Today reading a comment on WB someone again rambled on about the US being this prime example of Democracy. The only issue is that the US has never been a true Democracy and was never intended to be a true Democracy.
We were set up to be and still are a Republic. In other words, we elect people that are suppose to represent the will of the people but do so in a wise, thoughtful, retrospect and mature way. In reality terms, the will of the people should not be honored when those of higher stature think its not in the best interests of the people.
We all know that only white land owners were originally allowed to vote. Clearly the Founding Fathers were fearful of the huddled masses determining which individuals that were going to represent their interests. Only men, and men only, of means, education, and worldliness were viewed as suitable for voting purposes.
There are of course other indicators that our Founding Fathers feared Democracy. Until Wilson Senators were not chosen by popular vote. The electoral college not the popular vote chooses the President.
Setting aside the natural prejudices at the time over women and blacks, most "working men" at the time, or non land owners, were illiterate and probably had little comprehension of anything beyond their tiny farming village. Trying to understand concepts of currency, a centralized bank, foreign trade, tariffs, military, etc. would have been far beyond their intellectual capacity. Better to leave it to those that could study and contemplate such complex issues and then choose those that would make good decisions in these hard to grasp areas.
Of course over time Americans began to read and write and with urbanization understand the world beyond them. Incorrect stereotypical ideas against women and blacks slowly faded away. Still, there has never been any meaningful move away from a Republic.
Supposedly, our Founding Fathers saw politics as a short term gig for those that were accomplished and felt the need to give back to society. They would be our wise men, fully able and willing to look out for the citizenry. They'd campaign as to why they were the best for the job and the people (or more accurately those allowed to vote) would decide. These were not to be kings or rulers but the most noble of men to preside over the best for the country.
While no one knows exactly what our Founding Fathers believed their experiment while successful hasn't been the panacea it was might have thought to be. I can't imagine anyone with a fiber of brain matter looking at people like W, Obama, Pelosi, Schummer, Trump, Ryan, Maxine Waters (and all the rest) and thinking "wise people." The idea that they are representing the whole of society is quite questionable, and sadly laughable.
By all means it can be argued that "mob rule" would have been our downfall. Sometimes it was necessary to have adults in the room and not a plethora of people running on unfounded emotions. Somebody had to make the hard decisions and be able to do so with the capacity to develop a deep understanding of the issues. I guess the term "adults in the room" has lost some of its intended effect.
Today in modern day life we seem to run much more on superficial fluff, or least some of us do. Friends are how many people that will hit the "like" button on your Twitter page. We are now suppose to market ourselves to a prospective employer as a "brand." Driving a Volvo will make us much better and caring parents. So its shouldn't be a surprise our politicians have been following suit and campaigns look more like reality television, which isn't "real" at all.
Conservatives like to claim our Founding Fathers wanted small government. However, by setting up a Republic whether by design or not they laid the foundation for big government. As society started to grow much more complex in the late 19th century someone had to contend with the fallout. Since it would fall on the shoulders of the elected officials not the individuals of the society naturally the size of government would explode. After all, we never voted on a public pension plan (social security), going to war, protective measures for society, going to the moon and on and on. The people will elect under a Republic do. Moreover, our Founding Fathers could have never remotely imagined a 1900 United States leave only a 2018 United States. Anyone for example claiming that our Founding Fathers wouldn't approve of an EPA, or a Pentagon or unemployment insurance is just wildly speculating.
Ultimately our Founding Fathers were victims of the ignorance of their times. Blacks were considered unable to think, read and write. Near ditto for women. It was assumed well read and cultured men had the wisdom and human nurturing to provide for a great society. It was assumed that the masses would never have the ability and motivation to learn what the learned knew. Very much how parents become overprotective of their children fearing they won't be able to realize right from wrong or protect themselves against evil.
The Founding Fathers should take heart in the fact that somehow this disjointed nation state in many ways diverse and divided from each other somehow has stayed together, even with a temporary separation less than 100 years from founding. Given that we've been mostly a melting pot from around the world it's actually quite amazing. Time will tell if we will continue our lucky streak.
However, we are anything but a Democracy, specifically on a national level. I think debate is valid on whether the people we've sent to Washington DC over the years are what our Founding Fathers envisioned. By no means career politicians that saw it as an open invitation until the day they die. I'm sure our Founding Fathers would be really stumped over some of the characters that have risen to the highest office in the land and the most important job in the world. They would have to be shaking their heads wondering how we've pulled this thing off over so many decades.