Why is democracy so difficult?: A Case study of Sierra Leone Ranking the Elements of Democracy

At one point in Sierra Leone’s history, it was considered the Athens of West Africa.  However, Sierra Leone has endured a long history of imperialism and a civil war that destroyed much of the infrastructure of the state.  What are the major factors that challenge the prospects for a democracy in Sierra Leone?

For this blog, you must:

1. Research eight aspects of democracy and standard of living in Sierra Leone.  Two years ago, your predecessors did a lot of research.  Use their research as a guide for developing your argument for this blog.  Click here to access their research.  As you read, consider what you have learned this year about democracy and what factors are essential to a successful, lasting democratic society. Keep in mind you will be using this information to rank the eight factors; a task which requires analysis, not summarization. Is a free press more esstential than fair elections? Is the ability to form political parties more critical than the rule of law? The absence of these factors was a catalyst for the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution as well as the current uprisings in the Arab world. How important is a thriving middle class? You must determine which factor is the most important and least important and defend your opinion on the “ranking” wiki page.

2. Using a scale of 1 through 8, rank the elements of democracy according to their importance to a sustainable democracy (1 being least significant and 8 being the most significant).

3. Below your list, write one paragraph defending your most significant element and one paragraph for your choice of the least important element. Use two specific examples, one from Sierra Leone and one from another country of your choice.

Education

Independent Judiciary

Health

Rule/Respect of Law

Freedom of the Press

Social Stratification/Social Mobility

Free Elections

Pluralism (multi-party system)

This Blog will be DUE Wednesday, May 30th at midnight.  50 points!

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About Mrs. Houlahan

I am a middle school Social Studies teacher who works at School Without Walls at Francis Stevens in Washington, DC.
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147 Responses to Why is democracy so difficult?: A Case study of Sierra Leone Ranking the Elements of Democracy

  1. Tyler Bransfield says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Free Elections
    6. Rule/Respect of Law
    5. Education
    4. Free Press
    3. Pluralism
    2. Social Mobility
    1. Health
    My most significant element is the independent judiciary. In terms of democracy, it is utterly important that policy and executive operation of the government are separate. The independent Judiciary is critical in protecting free elections and free press, and ultimately other factors. If the justice system is strong and free from executive control, then corrupted governments compromising the ideals of democracy will find it very difficult to takeover and abuse their power. Enforcement of laws and decision making free of corruption is for many reasons the most important part of democracy, I won’t list all of them however, as they all are tied in with the protection against corruption aspect I already outlined. In 2010 75% of people (surveyed) in Sierra Leone identified the judiciary branch of government as responsible for the failure of the war against corruption, and one said quote “I am not sure that the judiciary is independent, efficient and strong enough to hold the balance between the interest of the ACC, the government and the individual.” (Links to info source below). My chosen low ranking element was Health, obviously people need health to live, but a democracy doesn’t need health to live specifically. If your people are living well enough that you have a government at all, then health isn’t a mission critical issue to democracy, as in any government you need living people to run your country (unless thou are into necromancy). If an autocracy values healthy people just like a democracy favors people, then why is it something unique to democracy? Where it does come into play however is that candidates can use health as an issue to gain support, but this isn’t always a factor in democracy so on a technicality, I am giving health a low ranking. Consider America, has our rising population of elderly, health problem ridden people and the obesity epidemic threatened democracy any more than American democracy has been threatened in the past, if at all by that factor. Nay, not so much. So in my analysis, the highest element in importance to a democracy is an effective independent judiciary, while the least important is health.
    http://allafrica.com/stories/201104070216.html

  2. Alejandro Robles says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Rule / Respect for law
    5. Pluralism
    4. Free Elections
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Health / Disease
    Democracy requires a bunch of elements, elements that need to be brought to peoples’ attention in order to achieve a great nation. A nation should not be a place that has free votes; it should consist of free education. So why is education so important in the makings of a Democracy? Education teaches citizens the importance of being in a free land and teaches us to become one. Without education, people wouldn’t know about the country’s’ political statements. For example, Sierra Leone is 180th on the United Nations Human Development Index, this being said Sierra Leone is not yet developed as should be because not everyone knows how to create and govern a democracy that gives inedible rights. Without education there wouldn’t be other aspects. Education should be and will be the primary goal for these aspects.
    Health is a major part of our lives. How can we deal with it if we can’t find a cure? This is where education takes place. We can’t combat diseases if we don’t know how it started from. A case where this has happened before: Malaria. Malaria has disappeared in most first world countries but still exist in many third world countries. Countries with vaccinations are immune to such diseases. Diseases can’t be treated with free elections, we need to educate ourselves with this knowledge first. In creating a Democratic system or any kind of system, we must have a foundation to help support the weight on top of it.
    http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/

  3. Domenica Stoll says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/Respect for Law
    5. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    4. Free Elections
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Pluralism
    I believe health is the most important for a democracy because without it, none of the other elements would exist. Manslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains that without our physiological needs, food and water, we are not concerned about anything else. Without proper health, no one would worry about education or any of the other elements below it since they’d simply be worried about surviving. Looking at Sierra Leone, this is an issue since their health needs improvement. Without clean water and nutritious foods, they lack the motivation to educate themselves and run a democracy. Children will not attend school if they need to spend hours walking to a water source to bring back water for their family. Diseases are prevalent in Africa. If someone is not treated for a disease they have, they will get extremely sick or die, not caring about education or the democracy, but their own life which has been put at risk. Health is the most important of all the elements of democracy because without it, nothing would be achieved.
    If you look at pluralism in America today, it is necessary for a democracy, but without freedom of the press, where we become informed about the different political parties and their views, we could not make a decision of which party to choose according to our values. With freedom of the press, we get the full story, the big picture, so we can make a choice and stand fully behind our decision. In my ranking, health is the foundation necessary to support the next ranking. Each element leans on the previous, so that though pluralism plays a big role in democracy since we get to choose our political parties, it depends on freedom of the press, etcetera.

  4. Luke Rosales says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Rule/Respect of Law
    5. Free Elections
    4. Pluralism
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Freedom of the Press
    In a nation or country that is more leaned towards poverty, free education is the best element to begin the process of rebuilding and restoring. With education, all citizens have the opportunity to gain important knowledge and learn key facts that will help them to grow and develop an understanding of not only basic education, but things that can and will help them make educated decisions when they become older and are able to vote. If there was free voting without education, that would be no good, because they would not have the right information or knowledge to know what the most important aspect of their country is, and as a result they would not be able to vote for the best choices. Free education gives everyone a fair chance at learning the knowledge and skills they need to make important decisions for their country.
    Freedom of the press is very important, it is just not the MOST important of the eight factors. It is important in the sense that it provides people with the most recent and up to date information that they need to know what problems are most at stake of becoming an outburst. In America, if we did not have freedom of the press, most radio stations and newspapers would be government owned, and we would most likely be given false or altered information tailored to the government’s preferences. This could make people very upset, causing them to feel as if they were being suppressed by the government, and that could result in rebellious acts commencing all over the country. While it is a key factor, it would not work without any of the other elements for a democracy. Without the other elements, people would not even have access to news. So, while freedom of the press is an important source of information for the people of a country, it is not the most important factor for a democracy.

  5. Andrew Green says:

    Andrew Green
    Period 6
    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Rule / Respect for Law
    6. Free Elections
    5. Pluralism
    4. Freedom of the Press
    3. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    2. Education
    1. Health

    From the one of the earliest human civilizations, it is supposedly the best form of government, it is democracy. Democracy is considered to be in the middle of the political spectrum; it is considered to have power spread out across the braches of government and the people. In order to create a democracy, there are multiple elements that are needed. Some are more important than the others, but all are important to some degree. And to me, having an independent judiciary system is the most important of the elements and health is on the bottom of the list.
    Having an independent judiciary system is a main building block for democracy. That system creates laws that are to help keep the citizens safe, and regulate and pass out justice. Or that is what it is supposed to do. It is stated in the United States’ Constitution, “a system of checks and balances” is needed to have a stable democracy. If it is corrupt then people that do wrong can get away with what they did. Without independent judiciary functioning properly, there can be chaos. This is what happened in Sierra Leone; there was not anyone to enforce the laws which allowed for the government to become corrupt, which in turn gave the rebels a scapegoat for their horrendous acts of violence. A current example of this is how the Mexican government is handling the illegal drug trafficking. Like right now they are investigating a atrocious act of mass dumping of decapitated bodies, suspected to have been done by the drug cartel. But how far can the investigation go when the officers investigating can easily be bribed or coerced to ‘look the other way’. In a corrupt system like that, justice is difficult to find ( if you can at all). That is way I think that independent judiciary is an important factor in democracy; because without it, or a lack of it, corruption and violence is very likely to occur.
    ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ refers to the fact the healthier you eat, the healthier you will be. How healthy you are does some what determine how active you are, but the rest is your own mind set and how you feel about it. Being in good shape is important for your personal health, but it is not all that important in order to have a stable democracy. My standing on this is due to the fact that you can still vote if you are morbidly obese or have cancer. And although not being in great health does hinder the efforts to initially create a democracy, it does not make it impossible. This is also supported by the fact that in the United States, in order to vote all you have to do is register and go to the designated voting area. We also have had presidents who were not healthy or great shape, but the country did not fall apart. The United States’ 27th president, William Taft, was morbidly obese, having a maximum weight of 355 pounds, and also had to be lifted into the bath tub with a pulley system, and we were still able to have democracy. In Sierra Leone, health is a force that hinders democracy from being fully established. This is because 68% of the citizens of Sierra Leone live under the poverty line, which leads to sub-standard living conditions. Poor living conditions lead to diseases like malaria and many more; and those kill before the citizens are able to help start a democracy.
    People always want to be more involved in the way that their government in run, and that is done to an extent in democracy. And being in the middle of the political spectrum, democracy is supposed to be the best form of government. There are many elements that are needed in order to maintain a stable democracy; some of the elements are more important than the others. And these that I have given are the reasons why I believe that the most important element for democracy is having an independent judiciary branch and least important element is being in good health.

  6. Jeff Longo says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Pluralism
    5. Free elections
    4. Social Stratification/Social mobility
    3. Rule/respect of Law
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Health

    Education is a key element of democracy. Without an educated populous, how can a democracy function? Education is a necessity to have a democratic society that is successful. With an uneducated people, a country cannot expect their people to make informed decisions. Uninformed people will believe whatever they hear. That is how people like Hitler came to power. Dictators like him just fill the people up with propaganda and lies until the people believe it and completely take advantage of them. Same concept with Stalin. He was supposed to be the man of the people yet he became a feared dictator in the end. Not only that, but uneducated people cannot perform tasks to get involved in a democracy. One example is literacy. In Sierra Leone, only 29% of the populous is literate, preventing many from getting involved in democracy. That is one of many reasons why their democracy is failing. When looking at Sierra Leone, it is also very much in poverty. Without education, there is little the people can do to pull themselves out of this rut. Education provides knowledge to make and spend money wisely.
    On the other hand, health is a factor that is important, but not nearly enough as the other factors of democracy. One can be ill, but still vital to a democracy. I agree with Tyler’s point that if a society has people healthy enough to create a governed at all, then health should not be an issue. Health is important for people, but not so much for a democracy. Any of these factors easily prove to be more important than health in terms of the effectiveness of democracy with it. All in all, Education is the most important factor of democracy while health is the least.

  7. Madison Schmitt says:

    8.) Education
    7.) Freedom of the press
    6.) Free elections
    5.) Independent Judiciary
    4.) Pluralism
    3.) Rule/Respect for life
    2.) Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    1.) Health
    In terms of democracy and what is the most important element I believe that education comes first. Education is important in order to have a democracy. To make decisions to help your country and to vote you need to be able to read and write. In Sierra Leone education is required for six years at the elementary level and 3 years at the secondary level. It is very difficult to have education in Sierra Leone because there is a lack of schools and teachers and many of the class sizes are very big for that reason. Many children and adults do not have very many years of education and the literacy rate in Sierra Leone if very low. In Germany the years of schooling is much higher than Sierra Leone. The average years of schooling for an adult is 10.2 in Germany and in Sierra Leone it is 2.4. Then in Germany the duration of education is 4 years and in Sierra Leone is 6 years in the primary level so it just depends.
    I think that Health care is the least important since were talking democracy. Health care is indeed important but not so much when your talking about democracy free of press and education are more important. The civil war has resulted in lack of health care facilities but they are slowing being constructed back. All in all those eight factors are all important in order to have a democracy but I believe that Education is the most important and Health is the least.

  8. James Carling says:

    8) Freedom of the press
    7) social stratification/ social mobility
    6) pluralism
    5) independent judiciary
    4) free elections
    3) rule/ respect for law
    2) health
    1) education

    To me, the most important element of democracy is education. I believe this because without an education or a background, how is anything possible? For example, during the French revolution the people craved to rid themselves of the shackles known as a monarchy. They craved the feeling to be able to vote freely for whoever they wanted. Unfortunately their revolutionary movement led straight to a dictatorship. The reason for this was because the French had no prior history of democracy, all they knew about it was what they read about the American revolution. This also applies to the people of Sierra Leone. Although they did have a background of democracy, it was destroyed by the Europeans who colonized them.the people were separated and they lost the trust and friendship they had was lost. Now, after the civil war, the people are slowly starting to get along again and trust each other more. It will still be difficult for them to achieve a democracy due to the lack of the necessary elements, but with help from other countries they have a chance of returning to the title they had as “Athens of Africa.”

    The least important element of democracy, to me, is freedom of the press. Yes, freedom of the press is important, but you can still have a functioning democracy without it. The government can control the news and tell them what they may say or not say, and we can still have a perfectly fine and functioning democracy. I’m not saying that freedom of the press isn’t important, I’m just saying that a democracy can take place without it. During world war two, the American government had to censor radio stations that stated anything about current events in America in fear of an enemy intercepting any of these broadcasts and sabotaging these events.

  9. Paris Trollope says:

    8) Education
    7) Health
    6) Rule/Respect of Law
    5) Freedom of the Press
    4) Independent Judiciary
    3) Pluralism (multi-party system)
    2) Free Elections
    1) Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    To not be educated in the world in modern times is like being behind the wall in Allegory of the Cave. You don’t know anything that’s going on in your country, or the world. In order to have a functioning democracy the people need to be educated so they know what they want and to understand the process of government. So they can question their government when they see something they don’t agree with and become critical thinkers. Democracy is a difficult government to achieve and requires a lot of elements, but Education; free education is key. Education should be provided by your government so you can ensure you have the best government, because the best government starts with the people. In Sierra Leone, 71% of the population is illiterate. Without the population being educated, or being able to read and write for that matter, it’s only of the contributors to the failing democracy in Sierra Leone. In order to strengthen their democracy and enable a prosperous country, the government of Sierra Leone should focus on educating their people, so the people can speak up for themselves and be heard on what they want for a government. One element of democracy that isn’t as important to a successful government would be Social Stratification/Social Mobility. I don’t believe moving up classes or down classes is as important as a healthy educated population. A democracy can be achieved without Social Stratification/Social Mobility. All in all, Education has to be the most important in creating a working democracy.

  10. Talia Aharon-Ezer says:

    Health

    Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    Pluralism

    Independent Judiciary

    Freedom of the Press

    Education

    Rule/Respect for Law

    Free Election

    1)
    The most significant element of the eight choices is free election. Free election is the main point of democracy. Everyone wants to be able to vote for whom they think is right to rule their country or city. We all want a say in where our government takes us and we can all get it with free election. When the Holocaust was occurring in Germany, there was a vast amount of propaganda forced in every citizen’s face. It is hard to vote for who you actually want when you are practically being pressured to fall for the other candidate. Everyone wants a free and fair election. In 2002, the Sierra Leoneans had a very unfair and inappropriate voting atmosphere. The voting was organized with the UN Nations which was not so polite with Sierra Leone. They were occasionally responsible for abusing some citizens that thrived in Sierra Leone and for raping women. After that conflict, Sierra Leone had a successful voting system in 2007. It was mainly because it was fully run by the Sierra Leoneans. No other force or influence was there to pressure them into thinking something else. Free elections have a positive result that enables a stable democracy.

    2)
    Health is put under the least significant factor for a democracy to take effect. In my opinion, health has no political influence. Health is something that is a personal issue and does not affect the way someone votes or how someone sees politics. Looks and weight has no part in democracy. The only thing that good health will get you is, looking clean. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This quote pops up in my mind when I ponder about this topic. Just because someone looks different or doesn’t look as clean as you do, doesn’t mean that they aren’t equal just like everyone else. In Sierra Leone, anyone who wants to can vote. It doesn’t matter what you look like. Most likely, people don’t judge people by what they look like in Sierra Leone. In America, we humans tend to judge people no matter what. It mainly happens in middle schools and high schools. It is a very popular “trend.” In my mind, health is the least important factor when creating a stable and productive democracy.

  11. Sage Fazzone says:

    8) Health
    7) Rule/ Respect for law
    6) Education
    5) Free Elections
    4) Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    3) Independent Judiciary
    2) Free Press
    1) Pluralism
    I believe Health is one of the most important elements for democracy because without health how would anything get done? For instance, in Sierra Leone they struggle with health. They barely get enough food for breakfast sometimes, cannot afford health care like many of us in America can and their water is not clean. As a teen in America I always hear teachers, parents, or even commercials saying how important breakfast is to start the day and how it makes your brain start to function. But in Sierra Leone they can’t promise that every single person can have a luxurious breakfast. Therefore they are on their way to be unhealthy to make informed decisions. During the civil war there was hardly any place to get food or water and when found, they could eat it for days. Just like Ishmael Beah had done in A Long Way Gone when he found the mysterious fruit that he ate for days on end because that was all that was there. Health is important in a democracy because without it, people would continue to be sick and spread diseases. No one would get better and it can be the Black Plague all over again. You have most likely experienced a time when you forgot to eat and cannot focus or feel week, imagine that feeling everyday almost all day. Democracy needs health.
    To me the least important element in democracy is Pluralism. I still think it is important, but there are other choices that are more important. Free Elections give people the ability to vote freely for whoever they like and Freedom of press keep the people informed about their party. Without those it would be unstable and pluralism would not exist. During World War 1 & 2 they used censor press afraid that their enemy might get the letters and attack. But did the government ask them if they would like censorship in their letters from family? No. So to me it is apparent that a democracy can run without giving choices because America censored their letters during the World Wars in fear of enemies finding their location but still came out alive and well. As did Russia and their letter from the war to the home front. Pluralism is the least important element in democracy.

  12. Keldon Schmitt says:

    1. Health
    2. Education
    3. Rule/Respect of Law
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5. Independent Judiciary
    6.Pluralism (multi-party system)
    7. Free Elections
    8. Freedom of the Press
    Health is by far the most important piece to having a democracy. The health and well being of a nations or countries people is the first building block to the house of democracy. It is the very important corner stone of the house of democracy. Without it the house of democracy would crumble down. When 68% of 55 million people are below the poverty line and struggling to feed them self’s every day, there is no such thing as a successful democracy. The people of Sierra Leone have to wait hours just to get one dirty glass of water. The mortality rate in Sierra Leone is 80.2/1000. This is unbelievable compared to the U.S mortality rate of 6.2/1000. This just shows how much health is detrimental to democracy. The U.S has health care, which keeps the country healthy, at least healthy enough to go to school. The majority of Sierra Leone doesn’t go to school because they can’t afford to miss a day of work without starving to death. The least important element of democracy is Freedom of the Press, although it is important you do not necessarily need it to have a functioning democracy. Without a free newspaper the people wouldn’t know what was going to happen until it happened. But in the past people have passed news through word of mouth and secret messages. Like in the Underground Railroad. They passed the news on through escaping slaves. My point is that there are other ways to get word across besides the press. Therefore Freedom of the Press is the least important to creat a functioning democracy.

  13. Will Randall says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Education
    6. Free Elections
    5. Free press
    4. Pluralism
    3. Social Stratification/ Mobility
    2. Rule/ Respect of law
    1. Health

    Independent judiciary is the most important factor in a democracy because it has the main principal of no corruption. To me democracy is mainly a government for the people that is free of a corrupt system that is ran by money or threats. When judges take bribes, there is no more justice in a government. “Characterized by wretched corruption, the judiciary in Sierra Leone has had sequential and unremitting corruption finger pointing by especially persons seeking justice in the wells of the high, appeals, supreme and magistrate courts.” If the people of sierra Leone could only defeat the past corruption in their courts they would be on an easy track to democracy. Corruption is the only thing that limits a country from having a true democracy. In america we don’t have a true democracy due to corruption. I think that bail is a form of corruption. It allows the person to legally pay off the judge and get out of jail. This also allows the rich to do what they want to and not face the consequences. This compromises democracy. Sierra Leone has put anti corruption agencies in place, so i believe that sierra Leone could soon reach that true justice system they desperately need.

    The least important factor is health. The people don’t need to be healthy, they just need to be able to vote and take part in their government. If they can give their opinions about elections, then there is a democracy still going on. Its not like everybody should be dead, because then there would be no government or democracy, but health is definitely not a required factor when it comes to democracy. Health is important, but does not belong higher on my scale.

    http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/archives/27529

  14. Lidia Vences says:

    8.Education
    7. Social stratification/social mobility
    6.Rule/Respect for law
    5.independent judiciary
    4.free election
    3.Pluralism
    2.Freedom of the press
    1.Health

    My most significant element is education. George Washington once wrote that without an educated population that democracy wouldn’t work because you need people to understand the issues, discuss them, and be able to read about them. Even our past president knows that you need to have education in order to have a democracy. The more educated the people of Sierra Leone are the better. They will be informed and make the better decisions for the people of Sierra Leone. They will know what’s best for the people because they will have all of the information that they need and will know how their decisions will affect the people of Sierra Leone. For example, here in the United States we don’t have doctors that are un educated. If they were un educated they would have no idea what they are doing whatsoever. Same as in Sierra Leone. Having people make un educated decisions without any knowledge would harm Sierra Leone rather than helping it. Also by having well educated people there will be less of a chance for a dictatorship to happen.
    I choose health as the least significant because health simply wont help our democracy. Of course running candidates will use health as a way to get elections (ex. Free health care for everyone) and yes people would want to vote for them because health care is expensive but is health really going to help build a strong democracy? No. For example more than one third of U.S adults are considered obese. As the obesity rates have been climbing our democracy hasn’t been affected at all. If we did focus on health and stopped focusing on all of the other more relevant elements then a democracy would break. Education gets the top ranking due to obvious reasons (we need smart people!!) and health gets the least most important ranking because we don’t need it to build a true democracy.

  15. Joseph Danker says:

    8. Education
    7. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    6. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5. Free Elections
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Rule/Respect of Law
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Health
    There are many different elements that need to be put together in order to form a democracy. The most important of these elements is education. Education is so important because without it, people couldn’t vote properly because they don’t know about candidates, they couldn’t read so freedom of press would be useless, and worst of all, an uneducated country can be taken over a dictator way more easily than an educated country can. If you’re not educated you won’t make as many good choices and you might not be able to see through the smokescreen a dictator putting up. If the people are educated most will realize that the dictator is up to no good, and even if some people join forces with the dictator the other educated people could be able to figure out a way to stop the dictator. Another reason education is important is that it allows social mobility to happen, because you can (almost) always study hard and get a good job to move up in society. Without education there is no way a democracy could run.
    Health is the least important element of democracy, but is still very important. The only reason it is at the bottom of my list is because all of the other things are more important. Without health, there would be no democracy but the other things are bigger factors. The reason health is still a big element is because without it people would be unable to focus on helping there democracy, because they would be too worried about getting diseases and dying. In some African countries they need nets when they sleep to help protect form malaria. Without those nets it is very hard to run a democracy because people are too occupied with malaria to care. Without health democracy still couldn’t run.
    All of these elements listed above are crucial to the well being of a democracy, you take any of these away, a true democracy would not be able to exist.

  16. Ben Anderson says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Independany Judiciary
    5. Respect for law
    4. Social Stratification
    3.Pluralism
    2.Free election
    1. Fredom of Press

    Health is by far the most important piece of a government. Without proper health, nothing else could possibly be achieved. In Manslows Heirarchy of needs triangle, nothing else could be accomplished with out basic health, and well being. In Sierra Leone, basic health is a struggle. There is poverty, which causes lack of food, and clean water. Sierra Leonians have to wait, or wlk for hours, just to get m and parasite infested water. How is anything supposed to be accomplished, when all you can think about is when you may get your next meal, if you get it at all. By the time your done reading this passage, around 30 people would have died of starvation, and by the end of the day, after you eat and tuck yourself in, 16,000. How is anything supposed to be accomplished in a government when that large of a sum of people are dying? Clearly, heath is very important in a government.

    Freedom of Press is the least important in government, in my oppinion. I honestly dont belive that people need the newspaper, r any other version on press. As most of us know, going to a highschool, word travels incredibly fast. So honestly, why would you need something to tell us what we most likely already know. There are several occasions where some sort of press was not needed, as Keldon said, The underground railroad. The underground Railroad is a prime example of where people spread the word, without needing the government. Another example may be in A Long way gone, when the village near the beach had caught word of the boys staying in the fishermans shcak, and the mother told the boys to escape. That is another way that Press wasnt needed. Word travels fast, and Freedom of Press isnt needed to fuel a new government/democracy.

  17. Saad Fakhouri says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    4. Rule/Respect of Law
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Free Elections
    1. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    I believe that education is key to keep a strong country and a strong democracy. Without education we wouldn’t have all these technological advances. Everything we have today is because of education, is because we were taught how to do them. Why would the government take from school systems, budget cuts, but not anywhere else? We’re going to have to take over when we’re older, so is it because the politicians know they won’t be around? Is it because they are worrying about today, and not tomorrow? Education is necessary to do anything. If we have uneducated people running the government in the future, what would that lead to? Idiotic decisions, and big mistakes. Our country would be led by people who don’t think things through. They’d be making decisions abruptly, and coming to a conclusion about them in a few minutes. As opposed to taking weeks, or months. Their critical thinking skills would be at an elementary level. They would be used to raising their voice (or fist) instead of improving their argument.

    Social Stratification and Social Mobility is definitely the least important. obviously defining ones class could be looked over, and skipped. I don’t think it’s very important to notice who’s poor and who’s rich, nor do i think it matters at all. I see social stratification as a brand to claim property. Not necessarily useless, but close too it.

  18. Alessandra Elster says:

    8. Education
    7. Rule/Respect of law
    6. Pluralism (multi party system)
    5. Free Elections
    4. Free Press
    3. Social Satisfaction/Mobility
    2. Independent Judiciary
    1.Health

    I believe that education is probably the most important factor to a proper democracy although Respect of law and Pluralism are very close to being most important as well. In order to make correct decisions in who you choose to run your country or vote on laws you MUST be educated or else you could be ruining your country. For example, if the Sierra Leonean people were more educated they might have realized that the elections in which Joseph Momoh were elected in were not fair and could have spoken up about it, even preventing him from coming into power. Here in America around the same time Momoh was elected, our country was being ran by Ronald Reagan who served 2 terms and the country was doing well, all because Americans were more educated than the Sierra Leoneans. Being educated and aware of your rights put you at a huge advantage when in a democracy. With the help of free press and other factors, you make a decision that you feel will best benefit your country whether it’s choosing a president or deciding whether you are for or against a new law. Education makes all the difference in your decision making.

    If I had to choose a least important factor to a democracy, it would have to be health. Yes, a person’s health and well being is extremely important in their life, but to a democracy? Not so much. As long as people are in good mental health, the rest is kind of irrelevent to form a democracy. When a person is in good mental health they have all the capabilities needed to make a good decision in their government. In Sierra Leone, anyone who wants to vote can, it doesn’t have anything to do with health as long as you are capable of making logical decisions. That’s why I feel health is the least important factor to a democracy.

