the 17th century. [8] There was renewed interest in Magna Carta, [9] and passage of the Petition of Right in 1628 and Habeas Corpus Act in 1679 established certain liberties for subjects. The idea of a political party took form with groups debating rights to political representation during the Putney Debates of 1647. After the English Civil Wars (1642–1651) and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and liberties. The Bill set out the requirement for regular elections, rules for freedom of speech in Parliament and limited the power of the monarch, ensuring that, unlike much of Europe at the time, royal absolutism would not prevail. [10] [11] This led to significant social change in Britain in terms of the position of individuals in society and the growing power of Parliament in relation to the monarch. [12] [13]

By the late 18th century, leading philosophers of the day had published works that spread around the European continent and beyond. One of the most influential of these philosophers was English empiricist John Locke, who refuted monarchical absolutism in his Two Treatises of Government. According to Locke, individuals entered into a social contract with a state, surrendering some of their liberties in exchange for the protection of their natural rights. Locke advanced that governments were only legitimate if they maintained the consent of the governed and that citizens had the right to instigate a rebellion against their government if that government acted against their interests. These ideas and beliefs inspired the American Revolution and the French Revolution, which gave birth to the ideology of liberalism and instituted forms of government that attempted to apply the principles of the Enlightenment philosophers into practice. Neither of these forms of government was precisely what we would call a liberal democracy we know today (the most significant differences being that voting rights were still restricted to a minority of the population and slavery remained a legal institution) and the French attempt turned out to be short-lived, but they were the prototypes from which liberal democracy later grew. Since the supporters of these forms of government were known as liberals, the governments themselves came to be known as liberal democracies. [ citation needed ]

When the first prototypical liberal democracies were founded, the liberals themselves were viewed as an extreme and rather dangerous fringe group that threatened international peace and stability. The conservative monarchists who opposed liberalism and democracy saw themselves as defenders of traditional values and the natural order of things and their criticism of democracy seemed vindicated when Napoleon Bonaparte took control of the young French Republic, reorganised it into the first French Empire and proceeded to conquer most of Europe. Napoleon was eventually defeated and the Holy Alliance was formed in Europe to prevent any further spread of liberalism or democracy. However, liberal democratic ideals soon became widespread among the general population and over the 19th century traditional monarchy was forced on a continuous defensive and withdrawal. The dominions of the British Empire became laboratories for liberal democracy from the mid 19th century onward. In Canada, responsible government began in the 1840s and in Australia and New Zealand, parliamentary government elected by male suffrage and secret ballot was established from the 1850s and female suffrage achieved from the 1890s. [14]

Reforms and revolutions helped move most European countries towards liberal democracy. Liberalism ceased being a fringe opinion and joined the political mainstream. At the same time, a number of non-liberal ideologies developed that took the concept of liberal democracy and made it their own. The political spectrum changed traditional monarchy became more and more a fringe view and liberal democracy became more and more mainstream. By the end of the 19th century, liberal democracy was no longer only a "liberal" idea, but an idea supported by many different ideologies. After World War I and especially after World War II, liberal democracy achieved a dominant position among theories of government and is now endorsed by the vast majority of the political spectrum. [ citation needed ]

Although liberal democracy was originally put forward by Enlightenment liberals, the relationship between democracy and liberalism has been controversial since the beginning and was problematized in the 20th century. [16] In his book Freedom and Equality in a Liberal Democratic State, Jasper Doomen posited that freedom and equality are necessary for a liberal democracy. [17] The research institute Freedom House today simply defines liberal democracy as an electoral democracy also protecting civil liberties.

In practice, democracies do have limits on certain freedoms. There are various legal limitations such as copyright and laws against defamation. There may be limits on anti-democratic speech, on attempts to undermine human rights and on the promotion or justification of terrorism. In the United States more than in Europe, during the Cold War such restrictions applied to communists. Now they are more commonly applied to organisations perceived as promoting terrorism or the incitement of group hatred. Examples include anti-terrorism legislation, the shutting down of Hezbollah satellite broadcasts and some laws against hate speech. Critics claim that these limitations may go too far and that there may be no due and fair judicial process. The common justification for these limits is that they are necessary to guarantee the existence of democracy, or the existence of the freedoms themselves. For example, allowing free speech for those advocating mass murder undermines the right to life and security. Opinion is divided on how far democracy can extend to include the enemies of democracy in the democratic process. If relatively small numbers of people are excluded from such freedoms for these reasons, a country may still be seen as a liberal democracy. Some argue that this is only quantitatively (not qualitatively) different from autocracies that persecute opponents, since only a small number of people are affected and the restrictions are less severe, but others emphasise that democracies are different. At least in theory, opponents of democracy are also allowed due process under the rule of law.

However, many governments considered to be democratic have restrictions upon expressions, such as Holocaust denial and hate speech, including prison sentences, ofttimes seen as anomalous for the concept of free speech. Members of political organisations with connections to prior totalitarianism (typically formerly predominant communist, fascist or National Socialists) may be deprived of the vote and the privilege of holding certain jobs. Discriminatory behaviour may be prohibited, such as refusal by owners of public accommodations to serve persons on grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. For example, in Canada a printer who refused to print materials for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives was fined $5,000, incurred $100,000 in legal fees and was ordered to pay a further $40,000 of his opponents' legal fees by the Human Rights Tribunal. [18]

Other rights considered fundamental in one country may be foreign to other governments. For instance, the constitutions of Canada, India, Israel, Mexico and the United States guarantee freedom from double jeopardy, a right not provided in other legal systems. Also, legal systems that use politically elected court jurors, such as Sweden, view a (partly) politicised court system as a main component of accountable government, distinctly alien to democracies employing trial by jury designed to shield against the influence of politicians over trials. Similarly, many Americans consider the right to keep and bear arms to be an essential feature to safeguard the right to revolution against a potentially abusive government, while other countries do not recognise this as fundamental (the United Kingdom, for example, having strict limitations on the gun ownership by individuals). Overall, some rights are dependant on the county but the fundamental rights and freedoms shared by all liberal democracies can be summarised into eight necessary rights, [19] which are:

  1. Freedom to form and join organisations.
  2. Freedom of expression.
  3. Right to vote.
  4. Right to run for public office.
  5. Right of political leaders to compete for support and votes.
  6. Freedom of alternative sources of information
  7. Free and fair elections.
  8. Right to control government policy through votes and other expressions of preference.

Although they are not part of the system of government as such, a modicum of individual and economic freedoms, which result in the formation of a significant middle class and a broad and flourishing civil society, are often seen as pre-conditions for liberal democracy (Lipset 1959). [20]

For countries without a strong tradition of democratic majority rule, the introduction of free elections alone has rarely been sufficient to achieve a transition from dictatorship to democracy a wider shift in the political culture and gradual formation of the institutions of democratic government are needed. There are various examples—for instance, in Latin America—of countries that were able to sustain democracy only temporarily or in a limited fashion until wider cultural changes established the conditions under which democracy could flourish. [ citation needed ]

One of the key aspects of democratic culture is the concept of a "loyal opposition", where political competitors may disagree, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge the legitimate and important roles that each play. This is an especially difficult cultural shift to achieve in nations where transitions of power have historically taken place through violence. The term means in essence that all sides in a democracy share a common commitment to its basic values. The ground rules of the society must encourage tolerance and civility in public debate. In such a society, the losers accept the judgement of the voters when the election is over and allow for the peaceful transfer of power. This is tied to another key concept of democratic cultures, the protection of minorities (Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser, 2012), [21] where the losers are safe in the knowledge that they will neither lose their lives nor their liberty and will continue to participate in public life. They are loyal not to the specific policies of the government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the state and to the democratic process itself.

Timeline 20 years of Democracy 1994 to 2014

27 April,South Africa's interim constitution which was adopted in November 1993 came into effect on 27th April 1994 to administer South Africa’s first democratic elections and shifted the country towards the construction of a new political, social and economic order.

27 April, The national flag was designed by a former South African State Herald, Mr Fred Brownell, and was first used for the first time during the 1994 elections.

27 April, first, non-racial, democratic elections held in South Africa. However elderly people and people who are physically challenged voted on the 26 April.

28 April, following numerous complaints about poor arrangements at some polling stations, President de Klerk approves a recommendation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to extend by one day polling in areas plagued by voting problems. These include KwaZulu, Venda, Gazankulu, Lebowa, Transkei and Ciskei.

2 May, the Independent Electoral Commission releases the provisional results of the national elections with the African National Congress (ANC) topping the list with 54 percent, while the National Party (NP) followed with 33 percent and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) with 4.5 percent.

3 May, South Africa resumes its full membership of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

6 May, final election results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission Chair, Judge Johan Kriegler. The African National Congress (ANC), headed by Nelson Mandela, which captures 252 of the 400 seats in the National Assembly, but falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to effect unilateral constitutional change. The ruling National Party (NP) of F.W de Klerk came in second with 82 seats, ahead of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) led by Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi with 43 seats.

May 9, 1994, Nelson Mandela was unanimously elected president by the National Assembly, with Thabo Mbeki, deputy leader of the ANC and F.W. de Klerk as deputy presidents.

10 May, Nelson Mandela is inaugurated as South Africa's first democratic president. Thabo Mbeki (ANC) and F.W. de Klerk (NP) were sworn in as Executive Deputy Presidents under a provision in the Constitution entitling every party holding at least 20% of the seats to designate an Executive Deputy President from among the members of the National Assembly.

11 May, a coalition Government of National Unity (GNU) is announced. Ministerial membership of the Cabinet (18 ANC portfolios, six for the NP and three for the IFP) based on the provision that each party winning at least 5% of the national vote would be entitled to one or more Cabinet portfolios, in proportion to the number of seats held by it.

24 May, Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary-General of the ANC, elected chairman of the Constituent Assembly which is to write a new constitution for the country within two years.

24 May, Nelson Mandela delivers the first State of the Nation Address before the democratically elected parliament.

25 May, the Security Council adopted a resolution lifting its 1977 Arms Embargo and other restrictive measures against South Africa, thus removing the remaining United Nations sanctions against South Africa. [Resolution 919(1994)]

31 May, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaouku at a press conference at the Commonwealth Headquarters in London, informs the media that effective 1 June 1994, South Africa would resume its membership of the Commonwealth.

17 November, The Restitution of Land Rights Bill is passed by President Nelson Mandela and signed into law.

12 December, South Africa re-admitted to UNESCO. It was forced out of the organisation in 1956 because of its policy of apartheid.

14 February, the Constitutional Court is formally opened by President Nelson Mandela.

15 February, President Nelson Mandela announces he will not be standing for re-election in 1999.

1 March, The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights is constituted to assist claimants in submitting their land claims, and advise claimants on the progress of their land claims.

27 March, Winnie Mandela, Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, is dismissed from her post.

14 April, Winnie Mandela resigns as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, hours before her second official dismissal.

25 May-24 June, The Rugby World Cup is staged in South Africa for the first time that all matches would be played in one country. South Africa participates in the tournament for the first time, following the end of their international sports boycott due to the apartheid regime. South Africa wins the tournament, defeating New Zealand 15-12 in the final at Ellis Park.

28 June, Name changes to three of South Africa's nine provinces are announced: Pretoria Witwatersrand and Vereeniging becomes Gauteng Orange Free State becomes the Free State and the Northern Transvaal becomes the Northern Province.

July, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), is established by the new South African government in 1995 under thePromotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Amendment Act 34 of 1995 to help heal the country and bring about a reconciliation of its people by uncovering the truth about human rights violations that had occurred during apartheid.Archbishop Desmond Tutu was appointed Chair of the Commission by President Nelson Mandela, with Alex Boraine as his deputy.On 16 December 1995 the Commission began its work, with victims testifying in public hearings and perpetrators applying for amnesty.

4 October, Identification Amendment Act No 47: Amended the 1986 Identification Act so as to repeal certain obsolete provisions, and ordered, with retrospective effect, that a new population register be compiled and maintained. Commenced: 4 October 1995

October, the Public Protector’s Office is established, in terms of Chapter Nine of the South African Constitution of 1996, as one of a cluster of institutions to strengthen the constitutional democracy of the Republic. Before South Africa’s advent to democracy, the office was previously known as the Office of the Ombudsman which was established on 22 November 1991.

10 November, Results of the national local government elections are published: 51.37% participated, 5.3 million people in total. The African National Congress is the overall winner, securing 66.37% of the votes cast. Voting took place in some parts of Western Cape but not in the metropolitan areas and some rural areas of the province because of the delay in demarcation of electoral baoundaries. Kwazulu Natal province voting was also postponed due to continuing violence in the region.

13 January - 3 February, South Africa hosts the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament, in soccer, replacing original hosts Kenya. It was the national team, Bafana Bafana’s second appearance in the tournament. They had been unbanned just four years prior to the tournament and were generally thought of as the underdogs. Bafana Bafana won by beating Tunisia 2-0.

2 February, the National Party launches a 'core values' document in Pretoria. On the same day it is reported that the Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development Minister Roelf Meyer will resign his Cabinet post on 1 March 1996 to become Secretary-General of the 'revamped' National Party. Its leader Mr. F.W. de Klerk confirms that while it is not seeking formal alliances, it has held discussions with various parties opposed to the African National Congress (ANC).

19 March, President Nelson Mandela's thirteen-year marriage to Winnie Mandela is formally ended when a Rand Supreme Court judge grants his petition for divorce on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.

21 March, Parliament establishes the Human Rights Commission to promote and protect human rights. It is empowered to investigate violations and advise government on implementation of human rights. Dr. Barney Pityana is appointed Chair. Members include Dr. Max Coleman, Helen Suzman and Brigalia Bam.

28 March, President Nelson Mandela announces important changes to the Government of National Unity. Finance Minister Chris Liebenberg, whose resignation takes effect on 4 April 1996, is replaced by Trevor Manuel hitherto Trade and Industry and Tourism Minister Pallo Jordan, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications is dismissed and replaced by Jay Naidoo formerly Minister in charge of the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

15 April, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), under Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu, begins its first formal hearings in the East London City Hall. The TRC was set up to help deal with violations of human rights during the apartheid era.

3 April, Five members of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) are sentenced to twenty-six years imprisonment each for their part in a bombing campaign in which twenty people were killed and hundreds injured, aimed at disrupting the 1994 elections.

13 April, Cyril Ramaphosa, Secretary-General of the African National Congress and chairman of the Constitutional Assembly, announces his intention to resign from Parliament once the final Constitution is agreed upon. He will become deputy Executive Chairman of New Africa Investment Ltd. (NAIL).

15 April, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its opening session in East London. Reservations are expressed about the constitutional right of the Commission to grant amnesty to political killers by the families of anti-apartheid activists. Legal groups also argue that evidence of crimes should be heard in a court of law.

8 May, The new Constitution is finally approved by the 490-member Constituent Assembly: 421 votes are cast in favour, two against, the Freedom Front (FF) abstains, the Inkatha Freedom Party does not attend the session, nine votes are not recorded. The heart of the constitution is a Bill of Rights listing fundamental freedom.

14 June, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel unveils the government's macro-economic strategy in a framework document entitled Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR).

9 May, Second Executive President F.W. de Klerk announces that the NP will withdraw from the Government of National Unity at the end of June 1996 and move into formal opposition. This decision is said to be occasioned by disagreements over the constitution itself and the growing financial crisis resulting from the collapse of the Rand.

30 June, the National Party leaves the Government of National Unity headed by Nelson Mandelato become the Official Opposition, its first time out of government since 1948. The party sought to recast its image by changing its name to the New National Party (NNP) in December 1998.

2 July, the results of the local government elections in Kwazulu-Natal is released and indicate that Inkatha Freedom Party polled 44.50 percent of the votes, the African National Congress 33.22 percent. Ward results give Inkatha 562 seats, the African National Congress 512 and the National Party 187. The African National Congress wins control of all thirteen of the province's metropolitan councils, with a combined annual budget of R5 billion. lnkatha takes control of most of the rural councils but the budget allocation is less than R100 million.

7 July, in a television broadcast President Nelson Mandela confirms that he will not stand for re-election in 1999 and supports Deputy President Thabo Mbeki as his successor.

26 July, Bantu Holomisa is dismissed as Deputy Environment and Tourism Minister. His responsibilities are assigned to former ANC Youth League leader Peter Mokaba and it is announced that he will face internal ANC disciplinary charges.

30 August, Bantu Holomisa is expelled from the ANC after a disciplinary hearing. He was expelled from the ANC after testifying to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) about irregular activities in the Transkei. He refused to retract his testimony, arguing that what he had said was of historical knowledge to all concerned.

11 October, The new Constitution of the Republic of South Africa is adopted by the Constitutional Assembly as Act 108 of 1996. It is set to come into effect as of 4 February 1997.

17 October, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), an independent organisation provided under chapter nine of the Constitution is established. Before its establishment, a temporary Electoral Commission was created in 1993 under the Interim Constitution of 1993 to manage the first non-racial election of the national and provincial legislatures, which was held on 26–29 April 1994.

31 October, The National Assembly passes legislation providing for abortion on demand within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and for terminations to be permitted under specified conditions up to the twentieth week of pregnancy. The changes are opposed by Christian and Muslim religious groups.

