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Democracy has never existed. Greeks did not include women, Romans did not include women or slaves or servants etc. Everything since has been adulterated or even subverted by representatives. Most of what is discussed here is some lesser form of democracy
Democracy (literally "rule by the people", from the Greek demos, "people", and kratos, "rule") is a form of government. While the term democracy is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to other groups and organizations.
- 1 Definition of democracy
- 2 Forms of democracy
- 3 History
- 4 Theory
- 5 Arguments for and against
- 6 Beyond the public level
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Definition of democracy
According to the New World Dictionary, democracy means "majority rule". However, there are other definitions. Encyclopedia Britannica states "Form of government in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodic free elections." The Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy states that "the term 'democracy,' as I will use it in this article, refers very generally to a method of group decision making characterized by a kind of equality among the participants at an essential stage of the collective decision making."
Forms of democracy
The implementation of democracy has brought a great complexity and diversity from a large variety of concepts and ideas used at different periods of history and in different situations. Most forms listed here have many elements in common with each other, but are categorized by the most prominent characteristics. While most democratic ideas have been implemented on small scales, some of them have yet to be implemented within recognized nation states.
Representative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people. Representatives may be elected by a particular district (or constituency), or represent the electorate as a whole as in many proportional systems, with some using a combination of the two. Some representative democracies also incorporate elements of direct democracy, such as referenda. A characteristic of representative democracy is that while the representatives are elected by the people, to act in their interest, they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so. While considerations such as party alignment, perception of voter wishes or the public interest, re-election prospects and other factors can be of influence, there are generally few binding restrictions.
Liberal democracy is a representative democracy along with the protection of minorities, the rule of law, a separation of powers, and protection of liberties (thus the name liberal) of speech, assembly, religion, and property. Conversely, an illiberal democracy is one where the protections that form a liberal democracy are either nonexistent, or not enforced. The experience in some post-Soviet states drew attention to the phenomenon, although it is not of recent origin. Napoleon III for example used plebiscites to ratify his imperial decisions.
Direct democracy is largely referred to as a political system where the citizens vote on all major policy decisions. It is called direct because, in the classical forms, there are no intermediaries or representatives. All direct democracies to date have been weak forms, relatively small communities, usually city-states. However, some see the extensive use of referenda, as in California, as akin to direct democracy in a very large polity with more than 20 million potential voters.
Today, a limited direct democracy exists in some Swiss cantons. Other current examples include many small civic organizations (like college faculties) and town meetings in New England (usually in towns under 10,000 population).
Direct democracy obviously becomes difficult when the electorate is large. Modern direct democracy tries to accommodate this and sees a role for strictly controlled representatives. It is characterized by three pillars; referendums (initiated by governments or legislatures or by citizens responding to legislation), initiatives (initiated by citizens) and recall elections (on holders of public office).
Some anarchists oppose democracy while others favor it. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon argued that the only acceptable form of direct democracy is one in which it is recognized that majority decisions are not binding on the minority. However, anarcho-communist Murray Bookchin criticizes individualist anarchists for opposing democracy, and says "majority rule" is consistent with anarchism.
There are also some anarchists who expect society to operate by consensus. Some anarcho-communists oppose the majoritarian nature of democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and opt in favor of consensus.
[[Image:Claims Of Demoracy.png|right|350px|thumb|Since World War II, democracy has gained widespread acceptance. This map displays the official "claims" made by world governments with regard to democracy, as of June 2006. It shows the de jure status of democracy in the world.
[[Image:Freedom House world map 2007.png|thumb|350px|This map reflects the findings of Freedom House's survey Freedom in the World 2007, which reports the state of world freedom in 2006. It is one of the most widely used measures of democracy by researchers. 
Freedom House considers these to be liberal democracies. Free.
