Both the protectivist and developmental theories are classical forms of democracy. Established by such liberal political philosophers as Locke, Madison, Tocqueville and Mill, each model has their own individual characteristics in addition to similarities. Protectivist democracy relies on Locke’s theory of the social contract that justified the right of government or a state to exist. The basis of this theory is man is entitled to certain rights naturally that are inalienable. God, however, supersedes government. Since man is automatically entitled to specific liberties, the government’s goal is to ensure those privileges are protected and preserved and everyone has the right, as well as the means to pursue them.
Developmental democracy is about educating the citizens to make their own choices and to exert their rights by actively participating in their government, in addition to being involved in their community. They differ in the aspect that protectivist policies would adhere to the government protecting those rights through each man’s individual contract to be ruled or regulated for their good. Developmental democracy is about a community or group viewpoint although the individual is responsible for their own education and interaction.
Both models are represented in current society and one is not better than the other. Protectivist thought, however, has more of a foothold in American democracy than developmental. There are certainly aspects of developmental present, but Locke and Madison’s thoughts have a much larger representation. This could be due to Jefferson essentially copying Locke’s words for the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, this theory resonates strongly with the American ideal or self-consciousness. Man is entitled inalienable rights naturally are words that nearly every American identifies with and learns at a young age. Also, the American Dream is about pursuing those individual rights and becoming a success. It is not about a more community driven approach.
One form is not more successful than the other. Developmental would seem the likely choice, but many would feel it leans towards socialism. Also, America is the world’s oldest democracy with a leaning towards Locke’s ideals. This does not support that theory at all. In addition, a government whether it be a democracy or military dictatorship can only be successful if it upholds the good of its citizens. That includes economic prowess, military might, etc., so whether a theory holds more validity than another academically will not prove whether it will be successful or not. There are many more other factors that play a role.