  19. Grant Speckman says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Free Elections
    6. Pluralism
    5. Rule/Respect of Law
    4. Freedom of Press
    3. Education
    2. Social Mobility
    1. Health

    In my eyes, the most important element of democracy is the independent judiciary. This means that the courts are free from the influence of legislative and executive powers. In effect it is free from corruption, which is also true about the ideal form of democracy. If the judiciary is influenced by outside powers, then the executive/legislative power has overstepped his bounds, and therefore violated the “code” of democracy. Democracy is for the people and by the people, and if the justice system is corrupted, then people are unfairly punished or let off of trial. “A country makes laws to keep itself stable and therefore a country must have a designated group of people to make sure the laws are being followed.” The reason that Sierra Leone did not establish a sustainable democracy was because their system was heavily corrupted. The courts are really the only body that is powerful enough to bring down powerful and corrupted people. If you can bring a corrupted dictator to court and try him for crimes against humanity, you should be able to sentence the convict with an independent judiciary system. But with a corrupted system, the influence of the dictator can flip the verdict, and get him off scot-free. You cannot have true democracy with corruption, because a corrupted government is not looking out for the people’s interests, it is fulfilling the interests of the person or group that holds power over it. I believe that even in the US, we do not have a very good democracy, because there are a lot of government occurings that are happening behind closed doors, and most of the public has no knowledge of these events (this is where education comes in).

    Health would have to be least important, because as long as the people are healthy enough to make an educated decision and vote for it, then the effectiveness of the government is not hurt. The citizen’s duty is to make an educated decision by researching the candidates and finding the candidate that would best represent their ideals and philosophies and opinions.

  20. Corey Fluke says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Free Elections
    5. Rule/Respect of Law
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    1. Health

    What I believe is the most important element of a democracy is education, without education the people of a democracy are not able to think freely for themselves or make educated choices on who they are electing. As stated by (link to source below), the literacy rate of the United States is 99%, where as the literacy rate of Sierra Leone is 35%. Being able to understand and comprehend what political figures (that are running for office in your country) are saying and enforcing is a huge factor of what makes up a good democracy. Education should be the primary concern when a democracy is first starting out, simply because of the fact that a democracy lives and breathes an educated population. One of the many reasons Iraq is in the shape it currently is in, is due to its literacy rate. Iraq’s literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world, at a rate of 28%. Iraq has been unable to elect competent leaders for years and with terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda it is not a mystery why. When the population of a country is not literate they will end up electing dictators like in Libya and other developing countries.

    As stated by Tyler Bransfield, “If your people are living well enough that you have a government at all, then health isn’t a mission critical issue to democracy” I strongly agree with this statement that if the population of your country or “nation” is living well enough to be thinking about a democracy, than health shouldn’t really be a factor at all, as the necessities should have already been met and by adding more health to the “equation” of a democracy you are just adding luxuries that are not really necessary to having a perfect democracy.

    http://www.mrdowling.com/800literacyfemale.html

  21. Janile Dabbous says:

    8) Health
    7) Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    6) Independent Judiciary
    5) Free Elections
    4) Education
    3) Free Press
    2) Rule/Respect for Law
    1) Pluralism
    I believe that an ideal democracy needs to have healthy people in order to function right. Some people may think that health has nothing to do with politics, but they obviously don’t know how hard it is to focus on anything but their health. For example, in Sierra Leone 68% of their population are under the poverty line and fight every day to survive. Also, the expected age is from 34 to 40 years old. This means that the people running the government will be much younger than they should be and could lead to bad decisions for the future of their new democracy. It also doesn’t help that there are millions of crippled people without hands, legs, or arms. Plus there aren’t many doctors or nurses to take care of those patients (a ratio of .03 nurses for every 10,000 patients). The people, who have diseases, are crippled, and who are starving make up most of the population of Sierra Leone. In Maslow’s Hierarchy your most essential needs are food, water, sleep, and air. You need to appease those before you could focus on the next level of the pyramid or else you will most likely die and there won’t be a country to govern. Health doesn’t just mean physically, it is also mentally. In order to be completely healthy you must be both physically and mentally stable. If someone was depressed and just gave up on all hope, how could that person think of developing a new democratic government? Also some people may have learning disabilities which would restrict them from making decisions for even them. So without good health care there wouldn’t be people in the country that could make good decisions to help build a democracy.
    I don’t think that pluralism has much use in a democracy. I believe that it makes problems in a democracy. For example, here in the United States, we have two main groups, the democrats and the republicans. They usually disagree on every topic in some way and it slows us down from moving forward. There are three main political parties in Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone People’s Party, the All People’s Congress, and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change. The APC has the most seats in parliament next to the SLPP which has the second most seats. In Sierra Leone the SLPP has helped get more health care and education before the APC. However, the APC also helped increase the amount of education available in Sierra Leone. They both had the same intentions, to help their country, so why is there a need for pluralism.

  22. matt densing says:

    If you were to ask me, the most important aspect of democracy is Health. Without the basic necessities to live, how can you possibly focus on how well your government is doing? When in such a dire situation, the only thing you can be worried about is survival for yourself, and possibly your family. Most people in this situation actually have to do things to make their country a much more dangerous place, such as stealing and murder. Ishmael Beah partook in both of these destructive activities, not because he wanted to, but because he was in survival mode. If it meant that he had to kill from thousands of innocent people to survive and be provided with the shelter and safety, than that was pretty much his only option, other than being killed.

  23. matt densing says:

    If you were to ask me, the most important aspect of democracy is Health. Without the basic necessities to live, how can you possibly focus on how well your government is doing? When in such a dire situation, the only thing you can be worried about is survival for yourself, and possibly your family. Most people in this situation actually have to do things to make their country a much more dangerous place, such as stealing and murder. Ishmael Beah partook in both of these destructive activities, not because he wanted to, but because he was in survival mode. If it meant that he had to kill from thousands of innocent people to survive and be provided with the shelter and safety, than that was pretty much his only option, other than being killed.

    On the other hand, I chose freedom of press as the least important aspect of democracy. Although I do believe it is important, every single country who runs a democracy, successful or not, experiences the blinders some countries put on situations that they don’t want to get out to the public. Sure, it can go way to far in some cases, such as Nazi Germany. But for others, such as modern day America, its not something that needs to change. Maybe their are a few things out their that our country really doesn’t need to know about.

  24. matt densing says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule of Law
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Pluralism
    3. Free Elections
    2. Stratification
    1. Freedom of Press

    If you were to ask me, the most important aspect of democracy is Health. Without the basic necessities to live, how can you possibly focus on how well your government is doing? When in such a dire situation, the only thing you can be worried about is survival for yourself, and possibly your family. Most people in this situation actually have to do things to make their country a much more dangerous place, such as stealing and murder. Ishmael Beah partook in both of these destructive activities, not because he wanted to, but because he was in survival mode. If it meant that he had to kill from thousands of innocent people to survive and be provided with the shelter and safety, than that was pretty much his only option, other than being killed.

    On the other hand, I chose freedom of press as the least important aspect of democracy. Although I do believe it is important, every single country who runs a democracy, successful or not, experiences the blinders some countries put on situations that they don’t want to get out to the public. Sure, it can go way to far in some cases, such as Nazi Germany. But for others, such as modern day America, its not something that needs to change. Maybe their are a few things out their that our country really doesn’t need to know about.

  25. Malia Garibay says:

    8.Education
    7. Pluralism
    6.Free Elections
    5.Social Mobility
    4.Independent Judiciary
    3.Rule
    2.Health
    1. Freedom of the press .
    I believe that all of these aspects of democracy are completely necessary . Although i would conclude that education is at the up most importance because in order to have a well running society we need educated people voting for the president or maybe even,running for presidency . looking at society as a whole education is extremely vital in the fact that we need educated people working and putting more money into the economy so we don’t have debt because with debt comes many problems with in the country and other countries and if we have issues with other countries such as war and financial differences. while this is occurring we are under an abundant amount of stress and are more willing to believe potential leaders and if we are to easily persuaded we could end up with another Adolf Hitler or Stalin . not only is it important to have Education for voting purposes you also need it for the flow of the economy . Education is like the building block for all the other aspects witch is another reason i think its the most important without education you have no health you have no doctors to keep things running accordingly , you have no press because the proper writing skills have not been taught ,and you do not have class social mobility because how are you supposed to get ahead in the work field without proper education . I do believe education is the most important ingredient for a democracy but only if that education is free and distributed equally.

    Although freedom of the press is a very important contribution to democracy and is completely necessary i would have to argue that it is not the most important thing because without education and all these other aspects of democracy freedom of press doesn’t exist because as long as we have education we should be able to differentiate the ugly truth from a pretty lies . Although we do want a say in the news we are hearing the people have done exactly what they don’t want the government doing to us , in the media we are feed lies every day so i don’t see the difference in the fact who makes those lies whether it be the people or the government .If all the aspects of democracy are indeed in place then there is no need for free press because we would already a trust worthy government that we could rely on to inform us with only truths

  26. Jotham Nicolas says:

    8) Freedom of the press
    7)social stratification/social mobility
    6)pluralism
    5)independent judiciary
    4)free elections
    3)rule
    2)health
    1)education

    In order to have an democracy you must have education which is very important. Without an education people could not make educated decision which would help the U.S and the world. Example in the French revolution people did not want themselves to be monarchy. They wanted to be able to vote for who ever they wanted and not have just one dictator who they did not choose. How ever they got led to dictatorship and this happen because the French did not know about democracy, all they knew about was the American Revolution. The Europeans who took over them destroyed it. The people were divide and the trust they had was lost and forgotten. After the civil war people began to trust each other again. In my opinion it would be hard for them to get a democracy, but if other countries help they have a higher chance.

    The least important for a democracy is freedom of the press, sure its important because you get more info, but without it you still could have a democracy . The government can control what is release to the people and tell them the news. Freedom of press is important just not enough to the point of not able to have a democracy. In ww2 the American government control what went over the radio and they block out anything about current things in America. They worried about people hearing and using that info against them.

  27. Megan Kearney says:

    8. Education
    7. Free Elections
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Respect/ Rule of Law
    4. Health
    3. Social Mobility
    2. Pluralism
    1. Freedom of Press

    In order to have a successful democracy, it needs well-educated people. In order to make an intelligent vote citizens need to be educated enough to read and understand the issues that they are voting on. Education allows people to form ideas and opinions about topics and understand the implications of taking a position by casting a vote one way or the other. The probability of a well-educated government becoming democratic within twenty years is 87%. Democratic ideas are taught and learned through education. For example the United States education system focuses on preparing students for involving themselves in a democracy. The school system teaches socialization skills so the students grow up knowing the importance of effectively communicating one’s own opinion, but to also appreciate the position of others. Unfortunately, the opportunity to be taught these ideas is not equally available to all classes in Sierra Leone. One reason for this is the large class sizes. The teachers are not able to communicate with students individually because the ratio is on average 75 students to 1 teacher. Also, Sierra Leonean have a limited amount of learning materials. Lots of textbooks are stolen and 10% of them do not reach the schools were they are needed. In Sierra Leone there is only one set of books for every three children. On a good note this number has been improving since the civil war. Clearly education is important because it helps people make decisions that could make or break a democracy.

    Freedom of press helps make a successful democracy, but of all eight it is the least important. Although the freedom of press provides people with the most recent news stories and information about the country, it also causes conflict. For example, Sierra Leone faces problems spreading news within the country because it is home to sixteen different ethnic groups. These groups do not all speak and understand the same languages. In fact Sierra Leone has about eighteen different languages. They also have more than one religion. This can create conflict between followers of different religions. Within any country, people may not understand what the newspapers say so they will miss important information. When people read about the beliefs or actions of one religious group over another they may become offended and upset. This can lead to civil unrest within the social group.

  28. Ian Beamer says:

    1. Health
    2. Pluralism
    3. Social Mobility
    4. Rule/Respect for Law
    5. Free Press
    6. Free Elections
    7. Independent Judiciary
    8. Education

    Education is a fundamental part of a democracy. It is what makes the USA such a ‘great’ place. The government offers us an education, which allows us to make ‘wise’ decisions on what the monarchs of Congress decide for us anyway. It is also why other third world countries fail at it. They can’t decide for themselves because of their lack of education, so they depend on other individuals, which eventually become power mad and overrun the country. Education is what made the idea of democracy become reality and how we keep the government in check. Just because the government doesn’t have a free press, doesn’t mean you can’t see through their lies.

    The Independent Judiciary is crucial for the monarchs of Congress to be able to be kept in check. They design laws, and the Judicial Branch takes care of the ones who are caught breaking them. This allows for an equal chance of freedom and imprisonment, and the judge is not the only one allowed to make decisions. We try to make each branch as democratic as possible, so we give the court a Jury of twelve educated citizens. This is what makes a democracy a democracy.

  29. Kevin Holst says:

    Health
    Education
    Free Elections
    Rule/Respect for Law
    Social Stratification
    Independent Judiciary
    Freedom of the Press
    Pluralism

    I chose health as the most important element of democracy for a few reasons. The first being that from a scientific perspective, if a person has not met the basic fundamental human needs such as food, water, and clean air to breath, they cannot and will not accomplish anything outside the realm of their own bodies, meaning all they can think about is staying alive. The classic example of this would be the dark ages in Europe when there was literally no food in existence. This leads to my next point, which is that since people without their health can’t function properly, there is no possible way that they could form a working society with all of the hunger and starvation. Even if a group of people who were starving managed to establish a court system and had members running for positions in the government, it wouldn’t work because all of the normal citizens would vote for the person who would give them the most food, not the person who would lead and govern the best. (But in this circumstance, food would be a high priority.) Basically, if a person or any group of people can’t establish their basic human needs of food, water, and clean air, then they can’t form a working society or to be extreme, a country.

    Now, you may be wondering why I have chosen to put pluralism in last place when at the very core of our democratic system is the ability to vote from a choice of multiple parties who are running for election. After having a conversation with Travis Holmes, I have decided to agree with him that not having a multiple-party system in the US doesn’t mean that a democracy wouldn’t work. The way I think about it, if there were in fact no parties to vote for, and instead each town had to vote locally, the people of each town would focus more on helping what immediately affects them, which in a national level, would ultimately benefit our the country. In any form of government, a country can’t make any real progress until the people are willing and able to help because of already having that stable hometown background. This is certainly the case in Sierra Leone, where the recent civil war has devastated home life and as a result, the people are dis-unified and can’t trust each other.

  30. Mariah Satnick says:

    8. Education
    7. Pluralism
    6. Free Elections
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4.Rules/Respect for Law
    3. Free Press
    2. Health
    1. Social Stratification

    To form an honest democracy, the people need to be educated. Through education the government will embody as an intelligent skilled way to govern. Since the way the government is run in the eyes of the people, for a correct democracy, the people need to be educated. In Sierra Leone, only 29% of the people are literate. How are people supposed to do what is best for them and their family if they are not literate? How are they supposed to vote if they are not educated? In the United states the education system specifically teaches students about democracy. Without an education the importance of democracy is not visible. As well as, there is a lack of intelligence, and citizens only know what the government has told them and will lack the knowledge to make decisions for themselves. Moreover, without education the light bulb in ones brain will not be able to be switched on to see what ones beliefs are and what is right for the community in which they live in.

    It is irrelevant whether you are rich, poor, or middle class, to construct a democracy. A democracy is based on if you can vote educatedly, with a ballet of more than one person. Even though Sierra Leone was granted independence about 48 years ago the struggle for democracy is still very present. Nevertheless, ones economic state should have nothing to do with whether they are able to devise a correct democracy. Despite that in America the middle class, or working class is that back bone to the American community, it took the upper class people time and work to reach that level, and the lower class is still able to work its way up. All in all, ones social stratification is irrelevant towards the government.

  31. Chelsea McCarty says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Free Elections
    5. Rule/Respect of Law
    4. Pluralism
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Freedom of the Press

    All throughout history, democracy has been a key element, but what is democracy? What are the factors that are necessary in order to have a functioning, healthy democracy? I chose education as my first element. A democracy needs well-educated people in order to be properly functioning. The ability to be literate also means one has the ability to vote (reading, writing,etc..) In order for one to have ideas, and be opinionated about a certain topic going on, one needs to be educated. Educated people are the ones that prevent us from going into debt, because education brings jobs, as well. People in the U.S are part of one of the most well educated, “on top of it countries” with a 98% literacy rate, whereas somewhere less “fortunate” with a not-so-great political system has a literacy rate of about 35%. Literacy and education are a huge part in understanding a democracy, because one needs to acknowledge what their country’s leader is “feeding” them.

    On the other hand, i chose freedom of the press as the least important. I think it’s an important part of a democracy, but i don’t think if we didn’t have freedom of the press, everything would just fall apart. Word travels fast, and something printed in a newspaper doesn’t need to be present for that, word usually travels via mouth and “secrets”. A newspaper is not needed to let people know what is going on. As Keldon stated, the Underground railroad is a prime example of the underground railroad. Nobody had newspapers, not many knew about it, but it still managed to work and word still got around.

  32. Olivia Dela Cruz says:

    1. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    2. Independent Judiciary
    3. Rule/Respect for the Law
    4/5. Free Elections and Pluralism (You simply cannot have one without the other, so they are of equal importance).
    6. Freedom of the Press
    7. Education
    8. Health
    It goes without saying that a person’s health is the key to survival—in fact, in some cases the two terms are interchangeable. Acclaimed psychologist Adam Maslow created a hierarchy of human needs that featured personal and/or family health as the number one priority among all people. If a person’s health is in jeopardy, they are much less likely to focus anything other than fixing the complications that arise with said health problems. If human function dwindles directly as their health does, democracy or society in general cannot survive without the well-being of its people. In the French Revolution, one of the main problems the impoverished faced was famine—their families were not receiving enough food and suffered accordingly. Searching for someone to blame, their rage eventually fell upon the French Government. A few more injustices were dealt to the lower classes and finally they broke, but many would argue that crippling poverty (which lead to an equally devastating food shortage) provided the brunt of the animosity toward those of status in pre-revolutionary France. This displeasure for authority can and has been mirrored in similar cases throughout history, which essentially goes to show that a government cannot thrive if its people are not in good health.

    While still very important, Social Stratification brings up the rear of the factors of an ideal democracy. Mostly because in an ideal democracy, the social classes would not be so drastic that one would wish to move up or down. In A Long Way Gone there seemed to be a very thin line between the moderately fortunate and the less fortunate. People worked well together and if education was an option they chose it, but no one was regarded as “less” for not going to school. Everyone had a job that was valued no matter their level of education. Surely it is a desired part of democracy, especially to Americans who strive to fulfill the “rags to riches” stereotype, but in a dire time it could be eliminated.

  33. Blake Gurrola says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Education
    6. Freedom of Press
    5. Free Elections
    4. Health
    3. Rule/ Respect for Law
    2. Pluralism
    1. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    In a nation with flailing justice system, Independent Judiciary needs to be preserved to make sure our justice system remains as a separate branch from all others. The Executive and Legislative branch already influence the private sector such as business, and our own state and local governments very heavily, which causes a lot of stress and poor decision making making the lives of the average person harder. The judicial system must be kept separate to ensure fair and equal trials and punishments for each case, which is key for a stable democracy. In our own country innocent men are imprisoned or even put to death because of corruption and poorly practiced trials. In Sierra Leone, the federal government in place became corrupted with the lust for diamonds and the desire for wealth for the few that could obtain it. When the Rebels invaded the government took little action until they saw it to be a threat to themselves, and then acquired child soldiers to take part in the fighting. This completely goes against the laws in place, but it is easily infringed upon because the government has so much power over the judicial system. Without an Independent Judiciary system, politics would become corrupt. Social Stratification is the least important factor in Democracy. Countless times in history both our own and across Europe and Asia the factors of such caste systems and divisions of the people sparked bloody and horrific revolutions that have changed the world. Most notable the French Revolution that ended in the bloody deaths of thousands of people both peasants and nobles, because of class division. Even in recent times in Sierra Leone, the rivers that contain diamond also run red with blood because of the insane poverty and corruption caused by the class systems. Allowing the rich to beocme richer and the poor poorer.

  34. Angel Garcia says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Free Elections
    5. Pluralism
    4. Social Stratification
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Rule/Respect of law
    1. Freedom of Press

    They say education is the best weapon anyone can have. This is definitely true in a democracy. It is pretty obvious that people would want to make someone a leader or such if they have a good education. You also need to have a good education to back up the opinions you made. Here our education mains on making the right choice in the US elections. Unfortunately in Sierra Leone many people dont have the proper education to make a good choice on an election. They could have a good education but some people steal the books and only care about making money when it would be better to have an education, and also have big student to teacher ratios. Education is clearly the most important factor in a democracy.

    Freedom of Press is the least important factor in a democracy to me. Freedom of press keeps the citizens informed. But in every report the press makes, their is always a group of people that disagree and try to start problems. So sometimes its good to not have freedom of press. To me freedom of press is not really necessary unless its in a big decision. Freedom of press is the least important factor in a democracy.

  35. Joey Knapp says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Free Elections
    5. Rule/Respect of Law
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    2. Pluralism
    1. Freedom of Press

    Health is vital to a democracy being able to form and persist on. Without health, the country falls into despair like the case of Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, people walk miles to fetch water from a clean source that’s not filled with parasites. Poverty and disease are raging across the countryside and damaging the population of the country dramatically. With high mortality rates and the average life span being from 34 to 40, people only think about surviving another day and government is the last thing on their starving minds. You can’t have a functioning democracy if the country is so unhealthy that they have to fight each and every day to just live. Poor families can barely afford food let alone education. If the brain is fed minimal amounts of food, it cant perform to its max potential and thus is one of the many problems in the faltering education system in Sierra Leone. Other countries in Africa also suffer from health problems. For example, South Africa has a very high rate of HIV/AIDS that is taking a dramatic toll on its people. You need to have a healthy country in order to have a maintaining government. Health leads to education which leads to a educated, strong country that is capable of achieving great tasks. Health is the spark that Sierra Leone needs to light its democratic fires and get back onto its feet.

    Freedom of Press is definitely important in creating a democracy, but I believe it is the least important on this list. Freedom of Press allows for newspaper, radios, etc. to be able to display what they want about the government and problems of the country and such. However, since Sierra Leone has around 29% literacy rate, the majority of the people wouldn’t even be able to understand what the press was talking about if there was a free press. With the people mainly focusing and honing in on surviving because of health issues, the press does not matter to them and they simply do not care. Education would play a key role in the population being able to interpret the things the press is trying to get across, but the education can’t thrive in such a unhealthy and diseased land. Health and Education are the bottom two stairs and once you successfully climb up these, you are closer to Freedom of Press which is why it is the least essential aspect to a functioning democratic society.

  36. Andrew Nyznyk says:

    8. Pluralism
    7. Education
    6. Rule/Respect of Law
    5. Free Election
    4. Health Free
    3. Free Press
    2. Social Stratification
    1. Independent Judiciary

    the definition of Democracy is a egalitarian form of government in which all the citizens of a nation together determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion. How can someone express their opinion when there is only one choice to be made in the first place. this is why pluralism is the most important element in any democracy because without it all you really have is a sugarcoated dictatorship!

    Now with Pluralism being the number one factor in a functioning democracy, independent judiciary least important element in said political system. My reasoning behind this was not to undermine the importance of a top notch judicial system but to put emphasis on the people having respect for the laws. In the ideal democracy, a majority of the people vote on the various laws and representatives from their party of favor and therefor, a majority of those people should be content with the decisions that they themselves had voted for in the first place. so all in all if you respect the laws you have voted for you do not need an Independent judiciary system

  37. Christine Willis says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Free Elections
    5. Rule/Respect for Law
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Pluralism
    2. Social Stratification
    1. Freedom of the Press

    I beleive that the most important element of a democracy is education. People need to be educated in order to make wise decisions when voting. Without being educated, people would be more likely to be manipulated or tricked. Having an education helps you think for yourself, and form your own ideas and opinions. If the people are well educated, the probability of a goverment becoming democratic in the next twenty years is 87%. Unfortunately, a lot of people in Sierra Leone don’t have the opportunity to get an education. In the rural nothern section of Sierra Leone there is a 78:1 student to teacher ratio. And, only 29% of its poulation is literate. Euucation is very inportant because it helps people make better, more informed decisions.

    While freedom of the press is very important for a democracy, I think of all eight it would be the least important. Just because the goverment is not in charge of the press dosen’t mean that everything said is true. Here in America a lot of thing the media says are lies. Also in Sierra Leone there are about 18 different lanuages, so it would be hard to have a newspaer in every lanuage. Some people in Sierra Leone can’t read, so a newspaper would be completely useless to them. So, I think thatas long as people are educated they can work out for themselfs whats true or not

  38. Carolina Canosa says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Rule/Respect for Law
    6. Pluralism
    5. Free Elections
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    3. Education
    4. Health
    5. Freedom of the Press

    Before our class started looking into what makes a nation or country a democracy, I was like many other and thought that education was the most important. After going over all of the factors that should make up a democracy, independent judiciary is at the top of my list and freedom of the press is at the bottom. Independent judiciary is basically the separation of the judiciary branch from any other outside influences, so that individuals can be judged fairly. Independent judiciary reminds me of the philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu and his ideas of the separation of powers without independent judiciary, criminals would be set free without paying for their crimes. Also if criminals are set loose without a punishment, they’ll think that they could get away with anything, therefore they would commit the crime again. In Sierra Leone there have been some issues with the judicial system. For example, president Karomo was accused of being too involved with the judicial system because he appoints the judges of two of the highest courts in Sierra Leone. Apparently the president isn’t the only one at fault, because even though it’s obvious that he is too involved with the judicial system, not many people speak up against the issue. In Great Britain, the royal families would influence court cases and appoint whoever they wanted as judges. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, King William III passed the Act of Settlements of 1701 which stated that judges were given tenures unless parliament removed them.
    I believe that freedom of the press is important because if we didn’t have it then the people wouldn’t trust their government and this could lead to people questioning the government. Journalism is a way for the people to express their opinions and beliefs; it’s an outlet that is important because if people aren’t able to vent their feelings and frustrations then they will find other alternatives. Whenever I think about the United State’s constitution, I always remember that we have freedom of speech, press and religion. I think that freedom of the press is one of the things that set us apart from other countries. In Sierra Leone, social media is practically impossible for many reasons that include under-financing for hardcopy newspapers; there is also a chance that journalists and reporters could be physically harmed. There are also too different ethnicity groups that speak too many different languages; therefore not everyone could be able to understand the newspaper. After the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte was declared emperor of France, he also created Napoleonic code and in it he stated that there was freedom of the press. Unfortunately he did not stick to his documents and he shut down several newspapers because they would refuse to let their content be revised. This is one of the things that led Napoleon to his downfall and left the country to return to a monarchy. So in conclusion freedom of the press is important because it’s an outlet for some people and for others it’s a way to stay in the loop of what’s going on in their communities.

  39. Aiyana Martinez says:

    8.Health
    7.Education
    6.Free Election
    5. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3.Pluralism (multi-party system)
    2. Free Elections
    1. Freedom of the Press
    To me for democracy to happen iam tied between health and education because you need education for democracy but without a good health you will miss school and not get the education you need. In Sierra Leone , the average life capacity is up to 41 years old, approximately. It is told that they have a devastating health care system but that is only because of the civil war going on in their. to have a successful deomocracy for Sierra Leone most of the population needs to be stable with their health care systems. But in fact that is so diffuclt because at least 70 percent of the population in Sierra Leone is below the proverty line. With their very low health care going on how can this all be able to stable and become a succesful democracy when being healthy is taking the biggest part of their life than being in their government? Being healthy with a good health system near you helps you stay in school learning new lessons of education eachday, making you have ne day a succesful democracy.

    To still have a successful democracy, i think the last thing for it to happen is freedom of press. Spreading news anywhere will get the medias attention, no matter if its true or not. It will deffinatly get the medias attention, weather they believe or not. Freedom of Press in Sierra Leone there is at least sixteen different ethnic groups and at least eighteen different languages in the article “Freedom of the Press” by Maddie Anguiano even says that there might be even more. Plus theres more than one religion there obviously and who knows what the people put in the news about other cultures and religions. So when people read the news or hear about it and see that there are insults about their religion and cultures, they obviously go to violence and this is one reason why we have so much Violence in human nature and one more step to the cause of war.also with all the different languages in Sierra Leone some might not understand the news hat goes on only parts of it , some might miss understand and another way to violence.

