The world consists of communities that practice different traditions and have unique social, economic, and political activities. Sociologists argue that societies will continue to evolve because people have to adopt new lifestyles and drop practices that disadvantage and expose them to social, political, and economic challenges. There are various theories that explain the importance of colonization and the emergence of democratic cultures and societies that led to the formation of the United States.
The Importance of the Process of Colonization in America
This country started as a colony under the rule of the British Empire that colonized France and Spain. These countries split from the British colony after years of struggling for freedom. Colonization enabled America to colonize Hawaii and expand its territory. The processes of immigration led to the development of unique cultures in the United States (Vidmar, 2013). Forced migration perpetrated by slave trade and revolutions in the nearby countries forced people to migrate to America. However, the Irish and Italian immigrants migrated to America voluntarily. The Civil Rights Movement was established after America became independent due to the challenges that faced the local communities. Some races thought that they were mistreated by the Native Americans. The struggle that ensued led to the enactment of laws that ensured all Americans enjoyed their rights (Vidmar, 2013). However, the divide between the Native Americans and other races continued to split the population into different sections. Today, America consists of people from all races of the world, and they coexist peacefully despite the inevitable challenges they face. However, it is arguable that America is not a fully democratic country because of the cultural conflicts that erupt once in a while, but no other citizens enjoy a wide spectrum of freedom and respect for human rights like the Americans. The United States of America and China are good examples of states that exercise open democracy and allow their citizens to participate in governance (Grabiner, 2014).
The Emergence of Democratic Cultures and Societies in the United States
There are different sociological and political theories that explain the origins of democratic societies and cultures. It is impossible to discuss the emergence of democratic systems without highlighting the role of modernization in transforming societies (Grabiner, 2014). The Idea of Progress became an interesting philosophy in the 18th century due to the belief that the power of changing society was vested in people’s ability to think about progress and become enlightened.
Marquis de Condorcet was the founder of the Age of Enlightenment theory that explained that when the right time comes people will change and transform their lives due to inevitable forces. He argued that cultural and moral changes relied on the technological and economic progress of a society. Competition for limited resources creates room for conflicts and leaders have to look for ways of solving them (Vidmar, 2013). The explanation presented by this scholar is that the success of democracy depends on how people settle their differences and share the available resources.
Secondly, Emile Durkheim used the theory of Structural Functionalism to explain that society must adapt to the changes brought by modernization (Grabiner, 2014). He viewed society as a complex model that comprises different units called institutions. These institutions play different roles in enforcing cultural and social unity to promote the welfare of all members of society. Moreover, he explained that social order is important in ensuring that the process of sharing responsibilities and resources brings together all members of the society.
The theory explains that it is easy to maintain order in complex capitalistic societies if people regulate the tools of economic power (Vidmar, 2013). He brought the concept of social evolution that explains how primitive societies transformed into advanced industrial entities by responding to the challenges brought by changes in technology, economy, and politics (Grabiner, 2014). Therefore, the problems associated with modernity compel people to react and change their practices to accommodate changes and improve their lifestyles.
Thirdly, some scholars like Talcott Parsons and Anthony Giddens argued that modernization brings change to society (Vidmar, 2013). They believed that Europe was the first region to become modernized and diffused this practice to other places. Their assumption was that the media plays a significant role in transforming society and helping people to know their rights and what is good for them. They anchored their perception on the development of the economy, culture, and politics and the roles they played in transforming societies (Vidmar, 2013).
Giddens believed that the mass media is a powerful tool of spurring economic development by promoting the global diffusion of technical and social innovations that make societies modernized. Secondly, he claimed that the media promotes literacy and cultural development by challenging people to think of alternative ways of life that are better than the existing ones (Grabiner, 2014). On the other hand, Parsons believed that it is necessary for societies to maintain cultures that promote development.
However, some cultures are retrogressive and cannot promote the development of democratic states. For instance, the dictatorship witnessed in many countries forms a sad history about them. Therefore, their citizens cannot use these primitive cultures to promote democracy. Parsons believed that it was not easy to achieve a democratic state, especially if a society has groups that oppose each other for fame and public attention (Grabiner, 2014). For instance, the Iranian Revolution and genocide witnessed in Rwanda and Burundi occurred because people wanted to protect their selfish interests.
Lastly, Marx Weber believed that most societies became democratic through rationalization. This is a process that enables people to act for the benefit of their communities and not selfish interests. Therefore, this belief is valid because it explains how countries like America fought during the American Revolution (Vidmar, 2013). The suitability of this theory is evident in the manner some countries engage in political arguments to protect their interests. The need for just systems of governance outweighs the selfish interests of politicians and other influential people (Grabiner, 2014). His argument is based on the belief that if all people think objectively they will achieve their missions.
The emergence of democratic cultures and societies and the formation of the United States was a treacherous journey that involved conflicts and other challenges. However, this country was determined to become democratic and did not pay attention to these challenges, but focused on establishing fair and just systems. Societies become democratic through consensus and sacrifices that ensure conflicts are solved peacefully. In addition, they may become democratic through economic and technological development that cannot be achieved if people do not focus on important issues. Rationalization is also another process that enables societies to be democratic when people concentrate on developing communication, education, economy, and technology.
Grabiner, G. (2014). Commentary: Government and Market Surveillance, Emergence of Mass Political Society, and the Need for Progressive Social Change. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Vidmar, J. (2013). Democratic Statehood in International Law: The Emergence of New States in Post-Cold War Practice. Oxford: Hart Publishing.