]] Not Free
The word democracy was coined in ancient Greece. Although Athenian democracy is today considered by many to have been a form of direct democracy, originally it had two distinguishing features: firstly the allotment (selection by lot) of ordinary citizens to government offices and courts, and secondarily the assembly of all the citizens. In theory, all the Athenian citizens were eligible to speak and vote in the Assembly, which set the laws of the city-state, but neither political rights, nor citizenship, were granted to women, slaves, or metics. Of the 250,000 inhabitants only some 30,000 on average were citizens. Of those 30,000 perhaps 5,000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular Assembly. Most of the officers and magistrates of Athenian government were allotted; only the generals (strategoi) and a few other officers were elected. 
One of the earliest instances of civilizations with democracy, or at least oligarchy, was found in the republics of ancient India, which were established sometime before the 6th century BC, and prior to the birth of Gautama Buddha. These republics were known as Maha Janapadas, and among these states, Vaishali (in what is now Bihar, India) would be the world's first republic. The democratic Sangha, Gana and Panchayat systems were used in some of these republics; the Panchayat system is still used today in Indian villages. Later during the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the Greeks wrote about the Sabarcae and Sambastai states in what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan, whose "form of government was democratic and not regal" according to Greek scholars at the time.
The Roman Republic had elections but again women, slaves, and the large foreign population were excluded. The votes of the wealthy were given more weight and almost all high officials come from a few noble families. 
Democracy was also seen to a certain extent in bands and tribes such as the Iroquois Confederacy. However, in the Iroquois Confederacy only the males of certain clans could be leaders and some clans were excluded. Only the oldest females from the same clans could choose and remove the leaders. This excluded most of the population. An interesting detail is that there should be consensus among the leaders, not majority support decided by voting, when making decisions.  Band societies, such as the bushmen, which usually number 20-50 people in the band often do not have leaders and make decisions based on consensus among the majority.
During the Middle Ages, there were various systems involving elections or assemblies, although often only involving a minority of the population, such as the election of Gopala in Bengal, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Althing in Iceland, certain medieval Italian city-states such as Venice, the tuatha system in early medieval Ireland, the Veche in Slavic countries, Scandinavian Things and the autonomous merchant city of Sakai in the 16th century in Japan. However, participation were often restricted to a minority, and so may be better classified as oligarchy. Most regions during the middle-ages were ruled by clergy or feudal lords.
The Parliament of England had its roots in the restrictions on the power of kings written into Magna Carta. The first elected parliament was De Montfort's Parliament in England in 1265. However only a small minority actually had a voice; Parliament was elected by only a few percent of the population (less than 3% in 1780. ), and the system had problematic features such as rotten boroughs. The power to call parliament was at the pleasure of the monarch (usually when he or she needed funds). After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and increased the influence of the Parliament.  The franchise was slowly increased and the Parliament gradually gained more power until the monarch became entirely a figurehead. 
18th and 19th centuries
Although not described as a democracy by the founding fathers, the United States can be seen as the first liberal democracy. The United States Constitution, adopted in 1788, provided for an elected government and protected civil rights and liberties. Already in the colonial period before 1776 most adult white men could vote; there were still property requirements but most men owned their own farms and could pass the tests. Enslaved Africans, free Blacks and women were not extended the franchise. On the American frontier, democracy became a way of life, with widespread social, economic and political equality. However the frontier did not produce much democracy in Canada, Australia or Russia. By 1840s almost all property restrictions were ended and nearly all white adult male citizens could vote; and turnout averaged 60-80% in frequent elections for local, state and national officials. The system gradually evolved, from Jeffersonian Democracy to Jacksonian Democracy and beyond. In Reconstruction after the Civil War (late 1860s) the newly freed slaves became citizens with (in the case of men) the right to vote.
In 1789, Revolutionary France adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and, although short-lived, the National Convention was elected by all males. 
Liberal democracies were few and often short-lived before the late nineteenth century. Various nations and territories have claimed to be the first with universal suffrage.
20th century transitions to liberal democracy have come in successive "waves of democracy," variously resulting from wars, revolutions, decolonization, and economic circumstances. World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires resulted in the creation of new nation-states in Europe, most of them nominally democratic. In the 1920s democracy flourished, but the Great Depression brought disenchantment, and most the countries of Europe, Latin America, and Asia turned to strong-man rule or dictatorships. Fascism and dictatorships flourished in Nazi Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as nondemocratic regimes in Poland, the Baltics, the Balkans, Brazil, Cuba, China, and Japan, among others. Together with Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union, these made the 1930s the "Age of Dictators" .
