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Um, when the U.S. became a "democracy," England had a King...

Reader comment on item: The Enemy Within [and the Need for Profiling]
in response to reader comment: Response to commenter on the "Oldest Democracy"

Submitted by Garry Herzog (United States), Jun 21, 2008 at 03:10

The debate about what might be considered "the world's oldest continuous democracy" is a fascinating one with several contenders, and complicated by many shades of definition (such as the advent of universal sufferage, or the oldest continuous constitution).

I'm from the U.S. and I'm open to learning that another country might more justly claim to be "the oldest democracy on earth," etc., but, I'm not so open to the claim that country would be England.

Folks, when the U.S. wrested its independence from England -- Thank You, France! -- England had a hereditary king, Parliament or no. Today that royalty is entirely for show, but back then, England's King was a true head of state, yes?. A power in the government, even a decisive power. I'm no expert on U.K. history, but I think the fact of a King, an unelected head of state, who can decide or at least mightily influence whether your country is at war or peace, rather does not qualify as a "democracy" under any reasonable shades of definition.

Submitting....

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