  40. brandon chandler says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Free Elections
    5. Social Stratification
    4. Pluralism
    3. Freedom of Press
    2. Rule/Respect of law
    1. Independent Judiciary

    i think education is the most important because if u did not have a education then it would be like man kind was a rock dumb and just sitting there till it was kicked out of the way. if we did not all have some sort of a education then we would all not be able to keep a living democracy alive. health is the second most important thing to have because if we did not have clean streets and had @!#& on the sides of the street then aids gonorea and some other creepy unneeded to know names would be every where and we would never be able to stop them with out a health society to keep the @!#& out of the streets. if we did not have free elections then a democracy would become a dedictator meaning we would never have a election ever again and it would just be a dictator ruling our county. if we did not have a social stratification then we would eather have a high rich class (not likely) or a really really big lower class (aka bums or hobos) not having a high middle class would mean rich people could not get richer and poor people could not get money from begging the hell out of the middle class. if there was no pluralism then we would not have a democracy it would become again dedictator and only one party would win over and over and over again never losing. so we need at least 2 political party’s to have a democracy. freedom of the press is something the Russians did not have and look what happened to them people did not know what was happening and revolted(probably drank lots of vodka to help the revolution get going). in other words we would not know anything that was happening at all and the government would not let us know. so we need freedom of the press so we can know what happens. rules are like guide lines no one likes following them but they have to now some may break the rules or bend them but they still follow them and must be followed. respecting the law is a major thing cause if u don’t respect the law then why not revolt cause u wont Liston to them anyway. on the other hand follow the rules and respect the law and your have a good democracy. in order to have a good lawsuit(like over a bag of sugar someone stilt and did not want to pay for it) u have to have a independent judiciary. that is how i rate all of my ways to have the most perfect democracy.the end

  41. Cristian Alamillo says:

    8. Education
    7. Pluralism
    6. Free Elections
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Rule/Respect for the Law
    3. Social Stratification/Mobility
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Health

    I believe that education is definitely the most important aspect of a democracy because if citizens in a nation aren’t educated, how can they be expected to vote for leaders when they don’t really know what’s going on? They can be easily manipulated by leaders who just want power and will believe anything they hear if they aren’t educated and don’t know what’s going on. Also, if most people in a society aren’t properly educated, how can they get involved in politics and help their society move forward? They really can’t. If you look to a country like India, who’s citizens aren’t educated you can easily see that they have been struggling with other problems like disease, and poverty for years. Sierre Leone for example, has citizens who don’t receive a good education and they have been struggling for years with wars and poverty and other problems. Its almost like a rule of thumb, that if a society doesn’t have educated citizens, they can’t move forward economically or politically.
    Health is a factor that isn’t as important as the others listed above because if people are sick they can still be part of a democracy, they can still vote and contribute to it. Democracy is all about citizens getting a say in what they believe and getting to vote for who they believe in not about health care and the problems that come with it. For a democracy to be successful you need to focus on its main principles otherwise, its true roots become distorted and it will eventually fail.

  42. Clayton Heaton says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Rule/Respect of Law
    6. Pluralism
    5. Free Elections
    4. Freedom of Press
    3. Education
    2. Social Mobility
    1. Health

    All of the above are all essential tools of democracy however some in my opinion are much more needed then others. Independent Judiciary is by far in my opinion the most needed system to be able to run a democracy. It puts the people first and truly gives them there rights they deserve Independent Judiciary keeps things running smoothly no riots or any murder, nothing that could possibly ruin the system. Obviously some people do break the law but that’s where Independent Judiciary comes into play, in Sierra Leone this didn’t exist so the people who broke the law got away with it. Eventually after people realize there is no punishment for doing the wrong thing everyone goes out of control making a corrupt nation. If they could have had some sort of courts system people would think about it twice before breaking the law. That’s part of the reason why today we have such a smooth running system in America, people have to be crazy to break the law anymore with such harsh punishments. Although some people may not like it or think it’s wrong to keep a person in jail there whole life, it shows as an example to everyone else. Throughout history those who do not have a strong courts system go corrupt and lead to a chain of bad things ruining their nation. Independent Judiciary is very important for a democracy and for the people.
    Health is also important to a democracy just not as much as the other categories simply because health doesn’t change the decisions. Yes I think it is horrible that many of the people from Sierra Leone die from starvation, however I feel that if they had of followed the steps they needed of the categories such as Education Independent Judiciary, and Free elections health would have fallen into play. The problem was that Sierra Leone didn’t have any of these categories panning out so obviously health would be an issue. Health is very important it saves the people and democracy is all about the people however if the nation makes the right steps and decisions early then health wouldn’t be a problem. It also really depends on how bad the health care is because as long as people are not dying of starvation and can think clearly I honestly don’t see why it would matter that much. Democracy is a very complex thing and it is a difficult process that has to make everyone happy very few nations have had perfect running democracies.

  43. Quinlan Moran says:

    1. Health
    2. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    3. Independent Judiciary
    4. Free Elections
    5. Rule/Respect of Law
    6. Freedom of the Press
    7. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    8. Education

    There are many factors that determine how stable and thriving a democracy really is. Such as health, education, free elections, respect of law, freedom of press, independent judiciary, social stratification and pluralism. They are few of many things it takes to have a fully functioning democracy. The most important factor in a democracy is an educated people and the least important is Health
    The most important factor of a democracy is the education of the people. This is shown throughout history, the French revolution their democracy failed because the peasants were not educated and it went right back to a hierarchy because the few educated were running the country again. This is the same in Sierra Leone, from ancient times to current. The sierra Leoneans were taken advantage of by the Europeans in the 1800’s when they were being imperialized because the higher powers aka (the educated) could easily manipulate an un educated country. Education is one of the biggest reasons America thrives today.

    The least important of the eight factors is health. This is the least important because a democracy can survive without it. This is shown in the early stages of our country’s development. We were a democracy before we were provided with social services and health regulations. The CDC (Center of Disease Control) didn’t begin until July 1st, 1946 (cdchistory.gov) we were a functioning even thriving democracy before we had any of these health advancements. American people started this democracy without health, and health is run by private industry not the government, there for not as important as the others. This country’s democracy began and thrived nearly 100 years without health, that is why it must be the least important of the list.

  44. Athena De La Cruz says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    5. Rules/ Respect
    4. Freedom of the Press
    3. Free Elections
    2. Pluralism
    1. Independent Judiciary

    Health: a hot topic in most societies and the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy. It is the most important part of Democracy in my opinion. If the ideal democracy didn’t provide the most basic form of healthcare for its citizens, everyone would be devoured in their own thoughts of staying alive rather than pondering the state our society is currently in. Do you ever wonder why wealthier countries like the United States are exceedingly successful with our democratic government compared to third world countries like Sierra Leone for instance? The answer is simple; Americans in a large sense do not have to constantly fight the battle for life. We have a solid sense of good health and security. With almost 70 percent of Sierra Leone living below the poverty line, the life expectancy in the United States is nearly double that of Sierra Leone. Although healthcare has improved throughout the past years after the war, the statistics are startling. For every 1,000 babies born, 80 die while 857 out of 100,000 mothers die during childbirth. This is a direct effect of the lack of medical personnel in the area. According to the World Health Organization, the ratio of doctors to patients is 1 to 1,000. How can anyone expect poverty stricken people who can barely afford healthcare to make the effort to improve their government? It is an unrealistic hope. This is not the case for Sierra Leone alone, many other third world places struggle to provide their citizens with good health. In other parts of Africa, large quantities of children die of malaria, malnutrition, pneumonia, and diarrhea to name a few. A mother’s brain is preoccupied with the thoughts of keeping her children alive while the idea of democracy seldom crosses her mind. While good health is a necessity, a strong democracy is a desire.

    Independent: Free to do what you want.
    Judiciary: Judges, courts, and juries.
    An Independent Judiciary is a court system that is free from government influence. Sure, this is crucial in a democracy, but I believe it comes in last on the scale of importance. It’s obvious that people have the right to a fair trial but if one reconsiders my scale, Rules and Respect are ranked far higher than a Judiciary system. The reason for this is that in an ideal democracy, if the total amount of citizens respect and obey the law, there would be no crime. This goes for everyone; including the politicians and the wealthy class that may currently believe that they are above the law in some way or another. With no crime, everyone is happy and content and there is no reason to go to court. The law would be enforced and fair and the total population would be exultant. This may be a mere dream; a hope, because many people believe that a perfect democracy could never exist. This is why democracy has failed so many times in the past, because it is unrealistic.

  45. Jonny Cogburn says:

    1. Education
    2. Pluralism
    3. Free Elections
    4. Rule/respect for law
    5. Social mobility
    6. Health
    7. Independent Judiciary
    8. Freedom of the press

    Democracy needs many factors to be able to function, but some are more necessary for it to function properly than others. I believe that Education is the most important of these major factors, though. Without education, you can’t even have the other 7 factors of a democracy. Without education, you would have an anarchy. Assume that connections with other countries has been stopped. After a few generations have gone by without education, our current average knowledge threshold that we hold today would be decayed to an extremely low level, leaving mostly survival instincts left with the new generations. There would be a chain of events. Food production would be stopped or shrunken to barely any production. People would then fight over the remaining food, cancelling out health and respect for law. There would be no government, taking out free elections and pluralism. Basically, America would be no more. But with proper education, these factors of democracy almost come as a package.

    Although all of these factors are important for democracy, there is one that I believe is the least important for it. You can have a democracy without freedom of the press, but only if you have the other factors working at the same time. I believe that if you have all of the other factors working but no freedom of the press, the government wouldn’t so much control the news as much as just regulate it, only giving out information that they want you to see, but without false information and cover-ups. As we have seen in the past, Stalin controlled the press, using lies and cover-ups, but the Russian government didn’t have an independent judiciary, social mobility or pluralism. If you do have all of these factors excluding freedom of the press, I believe you could still have a democracy.

  46. Eryk Vaughn says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Rule/Respect of Law
    6. Pluralism
    5. Free Elections
    4. Freedom of Press
    3. Education
    2. Health
    1.Social Mobility

    To me the most important element of democracy is the independent judiciary. This is were courts are free from the influence of outside powers. this makes them free from corruption. If the morality of law is influenced by by money or fear, then the system is failed. Democracy is were a nation is for the people and by the people, and if the laws are corrupt then it has failed at being a democracy.
    Social Mobility is not important because it showing there is a large that people need to be able to move from when in a perfect democracy everyone is equal. then for this to be installed you would have to not be a true democracy in the first place but one pretending to be one.

  47. Tyhler Kohn Gallardo says:

    1.Health
    2.Education
    3.Pluralism (multi-party system)
    4.Free Elections
    5.Freedom of the Press
    6.Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    7.Independent Judiciary
    8.Rule/Respect of Law
    Health:
    I think the necessity of democracy is based around health. Without health nobody would care about education, any sort of freedom, or democracy. A chunk of people in Sierra Leone suffer from starvation, diseases or dehydration. If anybody suffered from any of this I highly doubt that anything else but surviving would ever matter. A lot of women don’t go to school because they need to take care of their children and family. If the family is not healthy then the child takes all their time just to make sure that person is healthy. In Sierra Leone it seems as if many kids leave school to find decent water to bring their families or trying to hunt/find food for themselves or family. If someone is having horrid health problems the possibility of them surviving could be very slim, with no money to hire a doctor to cure diseases. I believe that without eating three decent meals a day your brain doesn’t have the capacity to be fully working. Without having your brain fully working how are you supposed to think or remember things at school? While someone is starving or in critical condition how are they supposed to think of voting or education when all they can think about is how they are going to survive the next day. I think here in America we take full advantage of everything they have. Most people know there going to be fed everyday, and a majority of people are going to be successful in life and that’s why a democracy seems to work here. While in Sierra Leone they worry everyday about survival, what do they care about democracy if soon they’re not even alive? That’s why health is the top beneficial of a democracy in Sierra Leone.
    I do not think that rule and respect of law is a necessity to Sierra Leone because the law does not seem to be stable in Sierra Leone. With the child soldiers and people dieing why are people supposed to thing this is enforced on when they are voting or doing something conflicting with democracy. I don’t think that rule and respect helps them with creating a stable society.

  48. Sean Hernandez says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Education
    6. Free Elections
    5. Freedom of the Press
    4. Rule/Respect of Law
    3. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    2. Health
    1. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    The most important element is the independent judiciary. When it comes to democracy, it is very important that judiciary and executive operation of the government are separate. It is important in protecting other factors like free elections and free press and others like them. If the judicial system isn’t under the executive control, then corrupted governments threatening the ideals of democracy will find it very difficult to takeover and abuse their power. The judicial system must be kept separate so fair and equal trials and punishments for each case will be ensured. When enforcing laws and decision making that has no corruption is important for a democracy. This had happened in Sierra Leone when there wasn’t anyone to enforce the laws that wasn’t already corrupt, which allowed for the government to become corrupt, which in turn gave the rebels a scapegoat for their horrendous acts of violence. In 2010 75% of people (surveyed) in Sierra Leone identified the judiciary branch of government as responsible for the failure of the war against corruption. A current example of this is how the Mexican government has been handling the illegal drug trafficking. Whenever there is a crime committed that could be related to cartel involvement it usually ends with officers being bribed or even threatened to discontinue the investigation. Justice can barley exists in a system as corrupt as that. That is way I think that independent judiciary is the most important factor needed in a democracy.

    Social Stratification is one of the least important factors in a democracy. Whether you are rich, poor, or middle class social classes have little to no importance in being a factor needed for democracy to exist. When you think of factors relating to democracy off the top of your head most people will ever think that social classes related to democracy. Usually they would think of things like free elections, free press, education and other related factors. Sierra Leone’s social classes have little to no difference and despite that they are still in struggle for democracy ones economic state has nothing to do with whether they are able to create a stable democracy. That is why I believe social stratification is the least important factor in creating a democracy.

  49. Maddi McCarthy says:

    8. Rule of Law
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Pluralism
    5. Education
    4. Social Stratification
    3. Free elections
    2. Health
    1. Freedom of the Press

    It is hard to assign a degree of importance to these eight parts of a democracy. Each one relies on the other in order for a proper democracy to happen. 
       Respect of the rule of law is the main foundation for a successful democracy. As the research states, “When everyone is equal under the law no one feels as if they are being suppressed.” The law must apply to both individuals, groups, and government officials.  If government or private groups do not follow the law just as all other private citizens do, then the country will become lawless and chaotic.   A country must be stabilized and allowed to function within the boundaries of the laws of the country.  There cannot be corruption in the government just as there cannot be lawlessness in the streets or there will never be true democracy.  Many people follow the law because they want to be good citizens but some need to follow the law because they know they could be fined or punished. There needs to be adjustments for religious differences but for the  most part the rule of law must keep people safe and allow people to live without endangering others physically and allowing enough freedom of speech. The people of a democracy need to know that no one is above the law.  The picture featured in the research having to do with the rule of law shows Sierra Leone’s children  in the back of a truck waving guns.  This kind of behavior does not foster democracy and creates intimidation.  The
    respect  for the rule of law lays the foundation for democracy.  

    The least important to the foundation of democracy is having a free press,  Even though it is essential to a successful democracy, it is the least of the eight parts of democracy since there are many complications that go with it.  there can be language and religious differences which makes a free press almost impossible.  in Sierra Leone,  there are sixteen different languages and dialects.  It seems that it would be virtually impossible to monitor the press and make sure that all sides of each story is being covered without bribery or corruption.  Each of the previous seven ideas need to work correctly in order to finally ensure a free press and finally a true democracy.      

  50. 8 – Education
    7 – Free Elections
    6 – Pluralism
    5 – Independent Judiciary
    4 – Freedom of the Press
    3 – Health
    2 – Rule/Respect of Law
    1 – Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    Education is, I believe, the most important element to a functional, ideal democracy. Most of the countries with higher democracy indices are also the countries with the higher education index. For instance, most African countries have low Democracy Index values with low Education Index values, but European countries have the highest Democracy Index and Education Index values. Ideally, this ratio is 10. Sierra Leone’s EI/DI ratio is 11.2 with both values being low, while Sweden is around 9.8 with both values being near the maximum; this mostly confirms said theory. Now, away from the numbers. People need a stable education system to be able to make intelligent/logical decisions on who should lead their country. Without this system, authoritarian regimes can develop as a result of the people not knowing what is happening. This is also true for countries that prevent the consumption of external media, such as China and North Korea.

    I believe social mobility is not as important to democracy as the other factors, but it is still required to maintain a democracy. In many countries plagued with inequality, a democracy still functions, albeit not the best form of one. The only requirement is that careers are chosen based on personal preference, not on state demand. However, rule and respect of the law is more necessary as to reduce crimes associated with income inequality. Sierra Leone has income inequality, but uses a constitutional republic system. China, however, is separated into an extremely large lower class and a small ruling class, with no opportunities for advancement. China, as well known, does not use a democratic system (they are 141/169 on the DI list, with a DI of 3.41.)

  51. Andres Sanchez says:

    1. Freedom of press
    2. Health
    3. Rule/Respect of law
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5. Free Elections
    6. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    7. Independent Judiciary
    8. Education
    There are many elements of democracy but the most important is education because without education the rest of the elements of democracy would be hard to use or understand. According to the research only 29% percent of the country is literate because of this a democratic system is very hard to implement in a country like Sierra Leone. The struggle to educate the youth is one of the many reasons implementing a democratic system in a developing country like Sierra Leone is so hard. Without education the other elements of democracy would be useless because you need education to understand them. Many developing countries have the same problem but not to the extent of Sierra Leone where their teacher to student ratio range from 55 students to 160 students but the constant of the ratio is the number of teachers which is always 1 according to the research. The other elements of democracy are important but the least important element of democracy is freedom of press in my opinion.
    Freedom of press is the least important element of a democracy because how do we really know if we have free press here in the U.S. The struggle in Sierra Leone when it comes to freedom of press is that not everybody speaks the same language. It is the least important element because a democracy can survive even if its press is restricted or controlled by the government it still can function as a democracy. Like Keldon stated the people in the passed news through word of mouth and secret messages, like in the Underground Railroad. It is an important element of democracy but a functioning democracy doesn’t need freedom of press as long as they implement the other elements of a democracy.

  52. Sarah Scheinert says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Rule/ Respect for Law
    5. Independant Judicary
    4. Free Election
    3. Pluralism
    2. Social Stratification/Mobility
    1. Freedom of the Press
    I believe that education is the most important element in a democracy because people need to be educated about how democracy works. This helps teach people how to learn and think. With education in schools, this can teach us not only about the United State’s form of government, but also, we learn about other countries in the process and how those countries work and function with their form of government. Just like in Sierra Leone with their form of government, although due to their government and the dispute over the diamond mines, this sent Sierra Leone into a Civil War. Also, if we didn’t have education in a democratic society, how would we be able to make decisions that could benefit ourselves and the lives of our families as well? We wouldn’t know a thing about what decisions to make and who to vote for in the elections that could benefit our country the best.

    Now, the reason that I put freedom of the press as the last one on my ratings list is because no matter what the government does, it can’t control the people, and the things that people say doesn’t necessarily make everything true. In America today, people hear things all the time that they believe is the truth and most of the time, the government is behind it all. In some cases, it is almost like the Allegory of the Cave where the government is our puppeteer and we are watching the act they are performing for us. Although in a democracy I believe that the people’s voices deserve to be heard.

  53. Anna Weil says:

    1.Education
    2.Free Elections
    3.Rule/Respect For Law
    4.Freedom of Press
    5.Pluralism
    6.Independent Judiciary
    7.Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    8.Health

    Although all these factors are extremely important in a democracy, I would have to say that education is the most important of them all. How is a successful government supposed to operate if people can’t make educated decisions? With free education, all citizens will have equal opportunities to succeed. It will help you to know good decisions from bad, and to be able to think for yourself and not be manipulated. It’s also a key aspect of democracy because it will show them how a democracy works. Education teaches us about other countries forms of government, and about the mistakes they made so we can learn from them. Not only that, but education will help countries with other problems like healthcare. In countries where there isn’t education, you see many cases of poverty and sick people. It’s simple-countries can’t advance without education. They won’t evolve politically or economically. In Sierra Leone the student/teacher ratio is a shocking 55 students to 1 teacher in the more urbanized areas. They are badly in need of a better form of free education in their country. I feel like only then the prospect of a democracy in Sierra Leone will become possible.

    Out of all these factors in determining a democracy, I think health is the least important out of all of them. Of course health is important in day-to-day life and survival, but not in a democracy. People with health problems can still participate in a democracy and vote on their views. Health wouldn’t even be a problem if a democracy had education. That’s why I think education should come before health in the factors of establishing a successful democracy.

  54. Damien Masterson says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Rule/ Respect for law
    5. Free Elections
    4. Pluralism
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Social Mobility
    1. Health

    To me, Education is the key to Democracy. With a bunch of stupid people running around, nothing would work. We have enough stupid people running around right now to realize that there are problems. Education shows you what’s right and wrong. You learn about other countries that have broken because of their government. Sierra Leone’s education isn’t the best and that’s why their government is so out of whack. If you want to build a democracy, you have to know how to first.

    Health has the least importance of a democracy. You need ALL of the things above it in order to have it. Health is basically a test to make sure you know your “2-8.” People are trying to find cures for things and what do those people have? Anyone? Education. Everything boils down to education.

  55. Josh Fabiszak says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    5. Free Elections
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Freedom of the Press
    4. Pluralism
    6. Rule/Respect of Law

    Democracy plays a huge role in the modern world today. Without it i’m sure we would have know one to look up to for help. The Government is the “Key to Democracy”. Government runs the whole show. And These are not drop outs from high school. These are well educated individuals. I believe that in order to run a democracy the people have to be well educated so they can participate in “Free elections” and know what they are actually voting for and how there country is being run, not just having candidates tell them that they are going to be the most awesome President ever. Us as the individuals have to take that step forward first. And know what is going on. When i say first step i am meaning get an education and know what the government is doing. I bet that most people that are not educated individuals, don’t even know what democracy is. The Definition of democracy is ” A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” In this it talks about a whole population, meaning us the people that are elected representatives. I truly believe that education plays a huge role in democracy without it, us as Americans would be lost.

    The reason i put Rule/ Respect of the Law last was because you can take this many ways.The way you can take it is, nobody follows the laws anyway. Or you can take it, without Laws the world would be chaos. Which i think they both can be true. I mean i started driving on the freeway for my first time and i watched cars go by me 80-90 mph and i as just starting with my permit was only going 65 mph. So if you get what i’m trying to say is, people already don’t follow the laws. So when you take them away i think it would just make them worse. But if you think about all of the following Laws seem to be small compared to Health, Health plays a huge role. you cannot have a entire nation sick. And if someone is just going 10 miles over the speed limit. Which is worse? I believe Rule/ Respect for Law is a very minimal Law to have in a Democracy. Some Laws will stay forever know matter the effect on this. I think you can get by without it.

  56. Esperanza Barajas says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Rule / Respect for law
    5. Pluralism
    4. Free Elections
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Health
    I think that education is a key element of democracy. Without an education how can democracy function? Education is necessary to have a democratic society successful. Without an educated people, the country cannot expect their people to make a decision or know what to do in their own country without education. Everything we have in this world is because we have education and people learn and how to make things and this how we have lots of technology like for example I phones and more . If you don’t have education there is really nothing you can’t do without it. If we had uneducated people running for the government then the country wouldn’t be as safe as it is now. Without education we wouldn’t have fast computers or amusement parks like for example Six Flags. Like in Sierra Leon, they don’t really have education because they can’t afford it because they don’t have enough to build a school and they have limited school supplies. Also by education we have less dictatorship in this world.
    Health is the least important element of democracy, but it’s still very important. The reason I put this least from democracy is because the other ones are more important to become a democracy and you really need to achieve the goal. Without a good health you wouldn’t have a good democracy or won’t be able to be like one. In Sierra Leon you don’t have to have a good health to vote anybody could vote. Health it’s important to our, but not the democracy or government.

  57. Martin Hanson says:

    1. Health

    2. Education

    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    4. Free Elections

    5. Rule/Respect of law

    6. Pluralism

    7. Freedom of Press

    8. Independent Judiciary

    Democracy is an incredibly difficult and ultimately great accomplishment in society. Without it people feel alone, scared, and unimportant. It being such a difficult thing to achieve, many governments and nations initially starting a democracy are often left lost and confused. The first and worst mistake a nation can make, and subsequently the first and most important aspect of democracy, is health. In starter democracies like Sierra Leone we see a failing to take care of the health problem quickly and effectively. The expected age someone from Sierra Leone is somewhere around 30-40 years. In Sierra Leone, diseases run rampant and health care is mediocre at best. 80 out of 1000 infants will die, and 1800 out of 100000 mothers will die trying to give life to them. This is unacceptable in a democracy. How could anyone be expected to make complete and informed decisions when their worried about things like clean water or food? Simple answer is they cannot, it is unrealistic. And if you can’t make informed decisions then the wrong people are put into power, education suffers so that person can remain there, the judicial system becomes corrupt, and worst of all, health care drops even more. But if you make health a priority, if you provide food and water, increase health expectancy, then people will be free to do as they please, making or not making informed or uninformed decisions all on their lonesome, and isn’t that what democracy all about, succeeding or failing on your own account?

    Now, that being said, my opinion states that independent judiciary is the least important. I think, theoretically, if the prior standards are met, then the crime rate would go down, resulting in less need for a court system. If you don’t need a court system, then you don’t have one, if you don’t have one, then you shouldn’t worry about corruption in a non-existent system. I understand that that would be in an ideal form, however if the prior conditions are met, then corruption on large scale should go down anyway, including that of the judiciary system.

  58. Gwendolyn Richey says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    1. Health
    4. Rule/Respect of Law
    2. Freedom of the Press
    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    6. Free Elections
    5. Pluralism (multi-party system)

    Education- In order to build a strong and stable democracy for the people, by the people, the most important element to have is an education. Without an education people aren’t able to make the right decisions on who their voting for. It is crucial that the society must have some knowledge base on who is going to be running their country and what the overall impact is going to be. According to Huebner, in the United States education is lead to political participation, were being able to comprehend other people’s views, nonetheless your own views is an important factor. But in Sierra Leone they don’t all have that system of education or have even been given the opportunity to be taught those skills. In Sierra Leone they aren’t given the appropriate materials for learning. 10% of textbooks do not make it to their destinations. This means 10% less money coming from textbook sales, and less funds to obtain more textbooks and other necessary supplies. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, children would have to leave school to find water, food or even use the latrine somewhere out in the forests, which would cut the amount of education they were learning in school. Not only that but the rebels would go to the villages and burn down the schools, and since the schools were so poorly built in the first place, they couldn’t afford to rebuild them. Comparing and contrasting the United States with Sierra Leone, you can see the vast majority of people who are educated and the vast majority of people who aren’t educated. This goes to show that education is a very crucial aspect of having and/ or creating a stable and functioning democracy.

    Health- When we take a look at what stabilizes a democracy, we don’t look at the aspect of people’s health as an issue. The health of a society is important, but not the most important element that kick starts a stable and functioning democracy. We have to approach this issue as a personal problem. According to Singer, there are so many people that fight for survival from birth, only to live up to the age of 40 years old. In Sierra Leone, there aren’t a lot of places to go for treatment when you’re sick or even doctors/nurses to inspect you to see if you’re in good health. The high mortality rate of mothers and infants could be caused by the very low rate of not having these nurses and/or midwives, 0.24, per 10000, and 0.03 physicians per 10,000. As you can see, health is a huge deal in Sierra Leone, but not compared to education. If these people are well educated and able to vote for whom they believe will make the right decisions, then the health of the people may become a well talked about issue that may be resolved. Needless to say, it shouldn’t matter about your health, only to vote for the right person to fix the countries problems, and to try and resolve them.

