What is democracy?

We explain what democracy is and the types of democracy that exist. In addition, what are its objectives and what is the general will.

  1. What is democracy?

Democracy is a form of social organization in which the direction and ownership reside in the power of the total society as a whole . Democracy arises with the advent of the institutional formation of the National State. The political decisions are taken by the State and adopted by the people through the mechanisms of participation, which can be directly or indirectly conferring legitimacy on their representatives. Abraham Lincoln’s classic definition of democracy : “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people”

. This phrase expresses the basic foundations of the functioning of democracy, its representative character and the election of representatives; Political decisions seek to coordinate the actions of citizens.

Democracy is a way of organizing people’s voice . While everyone has their opinion and perspective on different issues that concern all people , it is impossible to attend to each of the voices. Therefore, a way to obtain a final result has been created by collecting what the population wants , that is, what the majority will choose, although the purpose and mechanism is to “hear” everyone.

This form of organization of the State also favors a type of coexistence between people  who start by respecting the opinion of others, despite being different from their own, since each of the members of a city are equal before the law and Also, free.

  1. Direct and indirect democracy

Direct and indirect democracy
In direct democracy, those represented in person take political decisions by voting.

All current democracies have adopted the representative system as a mechanism for decision making.

  • Direct democracy . “Direct” democracies suggest that those represented in person must make political decisions through voting. The truth is that this is not feasible at present, since its implementation is impossible taking into account the number of inhabitants of the current societies .
  • Indirect democracy . For the aforementioned reason, the form of “indirect” democracy of decision-making is adopted , that is to say through a body of politicians who dedicate their time in training on these issues, of a professional nature, and who must be elected by the citizens to then be able to participate in the political decisions that affect society.
  1. Types of democracies

Various democracies existed throughout history , as they were influencing and adapting to the social values ​​and contexts of different political cultures.

In this way you can distinguish:

  • Liberal democracy
  • Indirect or direct democracy
  • Soviet democracy
  • Social democracy
  • Formal democracy

On the other hand, democracy is also defined according to Plato’s vision, which classifies different forms of government in three typical cases:

  • Monarchy : It is the government of one over many.
  • Aristocracy : It is the government of the “best” over many.
  • Democracy : It is the government of the crowd.
  1. What are the objectives of democracy?

Democracy - freedom of expression
Democracy must guarantee citizen participation as free expression.

Democratic governments must, in theory, have the objective of guaranteeing equal rights among citizens . Both to guarantee the channels of citizen participation, such as free expression, free thought , free action, ability to choose representatives, free association and acquisition.

Democratic governments also should ensure aspects that are not part of the institutional formality such as equality and economic prosperity, equal dignity of life , access to public goods, etc. Guaranteeing these last aspects is what is considered a “social democracy”.

  1. What is the general will?

Democracy has been studied in depth by the philosopher thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 12th century, who elaborated his concept of “General Will.”

The “general will” expresses the common feeling, the agreement on which all citizens agree. The general will is not the will of all, but the will of the truth of the social group, a right to make their own decisions in individual freedom .

This is a fundamental part of the ideology on which current democracies are built ; considering that the capacity of individual choice is an alienable right and is universal to the human condition.

  1. How did democracy come about?

Law and order has been created so that the weak feel protected.

At the time of Plato , the same thinker, argued that there was a pessimistic view of man , this made reference to his nature always led him to seek personal satisfaction, his own desires.

However, getting everything you want is impossible, especially when there are no limits that indicate that you are taking the rights of others. That is why the law and order have been created, so that the weak feel protected and therefore their interests. This representation of the human condition does nothing but end human freedom, one of the principles of democracy.

For their part, the sophists indicated that it was no more than reality itself , where the laws only facilitate that they can achieve their desires , but none of these realities is unmodifiable, since the human being is the one who builds his own, These are not They obey no external force.

Therefore, the norms that appeared in order to establish limits and enforce the rights of all, is nothing more than a pact for non-violence, something that today could be more attached to reality and to what Plato held as the ideal, that is, a path for the common transcendental good .

  1. Different applications of democracy

Although it is the same concept, it can have different branches, some of them indicated below:

In relation to the political structure :

  • Popular democracy
  • Parlamentary democracy
  • Presidential democracy

According to citizen participation , which implies whether or not there is a right to vote and how it is carried out:

  • Direct democracy
  • Representative democracy
  • Census democracy

As for historical conceptions , what is basically the evolution throughout the development of man through the years:

  • Greek democracy
  • Constitutional democracy
  • Jefferson Democracy
  • Liberal democracy
  • Organic democracy

According to the political parties , these are not present in all countries, so to understand them, it is necessary to take a look at these geographical areas:

  • Christian Democracy
  • National Democracy
  • Social and socialist democracy (Mexico and Spain, respectively)
  • Democracy and Progress
  • Foral Democracy of Alava

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