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Principle of direct democracy in Arizona constitution

The US constitution was written in 1787. The founding fathers rejected direct democracy as it was not practical. They favored a representative form of government. The whole picture was changed during the time of progressive era. The Progressive Era (1901-1917) was initiated as a response to political and corporate abuses at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The progressives did not favor state and local governments being controlled by parties and corporations. They believed that some of the ills of the society can be controlled by the direct participation of the citizens in government affairs. They called for three citizen measures; the initiative, referendum and recall. The process of "initiative", helps the citizens to enact legislation. Citizens can block the laws passed by the legislature by a "referendum." "Recall", allow the citizens to remove an official from office.

The State of Arizona was born during the heyday of progressive era. Most of the people of Arizona supported direct citizen measures or direct democracy, but their idea was greatly opposed by President Taft who was a great opponent of direct democracy. President Taft blocked the way of Arizona to become a state because the state constitution permitted recall of judges. Arizona was forced to drop the idea of judicial recall. However, when Arizona attained statehood, it promptly restored the provision of recall of judges.

During the first election of Arizona in 1912, the voters gave voting rights to women. Great changes were made due to the initiative process. Some of the examples were elimination and restoration of death penalty, limitation of the term of the judges, selection of judges based on merit, creation of citizen redistricting commission, change of the name of Arizona State College to Arizona State University, initiation of state lottery, multiple animal right measures, higher taxes for cigarettes, ban of smoking in public places, increased minimum wage etc.
Using the measure of "referendum", series of measures were taken to cancel the laws passed by the legislatures and it prompted the legislature to repeal some laws

The provision of "recall" was not much successful, but the citizens were able to muster enough support to begin recall election process against the Arizona governor in 1988. The governor was removed from the office, eventhough the recall election was canceled by the Arizona Supreme Court.

There are severe criticisms against the direct democracy, but its defenders argue that it helps reform the government, control powerful lobbyists, and equip the powerless group to place their case before the people. It can also provide a path to vibrant and healthy democracy.

Solution Preview

The US constitution was written in 1787. The founding fathers rejected direct democracy as it was not practical. They favored a representative form of government. The whole picture was changed during the time of progressive era. The Progressive Era (1901-1917) was initiated as a response to political and corporate abuses at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The progressives did not favor state and local governments being controlled by parties and corporations. They believed that some of the ills of the society can be controlled by the direct participation of the citizens in government affairs. They called for three citizen measures; the initiative, referendum and ...

Solution Summary

This solution contains details about direct democracy in relation with Arizona constitution. The idea of direct democracy in Arizona was developed as result of the progressive movement at the end of the 19th century. Three citizen measures were developed as a result of the direct participation of the citizens in the affairs of the government. They were the initiative, referendum and recall. Great changes were occurred in the State of Arizona as a result of the citizen measures, inspite of opposition from the political leaders of the country.

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