Sample Political Science Coursework Paper on Interest Groups and Democracy


Interest groups comprise members who have common concerns and try to influence government policies that affect everyday lives of community members. Such groups have been instrumental in advocating for human rights and promoting good governance through their well formulated policies and measures. However, most elected leaders often complain a lot about such groups when it comes to politics as they try to shape democracy and eradicate impunity while bringing sanity into politics. Contrary to this belief, most interest groups work hand in hand with congress and other stakeholders to draft legislations and policy initiatives.

In return, interest groups communicate to government and the general public on myriad range of issues that touch lives of local people and contribute positively to political campaigns and democracy. Surveys have revealed that the number of interest groups has grown tremendously in different countries across the world in recent years (Holyoke 44). For instance, in America there are many interest groups that include business associations, trade unions, and professional organizations among others. The goals of these interest groups are to protect the economic well-being of members while promoting democracy since politics has the ability to shape and define a country.

Functions and Effects of Interest Groups on the Democratic System

It has been established that a democratic system is a state that is governed by several principles that include comprehensive separation of power into legislature, executive and judiciary (Bond & Smith 68). Moreover, the country must be governed and guided by an acceptable constitution where laws are effectively debated in parliament and conduction of free and fair elections. This is to allow citizens to exercise their rights and choose their leaders freely and fairly without any imposition. Interest groups are important pillars that allow citizens to make known their ideas, needs, opinions and views especially to their leaders. In doing this the citizens are able to communicate, seek clarification and advice their leaders on how they can improve democracy. This is possible as the citizens are able to find interest groups likely to champion their concerns irrespective of the population segment they are. Studies have revealed that citizens often band together especially when they want to champion ideas likely to improve their lives (Karr 23). This is only possible through democracy, and they need such groups to channel their grievances since unity is power.

Interest groups also play greater roles in shaping formal structures and informal traditions that effectively influences democracy by establishing and respecting legal and administrative institutions. Such institutions include political parties which are crucial in ensuring separation of power in a country. Interest groups often come in hand to strengthen weak political parties so as to strongly advocate for more democratic space, speech and free movement within the country. Supporting political parties is important especially when interest groups inject financial support during campaigns and elections. Afterwards, the groups that supported winning political parties will form part of decision and policy making organs. This is good for democracy and well-being of citizens whose interests are amicably represented in the interest groups.

Furthermore, interest groups have in many occasion strengthens democratic systems by championing for decentralization of power and resources so as to effective serve the citizens. It has been established that decentralization effectively encourages citizen and interest group participation on issues affecting the society (Karr 41).  This also ensures social and economic diversity to make life worth living for all citizens that form part of a democratic system. However, it is worth noting that power of interest groups can only be strengthened through a strong and independent judiciary. Legal experts have asserted that interest groups can exploit litigation to attain policy objectives that they cannot obtain through legislative action (Warntjen 55). Historically, it can be remembered that an interest group (NAACP) created a crack and distinction in American racial seclusion before law makers were able to act.

Finally, it is important to note that interest groups have played a critical role in ensuring freedom of speech, press and assembly in many countries across the world. This has ensured that views expressed by interest group, no matter controversial can be freely aired to the public without any restriction. It had been opined that since World War II many groups could not be allowed to express their opinions and views to the people (Warntjen 65). However, today, many groups have gained access to major media channels and in the process enhanced free speech and free press freedoms that is good for a healthy democratic system.


Interest groups have been instrumental in promoting democracy by giving citizens the platform to air their views on issues affecting them. This has effectively been achieved through free press, media and freedom of association. However, it should be noted that many interest groups often face several challenges due to lack of genuine grassroots and less involvement by the citizens. It is therefore paramount for government and other stakeholders to try and strengthen such groups to create alternative voice for the people.

Works Cited

Bond, Jon R, and Kevin B. Smith. Analyzing American Democracy: Politics and Political

 Science. London: Routledge, 2016.

Holyoke, Thomas T. Interest Groups and Lobbying: Pursuing Political Interests in America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2014. Print.

Karr, Karolina. Democracy and Lobbying in the European Union. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag,

            2007. Print.

Warntjen, Andreas. Governance in Europe: The Role of Interest Groups. Baden-Baden: Nomo’s-

            Very.-Ges, 2004. Print.