October, the first census in the post-Apartheid era is conducted in 1996. The results indicate that South Africa has a population of 43 million people, 22 million of them women.

4 November, Free State Provincial Premier Patrick 'Terror' Lekota and the entire provincial Executive Committee agree to resign following allegations of corruption and nepotism. On 20 November 1996 Deputy President Thabo Mbeki endorses Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as Lekota's successor.

13 December, President Nelson Mandela extends both the cut-off date for amnesty applications and the deadline for applications to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Amnesty may now be sought for political crimes carried out up to 10 May 1994, the date of his inauguration as President. Applications to the TRC is postponed to 10 May 1997.

10 December, two years after the first democratic election (1994) the President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, signs the final draft of the constitution into law at Sharpeville, Vereeniging.The final constitution contains a Bill of Rights, modelled on the chapter on fundamental rights in the interim constitution.

1 January, Robben Island Museum is officially opened on 1997. Two years later it is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

17 January, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hears that General George Meiring is implicated with more than sixty officers and soldiers in 'dirty tricks' including state-sponsored murder. It also suggests that the former President F.W. de Klerk refused to investigate charges against General Meiring and two other generals despite the Steyn commission of enquiry.

28 January, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission confirm newspaper reports that five former security police officers have confessed to the 1977 murder of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko, and have made a formal amnesty application.

4 February, Constitution of the Republic of South Africa comes into effect. The week from 17 to 21 March is named national Constitution Week: more than seven million copies of the Constitution are distributed in all 11 languages.

17 March, Allan Boesak appears in a Cape Town court to face nine charges of fraud and twenty one charges of theft involving more than $800,000 - most of it donated to his Foundation for Peace and Justice by Danish and Swedish aid organizations. The case is postponed until 4 August 1997.

1 April, South Africa's second biggest labour federation is officially launched following the merger of the Federation of South African Labour Unions and the Federation of Organisations Representing Civil Employees. The new Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has 25 affiliated unions and claims a membership of 515,000.

26 April, Winnie Mandela, former wife of President Nelson Mandela, is overwhelmingly re-elected as president of the ANC's Women's League by 656 votes to 114 for her deputy Thandi Modise. Her victory reflects the level of grassroots support she continues to enjoy.

23 April, Eugene Terre'Blanche, leader of the Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging (AWB) was convicted on two counts, for attempted murder and assault in a Potchefstroom court and sentenced to six years in jail. This sentence was handed down for the brutal assault of one of his workers, a Mr Paul Motshabi, whom he beat over the head and neck in March 1996.

11 May, some 8,000 people filed for amnesty to meet the deadline of the TRC for the investigation of apartheid-era crimes.

August 26, former President F.W. de Klerk announces his retirement from politics and his leading role in the New National Party.

10 October, A shortened, combined version of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and The Call of South Africa becomes the national anthem of South Africa in terms of Section 4 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), following a proclamation in the Government Gazette No. 18341.

December 16, President Nelson Mandela steps aside as leader of the African National Congress and is succeeded by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.

December 20, President Nelson Mandela steps down as leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress.

January, six white police officers makes a video tape showing a "training exercise" where they incited their dogs to maul three black men and beat the victims if they tried to protect themselves. The officers were arrested in 2000 on charges of attempted murder. 4 officers pleaded guilty in 2001.

7 January, The attorney general announces that former President Pieter Botha would be prosecuted for refusing to appear before the Truth Commission and for hindering its work

11 April, Nicholas Steyn (42), a white farmer, shot Francina Diamina (11) and her 6-month old cousin, Angelina, for trespassing. The baby is hit in the head and killed and Francina is wounded in the back. Steyn was convicted of culpable homicide in 1999. Steyn was given a suspended sentence in 1999 and freed.

April 29, President Nelson Mandela names Siphiwe Nyanda as the first black to head the South African National Defence Force.

8 May, The National Sports Council ask the world to boycott South African Rugby in a move to push for the resignation of Louis Luyt, the league’s president, over racist and corrupt practices.

10 May, Louis Luyt announce his resignation as the president of the South African Rugby Football Assoc.

18 July, South African President Nelson Mandela capped his 80th birthday by marrying Graca Machel, the widow of a Mozambican president and black liberation leader Samora Machel.

31 July, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission closes down after two years of hearings. A report is due in October. 1998.

21 August, former President P.W. Botha (82) is convicted of ignoring a subpoena to testify about apartheid atrocities in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is fined $1,577 and given a suspended 1 year jail sentence.

September, South African senior foreign ministry official Robert McBride is arrested on suspicion of gun running in neighboring Mozambique and held for six months before being released.

29 October, after almost three years of work, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) delivers its final 3,500 page report to President Nelson Mandela.It is based on years of testimony from the people who ran the 1960-1994 white-government and their victims.

16 February, the four police officers charged with the fatal beating of Steve Biko are denied amnesty.

03 March, President Nelson Mandela announces June 2 as the date for South Africa's second democratic election, a vote that will mark his retirement from office.

17 March, Allan Boesak (53), a leading anti-apartheid activist, is convicted of stealing money from foreign donors intended for the Foundation for Peace and Justice. He was later sentenced to six years in prison for theft and fraud.

25 March, Wouter Basson, the former head of chemical and biological warfare known as Project Coast dubbed "Doctor Death," was indicted on 64 charges that included murder, theft and fraud. Project Coast under the South African Defence Force's South African Medical Service (SAMS) division was a top-secret chemical and biological weapons (CBW) program instituted by the South African government during the apartheid era. Conspiracy charges for offences in Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Britain are later dismissed, with 61 charges remained. Basson was acquitted of 46 counts of murder, fraud and drug dealing in 2002

May, President Nelson Mandela hands the Schmidtsdrift San communities almost 13,000 hectares of farmland, including Platfontein, near Kimberley. The Schmidtsdrift San are members of the! Xun and! Khwe tribes who were employed by the former SA Defence Force in its war against the South West African People's Organisation (Swapo) during the eighties.

14 May, In South Africa the ruling African National Congress signs a peace pact with the arch-rival Inkatha Freedom Party.

2 June, Millions of voters turn out for the national elections. The ANC achieves victory with 62.2% support after half the votes were counted. The final count shows a 65.7% win. The ANC won 266 seats, one seat short of a two-third majority.

15 June, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission grants amnesty to Eugene Terre’Blanche after he makes a full disclosure for his apartheid-era crimes.

16 June, Thabo Mbeki is sworn in as South Africa's second post-apartheid president succeeding former President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings. Mbeki appoints Jacob Zuma, who was the chairperson of the ANC, as deputy president.

8 August, The former minister of labour, Tito Mboweni, is appointed governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to replace Dr Chris Stals. Mboweni, the first Black person to head this highly reputed institution, is inaugurated at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, on 7 August 1999. He first joined the South African Reserve Bank as an advisor to Stals in 1998, when he resigned all of his elected and appointed positions in the ANC.

1 September, President Thabo Mbeki launches the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), better known as the Scorpions, a Business Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). In terms of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 (Act No. 32 of 1998), the DSO is a distinct and autonomous directorate. It works closely with other units including the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and the South African Police Service (SAPS).

September, South African government signs a deal with Saab for 26 JAS Gripen fighter jets for 1.6 billion euros. The deal was later trimmed to 26 planes. Allegations of fraud later arose after Saab disclosed that bribes had been paid in the form of bonuses and salaries between 2003 and 2005 by its South African subsidiary Sanip, which was then controlled by BAE Systems.

December, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is inscribed as South Africa’s first world heritage site as an area of exceptional and outstanding universal heritage significance. The natural values in terms of which the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List include outstanding examples of ecological processes, superlative natural phenomena and scenic beauty, and exceptional biodiversity and threatened species. It has since been joined by other sites, namely: Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, Robben Island, Maloti-Drakensberg Park, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Vredefort Dome, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape.

January, the partnership is formalized by South African National Aids Council (SANAC) to review its two years of work against HIV/AIDS being under the leadership of Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

27 April, The Coat of Arms of South Africa is introduced on Freedom Day. The motto !ke e: /xarra //keis written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people and translates literally to "diverse people unite". A new coat of arms, replaces one that has served South Africa since 17 September 1910. The change reflects Government's aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism.

9 - 14 July, The 13th International AIDS Conference held in Durban presents an important opportunity to focus on HIV/AIDS in the developing world, as South Africa was the first developing country to host the Conference. President Thabo Mbeki opened the conference and insisted that poverty was a greater enemy than the AIDS virus. Hundreds of delegates walked out.

July, Nkosi Johnson (10), a victim of AIDS, speaks to international delegates during the The 13th International AIDS Conference held in Durban and implores South Africa to provide HIV-positive pregnant women with anti-retroviral drugs to block transmission of the virus to children at birth. Johnson died on the 1st of June 2001 at age 12.

1 December, on World AIDS Day the South African government agrees to accept a $50 million donation of the drug fluconazole from Pfizer to treat a brain inflammation associated with AIDS. Recent approval is also given for nevirapine, a drug to reduce transmission of the AIDS virus to a fetus.

5 December, 7 people are killed at 2 polling stations during the second all-race municipal elections. The elections slashed the number of municipalities from 843 to 284 with 6 mega cities, each presided by a single mayor. The African National Congress (ANC) wins at least 59% of the contests.

18 March, the Department of Health declines the offer of a large donation of HIV test kits made by Guardian Scientific Africa Incorporated.

11 April, at least forty-three people are killed in a stampede at Ellis Park stadium, Johannesburg, at a football match between South Africa's two biggest teams, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Two hundred are also injured as people poured into a stadium that is already full to over capacity. Twenty-nine people dies inside the stadium and a further fourteen dies outside. Several children, including eleven year old Rosswinn Nation and thirteen year old Sphiwe Mpungose are under the fatalities.

April, 39 multi-national pharmaceutical companies halt a legal battle to stop South Africa importing generic Aids drugs. The decision is hailed as a victory for the world's poorest countries in their efforts to import cheaper drugs to combat the virus.

1 June, Nkosi Johnson (12), a victim of AIDS, dies. In 2000 he had spoken to international delegates and implored South Africa to provide HIV-positive pregnant women with anti-retroviral drugs to block transmission of the virus to children at birth.

June, Members of the Pan African Congress begins to collect three US dollars from people who occupied of vacant land in Bredell for legal and other support. The government arrests people for trespassing and lay much of the blame on the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), which had offered legal and other support to the people who occupied Bredell.

10 July, The South African government orders the demolition of shacks on the occupied land in Bredell. Between one to two thousand shacks are expected to be destroyed.

30 July, Catholic bishops in South Africa denounce condoms as "immoral and misguided" weapons against AIDS.

30 August, Govan Mbeki, the father of President Thabo Mbeki, dies at the age of 91. He authored the book "South Africa: The Peasant’s Revolt" while imprisoned on Robben Island.

21 November, The South African Government unveils World AIDS Day 2001 campaign, " I care enough to act, do you?" which is derived from the international theme " I care, do you?"

26 November, Joe Modise (72), former defence minister (1994-1999), dies. He helped to establish Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, and served as South Africa's first black Minister of Defence from 1994 to 1999.28 November, The South African Government and the South African Broadcasting Centre have a newly strengthened partnership in recognition of the socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

4 December, Marike de Klerk (64), former wife of former President F.W. de Klerk, is found stabbed and strangled in her luxury apartment near Cape Town. On December 5th South African police arrested Luyanda Mboniswa (21), a security guard.

December 14, 2001 the High Court ruled in favour of Treatment Action Campaign and ordered the Minister of Health to make nevirapine available in all public hospitals and clinics where testing and counselling facilities existed. The High Court also ordered the Minister of Health to come up with a comprehensive programme to prevent or reduce MTCT and to submit reports to the court outlining that programme.

25 March, Pretoria High Court ruled that the government must provide the anti-AIDS drug nevirapine to all public hospitals with the capacity to use it.

11 April, Dr. Wouter Basson, a former head of the chemical and biological weapons program known as Project Coast is acquitted of 46 counts murder, fraud and drug dealing following a trial which took two and a half years.

25 April, Mark Shuttleworth becomes the first South African in space. He was a cosmonaut member of the crew of Russian’s Soyuz mission TM34 to the International Space Station.after a year of training in Star City, Russia.Shuttleworth spent eight days aboard the space station, where he conducted scientific experiments for South Africa. He returned to Earth aboard Soyuz TM-33 on 5 May 2002.

27 April, Steve Tshwete (64), security minister, died. He had been arrested in 1963 and sentenced to 15 years on Robben Island, where he spent time with Nelson Mandela.

1 June, the former South African Cricket Captain, Hansie Cronje (32), dies along with two pilots in a Hawker Siddeley 748 - 372 aircraft which crashes into the Outeniqua Mountains in the Southern Cape. Cronje was on his way home (Fancourt Estate) when he missed his scheduled flight at an Airport in Johannesburg on the evening of 31 May 2002

16 June, The Hector Pieterson Museum opens on Maseko Street in Soweto. The museum is named after one of the first casualties of the march through Soweto on 16 June 1976, when police were ordered to shoot at a crowd of demonstrating students.

25 Jun, South Africa's parliament passed a landmark bill, the Minerals and Petroleum Resource Development Act, 2002 aimed at transforming the country's mining industry by giving the government control of mineral rights.

5 July, South Africa's constitutional court orders the provinces to scale up provision of nevirapine in public clinics and hospitals. The drugs help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV-Aids. Government argued the drug was too costly.

8 - 10 July, More than 30 African leaders gathered in Durban, South Africa to form the new African Union and to bid farewell to the Organisation of African Unity, a much-criticised regional body formed nearly four decades ago to usher the continent out of colonialism.

26 August - 4 September, The World Summit on Sustainable Development is successfully held in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province. It focuses the world's attention and direct action towards meeting difficult challenges, including improving people's lives and conserving natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security. President Thabo Mbeki open the summit with a call for coordinated international action to fight poverty and protect the world's natural resources.

10 September, the Constitutional Court rules that gay couples have the right to adopt children and laws that prevent them from doing so violate their constitutional rights.

30 October, A series of bomb blasts rocks the township of Soweto, South of Johannesburg, killing one person, ripping a hole in a mosque and damaging several railway stations and rail lines running into the nearby city of Johannesburg. The Boeremag (Afrikaner Power) was believed responsible.

November, 52 governments had ratifies and adopt the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Currently 74 governments, including the NGOs and the diamond industry are all committed and legally bound to the UN mandated process. Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is internationally recognized certification system for rough diamonds and establishing national import/export standards. This followed meetings that had begun in Kimberley, South Africa, in 2000. The scheme was fully implemented in August 2003.

9 February - 23 March, The 2003 International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup was co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. This edition of the World Cup was the first to be played on African soil.In the final, Australia made 359 runs for the loss of two wickets, the largest ever total in a final, defeating India by 125 runs.

21 March, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) releases the last volumes of its final report. The Commission’s mandate was extended in 1998 to allow for the conclusion of the amnesty process. The Commission recommended that the government pay compensation totalling $348 million to more than 21,000 victims of apartheid-era abuses.

25 April, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is sentenced to four years in prison for her conviction on fraud and theft charges. She is convicted of 43 counts of fraud and 25 of theft of money from a women's political league.

5 May, Walter Sisulu born in 1912, an anti-apartheid hero, passes away. He brought Nelson Mandela into the ANC and together with Oliver Tambo formed the ANC Youth League in 1944.

19 October, the South African Competitions Commission finds two giant pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline South Africa and BoChringer-Ingelheim guilty of abusing their documented prices for their anti-retroviral drugs.

19 November, South African government approves the long-awaited provision of free antiretroviral drugs in public hospitals. The cabinet instructs the Department of Health to proceed with implementation of the plan, which envisaged that within a year there would be at least one service point in every health district across the country, and within five years, one service point in every local municipality.

9 January, President Thabo Mbeki signs the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act. It imposed a host of obligations on companies that wished to do business with the government.

14 April, South Africa holds its third democratic elections, marking a decade of democracy. A total of 20.6 million people registered to vote, making it 2 million more than the 1999 elections. Approximately 76% of the registered voters voted. The African National Congress (ANC) received 67.7% of the votes.

23 April, President Thabo Mbeki is elected unopposed for a second term. He pledges to fight poverty and improve opportunities for all South Africans after his party scored its biggest victory yet in a decade of multiracial democracy.

27 April, Thabo Mbeki is inaugurated for a second term as president of South Africa on the same day the country celebrates its 10th anniversary as a democratic state at the Union Buildings, Pretoria.

9 May, Brenda Fassie (39), South African singer and diva, dies in her sleep at Sunninghill Hospital.She dies after spending two weeks in a coma. Her death was reported to have been caused by cocaine.

15 May, the president of the Federation of International Football Association's (FIFA), Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, announced that South Africa would host the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The announcement was made in Zurich, where South Africa was represented by a delegation that included Nelson Mandela and Head of the Local Organizing Committee, Danny Jordan.

31 May, ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family receives a diplomatic welcome from South Africa, his new home in exile.

