Democracy vs. Republic


The key difference between a democracy and a republic lies in the limits placed on government by the law, which has implications on minority rights. Both forms of government use a representational system where citizens vote to elect politicians to represent their interests and form the government. However, 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 and can impose its will on the minority.

Most modern nations are democratic republics with a constitution, which can be amended by a popularly elected government.

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Constraints on the government No; the majority can impose its will on the minority Yes; the majority cannot take away certain inalienable rights
Definition is ruled by the omnipotent majority. In a Democracy, an individual, and any group of individuals composing any minority, have no protection against the unlimited power of the majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man. a constitutionally limited government, of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate branches of government.
History Originated in Classical Athens Classical Rome
Sovereignty is held by the whole population (as a group) the people (individuals)
Famous Examples Classical Greece, Rome United States Of America
Common confusion in the USA People commonly confuse direct democracy with representative democracy. The US officially has a representative style, though many have suggested the US is closer to an oligarchy or plutocracy. The US is actually a Republic. It is governed by rule of law. The elected is supposed to be bound by oath to the written governing limits (ie constitution) yet vote "together" and create laws to address concerns of the represented in a democratic way

Contents: Democracy vs Republic

edit What is a Democracy?

A democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have the right to equal participation, either directly or through elected representatives, in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. To put it in very simple terms, it is a form of government where people choose their own government and the voice of the majority rules. Once the majority is established, the minority has no say.

edit What is a Republic?

The term "republic" as used today refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, serving for a limited term. Even in a republic, it's the voice of the majority that rules through chosen representatives, however there is a charter or constitution of basic rights that protects the minority from being completely unrepresented or overridden.

edit Is the United States a Democracy or Republic?

The U.S. is a republic.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

edit Implications

There are several political implications of the fact that the U.S. is a republic. Jim Crow laws calling for racial segregation were deemed unconstitutional and were repealed. e.g. In Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court repealed state-sponsored school segregation. In more recent cases, the 2010 healthcare reform bill was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court because it forces individuals to buy health insurance. The law was passed by majority but critics claim that it violates individual liberties by forcing individuals to engage in commerce, a power that the government does not have in this republic. Another example is California Proposition 8, in which a majority of voters in California voted to make same-sex marriages illegal. Critics of the law argue that this violates the individual liberties of gay and lesbian couples, and the majority does not have a right to do that in a republic.

In each case, the Supreme Court will decide (ironically, by majority ruling among the 9 justices) whether the law is constitutional. If the U.S. was not a republic, these questions would not even be raised and the matter would not go to the Supreme Court. The fact that the Supreme Court get to decide which laws are constitutional and has the power to revoke laws it thinks are unconstitutional demonstrates that the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution are higher authorities than the will of the majority at any given time i.e. the U.S. is a republic.

edit Videos Explaining the Differences

Here are two videos that explain the difference between a democracy and a republic.

edit References

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Comments: Democracy vs Republic

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Anonymous comments (13)

September 6, 2013, 7:45pm

Democrats and Liberals and Progressives are THE most hateful people on this planet. Get rid of your hypocritical "COEXIST" bumpers stickers.

— 130.✗.✗.211

January 29, 2014, 3:47pm

Ben Franklin said It's a Republic, if you can keep it. We were separated from the crown at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Accordingly we are individual sovereigns. The case is brought to point by the jury. We as jury members can judge the law as well as the facts.

— 68.✗.✗.233

November 25, 2013, 1:41pm

their is a video that exlpains that we are Republic not Democratic
name: the five forms of governmnet length of video: 10:36 specifically

— 204.✗.✗.158

November 1, 2013, 9:39pm

judges do what they want if they are liberal their interpretation of the law is liberal

— 204.✗.✗.162

January 3, 2013, 8:37pm

where is facsism vs democracy?

— 128.✗.✗.62

May 25, 2014, 5:53pm

So basically we have a government that the minority rules over the majority. I think I would rather live in a true democracy. It actually worked in Greece until it was infiltrated by oligarchs.

— 69.✗.✗.32

March 23, 2014, 2:14am

This is wonderfully idealized fiction to teach the kiddies, but certainly not reality. A republic is a democracy in which mob rule has an extra barrier. We are no longer either a republic or a democracy. The steady erosion of campaign regulations by the corporate right wingers on the supreme court, combined with the influence of lobbying to corrupt the legislative process, along with politicians who use public office as an internship for their future corporate job, has made us a plutocracy. The wishes of the people don't matter, only the wishes of the tiny minority with deep pockets. Any civics book which doesn't cover campaign finance, lobbying, and the revolving door between government and corporate positions, should be thrown in the trash. Websites like this should be edited and updated to teach people how things actually work, and why it must be fixed. Instead of silly videos, post a link to the Opensecrets website.

— 76.✗.✗.223

October 25, 2013, 3:06am

Can't we all just get along and sing kumbya?

— 24.✗.✗.211

January 19, 2014, 9:31am

Lol. I knew someone would bring up Platos Republic.
Platos Republic is not much of a republic, read it again his republic is based on more for elitist style government where the wealthy and influential control things.

— 216.✗.✗.253

November 9, 2013, 5:22am

I'm still confused... I ask others, they say we are a democracy, I look up the internet, 50/50 says we are a democracy and a republic...

— 24.✗.✗.249

January 4, 2014, 8:59am

We are the people, we are the government. The president and his minions work for us. All hail george bush! All hail barack obama. God bless america!!

— 172.✗.✗.22

December 10, 2013, 9:32pm

"Republic" originated in the USA? Erm, what about Plato?

— 203.✗.✗.238

September 23, 2013, 6:43pm

The anonymous commenter who insulted the liberals is a reprobate and needs to take a bath.

— 184.✗.✗.116


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