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Form of government in which a state is ruled by representatives elected by its populace. The term was originally applied to a form of government in which the leader is periodically appointed under a constitution; it was contrasted with governments in which leadership is hereditary. A republic may also be distinguished from direct democracy, though modern representative democracies are by and large republics.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on republic, visit Britannica.com.