"... pure democracy ... [where citizens] assemble and administer the government in person ... [all will act with] a common passion or interest ...It is from a reading of the Federalist Papers (readily available on the 'net) that we understand what it is, that is needed: representatives with "enlightened views and virtuous sentiments." And further, that the difficulty with representative governments is that tyranny is threatened by "executive usurpations." Thus, in a representative democracy the executive must be carefully limited, both in the extent and the duration of its power. This, of course, is where the doctrine of the separation of powers come in (see Montesquieu); but, which, in Canada, unfortunately, functions, if at all, only in part.
"[In a representative democracy (a republic) one can expect that there will be no matter which would have the agreement of all those governed, indeed, even in the more popular motions there will be dissenters. A representative democracy presents, still, even with the best "communication and concert," a real danger, and nothing inherent in democracy to check it] to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been ... ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property .... Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
"[As a practical matter we must] refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country... it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. "[In a representative government] the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few [however] ... they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude."
[Essays, First Series]
[Essays, Second Series]
[Essays, Third Series]
[Essays, Fourth Series]