- Democracy or Republic?
- A Republic or a Democracy -- Let's Get This Straight
- Republic vs. Democracy: What Is the Difference?
- Democracy vs. Republic
Democracy or Republic?
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And the authors of the Constitution were radically republican, at least for their age, believing that the only legitimate form of government was one in which public authority derived entirely from the people. These ideas surely have some overlap with the notion of democracy, which is perhaps evident on a quick comparison of the United States and the British system of government. So, really, who is more republican? Who is more democratic? Is there truly a difference? I think there is a difference between democracy and republicanism, although it is easily overlooked.
Is democracy the most appropriate name for a large-scale representative system such as that of the early United States? As noted above, even after Roman citizenship was expanded beyond the city itself and increasing numbers of citizens were prevented from participating in government by the time, expense, and hardship of travel to the city, the complex Roman system of assemblies was never replaced by a government of representatives—a parliament—elected by all Roman citizens. Venetians also called the government of their famous city a republic, though it was certainly not democratic. When the members of the United States Constitutional Convention met in , terminology was still unsettled. Had the framers of the United States Constitution met two generations later, when their understanding of the constitution of Britain would have been radically different, they might have concluded that the British system required only an expansion of the electorate to realize its full democratic potential. Thus, they might well have adopted a parliamentary form of government. Embarked as they were on a wholly unprecedented effort to construct a constitutional government for an already large and continuously expanding country, the framers could have had no clear idea of how their experiment would work in practice.
The key difference between a democracy and a republic lies in the limits placed on government by the law, which has implications for minority rights. Both forms of government tend to use a representational system — i. In a republic, a constitution or charter of rights protects certain inalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the government, even if it has been elected by a majority of voters. In a "pure democracy," the majority is not restrained in this way and can impose its will on the minority. Most modern nations—including the United States—are democratic republics with a constitution, which can be amended by a popularly elected government. This comparison therefore contrasts the form of government in most countries today with a theoretical construct of a "pure democracy", mainly to highlight the features of a republic.
A Republic or a Democracy -- Let's Get This Straight
Parliamentary vs. Presidential Democracy Explained
Republic vs. Democracy: What Is the Difference?
Democracy vs. Republic