What is democracy?

The term democracy originates from ancient Greek and is formed from the words demos (” people “) and kratos (” power “, ” government “). The concept began to be used in the 5th century BC. C. in Athens. what is democracy explain

What is democracy?

Democracysis the political regime in which the people exercise sovereignty.

The word democracyscomes from the Greek demokratía , which is made up of demos (which means people) and kratos (which means power). In this political system, power is exercised by the people through universal suffrage .

It is a governmental regime in which all important political decisions are with the people, who elect their representatives through voting.

It is a system of government that can exist in the presidential system, where the president is the highest representative of the people. In the parliamentary system , where there is a president elected by the people and the prime minister who makes the main political decisions.

The values ​​of democracysare to protect human freedom and it is based on the rule of the majority, associated with individual and minority rights.

One of the main characteristics of democracy is the protection of fundamental human rights, such as freedom of expression, religion, legal protection, and opportunities to participate in the political, economic and cultural life of society.

One of the characteristics of democracysis that citizens have express rights and duties to participate in the political system that will protect their rights and freedom.

The concept of democracyshas evolved over time, and since 1688, in England, democracy was based on freedom of discussion within parliament. According to some philosophers and thinkers of the 18th century, democracyswas the right of the people to choose and control the government of a nation.

Origin of Democracys

The Western democracysoriginated in Athens, in classical Greece. The ancient Greeks created the idea of ​​citizenship, which was extended to those who consider themselves citizens and therefore could exercise their power to participate in the politics of the city.

The Greek democracyswas restricted and this idea began to change after the French Revolution and the modern Enlightenment, which, through republicanism, began advocating for political participation of all social classes.

Even in modern times, despite political advances and an expansion of the concept of democracys, women did not have access to any kind of active democratic participation in republican countries.

A fact that only began to be revised with the explosion of the feminist suffrage movement, which culminated in the liberation, for the first time in history, of the female vote in New Zealand in 1893.

History of democracy

In some countries, the history of democracysoccurred very quickly, as in the case of Portugal and Spain. Despite this, this rapid evolution has created political insecurity.

In countries like England and France, a slow evolution of democracyshas resulted in the development of stable political structures.

Currently, democracyvis considered a form of organization for a group of people, where the ownership of power resides in all its members. As such, decision-making responds to the general will.

In practice, democracysis a form of government and state organization. Through direct or indirect participation mechanisms, people elect their representatives.

It is said that democracysis a form of social coexistence in which all people are free and equal before the law, and social relations are established according to contractual mechanisms.

The classifications of government carried out by Plato and Aristotle still remain in essence. The monarchy is the government of a person, while democracysis the form of government “of the multitude” (Plato) or “of the most” (Aristotle).

When people make decisions directly, we speak of direct democracy . In turn, indirect or representative democracy refers to the system in which decisions are made by people who people recognize as their legitimate representatives.

It should be noted that participatory democracy appears when the political model allows citizens to organize themselves to exert direct influence on public decisions.

Types of Democracy

Social democracys

Social democracy is the designation of political parties and currents with Marxist tendencies that emerged before the First World War. This type of political ideology is based on Marxism and principles such as equality and social justice, solidarity and freedom.

The Social Democracy proposed a change in capitalist society , using gradual and never revolutionary methods, in accordance with the norms of the parliamentary and democratic system.


Ancient Greece was the cradle of democracy , where, mainly in Athens, the government was exercised by all free men.

At that time, individuals were chosen or raffles were held for different positions. In Athenian democracy , there were popular assemblies, where proposals were presented and free citizens could vote.


The racial democracy is directly related to the problem of racism and discrimination, and suggests that Brazil has managed to try and resolve these issues in a way that other countries (the United States) have not done. Racial democracy addresses the relationships between different races and ethnicities.

Direct and Representative

Democracy can be direct or pure democracy , when people express their will by direct vote. Representative or indirect democracy , people express their will by electing representatives who make decisions on their behalf.

Differences between Democracies and Dictatorships

The main differences between democracy and dictatorship are:

  • Election model: in a democracy, elections are direct, that is, the people themselves vote. In a dictatorship, the elections are usually indirect, in which the governors are chosen through an electoral college.
  • Type of State: in a democracy, of course, the type of State is democratic, while in a dictatorship the State is authoritarian and totalitarian.
  • Division of powers: in a democracy there is a division of powers. The legislature, the executive and the judiciary function independently of each other. In dictatorship, powers are concentrated in the hands of a single person or group.
  • Protection of rights: a democratic state protects and guarantees rights, in addition to constantly legislating on new ones. In a dictatorship, rights are often violated.
  • Popular Demonstrations: Popular demonstrations are common in a democracy, with a view to freedom of expression. A dictatorial government often uses censorship to avoid popular demonstrations, news or any type of communication contrary to its ideals.

Examples of Democracy

Many western republican countries have developed, to some extent, some kind of democracy. There are also great monarchies, like England, that are democratic. Most democratic countries are countries of representative democracy.

Some states in the United States are a good example of semi-direct democracy , and a good example of a country that exercises participatory democracy is Switzerland. Direct democracy no longer exists at the national level in the race

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