Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “The Power of Public Opinion” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “The Power of Public Opinion” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Power of Public Opinion

Today people want to make their voice heard and to manage their own affairs. So loud and continuous is the demand of the people that rightly or wrongly all States now claim to be based on the opinion of the governed. Whatever they do, is in the name of the people. The most constitutional governments and despotic rulers swear alike by the name of the people to justify their actions.

What, then, is the public opinion? Public opinion is the opinion held by the people in general on any important contemporary issue. Public opinion is usually sought on controversial matters. It may be negative or positive. It is usually the result of the perception and analyze of matter regarding the issue. This opinion must be based on reason and must aim at the good of the community on the whole. It cannot be called public opinion unless it is substantially shared by the dominant portion of the community. This does not mean that all people must think alike and in the same way; all that it signifies is that on the essential points they must be in agreement, though on non-essential matters they may differ. And the public opinion, to be real, must be reasonable, must care for the welfare of the community as a whole and must be held and accepted by the dominant portion of the people.

Public opinion may be passive and false or active and real. It is claimed in theory that all government is ultimately based on the opinion or sanction of the governed. But we find in practice that the people’s rights are often trampled down and tyranny and oppression are allowed to continue. The governments do it not because the people want them to do it but because they are too idle, too uneducated and too disunited or timid to oppose the government. Such public opinion is passive and false and not an active verdict. But when we find people alert, intelligent and determined to let the government know their will, when they want to exercise actively their will in the management of their country, we have an instance of real and active public opinion.

Now, true public opinion is formed by and is expressed through the press, the public speech platform, political parties and educational institutions. These have sacred duties to perform, duties on which depends the ultimate good of the entire community. The press today wields a tremendous influence. So it should support the right cause and movements. It should condemn the wrong ones and reach people to form correct opinions. It should also ventilate the true public opinion on particular questions of national interest. The service which is done on a large scale by the press, is also done in a limited way by speeches from the platform. Political parties also help to create and regulate opinion. No less important part is played by the educational institutions which train the minds of the young people who will be the citizen of tomorrow. It has been said that modern Germany and France have been made, as they exist today, by their universities.

The field for the exercise of public opinion is very wide. However, its power is most felt in the social and political spheres. It has assumed greater strength. It now serves as a check to high-handedness. With the gradual awakening of the masses, it is assuming an unthinkable proportion and potency.

However, the force of public opinion in modern times is not yet fully formed, for the ideal of democracy, viz., the government of the people themselves, with all men having equal rights and privileges, the state existing for all—is not yet fully realized. This is why the ideal of democracy is praised but the fact of democracy is deplored. When there is true awakening of the people, we shall have the real and conscious public opinion. Then will come true democracy and the people will manage their own affairs instead of being dupes or pawns in the hands of dishonest men. When this is done, justice will reign on earth and truly will the voice of the people be the voice of God.

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