  59. Ana Bello says:

    My scale from most crucial to least important:
    8. Free Election
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Pluralism
    5. Education
    4. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    3. Rule/ Respect of Law
    2. Health
    1. Freedom of the Press

    Democracy; a government for and by the people. What seems to be what every country is currently thriving for. United States proudly seems to resemble this so accurately when looking at the 8 components listed above in what is needed to have a functioning democratic government we of course have a perfect grasp of them. Health care for all, a large enough middle class that prevents the wealthy from monopolizing political decisions, and higher education that’s affordable which allows for social mobility. I apologize for my perhaps miss directed introduction and will no longer attempt to use satire and sarcasm. Everything listed above can seem compelling at first glance and hard to decipher which is the most and least valuable. In my evaluation though I’m going to be examining the question without which of this could democracy not even exist? To answer that the idea needs to be kept in mind that the first essential aspect to democracy is the ability to vote for your leader. Sure health care and freedom of the press is nice and all but without more than one option on the ballot and free elections you don’t even have the foundation to a democracy. It’s certainly ideal to have all those aspects but unrealistic. As imperfect as our country might be in practicing democracy I do believe that we have the core of those aspects which should give us all the drive to want to achieve more in life and continue building our upon the concept of democracy.
    On my scale of what is vital for a democracy to properly function is first and for most free elections. The electoral process is one that is suppose to represent the people’s opinions reverting back to the idea of having a government for and by the people. When the accessibility of who can run for office is limited the entire process becomes corrupt and does not give the people a choice. Several countries throughout Latin America are operating under this system of formality reelecting the same president over and over making themselves a democracy in name only. Free Elections are important because the individual is voting without the influence of threats and corruption. We can look at the United States for example where everyone does have one vote but with the introduction of super PAC’s giving more power to large corporations it makes one persons vote more valuable than the other. If the United States continues operating under this system and wealth monopolizes the way our government works and who politicians listen to that threatens the infrastructure of our democracy. Looking at Sierra Leon for example, in their 2007 elections the process was much more democratic because they were under no longer under the UN’s influence and ran elections themselves. The people of Sierra Leon now had the opportunity to vote and took advantage of the free elections according to an article from BBC news, “Correspondents say the large turnout was a sign of the population’s determination to see Sierra Leone turn its back on years of instability and a civil war”. This urge for democracy made the people want to participate and they felt as if they were now in charge of their futures not in the hands of one repressive dictator. 2.6 out a 5 million population registered to vote which shows how free elections incentivizes people to believe in the idea of democracy. If free elections were to spread throughout countries in the Middle East and Korea there would no longer be only one leader on the nonexistent ballot. Successors for regimes would no longer exist and leaders would be challenged to send a message out to the people as to why they should vote for them. This competition creates options, the possibility for change, justice, and democracy.
    For my least important aspect in having a democracy it would have to be freedom of the press. First off journalists and certain news sites are not the most credible sources for information to begin with. Agreeing with past philosopher such as Plato I do think that the populace needs to be educated and informed but if the press doesn’t have the freedom to report their opinions that solely alone is not going to cause democracy to crumble. People still can formulate their own opinions on issues and perhaps without bias from other sources. Democracy is about having the views of the people being expressed through fair and equal representation. Fox News loosing their right to call Obama a communist isn’t going to demolish the foundation of a democratic nation. The last three on my list which are Rule/ Respect for the law, Health, and freedom of the press are what I like to consider as those expensive paintings you hang around your house. Nice to look at and makes you feel like a more well rounded person but nothing major is going to happen to your home if someone knocks one down. In an important recent essay in the Journal of Democracy, the Carnegie Endowment’s Thomas Carothers concludes that, “on the evidence of the past two decades, it has proved almost impossible to establish the rule of law and strong state institutions in non-democratic countries.” What essentially I am trying to conclude from this one quote is that all of these 8 aspects stem from one core foundation. You can’t begin setting your marble tiles in place if you haven’t even begun pouring cement. The top three on my list which are free elections, pluralism, and independent judiciary are the necessities to having a democracy. Countries throughout the Middle East such as Syria and Libya are not struggling with there government because they don’t have socialized health care and journalists are feeling that they can not properly express their opinions. It’s because they do not have the top three necessities; options, the choice on who to vote for, and an uncorrupt electoral process not heavily influenced. While all these eight aspects are truly necessary for a thriving country and something I hope that our country see’s one day the first step to it all is free elections which from that point the entirety of change and hope can begin to unravel.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6943541.stm

  60. Carly Camarillo says:

    8- Education
    7-Health
    6-Independent Judiciary
    5-Rule/ Respect of Law
    4-Freedom of the Press
    3-Pluralism
    2-Free Election
    1-Social Stratification/ Social Mobility

    Education is my top for a pretty obvious reason, without education in people how are we supposed to make a knowledable desicion on government and politics. Education by teenagers is taken very lightly and is taken for granite. On the other hand teenagers in Sierra Leone dream of having an education like we do. Education in Sierra Leone is hard to come by, and that is why they struggle in having a stable democracy because not a lot of people are educated enough to be able to make decisions. We need education so we know how to read things, be able to comprehend what a leader is trying to say, and be able to stand up for what you want in a government. There is only one way to have a stable democracy and that to be well educated enough to be able to say what’s working and what’s not working.
    Social Stratification wasn’t as important to me because before you even worrying about classes, you need to be able to have a steady democracy. In Sierra Leone before you worry about classes, their first mission is to be able to set up a democracy. Democracy is so difficult, that having one less thing thing to worry about just makes it easier. Start from the bottom and work your way up is how democracy should be protrayed.

  61. Cameron Ellis says:

    8. Independent Judiciary
    7. Pluralism
    6. Freedom of Press
    5. Respect/ Rule of Law
    4. Free Elections
    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    2. Health
    1. Education

    Democracy is a very hard goal to truly achieve, even demacracies now aren’t all really true democracies. I think that education is important to a society because if only a few people were educated that poeple would corrupt the system and, become eliites. If everyone was well educated no one would be able to corrupt the system (at least not as easily). If everyone is educated people will be able to make more educated votes and, not choose bad candidates to rule countries becuase, if not everyone is smart and, there is a bad but, smart candidate for running for president we’d all be screwed. Everybody needs to be well educated for a country to have its best chance at succeeding at being a country and, not being run down. Without education teachers wouldn’t be as good as they are now and, if they aren’t good then the students won’t do well and they’ll becaome worse teachers which will cause a country to fail in just a couple generations. That is why Education is such a good resource to keep a democratic country thriving and, keep it from ruuning itself down.

    In my opinion, the independent judiciary will be uneeded in an ideal democracy. If people respect the laws unlike people do now then there will be no need for the independent judiciary therefore making it obsolete. If there is no corruption it will not be needed. That is why I chose the independent judiciary to be the least important to keep a country with a democratic government going.

  62. justinbaird says:

    1.Health

    2. Education

    3. Rule/Respect of Law

    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    5. Independent Judiciary

    6.Pluralism (multi-party system)

    7. Free Elections

    8. Freedom of the Press

    Health would be the most important element in a democracy this is because if you are not in good health you will not be able to do anything that

    might make you survive like staying on your toes that would be very difficult if you were too busy focusing on being hungry also if you were to

    under fed you would not be able to move quickly or run away in case of a emergency you need to live day by day that would be better than not

    being alive at all this is essential to a democracy on the foundation that everything is built up off of the health of a population with already high

    numbers of poverty the health of this country needs to be improved how can you expect a country that is living from day to day without any food

    form a democracy its as simple as that. The second area that the people of Sierra Leone can improve on is their illiteracy rate hardly anyone

    who lives there knows how to read how would American’s expect then to create a democracy when hardly anyone can read and write that is

    one thing us spoiled Americans don’t think about we expect something out of somewhere but don’t even get the full facts before we act we

    usually act first and then ask questions later also the fact that even to get any news around the people would have top read it from a paper

    because there is no television there theres not even any electricity they still cook the good old way build a fire ad cook off of it that’s the way to go

    they have no water that is close by so they end up making palm wine and that is how the people stay hydrated off of the water out of a palm tree

    The least important factor in creating a democracy is freedom of the press all they do is get into everyone’s business and wonder why we hate

    them I cant stand the news because all it is composed of I celebrity gossip which frankly I find quite annoying why do I care that someone is

    locked up or someone overdosed on whatever I wish America would be a lot more like Sierra Leone on this matter that no one says nothing

    unless they want people to know about it or they want to do something about it that is why Sierra Leone is more advanced in arts and

    family relations because there’s no annoying paparazzi following them around at all hours of the day. Democracy is avery difficult thing to achive

    because there are so many chacks and balances that after a while they get confusing if we cant even do it why would we expect a third world

    country to.

  63. Makaylah Morrison says:

    8) Education
    7) health
    6) rule
    5) mobility
    4) elections
    3) press
    2) judiciary
    1) pluralism
    Education is the most essential factor of a Democracy. In order to know how to maintain the other factors needed, education is needed. You need to be educated on how to be healthy, how to have respect for law, to know how to work hard, to know freedom of press, to be able to have a say in what goes on in the government, for judges, etc. to know how to be fair with everyone, and to have a choice. Education is also important; because it helps people avoid past mistakes and make the best decisions as to what is right for their government and future. If people strive for an education, then they will strive for a better tomorrow. In order to have a proper functioning democratic government, it all starts with better schools, educated teachers, and more supplies. In Sierra Leone, the urban middle class people have the more modern schools, teachers, and supplies. The underprivileged, with a much higher population however, are being taught in small one room huts, with less/non- educated teachers and limited supplies. These teachers usually teach over 100 students by themselves. With these teachers being so uneducated and having so many children, the chance of these children being educated is slim-to-none. This limited education will affect their future drastically. They won’t be able to read about ways to be healthy, or what the government is doing, or be able to vote because they won’t know what they are voting for. Education is the most important factor of a democracy.

    Pluralism is the least important factor in a Democracy. It is made up of many parties which means disagreements are more likely to occur. There are many things that go wrong with having multiple parties: theft, corruption, and the more impoverished parts of the countries are being neglected when it comes to getting supplies (food, health care, paved roads, etc.). With so many debates about what needs to be changed or worked on, it slows down their progress. Some of the parties have tried to cut down the corruption, but it is just so out of control in the poor countries. There are parties that donate millions of dollars, but other parties take advantage of what they are given and waste it. In the pluralist society of India there are religious and caste system differences that are not tolerated. This causes organized forms of violence. Although pluralism needs huge modifications to get the government in a healthy state, having one party governing is worse because they begin to take total control of their people. Pluralism is an essential factor of a democracy, but it is not the most important. With people voting for the proper parties, it makes the government run more efficient.

  64. Connor McHale says:

    1. Independent Judiciary
    2. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    4. Rule/Respect of Law
    5. Free Elections
    6. Freedom of the Press
    7. Health
    8. Education
    The most vital factor of democracy is education. Without education, adequate heath is incurable. Without education, the freedom of the press would be pointless, because those responsible for relaying accurate information would be clueless of the pending issues, and those absorbing the information would be unable to form a concrete opinion of the subjects at hand. Without education, a free election would be senseless, for ill-informed voters are easy to sway, and corrupt leaders would have no problem gaining and controlling office. Without education, ignorance of the law would be prevalent, and law enforcers wouldn’t have the training necessary for making well-judged decisions. Without education, the rich would be able to push the poor into anything, for they wouldn’t have the required analytical thinking needed to rise against the corrupt upper class. Without education, the rich could pay the poor to vote for whomever they fancy, and the educated rich would be able to manipulate the voters, thus removing any true sense of democracy. Without education, the judges would be easily influenced by money or threats, and the lack of fair court is contrary to democracy. That being said, all of these factors are intricately intertwined. None would be highly successful without the others; however, education is clearly the most important of all the factors. In Sierra Leone, only 29% of the population is literate. This statistic would be a valid basis for the inference that only 29% of the population, if that, is making decisions for the entire country. The education of Sierra Leone became an elitist struggle, in which only the most privileged of children were allowed an education. The French revolution was only possible because so many of its leaders were highly educated, and were enlightened philosophers who knew what was needed to become a successful democracy.
    If a country is educated, healthy, has a free, uncorrupted press, has free elections, a respect for the law with dutiful enforcers, social mobility, and pluralism, then an independent judiciary would be handy, but not necessary. The citizens are educated and law-abiding, and the few who would disrespect the law would be handled accordingly. An educated population would be suspicious of any corrupt activity of judicial officials.

  65. Leah Sisemore says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Free Elections
    4. Pluralism
    3. Rule/ Respect of Law
    2. Social Stratification/ Mobility
    1. Free Press

    It is human nature to watch out for one’s own needs above all else. Survival is human instinct, and it is especially keen to Sierra Leoneans. From the moment they are born, the 68% of people that live below the poverty line have to fight for their most basic needs, such as water, nutrition, and shelter. If these needs are not met, death will come before the life expectancy, which is as low as 40. Even if water and resources can be found, many diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, typhoid, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS spread like wildfire, killing thousands every year. Each day, women and children walk for hours at a time, trying simply to find water. It seems that Americans can not always grasp this concept, due to the fact that most of us can walk to our sink and drink disease-free water; we can talk and live politics all we want, because for the most part, we are fairly healthy. But citizens in other countries have to constantly worry about living through the day or year, and they do not have time to worry about democracy, because their lives are short and they first need to take care of the people dying from disease, and those going without water. I recently went on a trip to Haiti, and what I found there was shocking. Clean water was scarce, disease was around every corner, and the government was in shambles. There is not much the people can do there to help create a democracy, and there is no time to get an education, which is necessary for a functioning democracy. However, if you were to take away the disease and the trash filled rivers, and instead replace it with overall health, I think the people would begin to care a lot more and make an effort to have more say over their country. If you look around the world, it is easy to notice that in the places that are the healthiest, they are often the most democratic and thriving.

    Free press is important for a democracy, because without it, people feel like they do not have as much say as they should. However, the other 7 aspects are more important than free press, because without health, it is hard for the people to form a democracy, and without independent judiciary, there cannot be free elections….and so on. If a country was simply to have free press but none of the other aspects, it still would not form a democracy. All of the aspects together and important to form a functioning, true democracy.

  66. Kate N'Guetta says:

    The Most Important Aspects of Democracy

    8 Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    7 Health
    6 Freedom of the Press
    5 Education
    4 Independent Judiciary
    3 Pluralism (multiparty system)
    2 Free Elections
    1 Rule/Respect of Law

    I think that the rule of law and respect for the law is the most important aspect in a democracy. Why? Because how do you expect to obtain all the other factors necessary for democracy if you don’t have set rules to start off with? Democracy is like a building. First you need a sturdy foundation, which is the rule of law, before you can keep adding on to it. If you don’t have the basic laws and make people respect them, then how do you expect there to be a stable democracy that doesn’t become chaotic and fall apart?

    In Sierra Leone, for example, they are trying to achieve democracy but it’s not working, because they don’t have the basic laws they need yet. The laws they currently do have are unclear. This is because they still have traditional and informal laws, instead of legal and formal ones. So most people don’t trust or respect all the laws, just the ones that are part of their own tradition. People are mainly concerned about getting more power for themselves, and the people who have the most power are abusing the laws and not helping form a democracy.

    In the United States, we have laws that are enforced by the judicial branch. For instance, when Bush and Gore were both running for president and it wasn’t sure who was going to win, the Supreme Court had to step in and making a ruling to enforce the law so we could chose our president in a democratic way. It came down to the Supreme Court to decide how to give every voter their say in a fair and equal way. In this situation, the law was respected and enforced and helped save our government and how we work as a democracy.

    In my opinion the least important priority in an ideal democracy is social stratification and social mobility. Yes, they are still very important, they are just not the first steps on the path towards forming a permanent democracy.

    In Sierra Leone, they still don’t have all the other factors that would help create a democracy by helping people to move up the social ladder. Right now there is just the poor and the rich, with no real middle class. It takes other factors first, like strong laws, to help people escape poverty and create a government with more freedoms.

    Here in the United States we have the idea of the self-made man, where everybody can move up the social ladder. But that’s not such a big priority in all democracies. For instance in Europe, in countries like France where they had a nobility for a long time, the social ladder is still more of a wall that’s hard to get through. They have a class mentality that keeps people in certain jobs by tradition, but still they have a strong democracy. It’s just that social mobility isn’t a top priority for them right now.

  67. Emma Woods says:

    8. Free Elections
    7. Education
    6. Pluralism
    5. Rule/Respect of Law
    4. Social Stratification
    3. Health
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Independent Judiciary

    I think that the least important element for democracy is an independent judiciary. I think that this is the least important because an “independent” judiciary is not always independent. Buettler wrote, “Due to its “virtual collapse” after the civil war, the British Department for International Development has been helping to reform the judiciary system by giving it large sums of money.” This is an example of how a supposed independent judiciary is not really independent. When the judiciary is receiving money from the government, it may be more tempted, and may actually make decisions in favor of the government so that it will continue to receive its support. This would defeat the purpose of an independent judiciary. Pecoraro wrote that in Sierra Leone, the constitution states that the judiciary is independent, however, in its practice, “their judiciary is somewhat independent in practice, however, they lack personnel and equipment such as buildings which results in the courts being less efficient than they could be. They were generally efficient until 1964 when political interference began to undermine its independence, impartiality, and performance. There have been many rumors, and some proof, that the executive branch (the president) has been abusing his powers in judicial cases. <The courts are more independent than they used to be, but they still have some way to go before they are completely independent of all other influences.” This proves that an independent judiciary is not a problem in just one country, but actually is an issue in various countries around the world. Since it is such a problem, and there are still successful democracies, I believe that this element of democracy is not as important as the others.

    I believe that the most important element for a successful democracy is to have free elections. If the whole purpose of an election is to let the people choose who they want to rule, but they weren’t actually choosing, the elections would be pointless. In Sierra Leone, the 2002 elections were not completely free and fair. The United Nations had organized the elections and also abused some civilions. Both of these factors made the citizens less motivated to vote, because they felt that if they voted, they would be supporting the UN, which they did not want to do. In 2007, Sierra Leone had another election, and this time, it was free, fair, and successful. Constantine wrote, “The main reason why the 2007 elections were deemed successful was because these elections were fully run by Sierra Leoneans. No other force or influence was there, unlike the presence of the UN in the 2002 elections. Also, it marked the first time ever in Sierra Leone history that a democratically elected government was replaced by another democratically elected government. The elections were reported as largely peaceful with only a few reports of violence and intimidation. In addition, the voting system was proven to be successful when Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress Party won a three-way run-off between two other popular presidential candidates. Koroma is still the president today, and it is clear that Sierra Leone is still moving in a democratic direction.” This is proof that a free election is what makes a democracy a true democracy – one where the people get their fair say in what decisions are being made. When a country has free elections, the people are not sore “losers” when the outcome is not one they would have wanted. This can be seen in the US government. Every four years, there is an election for president, and each time, when the president is elected, and announced to the public, the people who voted against the new president do not become violent, but rather they realize that they gave their say in the decision, and that it will only last a few years. This has always been the case in the US, the people have had their free votes, and the people have chosen their leader. Not the “winner” being predetermined and letting the people think that their vote matters, but actually giving value to their vote. By doing this and having free elections, the peoples’ power has been put back into the democracy.

  68. Jordan B Markley says:

    Correct Democracy

    8) Education
    7) Health
    6) Rule/Respect of Law
    5) Freedom of the Press
    4) Independent Judiciary
    3) Pluralism (multi-party system)
    2) Free Elections
    1) Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    I believe that all the object listed above are all necessary for a sustainable democracy. I picture all of them as a train, if one of them falls out of line or order then the rest are effected. Education is the Engine of the train. without education presented to the people we would be able to identify diseases, create vaccines, and just save peoples lives. In sierra Leone only 71 percent of the people are educated. This is why so much trouble and chaos has happened there. People are un educated which prevents them from having sustainable jobs and providing for their families. Without education we would not have doctors emergency providers that keep us healthy. Without a person knowing the history of the world and their country they would be unable to make the right decisions because they wouldn’t know what they are doing or how it could turnout. In the United states today everyone has the opportunity to go to school. This is way we are an often successful country.
    Like I said before all of the examples are needed for a democracy to work. Social stratification happens to be the Caboose of the train. Although is does seem to be often, social stratification is not near the top of the list. If Social mobility was lost it would not effect a democracy nearly as much as the others. In sierra Leone the rebels went from being average people in poverty into mass murderers in search of diamonds. This stirred up the country enormously and cause years and years of unfortunate times. Not that social mobilization doesn’t effect democracy but just like a caboose It would do the least damage to the system. Education id the obvious key in order for a country to create a democracy, while social mobility is a factor that a President can worry the least about.

  69. Slade LeBlanc says:

    1. Social stratification
    2. Pluralism
    3. Respect for law
    4. Free Election
    5. Freedom of press
    6. Independent Judiciary
    7. Education
    8. Health
    There are many essential needs for a democratic government to be successful and flourish. I believe that a willing society is a key aspect to a working society. In order for this to occur the certain environment needs to exist. A place of freedom and information open to the masses. Where the natural necessities are luxuries that the citizens are used to having. I also feel that crucial information being concealed from the public can be a wise decision if it will only cause panic and not contribute to the actual solution. There are so many important aspects to making a society function, I believe that this is why a democracy is so difficult. I feel that this is the goal of monarchs and dictators. To have a functioning society with citizens without control, but to have a working long lasting government the people need to be free and be happy with their present conditions, and if a society can function with unwillingly submitting control, so be it. Once the people become unhappy though, sooner or later citizens will flee or revolt.
    I believe that all of these aspects are of huge importance to a democracy, but the citizens comfort is one of the most. In order for a citizen to be comfortable a lot of these needs have to be met. To have a flourishing democracy you need to have educated and intelligent citizens. You also need laws to keep these citizens safe and keep them with peace of mind, making them able to work hard and contribute to society. I believe that with these key points a democracy can grow and fuel a great society.

  70. Felicia Paredes says:

    Felicia Paredes
    Period 1

    1) Health
    2) Education
    3) Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    4) Rule / Respect for law
    5) Independent Judiciary
    6) Freedom of Press
    7) Free Election
    8) Pluralism

    I believe that Health is the most important factor in a Democracy because if your people aren’t happy with their situation, such as disease and starvation, then they won’t vote for you again. They won’t believe that you’re the correct factor for their survival. It is difficult for a human to live without these basic factors. As shown in Maslows’ Pyramid, the base of support for someone to go higher is food, shelter, water, and the basic necessities for a human being to live happily. If the people aren’t in good health they will only worry about themselves rather than the politics in his or her nation. In France, the price of bread rose to the point where people would injure their own friends just for food. This later on started as what we know as the French Revolution. In Sierra Leon “68% of the 5.5 million that make up Sierra Leone’s population in are living below the poverty line”. Including to this, most of the people living born Sierra Leon are only expected to live to about 34 years of age. But before they even get to that age they have to fight everyday from starvation and illness. Even so, this odd was greatly reduced when the 80/1,000 children under the age of five pass away. No one would be able to work in a Democracy in terrible conditions. In order for a working democracy to thrive, one must consider the Health above all others.
    In my opinion, Pluralism isn’t really the most important concept to have in a working Democracy. If there are multiple parties, such as in Germany when the Nazi’s came to power, there would be too much choice. It would be easier for one party to come to power since it would be many parties and not just one or two. I’m not really against the idea of having two main parties but if there are multiple parties, then it would be mass vote and not majority. WW2 was because the Nazi’s got into power by the multiple parties in Germany. In Sierra Leon it is difficult to have multiple parties more or less have a Democracy right now. The people are spread out throughout the country and it would take too long just to vote. Including the fact that it could possibly be rigged or people could bribe or even threaten you into voting for the ones that they want you to. With only one or two party, it is easier to decide on one or the other.

  71. 8. Free Elections
    7. Pluralism
    6. Freedom of Press
    5. Education.
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Health
    2. Respect of Law
    1. Social Mobility

    The most important element of democracy, I believe, is free elections. Without free elections, a democracy in its core sense would cease to be a democracy. Democracy itself can be summed up, albeit maybe oversimplified, as free elections. If an election is not free, as shown in Sierra Leone, an oppressive and corrupt ruler is liable to become “elected.” “Oppressive” and “corrupt” are two words that certainly do not fit within the democratic model, potentially leading to hijacking or derailment of the democracy. This factor is so important that when Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt of twenty years, promised to resign to allow for a free election later went back on his word, the people reacted. They reacted in such a way that exploded into a series of democratic revolutions in the region coined “The Arab Spring”

    Then there is what I find to be the least important of the listed factors in democracy: social mobility. In no way is the free movement from class to class an integral part in the formation of a democracy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Many a democratic revolution has been started in large part due do a lack of social mobility. This is beautifully demonstrated in the French revolution: a heated and angered rage of class warfare which bore a thriving democracy. This overwhelming lack of a middle class may very well come of some advantage to Sierra Leone in giving the people drive to create a democracy. Within an existing democracy the problem of a nonexistent middle class should not really ever appear, granted the democracy is working as it should be. Because as stated before, a major element in the reasons to form a democracy in the first place is the creation of a large middle class and social mobility.

  72. Janelle Calderon says:

    8. Education
    7. Freedom of the Press
    6.Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    5.Independent Judiciary
    4.Rule/ Respect
    3.Free Election
    2. Pluralism
    1. Health

    In order for a democracy to strive in a any working society people need to be well educated. Education is needed throughout a nation to keep the economy going. Think about it without education no person could apply for a job hence no money being distributed between a nation. Not only does education help the flow of economy but it also helps with the media. It helps people to know right from wrong and to not be fooled by the propaganda or false information that is given out by the government. As well as making good decisions politically, such as choosing a president to run a country. Education includes teaching all the fundamentals that are necessary in a democracy, with out these building blocks democracy would not function as properly as it should. This is why in Sierra Leone it is hard to obtain a democracy. Teachers are limited to urban areas and not so much rural areas. Even worse in Sierra Leone most teachers are males and not females. Education is not a key element for a women‘s life. Women are use to their tradition of getting married, having kids, and being a house wife. With out education these young girls who turn into women will not understand any of the grammar or be literate enough to know what is going on in their own government. Education is the basis of life and creates life making decisions. Whether it be choosing a job or being informed world wide. Being educated pays off literally and helps understand things that could impact anyone’s life.

    Health is the least important aspect of democracy. When anyone thinks about democracy health does not really come to mind. Well at least to myself it does not. Health is something internal that could be shown. In a democracy though, health is not that big of an impact. If someone is sick that does not stop the government from doing their job. It just affects the person who is sick, not so much people as a whole. Even if the illness is spread, there are medicines that are made. Even more new advancements are being made in medicine to improve keeping people good and healthy.

  73. Deja Rasch says:

    8 Health
    7 Education
    6 Independent Judiciary
    5 Free Elections
    4 Respect of Law
    3 Social Stratification and Mobility
    2 Pluralism
    1 Freedom of the Press

    The most significant element of democracy I chose was a persons health, if a person is not healthy enough to make educated decisions while voting, then why vote at all. 68% of the 5.5 million people in Sierra Leone live under the poverty line, without healthy people there cannot be a democracy at all because no one would be well enough to run it. The life expectancy in Sierra Leone is 34-40 years of age. With that said the people running the government would be fairly young and undereducated. Undereducated people cannot make wise decisions for the government and its well being. With disease running rampant the people of Sierra Leone have nothing but to fend for themselves or sit and die because they have no structure for health care. if people are running around with disease and starving to death, the first thing on their mind is going to be their health not what has happened in the government. Overall health is the most important to sustaining a healthy democracy with healthy people who are able to participate in government like a democracy is supposed to be run.

    Freedom of the press is least important to a democracy because before people even had newspapers or televisions to tell of the things going on in the government, everyone passed things on through ear. Some how everyone heard at some time what were to happen in the future or it would happen and they would find out for themselves. People dont need it in print or voiced nationally to discover what has happened. We didnt need it before so why do we need it now? So in all Freedom of the Press is definitely not the most important for the government to run efficiently

  74. Lori Osborne says:

    8. Education
    7. Freedom of the Press
    6. Free Election
    5. Rule/Respect for Life
    4. Health
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    1. Pluralism

    I believe education is the most important part of democracy. Without education we would not have advanced in life, we would still be the same cave dwelling people we were before. Education is the most important because we need to realize what people are saying and what it means. Without education if we heard some say “I will raise the taxes 5%”. Five doesn’t seem like a big number, though 5% is a big amount of taxes. Also if we did not know what was happening then we wouldn’t know what to believe in the newspapers. This leads to why Freedom of the Press is important. Freedom of the Press let’s us, the people, speak. Without that how would we know if it could be trusted. If just a few individuals picked what was said and what was shown on the news. These two factors crumpled the attempt for a true democracy in the past. Given the French Revolution, Russian Revolution and even Germany before the holocaust.

  75. 8.) Free Elections

    7.) Pluralism (multi-party system)

    6.) Independent Judiciary

    5.) Rule/Respect of Law

    4.) Education

    3.) Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    2.) Freedom of the Press

    1.) Health

    The first thing you think of when you hear about democracy is voting, right? Without the freedom to choose a leader you don’t have democracy. To be able to choose a president is the ultimate freedom. Not everyone has the honor of deciding who gets the power. Being forced to live under the rule of someone who doesn’t listen to the people and who is only in power because of royal blood is what leads to revolutions. If anything, all oppressed people want is to be able to decide who rules their country. Find someone who is able to feed their families, bring equality, and solve economic problems that plague their county. Poor leadership and a longing for the option to choose a ruler is what sparked the French revolution and well as the Russian revolution. Throughout history democracy has been spread and with it the people have been given a rich new freedom of elections. The candidate who elected is essentially the candidate that fulfills the majority of the peoples’ needs. There is no point in having a democracy if the people are lead by a dictator or king with total power and the people don’t even have a vote.