24 August, Mark Thatcher, the son of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, is arrested in Cape Town and charged with helping to finance a failed coup attempt in oil rich Equatorial Guinea. Thatcher was later fined three million rand and received a four-year suspended jail sentence.

7 November, South African athlete Hendrik Ramaala of wins the New York City (USA) Marathon in a time of 2:09:28 Paula Radcliffe wins the women's title in 2:23:10.

6 January, former President Nelson Mandela announces that his son, Makgatho Mandela, had died of illness related to AIDS.

7 March, the municipal council in Pretoria vote to rename the capital to Tshwane. The South Africa Geographical Names Council approved this change of name on the 26 May 2005.

11 March, President Thabo Mbeki nominates Pius Langa to become chief justice after incumbent Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson retires in May 2005. Pius Langa became the first black justice to hold the office.

9 April, In South Africa the federal council of the New National Party, the successor to the National Party, overwhelmingly approves the party's dissolution at a meeting in Johannesburg.

26 May, South Africa Geographical Names Council responsible for names of towns and cities approves plans to rename the capital of Pretoria as Tshwane.

2 June,Schabir Shaik is convicted by retired Judge Hilary Squires at the Durban High Court on two counts of corruption and one of fraud relating to bribes he allegedly paid to influence Zuma in order to win government contracts for Shaik’s company, Nkobi Holdings.In his verdict Judge Squires announced that there was a corrupt relationship between Shaik and Zuma. Shaik served two years and four months of his fifteen year sentence before he was freed in 2009, allegedly on medical grounds.

10 June, Pius Langa (66), a former shirt factory worker is appointed South Africa’s Chief Justice's, marking the appointment of the first black South African to head a court system assailed by allegations of racism.

14 June, President Thabo Mbeki dismisses his deputy Jacob Zuma, after he was implicated in a corruption scandal, throwing wide open the question of who will become the next leader of South Africa. Mbeki appoints Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, his minister for minerals and energy, to replace Zuma.

27 September, Brett Kebble (41), a mining entrepreneur and cultural philanthropist, who has links with the African National Congress is found shot to death in Johannesburg. Jackie Selebi, South Africa’s chief of police, later admitted to being a friend to a confessed drug trafficker Glen Agliotti. Glen Agliotti was implicated in the murder. In 2010 a judge dropped murder charges against Agliotti.

30 September, Mark Scott-Crossley, a white farmer convicted in the murder of one of his former black workers, is sentenced to life in prison. Co-defendant Simon Mathebula is sentenced to 15 years. On 31 January 2004, Nelson Chisale (41), who had been fired two months earlier for apparently running a personal errand during work hours, was beaten with machetes, tied up, driven to a nearby lion reserve, and thrown over the fence.

4 November, South Africa's former deputy president Jacob Zuma is indicted on a corruption charges in a scandal involving his financial adviser Schabir Shaik and two French arms companies.

10 November, The Southern African Large Telescope (Salt) in Sutherland, the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, is inaugurated by the President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. SALT can gather more than 25 times as much light as any existing telescope in Africa, enabling it to detect a candle flame as far away as the moon. It is a 10-metre class optical telescope designed mainly for spectroscopy located close to the town of Sutherland in the semi-desert region of the Karoo, South Africa.

1 December, the Constitutional Court in South Africa rules it is unconstitutional to prevent gay people from marrying, paving the way for the country to become the first to legalize same-sex unions on a continent where homosexuality remains largely taboo.

December 6, former-deputy President Jacob Zuma is formally charged with rape, after a woman, who slept for a night at his residence, files charges with the police.

7 December, the African National Congress accepts the withdrawal of Jacob Zuma, its popular deputy president from leadership duties for the duration of his rape trial.

4 February, Zoliswa Nkonyana (19), a lesbian, is stoned, kicked and stabbed to death just meters from her Cape Town home. In 2011 four men were convicted of her murder. On Feb 1, 2012, the 4 men were sentenced to 18 years in prison.

12 February, South Africa Holds the 2-day summit in Hammanskraal which is the 7th meeting of center-left leaders since the Progressive Governance Network was created in 1999 by Blair and former US president Bill Clinton. British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and 5 other leaders pledges to push for a new global trade deal that will help poor countries.

4 March, after the Local Government elections on the 1st March 2006, the African National Congress (ANC) wins the majority of seats nationwide, with 66.3% of the vote while the Democratic Alliance (DA) takes 14.8% of the votes nationwide. Inkatha Freedom Party took 8.1% of the vote while the new party the Independent Democrats toakes 2.0.May 8, the court finds Jacob Zuma not guilty of rape, agreeing with Zuma that the sexual act in question was consensual paving his way to become the ANC president at the Polokwane Conference in 2007.Judge van der Merwe lambasted the accuser for lying to the court.

24 August, South Africa's cabinet gives the green light for a bill allowing gay marriages, which would make it the first country in Africa and fifth country in the world to accord homosexual couples the same rights as their straight counterparts to allow legal marriages between same-sex couples with the promulgation of the Civil Unions Act. On 30 November 2006, South Africa legalises same sex marriages.

31 October, Former South Africa prime minister and later State President from 1978 to 1989, Pieter Willem Botha, dies peacefully at the age of 90 at his house Die Anker near Wilderness in the Western Cape. He was found dead in bed. In the 1980s he had resisted pressure to release Nelson Mandela from prison.

30 November, South Africa’s parliament approves new legislation recognising gay marriages. South Africa becomes the first country in Africa, and only the fifth in the world, to legalise same sex marriages.

2 January, South Africa officially assumes its seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council following elections held on 16 October 2006 in the United Nations General Assembly. South Africa is selected for the first time as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2007/08.

2 January, Oprah Winfrey opens a school for disadvantaged girls south of Johannesburg, fulfilling a promise she made to former President Nelson Mandela six years ago and giving more than 150 students a chance for a better future.

2 January, Marais Viljoen (91), former president of South Africa (1979-1984), passes away.Viljoen became the last of the ceremonial presidents of South Africa when he was succeeded in 1984 by Prime Minister P. W. Botha, who combined the offices in an executive presidency.

13 April, Health Ministers from various African countries meeting in South Africa adopts a health strategy to deal with the host of diseases on the continent, a dearth of health workers and failing health systems.

6 May, Helen Zille, mayor of Cape Town, was elects as leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) after former party leader Tony Leon stepped down.

10 May, South Africa's common law was rewritten to classify forced anal sex with a woman or girl, previously considered indecent assault, as rape. The statute called Sexual Offences Act was passed in December 2007. In common law, rape was defined by a male having unlawful and intentional sexual intercourse with a female without her consent. Sexual intercourse was defined exclusively as the penetration of the female sexual organs by the male.

14 May, deputies and experts attend the Pan African Parliament in South Africa called for Western countries to help reverse the environmental damage to the continent. African Union Commission’s rural development and agriculture commission director Babagana Ahmadu present a report on the issue to the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand.

22 May, the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill, which is still under consideration, defines rape as any sexual penetration, including of the anus or mouth, without consent - irrespective of the victim or perpetrator's gender. The legislation was finally passed in December 2007.

8 August, President Thabo Mbeki dismisses Deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge following reports that she had gone to Spain to attend an AIDS conference without his permission.

17 August 2007, Former law and order minister Adriaan Vlok and former police chief Johan van der Merwe, together with former Major-General Christoffel Smith and colonels Gert Otto and Johannes Van Staden, appear in the Pretoria High Court on charges of attempting to murder anti-apartheid activist Rev Frank Chikane, by poison in 1989. They receive suspended sentences after pleading guilty to the charges. 29 August, a statue of Nelson Mandela is unveiled outside the Parliament Square in London by Richard Attenborough, Ken Livingstone, Wendy Woods (the widow of Donald Woods) and Gordon Brown, honouring the South African anti-apartheid campaigner as one of the great leaders of his era.

5 October, South African National Prosecuting Authority reveals it had obtained an arrest warrant for the South National Police Commissioner and Interpol President Jackie Selebi in charges related to his dealings with Glen Agliotti who has been charged with murder of Brett Kebble.

18 October, South African reggae star Lucky Dube (43) is shot and killed in an apparent carjacking attempt in Johannesburg's southern Rosettenville suburb.

20 October, The Rugby World Cup which began on 7 September hosted by France, with matches also being played in Wales and Scotland is won by South Africa after beating England 15-6 at State de France, Saint-Denis. South Africa becomes the second country to win the World Cup twice.

21October, police arrests five men in connection with the killing of Lucky Dube and subsequently the men were sentenced to life in prison for the botched carjacking and murder in 2009.

17 November, the G-20 summit begin talks in South Africa focusing on reforming the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

18 December, African National Congress delegates cast their votes for party leader. Jacob Zuma defeats President Thabo Mbeki by 2,329 votes to 1,505 at the party convention and moves into position to become president in 2009.

28 December, the National Prosecuting Authority serves Jacob Zuma an indictment to stand trial in the High Court on various counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud.

21 December, The Freedom Park opens the doors of two of its elements, namely Isivivane and S'khumbuto, to the nation.S'khumbuto bears testimony to the various conflicts that shaped present-day South Africa and remembers those who died during these struggles while Isivivane is the spiritual resting place of those who played a role in the freedom and liberation of South Africa.Freedom Park is a space where South Africans and visitors to the country can reflect on the past, and is an inspiration for the future. It is regarded as one of the most ambitious heritage projects the government has invested in an attempt to encapsulate the heart and soul of South Africa in a physical space.

December, South Africa's Parliament passes the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act, which declares the Northern Cape an "astronomy advantage area", giving the Minister of Science and Technology powers to protect the area from future radio interference.

12 January, South African National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi is placed on extended leave, a day after the National ProsecutingAuthority announced plans to charge him with corruption over his links to a murder suspect.

13 January, South African National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi resigns as president of Interpol and planned to fight corruption allegations.The indictment by the National Prosecuting Authority shows that between 2000 to 2005 Selebi received at least R1,2-million from Agliotti and his associates, including R30 000 from Agliotti a day or two after magnate Brett Kebble was killed.

May 11, a series of attacks against mainly foreign nationals starts in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, Gauteng. This is rapidly followed by others within northern Johannesburg. The spread of xenophobic attacks escalates to settlements in Ekurhuleni and some parts of central Johannesburg, including Randfontein, western Gauteng. On 17 May, the spread of xenophobic attacks reached Durban, KwaZulu”Natal resulting in the displacement of some 2,000 foreign nationals. The Western Cape also experienced attacks against foreign nationals starting on 22 May 2008 in DuNoon. Within three weeks of violence 62 people including South Africans were killed.

12 May, The United States of America (USA) Supreme Court affirms a lower court ruling that multinational companies can be sued in a USA court for allegedly aiding and abetting the former apartheid government in South Africa.

7 July, The governor of the South African Reserve Bank Tito Mboweni announces that Five million bi-metallic coins featuring a smiling Nelson Mandela have already been minted and is to be released into circulation as part of Mandela’s official 90th birthday celebration on Friday, July 18.

15 August, South African authorities in Gauteng begins closing camps that have housed thousands of foreigners displaced by xenophobic violence, in a move that has drawn concern they could face more attacks when they return home.

15 August, South Africa's Constitutional Court has instructs officials in Gauteng province not to dismantle six temporary shelters housing foreigners forced to flee their homes by xenophobic violence, pending a ruling on the issue.

21 August, A statue of former President Nelson Mandela is unveiled at the Groot Drakenstein prison, where he spent a part of his imprisonment, in Paarl near Cape Town.

28 July, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, following approval by the General Assembly, appoints Navanethem (Navi) Pillay as the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. Judge Pillay's nomination came at the end of an extensive selection process, which included consultations with Member States and with the broad-based non-governmental organization community.

12 September, The Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Chris Nicholson, holds, inter alia, that the corruption charges are unlawful on procedural grounds. President Thabo Mbekiapplied to the Constitutional court to appeal the Nicholson verdict which the NPA opposed. Jacob Zumaalso stated that he opposed Mbeki’s application.

21 September, Thabo Mbekihands his resignation letter to the former speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete and announces his resignation as President of South Africa on television nine months before his second term of office expired.

25 September, South Africa's parliament elects Kgalema Motlanthe, former trade unionist, freedom fighter and deputy leader of the ruling ANC, as interim president of a country when Mbeki leaves office.

23 October, South Africa’s National Assembly approves new legislation to disband the Scorpions investigating unit and incorporate it into the police force.

9 November, South African singer Miriam Makeba dies at the age of 76 after a 30 minute performance for Roberto Saviano in the Italian town of Caserta.Makeba's music transcended South African borders and entered the global stage.

16 December, The Congress of the People (COPE) is founded in Bloemfontein. It is a new South African political party formed by former members of the African National Congress (ANC) The party was founded by former ANC members Mosiuoa Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and Mluleki George to contest the 2009 general election.

1 January, Helen Suzman (91), South African anti-apartheid activist, dies peacefully in her home in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. She won international acclaim as one of the few white lawmakers to fight against the injustices of racist rule and nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

30 January, President Kgalema Motlanthe signed legislation that disbands the country's elite anti-crime investigating unit, known as the Scorpions. The unit known as Hawks becomes part of the standard police force.

6 April, The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) drops corruption charges against Jacob Zuma, saying the case had been manipulated for political reasons and clearing the way for him to become the next president without the looming threat of a trial.

22 April, South Africans votes on the fourth democratic general elections. The African National Congress took 65.9 percent of the nearly 18 million votes cast, failing to get its coveted two-thirds of the seats in the 400-member parliament. The Democratic Alliance (DA) won nearly 17% and 17 seats, while the new Congress of the People obtained 7% of the vote. The Inkatha Freedom Party got 5% of the vote winning 18 seats.

6 May, South Africa's parliament elects Jacob Zuma as the country's president. Zuma won 277 votes in the 400 member National Assembly.

9 May, Jacob Zuma is sworn in as president of the Republic of South Africa in Union Building in Pretoria.

18 July, former President Nelson Mandela’s 91st birthday, also marks the inaugural Mandela Day. After the success of the first Mandela Day, the United Nations adopts it as a day for global humanitarian action calling it “Nelson Mandela International Day”.

August, the construction of the MeerKAT Precursor Array (also known as KAT-7) begins on the Northern Cape. The 7-dish array was a precursor for MeerKAT which will consist of 64 dishes of 13.5 meters in diameter, the most powerful in the southern hemisphere.

1 December,President Jacob Zuma announces on World AIDS Day in Pretoria that all HIV-positive babies under the age of one will receive anti-retroviral drugs as part of a huge expansion of treatment.

12 December, Miss World 2009, the 59th edition of the Miss World pageant, is held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.Kaiane Aldorino from Gibraltar was crowned the new Miss World.112 contestants from all over the world competed for the crown, marking the biggest turnout in the pageant's history.

16 December, Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (69) dies at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre and Medi-Clinic ICU. Her doctor, Professor Jeff Wing, announced that she died from complications related to her liver transplant in 2007.

30 December, last South African soldiers who are in Burundi from the African Union Special Task Force still operating in Burundi completed their mission and left the country to return to South Africa.

3 April, Eugene Terre’blanche (69), the leader of the right wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), is attacked and killed by a 21-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy who worked for him on his farm outside Ventersdorp, about 110 km (68 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, following a dispute over pay. The alleged attackers were arrested and charged with murder.

8 April, the World Bank agrees to lend South Africa $3.75 billion to assist with several energy projects, with $3.05 billion allocated for completion of the Medupi Power Station. The approval of the World Bank loan draws criticism for supporting increased global emissions of greenhouse gases

14 May, Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert (70), academic, political analyst and anti-apartheid activist in the apartheid-era Parliament, dies at his home in Johannesburg. The former South African legislator helped chart a way out of apartheid by leading fellow whites into talks with exiled black South African leaders.

11 June, The Soccer World Cup starts in a packed Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg with hosts South Africa taking on Mexico. Host nation South Africa got the continent's first World Cup off to a thrilling start by scoring the tournament's opening goal in a spirited 1-1 draw with Mexico. Approximately 85,000 spectators attended the match while millions watched on the screens all over the country.

22 June, despite a strong performance in beating France 2-1, the hosts, South Africa is knocked out of the competition at the group stage

6 July, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announces that pupils will have the option of learning in their mother language in their first three years of schooling. Children were currently taught either in English or Afrikaans, both languages inherited from the eras of colonialism and apartheid.

11 July, President Jacob Zuma address leaders from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Togo, Mozambique, the Netherlands and neighboring Zimbabwe at an Education Summit in Pretoria, before inviting them to join him at the World Cup final. The summit was the culmination of 1GOAL, a campaign supported by football's governing body FIFA to use the attention the World Cup commands to publicize the need to get more children into school.

11 July, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final takes place at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, to determine the winner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Spain is crowned the winner after defeating the Netherlands 1-0.

29 July, President Jacob Zuma announce that South Africa would stop recognizing half the nation's traditional kings and queens, dismissing them as artificial creations of the apartheid regime. Leaders of the six kingships not recognised areBatlokwa ba Mota: King Lekunutu Cavandish Mota, Free State Bakwena baMopeli: King Thokwane Mopeli, Free State AmaRharhabe: King Bangilizwe Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile, Eastern Cape Amampondo ase-Nyandeni: King Ndamase kaNdamase, Eastern Cape Ndzundza Mabhoko : King Mbusi Mahlangu, Mpumalanga, and AbaThembu base-Rhode in the Eastern Cape.

