Democracy - definition, examples, cases, processes (2023)

ANDdemocracyIt is a form of government in which leaders are elected by popular vote and in which the people have a voice in decisions on state affairs. Key features of democracy include political freedom, the rule of law, and legal equality. For these principles to be authentic, every citizen with rights must have equal access to the legislative process and the legal system. To examine this concept, consider the following definition of democracy.

definition of democracy


  1. A form of government in which power is exercised by the people, often administered by representatives chosen by a free electoral system.
  2. A form of government in which the people elect their leaders by vote.


1525-1535 Middle Frenchdemocracy

What is democracy

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, in hisGettysburg-AddressDemocracy is “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Democratic government contrasts with forms of government in which power is exercised by a single person or by a small number of privileged people, such asMonarchy, oligarchy odictatorship.

(Video) democracy and the political process

In today's world, the concept of democracy is often misunderstood. The conditionsLibertymidemocracythey are often used interchangeably but do not mean the same thing. Although democracy is a set of fundamental beliefs and principles of freedom, it differs from freedom in that it implies the implementation of procedures and practices to guarantee freedom. Most of the governments in the world today are a hybrid of methods of government.

Democracy in the United States

While most Americans believe that their nation is governed by a democratic government, the truth is that the United States operates as a constitutional federation.Republic. This means that while Americans embrace democracy, the actual functioning of the country is complex. Since individual states retain a high degree of autonomy, aConstitutionIt is necessary to define the powers, responsibilities and limitations of thefederal government, and its relationship with the States.

In the United States, power rests in the hands of the people, both at the state and federal levels, as they elect representatives through the voting process. While this is widely considered a true democracy, it would require the people to have direct control over it.legislation. Instead, US citizens participate in the legislative process only through their elected representatives. here is the termrepresentative democracyoriginal

Examples of direct democracy

A direct democracy is a form of government in which all laws are created or abolished by the direct vote of the citizens. That would mean that everything from changing the speed limit on state highways to the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime would be voted on directly by the people, not by their representatives.

Many Americans don't pay much attention to the many representatives at various levels of government who make decisions for them every day. From state and federal senators and legislators legislating for their constituents, to elected judges and other government officials, the nation's great wheel revolves around the actions of these legislators.

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Imagine what today's society would be like if the United States operated as a true democracy and people had to regularly set aside time to vote on all major decisions. It is probable that today's complex society could never have evolved if that time had been demanded by the citizens of the nation.

direct democracy in history

In ancient Athens (circa 508-322 BC), all citizens voted on all important issues. Athenian citizens were active in all aspects of political life, from voting in the city administration to prosecuting all crimes. In fact, in all court proceedings, the assembled citizens voted on the outcome. In such instances of democracy, it may be true that direct democracy produces more political participation. However, the reality of the commitment that such an undertaking entails can put off many people these days.

direct democracy now

it is not a reference to democracy in today's world, but a popular organization of ordinary Greek citizens who actively participated in the Greek protests against their government organization in 2011.Direct Democracy Now!They found that they could no longer support any of Greece's traditional political parties. The movement is not a political party, but it serves as a forum for members to exchange ideas about the political situation in Greece.

representative democracy

A system that works for many nations is thisrepresentative democracy, which allows the citizens of the country to participate in the work of the government without the heavy burden of having to make decisions in the day-to-day operations of its operations. In a representative democracy, all eligible citizens of the nation elect representatives to legislate, make laws, andRichterLegal claims.

Also known as "indirect democracy" or "representative republic," representative democracy is considered by many to have emerged from the French and American revolutions of the 18th century. When the lack of a central government led to chaos and brutality in the Middle Ages, people sought refuge from widespread death and destruction. Stronger people offered that protection to weaker people in exchange for their work and loyalty. This was the rise of kings.

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Over time, the people began to feel oppressed as many were left destitute and with little food or other necessities of life. Poor housing and filthy conditions led to illness and death. The people questioned the king's right to govern them especially in this way. In the 18th century, the English philosopher John Locke held that a king's right to rule derives solely from the "consent of the governed".

French political philosopher Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron Montesquieu, commonly known simply as "Montesquieu", was the first to describe a system in which three are separategovernment branches—Executive, Legislative and Judicial— controlled each other. In his example of democracy and freedom, Montesquieu wrote:

“When the legislature and the executive are united in the same person or body of judges, there can be no liberty... Again, there is no liberty unless the judiciary is separated from the legislature and the executive. If combined with the legislature, the subject's life and liberty would be subject to arbitrary control; for the judge would then be the legislator. If he were attached to the executive branch, the judge could behave with all the ferocity of an oppressor. Everything would end if the same man or corporation, noble or common, exercised these three powers, that of making laws, that of executing public decisions and that of judging the crimes or differences of individuals...

According to this notion, both communities and nations would be governed with the highest honor by the will of the majority of the people. This promoted the idea that while the rule of law is essential to a peaceful and harmonious society, individual liberties should not be sacrificed for a monarch.

parlamentary democracy

ANDparlamentary democracyIt is a form of government in which citizens elect the governing body known as "parliament" by popular vote in a democratic election. The MPs then appoint a leader, known as the "Prime Minister", who then selects the MPs for his cabinet. Parliament and the Prime Minister remain accountable to the people.

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Since the prime minister remains a member of parliament even in this high-level position, he can draft laws himself and submit them to parliament for approval. This further distinguishes parliamentary democracy from the representative democracy used in the US, as the president is no longer part of the legislature, but part of theexecutivegovernment. Parliamentary democracy originated in Great Britain, where it is still used today. Many of the former British colonies adopted some form of parliamentary democracy.

Slap to democracy Example in the electoral college

In May 2016, Arizona voters approved Proposition 123 by the skin of their teeth. With 51 percent voting in favor and 49 percent voting against, the state is expected to invest an additional $3.5 billion in Arizona's public elementary and secondary schools over the next 10 years. Opponents of Proposition 123 did not give up as the people exercised their democratic right to have the last word on matters submitted to a popular vote.

Concerns about additional funding source for school systems, statetrusted countryFund, Arizona resident Michael Pierce filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the funding plan violated the state's driver's license statute. Pierce says the state needs congressional approval to increase funds paid out of the country.confidence.

Many citizens of the state are concerned about the legitimacy of the process, pointing out that the people should have the final say in voting on an issue. In this example of democracy, asking the courts to intervene when someone is dissatisfied with the outcome of an election is seen by many as a slap in the face of democracy.

Related Legal Issues and Provisions

  • dictatorship– A form of government in which a single person has absolute power.
  • Monarchy– A system of government in which a single person rules, usually a member of the royal family.
  • Oligarchy– A form of government in which all power belongs to a small group of people, usually a ruling class.


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