Everywhere there was a strong tendency to modify the concepts of political liberalism into a justification of democracy. By and large, this was not the result of the creation of a completely new political theory. The advocates of democracy tended to justify their doctrine with natural-rights theories from the Enlightenment, with a utilitarianism reminiscent of John Stuart Mill, with deductions drawn from the romantic glorification of the individual, or with appeals to the record of the United States. In general, they took over the concepts of the middle-class liberalism of the nineteenth century. However, the very logic of the liberal position in an increasingly industrialized world forced democrats to advocate the removal of many of those limitations on popular participation in government which liberals earlier had thought necessary. With victory apparently in sight in the years 1871-1914, democracy can be studied through its acts, in the difficult task of putting into practice under widely divergent conditions those general concepts which had been forged in an earlier age. In the process strongly egalitarian institutions were developed which became identified with democracy in the minds of most Westerners. It is in the observations of this process that we can test the definition of democracy as "government responsible to the will of the people." [excerpt]
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Bloom, Robert L. et al. "1. The Advent of Modern Democracy. Pt. XVII: The Transformation of Liberalism and Nationalism, 1871-1914." Ideas and Institutions of Western Man (Gettysburg College, 1958), 2-15.