3 August, Former National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi (60) is sentenced to 15 years in prison on corruption related charges after he was found guilty on 03 July 2009 of receiving bribes to turn a blind eye to drug trafficking, making him one of one of the most senior officials to be convicted of corruption in the democratic era.

2 September, South Africa’s Home Affairs department announces the withdrawal of the April, 2009, special status granted to illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who fled their country's economic meltdown and political violence. The government intends to begin deportations after the 31st December 2010.

12 October, At the United Nations South Africa, Colombia, Germany, India and Portugal were elected to join the other powers on the UN Security Council for two years, starting in January.

24 December, South Africa is formally invited to become a member of BRICS, an acronym for an association of five major emerging national economies playing a key role in the world development platforms known as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

23 March, South Africa’s University of Johannesburg votes to sever ties with Israel's Ben-Gurion University, acting on calls from hundreds of South African academics and intellectuals for an academic boycott in a growing campaign to isolate Israel for its attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. It ends a 25-year relationship on April 1, but professors can continue to work individually with Ben-Gurion.

27 March, South Africa's government Communication department announce that the government is launching a newspaper to rectify media censorship of government information. Its bimonthly magazine will launch next month as a 20-page, free, monthly newspaper called Vuk'uzenzele, which means "Wake up and do it for yourself" in Zulu.

31 March, Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli hands himself over to police and briefly appears in court after a warrant for his arrest in connection with the 1999 murder of Oupa Ramogibe is issued.

18 May, South Africa hold local government and municipal elections in 278 municipalities. With 57.6% voter turn-out, the biggest ever since 1994, the African National Congress won the highest number of seats and councils, 198 councils and 5 633 seats constituting 62% of the vote. The Democratic Alliance came second with 18 councils, 1 555 seats and 23.9%.

31 May, the South African Human Rights Commission finds South Africa's ambassador to Uganda, Jon Qwelane guilty of hate speech for an anti-gay column he wrote before his appointment. Jon Qwelane is ordered to apologize and pay a fine of R100,000 that the Human Rights Commission will donate to a gay rights organization.

June 2, African National Congress (ANC) stalwart, Albertina Sisulu, a to former ANC Secretary, Walter Sisulu’s wife passes away at her Linden home, Johannesburg at the age of 92.

18 July, Former South African General and Defence Minister Magnus Malan (81) dies at his homein Durbanville, Cape Town.

11 August, the government announces it has approved a National Health Insurance proposal aimed at overhauling dysfunctional public health facilities that serve more than 80 percent of the population. The National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme is to be piloted in 10 areas next year and rolled out nationally over 14 years.

2 August, the South African government agrees to a R2.5 billion loan to neighbouring Swaziland, just one quarter of the amount sought by King Mswati III to avoid his government's financial collapse

9 September, a Pretoria regional magistrate sentences Robert McBride to two years imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol and an effective three years imprisonment for attempting to obstruct the course of justice.

12 September, The Equality Court convicts Julius Malema (30), of hate speech and in effect bans the singing of the song, "Shoot the Boer.” The court found he has no right to sing "Shoot the Boer," a song some whites find offensive. The next day the ANC said it would appeal the decision.

21 September, Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli hands himself over to authorities and appears in the Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on fraud and corruption charges. It is alleged that he used a crime intelligence fund to pay salaries and buy houses and cars for girlfriends and their relatives as well as his own relatives, who had been registered as covert intelligence operatives. He is released on a warning.

9 – 10 October, South Africa conducts its third census In October 2012, Statistics South Africa releases the results of its 2011Census, the third official census since the advent of democracy. It reveals that between the first and the most recent post-apartheid census the population grew by just over 11 million to 51.7 million and 79.6% of the population is black.

7 October, in a case which raises concerns about “corrective rape” targeting, four men are convicted of murdering Zoliswa Nkonyana (19) who was lesbian in Cape Town. In 2006 the men stoned, kicked and stabbed to death just meters (yards) from her home.

24 October, President Jacob Zuma announces the suspension of the National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele pending the outcome of an investigation into "unlawful" police lease agreements.

26 October, Palestine’s bid to become a full member of the UN has receives the full backing of South Africa. South Africa reaffirms its conviction that Palestine is a state that Palestine is a peace-loving state, and that Palestine is willing and able to carry out its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.

10 November- African National Congress suspends its youth leader Julius Malema for five years after a disciplinary committee found him guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing divisions.

22 November, the South African National Assembly approves the Protection of State Information Bill despite widespread opposition and question marks around its constitutionality.The outcome of the vote was 229 in favour and 107 against in the 400-member House. There were two abstentions.

22 November, Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa announces South Africa's capital Pretoria will be renamed Tshwane by the end of 2012, with main roads also given names of anti-apartheid leaders.

28 November - 9 December, the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is successfully held in Durban. The conference agrees to establish a legally binding deal comprising all countries by 2015, which was to take effect in 2020.

1December, President Jacob Zuma unveils a plan to halve the number of HIV infections over the next five years. The new plan calls for stepped-up prevention efforts to halve new infections of HIV and tuberculosis by 2016 and to put 80 percent of eligible patients on anti-retroviral drugs to fight AIDS.

7 December, an investigation commissioned by the South African government into the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq clears Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe of corruption, a report released Wednesday said. The probe was ordered by then president Thabo Mbeki in 2006, into what has become known in the country as "Oilgate", to look at allegations of kickbacks sourced by senior members of the ruling party from the State Oil Marketing Organisation of Iraq (SOMO).

14 December, the Specialised Commercial Crime Court provisionally withdraw fraud and corruption charges against Richard Mdluli with no reason given. It later emerges that advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, national head of the specialised commercial crimes unit, instructed prosecutors Sibongile Mzinyathi and Glynnis Breytenbach to withdraw the charges, arguing that the ­police and NPA had no authority to investigate intelligence matters and that the case should be handled by inspector-general of intelligence Faith Radebe.

20 December, African National Congress branch in Limpopo elects Julius Malema to a senior African National Congress post. An ANC disciplinary panel in November found Malema guilty of bringing the party into disrepute, and expelled him for five years. Malema has appealed the suspension and is allowed to stay in the party pending a decision.

7 February, convictions handed down by the National Disciplinary Committee to African National Congress Youth League leaders are upheld by an appeals committee and Julius Malema was given an option to argue for a lighter sentence. As a result Malema was stripped of his title and party membership

11 February, South African Reserve Bank launches a new line of bank notes bearing the image of its first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela (93), on the 22nd anniversary of his release from prison.

20 March, South Africa’s Supreme Court rules in favour of the Democratic Alliance that the National Prosecuting Authority must allow a review of a 2009 decision by its head Mokotedi Mpshe who dropped charges of corruption, racketeering, tax-evasion and money laundering against President Jacob Zuma.

4 April, the National Disciplinary Committee to African National Congress on suspended its youth leader Julius Malema with immediate effect, banning him from all party activities. The temporary and immediate suspension of Malema comes into effect on 4 April 2012.

22 May, Chris Mahlangu, one of the two accused black farmworkers in the April 3, 2010, murder Eugene Terre’blanche, the leader of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) is convicted. Co-accused Patrick Ndlovu, who was a minor at the time of the crime, is found guilty only of house-breaking, and not guilty on charges of murder and robbery.

25 May, the Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation announced that the SKA telescope would be split between Africa and Australia, with a majority share of the telescope destined to be built in South Africa. All of the Phase 2 dishes destined will be built in Africa.

June 12, General Bheki Cele was sacked by President Jacob Zuma for alleged offences of fraud and corruption in handling of leases for police headquarters that were signed at far above market rates. General Cele was found guilty for maladministration and found unfit for the office of National Police Commissioner by Justice Jake Moloi’s independent investigation Inquiry in May 2011.

15 July, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is elected by the African Union Commission as its chairperson, making her the first woman and South African to lead the organisation. She took office on 15 October 2012.

28 July - Members of the white extremist group found guilty of high treason and plotting to kill Nelson Mandela and trying to overthrow government. The "Boeremag" organisation had planned a right-wing coup in 2002 to overthrow the post-apartheid government by creating chaos in the country.

August-October - Police open fire on workers at a platinum mine in Marikana, killing at least 34 people, and leaving at least 78 injured and arresting more than 200 others. Prosecutors drop murder charges in September against 270 miners after a public outcry, and the government sets up a judicial commission of inquiry in October.

26 September - Former ANC youth leader Julius Malema is charged with money laundering over a government tender awarded to a company partly owned by his family trust. Malema says the case is a politically motivated attempt to silence his campaign against President Jacob Zuma, in particular over the Marikana shootings.

5 October - Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) fires 12,000 striking South African miners after a protracted strike over wages.

15 October, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma takes charge of the African Union, the first woman to assume its top leadership.

6 November, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) issued a new series of banknotes in South Africa. The new R10, R20, R50, R100, and R200 banknotes feature a portrait of former president Nelson Mandela on front, while the back of the notes have maintained the “Big Five” animal images that appear on current banknotes. The current and the new banknotes are the same size.

9 November, Bulldozers accompanied by South Africa Police Services destroy homes in Lenasia Township in Johannesburg that authorities say were constructed on illegally sold land, despite efforts by protesters to stop the demolition.

16 December, four white men are arrested and face treason and terrorism charges over an alleged plot that include plans to attack the African National Congress political party conference in Mangaung, North West and kill President Jacob Zuma and others.

18 December, Prosecutors identified the four men arrested for treason and terrorism as Mark Trollip, Johan Prinsloo, Martin Keevy and Hein Boonzaaier during a court hearing in Bloemfontein.

6 January, South Africa government authorises the deployment of up to 400 South African soldiers to the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of a military co-operation agreement between the two countries to help the country's army as it faces a threat from a coalition of rebel groups. Neighbouring countries Cameroon, Gabon and Republic of Congo sent about 120 troops each to help stabilise the country confronted by the rebellion.

19 January - 10 February, South Africa hosts the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, also known as the Orange Africa Cup of Nations for the second time after the original host Libya was stripped of its hosting rights due to the Libyan civil war. It was the 29th Africa Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF)

5 February, South African police arrest 19 suspected Congolese rebels, including two senior members of the M23 group, on suspicion of running an illegal military operation.The group was arrested in Limpopo after an investigation by a crime intelligence unit.

8 February, Police in South Africa arrested the Etienne Kabila as "ringleader" of a group of 19 Congolese rebels who face charges of allegedly plotting a war to unseat Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

Feb 14, double-amputee Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius is later arrested on a charge of murder. He made history at the London 2012 Olympics when he became the first amputee sprinter to compete in the able-bodied Games, running in the 400m and 4x400m relay.

Feb 18, Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Cape Town Dr Mamphela Ramphele, an academic and co-founder of the nation’s Black Conscious Movement, announces the creation of Agang, a new political party "to build the South Africa of our dreams."

6 March, Dirk Coetzee (57), a former commander of the Vlakplaas covert police unit during apartheid-era in South Africa, dies at home in Pretoria. Coetzee had fled South Africa in 1989. He pledged allegiance to the ANC in exile and told the Harms Commission in Britain how he had watched his colleagues murder the student activist Sizwe Kondile and the human rights lawyer Griffiths Mxenge. He returned in 1993 and was a witness at the trial of former police Colonel Eugene de Kock. In testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Coetzee confessed to plotting the 1981 murder of attorney Griffiths Mxenge.

25 March, The presidency announces that 13 South African soldiers were killed and 27 wounded in fighting in the Central African Republic.

27 March, Leaders of the five BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), meeting in Durban, kwaZulu-Natal, agree to create a development bank to help fund their $4.5 trillion infrastructure programs.

2 April, South Africa withdraws most of its 200 troops in the Central African Republic where 13 soldiers are killed when rebels attacked their base.

25 April - The National Assembly voted to pass the Protection of State Information Bill by an overwhelming majority of 190 votes to 75.

30 April, A chartered plane carrying about 200 guests from India to attend Gupta’s family wedding was allowed to land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, bypassing customs procedures. It was later flown to a civilian O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Five South African officials, including police and military commanders, were soon suspended over the incident.

19 August, Pretoria High court formally indicted Olympian sprinter Oscar Pistorius on charges of premeditated murder and illegal possession of ammunition in the Valentine’s Day death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. His will begin on March 3, 2014.

13 October, Julius Malema, former head of the ANC’s Youth League, launches his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in Marikana. Malema formed the EFF following his expulsion from the governing African National Congress (ANC) in 2012 after a bitter fall-out with President Jacob Zuma.

29 October, Mike du Toit, along with four others, was sentenced to 35 years in jail the for his role as a mastermind behind the 2002 right-wing extremist plot to kill former President Nelson Mandela and drive blacks out of the country. The rest of the 20 militia members on trial received 10 and 30 years sentences depending on their degree of involvement in the plot. The judge suspended 10 years of the sentences for some and took into account the time behind bars during the trial.

2013 South Africa observes the centenary of the Natives Land Act of 1913. The Act became law on 19 June 1913, restricting black people from buying or occupying land in South Africa except as employees.

5 December, South Africa’s first democratic elected President Nelson Mandela passes away. He was buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on the 15th December 2013.

16 December, A statue of Nelson Mandela is unveiled outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria, a day after his funeral. It was later discovered that sculptors Andre Prinsloo and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren had added a small rabbit inside one ear as a discreet signature on their work. Officials soon ordered the rabbit removed.

11 January - 1 February, The 2014 African Nations Championship was the third African Nations Championship football tournament hosted in South Africa.

27 January, President Jacob Zuma signs a “DNA Act” to match more sexual offenders, including many who break the law more than once, with their crimes, exonerate the wrongly accused and crack cold cases.

28 January, South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance party headed by Helen Zille announces its intention to merge with the smaller Agang group to jointly challenge the ruling ANC party. Dr Mamphela Ramphele is supposed to stand as the presidential candidate of the new coalition. But this plan was abandoned shortly after a few days.

11February, South Africa issues a black-and-white commemorative stamp to celebrate the life and legacy of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela who died last year.

19 March, the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela finds that some of the R246 million taxpayer-funded refurbishments at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence are unlawful and orderes him to repay part of the cost.

7 May, South Africans votes in the fifth democratic and first "Born Free" election. The African National Congress (ANC) is officially declared the winner of South Africa's 2014 general election on 12 May, after securing 62.15% of the national vote. The Democratic Alliance increases its support nationally to 22.23% followed by newcomers the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) which emerged as the third most popular party after the ANC and DA, with 6.35% of the vote.

24 May, President Jacob Zuma is sworn in at the start of his second term at the Union Buildings.

21 June, Albie Sachs (79), the South African judge who survived a bomb attack and rose to fame for his role in the anti-apartheid struggle, is awarded the Tang Prize, touted as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, for his contributions to human rights and justice.

13 July, Nadine Gordimer (90), a Nobel literature laureate (1991) and anti-apartheid activist, dies at home in Johannesburg. Her work includes 15 novels and volumes of short stories that explored the complex of relationships and racial conflict in apartheid-era South Africa.

28 August, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeals orders the National Prosecuting Authority to release taped phone conversations about corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma.

5 September, A representative of the Dalai Lama said South Africa has denied a visa to the Nobel peace Prize laureate. The Tibetan spiritual leader had hoped to attend a Nobel peace conference in Cape Town during October. This was South Africa’s 3rd denial in five years. The Government denied any wrong-doing.

2 October, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille announces that a planned summit of Nobel peace laureates had been "suspended", citing the government's "intransigence" in not providing a visa to the Dalai Lama.

21 October, In South Africa Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is sentenced to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Feb 13, 2013.

24 October, Mbulaheni Mulaudzi a South African middle distance runner, and the 2009 world champion in the men's 800 metres died in a car crash at the age of 34. He was en-route to an Athletics South Africa athletics meeting when his car overturned.Mulaudzi has been laid to rest on the 1st November at his home village of Muduluni in Limpopo's Mhado-Louis Trichardt area

24 October, Phindile Mwelase, 31, a Light middleweight female professional boxer died following a knockout punch Liz Butler, that put her in a coma on October 10.Mwelase was laid to rest on the 1st of November at her home town, Ladysmith in Emashiswelwaneni, KwaZulu-Natal.

26 October, In South Africa Senzo Meyiwa (27), goalkeeper and captain national soccer team Bafana Bafana, was killed in an apparent robbery when gunmen entered a house he was visiting in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg. He was buried on the 1st November at the Heroes Acre cemetery in Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal Province.

5 December, marks the first anniversary of the death of former president Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 at his Houghton home in Johannesburg.

