Tyranny of the Majority

Discipline: Political Science

Reservation about democracy expressed by French historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59).

An avoidable danger of democracy was a tyranny of majority opinion which would suppress the drive to individual judgment inherent in democratic theories.

The term has also been used (as it was not by de Tocqueville) to suggest that democratic states would use coercive and oppressive measures even more rigorously than their aristocratic and monarchic predecessors.

Source:
David Miller, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford, 1987)

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