World War II brought a definitive reversal of this trend in western Europe. The successful democratization of the American, British, and French sectors of occupied Germany, Austria, Italy, and the occupied Japan served as a model for the later theory of regime change. However, most of Eastern Europe, including the Soviet sector of Germany was forced into the non-democratic Soviet bloc. The war was followed by decolonization, and again most of the new independent states had nominally democratic constitutions. In the decades following World War II, most western democratic nations had mixed economies and developed a welfare state, reflecting a general consensus among their electorates and political parties. In the 1950s and 1960s, economic growth was high in both the western and Communist countries; it later declined in the state-controlled economies. By 1960, the vast majority of nation-states were nominally democracies, although the majority of the world's populations lived in nations that experienced sham elections, and other forms of subterfuge (particularly in Communist nations and the former colonies.)
A subsequent wave of democratization brought substantial gains toward true liberal democracy for many nations. Spain, Portugal, and several of the military dictatorships in South America became democratic in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was followed by nations in East and South Asia by the mid- to late 1980s. Economic malaise in the 1980s, along with resentment of communist oppression, contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the associated end of the Cold War, and the democratization and liberalization of the former Eastern bloc countries. The most successful of the new democracies were those geographically and culturally closest to western Europe, and they are now members or candidate members of the European Union. The liberal trend spread to some nations in Africa in the 1990s, most prominently in South Africa. Some recent examples include the Indonesian Revolution of 1998, the Bulldozer Revolution in Yugoslavia, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
The number of liberal democracies currently stands at an all-time high and has been growing without interruption for some time. As such, it has been speculated that this trend may continue in the future to the point where liberal democratic nation-states become the universal standard form of human society. This prediction forms the core of Francis Fukayama's "End of History" theory.
Aristotle contrasted rule by the many (democracy/polity), with rule by the few (oligarchy/aristocracy), and with rule by a single person (tyranny/monarchy or today autocracy). He also thought that there was a good and a bad variant of each system (he considered democracy to be the degenerate counterpart to polity).  .
Among political theorists, there are many contending conceptions of democracy.
- Aggregative democracy uses democratic processes to solicit citizensâ€™ preferences and then aggregate them together to determine what social policies society should adopt. Therefore, proponents of this view hold that democratic participation should primarily focus on voting, where the policy with the most votes gets implemented. There are different variants of this: 4
- Under minimalism, democracy is a system of government in which citizens give teams of political leaders the right to rule in periodic elections. According to this minimalist conception, citizens cannot and should not â€œruleâ€ because, for example, on most issues, most of the time, they have no clear views or their views are not well-founded. Joseph Schumpeter articulated this view most famously in his book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy . Contemporary proponents of minimalism include William H. Riker, Adam Przeworski, Richard Posner.
- Direct democracy, on the other hand, holds that citizens should participate directly, not through their representatives, in making laws and policies. Proponents of direct democracy offer varied reasons to support this view. Political activity can be valuable in itself, it socializes and educates citizens, and popular participation can check powerful elites. Most importantly, citizens do not really rule themselves unless they directly decide laws and policies.
- Government should produce laws and policies that are close to the views of the median voter — with half to his left and the other half to his right. Anthony Downs laid out this view in his 1957 book An Economic Theory of Democracy.
- Robert A. Dahl argues that the fundamental democratic principle is that, when it comes to binding collective decisions, each person in a political community is entitled to have his/her interests be given equal consideration (not necessarily that all people are equally satisfied by the collective decision). He uses the term Polyarchy to refer to societies in which there exists a certain set of institutions and procedures which are perceived as leading to such democracy. First and foremost among these institutions is the regular occurrence of free and open elections which are used to select representatives who then manage all or most of the public policy of the society. However, these polyarchic procedures may not create a full democracy if, for example, poverty prevents political participation. Some see a problem with the wealthy having more influence and therefore argue for reforms like campaign finance reform. Some may see it as a problem that the majority of the voters decide policy, as opposed to majority rule of the entire population. This can be used as an argument for making political participation mandatory, like compulsory voting or for making it more patient (non-compulsory) by simply refusing power to the government until the full majority feels inclined to speak their minds.