English Bill of Rights

  1. Freedom from royal interference with the law. Though the sovereign remains the fount of justice, he or she cannot unilaterally establish new courts or act as a judge.
  2. Freedom from taxation by Royal Prerogative. The agreement of parliament became necessary for the implementation of any new taxes. Freedom to petition the monarch.
  3. Freedom from the standing army during a time of peace. The agreement of parliament became necessary before the army could be moved against the populace when not at war.
  4. Freedom for Protestants to bear arms for their own defence, as suitable to their class and as allowed by law.
  5. Freedom to elect members of parliament without interference from the sovereign.
  6. Freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.

Note that the Bill of Rights began by listing the grievances of the nobles against the King. Similarly, the American colonists began the Declaration of Independence by listing their grievances against King George. It was a predecessor of the United States Bill of Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. For example, as with the Bill of Rights, the US constitution requires jury trials and prohibits excessive bail and "cruel and unusual punishments."

Another point is the English Bill of Rights was Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law. Blackstone's law book was the main textbook for law schools in America until 1920 and Jefferson incorporated it's reasoning into the Declaration of Independence, which many consider the preamble to the Constitution. Our rights are given by God and this religious view drove the American revolution.

From John Adams to John Taylor, 17 December 1814

In your fifth page You Say “Mr. Adams calls our Attention to hundreds of wise and virtuous Patricians, mangled and bleeding Victims of popular Fury.” and gravely counts up several Victims of democratic Rage as proofs that Democracy is more pernicious than Monarchy or Aristocracy.” Is this fair, sir? Do you deny any one of my Facts? I do not say that Democracy has been more pernicious, on the whole, and in the long run, than Monarchy or Aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as Aristocracy or Monarchy. But while it lasts it is more bloody than either. I beseech you, Sir to recollect, the time when my three Volumes of “Defence” were written and printed, in 1786, 1787 and 1788. The History of the University, had not then furnis[]ed me with a document I have Since Seen an Alphabetical Dictionary of the Names and Qualities of Persons “mangled and bleeding Victims of democratic rage and popular fury” in France during the Despotism of Democracy in that Country, which Napoleon ought to be immortalised for calling “ Ideology .” This Work is in two printed Volumes in octavo as large as Johnson’s Dictionary and is in the Library of our late virtuous and excellent Vice President Elbridge Gerry where I hope it will be preserved with anxious care. An Edition of it ought to be printed in America. otherwise it will be forever supressed, France will never dare to look at it. The Democrats themselves could not bear the Sight of it. They prohibited it and suppressed it as far as they could. It contains an immense number of as great and good Men as France every produced. We curse the Inquisition, and the Jesuits and yet the Inquisition and the Jesuits are < is > restored. We curse religiously the Memory of Mary for burning good Men in Smithfield, when if England had the been democratical She would have burned many more, and We murder many more by the Guilotine, in the latter Years of the Eighteenth Century. We curse Guy Faulks for thinking of blowing Up Westminster Hall, Yet Ross blows up the Capitol, the Palace and the Library at Washington and would have done it With the same sang froid had Congress and the Presidents Family been within the Walls. Oh! my soul! I am weary of these dismal Contemplations! When will Mankind listen to reason, to nature or to Revelation?

You Say I “might have exhibited millions of Plebians, sacrificed to the pride Folly and Ambition of Monarchy and Aristocracy.” This is very true. And I might hav[] exhibited as many millions of Plebians sacrificed by the Pride Folly and Ambition of their fellow Plebians and their own, in proportion to the extent and duration of their power. Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to Say that Democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious or less avaricious than Aristocracy or Monarchy. It is not true in Fact and no where appears in history. Those Passions are the same in all Men under all forms of Simple Government, and when unchecked, produce the same Effects of Fraud Violence and Cruelty. When clear Prospects are opened before Vanity, Pride, Avarice or Ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate Phylosophers and the most conscientious Moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves, Nations and large Bodies of Men, never.

When Solons Ballanc[] was destroyed, by Aristides, and the Preponderance given to the Multitude for which he was rewarded with the Title of Just when he ought to have been punished with the Ostracism the Athenians grew more and more Warlike in proportion as the Commonwealth became more democratic. I need not enumerate to you, the foolish Wars into which the People forced their wisest Men and ablest Generals against their own Judgments, by which the State was finally ruined, and Phillip and Alexander, became their Masters.

In proportion as the Ballance, imperfect and unskillfull as it was originally here as in Athens, inclined more and more to the Dominatio Plebis the Carthaginians became more and more restless, impatient enterprising, ambitious avaricious and rash till Hanibal swore eternal < Enmity > Hostility to the Romans, and the Romans were compelled to pronounce Delenda est Carthago.

What can I Say of The Democracy of France? I dare not write what I think and what I know. Were Brissot, Condorcet, Danton Robespiere and Monsiegnieur Equality less ambitious than Cæsar, Alexander or Napoleon? Were Dumourier, Pichegru, Moreau, less Generals, less Conquerors, or in the End less fortunate than < him > he was.? What was the Ambition of this Democracy.? Nothing less than to propagate itself, it is Principles its System through the World, to decapitate all the Kings, destroy all the Nobles and Priests in Europe? And who were the Instruments employed by the Mountebanks behind the Scene, to accomplish these Sublime purposes? The Fis[]erwomen, the Badauds, the Stage Players, the Atheists, the Deists, the Scribblers for any cause < and > at three Livres a day, the Jews, and, Oh! that I could erace from my memory! the learned Divines profound students in the Prophecies. Real Philosophers, and Sincere Christians in amazing Numbers over all Europe and America were hurried away by the torrent of contagious Enthusiasm. Democracy is chargeable with all the blood that has been spilled for five and twenty years. Napoleon and all his Generals were but Creatures of Democracy as really as Rienzi Theodore, Mazzianello, Jack Cade or Wat Tyler. This democratical, Hurricane, Inundation, Earthquake, Pestilence call it which you will, at last arroused and alarmed all the World and produced a Combination unexampled, to prevent its further Progress.

India is Called as Democratic country because in india people have the right to elect their representative who forms the govenrnment and runs the government.

Answer: India is called as democratic republic because of the applicable definition of a republic : a form of government in which representative are entitled to act on behalf of the people whom they represent and the ” front cover ” of constitution being the preamble describe India as a sovereign socialist secular …

Democracy's Road to Tyranny

Plato, in his Republic, tells us that tyranny arises, as a rule, from democracy. Historically, this process has occurred in three quite different ways. Before describing these several patterns of social change, let us state precisely what we mean by &ldquodemocracy.&rdquo

Pondering the question of &ldquoWho should rule,&rdquo the democrat gives his answer: &ldquothe majority of politically equal citizens, either in person or through their representatives.&rdquo In other words, equality and majority rule are the two fundamental principles of democracy. A democracy may be either liberal or illiberal.

Genuine liberalism is the answer to an entirely different question: How should government be exercised? The answer it provides is: regardless of who rules, government must be carried out in such a way that each person enjoys the greatest amount of freedom, compatible with the common good. This means that an absolute monarchy could be liberal (but hardly democratic) and a democracy could be totalitarian, illiberal, and tyrannical, with a majority brutally persecuting minorities. (We are, of course, using the term &ldquoliberal&rdquo in the globally accepted version and not in the American sense, which since the New Deal has been totally perverted.)

How could a democracy, even an initially liberal one, develop into a totalitarian tyranny? As we said in the beginning, there are three avenues of approach, and in each case the evolution would be of an &ldquoorganic&rdquo nature. The tyranny would evolve from the very character of even a liberal democracy because there is, from the beginning on, a worm in the apple: freedom and equality do not mix, they practically exclude each other. Equality doesn&rsquot exist in nature and therefore can be established only by force. He who wants geographic equality has to dynamite mountains and fill up the valleys. To get a hedge of even height one has to apply pruning shears. To achieve equal scholastic levels in a school one would have to pressure certain students into extra hard work while holding back others.

The first road to totalitarian tyranny (though by no means the most frequently used) is the overthrow by force of a liberal democracy through a revolutionary movement, as a rule a party advocating tyranny but unable to win the necessary support in free elections. The stage for such violence is set if the parties represent philosophies so different as to make dialogue and compromise impossible. Clausewitz said that wars are the continuation of diplomacy by other means, and in ideologically divided nations revolutions are truly the continuation of parliamentarism with other means. The result is the absolute rule of one &ldquoparty&rdquo which, having finally achieved complete control, might still call itself a party, referring to its parliamentary past, when it still was merely a part of the diet.

A typical case is the Red October of 1917. The Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Workers&rsquo Party could not win the elections in Alexander Kerenski&rsquos democratic Russian Republic and therefore staged a coup with the help of a defeated, marauding army and navy, and in this way established a firm socialistic tyranny. Many liberal democracies are enfeebled by party strife to such an extent that revolutionary organizations can easily seize power, and sometimes the citizenry, for a time, seems happy that chaos has come to an end. In Italy the Marcia su Roma of the Fascists made them the rulers of the country. Mussolini, a socialist of old, had learned the technique of political conquest from his International Socialist friends and, not surprisingly, Fascist Italy was the second European power, after Laborite Britain (and long before the United States) to recognize the Soviet regime.

The second avenue toward totalitarian tyranny is &ldquofree elections.&rdquo It can happen that a totalitarian party with great popularity gains such momentum and so many votes that it becomes legally and democratically a country&rsquos master. This happened in Germany in 1932 when no less than 60 per cent of the electorate voted for totalitarian despotism: for every two National Socialists there was one international socialist in the form of a Marxist Communist, and another one in the form of a somewhat less Marxist Social Democrat. Under these circum stances liberal democracy was doomed, since it had no longer a majority in the Reichstag. This development could have been halted only by a military dictatorship (as envisaged by General von Schleicher who was later murdered by the Nazis) or by a restoration of the Hohenzollerns (as planned by Bruning). Yet, within the democratic and constitutional framework, the National Socialists were bound to win.

How did the &ldquoNazis&rdquo manage to win in this way? The answer is simple: being a mass movement striving for a parliamentary majority, they singled out unpopular minorities (the smaller, the better) and then rallied popular support against them. The National Socialist Workers&rsquo Party was &ldquoa popular movement based on exact science&rdquo (Hitler&rsquos words), militating against the hated few: the Jews, the nobility, the rich, the clergy, the modern artists, the &ldquointellectuals,&rdquo categories frequently overlapping, and finally against the mentally handicapped and the Gypsies. National Socialism was the &ldquolegal revolt&rdquo of the common man against the uncommon, of the &ldquopeople&rdquo (Volk) against privileged and therefore envied and hated groups. Remember that Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler called their rule &ldquodemocratic&rdquo&mdashdemokratiya po novomu, democrazia organizzata, deutsche Demokratie&mdashbut theynever dared to call it &ldquoliberal&rdquo in the worldwide (non-American) sense.

Carl Schmitt, in his 93rd year, analyzed this evolution in a famous essay entitled &ldquoThe Legal World Revolution&rdquo: this sort of revolu-tion-the German Revolution of 1933-simply comes about through the ballot and can happen in any country where a party pledged to totalitarian rule gains a relative or absolute majority and thus takes over the government &ldquodemocratically.&rdquo Plato gave an account of such a procedure which fits, with the fidelity of a Xerox copy, the constitutional transition in Germany: there is the &ldquopopular leader&rdquo who takes to heart the interest of the &ldquosimple people,&rdquo of the &ldquoordinary, decent fellow&rdquo against the crafty rich. He is widely acclaimed by the many and builds up a body guard only to protect himself and, of course, the interests of the &ldquopeople.&rdquo

In the Name of the People

Think of Hitler&rsquos SA and SS and also of the tendency to apply wherever possible the prefix Volk (people): Volkswagen (people&rsquos car), Volksempfänger (people&rsquos radio set), des ge-sunde Volksempfinden (the healthy sentiments of the people), Volksgericht (people&rsquos law court). Needless to say that this verbal policy continues in the &ldquoGerman Democratic Republic&rdquo where we see a &ldquoPeople&rsquos Police,&rdquo a &ldquoPeople&rsquos Army,&rdquo while Moscow&rsquos satellite states are called &ldquoPeople&rsquos Democracies.&rdquo

All this implies that in earlier times only the elites had a chance to govern and that now, at long last, the common man is the master of his destiny able to enjoy the good things in life! It matters little that the realities are quite different. A very high-ranking Soviet official recently said to a European prince: &ldquoYour ancestors exploited the people, claiming that they ruled by the Grace of God, but we are doing much better, we exploit the people in the name of the people.&rdquo

Then there is the third way in which a democracy changes into a totalitarian tyranny. The first political analyst who foresaw this hitherto-never-experienced kind of evolution was Alexis de Tocqueville. He drew an exact and frightening picture of our Provider State (wrongly called Welfare State) in the second volume of his Democracy in America, published in 1835 he spoke at length about a form of tyranny which he could only describe, but not name, because it had no historic precedent. Admittedly, it took several generations until Tocqueville&rsquos vision became a reality.

He envisaged a democratic government in which nearly all human affairs would be regulated by a mild, &ldquocompassionate&rdquo but determined government under which the citizens would practice their pursuit of happiness as &ldquotimid animals,&rdquo losing all initiative and freedom. The Roman Emperors, he said, could direct their wrath against individuals, but control of all forms of life was out of the question under their rule. We have to add that in Tocqueville&rsquos time the technology for such a surveillance and regulation was insufficiently developed. The computer had not been invented and thus his warnings found little echo in the past century.

Tocqueville, a genuine liberal and legitimist, had gone to America not only because he was concerned with trends in the United States, but also on account of the electoral victory of Andrew Jackson, the first Democrat in the White House and the man who introduced the highly democratic Spoils System, a genuine invitation to corruption. The Founding Fathers, as Charles Beard has pointed out, hated democracy more than Original Sin. But now a French ideology, only too familiar to Tocqueville, had started to conquer America.

This portentous development lured the French aristocrat to the New World where he wanted to observe the global advance of &ldquodemocratism,&rdquo in his opinion and to his dismay bound to penetrate everywhere and to end in either anarchy or the New Tyranny&mdashwhich he referred to as &ldquodemocratic despotism.&rdquo The road to anarchy is more apt to be taken by South Europeans and South Americans (and it usually terminates in military dictatorships in order to prevent total dissolution), whereas the northern nations, while keeping all democratic appearances, tend to founder in totalitarian welfare bureaucracy. The lack of a common political philosophy is more conducive to the development of outright revolutions in the South where civil wars tend to be &ldquothe continuation of parliamentarism with other (and more violent) means,&rdquo while the North is rather given to evolutionary processes, to a creeping increase of slavery and a decrease of personal freedom and initiative. This process can be much more paralyzing than a mere personal dictatorship, military or otherwise, without an ideological and totalitarian character. The Franco and Salazar regimes and certain Latin American authoritarian governments, all mellowing with the years, are good examples.

Slouching Toward Servitude

Tocqueville did not tell us just how the gradual change toward totalitarian servitude can come about. But 150 years ago he could not exactly foresee that the parliamentary scene would produce two main types of parties: the Santa Claus parties, predominantly on the Left, and the Tighten-Your-Belt parties, more or less on the Right. The Santa Claus parties, with presents for the many, normally take from some people to give to others: they operate with largesses, to use the term of John Adams. Socialism, whether national or international, will act in the name of &ldquodistributive justice,&rdquo as well as &ldquosocial justice&rdquo and &ldquoprogress,&rdquo and thus gain popularity. You don&rsquot, after all, shoot Santa Claus. As a result, these parties normally win elections, and politicians who use their slogans are effective vote-getters.

The Tighten-Your-Belt parties, if they unexpectedly gain power, generally act more wisely, but they rarely have the courage to undo the policies of the Santa parties. The voting masses, who frequently favor the Santa parties, would retract their support if the Tighten-Your-Belt parties were to act radically and consistently. Profligates are usually more popular than misers. In fact, the Santa Claus parties are rarely utterly defeated, but they sometimes defeat themselves by featuring hopeless candidates or causing political turmoil or economic disaster.

A politicized Saint Nicholas is a grim taskmaster. Gifts cannot be distributed without bureaucratic regulation, registration, and regimentation of the entire country. Countless strings are attached to the gifts received from &ldquoabove.&rdquo The State interferes in all domains of human existence&mdasheducation, health, transportation, communication, entertainment, food, commerce, industry, farming, building, employment, inheritance, social life, birth, and death.

There are two aspects to this large-scale interference: statism and egalitarianism, yet they are intrinsically connected since to regiment society perfectly, you must reduce people to an identical level. Thus, a &ldquoclassless society&rdquo becomes the real aim, and every kind of discrimination must come to an end. But, discrimination is intrinsic to a free life, because freedom of will and choice is a characteristic of man and his personality. If I marry Bess instead of Jean, I obviously discriminate against Jean if I employ Dr. Nishiyama as a teacher of Japanese instead of Dr. O&rsquoHanrahan, I discriminate against the latter, and so forth. (One should not be surprised if an opera house that rejects a 4-foot tall Bambuti singer for the role of Siegfried in Wagner&rsquos &ldquoRing&rdquo is accused of racism!)

There is, in fact, only either just or unjust discrimination. Yet, egalitarian democracy remains adamant in its totalitarian policy. The popular pastime of modern democracies of punishing the diligent and thrifty, while re warding the lazy, improvident, and unthrifty, is cultivated via the State, fulfilling a demo-egali-tarian program based on a demo-totalitarian ideology.