    Health, unfortunately, is the smallest piece of the democratic pie. You can have a fully functioning democracy without having a healthy and sanitized society. If the people are sick or dying it won’t hinder the democratic idles. While it is important in any society for the people to be alive and well on an ethical outlook, it isn’t necessarily vital in upholding a democracy. Democracy is about freedom, the right to vote, and equality. It really has nothing to do with the conditions of food or the CDC. Of course if we have free elections and the right to vote then the people can vote for improved health care and such, or simply vote for the leader with the best healthcare plan.

  76. Crystal Cardiel says:

    8.Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    7.Free Elections
    6.Pluralism (multi-party system)
    5.Rule/Respect of Law
    4.Independent Judiciary
    3.Freedom of the Press
    2.Education
    1.Health

    Health is the foundation of democracy. If the the people are hungry, thirsty, tired and afraid for their lives they honestly wont care who is leading their country if the country wont help them. The people need to feed themselves and their family they wouldn’t have time to think or care about the well being of others. In Sierra Leone 68% of its population is below the poverty line. If someone is busy working for their lives the least of their concerns would be how just and democratic their government is. In Bangladesh, 57% of people are below the poverty line, although that is less from what I have been told many of the villagers do not care at all about what their government is doing. Also another factor of poverty is crime. Allowing crimes to happen is not democratic at all especially when the government knows about it. When I was in Bangladesh I was not allowed to ride in a rickshaw, which is basically a carriage pulled by a guy on a bike, because of the threat of kidnapping.
    Social Mobility is the last thing need because if the people are hungry because they have no money they cant afford education and there goes an opportunity to move up. If there is no freedom of press everyone will rely on hear-say and money thus killing independent judiciary with bribes from the rich. If no one respects the law a rich guy who could afford a rpg could blow away opponents. I don’t need to go further. When 46% of people in Sierra Leone are dying of malnutrition there would be no way they could pay for education so at birth they were cut off from opportunity.This is the same in Bangladesh, I saw many kids on the street with no parents begging for food or money. If there is poverty no other parts of democracy can occur if children are born on the streets.

  77. Paige Schouten says:

    1.Health
    2.Free Elections
    3.Social Stratification
    4.Respect for Law
    5.Independence Judiciary
    6.Plualism
    7.Free Elections
    8.Education

    Although, all these factors contribute to a successful democracy, education is the most vital component. An uneducated person is basically ignorant to a society. A democracy is a government system meant for the people by the people, to have their voices heard and their votes count. A democracy involves all of the people in a society, but if you are uneducated you would not even know what is happening in an election, which is unbeneficial to the system. Such as in Sierra Leon’s rural areas the ratio from student teacher is 74:1, if receiving an education in this chaotic matter nothing would get accomplished. If nothing is being accomplished with their education then nothing will thrive in the democracy. Also in Iraq they struggle with democracy due to the fact that we have urged and influenced democratic ways on their country and persuade them to vote for certain people easily since they are not highly educated. Before when they were a dictatorship it was not as successful so we pushed them into a democracy but they now are unable to keep a flourishing government with an unstable and poor government with the people being illiterate as well. If education in these poor countries was a more strictly demanded by law, a democratic government would grow. They need a structure take a lead from which starts at the base of an education system.

  78. Kalin Moore says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Pluralism
    5. Free Elections
    4. Rule and Regulation
    3. Independent Judiciary
    2. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    1. Freedom of Press

    I believe health is the most important element to create a democracy. A proper government needs healthy people to govern, and without it, people would be more concerned with a lack of food, water, and the basic needs to survive. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, health is the most important element to a humans needs, before starting or creating any government. In many foreign countries that have high rates of diseases and viruses, it becomes very difficult to create and maintain a stable democracy. In Sierra Leone, they have thirty five percent of their population poisoned with Malaria, lowering the age expencicy to be thirty four to forty years of age. With health problems and lack of medical resources, the people will be more focused on their well-being than politics. We live in a country that has an abundant supply of food, and water. Our democracy grows every day because our strong and healthy bodies that can focus on improving our system of democracy. I believe the roots of democracy grow from our strong, happy, and healthy bodies.

    I believe freedom of Press is the least important ingredient necessary to create a democracy. Yes, it allows you to express your feelings and voice your opinion, however it is not top priority in forming a democracy. In Sierra Leone, with thirty eight percent of the population literate, and eighteen different languages spoken, it can be painfully difficult to communicate between each other. During WWII, the newspaper was created in the U.S. to warn and update people about the war, however it did not play a crucial part in creating a democracy. The other seven factors of democracy are stronger than the freedom to have paper and ink that express our opinions.

  79. Justin Noell says:

    1. Education
    2. Free Election
    3. Rule / Respect for Law
    4. Independent Judiciary
    5. Freedom of the Press
    6. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    7. Pluralism
    8. Health

    Education is definitely the most necessary aspect needed for a democracy in any country but especially in a country like Sierra Leone’s where they don’t have a working form of education. Education is important not only to a democracy as a whole but also all the other aspects listed need education in order to run smoothly because if the people who are leading those aspects are uneducated then those parts will be corrupt or weak to be able hold together the democracy. So in other words you need to have educated leaders in order to have the other aspects of a democracy work properly.

    Health is an important aspect but not the most important because the only reason you would need excellent health care is if the population of the country was so low or you had a high death rate because of diseases. If the country has a good population for the amount of land it has than health care wouldn’t be the MOST important aspect. I wouldn’t say that Sierra Leone has a good health care system but they have basic health needs for enough people to be healthy enough to make decisions, that is if they’re educated.

  80. Jacob Lantiegne says:

    8 Education
    7 Independent Judiciary
    6 Rule/Respect of Law
    5 Pluralism
    4 Freedom of the Press
    3 Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    2 Free Elections
    1 Health
    I think the most important element on democracy is the people education. In order to have a democracy you need an educated civilization so that people are able to succeed and bring the government further. You also can not create laws nor have people that will follow them if they not educated correctly in the way of what is right and wrong. You also will have a civilization unfit to vote because they will be to easily corrupted and no one will ever question the government or its paths because the people won’t know what to question leaving an open door for the government to take advantage of the people. If you do not have educated people then the social system will fall because no one will be able to go further in their society because they will not know how nor what to do in order to bring anyone further. You also can not have freedom of the press because in order to have freedom in press the press has to be independent but if you have uneducated people running the press then they will be an easy target to manipulate and then the government will be able to have the press print whatever stories they want and the people will read these stories and think everything is 100% true even though it may not be. You also can not have an independent judiciary with out and educated society because then they would be too easy for people to take control of and you need the judiciary branch to be a strong unbroken system able to be fair and keep control of the law breakers and make sure that the trials are not tainted with. Education is the most important element to a democracy because whit and educated population your society will be able to grow further and the people will not be able to be controlled by a puppet master they will be able to think for themselves and question what needs to be questioned.
    I believe that health is the health is the weakest part of a government because although health is important for the people it is not going to affect the government as much as other things. The health is important to keep the people healthy but it will not make the governments structure fall because someone is sick and cannot seek help. I believe that even though people are sick they can still be capable of thinking which will in turn create a solution to help themselves heal. People are going to need laws and structure so that their government can grow and although health is important you cannot base a democracy on how good your health care is that is just a bones for the people living in the government it is not the most important. I believe that health is the weakest part of a democracy because it will not build up your government or keep it stable.

  81. Jacob Brown says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/Respect of Law
    5. Freedom of the Press
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Free Elections
    2. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    1. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    A democracy requires the help of all the people of the country. If these people are all trying to just keep themselves and their families alive because of the lack of health in their community then helping with politics is not going to be very near the top of their priorities. Looking at Sierra Leone it is easy to see this. Staying healthy was at the top of all their lists, and they do not have the blessing of doctors and hospitals like we do. In Sierra Leone the life expectancy is barely 40 years. If I had only 25 more years of life ahead of me I wouldn’t waste it worrying about helping my country maintain a democracy. There are problems similar to this all across Africa and around the world. In the country of Uganda and in many other countries in Africa the women spend their whole days walking to the nearest water source just to get enough to survive. Not only do they do this for hours on end, the water they collect isn’t even clean and often times it makes the person who consumes it sick.
    A democracy needs many things to be successful but pluralism is not irreplaceable. It can be helpful in keeping separated powers but it can cause problems as well. In Sierra Leone there were multiple political parties. Soon they started to disagree and then a civil war started. The AFRC joined the RUF from Liberia and they fought for the freedom from the leaders of Sierra Leone. There are also political party problems in many other countries including our own. In the U.S. the democrats and republicans seem to be constantly disagreeing about something, even in my own small world I have seen some problames aarise. Sometimes my friends and I talk about politics and it nearly always turns into an argument, some much more intense than others. It seems we can never agree which party has the right or best idea on one thing or another.

  82. Nick Keefover says:

    8. Health
    7. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Freedom of the Press
    4. Pluralism
    3. Free Elections
    2. Rule/Respect of Law
    1. Education

    I say that Health is the most important thing in a democracy, because if your citizens weren’t healthy, they’d probably not care about voting, they’d want some medication and a place to sleep. Now, some people would argue that you just need to be alive to be in a democracy. While that is true, that isn’t what the people would want. If they were sick and dying in the streets, they wouldn’t care about a free election, or if the judiciary was independent they’d want some medication for themselves, and their families. For example, from Shaena Singer’s research, 68% of the population in Sierra Leone is below the poverty line. Not on it, but below it. Sierra Leone’s citizens are sick much more often than those of us here in the United States, we have advanced medicine, where as Sierra Leone is very far behind. Many causes of death in Sierra Leone include respiratory infections, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, typhoid fever, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. These people probably wouldn’t care very much, if at all, about a Free Election taking place, unless they were given free food, shelter, and medicine for voting. Health care is the key to a successful democracy.

    Education is the least important factor in my eyes because, well, look at America… We have some, for lack of a better word, morons voting for candidates simply because of religious beliefs. People who vote for our leader based off of religion alone are possibly uneducated in the ways the government works, and the way America is supposed to be. Now, this will start to become an argument including the Separation of Church and State, I apologize, but we still have Presidents swearing on the bible in order to be in office. Some people say “It makes me feel safer, knowing that they would swear on the holy book, they mean business.” If you want to live in a country where the government is based off of a holy book, move to Islam. If you want real freedom, sit down and let’s take a look at the Constitution.

  83. Ian McMillan says:

    8. Pluralism (Multi-Party System)
    7. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    6. Free Elections
    5. Education
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Rule/ Respect of Law
    2. Health
    1. Freedom of the Press

    You can make the argument with most of these ideals that even with those ideals; a democracy could still become corrupt and fail. However, pluralism’s sole purpose is to prevent corrupt governments, and a very small percentage of governments would be able to become corrupt with this system. Plus, multiple parties give the people a choice; otherwise it might as well be communist Russia with Stalin as all of the choices.
    Freedom of the Press is very important for a democracy; however it doesn’t directly affect the democracy’s structure. Freedom of the press would enable the public to decide on the things they see in the press, but some things are government issues that don’t necessarily require the public’s intervening. A democracy could still function without a free press, but it would be a democracy that the people would be a little nervous about. Nevertheless, I think that all the other ideal things for democracy are a must-have for it to function at all, which is why I chose this to be the least important.

  84. Ciena Newlan says:

    1. Education
    2. Health
    3. Rule/Respect for the Law
    4. Independent Judiciary
    5. Pluralism
    6. Free Election
    7. Social Stratification
    8. Freedom of the Press

    I believe Education is the most important part of democracy because without education we wouldn’t have all of the other aspects that go along with being a democratic society. In school, we learn different subjects that teach us about the basic needs to survive in the “outside world” and literacy. It is important to have education in democracy because it helps people understand what is happening in the world to make good decisions. Education should be free because “the outside world” requires you to have a basic level to do certain tasks. Without education we would drown in the pool of reality. We would go through life wondering what we could have done with our lives. I still know people that do this. They grew up taking advantage of the educational system. They had the chance to have a good education and go to college but never did because they didn’t want to deal with school anymore.

    I believe Freedom of the Press is the least important part of democracy because the press has always taught our generation to be more self conscious about ourselves. They have always made young people feel generally worse about themselves. It has complete transparency of information. It is important for democracy because it gives us an open flow of information to make decisions. It puts the media in the public eye, which is a negative and a positive. It helps you know what’s going on around the world but also influences the behavior of many people. It could make them act out in school and distract other people from learning. Which goes back to why education is such a huge factor of democracy.

  85. Shannon Galvin says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/ Respect of Law
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Pluralism
    3. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Free Elections

    Without Free Elections the entire foundation of democracy would crumble. Democracy is a system in which people elect their leaders; so without Free Elections the people wouldn’t be able to elect who they truly wanted to appoint to office. When governments manipulate elections they deceive their voters and therefore they change their governmental system from a democracy to an oligarchy; where only a few people actually hold power. In the 2007 elections in Sierra Leone, 76% of the population of eligable voters went to the polls. The poolice were present to make sure that the people weren’t being pressured or harassed to vote in a certain direction. This exemplifies the spirit of Free Elections and when the votes were tallied, the politicians that were wanted by the people were fairly appointed into office. In Sudan, during the 2010 elections, the National Congress Party (NCP) rigged the election by “miscalculating” votes against the party and by altering the census in 2008. Because of this, the Sudanese people didn’t get to have an influence in their government and as a result the new government ignored most of the problems that needed to be focused on, such as the Darfur Conflict. This is a prime example of the impact Free Elections can have on a functioning democracy.

    Health is the least important factor in a functioning democracy because the health of the people doesn’t widely affect the ability of a democratic government to still perform it’s duties. One could make the case that if enough people are sick or unhealthy that it will prevent them from making fully concious decisions or even vote at all because they are too worried about their own health to focus on politics. This is a reasonable argument, but in some of the worst conditions possible, a nation will still pull together to keep their country together because their ailment just motivates them to improve their own system of democracy even more. In Sierra Leone, the majority of the population lives below the poverty line; putting them at a high risk of disease and malnurishment. Many people die at a young age in this country, with an average life expectency of 41 years. This could mean the steady decline of the population which would affect voting. However, most women in Sierra Leone have children in their late teens and on into their late twenties. With this knowledge, a case can be made that even though health is poor in Sierra Leone, that the amount of voters will not decline considering that many children are being born to replace those who have perished. With a cycle of life that seems so rapid, it is hard to say that everything is fine, but it is accurate to say that above health lies many more important factors for upholding a successful democracy. In addition, in Guatemala the healthcare system is inadequate and leaves many children and adults to deal with sickness on their own because of reasons of financial instability; yet just this year the elections were carried out with a success and the people were able to put the man that they wanted in a leadership role. So even though it may be difficult for these people to make a trip to the voting booth or to let their voice be heard, they still do it; because even in poor health, voters are always looking past their own difficulties in order to provide a better life for the next generation.

  86. Evelin Velazquez says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/Respect for Law
    5. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    4. Free Elections

    3. Independent Judiciary

    2. Pluralism
    1. Freedom of the Press

    I believe that health is the most essential aspect needed in order for a country to create a functional democratic government. With out the element of health people would be vulnerable to diseases and the death rate would increase while the life expectancy lowers. Besides the fact that people would die more easily with out health being reinforced in a country another negative result would be the people of the country stressing over health themselves. This would not be beneficial at all to the country because then people would focus all of their attention in maintaining their health instead of focusing on their government. With out health none of the other aspects needed in order to obtain a democracy would be accomplished there for making a democracy impossible to achieve. Sierra Leone and it’s people reinforce this idea since they lack health in their country and due to this children don’t go to school because they are off running errands such as gathering food and water for themselves and their families.

    Another important factor needed in order to create a democracy is the right to freedom of the press. The people of United Stated of America currently posses the right to freedom of the press and although this right is very beneficial since it provides the people with information about what is going on in the world it is also not completely accurate since the information given to the people might hold a bias point of view or might not be true at all. Although freedom of the press is needed to obtain a democracy I consider it the least important of the elements that are needed.

  87. Brittney Petersen says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Pluralism
    4. Rule/ Respect for Law
    3. Free Elections
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility

    Education is an essential in a democracy because it teaches people how to learn. Without the knowledge of knowing how to learn our society would never have the ability to grow and prosper. We learn something new every day and a strong education system in a democracy allows it to function properly. In Sierra Leone the lack of a strong education system is leading to more corruption, and poverty. The average student to teacher ratio in Sierra Leone is sixty four to one; in a classroom students cannot establish the rewarding student to teacher bond with such a large ration. In Sierra Leone more teachers are needed to balance out this ration, which will cause more rewarding relationships, without teachers an education system would not exist. We need educators to educate future generations in order to continue to have a strong education system. The United States has a strong education system, over eighty five percent of adults have completed high school compared to fact that only fifty eight percent of adults in Sierra Leone are literate. For the past two hundred and thirty-seven years the United States has been a functioning democracy with a strong education system, Sierra Leone has only been a democracy for the past few decades and it is still attempting to become a functioning democracy. With a strong education system as the backbone to a stable democracy, it is needed in countries trying to function as a stable democracy.
    Over half of the world’s population is classified as the middle class. “Benchmarks” are used to determine what category the middle class is, the size of the middle class is used to determine which class has the most political authority. In our society social stratification is necessary, but not as necessary as it is in Sierra Leone. I chose to classify social mobility as the least important element of democracy, because it is not as important in our society as education, or healthcare, but in Sierra Leone a country without a middle class social stratification is necessary to decrease the gap between the wealthy and the poor. Social stratification would be necessary to achieve a functioning democracy, as would all seven other elements, but in a society without a middle class it is difficult to develop social mobility because you are either classified as wealthy or poor. Once Sierra Leone became independent they abolished the middle class leading to all the political decisions being made by the wealthy, even though the poor make up majority of the population. Social mobility is necessary when you do not have a middle class in your society, but in the case of having a vast population in the middle class social stratification is not as important compared to education, health, and independent judiciary.

  88. Sarah Reyes says:

    8. Education
    7. Free Election
    6. Rule/Respect for law
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Health
    3. Freedom of the press
    2. Pluralism
    1. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    Education is a very important aspect in forming a democracy. Without education there is no democracy. You need the knowledge and ability to read to know who and what you’re voting for. Without education you vote for the wrong thing because you don’t know any better and have to deal with the consequences. In Sierra Leone not everyone has the education to know what they are voting for. The teachers in Sierra Leone aren’t even qualified to be teachers. In Pakistan their education isn’t going well either. They are starting to run out of money and people have become so desperate they started selling their kids for money.

    Social mobility isn’t an as important element in democracy. It doesn’t matter what class you’re in to have a good democracy. You can be a poor person and still have the brains and strength than someone who is rich. I think that education is the most important element for democracy and social mobility is the least.

  89. Kristen Kanatzar says:

    8) Education
    7) Free Elections
    6) Pluralism
    5) Independent Judiciary
    4) Rule and Respect for the Law
    3) Social Stratification and Social Mobility
    2) Freedom of the Press
    1) Health

    I would say that there are a lot of factors and concepts that are needed for a true and powerful Democracy, but it is hard to rank them by importance. If I had to, I’d say that the most important factor to contribute to a strong Democracy would be education. An educated and literate community is so much more aware to make better decisions for their nation. Without an education, people wouldn’t even know the basics like reading and writing. Where would the world be if no one knew how to read or write, much less, everything else that contributes to society? Everything everyone does is based off of an education from someone down the line, and without it, we would be nowhere. An education helps people be wiser and make different decisions rather than deciding off of something they know nothing about. If a government was run by an uneducated population, they would have complete chaos rather than a smart and orderly group of people deciding the countries fate. On average, a well educated country striving for Democracy will have an 87% chance of getting their Democracy within the following 20 years. A country without an education would have no possibility at getting a Democracy because no one would be smart and wise enough to realize they needed a change.
    For my final and least important contribution to Democracy from the list, I would have to say that it would be health. Yes, health is still very important, but not the most important thing for a Democracy. Being sick and unhealthy doesn’t affect the country’s decisions as a whole as much as other things might. Sierra Leone has been left out of the reach for national health care, causing the health rates to decrease rapidly. Most Sierra Leonian’s have a life expectancy of about 41 years old, and rather than doing nothing with their life, they could spend it helping contribute to their government. Majority of the population is already contaminated with whatever diseases are spreading throughout, so being around others that are contaminated wouldn’t make it any better or any worse. They could just gather and combine to become a stronger nation while they can. So even though health is important in any country, it isn’t the most dramatic factor in a true and strong Democracy.

  90. Christian Martinez says:

    8.Education
    7.Independent Judiciary
    6. Free Elections
    5.Rule/Respect For Law
    4.Freedom Of The Press
    3.Pluralism
    2.Social Mobility
    1.Health

    I think the most important element in an attempt to make a democracy government is education. Education is world wide without it we would of never gotten this far in technology and so advanced in our gadgets. To run a good democracy you need to have leaders that are well educated because they will know what their doing and make smarter choices that will help the government and the people as well. If there was no education then this wouldn’t be a democracy because nobody would know what to do so therefor everybody would do anything they wanted to do. For example in Sierra Leon their government is not great at all because their not educated and most people don’t even go to school because theres was or other distractions from going. So the government has no control really and don’t know what to do because there not educated.

    The least important element in a democracy is health, health has nothing really to do with a great democracy because being fit and eating right is not going to help put the government back on top and restore order. Having clean water is important but if thats has nothing to do with how the government is run then why should it be in the list of important elements to have democracy? Having medication is important and curse for disease is as well but we would of never found all these curse if we were not educated. Education beats health by a lot because every one is healthy in there own way and really it doesn’t affect the government was healthy or not.

  91. Daysi Perez says:

    Education

    Health

    Rule/Respect for Law

    Independent Judiciary

    Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    Pluralism

    Free Elections

    Freedom of Press

    The most important factor in having a thriving democracy is education. The people need to be educated in order to make intellectual decisions. These decisions consist of major laws, choosing political leaders, and figuring what is right for their government. Without education none of this can come into play and the ideal of democracy will not work. For example throughout the United States, students learn about our thriving democracy and that is because of the educated masses. In Sierra Leone there is only a small percentage of people who are educated and that is the middle class. This is because of the inherited British-type education system that was put to try in 1961. But there is one problem, all of the teachers are transported to the urban areas instead of the rural (where the need it the most) and therefor education has become an “exclusive system”. There is also a problem with maintaining/receiving materials and only 10% of textbooks actually reach there destination! That is a huge step backward. So without education how are they suppose to survive in a democracy? There needs to be rules and educated people to abide by them and enforce them.

    The least important factor is Freedom of Press. Of course it is needed at times to inform the world about current events and what is going on in our backyard but it also causes many conflicts. In Sierra Leone there are many different cultural languages and with a freedom of press, it would just be chaotic. In a new developing democracy like in Sierra Leone, they first need government officials who can be trust worthy to not control the people’s media and manipulate their thoughts. They don’t know how to do this without the teachers educated their students about democracies and how they function. This is why freedom of press is the least important and should not be their top concern right now.

  92. Levi Williams says:

    1. Health
    2. Education
    3. Free Elections
    4. Social Stratification
    5. Rule of Law
    6. Free Press
    7. Independent Judiciary
    8. Pluralism

    Health- I believe that health is very crucial to obtain a democratic government. Without health a child is in no way ready to be educated. Take maslows pyramid for example. On the basis of humanity, heath and physiological well being is necessary to move forward in any aspect. You can’t develop any type of education under poor health, and without an education you can’t begin to form any type of government especially one as fragile as a democracy. A democracy is run by the people, and how can a government run smoothly if the people aren’t healthy or educated? Being the poor, undeveloped, and unorganized country that it is, many people in Sierra Leone probably don’t even know what a democracy is. For a democracy to be even remotely possible in Sierra Leone, the country would have to first focus on the health of the people. Children can’t attend school and learn to their full potential if they are ill, and there are also people who have been left horrible deformed from the recent civil war to think about. Many of these people can’t function normally in the societies they live in currently, so they can’t be expected to have the time or energy to focus on politics. Also putting children/adults in a classroom without good health is another way of spreading disease and other parasites which further weakens the strength of the people. A while back, if a kid was diagnosed with the “swine flu” it was strongly recommended to stay home to prevent further spread of the disease. The current estimated life expectancy of a person in Sierra Leone is 41 years due to the poor healthcare systems in this country (Joanna Chavez). When people don’t live long, it is hard for a democracy to develop, no one living long enough to fully grasp the ways of democracy. Some may disagree, but I believe that health is vital for a democratic government to function.

    Pluralism- Pluralism is the least important factor in a Democracy. It is made up of many parties which means disagreements are more likely to occur. There are many things that go wrong with having multiple parties: theft, corruption, and the more impoverished parts of the countries are being neglected when it comes to getting supplies (food, health care, paved roads, etc.). With so many debates about what needs to be changed or worked on, it slows down their progress. Some of the parties have tried to cut down the corruption, but it is just so out of control in the poor countries. There are parties that donate millions of dollars, but other parties take advantage of what they are given and waste it. In the pluralist society of India there are religious and caste system differences that are not tolerated. This causes organized forms of violence. Although pluralism needs huge modifications to get the government in a healthy state, having one party governing is worse because they begin to take total control of their people. Pluralism is an essential factor of a democracy, but it is not the most important. With people voting for the proper parties, it makes the government run more efficient.

  93. Liliana Soriano says:

    8) Education
    7) Free Elections
    6) Rule/Respect of Law
    5) Independent Judiciary
    4) Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    3) Pluralism
    2) Freedom of the Press
    1) Health
    In my opinion I believe that education is the most important in democracy because in order to have a good democracy one must have a proper education. Almost everyone in the U.S knows how to read and write but without these basic skills a democracy won’t go far. Today in Sierra Leone, many individuals are uneducated. They’re trying to establish schools in Sierra Leone but the teachers are uneducated as well which has become a growing issue. It is almost impossible for them to have a working democratic government because so few people are educated. This is because of the shortages of textbooks, money, teachers, schools, furniture for the schools, and the lack of people interested in going to school, among other things. Because Sierra Leone’s education system is faulty, people are not aware of current/past events. Other countries are different, though. The United States has a functional democratic government because it has a working education system. It is highly rare to meet someone who is illiterate, because most people go to school, whether it is private, public, or home school. Although the teacher to student ratio is declining, it is almost guaranteed that a child will get an education up until high school graduation. If the citizens are not educated it makes it hard for them to carry out their responsibilities. Individuals have to understand the way of their government for things to run smoothly and this is why I believe education is the most important.
    Health is one of those topics where it can both important and not so important in democracy, but in my opinion comparing to the rest of the topics, I believe it’s not so important. The reason is because yes, health is a big issue and it’s important to stay healthy but it doesn’t do much to a democracy. It’s more of a personal issue and does not affect the way someone votes or how someone sees politics. People can still make decisions even though they are sick. If people are sick but educated, then the people can vote on issues which can help to better their healthcare and hospitals.

  94. Tanner Woodward says:

    8. Education
    7. Social Stratification
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Free Elections.
    4. Freedom of Press
    3. Health
    2. Pluralism
    1. Respect for Law

    In order to maintain a balanced and benevolent democracy, the people in an ideal society would most likely have to be educated. Without an educated nation how could a civil society keep up with its self? Imagine Americans today without an education, who would govern us? How would we get tasks done? How would we even survive? When an individual harnesses the power of education there are no limits. For example, how would we keep our checks and balances managed if we had no education? With education we know how to achieve our goals and tasks. If there are too many uneducated citizens in the country then many people would fall in to the gorge of propaganda and vote without knowledge of any candidates. Uneducated voters could even lead to a fascist dictator coming to power. For example, when Adolf Hitler came to power in August 19th 1934, citizens voted for his Nazi party because they were uneducated and fell in to his propaganda trap. Even though there is still minor propaganda today, there are less people that fall into it because thankfully the United States offers free education. Education is most important because without education, people could not vote correctly which leads to why education has more of an impact over free elections and everyone’s vote would not matter if the people voting didn’t have an education. Education overpowers social stratification because it would be impossible to upgrade from one class to the next without the ability of knowledge, one cannot simply preform or contribute to their country or community without a solid state of common sense.
    Although we do live in a society where many crimes occur, in an ideal society where everyone is educated less crimes would occur because government statistics show that 70% of adult prisoners are at the lowest two levels of literacy. Another 26% are at the third lowest level of literacy. These statistics indicate that educated people are more likely to follow rules rather than to make an unwise decision and disobey them. For example, in Sierra Leone during the 10 year civil war, Foday Sankoh, head of the RUF, was a largely uneducated former photographer and army corporal who trained with Charles Taylor. The civil war officially began on 23 March 1991, when the RUF launched two successful surprise attacks on towns in eastern Sierra Leone. The RUF attracted young people who had failed to find jobs after their elementary, secondary, and even university education, as well as those who had received no education at all or who had dropped out of school (ZackWilliams, 1999). This shows that uneducated people are more likely to commit crimes because they do not know right from wrong. All in all, education is the most important element in democracy as of where respect for law is least important.