- Deliberative democracy is based on the notion that democracy is government by discussion. Deliberative democrats contend that laws and policies should be based upon reasons that all citizens can accept. The political arena should be one in which leaders and citizens make arguments, listen, and change their minds. One modern proponents of this form of government are led by JÃ¼rgen Habermas.
- Minoritarianism is a political philosophy where various minorities are given some degree of minority rule.
"Democracy" and "Republic"
In historical usages and especially when considering the works of the Founding Fathers of the United States, the word "democracy" refers solely to direct democracy, while a representative democracy where representatives of the people are elected and whose power to govern is limited by laws enshrined in a constitution is referred to as a constitutional republic. Note that the US constitution states that the power comes from the people "We the people..." However, some argue that unlike a pure democracy, in a constitutional republic, citizens in the US are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law. Constitutional Republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy thereby protecting minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. Thomas Jefferson stated that majority rights cannot exist if individual rights do not. The power of the majority of the people is checked by limiting that power to electing representatives who govern within limits of overarching constitutional law rather than the popular vote or government having power to deny any inalienable right. Moreover, the power of elected representatives is also checked by prohibitions against any single individual having legislative, judicial, and executive powers so that basic constitutional law is extremely difficult to change. John Adams defined a constitutional republic as "a government of laws, and not of men."
The original framers of the United States Constitution were notably cognizant of what they perceived as a danger of majority rule in oppressing freedom and liberty of the individual. For example, James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10, advocates a constitutional republic over a democracy to protect the individual from the majority.  The framers carefully created the institutions within the Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. They kept what they believed were the best elements of majority rule. But they were mitigated by a constitution with protections for individual liberty, a separation of powers, and a layered federal structure. Inalienable rights refers to a set of human rights that are not awarded by human power, and cannot be surrendered. The Constitution of the United States was written to protect the inalienable rights of citizens from potential excesses of government, even if taken by majority rule. Inalienable rights are not granted by government, but by nature.
Using the term "democracy" to refer solely to direct democracy, or to representative democracy without checks on the power of elected officials, retains some popularity in United States conservative and libertarian circles.
In contemporary western usage, the term "democracy" usually refers to a government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative.  The term "republic" has many different meanings but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a President, serving for a limited term, in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected head of government such as a Prime Minister.Therefore, today the term is used by states which are quite different from the earlier use of the term, such as the the former German Democratic Republic and the USSR.
Constitutional monarchs and upper chambers
Initially after the American and French revolutions the question was open whether a democracy, in order to restrain unchecked majority rule, should have an elitist upper chamber, the members perhaps appointed meritorious experts or having lifetime tenures, or should have a constitutional monarch with limited but real powers. Some countries (as Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries and Japan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional monarchs with limited or, often gradually, merely symbolic roles. Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system (as in the U.S., France, China, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Egypt). Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures which often had lifetime tenure, but eventually these senates lost power (as in Britain) or else became elective and remained powerful (as in the United States).
Though there remains some philosophical debate as to the applicability and legitimacy of criteria in defining democracy what follows may be a minimum of requirements for a state to be considered democratic (note that for example anarchists may support a form of democracy but not a state):
- A group of citizens— a group which makes political decisions by some form of collective procedure—must exist. In modern democracies the citizens are the adults of the nation. However, there may be various restrictions. For example, regarding restrictions on the right to vote, or suffrage, see Universal suffrage. As described in the history section, historically the suffrage was much more restricted. This often caused challenges if many of the adults were excluded from citizenship and associated rights.
- A body of rights of the citizens. Today, the citizens should have equal political rights. Historically, this was not necessarily true. For example, the votes of the wealthy may be given more weight. Exactly what these rights are is often contested. Minimally it may only be the right to vote. In liberal democracies they also include liberties and civil rights.
