- On the idea of democracy in the Dutch Constitution Committees of 1814 and 1815
- Parliaments Estates & Representation
- Volume | Issue number
- 31 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence (PSC)
The members of the Dutch Constitution Committees 1814 and 1815 used the word ‘democracy’ in different contexts with different, although related meanings. They definitely did not want the common people to rule the country (democracy as mob rule). They did however want some participation of non-nobles in the national government (democracy as the democratic element in the Constitution) alongside the aristocratic and monarchic elements. The balance between these elements was extensively debated. In the end the democratic element came out relatively weak and mechanisms of filtration were inserted in the Constitution to curb the influence of overly common people in the composition of the representative body. The Committee-members were divided on the third contextual meaning, democracy as a principle of representation based on population only. Since the population was not thought of as consisting of autonomous and equal individuals, nor as being built on strong national feelings, representation based solely on the population did not make its way into the Constitution.
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