David Syme, Charles H Pearson and the democratic ideal in Australia



Publication Details

Melleuish, G. 2009, 'David Syme, Charles H Pearson and the democratic ideal in Australia', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 213-228.


This paper argues that the writings of David Syme and Charles H Pearson are important for understanding the history of the ideal of democracy in Australia. Although Syme did not write directly on democracy, his writings on political economy and political representation focused on issues relevant to democratic theory. His Outlines of an Industrial Science argued for the dominance of the social and the ethical over the economic and for the role of the state in enforcing that dominance. His Representative Government in England advocated the case for the delegate theory of democracy, in effect meant the particular interests of the majority. Pearson also argued the case for this version of majoritarian democracy. His National Life and Character concluded that it would lead to the suppression of individualism.

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