    RUF- http://www.prio.no/sptrans/-342188479/Sierra_Leone_full_report.pdf

    Uneducated criminals- https://www.trussvillecityschools.com/Pages/JudgeChamblee.aspx

  95. Sandra Jeffery says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/Respect for the Law
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Free Elections
    3. Pluralism
    2. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    1.Freedom of the Press

    I believe health is the most important in a democracy because each and every person has to have their basic health needs, such as, food, water, air, sun and shelter, met in order to live. No one can live without these needs. If we do not eat, we get hungry and weak. If society gets too hungry, then the hunger corrupts the mind. If the mind gets corrupted by hunger than our ability to think clearly and make good decisions is just about gone. People also need proper hospitals, doctors, and health care to keep people healthy. Without this, there would be a lot more sick, dying, or dead people. There are also always new ideas developing when it comes to medicines, cures, vaccines, etc. These ideas keep diseases from spreading to the society. So, for these reasons, health is the most important factor in a democracy.

    I chose freedom of the press as the least important because the press is something we can live without and it may not always tell the truth. Many years ago, people got by with out stuff like television, newspapers, magazines, etc. Our ancestors used to communicate through letters, notes, speaking face to face, and other ways. So if they could live without the press, why can’t we? Also, today, the press can lie. Some of the things in magazines, for example, may tell lies about celebrates just to put out a good story. So, for reasons such as these, freedom of press is the least important in a democracy.

  96. Amanda Brown says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/ Respect for Law
    5. Free Elections
    4. Free Press
    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    2. Independent Judiciary
    1. Pluralism

    In my opinion, I think that health plays the most important part in a democratic government. Without healthy citizens, there would not be very many people to keep the democracy continuing. In Sierra Leone, they struggle everyday trying to stay alive because they do not have clean water, health care, or even enough food to feed the children. Like most adults say, “children are the future of tomorrow.” Well without all the health needed to take care of cities, tribes, etc., there will not be anyone left to make the government flourish and actually work. Everyone in the world needs proper health so that they can make proper and beneficial decisions for their country to move forward in the right direction. Health is also important because without it, the world would continue to spread diseases and eventually humanity would most likely die off throughout the course of time. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that until our physiological needs (food and water) are met, we are not concerned about anything else. In order to achieve an ideal democratic government, the citizens occupying it must have the proper health needed to make good decisions and function properly.

    I believe that pluralism is the least important aspect of democracy because it mainly causes problems within the government. Examples of the issues caused from pluralism are the ones we face here in the U.S. and the ones faced in Sierra Leone. As we all know, in the United States we have two main political parties: the Democrats and the Republicans. These two parties disagree on just about everything regarding politics, which slows down our country’s progress. In Sierra Leone, they also have several political parties. They have the SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party), the APC (All People’s Congress), and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change. Even though there are various political parties in both countries, they all have the same intentions in the long run, so why should we need pluralism?

  97. Alexis Malcolm says:

    8. Education
    7. Free Election
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Respect/Rule of Law
    4. Health
    3. Social Mobility
    2. Pluralism
    1. Freedom of Press

    Democracy is for the people by the people. In order for a person to make a good decision for themselves they must be educated. An educated person is able to understand others’ point of view while being able to effectively communicate their own opinion based on the facts. In the United States we are given an education that is focused on preparing students for voting and being part of a democracy. This is not the case for many countries. In Sierra Leone the people who are educated and voting are not making decisions “that reflect the needs and opinions of the majority of the population.” Education is difficult to attain. The student to teacher ratio is 78:1, but a 160:1 ratio only including qualified teachers. Little more than 50% of the students complete the sixth grade who have not been held back to repeat years. Thus, many students do not make it to college. In Sierra Leone only 29% of the population is literate. In a form of government where education fuels democracy it cannot succeed without educated people making decisions.

    Of the eight different aspects of democracy freedom of press is the least important. In a country where only 38.1% of the adult population is literate newspapers are not a very effective way of spreading news. The twenty main ethnic groups have different levels of accessibility to media some places know different information because of language barriers that make printing newspapers or broadcasting radio so difficult. Due to the lack of education that the newscasters, proofreaders, editors, and journalists have “causes media to contain badly presented facts and flaws in grammar.” In addition to this the government owns two of the four radio stations located in Freetown, the other two are devoted to playing Christian music. With the uneducated and flawed media system it proves to work against democracy.

  98. Winston Burkhardt says:

    8. Health
    7. Freedom of the Press
    6. Education
    5. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    4. Pluralism
    3. Rule / Respect for Law
    2. Independent Judiciary
    1. Free Elections
    Democracy has shaped our country into being the success that it is today. But what are the factors that contribute to its success? I firmly believe that the most important part of creating a successful society is to have a healthy one. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains that without our physiological needs, food and water, we do not take to thinking of any other senseless needs. Without proper health, no one would worry about education or any of the other elements below it since they’d simply be worried about surviving. For example look at the current issues in Sierra Leone. The country as a whole is drowning in a sea of chaos. Education is not even widely instituted across the country children must walk miles to get water, so therefore why would they feel the need to attend school? Diseases run rampant across Africa. If someone is not treated for a disease, they will get extremely sick and die, not caring about education or democracy, but their own life which has been put at risk. Health is the most important of all the elements of democracy because without it, nothing would be achieved. Health is the cure that no medicine can ever achieve.
    In my eyes free elections are the least important in forming a democracy. Although I value its importance it does not greatly affect a democracy in these circumstances. Free elections are not a requirement for democracy although they do provide more freedom to the people. For example in Belgium a successful democracy has been established without free elections, therefore proving that democracy can be achieved without free elections. Many other things such as education, health, freedom of the press, and respect for the law should definitely come first. Free elections only add to the idea of freedom which doesn’t fully affect a successful democracy, the more important things that affect a flourishing government need to be made the higher priority. So therefore I find that health should come before unnecessary freedoms.

  99. Megan Witters says:

    8. Free Elections
    7. Education
    6. Pluralism
    5. Freedom of the Press
    4. Rule/Respect of Law
    3. Health
    2. Independent Judiciary
    1. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    Free Election is the most important for a functioning democracy. For there to be a true free election, bribes or threats must not be present, everyone in the country must be allowed to participate, and the results have to be counted fairly as well as correctly. People likewise need to be educated on what/whom they are voting for, thus education being second in importance. People in Sierra Leone had long awaited a free election, and in 2006, they finally had one. This was important for Sierra Leone because it was their first free election, where it was not rigged, and everyone could vote.

    The least important for a democratic government and society would be social stratification, or social mobility. When there are all, or most, of the other aspects to democracy implied, there would be an evenly distribution education and rules that everyone follows, thus no separation between the people except what they choose to afford. One person staying in their social class does not effect the democratic government directly, and thus it is rather unimportant amongst the other aspects of democracy.

  100. Dylan Donovan-Smith says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent judiciary
    6. Health
    5. Free Elections
    4. Respect and rule of law
    3. Pluralism
    2. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    1. Freedom of Press

    I think that for a Democracy to fully work, the populist must be fully educated. They must be able to identify propaganda and be capable of resisting it if need be. They must know of the past successes and failures of those that came before them so that they know how to recreate them or so they are not doomed to repeat them. They must know what corruption looks like and how to counter it. “History repeats itself because no one was listening the first time” and “ignorance is risk” are both great examples of how an uneducated population can become dangerous. We all saw that in “Animal Farm” how the farm animals lacked to intelligence to see that their Utopian society was being slowly taken from under them even though it was painfully obvious to us. We also see that uneducated masses can be easy prey. In the late 1980’s the education system in Sierra Leone totally capitulated. Masses of young kids with no purpose were literally wandering the streets of the country aimlessly. When the Liberian militants or “rebels” came into Sierra Leone, these young kids played a vital role in the coming conflict. You can link a majority of the Leone conflict to the rebels ability to recruit young boys in large quantities to help fuel their war machine.

    Now I’m sure what I say will be highly contested but I believe that a free press isn’t all that necessary as long as a nations people vote for people that can be trusted and identify propaganda. During World War II, the U.S government censored the press and we didn’t become a totalitarian state. We do have a state run media called CSPAN. Granted it doesnt report the news in the same way a news company would but its also not like North Korean Central News Agency (or NKCNA) in any way. Also a “free press” can (in some cases) feed propaganda better than a state run government. For example, Fox news has an extremely far right agenda that it is trying to push, and it has often twisted facts and taken things out of context. The fact that the news network is also run by the free market makes it, in a way, corrupt due to the fact that it is relying on ratings more that anything else

  101. Jackie Quezada says:

    1. Free Elections
    2. Pluralism
    3. Freedom of the Press
    4. Independent Judiciary
    5. Education
    6. Health
    7. Rule/Respect for the Law
    8. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    I believe that free election is the most important factor in a democracy because we need to be able to vote for our president. Unlike countries like Cuba where there is only one dictator listed on the Ballot, Fidel Castro. So the people have no choice on who is going to be ruling their country. Second is Pluralism because we need to also have freedom of what political party we want to be a part of and have more than just two political parties, and also have equal funding for all multiple political parties. Freedom of the press is also important so we can know information regarding politicians. Independent Judiciary is beneficial to those who want to be heard. Finally, Education. Although many people think that Education should be at the top, I disagree. We need Freedom to chose who is going to be running a Democracy. We need multiple political parties, as in Pluralism. We also need freedom of the press to reveal information about politicians. So once we hit Education the rest of the categories fall into place as in Health, Rule/Respect for the Law and Social Stratification/Social Mobility. If we’re educated we know if we’re healthy or not, if we’re educated we know how to respect the law, and if we’re educated we know how to avoid tension with other political parties. What is the key to democracy? Freedom.
    Sierra Leone lacks all of these factors of Democracy. What they have to worry about on a daily basis is mainly health. They don’t have much food, and many people die of hunger. They also lack Education. Especially Women, because they are thought to just be caregivers. But that just falls into category of Freedom. What they also really need is Freedom of Election to be able to vote for someone to rule their democracy.

  102. Taylor Barnes says:

    Period 2

    For an ideal democracy:
    8) health
    7) education
    6) independent judiciary
    5) free elections
    4) pluralism
    3) freedom of the press
    2) rule/respect for law
    1) social mobility

    For a realistic democracy:
    8) health
    7) education
    6) free elections
    5) freedom of the press
    4) pluralism
    3) rule/respect for the law
    2) independent judiciary
    1) social mobility

    In my opinion, health is the most important and most needed element of democracy. In order for a democracy to work in a society, people must first be able to meet the basic standard of living. Which means they must have good food, clean water and decent home. Without these basic necessities, people (accept for the few higher thinking people that are in every society) will not be able to focus on building a stable democracy. They would be too focused on getting these necessities for themselves and their families. A perfect example of why health is so important is Sierra Leone. After the civil war in Sierra Leone, people were scrambling around across the country looking for food, shelter. Scrambling to stay alive. No one was thinking of politics or civil rights and because of this the country was and still is unable to get on it’s feet and certainly unable to run a proper democracy. So thus health is crucial to the developement of democracy.

    Social mobility I think is the least important element of democracy. Social distinction is completely irrelevant to democracy. In an ideal democracy, it shouldn’t even matter what social class you are.

  103. Erica Zavala says:

    1. Education
    2. Free Election
    3. Rule/Respect for Law
    4. Independent Judiciary
    5. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    6. Pluralism
    7. Health
    8. Freedom of Press
    The most significant factor to having a democracy or to create a democracy is education. Franklin D. Roosevelt said “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” The people of a society cannot choose or understand the issues unless they taught to see both sides, to understand how democracy was created and how certain issues can be prevented. We are taught by not one point of view but several, education in Sierra Leone is very limited and only last to a certain time, which typically ends to secondary school. Females sometimes don’t even get that far, because they are expected to follow through with other “responsibilities”. The literacy rate in Sierra Leone: total population: 38.8% (2008). On average the adult population has had just 3 years of school. Today’s children are expected to take on average, 7 years of school. And only 49.3% of the Primary School teachers have been properly trained. What does that say about the kids of tomorrow, in Sierra Leone; because not all teachers are properly trained they will have limited information “fed” to them. If there is no education spread out within the age and gender groups, how is it possible for the people to create a democracy without learning how it developed in the past? To learn how to prevent future mishaps is almost impossible with the amount of education that is currently given in Sierra Leone. Adults could potentially make the “wrong” decision by simply not knowing what a candidate is referring to, or by not understanding the view of a candidate.
    Although Freedom of Press is an important factor of democracy I do not feel that it is the most important. Now days when elections do come around we can visually see them, we do not need posters or false advertisement to influence our votes/ decisions; people base their votes on thoughts, facts, and reality. People will have their own opinions of course and their opinions can and would be recognized but it should not influenced by the press. I fail to understand how freedom of press could be the most important factor to creating or to maintaining a democracy. Honestly when I think of freedom of press I think of celebrity gossip or “lies” in other words. When it comes to withholding IMPORTANT information that is where I would potentially change my position but most of the time irrelevant information is spread, because false information is can be given to one person and that is what paparazzi does. There are several other ways that factual information can be extended to others, the press is not needed. This is why Education is my most important and Freedom or Press is my least.

  104. Janine Raduechel says:

    8. Pluralism
    7. Free Elections
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Education
    4. Freedom of the Press
    3. Respect for the Law
    2. Social Mobility
    1. Health

    I believe that all of these factors are important in order to achieve and maintain a democracy. However, some are more important than others. Pluralism is the most important factor in a democracy, for without choices you cannot have free elections, which is the sole basis of a democracy. For example, in the book A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, which took place in Sierra Leone, the people of the country had no choice when forced into civil war. Both the rebels and the government were only interested in power, not the well fair of the country. They forced their citizens to fight in a war they never had wanted in the first place, at least not as gruesome and violent as this war became. In a communistic society and/or dictatorship, the citizens never have a choice with whom they may want to rule them. The corruption that comes with a dictatorship depresses the everyday citizens and normal people of the country, and instead upholds and gives power to those chosen by a small group of people who believe they have the authority to make decisions for a so called “communistic” country. The citizens of any country with a dictator or communism itself, have no pluralism and therefore no chance at a functioning democracy.
    Having health in a democracy although important, is the least important within this list of crucial components that make up a democracy. In Sierra Leone unfortunately, there is a health issue. There is a lack of clean water and sanitation throughout the country, as well as proper food care . Although this is a problem, it is not the most significant problem in the way of them achieving a successful democracy. Their corrupt government and separation between the APC and SLPP make it nearly impossible for cooperation, or at least that is the conclusion come to, considering the civil war that these two groups caused, leading to thousands of deaths with no successful outcome. Even in the U.S, we are struggling with our health. Our rising obesity levels along with how much pollution put into our ozone by the USA alone, proves that we are not at the pinnacle of health ourselves. However, we like to believe we have a functioning and successful democracy, which for the most part is true. The USA and it’s citizens are not perfect, but we are able to maintain our government despite that. We have been fortunate, as other countries have not been in their own quest for democracy.

  105. Ethan Johnson says:

    8.Education
    7. Free elections
    6. Health
    5. Independent judiciary
    4. Rule/respect for law
    3. Freedom of press
    2. Social stratification
    1. Pluralism

    I believe that education is the most important factor for a democracy. Without education people would vote wildly on their ballots because they wouldn’t know what the difference was. In the U.S. children are taught to read, and throughout their learning career the education system emphasizes the fact that one day they the students will be the government and making the decisions when they vote. But the population of Sierra Leone who are literate make up only 29 % of the population. With this type of education the people wouldn’t know if they are voting for a gorilla or a salamander. Clearly education is the most important factor to a Democracy.

    I believe that pluralism is the least important factor in a democracy because in a perfect democracy where every one is educated there will be no need for mare than one party because the people are educated in both sides of the options. Since every one is educated on both sides they will choose the option that suites themselves and the country best which also suites the rest of the people and the vote would pass with 100 % on one side and 0% on the other. But since in the U.S. people are educated by all sorts of influences, parties are created by what sounds them most logical and best for the country which is different from what many others believe. Like before the influences create a big divide between the parties, like in Sierra Leone there are currently three active parties. So when one party wins an election the other two parties and likely the majority of the people become enraged at the fact that the minority gets what they want. And that is why I put pluralism as the least most important factor for a democracy, because some one will always be unhappy.

  106. Camille Werner says:

    8- Health
    7- Education
    6- Rule/Respect of Law
    5- Freedom of the Press
    4- Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    3- Independent Judiciary
    2- Free Elections
    1- Pluralism (multi-party system)

    I believe that health is the most important aspect of a democracy, it’s one of those things that people take for granted but nothing can function with sick people. If people are unhealthy they’re worried about getting themselves better not the state of the government. I think health is a foundation for a successful democracy. As Shaena Singer said in her research “68% of the 5.5 million that make up Sierra Leone’s population in are living below the poverty line and have to fight every day to survive.” This is relevant because I shows that the most important thing to the population is just surviving, not trying to participate in a government that doesn’t even supply them with health care. In Sierra Leon there is less than one doctor for every 1,000 people. With the death rates so high and the life expectancy so short, eventually, at this rate, there won’t even be enough people to share ideas about democracy let alone, run a successful one. Women of Sierra Leon are so desperate to get help they often turn to witch doctors, which is an unbelievably painful procedure.

    I think that pluralism is the least important aspect of a good functioning democracy. In fact I believe it does the contrary, and starts political and class tension. This is demonstrated in Africa during the Civil War and in WWI with the Nazi party. I think that with pluralism it can really only have detriments on a civilization. Yes, people have more choices and more of a say in the democracy but if there’s so many different political parties I think it would be way harder to get everyone to agree and nobody would be happy. Without pluralism it makes people all believe in the same thing and puts everyone on the same page, and brings everyone together towards a common goal. I think that pluralism is definitely a vital aspect of a democracy but one of the least important.

    I do believe that all eight parts of a democracy are extremely vital and for a well running democracy these all need to be done well. Without any one of these characteristics the democracy would be nothing.

  107. Ryan McDonald says:

    1. Health
    2. Rule/Respect of Law
    3. Freedom of the Press
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5. Independent Judiciary
    6. Pluralism
    7. Free Elections
    8. Education

    I believe that the most important factor for a strong democracy is education because democracy revolves around it. The reason being, in a democracy the people decide laws. Without education the people would not have the basis to make good decisions. Bad decisions could threaten a country and its’ being. In our current society, we have a good education system but some students take that for granted and fail while others work hard and succeed. I believe it is hard for Sierra Leone to achieve democracy because of their educational system. According to the United Nations Human Development Report, Sierra Leone has an adult literacy rate of 40.9%. While comparative information is not available for the United States. the United States is considered to be a high literacy nation. More important than the literacy rate is the mean years of schooling; 12.4 years for the United Sates as compared to 2.9 years for Sierra Leone. This makes it difficult to guide their country with educated reasoning.
    Like many of my classmates, I believe that the least important factor to a democracy is health. Health in my opinion is not as important as other factors because it is not the governments’ duty to keep people in good health. The governments’ duties are to protect the country, collect taxes, and keep the country stable. The main reason I ranked health as the least important factor is that health does not directly apply to democracy. You may not be in good health but still able to participate in a democracy. As long as you are healthy enough, health should not be an issue.

  108. Harnoor Bains says:

    8. Education
    7. Respect/Rule for Law
    6. Free Election
    5. Free Press
    4. Independent Judiciary
    3. Social Mobility/Stratification
    2. Pluralism
    1. Health

    Democracy is an incredibly difficult task to accomplish, especially if the country that is trying to obtain democracy is Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is one example out of about one hundred countries that is trying to convert into a democratic government. To convert into a democratic government it is necessary to have these top 8 factors. Which one is the most/least important is an arguable discussion. In my opinion the most important factor to have a successful democratic government is education. Without education, it is very unlikely to run a successful government. In order to survive and live a good life one has to be educated. There are rarely any people on this planet that are surviving and living a good life without an education. If one is not educated, how can he/she know what the laws are? How can he/she knows what legal/illegal is. It is quite difficult to live a life without an education, because it has its disadvantages, but all one can do is just live with the facts.

    Now if I were asked which one is the least important of the top 8 factors? I would have to go with health. Health, because I don’t believe being in good health has anything to do with the fact of running a successful democratic government, besides the fact of sometimes having the influence of making wise decisions. Health, in my opinion is not necessary to run a successful government. I mean, it is important for a healthy lifestyle, but not necessarily to run a country. For example, America is the fattest country in the world and look at us were a democratic government, and were doing just fine. Just, because one is not in a good state of health, doesn’t mean it will affect the way of how a country is run.

  109. Kristina C. Garcia says:

    Rule/Respect of Law-8
    Education-7
    Health-6
    Pluralism (multi-party system)-5
    Freedom of the Press-4
    Independent Judiciary-3
    Social Stratification/Social Mobility-2
    Free Elections-1
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    I have concluded that rule and respect of law is critical to have a functional Democracy. Without having Rule or Respect of the law democracy would fall apart because no one would listen to the government. Chaos and destruction would fall upon society without the respect of law. In the novel a long way gone the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), or commonly known as the rebel group, disobey the laws which end with violence and an unreliable generation. Following rules can lead to the prevention of anarchy and the acceleration of a healthy society. Everyone must abide by the law no matter what ones status may be. In a final note with rule and respect for the law Civil Wars, Revolutions, and other common fights can be prevented to focus more on Democracy & the government.
    I feel as if free elections are the least important for a democracy. Although I do agree that peoples voices should be heard many feel as if it is not important and end up not voting. Our voices are heard but how do we know positively that the election isn’t rigged already. Looking at Egypt, Russia, and even Mexico many can see elections are rigged. As long as no one like Hitler or Napoleon come into power everything should be fine. Of course if there are dictators like that then other people in the government should just have the authority to remove them. In honest opinion categorizing these eight topics was a challenge but I believe a democracy could still function without a free election.

  110. Matias Lopez says:

    8). Education
7). Health
6). Independent Judiciary
5). Rule/ Respect of Law
4). Freedom of the Press
3). Pluralism
2). Free Election
1). Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    I think the most important element in making a working democracy is Education for all.Without education how can governmental decisions be made. Everyone in the U.S basically has some level of education, education that others dream of having.That is why we have a stable running Democratic Government. Most in Sierra Leone have little or no education. Education gives you understanding and that leads to correct decision making. To be educated means that you know what your leaders are trying to say and will stand up to them,and change what is wrong. Education is very expensive In Sierra Leone, thats why not many are Educated. In my opinion, education helps on being aware and understanding of what is happening, that is why Sierra Leone does not have a stable Government.Most people their do not know what is happening and don’t know how to change it. That is why it is so hard to have a Democracy in Sierra Leone.
    I think the least important element in creating a working Democracy would be Social Stratification. A hamburger is not a hamburger without the meat, why worry about the rest if you don’t have the main ingredients. Same goes for Social Stratification, why worry about classes if their is no Government. Most citizens in Sierra Leone don’t worry about classes because most live in poverty, they need to move forward, Educate before worrying about Social classes.

  111. Jesa Bryant-Simental says:

    1. Free Elections
    2. Education
    3. Independent Judiciary
    4. Rule of Law
    5. Free Press
    6. Pluralism
    7. Social Stratification
    8. Health
    As the notorious dictator Joseph Stalin said, “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. Free and fair elections are the defining element of democracy: if citizens can’t express their opinions freely and vote on matters that are important to them, then you don’t have a democracy. Elections that are rigged or set up to favor one person or one party are not enough, they are the mask dictators hide behind. Countries that claim democracy not only need to have elections, but need to have free elections where the people can truly have a voice in their government. Siaka Stevens, founder of the All People’s Congress (APC), was appointed Prime Minister after a plurality of seats was won in Sierra Leone’s Parliament; he ruled from 1968 to 1985. Shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Stevens abolished pluralism of political parties and made the APC the national party. His hand-picked successor, Saidu Momoh, was “elected” President in a one-party referendum, another example of how democracy cannot survive without free elections. Bloody civil war erupted under Momoh as people tried to overthrow the dictator of their country (Civil War in Sierra Leone notes). In Stalin’s Russia, the same thing occurred. A dictator rigged what were supposed to be free elections and used oppression to stay in power. In 2002 and 2007, Sierra Leoneans participated in free; with an upcoming election this year, Sierra Leone is becoming more and more democratic as the people regain control of their country. As of 2007, 91% of Sierra Leoneans were registered to vote with a voter turnout of 76% in their fair and free election. People were lined up in the streets as they waited for their chance to vote. With fair, free elections, Sierra Leone is on its way to becoming a flourishing democracy. Good health is important for a strong society, but it is less crucial to the formation of a healthy democracy than these other seven factors are. Bad health hinders democracy because someone who is sick or has a sick family is more concerned with recovery than they are with politics that are not such an immediate problem. Sick people who can’t procure treatment are not going to strongly support the government, either. However, being healthy is not a guarantee of being politically active, and having health care does not mean you support the government. In the United States, for instance, President Obama’s universal healthcare plan is met with a lot of controversy, and many citizens do not support his plan. In Sierra Leone, President Koroma recently introduced a free healthcare plan to benefit mothers and children, however there are many difficulties with the program due to lack of equipment, supplies, staffers, trained doctors, and sanitation Many Sierra Leoneans are infected with parasites, malaria, HIV/AIDS, etc. but their country is becoming more and more democratic as they continue to have free elections. As the government is formed and develops, health care should improve; however, health is not the crucial and defining element to a successful democracy.

  112. Ella Rae Svete says:

    8) Education
    7) Free Election
    6) Freedom of the Press
    5) Independent Judiciary
    4) Health
    3) Social Stratification
    2) Respect for the Law
    1) Health

    All of these factors for democracy are extremely important; it was hard to choose one as the most important. However, education is important for the world in general and is critical for a true democracy to be successful. Citizens need to be correctly educated and informed on current events, and news so they know what correct decisions to make in order to help society. Without democracy us students may not have proper education. There wouldn’t be freedom of the press and we wouldn’t know the ideals needed to be able to make educated votes, that is if there were even a voting system. When we look at past forms of government in the world the most successful is democracy. Communism has just erupted in wars and dictators and monarchy just ended in revolutions of people fighting for their rights to a democracy. This is similar to the French Revolution. The French Revolution started with the people fighting for a Democracy and killing Monarchs, and upper class citizens. The form of government at the time was Monarchy and the King and Queen had been spending away France’s money on themselves and military aid to America. This upset the people because they couldn’t even afford bread to feed their children, so the rebelled. This ended up with at least 30,000 people dying. Without education people would not know that this occurred or that it was even wrong, so we would make the same mistakes over and over again. This is why in Sierra Leone they need to have access to a proper education. The schooling in Sierra Leone is run down and it is extremely difficult for the children trying to learn to have the resources they need. One major issue that makes education and obstacle in Sierra Leone is the lack of materials needed to learn. Textbooks are frequently stolen when they are transferred from district and zonal offices to schools. Then, they are sold off the streets for the thief’s own benefit. 10% of textbooks don’t make it to their destinations. This means 10% less money from textbook sales, and fewer funds to buy more textbooks and other must have items. This is also saying that there are less poor families able to get textbooks free of charge, so many kids can’t even afford education. In cities, there is one set of textbooks to every three pupils, and in rural areas to every six. This little amount of supplies is not sufficient for these kids who strive to learn. The schools are also not up to date as to what we have today. Kids are sitting on sold brick floors with not seats, or maybe just rocks to sit on if they’re lucky. Classrooms have holes in the walls and there is no plumbing or windows to it is easy to get sick or infections. In some parts of Sierra Leone the teacher student ration can be up to 78:1 depending on the location. The teachers teaching may not even been qualified to be a teacher, but it could be the only hope the students have. Most of these kids want an education, and get excited to learn such things as the alphabet when they are 9 years old. Everyone wants what he or she can’t have. With these kids, the future of Sierra Leone, not being properly educated the hope for democracy is very little.