Democratic tyranny, evolving on the sly as a slow and subtle corruption leading to total State control, is thus the third and by no means rarest road to the most modern form of slavery.

What History Teaches Us About Demagogues Like The Donald

Y ou wouldn&rsquot know it by watching cable TV news, but the debate about demagogues&mdashand their dangers&mdashdid not begin with Donald Trump.

Demagogues have been a problem for democracy for 25 centuries, at least since the populist Cleon persuaded his fellow Athenians to slaughter every man in the city of Mytilene as punishment for a failed revolt. Of that particular demagogue, Aristotle wrote: &ldquoHe was the first who shouted on the public platform, who used abusive language, and who spoke with his cloak girt around him, while all the others used to speak in proper dress and manner.&rdquo

Today, as social and mass media feast on over-the-top statements, the incentives for demagoguery&mdashand accusing others of being demagogues&mdashare many. And with populist politicians of the left and right gaining voters&rsquo favor around the world, very old questions about democracy are being raised again.

In advance of a Zócalo Public Square event at the Getty Villa, &ldquoHow Does Democracy Survive Demagoguery?&rdquo we asked scholars and practitioners of democracy from Germany to Uruguay: what can democracies do to guard against demagoguery?

Philip Freeman

Don’t accept easy answers

The greatest danger to democracy is a struggling population in search of easy answers.

By the first century B.C., the Roman Republic had endured for four centuries and ruled over millions of people around the shores of the Mediterranean. It was far from a perfect democracy, but the citizens of Rome had a real voice in their government in contrast to the kingdoms and autocratic empires elsewhere in the ancient world.

But times were hard. Decades of economic downslide, threats from the Middle East, and political infighting had left the Roman people weary of the plodding nature of their government. They were ripe for someone to take the reins of power and shake up the business-as-usual attitude of their senate.

Julius Caesar was a charismatic and unconventional politician who knew what the masses wanted to hear. He used his immense wealth to fight his way to the highest ranks of political power. The old guard politicians of Rome were horrified at his rise and did everything they could to stop him, but nothing worked. The more the establishment spoke against him, the more the common people loved him.

And so the masses cheered when Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C. and swept away the career politicians. He promised to shake things up and he did, but it wasn&rsquot long before he proclaimed himself dictator for life. He was killed on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. But by then it was too late. The structures of republican government had been laid waste and the voice of the people was silenced for the rest of the Roman Empire.

Freeman holds the Qualley Chair of Classics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and is author of over a dozen books on the ancient world, including biographies of Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great.

Loren J. Samons II

Very little&mdashYou can&rsquot have democracy without demagogues.

Democracies breed demagogues.

This has been true since the beginning. Demagoguery emerged in Athens concurrently with the rise of democracy. One might argue that the Greek &ldquotyrant&rdquo&mdasha strong man with popular support who often circumvented or dominated the normal avenues of power in an ancient Greek city-state&mdashoffers a kind of precursor to the demagogue of democratic Athens. Except the Greek tyrant often relied on brute force as much as rhetoric. And it is the use of persuasive speech and the dependence on an electorate willing to be persuaded that marks the primary tool of the demagogue.

As such, in a democratic environment demagogues simply cannot be avoided. They are one of the natural products of a form of government that depends on elections. The most one can rationally hope for is that a majority of the (participating) electorate will identify the demagogue AND reject his or her message. But history, again, teaches us that such a reaction is unlikely.

In fact, the identification of a &ldquodemagogue&rdquo turns out, as often as not, to be an act of demagoguery itself, with those occupying each end of the political spectrum leveling the term against leaders springing from, or appealing to, the other side.

I would suggest that there remains one simple test that will allow voters to identify a demagogue: If the would-be leader promises to give, restore, provide, insure, or enhance a country but never asks the citizens to sacrifice, pay, serve, or simply work, then this leader is a potential demagogue.

By this standard, most national American politicians of the last 30 years qualify as practicing demagogues. John F. Kennedy&rsquos sacrificial challenge&mdash &ldquoAsk not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country&rdquo&mdashstands in ever starker contrast to the endless promises made by both parties today. Of course, Kennedy made that challenge in his inaugural address: that is, after his election.

In the end, demagoguery works when the electorate lacks the integrity and cultural imperative necessary to reject tangible and immediate gain in favor of principles that require sacrifice, effort, and personal responsibility. Democracy, therefore, provides a fecund environment for the reproduction of demagogues. As Shakespeare&rsquos Cassius noted, &ldquoThe fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves . . . .&rdquo

Samons is Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University, where he teaches ancient history, Greek, and Latin. His most recent book, Pericles and the Conquest of History (Cambridge University Press), argues that Athens&rsquo greatest leader depended on and encouraged Athenian nationalism and belligerence.

Daniel Schily

Learn from Germany, and make sure that democracy speaks the language of the people.

A demagogue is first and foremost just a talented popular speaker.

In Goethe&rsquos time, the word had a thoroughly positive connotation. After the failed revolution of 1848, Prince Metternich heavily attacked the famous revolution speakers, in what was known as the &ldquopersecution of demagogues.&rdquo In the subsequent restoration period, free public speech was vilified.

Amongst the middle classes, a self-serving demagogic paranoia prevailed. In public, political topics were discussed briefly, factually, soldierly, so as not to arouse suspicion of incitement of the people.

In contrast, in the theaters and on the stage, an extremely eccentric style was developing. The German late romanticism and early modernism came into fashion. It can still be heard today in the recordings of the Mephisto performer Gustav Gründgens. The music of Richard Wagner belongs to this (Incidentally, as a young man he was involved in republican activities and uprisings.) We also know that Adolf Hitler was an enthusiastic visitor to the opera and theater. He spent years practicing theatrical poses in front of the mirror.

The German experience can be summarized as follows: If problems of the citizens are enduringly hidden in politics, if a political idiom creeps in that no longer means anything to the people, then the time has come for the actor to take to the stage. But not just any actors, actors who are prepared to step down from their personal stage and turn the real life of a nation into a stage. The audience is at first astonished, uneasy about the chutzpah, then charmed and fascinated. Then comes the final step, the transformation of the intoxicated audience into an intoxicated nation.

Regrettably, it is usually the narcissistically damaged actors who become political performers. Hitler, for instance, was constantly torn between delusions of grandeur and suicidal tendencies. He could have been intriguing as Hamlet. As a politician he was a catastrophe.

Is there a drug, or a vaccine? The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany has very intentionally dispensed with the post of a directly elected president, and the government is elected by the parliament. In addition, the Federal Council is not controlled by directly elected senators but by the regional governments. We currently have a chancellor whose theatrical talent is about zero and whose plain, factual tone is virtually a cult. Touch wood!

Schily is one of the co-founders of Democracy International e.V. in Germany. He has dedicated his life to fight for more direct democracy and citizens’ participation.

Melissa Lane

Guard against elitism.

While it has come to be a synonym for a certain kind of bad leader, it&rsquos worth remembering that the word demagogue combines root Greek words that mean simply &ldquoleader of the people&rdquo (demos, or &ldquothe people&rdquo agein, or &ldquoto lead&rdquo).

The pejorative association originated in part in a certain kind of elitism. The &ldquodemagogue&rdquo came&mdashonly gradually, in ancient Greek literary reflections more than in actual political activity&mdashto be seen as someone rising to power with the support of the &ldquocommon people,&rdquo who were looked down upon as the uneducated many by the elite few. Most often, to this opposition of class interests was added an accusation of insincerity: that the demagogue is someone who only pretends to serve the interests of the many (or does so only sometimes). Hence the thought that his or her real aim is to exploit the common people’s support to advance his or her own interests or those of a small coterie.

And to these concerns about overly partisan populist ends, and to cloaked private ends, was added the accusation that a demagogue relies on fraud or force and hides their real purposes under a cloak of populist purposes.

Thus &ldquodemagogue&rdquo can refer to either overly populist and partisan ends or to deceptive or dangerous means or to both. While denunciations of demagogues originated in fear of a certain kind of populism, the danger that &ldquothe people&rdquo will be invoked as a license to exclude or demonize minorities remains a real one.

To resist the unscrupulous means of fraud and force, democracies need citizens, leaders, and journalists who can articulate the expected norms of politics and expose violations of them. Especially effective are exposures of hypocrisy, pointing out when a demagogue pretends to be speaking for &ldquothe people&rdquo but can be shown to be truly committed to the advancement of the interests of a small group or simply to his or her own aggrandizement.

Finally, we should remember that simply slapping the label of &ldquodemagogue&rdquo onto someone does not clarify the specific dangers that they pose&mdashfor as we have seen, the dangers may be ones of ends, means, or both. At the same time, we should take care that in resisting those who do genuinely pose a threat to democratic norms and values, we do not fall into the trap of an elitist condemnation of those groups among the people whom demagogues seek to exploit.

Lane is the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University, specializing in ancient Greek political theory, and author most recently of The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter (Princeton University Press, 2015).

Jason Brennan

Make sure elites and the people keep each other in check.

In general, democracy works because it doesn&rsquot work.

One reason why democracy tends to produce decent outcomes is that educated, elite political insiders tend to control the political parties and the bureaucracy. To a significant extent, these elites prevent the people from simply getting what they want. What we see this year, with the rise of Donald Trump, is what happens when the Republican establishment breaks down, and is forced to run a populist candidate rather than a candidate the savvy insiders prefer.

Demagogues play to popular prejudices and misinformation. There&rsquos little democracies can do to stop them, other than grant elites significant control over the process. Education, information, and political deliberation haven&rsquot done (and won&rsquot do) the trick.

Democracy suffers from an inescapable, built-in flaw. Each citizen gets an equal, but tiny, share of political power. An individual voter&rsquos ballot makes a difference only if she breaks a tie. But the probability she&rsquoll break a tie, in most cases, is vanishingly small. Thus, most voters have no incentive to be well-informed about politics, or to correct their misinformed opinions. They have no incentive to think rationally about politics or to process information in a reasonable way. They have every incentive to indulge their biases and prejudices.

In a well-functioning democracy, elites and the people keep each other in check. To some extent, the elites keep the people from implementing dumb policies, policies the people support only because they&rsquore badly informed. To some extent, the people keep the elites from simply running the government to their own advantage at the expense of everyone else. Many supporters of democracy decry the power of elites. They should be careful what they wish for. Donald Trump is what happens when we the people get what we want.

Brennan is Flanagan Family Chair of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is the author of seven books, including Against Democracy and The Ethics of Voting.

Dr. Rafael Piñeiro

It’s up to citizens to provide accountability.

Demagoguery is a congenic illness of democracy. There is, though, the chance to keep it under control.

Citizens&rsquo alienation and disenchantment with politics breed demagoguery, when parties or the institutional resources available to citizens are not capable of delivering. When politics becomes meaningless for a portion of the electorate, the opportunity for demagogues arises. Although demagogues re-engage disaffected citizens, they, and their political organizations, cannot fulfill their promises. Therefore, demagogues are simply political agents taking advantage of citizens´ frustration with democratic representation.

Keeping parties and politicians in line with the preferences of the citizens is the best possible protection against demagogues. Under democracy, it is essentially up to citizens to make established parties and governments accountable. Institutional instruments like mechanisms of direct democracy, in conjunction with other resources, facilitate collective action and the expression of citizens´ interests.

When democracy fulfills its promises, citizens do not need to turn to demagogues for solutions. Demagogues are not the bad politicians they are just the product of the really bad ones.

Piñeiro is Assistant Professor at the Social and Polítical Science Department of the Universidad Católica del Uruguay.

Lee Drutman

Protect the separation of powers.

In the heady times of Philadelphia 1787, the drafters of the U.S. Constitution struggled to balance two competing insights. Democracy depended on the people but the people were not always enlightened. Shays&rsquo Rebellion was a top-of-mind reminder that bottom-up populist passion could turn to violence. But the top-down power of the awful King George also loomed large.

The Founders resolved these competing insights into a complicated system of checks and balances, an elaborate edifice of tension rods to balance legitimacy, representation, and rationality. The House would be directly elected by the people The Senate would be indirectly elected, by state legislatures The executive would also be chosen separately, by special electors And an independent judiciary would have strong powers of review. And all this on top of relatively autonomous state governments.

To guard against demagogues, the Constitution set up a system that demanded much compromise and negotiation, and relied less on plebiscite power.

Over time, the democratic impulse has weakened some of the initial elitist safeguards. The Electoral College has come to reflect the popular vote. Since the 1913 passage of the 17th Amendment, senators are now directly elected. The legislature has delegated more power to the electoral branch, which has grown considerably more expansive. And the modern 24/7 media has strengthened the focal plebiscite power of the presidency.

But the independent, counterbalancing power of the three branches endures. States&rsquo rights remain strong. And the distrust of centralized power still runs deep in the American political culture. Indeed, for all the criticisms that our complicated system of checks-and-balances is inefficient (it certainly is), it has held together for almost 230 years. All the veto points are also safeguards against the potential power of demagogues. And so far, they have worked.

Drutman is a senior fellow in the political reform program at New America, and the author of The Business of America Is Lobbying: How Corporations Became Political and Politics Became More Corporate.


The presidential election contest of 1840 marked the culmination of the democratic revolution that swept the United States. By this time, the second party system had taken hold, a system whereby the older Federalist and Democratic-Republican Parties had been replaced by the new Democratic and Whig Parties. Both Whigs and Democrats jockeyed for election victories and commanded the steady loyalty of political partisans. Large-scale presidential campaign rallies and emotional propaganda became the order of the day. Voter turnout increased dramatically under the second party system. Roughly 25 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots in 1828. In 1840, voter participation surged to nearly 80 percent.

The differences between the parties were largely about economic policies. Whigs advocated accelerated economic growth, often endorsing federal government projects to achieve that goal. Democrats did not view the federal government as an engine promoting economic growth and advocated a smaller role for the national government. The membership of the parties also differed: Whigs tended to be wealthier they were prominent planters in the South and wealthy urban northerners—in other words, the beneficiaries of the market revolution. Democrats presented themselves as defenders of the common people against the elite.

In the 1840 presidential campaign, taking their cue from the Democrats who had lionized Jackson’s military accomplishments, the Whigs promoted William Henry Harrison as a war hero based on his 1811 military service against the Shawnee chief Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe. John Tyler of Virginia ran as the vice presidential candidate, leading the Whigs to trumpet, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too!” as a campaign slogan.

The campaign thrust Harrison into the national spotlight. Democrats tried to discredit him by declaring, “Give him a barrel of hard [alcoholic] cider and settle a pension of two thousand a year on him, and take my word for it, he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.” The Whigs turned the slur to their advantage by presenting Harrison as a man of the people who had been born in a log cabin (in fact, he came from a privileged background in Virginia), and the contest became known as the log cabin campaign ([link]). At Whig political rallies, the faithful were treated to whiskey made by the E. C. Booz Company, leading to the introduction of the word “booze” into the American lexicon. Tippecanoe Clubs, where booze flowed freely, helped in the marketing of the Whig candidate.

The Whigs’ efforts, combined with their strategy of blaming Democrats for the lingering economic collapse that began with the hard-currency Panic of 1837, succeeded in carrying the day. A mass campaign with political rallies and party mobilization had molded a candidate to fit an ideal palatable to a majority of American voters, and in 1840 Harrison won what many consider the first modern election.

The Transformation of American Democracy: Teddy Roosevelt, the 1912 Election, and the Progressive Party

White Burkett Miller Professor in the Department of Politics and Director for Democracy and Governance Studies at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of.

Abstract: Progressivism came to the forefront of our national politics for the first time in the election of 1912. The two leading candidates after the votes were tallied were both Progressives: the Democratic Party’s Woodrow Wilson, who won the presidency, and the Progressive Party’s Theodore Roosevelt. The election was truly transformative. It challenged voters to think seriously about their rights and the Constitution and marked a fundamental departure from the decentralized republic that had prevailed since the early 19th century. The 1912 election did not completely remake American democracy, but it marked a critical way station on the long road to doing so. In a very real sense, Theodore Roosevelt won the 1912 election: The causes he championed with extraordinary panache still live on today.

I have always been interested in the way elections and parties have shaped America’s constitutional democracy. The 1912 presidential election was one of those rare campaigns that challenged voters to think seriously about their rights and the Constitution. It was the climactic battle of the Progressive Era that arose at the dawn of the 20th century, when the country first tried to come to terms with the profound challenges posed by the Industrial Revolution.

It should be noted that the 1912 election was not a major realigning election: It did not determine the fortunes of parties as decisively—or lead to the emergence of a new political order—as did the election of 1800, the election of 1860, or the election of 1936. But it was a critical prelude to the New Deal and, more than this, a contest that initiated important changes that redefined the meaning and practice of self-government in the United States.

The election showcased four impressive candidates who engaged in a remarkable debate about the future of American politics.

