Democracy

Tomorrow (3 November), millions of Americans will use their collective power to write the next chapter in US history.

It will be the 59th presidential election in a nation that was founded on a vision of democracy. President Abraham Lincoln (the 16th US president) described it as “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. In other words, democracy is a political system where ordinary citizens have the power to choose who runs the country.

According to a 2019 study, 57% of countries around the world have some kind of democracy. Norway, Iceland, and Sweden score the highest as democracies that work well, based on the accuracy of their country’s voting systems and how far citizens trust their own governments.

In most democratic countries, everybody is allowed to vote from the age of 18. But in some countries, including Brazil, Austria, Scotland, and Ecuador, people are allowed to vote from as early as 16.

Supporters of a lower voting age think it is important for young people to have their say in what goes on in their country. In 2018, one Cambridge University professor even suggested that six-year-olds should be allowed to vote. Others disagree, saying that young people do not take voting seriously.

Would you like to vote?

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Assembly

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm, US politician, teacher, and author, was the first black candidate nominated by the Democratic party to be president. Watch this inspiring video to find out more about her remarkable life.

Activities

  1. Should children vote? Make two lists of the possible arguments for and against this suggestion.
  2. Research online the current government and recent political history of your country. Then create a fact file about it.