    Choosing an element that is not as important for democracy was difficult. All eight of them are very crucial to the proper way of a democracy. However, having proper health doesn’t seem as important as the rest of them. Yes, being healthy is very important but in a democracy it isn’t as critical because it doesn’t directly pinpoint democracy. If a disease and famine took over the government and the people then maybe then that cannot be fixed that easily, like in Sierra Leone. An unhealthy country can put a halt to the growth of democracy but it cannot completely stop the process of it all together. Having an education would definitely make the country healthier but the Sierra Leonean’s don’t have the resources to either of those things. Having a few sick people here and there is not detrimental the uprising of democracy in a society. Even if the death rate goes up, the birth rate has been rising so it has been evening out, also, irrigation has gotten better so the citizens are getting healthier. America is an example of one of the most successful democracy’s and 46 million of the citizens living here don’t have health care. The democracy here is working out just fine. People are protesting to have better health care which is bringing awareness to the government. And that is because we have freedom of speech and press so we can be informed of what is happening in out country. All of the elements are linked together, you can’t have on without the other so it is difficult to argue that one is not as good as the next.

  113. 1 Health
    2 Rule of Law
    3 Education
    4 Free press
    5 Stratification
    6 Free Elections
    7 Pluralism
    8 Independent Judiciary
    Health is by far the most important element of democracy. General wellbeing of both body and mind is essential for an individual to focus on needs outside of basics. This being said, health is the foundation for a working democracy. When the overall population is healthy and functioning properly, the society can reach a greater state of life than just simple living. When members of society are focused on staying alive on a daily bases there is no room for reaching greater goals. The documentary about 3rd world countries that Mrs. Kindred showed us showed a clear example of this struggle to live day to day; in this documentary it was shown that girls as young as twelve years old were not able to attend school because their families needed them to walk six hours a day just to get water. This is also unmistakably shown in both “A Long Way Gone” and in Sierra Leone today. From what we have learned this year about Sierra Leone, the country is still in a state of devastation from the previous wars; the citizens are focused on making just enough money for their family to eat that day. When such basic needs are difficult to attain, there is extremely little time or energy left to make efforts on a larger scale; in this case the government system.
    Free press is more essential than fair elections. A fair election doesn’t help to make progress when the voters are uninformed about the subject matter being voted on. In order for the election to be “fair” it must be free from both dishonesty and bias. Without free press the government would surely control the view displayed to the public eye. Propaganda and filtered press contributed to Hitler coming to power.
    The ability to form separate political parties is not as important as obedience to the law. Without the rule of law two opposing political groups would cause great mayhem. When one group or any person in a society is not subject to the rule of law it creates suppression of the masses. When the Revolutionary United front in Sierra Leone professed war against the Sierra Leone army the law was not in a place of authority to stop them. In this case the rule of law could have prevented a civil war.
    A thriving middle class is very important to a prosperous democracy. Lack of a middle class creates large problems. For instance the large gap between the social classes in France in the 1800’s sparked a revolution that became cause for needless mass murder. The French revolution was caused by large, suppressed lower class with no ability to advance in personal achievements or class rank. If the French had a larger middle class at this time the separation between the large lower class and the small upper class could have been more easily bridged and avoided the large movement for revenge that occurred.
    Ideas of what is middle class have changed over time. What we consider middle class enjoys more luxuries, better food, better medical care and greater conveniences than the wealthiest classes one or two generations ago. Indeed even the lowest classes enjoy a better standard of living than many of the wealthiest people 250 years ago. So the greatest importance of the middle class is not strictly financial wellbeing, but the cohesive element that middle class adds to our society.

  114. Miztli Tinajero says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Rule / Respect for law
    5. Pluralism
    4. Free Elections
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Health

    Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education is the key element for a democracy to function properly. Education teaches us how to advance our lives in society and it helps us become smarter citizens. In order to make a clever vote citizens need to be educated enough to read and understand the issues that they are voting on. Without education we would not understand how our country works and we would be easily be deceived by false advertisements. Everything we have advanced today has been because of education. Education allows people to form opinions. In Sierra Leone, only 29% of the people are literate therefore about 71% of people would not understand how to run a democracy. Sierra Leone has a corrupt government because of the lack of education. In the United States we are briefly taught about the elements of democracy but in Sierra Leone they do not have the advantages we do. Education brings economic wealth, social prosperity and political stability. Without education our government would fall apart drastically.

    Health is the least important factor of democracy, however it is still important. Obesity has been increasing dramatically during the last 20 years. More than one-third of US adults are obese. Being unhealthy does not affect the government. You can be sick and still have a say on what goes on in your country. Most Sierra Leonian’s have a life expectancy of about 40 years old, and yet they try there hardest to make a change for their country. About 68% of the 5.5 million that makes up Sierra Leone’s population in are living below the poverty line and have to fight everyday to survive. It does not matter how sick you are as long as you are educated you can drastically change your country in a matter of just one vote.

  115. Samantha Bensel says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Independany Judiciary
    5. Respect for law
    4. Social Stratification
    3.Pluralism
    2.Free election
    1. Fredom of Press
    Health is the most important issue to address in a society in order to one day become a functioning democracy. As in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, health is at the very bottom meaning it is the most important. A person does not care much about anything else until they receive fulfillment of having what their basic needs require. In Sierra Leone the leading causes of death are HIV, respiratory infections, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, typhoid fever and malaria. More than one third of the population is infected by malaria a disease that can be cured and prevented if treated early on but Sierra Leone’s health care has not been able to provide help for everyone. If people are ill they will not be able to participate in government and they will not care about government. With over one third of people infected by malaria and people dying everyday from curable illnesses there is no chance of Sierra Leone to have a flourishing democracy.
    The least important to a democracy, although we are better with, is freedom of press. It is not needed as long as the people are not making decisions on foreign conflicts. The people of a certain country can make decisions for their country using education rather than learning from another countries mistakes. If another country is taking over other territories and coming for us I assume the government would take care of it or it will be “heard” like when the tribes in “A Long Way Gone” heard that the rebels where coming. For example, Israel is a Democracy that has a censored press. They only hear things that their government broadcasts. This proves that a country can be a functioning democracy without freedom of the press.
    http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/reports/by-dr-hanan-chehata/1449-israeli-censorship

  116. James Robinett says:

    8. Free Elections
    7. Pluralism
    6. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Freedom of the Press
    3. Education
    2. Rule/Respect
    1. Health

    The most essential element to democracy, in my opinion, is to have a free election. A democracy can not exist if there are no free elections. In the USSR, there were no free elections, allowing Stalin to become a dictator. One of the main ideals of democracy is for the individual to have a say in their government. In 2002, the elections in Sierra Leone were organized by the U.N. rather than Sierra Leone’s own government. The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone employed peacekeepers, which were known to abuse Sierra Leone citizens. This caused the citizens to not trust the U.N. influence. However, in 2007, elections were held without outside influence from the U.N. and they were considered to be peaceful and successful. Governments without free elections cannot be fully democratic, which is why free elections are essential for democracy. I believe that health is the least important factor to consider when building a democracy. As Jeff Longo said, while health is necessary for the individual participating in the democracy, it is not important for the democracy as a whole. A citizen who is ill can still effectively participate in democracy. In conclusion, having a free election is the most important factor of democracy, while health is the least important.

  117. Connor Smith says:

    8. Independent judiciary
    7. Pluralism
    6. Free elections
    5. Freedom of press
    4. Education
    3. Rule/respect of law
    2. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    1. Health
    1) The aspect of a democracy that I believe is the most important part is the independent judiciary. This is the most important part of democracy, because its main goal is protecting human’s rights. The independent judiciary makes sure that there are such things as free elections, and free press and other things to make sure that the public has the right to have their own opinion and viewpoint. If there wasn’t an independent judiciary in a democracy, then a lot of influential propaganda or corruption would be able to flourish and try to change the minds of the citizens voting choices. Without the independent judiciary, you might have the unfortunate experience of having armed guards stand and watch you while you vote and have the chance of being shot if you don’t vote for who they are representing. You might also experience people trying to bribe you with money or by offering you items. The independent judiciary will also protect the citizens from corrupt governments from trying to take over or become dictator like. Being able to make decisions about laws or elective decisions freely and without corruption is a big chunk of being democratic. I will link an article below about the corruption Sierra Leone has had to experience, because of lack of an independent judiciary protecting the citizens.
    2) In my opinion I ranked health as the least important part of a democracy. The reason for being such an unimportant part in a democracy, is because I believe that health is an individual’s personal problem, and shouldn’t rest on the governments shoulders. If you make unhealthy decisions or aren’t healthy, it’s not the governments fault, it’s your own personal fault for making those decisions or not keeping up with the necessities of the human body to keep yourself healthy and functioning normally. The government already has enough on their “plate” to be taking care of, the last thing that they should have to worry about is every single person’s health issues or problems, the individual should deal with that themselves. Good health doesn’t really fall under being important to a democracy, because while good health will better your mental capacity and allow you to make better decisions, it isn’t going to help anyone if you are in good health and are able to make good decisions, if you only have one person to vote for because there isn’t an independent judiciary to protect you from having corruption take over and have only one party up for ballot, because you wouldn’t have the need to make any decisions because there would only be one person to vote for.

  118. Kinsey Thomas says:

    8. Education
    7. Health
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Pluralism
    4. Free Elections
    3. Rule/Respect
    2. Social Stratification\Social Mobility
    1. Freedom of the Press

    In democracy I believe that education is the most significant factor in order for democracy to succeed. Education gives all citizens power. The power of knowledge and knowing what is going on in our world and the history behind it-this is the way to give people a chance to change unfair or exploitive situations. Education builds people up in all areas in life, from any job or career to even the president. It gives us all a variety of subjects that are needed to function and be literate in our world. In America, some citizens are very lucky with the free education they are given. With the free education it builds and creates educated men and women to make good decisions that will benefit our democracy. As Americans we are lucky enough to be able to drive and take buses to school making us able to go to schools. But not all countries are citizens lucky enough to have an education. “The majority of the population of Sierra Leone live in rural areas, where the nearest school was miles and miles away, making it impossible for people to attend due to inaccessibility.” This is a huge obstacle and the situation of not having an education is probably handed down through the generations making it harder to get more schools built. This is, I’m sure, a big factor in Sierra Leone not having the power of knowledge and this effects their government and democracy it is a huge challenge for their democracy to succeed. Education gives people the insight into their rights and ability to make proper decisions for a democracy; this is why it is the most important factor for democracy.

    Although freedom of the press is important for a democracy I believe it could be a right we could sacrifice if we had to. I think democracy could survive without it but there would probably be so many things people would start trying to get away with it could be a disaster (although right to privacy people would like this). What a challenge it would be as we’ve seen in other countries(China for example). Freedom of the press though would have to go first because the other rights are even more important. Yes FOTP gives people the truth of what is going on in their world but their worlds do not always benefit from it. I believe that having the right of free elections and pluralism is more important because it’s more of a right and the possibility of change seems more available with these rights. Also many uneducated people in our world may not even take up the press that is given to them. I think that having our press looked over and censored is not as bad as not having the right to vote. Sierra Leone is given many times false press, but I believe that giving Sierra Leone healthcare and education is more important. Education is key in each individual having the power to do his or her own research about political leaders. I know without the free press there can be corruption but that is the aspect of democracy I think could be manageable if all the other aspect are kept in place. I think voting and pluralism are two of the most important aspects of democracy. I believe that freedom of the press would be further down the list of what comes first in democracy.

  119. Susy Vazquez says:

    8) Education
    7) Independent Judiciary
    6) Rule / Respect for Laws
    5) Pluralism
    4) Free Election
    3) Freedom of the Press
    2) Social Mobility
    1) Health

    There are many elements to make a democracy a functional one. I believe that the most important element for a democracy to function well would be education. Without education we all would literally be nowhere. What would we do if we weren’t educated, allowed to read, or anything? What if women still didn’t have the right to be educated? For a democracy to function, I believe all the people who live in a democracy should be educated all the way through college; even if its just for one or two years. I think for a democracy to actually work only educated people should be allowed to vote, because if you aren’t educated and you want to vote, what are you going to vote for if you don’t know how to read or write or know practically anything about the government? In Sierra Leone, many people do not have an Education, but they still strive to get it; because they want to all be educated as well as they can be. But that isn’t always a possibility with the conditions that Sierra leone is in. Not only do their classrooms not have as many utensils or anything for the children, but sometimes the students can’t go to school because of the weather changes; when it rains, it rains extremely hard and floods the whole entire classrooms which makes it not safe at all for the students.

    Health, isn’t always going to be as important in some situations than in others. But in this generation; it’s either we have a functioning democracy or we have a good health plan deal. It’s a make it or break it deal. Right now it’s as if the government just says ; health doesn’t really matter as long as our government is good. Even though that may not always be what people agree on, that’s jut how it is. Health really just doesn’t have anything to do with a democracy, it has to to with yourself. So why put more pressure on the government with your personal problems when they don’t even care about them?

  120. Austin Takeda says:

    8) Education
    7) Free Elections
    6) Health
    5) Rule/ Respect of the Law
    4) Pluralism
    3) Freedom of the Press
    2) Independent Judiciary
    1) Social Stratification/ Social Mobility

    To have a sustainable system of government, the country needs to be enriched with education in its entirety. Looking into the past it is apparent how education is quite frankly the most important aspect of a civilization. Over the years, Sierra Leone has faced an imperialized history that brought along with it gruesome wars and destruction across its beautiful country. In order to regain its stature, Sierra Leone needs to begin filling in the gaps it has between its many distant villages and cities. The rate of qualified teachers to students in the more rural parts of Sierra Leone is an astounding 78:1 student to teacher ratio and a 100:1 student to qualified teacher ratio. The light for a better future only flickers at these overwhelming statistics. However, with education Sierra Leone can be a prosperous and enriched culture and country as it once was. With education children can achieve higher jobs and statuses than their hopeful parents sending them to school. Every community can have a greater understanding of the news, culture and political updates around them. They can better themselves and their lives which will in-turn rebuild the country’s stability and safety. Educated Sierra Leoneans can give back to their crippled country and give it the strength and power it once had. Through education, Sierra Leone and many other societies are filled with the opportunity to achieve greatness. Education is a must.
    Social mobility and stratification are very important in the everyday lives of people all around the world. However, how can someone move up in the rankings of prosperity and social class without the proper information, wisdom and experience? They, quite frankly, cannot do so. In order to achieve a level where someone can move up in their social structure, they need education and real world life experiences. This happens every day in the United States. The United States has the most immigrants out of every country. Why do foreigners come to the US? To strive for greatness and the true American dream to make yourself into something out of nothing. I believe social mobility should be last because without the education and learning experiences around one’s self, there would be no way to move yourself into different and higher social classes.

  121. Sean Green says:

    8. Education

    7. Rule/Respect of Law

    6. Free Election

    5. Independent Judiciary

    4. Health

    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    2. Pluralism (multi-party system)

    1. Freedom of the Press

    I believe that Education is probably the most important because I think that in order to have a good democracy everyone needs to be able to understand what is going on in their world, that way they can’t be say, brainwashed or used to make someone else make all the decisions for themselves. They need to be able to make their own decisions, without a huge influence(i.e. brainwash.) from more others who are more intellilectual. They need to be able to see propaganda when it is there, and know what’s true and what’s false. They also need to know what had failed and what has succeed in history, that way when life goes their it’s cycle and the next generation is up, they know not to repeat those mistakes. They also need to be able to spot when a corrupted government comes to power. Like in Sierra Leone all these children who didn’t have jobs, didn’t have education, were taken in to fight. Brainwashed to just kill, drug, drink, and eat. Or In “Animal Farm,” most/all of the animals were to unintelligent to realize what was going on, and that they really had no power at all.

    Now yes, Freedom of the Press is very important, but I think that all of the other elements of democracy are more important. It is not really needed though if the people are not making decisions on war, or just problems that have to do with other countries. The most censored country is Eritrea. Only state news are allowed to operate in Eritrea, also any reporter that is suspected of giving information to another country is nstantly put in prison, without trial or charge. They don’t have any mobile internet, and there are very few citizens who have internet.

  122. andrew marostica says:

    8. Education
    7. Free Election
    6. Health
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Rule/Respect for Law
    3. Freedom of Press
    2. Pluralism
    1. Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    I think that Education is the most important factor in a democracy. Without Education we wouldn’t even have a democracy because no one would know what it was. You need to know who/what to vote for and without democracy you wouldn’t you would just vote for someone/thing that sounded promising and you wouldn’t pay attention to the details of what they are proposing. For all you know it could actually be detrimental to the government instead of help it. It would be almost like when Stalin took over Russia. He was supposed to be a man of the people but as soon as he took power he went in too dictator mode. In Sierra Leone they have a poor education system with teachers that sometimes don’t know how to teach. They also don’t have very many schools that they can go too and the ones that they do have tend to be huts or very small.
    I think that Social Stratification/ Social Mobility are least important in a democracy because it really doesn’t matter what social class your in you can still be educated in democracy. Even if your poor you can still attend a public school and get an education in democracy and a lot of the time the people who are homeless did have a home and a school that they went too, they just made poor decisions after they got out of school. Everyone can be educated in democracy no matter what social class you’re in.

  123. Christian Chavez says:

    8) Education
    7) Health
    6) Rule/ Respect of Law
    5) Independent Judiciary
    4) Free Elections
    3)Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    2) Pluralism
    1) Freedom of Press

    There are so many elements that you need to put together to have a successful democracy. One of the most important elements that are needed is education. Education allows the Sierra Leone citizens to make the correct decision on who they are electing or freely for themselves. Democratic ideals are taught through education. In education you are taught the basic needs in life for writing your name or communicating with others. Being able to understand what political figures are saying makes a good democracy. According to Emma, the United States’ education system prepares students to participate in democracy. As in Sierra Leone, not all classes have the opportunities to be educated and taught these skills about the government. Being able to learn these skills early in life can change your life.

    Freedom of Press is probably the least important element you need in a democracy, but it is needed to create a good democracy. Many adults find out news about politics from newspaper or the internet and they spread it around. As a high school student can say one thing and next thing you know, thwarting whole school knows. Word travels fast even if we like it or not. A video was release about Kony 2012 which was everywhere. It was on face book, Youtube, even on posters. Now, supposedly he died nine years ago, which wa

  124. Christian Chavez says:

    Was spread by mouth not by the government.

  125. O'cean Brown says:

    8.Education
    7.Health
    6.Freedom of The Press
    5.Free Elections
    4.Rule/respect of law
    3.Independent Judiciary
    2.Pluralism
    1.Social Stratification/Social Mobility

    Education is an important part of any complete Democracy, without a proper education a person should not be able to vote. Education is the key, without a properly educated public it becomes much easier for a dictator to come to power and for tyranny to break lose. People need to know why they are voting for who they are voting for to make the correct decision for their nation. Another reason Education is the most important part of Democracy is because the people who are in the Government have to be well educated, if they are not then they will not make the right decisions to better their community as a whole. A good example of this happening is during the Civil War in Sierra Leion there were child soldiers who were forced into killing thousands of innocent civilians and pillaging villages looking for supplies. An even greater example of this was in Nazi Germany when the people voted the Nazi Party(Hitler) into power, even though the were will educated they were still able to get tricked. These truths make it easy to trump Education over every other thing on the list.

    Social Stratification/Social Mobility is very important, but the other 7 are just more important. Without a middle class there would be a large group of people in poverty and a very small group of extremely wealthy people. This is not necessary for a Democracy only because the economy and the state of peoples wealth does not have to do with the political state of the country you are in. For example, poor people(hopefully educated) will still vote for who they think deserves the spot even if they are poor, and rich people will do the same. I believe these class distinctions can not effect a countries Democracy at all. The only valid arguement that people have against having no class is the fact that maybe a very jaded upperclassmen would take advantage of someone in poverty and pay them to vote for someone, or use their money to their advantage. This could happen to any class, from upper class to middle class, middle class to lower class, etc. With a well educated society a Democracy could run very efficiently without a middle class. “In February 2009, it was said that over half of the world’s population now belongs to the middle class and it is said that it will continue growing until 2030. Thriving middle classes in the USA, Europe, and Canada are evidence of rapid growth emerging from the countries with a middle class. They operate and create their own progress, wealth, increase their government revenues, and stimulate their economies. A missing middle class means there will be no financial engine driving them to their national progress or distancing themselves from poverty. A middle class is established in the prosperity of education, medicine, technology, and economic investments. In a thriving middle class, justice of the people is valued and protected.” Said Brinsley Farry. I do not agree with his opinion because the middle class is not NEEDED, a middle class can help a country very much but is needed less then Education, Health, Freedom of the Press, Free Elections Rule/Respect of Law, Independent Judiciary, and Pluralism. This is why Social Stratification/Social Mobility are helpful in a Democracy, but not necessary.

  126. Travis Holmes says:

    1. Free Elections
    2. Independent Judiciary
    3. Rule/Respect of Law
    4.Health
    5. Free Press
    6. Social Mobility
    7. Education
    8. Pluralism

    What Democracy comes down to at its core is the ability to vote and vote freely the Webster definition is “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation involving periodically held Free Elections” see it’s right there Free Elections. So is it’s in the definition it must be important. Secondly the systems more fails without it doesn’t exist for example many “democracies” that don’t have free elections are you of tyranny. Free elections when implemented properly are the bases what jumpstarts things like education and public health.
    Pluralism is the least important for a very simple reason you doesn’t need parties for a democracy in fact if parties where absolved then there would be next to no political tension and things would quite simply just get done. Second is the fact that No parties or non partisan democracy is often consisted ideal since it means people now vote for what is right not along party lines like in our partisan democracy where nothing seems to get done.

  127. Dawn Luscombe says:

    7 Education
    3 Independent Judiciary
    4 Health
    8 Rule/Respect of Law
    5 Freedom of the Press
    2 Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    6 Free Elections
    1Pluralism (multi-party system)

    Killing anyone and everyone, raiding and burning villages, rape. All respect for the law was lost during the civil war in Sierra Leone. No one was safe. For a democracy to thrive the people need to be safe. They need to have respect for the laws and obey them. They need stability. If all the citizens in the US disobeyed the laws, then everyone would live in a constant state of fear. Laws are set to protect the people. Those laws need to be understood and enforced by society. Without laws democracy or even the world would succumb to pure chaos.

    When it comes to democracy these eight elements are almost all equally important. It’s tough to choose which matters least when without one you wouldn’t have a functioning democracy. I would say with Pluralism it could potentially create too much tension between political and social classes. In the US there has always been a constant struggle between democrats and republicans. They almost never agree on the same things and both parties always think their ideas are better than the others. With more than one political party there are too many choices. Without so many options the people would come together with less tension. When Hitler was the only option on the ballet there wasn’t any conflicting party tensions. Society should learn to get along better as one party and not plural.

  128. Danny O'Donnell says:

    8. Education
    7. Free Election
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Respect/Rule of Law
    4. Freedom of Press
    3. Social Mobility
    2. Pluralism
    1. Health
    I believe that education is the most important part of having a functional democracy. In a democracy the people vote on the things that dictate their lives and if they are not proparly educated they can’t make a good decision on the laws or political officials they are voting for.and when people vote for the wrong things that is when the government starts to fail. without the proper education of the people a democracy can not work education is the first and most important thing for a successfull democracy. for example in the U.S. everyone goes to school and gets a basic education this helps the people think for themselves who they think the best option would be to vote for. so in conclusion without the proper education for the people a democracy can not be successfull.
    For my least important i chose health because while health is important but out of these 8 options health was the least related to the actuall government and government decisions. All of these are so important for a democracy and to try and see wich are more important. an example of bad health and a realitivly successfull government is the U.S. there is a huge obesity problem. but having one third of the country be obese doesn’t really effect the government because the government isn’t responsible for the health of the people they are responsible for the protection and stabilizing the economy things in that nature.

  129. David Astorga says:

    1. Health
    2. Social Mobility
    3. Pluralism
    4. Independent Judiciary
    5. Rule/ Respect of Law
    6. Free Press
    7. Free Elections
    8. Education

    In my opinion, I think the most important element for Democracy is: Education, because in order for a Country to have a Democracy, you need people to understand the issues, discuss them, and be able to read the laws. Without an educated population knowing the laws and what rights they have, the government would be able to do things without the understanding or knowledge of the people. So, as long as the population is educated, we (The people) will be able to make sure that our president does not turn in to some totalitarian dictator.
    Now Health isn’t really that important to have a fundamental and ideal society. I mean, some can/could argue that health is needed to be able to run a fair government, but if you were sick, you could totally still run for president, or be well educated. I mean ya, it would be challenging to be sick ALL the time, but it is not possible. Anything is possible, so it would be hard to run a democracy if you were sick ALL the time, but it is not possible.

  130. Zach Dinkler says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Independent Judiciaries
    5. Free Elections
    4. Rule/Respect of law
    3. Pluralism
    2. Freedom of Press
    1. Social Mobility

    Health is the most important part of a successful government. Making sure your citizens are healthy and don’t have to worry about what they will do if they get sick or where they will get their next meal. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs you need the basic levels down before you can get to the higher levels of thinking and decision making. Many people in Africa today have to walk hours just to get unclean water to drink and it makes them sick with parasites.
    I put Social mobility as the least important because you need things like an education or wealthy family members to get to the top 1% of a democracy. Being able to move from class to class is not a core part of forming a democracy in developing countries. It will become a more important factor later on but it is still not more important than free elections. Most revolutions are started because of a lack of social mobility like the French revolution which was fought as a class war. Social Mobility should be one of the goals of a democracy, not a sustaining factor.

  131. Merai Dandouch says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Freedom of Press
    5. Pluralism
    4. Social Stratification/ Social Mobility
    3. Free Elections
    2. Rule/Respect for Law
    1. Independent Judiciary

    As many know Health is essential factor to a Democracy considering the fact that without it we would be living in poverty and putting aside our main source of acknowledgment, Education. And without Education, Freedom of Press would be useless because of our ignorance toward the world. Since the Civil War in Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leoneans struggle to achieve the basics for medical treatment. Their life span is approximately 41 years old, sanitary is not accessible for some because of the lack of materials. Teen pregnancy is a problem in Sierra Leone, this is why women leave school at such an early age. In that case, men take the lead role and it has been proven that men are more violent than women causing Health to be less important. In order to achieve a democracy, you must check off health so that the people are capable of making decisions with the intelligence they were given at school. People need their basic satisfactions met in order to decide what is wrong and right for their nation-to be able to speak without any interference. Not only does this problem appear in Sierra Leone but in the French Revolution. Bread, freedom and Independent Judiciary became important principals to the French. Realize how the fight for food was the beginning sign of the revolution; it was the first protest the nation began with before the whole riot because it is important to be healthy before analyzing your thoughts and needs. With all due respect, their cannot be a less important aspect of democracy than Independent Judiciary, nations resent their way out crimes by bribery, reelection, threat and personal relationships with the courts. And with this saying, you cannot have respect for the law. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, the rebels attacked villages, suppressing, killing and looting innocent people for diamonds. Leaders/Lieutenants told these young soldiers/rebels to attack anything that moves and making it easier by hyping them on drugs. Cruelty is all the Sierra Leoneans saw at that time period because but it all started with the decline of the economy prior to the slave trade, so the hunt for wealth and health began in order to be satisfied. Not to mention Lindsay Lohan who has been continuously in and out of jail for the past 3 years ,which perfectly justifies my reasoning on how America is still a democracy even without this category. Without health, you will lack all of the other factors which contribute majorly.

  132. connor mazzola says:

    Independent Judiciary
    Free Elections
    Pluralism
    Respect/Rule for Law
    Education
    Freedom of the Press
    Social Mobility
    Health

    I chose Independent Judiciary as the most important thing to have for a democracy to work because it makes it harder for corrupt politicians to take advantage of the system. Independent Judiciary is the separation of the judiciary branch of government from both the executive and legislative branches so technically one cannot be affected by the other. An Independent Judiciary is necessary to having a stable democracy, without it people would rebel and the government would crumble away, like in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone’s constitution it is stated that they practice independent judiciary. This is generally true but there is evidence that President Karomo has been executing his powers in judicial cases. President Karomo was accused of interfering with an investigation headed by the ACC (Anti-Corruption Commission). If you have politicians that are able to do this, there would be no such thing as a fair trial. How could you have free elections without independent judiciary either? The head dude could just start making laws and keep himself in office.
    I chose health to be the lowest thing on the list because the world is proving that you don’t need it today, not to mention the health in today’s world is much better than it used to be. During the American Revolution health was terrible, antibiotics weren’t even invented and you could die from a simple common cold. Somehow our founding fathers were still able to get those democracy gears going. Even today the United States doesn’t have the best of health. We have an obesity problem and it does not effect the way our government runs. Just look at the politicians, they are all fat and/or old… In countries like Sierra Leone, they don’t have the modern medicine that is available to us. This shouldn’t make much of a difference because not every person there is infected with some disease that causes them to not be able to think.