  • Theodore Roosevelt bolted from the Republican Party and ran as the standard bearer of the Progressive Party—or the “Bull Moose Party,” as he famously called it.
  • William Howard Taft, the incumbent Republican President, defended conservatism, albeit a particular form of conservatism that sought to reconcile constitutional sobriety and Progressive policies.
  • Eugene Debs, the labor leader from Terre Haute, Indiana, ran on the Socialist Party ticket at the high tide of Socialism.
  • Finally, of course, Woodrow Wilson, the governor of New Jersey, was the Democratic candidate and eventual winner of the election.

Wilson had a Ph.D. in history and political science—the two were merged at the time—and remains to this day the only Ph.D. to become President of the United States. He ran as a Progressive, posing as a more moderate reformer than Roosevelt but it was Wilson’s academic credentials that captured the popular imagination.

A September issue of Life, a very popular magazine at the time, depicted Wilson as a Roman consul with the owl of learning sitting nearby, and it celebrated him in Latin as “an executive, a teacher, and a spokesman of the people.” This celebration of Wilson’s academic credentials, gilded as a professor and president of Princeton University, conformed to Progressives’ belief that, as the prominent reform thinker and publicist Herbert Croly put it, the best way remake American democracy was “to popularize higher education.”[1]

All four candidates acknowledged that fundamental changes were occurring in the American political landscape, and each attempted to define the Progressive Era’s answer to the questions raised by the rise of a new industrial order within the American constitutional system. In particular, each candidate tried to grapple with the emergence of corporations—the trusts, as reformers dubbed them—embodying a concentration of economic power that posed fundamental challenges to the foundations of the decentralized republic of the 19th century.

During the 1830s, the brilliant French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville had identified local self-government as the foundation of American democracy, but federalism now seemed overawed and corrupted by giant corporations. These combinations of wealth aroused widespread fears that growing corporate influence might jeopardize the equality of opportunity of individuals to climb the economic ladder.

Reformers excoriated the economic conditions of this period—dubbed the “Gilded Age”—as excessively opulent and holding little promise for industrial workers and small farmers. Moreover, many believed that great business interests had captured and corrupted the men and methods of government for their own profit. Party leaders—Democrats and Republicans—were seen as irresponsible bosses who did the bidding of “special interests.”

The fundamental changes that the 1912 election registered and inspired in American politics underscore the importance of the Progressive Party. The party represented the vanguard of the Progressive movement. It was joined by an array of crusading reformers who viewed Roosevelt’s campaign as their best hope to advance a program of national transformation. Not only did it dominate the agenda of the election, but, with the important exception of the Republican Party of the 1850s, it was the most important third party in American history. With the celebrated former two-term President Roosevelt—arguably the most important figure of his age—as its candidate, the Progressive Party won over 27 percent of the popular vote and 88 electoral votes.

This was extraordinary for a third party. No other third-party candidate for the presidency has ever received as large a percentage of the popular vote or as many electoral votes as TR did. In fact, had the Democrats not responded to the excitement aroused by TR and the Progressive Party and nominated their own Progressive candidate—and it took 46 ballots for Wilson to get the nomination—Roosevelt might have been elected to a third term in 1912 as the head of a party and movement dedicated to completely transforming America.

The Progressive Party and “Modern” American Politics

As it was, the Progressive Party pioneered a new form of politics explicitly defined as modern—one that would eventually displace the traditional localized democracy shaped by the two-party system that had dominated representative government in the U.S. since the beginning of the 19th century. Many characteristics of our politics that are conventionally understood as new or as being of recent vintage were born of or critically advanced by the Progressive Party campaign of 1912.

Having been denied the Republican nomination in spite of trouncing incumbent William Howard Taft in the primaries—this was the first primary contest in American presidential politics—TR bolted from the Republican Party. Then he declared in his “Confession of Faith” at the Progressive Party convention, “We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord.”[2]

The religious language was no accident, as Roosevelt was drawing support and inspiration from the Social Gospel Movement, whose members saw the Progressive Party as a political expression of their commitment to promoting Christian social action on Earth. It was, if you will, a religious Left that was very important at the beginning of the 20th century.

Roosevelt and his fellow Bull Moosers defined the Lord’s cause as a new idea and practice of democracy. TR’s crusade made universal use of the direct primary, a cause célèbre. Political reforms had established the popular selection of candidates as a fixture of local, state, and congressional elections during the first decade of the 20th century however, the 1912 campaign was the first time that direct primaries played a significant role in a presidential election.

Prior to TR’s campaign, the direct primary was used to select delegates in only six states: North Dakota, California, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska. All of these states—save New Jersey, which enacted a direct primary law as part of Governor Woodrow Wilson’s reform program—were in the Midwest and West, where Progressive reforms to this point had made the greatest impact.

As a consequence of Roosevelt’s championing the direct primary during his 1912 campaign, many northern states fought fiercely over the adoption of electoral reform. In the end, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, and South Dakota adopted the device. “With the six states in which the system was already in operation,” historian George Mowry wrote, “this made a sizable block of normal Republican states from which a popular referendum could be obtained.”[3]

Roosevelt carried car­ried nine of these 12 states in the primary, accumulating 278 delegates to Taft’s 48 and Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette’s 36. Roosevelt even won Taft’s home state of Ohio by an almost three-to-two margin. But two-thirds of the convention delegates were selected at gatherings still dominated by state party leaders, who much preferred Taft’s stolidity to Roosevelt’s militant Progressivism. With good reason, they perceived that Roosevelt’s celebration of the popular primary presupposed a direct relationship between candidates and public opinion that portended a fundamental challenge to the essential role that party organizations had played in American politics since they had become critical intermediaries in politics and government.

Indeed, Roosevelt’s direct appeal to mass opinion also involved an assault on traditional partisan loyalties, the championing of candidate-centered campaigns, and innovative uses of a newly emergent mass media. There was no television yet, but there were independent newspapers, popular magazines, and movies. The latter, which featured campaign advertisements for the first time in 1912, were especially important in circumventing party leaders and organizations. Movies were still silent, but Roosevelt also made audio recordings of his most important campaign rhetoric that were central to the campaign.

Finally, Roosevelt convened an energetic but uneasy coalition of self-styled public advocacy groups, many of which became core constituencies of contemporary Progressive politics. For example, 1912 was the first presidential election in which African Americans and women played an important part.

All of these features of the Progressive Party campaign of 1912 make the election of 1912 look more like that of 2008 than that of 1908. This is not to argue that so-called modern politics was created out of whole cloth in 1912. The candidate-centered campaign and the biblical assault on corporate power first became an important feature of American politics in 1896, when William Jennings Bryan—the Great Commoner—became the first presidential candidate to campaign throughout the country. He did so by train, and the “whistle-stop tour” became a staple of American politics after that.

What is different about the Progressive Party was that it launched a systematic attack on political parties and the critical role these organizations had played in American elections and government. It championed instead a fully elaborated “modern” presidency as the leading instrument of popular rule. Public opinion, Progressives argued, now buried by inept Presidents and party bosses, would reach its fulfillment with the formation of an independent executive power, freed from the provincial and corrupt influence of political parties.

Prior to the Progressive Era, the executive was considered a threat to self-government. The decentralized institutions of the Constitution—states and the Congress, buttressed by an intensely mobilized and highly decentralized two-party system—kept power close to the people and were thus thought to be more democratic than the executive branch. But in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, TR argued that the President, rather than Congress and the states, must become the “steward of the public welfare.”[4] As a party that embraced and went far in legitimizing new social movements and candidate-centered campaigns, the Progressive Party animated a presidency-centered democracy that evolved over the course of the 20th century and appears, for better or worse, to have come into its own in recent elections.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain channeled TR in 2008. In fact, neither McCain nor Obama would have won his nomination were it not for the primaries and caucuses where rank-and-file voters and party activists, not elected officials and party veterans who dominated the political process prior to 1912, choose the ­candidates.

The Progressive Party’s Assault on Constitutional Government

Roosevelt’s celebration of Progressive democracy was perhaps the most radical campaign ever undertaken by a major American political figure. It was rooted in a belief that localized parties arrested the development of what Progressives saw as the national character of the Constitution.

As Croly lamented, the Democratic and Republican parties “bestowed upon the divided Federal government a certain unity of control, while at the same time it prevented increased efficiency of the Federal system from being obnoxious to local interests.”[5] This was a “state of courts and parties,” as political scientist Stephen Skowronek has put it, for the shackles it placed on the national government and the President were codified by a judiciary that proscribed economic regulations that presumed to curb the worst abuses of big business and to protect workers as violations of “natural rights.”[6]

Progressives charged that the 1905 case of Lochner v. New York, which struck down a New York state law that prohibited the employment of bakery workers for more than 10 hours a day or 60 hours a week on the grounds that such codes violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s right of due process, illustrated all too clearly that a natural rights understanding of constitutionalism simply could not cope with the realities of a 20th century industrial order. Reformers were especially outraged by state court decisions like Ives v. South Buffalo Ry. Co., handed down by the highest court in New York in March 1911, which held that the state’s recently enacted workmen’s compensation law was unconstitutional.

The Ives decision was so disturbing to Progressives because it confirmed the enduring importance of “Lochnerism,” which interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment as a rampart of property that forbade the sort of basic protections against corporate power that had gained currency in most other industrial countries. Although they excoriated the limits imposed on the states’ police power, TR and his Progressive allies believed that only federal authority, in the form of national laws and regulatory bodies, could match the strength of the corporations and trusts.

Reformers acknowledged that popular sovereignty had increased dramatically during the 19th century, but the Industrial Revolution created new economic needs that had to be met. “Our aim,” Roosevelt argued, “should be to make [the United States] as far as may be not merely a political, but an industrial democracy.” This meant, he elaborated, that “we will protect the rights of the wealthy man, but we maintain that he holds his wealth subject to the general right of the community to regulate its use as the public welfare requires.”[7]

Although the high ideals of Roosevelt’s Progressive Party campaign were never achieved, leaving their advocates in some ways bitterly disappointed, the election marked a critical juncture between the Founders’ limited constitutional government rooted in a natural rights understanding of the Constitution and the Progressive vision of an executive-centered administrative state that presumed to give authoritative expression to mass public opinion. That many Americans and their representatives today believe that Social Security and Medicare are not merely policies but programmatic rights that transcend party politics and elections is an important sign that Progressive democracy has become a powerful, enduring part of the country’s political life. For many, rights are no longer pre-political and, therefore, a limitation on government action but instead are subject to changes in economic conditions that require leaders to guide Americans in redefining the social contract for their own time.

The Progressive Party itself had a brief life. When TR refused to run again in 1916, he doomed the party to the dustbin of history. Still, the platform of the Progressive Party and the causes it championed would endure. It was not, as many historians and political scientists assert, merely an extension of TR’s enormous ambition—as enormous as it was. Rather, it represented the culmination of a concerted programmatic effort that began three years before, one that included many reformers who stood at the vanguard of Progressive reform.

For example, the Progressive Party included the celebrated journalist Jane Addams, the highly regarded journalist William Allen White, and the aforementioned Herbert Croly, one of the founders of the important journal The New Republic and arguably the prophet of Progressive democracy. All of these individuals played a critical part in the platform’s creation.

Among the platform’s planks were proposals for national regulations and social welfare—such as minimum wage and maximum hours legislation, restraints on financial markets, protection against unemployment, and security for the elderly—that would not be enacted until the New Deal. In fact, with respect to certain measures, most notably national health insurance, the Progressive Party prescribed core Progressive commitments that remained unfulfilled at the dawn of the 21st century.

During the battle over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted in 2010, President Obama often pointed out that Theodore Roosevelt was the first President to champion a national health insurance plan. Yet TR’s support for a full-blown social insurance state did not occur during his presidency between 1901 and 1909, when his reform ambitions were far more modest. Rather, TR promoted, as the Progressive platform read, “the protection of the home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through a system of social insurance adopted to American use”[8] during the Bull Moose campaign, when he was out of power and scrambling to catch up with a surging movement.

In addition to these social welfare measures, the Progressive Party advocated important political reforms—not just measures to strengthen representative government, such as the right of women to vote and the direct election of Senators, but also reforms dedicated to what TR called “pure” democracy that would remove the constitutional obstacles that obstructed the direct rule of the people. As Roosevelt put it in his “Confession of Faith:”

The people themselves must be the ultimate makers of their own Constitution, and where their agents differ in their interpretations of the Constitution the people themselves should be given the chance, after full and deliberate judgment, authoritatively to settle what interpretation it is that their representatives shall thereafter adopt as binding.[9]

These measures included the universal use of the direct primary, marking a full-scale attack on the party convention system that denied TR the Republican nomination the initiative, which would allow voters themselves to make laws the recall of public officials, which would allow voters to remove their representatives from office before their elected term had expired and, most controversially, popular referenda on laws that the state courts declared unconstitutional.

Although this proposal allowing voters to overturn judicial decisions was limited to the state courts, the Progressives set their sights on national judges as well, calling for an easier method to amend the Constitution. This assault on constitutional obstacles to national reform ambitions anticipated Franklin D. Roosevelt’s court-packing plan, and these measures continue to guide reformers—liberals and conservatives alike—who seek a more direct relationship between government and public opinion.

Varieties of Progressivism

The Progressive Party’s declaration of “pure democracy” was especially important in defining its collective mission. Above all, these proposals unified the Progressive movement and ensured its lasting legacy. As Roosevelt said in his “Confession of Faith,” “the first essential of the Progressive programme is the right of the people to rule.”[10] This right demanded more than writing into law such measures as the direct primary, recall, and referendum. It also required rooting firmly in custom the unwritten law that the people’s representatives derived their authority “directly” from the people.

Then and now, critics of the Progressive Party have pointed to the apparent contradiction between its supporters’ celebration of direct democracy and their pledge to build a full-blown welfare and regulatory state, which presupposed, as Croly admitted, “administrative aggrandizement”—that is, reliance on a powerful and independent bureaucracy. But Progressives viewed the expansion of social welfare and “pure democracy” as inextricably linked: Unlike their European and British counterparts, American reformers were reluctant “state builders.”

As Jane Addams counseled her fellow reformers, there was no prospect in the United States—where centralized administration was a cardinal vice—that the people would grant legitimacy to a welfare state “unless the power of direct legislation is placed in the hands of the people, in order that these changes may come not as the centralized government [has] given them, from above down, but may come from the people up that the people should be the directing and controlling force of legislation.”[11]

In fact, the Progressive Party was seriously threatened by fundamental disagreements among its supporters over issues that betrayed an acute sensitivity to the deep-rooted fear of centralized power in American democracy. For example, the Progressive Party was bitterly divided over civil rights, a division that led to struggles at its convention over delegate selection rules and the platform—struggles that turned on whether the party should confront the shame of Jim Crow. In the end, the party preferred to let the states and localities resolve for themselves the matter of race relations in the U.S.

The Progressive Party also waged a fractious struggle at its convention over the appropriate methods to tame big business, especially the trusts that had obtained monopoly power over entire industries. This was a contest to determine whether an interstate trade commission, vested with considerable administrative discretion, should regulate business practices or whether that reform would be better achieved through aggressive federal and state efforts to dismantle powerful business interests.

Led by Roosevelt, the militant New Nationalists, as they called themselves, prevailed, pledging that the party would regulate rather than dismantle corporate power. But this disagreement carried over to the general election. The Democratic Party, under the guidance of their candidate for President Woodrow Wilson and his adviser Louis Brandeis, embraced the New Freedom version of Progressivism, which prescribed antitrust measures and state regulations as an alternative to the expansion of national administrative power.

Anticipating the debate of our own time about whether corporations can grow too big to fail, Wilson and Brandeis argued that the American people would not accept the aggrandizement of national administrative power that would be required to control immense trusts. Although Wilson and Brandeis hoped that much reform to ameliorate corporate abuses could occur at the state level, they recognized that national action was necessary as well. But rather than creating a regulatory juggernaut, New Freedom Progressives called for tariff reform, which would disentangle the unsavory partnership between business and government that restricted international trade, and stronger anti-trust laws, which would empower the Justice Department and courts to break up corporations that held monopoly power. A sign of the Democratic Progressives’ anti-statism was that Wilson ran on a platform calling for a constitutional amendment that would establish a one-term limit for the President.

Progressivism and the “Rule of the People”

In the final analysis, then, the Progressive Party’s program disguised fundamental disagreements among leading Progressive reformers about the critical issue of the national government’s role in regulating the economy and society. There was, however, one party doctrine that unified the disparate strands of Progressivism: rule of the people. Sensing that pure democracy was the glue that held together the movement he sought to lead, Roosevelt made the cause of popular rule the centerpiece of his insurgent presidential campaign.

This program itself was highly controversial, in particular the plan calling for popular referenda on court decisions, but TR’s championing of an unvarnished majoritarianism was even more controversial than the Progressive Party’s platform. In September, he announced during a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, that he would go even further than the Progressive Party platform in promoting the recall of public officials: He would apply the recall to everybody, including the President!

Roosevelt “stands upon the bald doctrine of unrestricted majority rule,” the Nation warned. “But it is just against the dangers threatened, by such majority rule, in those crises that try the temper of nations, that the safeguard of constitutional government as the outgrowth of the ages of experience has been erected.”[12] Even the Great Commoner blushed: Plebiscitary measures such as the recall and referendum, Bryan insisted, should be confined to the states.