- A territory must be present, where the decisions apply, and where the citizens are resident. In modern democracies, the territory is the nation-state. Even ambulatory tribes usually control a territory briefly. Colonies of democracies, where the inhabitants do not have citizenshp, are not considered democratic.
- A decision-making procedure exists, which is either direct, in instances such as a referendum, or indirect, of which instances include the election of a parliament.
- The procedure is regarded as legitimate by the citizens, implying that its outcome will be accepted. Political legitimacy is the willingness of the population to accept decisions of the state, its government and courts, which go against personal choices or interests.
- The procedure is effective in the minimal sense that the citizens can use it to change the government or policy, assuming there is sufficient support for that change. Showcase elections, pre-arranged to re-elect the existing regime, are not democratic.
- In the case of nation-states, the state must be sovereign: democratic elections are pointless if an outside authority can overrule the result.
Arguments for and against
For criticisms of and arguments for specific forms of democracy, see the appropriate article. Advantages and disadvantages of one form of democracy do not necessarily apply to other forms. Some far right, far left, theocratic, anarchist, and monarchist groups oppose all forms of democracy.
Beyond the public level
While this article deals mainly with democracy as a system to rule countries, voting and representation have been used to govern many other kinds of communities and organizations.
- Many non-governmental organisations decide policy and leadership by voting.
- In business, corporations elect their boards by votes weighed by the number of shares held by each owner.
- Trade unions sometimes choose their leadership through democratic elections. In the U.S. democratic elections were rare before Congress required them in the 1950s.
- Cooperatives are enterprises owned and democratically controlled by their customers or workers.
- Democracy:Britannica Student Encyclopedia
- John M. Allswang. The Initiative and Referendum in California, 1898-1998 (2000) (ISBN 0-8047-3821-1)
- As in News from Nowhere or The Dispossessed
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- Edmund Morgan, Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America (1989)
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- Whitehead, Laurence ed. Emerging Market Democracies: East Asia and Latin America (2002)
- Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1993), examines democratic dimensions of republicanism
- Journal of Democracy
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- Democracy Watch (International) — Worldwide democracy monitoring organization.
- IFES — supporting the building of democratic societies around the world
- Democracy at large magazine — a quarterly magazine designed for professionals interested in democracy development worldwide
- dgGovernance — Collection of resources on key issues of democracy and nation-building
- the site of the Association for the School of Democracy a university-level research and training pluri- and transdisciplinary school of democracy
- "Islam and the Challenge of Democracy" by UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl in the April/May 2003 issue of Boston Review
- New York Times argument against the "Development first, democracy later" idea
- The Rise of Illiberal Democracy by Fareed Zakaria
- The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
- openDemocracy — Global democracy network using information, participation and debate to empower citizens.
- Cosmopolitan democracy
- Technologies of Measuring Democracy
- The Danger of Democratic Self-Destruction,
- A New Nation Votes: American Elections Returns 1787-1825
- locate textbook for children of age group 14 to 16 on DemocracyYou can download the soft versions of these books from this site by Selecting Class CLASS IX Selecting Subject Political Science Selecting Book title Political Science
- The Democratic State - A Critique of Bourgeois Sovereignty
- Riff-Raff — Democracy as the Community of Capital - A Provisional Critique of Democracy
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- Democracy, Liberty, Equality What is the relation between democracy and liberalism? (A Dialogue)
- Why democracy is wrong
- Democracy, The God That Failed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
- Liberty or Equality by Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
- Churchill on Democracy Revisited by J.K. Baltzersen
- The INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY, progressive scholarship, critiques of democracy.
- Democratic Manifesto
- Conducting new experiments with democracy, Ethics & Democracy
- Democratic Deficit
- On Democracy by James Russell Lowell
- simpol.org — Plan to limit global competition and facilitate the emergence of a sustainable, sane global civilization.
- Students for Global Democracy
- Fourfold Social Order (The four-way-path-model of a future democracy)
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