Majority Rule vs. Minority Rights

The major principle of democracy is the majority rule, with respect for minority rights.  The USA is one of the democratic countries where this principle is implemented, but it is obvious that it is very difficult to balance the power of the majority and rights of the minority.  In fact, the majority rule means that the majority gains the access to the executive, legislative and judicial power.  As a rule, “the majority” means the majority of the population of the USA, or its representatives in the eligible bodies of power, such as the House of Representatives.  The majority directly, or through its representatives, can administer the life of the entire country at all levels.  At the same time, the minority is the minority of the population of the USA and its representatives in the eligible bodies of power, who are normally in the opposition to the ruling majority. The minority rights imply that the rule of the majority is not absolute.  The majority has to respect rights and interests of minority and, more so, it cannot violate legal norms or oppress rights of the minority.  The Minority, in its turn, can protect its rights using the public counter action or the judicial power.

The concept of the majority rule and minority rights is incorporated in the US Constitution, which implies that the majority rule should be accompanied by certain control from the part of the minority which has its own rights.  For instance, the Article 1, section 5 of the US Constitution reads as follows:

“Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.” (Article 1:5)

In such a way, the majority in each House rules, but the minority has its own rights. At this point, it should be said that the majority has to respect minority rights.

Moreover, the President of the US is elected by the majority of votes:

“The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in choosing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote.”Â  (Article 2:1)

However, the rights of minority are respected through the counting of each state as one vote ensuring the representation of each state.

In addition, the US laws contributed to the protection of the minority rights. It is worth mentioning the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which granted Americans with disabilities with equal rights compared to the rest of the American society and ensured the protection of their civil rights. Moreover, the Fair Employment Act of 1941 ensured the protection of minority rights in the field of employment.

The principle of majority rule and minority rights is very important.  For instance, the Presidential elections in the USA can lead to the win of the candidate who takes the majority of the states’ votes, although these states may have the minority of population.  Or else, the majority cannot have a total control over the legislative power and allow the minority access to power as it is defined in the article 1 of the US Constitution.  In such a way, the US democracy is based on the principle of the majority rule, with respect for minority rights.

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