Democracy is the process or system of government where the following four elements should be present:-
1. Free and fair elections for choosing and replacing government
2. Active participation of the citizens in politics and civic life
3. Human rights of all citizens should be protected
4. All citizens are under equal law and procedures.
And antebellum era refers to the time between 1790 and 1860 when subsistence agriculture replaced by commercial agriculture in the north and factory production replaced household production.
It needs to state that from the political point of view United States was democratic, but in the perspective of social and cultural field the democracy was not complete and was questionable. What the political perspective of today’s America is almost similar to that time. But the social and cultural democracy was not similar as it is today. The arguments regarding this statement are described below.
Whether United State s was democratic in antebellum era, it is important to have all the four criteria mentioned above. On the basis of these elements, antebellum democracy can be judged.
Free and fair elections for choosing and replacing government
The first criterion to judge and support the statement mentioned above is “free and fair elections for choosing and replacing government”. Democracy is a process for the people elect their leaders and to hold them accountable for their policies. Antebellum era is well known as the era of common people. Independence, self-determination, pride built on control of black, female and native dependents. Democracy as a symbolic theatre began with the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692 and extended through the Great Awakening and the antebellum era (Ruttenburg, 2007). During this time political parties such as democratic, free soil, know-nothing, and republican expressed their passions and beliefs in slogans, songs and paradise (Ãnthon‚ 2001). On election days, nearly eight out of ten eligible voters went to the polls and world saw the presence of democracy.