tyranny of the majority

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tyranny of the majority (countable and uncountable, plural tyrannies of the majority or tyrannies of majorities)

  1. (politics) A situation in which a government or other authority democratically supported by a majority of its subjects makes policies or takes actions benefiting that majority, without regard for the rights or welfare of the rest of its subjects.
    • 1837, Testimony of Alexis de Tocqueville in "An abridgement of the evidence given before the select committee, appointed in 1835, to consider the most effectual means of preventing bribery, corruption and intimidation, in the election of members to serve in Parliament," Hume Tracts, London, p. 142:
      I suppose, however, that the secret voting has afforded, and will afford, an important security against the tyranny of the majority, which I consider as the greatest evil and the most formidable danger that can attend a purely democratical government.
    • 1957, Hans J. Morgenthau, "The Dilemmas of Freedom," The American Political Science Review, vol. 51, no. 3, p. 718:
      A popular will not so limited becomes the tyranny of the majority which destroys the freedom of political competition.
    • 2003, Daniel Byman, "Constructing a Democratic Iraq: Challenges and Opportunities," International Security, vol. 28, no. 1, p. 52:
      The biggest problem is the numerically larger group's use of elections and other legitimate democratic forms to ensure its dominance—a tyranny of the majority.