Americans have more opportunities to vote then any other country in the world, and the impact of voting is felt in every aspect of American life. From the beginning of American history, it has been proven that voting is important.
History highlights the importance of voting and the terrible conditions that occur when this right does not exist or is suppressed. During the Revolutionary Era the French, Haitians, and Americans recognized the destructive power of living under a government without a voice. The French masses starved while the aristocrats dinned well under the regime of Louise XIV. Like the Americans, the masses were taxed heavily without representation. No taxation without representation was an ideology that spurred on the American Revolution once the Stamp Act was enacted. In addition, after the implementation of the Stamp Act, "ordinary people came together to call for the boycotting of British goods" (Woods, 1992, p. 244). People began to understand how coming together to influence policy would make a difference in government.
The Haitian Revolution demonstrates the biggest impact of living under a government without representation. There were 600,000 black slaves living in Haiti (Girard, 2005). The other ruling groups were comprised of French Officials, white planters, and free blacks total population was approximately 60,000 (Girard, 2005). As the Americans and French lived under unfair laws, the Haitian slaves lived under the Black Codes (Ros, 1991). The Black Codes invited white men and women planters to decide the fate of a black slave on a whim. One woman burned her slave alive in an oven, because of a slightly burnt pie (Ros, 1991). There weren't Civil Rights for the 600,000 slaves, who were bound to the earth and deprived of social mobility. They lived in dirty huts in a society where torture instruments were hung in the windows of prominent businesses (Girard, 2005). The Haitian, French, and Americans eventually won their freedom, but it was at great risks and many deaths. The sacrifices made then and the perils the people endured emphasize the importance of the average person participating in the government. Common people must remain vigilant to the new laws created and make sure they benefit the entire society. No pure democracy is in existence. Democracy is a work in progress. Constant participation by the public is vital to ensure there is a balance in society, where the average person has a voice.
Next, with the protective laws passed such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the American with Disabilities Act, many Americans feel they are safe from unfair treatment. They don't need to participate in the government or provide balance. The current governmental system will simply take care of itself and them. Voting isn't necessary. Yet, there are a growing number of individuals that don't believe that we need regulatory laws that will govern discriminatory behavior. A very popular American President, Ronald Regan supported this notion. He "enacted the Executive Order 12991 in 1981, where no regulatory action can be undertaken unless the potential benefits to society outweigh the potential cost" (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 4). Supporters of this policy state that businesses want to make profit. They will hire the most qualified person without discriminating, because it will give them a strategic