J Oswald wrote:1. Please provide evidence that 'most countries in the early 20th century' were contemporarily considered 'liberal democracies.'
I am talking about the free world. Not about African colonies, for example. The phase of liberal revolutions in the world came mostly in the 19th century. Later, especially after the 1920s, Europe and most of the world saw a transition towards authoritarianism. But there should be no doubt that democratic systems were already established in most of the world. Even if the American founding fathers did not favor democracy, the US was already governed solely (or majorly, depending on interpretation) by elected officials. The British Parliament was already elected. Brazil was already a constitutional monarchy. All Hispanic nations, despite all the flaws in their constitutions and coups, had liberal constitutions providing elected governments. France reached universal suffrage in 1848. And the US only really reached universal suffrage in 1920, universal male suffrage in 1870. Yet it was considered a democracy before that. Italy and Germany adopted liberal constitutions after unification.
By the turn of the century, most of the free world had already implemented universal male suffrage. If I'm not mistaken, some countries implemented that in the early 20th century, but I could be wrong about that. And no, I'm not gonna research on such a minor point.
2. Please provide evidence of an 'early liberal thinker' who defined 'democracy' as the 'power of the commoners and bourgeoisie.' It will be very surprising if you can, considering that 'democracy' in the 18th century was synonymous with mob rule (for example, in the works of Burke) and the chaos of the French Revolution. You will find no mention of democracy even in the French Constitution of 1791.
Democracy, in the 19th century, was understood as universal male suffrage. Anyway, perhaps you have misread my post. I didn't say what early liberal thinkers considered democracy to be. I simply mentioned it, and proceeded to discuss what democracy is understood to be. Many (if not most) early liberal theorists were against the concept of democracy, for several reasons. Late 19th century liberals were mostly in favor of democratic ideals, though. Or at least the few I know were.
3. It's plain from this paragraph that your understanding of the Glorious Revolution is severely flawed. The Glorious Revolution did not in any way open the franchise for election to the House of Commons, which was still restricted to wealthy landowners and minor nobles. The House of Lords, of course, was filled by hereditary right. Elections, both before and after the Glorious Revolution, were still restricted to the aristocracy and gentry.
I'm not denying that. In fact, that is exactly my point. It is not my understanding of the Glorious Revolution that is flawed, it is your ability to read what I just posted. Or at least in that particular stance. I did not
say that the Revolution led to elections in the House of Commons at all.What I said was precisely that the Commons had been an elected body since the 13th century. And yes, voting continued to be censitary, I did not claim universal suffrage was in place at all. If I'm not mistaken, Britain did not adopt universal suffrage until after the 1950s.
My point was that who was supposed to be included under suffrage in order to constitute a representative democracy changed with time. I mean, seriously, would you disagree that the US was democratic before blacks and women got the right to vote, for example?
Patently false. The concept of a constitutional monarchy predates the concept known as liberalism by centuries. In England/Great Britain, it dates back to Magna Carta. Are you going to claim that the monarchy under James I was liberal?
This is completely untrue. I have never heard of a single stance in which Britain was considered a constitutional monarchy in the 13th century. Actually, the Magna Carta itself is irrelevant. A country is not defined as a constitutional monarchy only if it has a constitution or something similar. Japan after the Meiji Era had its own constitution, but wasn't a constitutional democracy, since the Emperor retained all power. That is completely different from Britain, where the monarch stopped being influential to legislative and judicial decisions after the Glorious Revolution, and lost all executive power a few centuries after.
I'll give you wikipedia as a source here (and my apologies, in advance): 
Constitutionalism in every country has always been understood as a synonym with liberalism. And those ideas were often in synchrony with the idea of democracy.The United Kingdom is perhaps the best instance of constitutionalism in a country that has an uncodified constitution. A variety of developments in seventeenth-century England, including "the protracted struggle for power between king and Parliament was accompanied by an efflorescence of political ideas in which the concept of countervailing powers was clearly defined," led to a well-developed polity with multiple governmental and private institutions that counter the power of the state
On the flip side, Frederick the Great of Prussia was personally liberal, and led a liberal monarchy, but his rule remained absolute.
Frederick was a proponent of the idea of enlightened absolutism, not liberalism. There is a huge difference there. He believed that absolute monarchs should remain powerful, yet that they should use liberal ideas as a means to govern...
If you are going to claim that those three terms were equivalent in the 18th century, then you need to provide proof. Considering that there are many examples to the contrary beyond the two I listed, I doubt you can.
I have been providing examples already. I can do an extensive research on it, if you want, but not until my vacation starts again. But denying that democracy, liberalism and constitutionalism are inter-related is a bit too much, since pretty much every historian nowadays agrees that those terms are related...
