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Society gradualism refers to a slow and gradual deterioration of a society which appears to restart every so often. Such as the Roman Republic, starting out as a farming state, later becoming a large and corrupt empire that would even watch slaves fight to the death for entertainment. This was also depicted in the Star Wars series, which was based in part on the Roman civilization's deterioration. It refers to a deterioration of the moral and political structure of a specific country or society.

Such deterioration can be seen in the United States today, where the constitution was originally based on John Locke's Social Contract, which held inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and Property, and the right to overthrow, reform and instate new government if these rights were infringed. The government has gradually instated things to contradict this philosophy, such as gun control, the 16th and 18th amendments, the Kelo versus New London decision and more. A candidate running for president in the United States needs about a hundred million dollars to mount a successful campaign. Therefore a United States President must either be a millionary or have the support of millionaries. The United States can be seen as a Plutocracy rather than a democracy.

Gradualism is considered an inevitable process by which all governments deteriorate. This was the basis for John Locke's Social Contract, which created a governmental philosophy that would create some measures against gradualism. Other thinkers believe that progress is inevitable.

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