Roosevelt’s defense of direct democracy infused his campaign with deep constitutional significance. In its ambition to establish a direct relationship between public officials and mass public opinion, the Progressive program seemed to challenge the very foundation of republican democracy that James Madison prescribed in the Federalist Papers: the idea, underlying the U.S. Constitution, that space created by institutional devices such as the separation of powers and federalism allowed representatives to govern competently and fairly and that the task of representatives was not to serve public opinion, but rather, as Madison put it in Federalist 10, “to refine and enlarge the public views.”

Madison’s constitutional sobriety had not gone unchallenged prior to 1912. Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln all championed, as Jefferson put it, “the people in mass.”[13] Indeed, Lincoln acknowledged during the debate over slavery that “public opinion in this country is everything.”[14] But these great reformers of the 19th century believed public opinion should be filtered by political parties and the states. In contrast, TR’s Progressivism threatened to sweep all intermediary institutions off the stage, to usher in a cult of personality—or, as the Progressive political scientist Charles Merriam candidly put it, “a democratic Caesarism.”[15]

Taft’s Constitutional Progressivism

In the face of Roosevelt’s powerful challenge to the prevailing doctrine and practices of representative government in the U.S., the burden of defending constitutional sobriety fell most heavily on William Howard Taft. In a certain real sense, the most important exchange in the constitutional debate of 1912 was between TR and Taft—a struggle that flared in the battle for the Republican nomination.

Taft did not take easily to this contest with TR. He thought it humiliating to be the first President to have to campaign for his party’s nomination. He was personally offended—even brought to tears, the press tells us. After all, Roosevelt had passed the Progressive scepter to him in 1908. He was TR’s heir apparent.

As a member of TR’s Cabinet—he was Secretary of War—Taft had supported the pragmatic Progressive program that TR had pushed while he was in the White House, when Roosevelt worked for specific proposals such as moderate railroad reform (the 1906 Hepburn Act) within existing constitutional boundaries and with the cooperation of the Republican Party. Now Taft found his own efforts to carry on further pragmatic and constitutional reforms the object of scorn as a result of TR’s celebration of pure democracy. “The initiative, the referendum, and the recall, together with a complete adoption of the direct primary as a means of selecting nominees and an entire destruction of the convention system are now all made the sine qua non of a real reformer,” Taft lamented. “Everyone who hesitates to follow all of these or any of them is regarded with suspicion and is denounced as an enemy of popular government and of the people.”[16]

And yet Taft’s very hesitation enabled him to find honor in the charge of conservatism leveled against him. Even as TR’s defense of direct democracy found great favor throughout the country, Taft resisted the attempt “to tear down all the checks and balances of a well, adjusted, democratic, constitutional, representative government.”[17]

Although not uncritical of prevailing partisan practices, Taft considered political parties a vital part of a “well adjusted” form of American democracy: “the sheet anchor of popular government.”[18] Competition between two parties refined checks and balances in American constitutional government, transforming narrow factionalism into contests of principle.

The Progressives’ attack on representative institutions called forth a new understanding of Republican conservatism. His was a “progressive conservatism,” Taft claimed, which was rooted less in a defense of business, as formulated by former President William McKinley and Republican Senator Mark Hanna, than it was leavened by a Whiggish—that is, a more legalistic—understanding of ordered liberty. “The real usefulness of the Republican Party,” Taft argued, “consisted in its conservative tendencies to preserve our constitutional system and prevent its serious injury.”[19]

Such a defense of constitutional forms was not reactionary, Taft insisted only “conservative progressive government” buttressed by constitutional forms made lasting reform possible. Roosevelt’s proposal to wed national regulation and mass opinion would undermine the foundation of a free enterprise system, providing “no means of determining what is a good trust or a bad trust.” Offering no guide other than that of “executive discretion exercised for the good of the public,” Roosevelt’s Progressive democracy amounted “to nothing but the establishment of a benevolent despotism.”[20]

Taft’s ultimate fear was that an executive tribunal would jeopardize the right of property. Without the right of property and constitutional protection of minority rights, he believed, an excited and untrammeled majority aroused by a demagogue would ride roughshod over the “unalienable rights” championed by the Declaration of Independence, “taking away from the poor man the opportunity to become wealthy by the use of the abilities that God has given him, the cultivation of the virtues with which practice of self-restraint and the exercise of moral courage will fortify him.”[21]

The danger he saw in TR’s “pure democracy” was a constant source of strife in the cyclical life of the ancient republics: the same threat, Taft claimed, that motivated the Founders toward a properly checked and balanced republican government. As the President warned his fellow Republicans at a Lincoln day celebration in 1912:

With the effort to make the selection of candidates, the enactment of legislation, and the decision of the courts depend on the momentary passions of the people necessarily indifferently informed as to the issues presented, and without the opportunity to them for time and study and that deliberation that gives security and common sense to the government of the people, such extremists would hurry us into a condition which would find no parallel except in the French revolution, or in that bubbling anarchy that once characterized the South American Republics. Such extremists are not progressives—they are political emotionalists or neurotics—who have lost that sense of proportion, that clear and candid consideration of their own weaknesses as a whole, and that clear perception of the necessity for checks upon hasty popular action which made our people who fought the Revolution and who drafted the Federal Constitution, the greatest self-governing people that the world ever knew.[22]

Support for “pure democracy,” Taft charged, found its “mainspring” in the very same “factional spirit” that James Madison warned against in his celebrated discussion of republican government in Federalist 10: an unruly majority that would “sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.”

Despite Taft’s indictment that the Progressives threatened to trash the Constitution, and despite the hope of TR’s political enemies that such a bold campaign would kill him politically, it was not Roosevelt but Taft who suffered humiliating defeat. TR thrashed him in the primary contests, even in Taft’s home state of Ohio. In the general election, Taft won only two states, Utah and Vermont, garnering 23.2 percent of the popular vote. In contrast, although his most radical proposals would never be implemented, TR’s strong showing—he came in second to Wilson—and dominant presence in that campaign signaled the birth of a modern, mass democracy in the United States, one that placed the President, whose authority rested in national public opinion, rather than Congress, the states, or political parties at the center of American democracy.

Indeed, in the wake of the excitement aroused by the Progressive Party, Wilson, whose New Freedom campaign was far more sympathetic to the decentralized state of courts and parties than TR’s, felt compelled (or embraced the opportunity) as President to govern as a New Nationalist Progressive. Wilson quickly abandoned the Democratic Party’s platform plank that called for a constitutional amendment to limit the President to one term. He said nothing about the term limits provision prior to Election Day but now argued, much as Roosevelt had throughout his insurgency campaign, that it would betray the critical need for a strong executive in a nation transformed by the Industrial Revolution.

The proper task, Wilson insisted, was to reconstitute the executive as the embodiment of popular will. As he lamented to Representative A. Mitchell Palmer of Pennsylvania in February 1913, Progressive Democrats “are seeking in every way to extend the power of the people, but in the matter of the Presidency we fear and distrust the people and seek to bind them hand and foot by rigid constitutional provision.”[23] Hoping to deflate support for a single term, Wilson proposed a national primary that, rather than diminish the exercise of executive power, would make it more democratic.

Having embraced Roosevelt’s concept of the executive as steward of the people, Wilson also supported the idea of a regulatory commission with broad responsibilities for overseeing business practices, resulting in the creation in 1915 of the Federal Trade Commission. In addition, in 1913, Wilson and the Democratic Congress enacted the Federal Reserve Act, which established a board to oversee the national banking and currency system. Under the editorial leadership of Croly, the New Republic celebrated rather than scorned the inconsistency of Wilson and the Democrats: “The Progressive party is dead, but its principles are more alive than ever, because they are to a greater extent embodied in the official organization of the nation.”[24]

The New “Voice of the People”

Taft and Wilson, as well as most Democrats and Republicans, were surprised that Roosevelt’s provocative campaign for pure democracy was so well received in many parts of the country. Communicated directly to voters through a newly emergent mass media—the independent newspapers, popular magazines, audio recordings, and movies that Progressives used so skillfully—the Bull Moose campaign resonated especially well in urban and industrial counties with the highest rate of population growth. As a result, Roosevelt’s support appeared to reveal how the Progressive commitments to political and social reform appealed to those who best represented the future of the country, just as Wilson and (even more so) Taft tended to celebrate the virtues of the decentralized republic of the past.

Progressives insisted, with considerable political effect, that they did not seek to destroy the Constitution. Rather, they argued that they sought to revitalize and democratize the Constitution and to restore the dignity of the individual in the face of the Industrial Revolution and the hard challenges it posed for constitutional government.

In their earlier calls for reforms, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln drew inspiration from the Declaration and Bill of Rights, championing an understanding of natural rights that recognized the importance of maintaining limited constitutional government. The Progressives were the first reformers to emphasize the Preamble of the Constitution. Their task, they claimed, was to make practical the exalted yet elusive idea of “We the people.”

This idea would receive its highest expression in the autonomous political executive freed from the gravitational pull of party-dominated legislatures and lawyer-dominated courts. As the Progressive journal The Arena put it, echoing the Jacksonians: “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” But they added: “This means the voice of the whole people.”[25] Rejecting the partisan and sectional disputes that hitherto had characterized American democracy, Progressives promised a “living Constitution” that would empower the President, as steward of the “whole people,” to meet the imposing domestic and international challenges of modern America.

The Progressive Party’s attempt to join heroic popular leadership and effective government received welcome support in its well-publicized endorsement by Thomas Edison. In going through the archives, I learned that the famed inventor contributed $100 to its cause, but his endorsement was worth far more. A mark of his celebrity was that a 1913 readers’ poll conducted by Independent magazine rated him “the most useful contemporary American.”[26] His allegiance was announced with great fanfare by The New York Times in an article with the appropriate headline, “Edison discovers he is a Bull Mooser.”[27]

Although constitutional conservatives like President Taft feared Progressive democracy’s faith in public opinion, Edison saw it as a virtue, especially as it would free the country to experiment politically. His experiments led to electric light bulbs replacing gas lights by the same token, Edison claimed, the Progressive Party heralded the displacement of party politics—the political anchor of limited constitutional government—by democratic innovations such as the referendum and recall. Such political experimentation, Edison insisted, celebrated rather than denigrated American individualism.

Progressivism and Socialism in the 1912 Election

Paradoxically, TR’s more radical critics on the Left agreed, albeit grumpily, that Progressive democracy did not pose a radical threat to the American political tradition. Eugene Debs attacked the Progressive Party as a “reactionary protest of the middle classes, built largely upon the personality of one man and not destined for permanence.”[28]

The Progressive Party’s fragility stemmed not just from TR’s notoriety, Debs argued, but also from the flimsy doctrine that underlay its campaign. Although the Bull Moose platform endorsed many of the more moderate objectives supported by the Socialist Party—the regulation of hours and wages the prohibition of social insurance that would protect against the hazards of old age, sickness, and unemployment and equal suffrage for men and women—Debs insisted that these limited measures were badly compromised by Roosevelt’s celebration of “pure democracy” as the centerpiece of his crusade.

Though supportive of political reform, Debs had long considered devices such as the referendum a very small part of the Socialist Party program. “You will never be able, in my opinion, to organize any formidable movement upon [the referendum] or any other single issue,” he wrote in 1895:

The battle is narrowing down to capitalism and socialism, and there can be no compromise or half way ground …. Not until the workingman comprehends the trend…of economic development and is conscious of his class interests will he be fit to properly use the referendum, and when he has reached that point he will be a Socialist.[29]

Given his view of Progressivism, Debs was chagrined that TR “stole the red flag of socialism”[30] to symbolize his fight for the rule of the people. Debs had good reason to regret that Roosevelt selected the red bandanna handkerchief as a symbol of the Progressive Party. Like President Obama today, Roosevelt was often accused of being a stalking horse for socialism, but he and his Progressive allies insisted that, to the contrary, their movement—promising to reform rather than destroy capitalism—was a necessary antidote to a more radical solution.

In fact, Roosevelt’s most dramatic speech in this campaign came in October in Milwaukee, a hotbed of Socialism. Although he was nearly assassinated while standing in a car outside the hotel, waiting to go to the Milwaukee Auditorium, he insisted on giving the speech anyway.

Roosevelt’s determination to keep this appointed hour with a bullet in his chest not only brought the “bloody shirt” to a new level, but also was a remarkable effort to establish himself as the martyr of Progressivism. Although the would-be assassin, John Schrank, had no known connections to any political movement, Roosevelt denied, as he would repeatedly afterward, that the attempt on his life was the random act of a madman. Rather, it was an act of violence related to, if not directly caused by, the advent of raw and disruptive class conflict in the country. Only the Progressive Party, TR insisted, seeking to forge a third way between socialism and laissez faire—between the “greed” of the “haves” and the “have nots”—could stave off the violent confrontation foreshadowed by the attempt on his life.

“Roosevelt’s performance,” historian Patricia O’Toole has written, “was an astonishing effort to capitalize on the moment.”[31] With this dramatic stroke and his effective appeal to the whole people, TR stole the thunder of the Socialist movement just as it was becoming an important force in American politics. Although Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs received 6 percent of the popular vote—the most votes a Socialist presidential candidate had ever gotten—he would by all accounts have received many more votes were it not for the preemption of the Progressive Party.

Political scientists and historians have forever asked the question of “Why no Socialism in America?” I think the Progressive Party is an important part of the answer. We can, of course, debate whether Progressivism, as Taft and his supporters argued, posed a more insidious threat to representative constitutional government. I will close instead by saying that TR and the Progressives’ successful positioning of their party as a reform alternative to Socialism—and this under circumstances of great economic stress—goes far to explain why the 1912 election initiated a critical transformation of American democracy.

Sidney M. Milkis is White Burkett Miller Professor in the Department of Politics and Director for Democracy and Governance Studies at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books, including Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy (2009).

[1]. Herbert Croly, Progressive Democracy (New York: Macmillan, 1914), p. 377.

[2]. Proceedings of the First National Convention of the Progressive Party, August 5, 6, and 7, 1912, Progressive Party Archives, Theodore Roosevelt Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

[3]. George Mowry, Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Movement (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1964), p. 228.

[4]. The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed. (New York: Scribner’s, 1926), Vol. 17, p. 19.

[5]. Croly, Progressive Democracy, p. 347.

[6]. Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877–1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 41.

[7]. Theodore Roosevelt, “A Charter for Democracy,” address before the Ohio Constitutional Convention at Columbus, Ohio, February 21, 1912, Roosevelt Collection.

[8]. Draft platform with handwritten changes by TR and “A Contract with the People,” Platform of the Progressive Party, adopted at its First National Convention, August 7, 1912, Progressive Party Publications, 1912–1916 both in Roosevelt Collection.

[9]. Proceedings of the First National Convention of the Progressive Party.

[11]. Jane Addams, “Social Justice Through National Action,” speech delivered at the Second Annual Lincoln Day Dinner of the Progressive Party, New York City, February 12, 1914, printed manuscript located in Jane Addams Papers, File 136, Reel 42.

[12]. “Let the People Rule!” The Nation, September 26, 1912, p. 277.

[13]. Thomas Jefferson, letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Poplar Forest, September 6, 1819.

[14]. Abraham Lincoln, speech at Columbus, Ohio, September 16, 1859.

[15]. Charles E. Merriam, A History of American Political Theories (New York: Macmillan, 1903), pp. 305–333.

[16]. William Howard Taft, “The Sign of the Times,” address given before the Electrical Manufacturers Club, Hot Springs, Virginia, November 6, 1913, William Howard Taft Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

[17]. Statement dictated by the President for Harry Dunlop, for publication in the New York World, November 14, 1912, Taft Papers.

[19]. William Howard Taft to Charles P. Taft, May 14, 1913, Taft Papers.

[20]. Address of William H. Taft, April 25, 1912, Senate Document 615, 62nd Cong., 2nd Sess., 1912, pp. 3–8.

[21]. William Howard Taft, address at the banquet of the Republican Club, New York, February 12, 1912, Taft Papers.

[23]. Woodrow Wilson, “A Campaign Speech on New Issues, Hartford, Connecticut,” in Arthur S. Link, ed., The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978), Vol. 25, p. 235.

[24]. Editorial, “The Democrats as Legislators,” The New Republic, September 2, 1916, p. 103.

[25]. William Helmstreet, “Theory and Practice of the New Primary Law,” Arena, Vol. 28, No. 6 (December 1902), p. 592 (emphasis in original).

[26]. See Eldon Eisenach, The Lost Promise of Progressivism (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1994), p. 41.

[27]. “Edison Discovers He’s a Bull Mooser,” The New York Times, October 7, 1912.

[28]. Quoted in “The New Party Gets Itself Born,” Current Literature, September 1912, p. 256.

[29]. Letter to the Editor, Social Democratic Herald, November 19, 1898, Eugene V. Debs Papers, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana.

[30]. Eugene V. Debs, “The Greatest Political Campaign in American History,” St. Louis Campaign Opening Speech, July 6, 1912, Eugene V. Debs Papers, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana.

[31]. Patricia O’Toole, When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), p. 218.

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