  133. Jennifer Castillo says:

    8) Education
    7) Independent Judiciary
    6) Rule / Respect for law
    5) Pluralism
    4) Free Elections
    3) Freedom of the Press
    2) Social Mobility
    1) Health

    Education, why do I think it is so need for a democracy? Well that is an easy answer, education helps us decide and really analyze when it comes to voting. Without education people will just go off what the candidates say they are going to do, they wont listen farther than their promises. If people would be doing that, our “democracy” would be no more. In Sierra Leone the urban middle class is the class most likely to be educated in Sierra Leone’s societyy. This mean that all of the people under that middle class most likely does not. Another major problem is that Sierra Leoneans face is the amount of learning materials available in the country. Textbooks are often stolen when they are transferred from district and zonal offices to schools. Finally for Sierra Leone after the textbooks are stolen they are sold in the streets. 10% of textbooks do not make it to their destinations. This means 10% less money coming from textbook sales, and less funds to obtain more textbooks and other necessary supplies. This also means that there are not as many textbooks available free of charge for poorer families. Education in Mexico is greatly segregated by social class. Children of wealthy families go to private schools with plenty of funding for books and materials, while children of poor families attend schools with less money to spend on education. These circumstances create disparate educational levels, and maintain the gap between the classes. Since I have lived in Mexico I can definitely say that Mexican education is not as great as here, in order to get a good education you have to go to a private school which cost a lot of money. I went to a private Catholic school and I can say that the education there was good but nothing comparing to here. My cousin went to a public school and her education was half of my, here we can get a good education without having to be enrolled in a private school.

    Health, without education where would health be. What I am trying to state is that yea health is important but not super necessary for a democracy. Education plays the biggest role in health. Yea people may argue that without mental health and physical health there is no true democracy, but how will those people get cured. Not by magic. People get educated yearly to become some type of doctor so that way non-healthy people can be cured then educated. In Sierra Leone 68% of the 5.5 million that make up Sierra Leone’s population in are living below the poverty line and have to fight every day to survive. Not only are those living in poverty fighting, but the entire population has to fight from birth to survive just to the expected age of 34 to 40 years old. The number of people that do live the short life of 34 years old is greatly reduced when the 80.2/1,000 children under the age of five pass away. However, the infants have a significantly higher rate of survival compared to the 1800/100,000 mothers that do not make it along with their 165 infants. This mean that a lot of people are dying of sickness. I believe this is caused by the lack of education in Sierra Leone and the lack of people who are studying. Even though it seems that in terms of medicine, the world appears to be advancing. Unfortunately, some nations like Sierra Leone are left behind. In Africa their major sickness problem is malaria, while in Mexico their health programs are provided via public institutions, private entities, or private physicians. Health care delivered through private health care organizations operates entirely on the free-market system, i.e., it is available to those who can afford it. This is also the case of health care obtained from private physicians at their private office or clinic. Public health care delivery, on the other hand, are accomplished via an elaborate provisioning and delivery system put in place by the Mexican Federal Government. Living in Mexico my dad was a doctor so I did not have to worry much about health issues with me because he was my pediatrician, but seeing all of my dad’s patients being worried about how to either pay off their appointment really made me feel bad because mostly their lack of money came from a lack of education. But not all of the people have the luck of being able to have a doctor’s appointment, you see people on the streets super sick and having no place to get treated.

  134. Audrey Karbum says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    5. Free Elections
    4. Rule/Respect of Law
    3. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    2. Independent Judiciary
    1. Freedom of the Press
    It was really hard to rank these seeing as they all have a domino effect on each other, all eight components of democracy are all completely necessary, some are more necessary than others. I believe health is the most important aspect in achieving democracy. If democracy is to be achieved you have to start at the very bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy with basics such as food, water, and health. Maslow’s hierarchy states that before any higher level of understanding can be reached, basic necessities such as water, food, and health need to be taken care of. If people are barely healthy enough to keep their family and themselves alive, they don’t have the time to be concerned with matters of democracy. People cannot participate in government matters if they are dying or dead from malnutrition or diseases. This is the case in many places, including Sierra Leone. As Shanea Singer states in her research of Sierra Leone, “the entire population has to fight from birth to survive just to the expected age of 34 to 40 years old.” People are fighting everyday just to live, and with such a short life expectancy. Health is the biggest necessity for democracy, just to have some people have the strength to participate.
    I believe that freedom of press is important, but is of least importance when the matter is acquiring democracy. Yes freedom of press is important, but if the government wants to lie to us, they will find their ways, and we will believe it. Whether it is the government lying to us, or someone else, we will be lied to. Whether it is about big worldly matters, or gossip about celebrities, there will always be truth, fallacies, and misunderstandings. Yes, press gives us insight in to what is going on in the world, but how much is never seen or heard by the press? Also as Keldon said, word of mouth travels fast, whether it is the Underground Railroad or something on a much larger scale. I believe freedom of press isn’t of that much importance when it comes to democracy.

  135. Tony Solano says:

    1. Freedom of the Press
    2. Pluralism
    3. Health
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5. Free Elections
    6. Rule/ Respect of Law
    7. Independent Judiciary
    8. Education
     
                They are many key parts to a democracy. To one it can be many and in different order. While all are important and is very hard to decide which is more important, in my opinion the most important element to a democracy is free education. The least important is freedom of the press. Education is key part to a democracy because with out knowledge no one would know what they are doing. If people are able to read then they would know what is happening in the government and be able to pick better choices for them and their people. Studies have shown that if their is a well educated dictator ship then their is a 87% probability that in the next 20 years the government will become a democratic government. For Sierra leoneons it is hard to study because they do not have the material to learn from. On average only 90% of text books make to their class when being transported from district to school. The stolen books are later sold on the streets for money. Some students have to share textbooks in some areas it is three students to one text books and in some other areas it might be six students to one text book!!! In a lot of class rooms their is always a lot of students in one classroom and only one teacher. Sometimes the class room is not even a class it is just some sticks and stones and the class is taught their. Here in the united states we have some great education and we get special privileges. We are taught to be able to make wise choices to make our government better. But in Sierra leone how can one learn when they don’t have the materials, classroom, or even a teacher to be able to teach them to make wise choices and to tell what’s wrong and right and be able to make their government better. That is why I believe education is the most important key part to a successful government. 

    What I believe is the least important is freedom of the press. I think it is the least important but it is still important to have in a successful democracy. But it is not very important because without any of the else elements a democratic government would be corrupt. Having a newspaper would be pointless for some reasons. One would be that only 38.1% of adults in Sierra leone are literate. Also it would be costly to print newspaper and very hard to find the materials to print them. Also they are many different languages and religions and it would be very hard to please one of them or not insult one or the other. Also if a company or a journalist would to accidentally insult some one or some group it could put their life or the company in danger. Although radio broadcasting is another way of sharing information about the country and the government, it would also be very costly. Many people would have to buy radios and that would prevent them from buying other important essentials. Although I believe that freedom of the press is also important I think that it is not one of the most important one because with out health or education one would be able to read the newspaper and understand the radio. And it would be to much hassle to have a newspaper or radio station for every language or every religion.

  136. Ryan Landeros says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Free Elections
    4. Rule/Respect for law
    3. Pluralism
    2. Social Stratification
    1. Freedom of the Press

    We in the US imagine the average life expectancy to average around our late 70s at the least. Imagine if we died at some age, like 40 for example. In Sierra Leone, that’s the tip of life expectancy for a person. That’s HALF of the expectancy in the US!!! Health is crucial for a democracy or any society for that matter. If the citizens aren’t healthy, then its a lot harder to run the society. Without good health in order, diseases spread all over infecting the citizens. In Sierra Leone, malaria accounts for 35% of all outpatient visits and the main cause of mortality among children under five. Diseases are rampant and cause fatal infections and events to occur. Health is important to all of us! We need to be healthy in order to survive in the world. Some person with a weak immune system or with the improper resources like in Sierra Leone, is more prone to disease that could eventually lead to death. If all the people are dying the democracy cant thrive because therefore, it wouldnt have people to be involved with it.
    Freedom of press is the least important only because the other choices are more essential to running a successful democracy. A government and society of democracy needs the health, needs education, needs independent judiciary, free elections, respect for law, pluralism and social stratification to run properly. Freedom of press is more of an “addon” or additional aspect that could further improve it but isn’t crucial. The democracy needs the other points alot more than this.

  137. Diego Ruvalcaba says:

    8. Education
    7. Independent Judiciary
    6. Freedom of Press
    5. Pluralism
    4. Free election
    3. Respect for law
    2. Social Stratification
    1. Health
    A true democracy is a government from the people for the people. The people control democracy and needs to be educated. Education is the most important so better decisions can be made to excel to a better democracy. When people are educated, they are exposed to the facts. They can read and comprehend what is on the newspaper. How can a person that is uneducated, illiterate, and uniform be able to vote for the better choose? In Sierra Leone 29% are literate which mostly come from the urban middle classes who don’t imply the need and opinions of the rest of the population when voting. In Sierra Leone some of the people don’t know how a democracy works or know what it is. To have a balance democracy we need the participation of everyone. When everyone is educated and learns how to vote than we can excel to a better future and a better democracy.

    Health is important for the people but not a major element for a democracy to function. Compared to the other elements health is the least significant. First you need education and knowledge to make right decisions. Then you need independent Judiciary so everyone is equal under the law and so the government isn’t corrupt. We would then need the freedom of the press to comprehend what is occurring and use our knowledge to decide one over the multi political party (pluralism). Then have a free election to vote that count. You need to respect the laws so they are will be followed and practiced. Then social stratification because “68 percent of the 5.5 million that make up Sierra Leone’s population in are living below the poverty line and have to fight every day to survive.” That is 68% of people whose morals are over run by their will to survive. For example in A Long Way Gone, when the group of kids rushed a boy for just two ears of corn. When you don’t have the basics like food then stealing is just a form of survival. If you have the opportunity to move from class structures then we can put our morals and vote. Health is the least important because people can still vote if their sick and still run a democracy.

  138. Austin Ochoa says:

    8. Free Elections
    7. Pluralism
    6. Education
    5. Health
    4. Freedom of Press
    3. Rule/Respect of Law
    2. Independent Judiciary
    1. Social Mobility

    The right to vote in a free elections for those who YOU choose must be one of the founding pillars of any country claiming to cal itself a democracy. I see free elections as the most essential to democracy of the 8 main ideas because free elections are the spark of democracy. Pluralism of course is essential to a democracy because if you can vote for only one person then that is akin to dictatorship, but you cannot have a system that encourages pluralism if that system doesn’t even have free elections in place. Education is of course essential to the process of democracy because without education people would have a minuscule chance of making a educated and informed decision. Of course once again even if the population of a country is educated it still requires a free election to vote in. China is a good example of a country that has made strides in its education system; yet it lacks elections with any substance. In China only certain “approved” parties can be voted for and although it is “experimenting” with local elections they hardly have an y substance to them at all. In the case of Sierra Leone it had its first post civil war elections in the year 2002, but many citizens felt the UN set elections were a half-hearted attempt to show progress, and the UN presence in Sierra Leone was felt to be intimidating. I invite you to elect freely in your mind the order in which you believe these topics should be ranked, but remember your right to do so is THE keystone of democracy.

    The American Dream is probably the single most over used propaganda tool EVER. However I think that it is a great thing that citizens of the United States can move themselves from THE street to Wall Street. However, It is the least important idea in a democratic country. Europe. Europe is home to several flourishing democracies(to be honest they had no choice) these countries are shining examples of how a democratic system can work. However, the EU does not preach social mobility and equality. People don’t over use the phrase “one-percenter” or run around calling anyone with more money than them an elitist. Social mobility is not key to having a free and fair democracy. In Sierra Leone for example in 2007 the people were excited about elections and the thought of democracy, but few currently have the chance to climb the social ladder. It is important for the citizens of a democracy to be comfortable and have the necessities. A home, food, water, and health can be crucial aspects, but they do not always need the promise of total social mobility. It is important to realize that the stepping stones of democracy must start with the basics not such things as nominal as leap frogging one another for money and power.

  139. Tom Kindred says:

    8. Education
    7. Free Elections
    6. Independent Judiciary
    5. Freedom of the Press
    4. Pluralism
    3. Rule/Respect of Law
    2. Social Stratification / Social Mobility
    1. Health
    There are many different things you need to create and maintain a working democracy. I believe that the most important aspect that’s needed to have a democracy is education. Without education people cannot make logical decisions on who to vote for or what bills to pass. If people don’t have proper education they can be easily manipulated by propaganda and false political advertising. You need a good public education system when running a democracy in order to supply your country with people that can help make a contribution to your society. In Sierra Leone the student to teacher ratio is 74:1 and the student to qualified teacher ratio is 121:1. Most of the times the teachers will have about one grade level of education above their students. Sierra Leone is struggling to create a democratic government because they lack a lot of elements that are needed but the one that they need the most is a good solid public education system.
    A true democracy could not run without everyone of the things listed above, but one of them could probably be dropped and wouldn’t cause the government to come crashing down. Health is always a good thing to have when forming any type of government but in some cases it is not fully necessary. When you think of health when forming a democracy you could look at it as being public health care, which not everyone needs. People can take care of themselves if they are educated on how to eat right and exercise. Obviously people can’t cure diseases and stuff like that on their own, but proper education on how to take care of yourself and not having to rely on the government for health care.

  140. Valeria Franco says:

    8. Health
    7. Education
    6. Rule/Respect of Law
    5. Independent Judiciary
    4. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    3. Freedom of the Press
    2. Free Elections
    1. Pluralism
    I fully believe that health is the first step for the growth of a country, because without it no one will be able to participate in a politics, and there governments will never “develop” as it “should be”. Without a new form of government, a country will never be considered equally even with the rest of the other nations. Health care is the root for the existence of the elements that makes up a country democratic. This is well-known in Sierra Leone where this has been a problem for years, and nothing has change. According to the World Health Organization, explain that even though their health care has improved there is an estimated that 30,000 urban and camp-refugees that still need protection and assistance. It also has been said that there is a high number of starvation among women and children, and leads to the number of deaths that has reach up to 46% among women and children. Another problem that has to do with health care is Malaria, who is the first cause of mortality among children under five almost 35% of the deaths are cause by Malaria every day. These two examples are the biggest obstacles that Sierra Leone and the rest of Africa are facing. There are deep in a hole where they don’t see the light, and are always in darkness. And why is health the first problem that this continent is struggling? It’s really simple because of their economic status and sociability, this continent has been used as a money resource of many countries for many years. Always used as a toy where they can play with, and after they are satisfy, it gets left behind; but will always be its property. For example, during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, when people started to move to the big cities to work on factories, the conditions they worked where terrible, no clean water, working under toxic chemicals that later on will be cause serious health damages that could lead to death. During those times, sanitizer where not common or were not taught to workers and obviously did not know the damage they were make to themselves. If health care is being process, then the people will have the time and capacity to make political decisions.

    I choose Pluralism as my least important element for the growth of a country because no one will vote for a political party or will even care for how many political parties are, instead the people will be held on basic needs for survival, than voting or getting involved in politics. This element will only be reach, until all the elements above are accomplish. So people can have the capacity, knowledge, and the confidence of their country; to choose the necessary needs for the country to evolve and resolve the people’s needs and economic problems. In Sierra Leone is another good example of this issue. On the website “U.S Department of State,” it tells that most of the parties are inactive, also if the individuals met the registration requirements to vote. But since citizens die on an early age because they are not in good health and don’t have the opportunity to vote for their political parties then their political government is not fully complete it. Without the vote of the civilians means that there are not addressing the requirements to have a democracy. No democracy means no privileges, no health care, no education, no freedom, no security, and no liberty. Pluralism is important and helpful, but before this happens a country needs to fill the basic needs, first; before elevating to the next level of stability. Another historical example that happened in Europe that has to do with political groups who decided to be political parties first that anything else to create a fair government is in Germany. In Germany the parties where fighting for the majority of votes so they can start their form of government, when the Nazi party won the majority of votes they started to make changes in legal rights and laws, rather than health care and education issues that Germany was facing. As a consequence, many people die of diseases, for not having the opportunity to have health care. This was one huge issue in Europe, after World War 1, were many soldiers who were injured or were psychological ill, they didn’t have the special care. This simple problem will eventually become a big issue after the end of World War II, when all the soldiers had return to their normal life. As it shows, health care is more important for the basic needs of the individuals than politics, politics is also important after the human health gets solved. Meanwhile if the human salubrity hasn’t been care of, than the rest of the elements will never be reach and a country will never have democracy, where at least freedom would mean voting for candidates that will make decisions for all. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5475.htm

    • Ana Barnaby says:

      list
      8. Health
      7. Education
      6. Pluralism (multi-party system)
      5. Free Elections
      4. Independent Judiciary
      3. Rule/Respect of Law
      2. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
      1. Freedom of the Press

      I think Health is the most important because without good health you can’t do anything. You need to be healthy and strong to make healthy and wise decisions. For example when the civil war happened in Serra Leone young boys were take in to be child soldiers. Since, these boys had lost their families, they had very low source of food to eat. The soldiers had food and basically said you will survive with us. These boys didn’t just join because they were scared but because they were hungry and weak. Without a good source of food and good health how do you expect someone to make healthy decisions? 68% of the 5.5 million that make up Sierra Leone’s population is living below the poverty line. It’s not good when more than half you population can’t help with decisions for the government when they don’t have access to a good health. The average life your expected to live is between 34-40 and that doesn’t include the 80.2/1,000 children under the age of five pass away. This is all because these civilians don’t have access to a strong place for health like we do here in the USA. Health is most important because if they aren’t healthy, how are they going to get and education? Then make strong right decisions for their country? They aren’t going to be able to if they don’t have that access to health.

      I think freedom of the press is the least important because it leads to unwanted chaos among people. So many people have a different option, which eventually leads into a debate over something that came over the news. In Serra Leone they have so many different ethnic groups and languages. You don’t want to say something meaning to gear to ethnic group then you may offend another group of people without even meaning too. With the freedom of the press its important yes to tell us about the news, but it just angers some people and it calms other people. I know that here in the USA people get mad sometimes at the news. I know that my dad does then he goes and tells his friends and have a debate on it. Also with the freedom of the press releasing all kinds of news it leads to some kind of “rebellion” whether it is something big or small. When someone is told they can’t do a certain thing they go ahead and do it. Freedom of the press is least important because it will bring up things all throughout the country that could have stayed calm and settle.

  141. Emily Sharp says:

    1. Health
    2. Freedom of the press
    3. Education
    4. Independent Judiciary
    5. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    6. Pluralism
    7. Rule/Respect for the Law
    8. Free elections

    When I think of democracy, I think of freedom and choices – the freedom to choose what you do, to decide who you become, and vote for the leader of your government. I find this free-will to be the most crucial part of democracy; on the other hand, I find health to be the least important issue.
    In most countries struggling with democracy, health seems to be a less prevalent matter. In no way am I saying that health isn’t vital – it undoubtedly is, in democracy and life in general. However, I think it is not as big of an issue in the majority of emerging democracies. Of course, Sierra Leone is struggling with health issues – then again, Sierra Leone is not the only country in the world trying to establish a democracy. While almost 70% of Sierra Leone’s population lives below the poverty line, less than half of Egypt do. Egypt’s unemployment rate is 9.7% – compared to our own 8.1%, it is not a dreadfully low number. In Albania, another emerging democracy, only 12.5% of the people live below the poverty line with a 99% literacy rate. Bosnia is also coming into a democracy, with their poverty rate at 18.6% and literacy at 99% as well.
    I think free elections are the backbone of democracy. With free elections, people are able to not only vote without restraint, but they know that their voice will be heard and their votes will count. Voting is private – no intimidating, rigging, fraud or corruption in general. Free elections give a great power to the people – something that keeps politicians in check and the government stable. In the 2007 Sierra Leone elections, the Independent Radio Network (IRN) helped broadcast news about the elections across the nation. The IRN “proved its capacity to calm fears and set the tone through credible media reporting. This approach proved to be important in allowing for a peaceful and fair election”. These elections were a huge success, and a major milestone in Sierra Leone history. It was the very first time, in the span of the country’s history, that a democratically elected government was replaced by another democratically elected government – fluently and calmly, without riots and protests. The smooth transition of power from one leader to another is something we take for granted in America, but it is an element that is very crucial to democracy. It keeps the nation stable and at peace, which helps the entire democracy run much more smoothly and effectively. Albania had its very first free elections in 1991, after years under communist rule. On June 24th, 2001, Albanians across the country were able to freely vote for all 140 members of the national parliament, leading Philip T. Reeker, a Deputy spokesman from Washington, DC, to say that the “June 24 parliamentary elections represent a crucial benchmark on Albania’s path to democracy.” Even more recently, on May 23rd, 2012, Egyptians voted in their very first free presidential elections. Mohamed Mustafa Seif, a man who voted in downtown Cairo, commented: “For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a role to play. My vote could possibly make a difference.” That is what free elections are all about – giving people a voice that will be heard. In my opinion, this is what democracy comes down to – freedom, choices, and the power of your vote and your voice.

  142. Andrea Fuller says:

    To have a stable government, there are eight factors that you would want to achieve. Education, independent judiciary, health, rule/respect, freedom of the press, social satisfaction, free elections, and pluralism are all important requirements to take into consideration when trying to construct a well functioning government. In my opinion education would be the number 1 quantity to have. Without education, informed decisions wouldn’t be able to be made in a voting decision. Education should be provided for grades k-12, and should be free to the public. The education system should offer proper education skills to build a child and young adult into making a solid decision.
    The second important factor to have is rule and respect. When the public has respect for laws and regulations it creates a strong and stable society. The third factor, branching off from the second would be freedom of press, with society having respect for laws set by the government, the government should have respect for society by telling them the truth. A newspaper that isn’t scanned and edited by the government first would give society the truth of everything society deserves to know. The fourth factor would be health. Without health there wouldn’t be a stable society. There would be diseases and sicknesses everywhere and with bad health around like that a society would no way possible stable.
    The fifth would be independent judiciary. An uncorrupted judicial system is important for the reason that everyone serves the correct sentence they all should without a “leg up”.
    The sixth would be social hospitality. Tensions between different classes wouldn’t be a stable society.
    The seventh would be freedom to vote. Every ones say matters in a democracy and no one should be left out. Last would be pluralism, multiple political parties. I put this one last for the reason that I think too many decisions could be a bad thing. When there are 7-8-9-10 different parties a proper decision wouldn’t be able to be made because with everyone voting for who they want and so many different decisions there would be many unhappy people wich leads to a downfall in a proper society. A party choice of 2 or 3 would create a stable society that a government needs.

  143. Melissa Fox says:

    1.Health
    2.Freedom Of Press
    3.Free Elections
    4.Rule/Respect For Law
    5.Independent
    6.Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    7.Pluralism
    8.Education
    – Education is the key to democracy because it has so many factors into the idea. The whole point we learn about history is to not repeat the hard times that we have been through. The people need to be educated because in a democracy, we the people choose our authorities and laws. Without the education of people, People could be naive to the lies and information other people are telling them. They can fall for anything. The Rebels burned down all of their textbooks, they probably didn’t notice how badly that actually punished there future. Now In Sierra Leone, 29% of the population is literate. This is calling for an unstable democracy. That’s not even half of the people. With that said, I bet that half of the people don’t truly know what a democracy is. In Sierra Leone, Their GDP increases 2% per year, where as the inflation increases 9%, the inflation surpassing it this is meaning the value of the dollar cost less. If they had a stable democracy, they could fix that problem. It’s funny how I say that, because in America today, we have some of the best education in the world, but our GDP has been decreasing. But all in all, Education is the Main source to a Democracy.
    -Health is the least important to a stable democracy. The health truly depends on the people, its not part of the Government responsibility. Mayor Bloomberg in New York Wants to impose a “Soda Ban” on sugar drinks sold in large sizes. This decision is up to the people, The government shouldn’t be involved in these matters. In Sierra Leone, the health is a major priority. Unlike America, They don’t have so much access to fresh water. But I don’t believe the government should be in charge of it. It’s the people’s rights. Therefore, Health is not an importance to democracy.

  144. Alan Vargas says:

    8. Education
    7. Pluralism (multi-party system)
    6. Free Elections
    5. Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    4. Health
    3. Rule/Respect of Law
    2. Freedom of the Press
    1. Independent Judiciary

    A number of obstacles hinder the consolidation of democratic political systems in Africa: entrenched political leaders, a lack of checks and balances, the high incidence of conflict, endemic corruption, legal restrictions on civil society, ethnic grievances, and a lack of a democratic political culture. A recent spate of coups, ethnic conflict, suppression of civil society, and political stalemates between opposing factions suggest a trend of democratic backsliding across all regions of Africa. The thing here is that they are all things that at one point affected us as well.

    I believe that Education is the very first thing that needs to come in order to create a working Democracy. If people don’t have the correct education then they won’t know the first thing of a working government, they need to learn how a proper government would actually run together with the economical and financial system. If you asked me what the one thing they should learn first, I’d say English or at least a language that everyone can understand. If you think about it, the whole African continent is so DIVERSE, you have different tribes, different customs, and different languages. If they all learned ONE language then they could at least speak it and try and have an agreement in between tribes etc. I believe, that if their education improves their whole government would as well, and with it it’s people and so on.

    I think that the least important thing on the list should be an Independent Judiciary.
    I believe that if you have an educated government with educated people, you won’t need to worry about the independent judiciary becoming corrupt. If you think about it, when they become educated their whole objective will be to become a democracy and to flourish above all, so they won’t think about becoming corrupt. After all they already have that now, so why would they want to become corrupt when that’s what they have wanted to get away from.

  145. Celine Lecolley says:

    8.Health
    7.Education
    6.Social Stratification/Social Mobility
    5.Rule/Respect of Law
    4.Independent Judiciary
    3.Free Elections
    2.Pluralism (multi-party system)
    1.Freedom of press

    I believe that health is far most important. People are dieing everyday because they do not have the proper medications and health care as they should have. 68% of the 5.5 million that make up Sierra Leone’s population in are living below the poverty line and have to fight every day to survive. HIV and AIDS are a main concern not only way back in the past but is still haunting us today. The life expectancy in Sierra Leone is to live to about thirty four to forty years old. The life expectancy in the United States is nearly double that of Sierra Leone at 77 years old, and the infant mortality rate is 6.2/1,000, 7% of that in Sierra Leone. If healthcare does not improve, then the population will steadily decline. Not only will people be unable to participate in the government because they are too ill, but there will not be enough people to even run, let alone vote in the democracy. If they honestly don’t care that people are dying everyday they obviously don’t care much about the government considering everyone’s vote is very important. not surprising but a lot of people aren’t very secure with the government they have and a lot are very scared because they really never provided the people with proper care before the war and so far nothing has really changed. People have defiant doubts with there government and the way there treating them.

    I chose freedom of press as the least important because I believe it is only one more thing to give us a reason to biker about. Well first off I must mention that there are so many differences in Sierra Leone. There is a major ethnic/language barrier between many parts of Sierra Leone which happens to be home to about sixteen different ethnic groups and at least eighteen different languages, maybe more. It would defiantly be hard to relate to all of the different ethnic groups atone time, and they have to make sure that all the information is given out in the right language and then to the right village. They also have to make sure not to make any because that would waste a lot of there time and money. Having more than one religion in the country could definitely be a big issue. Some songs or stories can offend another religious group, which then would create tension or controversy that could get rid of the press or even the journalists themselves. Another thing is that the adult literacy rate for Sierra Leone is only 38.1%, making newspapers a way of dispensing information. And also like I said they are really short on money not being able to afford any mistakes but besides that it can be very hard because they are always short on printing materials. the radio is usually a better source of information, which isn’t always a good thing, seeing as two of Freetown’s four radio stations “are government owned, while one of the two privately owned is devoted to playing Christian music.” So as you can see like I said, nothing but confusion and conflict which is why I chose this as my least.

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