Not Merely Majority Rule

Formal portrait photograph of W. E. B. Du Bois, a balding Black man with a mustache and Van Dyke beard, wearing a white shirt and dark coat.

“[Democracy] is not merely majority rule based on the fact that the majority has the physical force to prevail… It rests upon the fact that, when we have proven knowledge, interpreted through the experience of a large number of individuals, it is possible through this pooled knowledge and experience to come to decisions much more fundamental and much more far-reaching than can be had in any other way… The people participating effectively in this pool of democracy must be alive and well, they must know the world which they are interpreting, and they must know themselves.”

from “Human Rights for All Minorities,” an address delivered to the East and West Association on November 7, 1945 and printed in “W. E. B. Du Bois Speaks: Speeches and Addresses 1920–1963,” p. 182.