'Elected by popular vote' is not synonymous with 'democratic.'
Again, you didn't pay attention to what I was saying. The concept of democracy evolved with time. Many American democrats in the 19th century would never consider that having minorities and women vote was necessary for democracy.
Anyway, you haven't really provided one single counter-meaning to that. If democracy was not understood to be related to universal suffrage, what was it supposed to mean?
The franchise for election to the Commons was restricted until the first Reform Bill was ppassed in the 19th century. Even though a tiny, tiny number of people got to vote for their MPs, that also does not change the fact that the unelected House of Lords had far more power than the Commons, or the fact that the King had the final power over law. The first Reform Bill was passed because William IV wanted it passed, and threatened to create hundreds of peers to sit in the Lords to get it passed. William IV also removed the PM of the day and installed his own PM as a part of the process.
The British king did not lose executive power until up into the 19th century and early 20th century.... And yes, all you said there was true. It still doesn't really disprove my arguments...
Your definition of 'democracy,' like your knowledge of English and British history, is badly-flawed, and goes against settled academic consensus.
Again, like most of what you said so far, this is highly inaccurate. Especially considering that, without giving your definition of 'democracy', you can't really speak for what the academic consensus is...
'Taking into consideration the opinions of the Commons' =/= 'bound to the will of the Commons.'
Not even the American president is bound to the will of the people... Would you also argue that the US during the 19th century was not democratic?
Nice strawman argument in the beginning.
Straw man involves dodging the main argument and attacking something else. Making comparisons between what you said and other kinds of bad arguments does not qualify it as straw man...
The Revolution was not a single-stage process, it is commonly divided by historians into three distinctive stages. The first stage was liberal, the second was radical, and the third was 'conservative.' None of those phases was about establishing a 'liberal democracy.' As already stated, the term did not exist, and it was not used by any of the contemporaries of the Revolution except in a negative light as a means of referring to mob rule.
Radicalism, in that context, was always interpreted as a 'radical liberal' position. You'll need a quite strong argument to convince the Radical Party in France that they are not liberal, for example. As for the "conservative" phase, that is also highly controversial. It is true that the many radical achievements of the revolution were taken down by the rise of the Empire. However, whether this constituted a real conservative phase or not is up to debate. Bonapartism, in France, has always been understood as a form of liberalism with a strong and centralized state, for example.
Liberal, constitutional, and democratic have already been shown to be dissimilar to one another. The First French Empire was not democratic whatsoever, given that Napoleon acted as an absolute monarch. There is no consensus on whether the Empire was liberal. The Empire was constitutional in the sense that Napoleon had words put on a piece of paper that confirmed his right to rule. It was certainly not democratic.
I haven't found one single reference. And whether the Napoleonic rule was democratic or not is precisely the matter of the debate here. But claiming that he was an absolute ruler is not really helping you, since it is already established in the academia that the First French Empire was a constitutional monarchy, even if the Emperor remained with executive power.
All-in-all, you seem to lack knowledge of both European history and basic terms of political science.
You see, that is the problem with the arguments you guys have used in this thread. They are all a product ad-hominem. Whether I have knowledge of political science term or not should be irrelevant to your arguments, and you shouldn't even have to state that. It doesn't happen your argument in the slightest and it is only there to try to create an environment of inferiority so my posts can be disregarded.
Using the definition of both 'strawman' and 'ad hominem attack,' my comment was neither of the two.
Oh, really? So, attacking someone's choice of using smileys or not instead of focusing on the argument is not a case of straw man? We must be using different fallacy dictionaries...
The fact that you, of all people, would be complaining about ad hominem attacks is laughable.
Go ahead, provide one single case in which I used an ad-hominem attack in this forum. I'll be waiting...
If you don't want people claiming that you engage in 'passive-aggressive emoticon spam,' then stop using emoticons.
I seriously don't care about what others think about my choices of posting styles. I find the issue of whether one person personally prefers to add smileys or not, choose underlined text over italics etc to be completely irrelevant. In fact, if you can find one single post of mine in which I criticized someone's posting style, I can go ahead and apologize. I remember telling Rei once, that I found her choice of bicolored text to be harder to focus on, off-forum
, where it should be addressed properly.
Anyway, I'm currently kind of busy
I took some time (a little bit over an hour) to write this reply, but I might not be available to reply to these lengthy issues for a few weeks. My apologies in advance. If you wish to continue the debate - and I seriously hope that, in case you do, you stop attacking my use of smileys or claiming that my knowledge on political science terms is poor, without explaining -, it might take a while for me to reply to it.