The United States is both a democracy and a republic. Democracies and republics are both forms of government in which supreme power resides in the citizens. The word republic refers specifically to a government in which those citizens elect representatives who govern according to the law. The word democracy can refer to this same kind of representational government, or it can refer instead to what is also called a direct democracy, in which the citizens themselves participate in the act of governing directly.
What is the basic meaning of democracy?
The word democracy most often refers to a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting.
What is a democratic system of government?
A democratic system of government is a 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.
Democracy, I would repeat, is the noblest form of government we have yet evolved …—Norman Mailer, New York Review of Books, 27 Mar. 2002… this and the economic failures of faithful democracies in places such as India or the Anglophone Caribbean demonstrated conclusively that there was no inherent link between freedom and capitalism …—Orlando Patterson, New Republic, 8 Nov. 1999Even in democracies today, crucial knowledge is available to only a few individuals …—Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 1997
The nation has chosen democracy over monarchy.
In a democracy, every citizen should have the right to vote.
The company is not a democracy; decisions are made by a board of directors, not the workers.
There is democracy within the company. See More
Recent Examples on the WebTaiwan’s minimum voting age, 20, is higher than in many other democracies, and people must vote where they are officially registered as residents.—Chris Buckley, New York Times, 4 Dec. 2023 For decades since 1952, the Republican Party had a fairly clear international vision: promote American security and economic power while supporting the expansion of democracy around the world.—Kori Schake, Foreign Affairs, 4 Dec. 2023 But failure to try him is an affront not only to democracy but to decency.—Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, 4 Dec. 2023 Contrasting reactions to them have widened the chasm between Western democracies and much of the rest of the planet, as mutual accusations of double standards inflame passions.—Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, 1 Dec. 2023 Republicans, in particular, have thrived on a diet of chaos since the rise of former president Donald Trump, turning the performance of democracy into primetime viewing.—Jason Parham, WIRED, 1 Dec. 2023 Meta often points to its efforts to shut down fake social media networks as evidence of its commitment to protecting election integrity and democracy.—David Klepper, Fortune, 30 Nov. 2023 It’s marked by growing great-power tensions and a Global South increasingly determined to make its independent voice heard, while many democracies are increasingly preoccupied with angry political divisions at home.—Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Nov. 2023 Given the enormous challenges awaiting Gen Z — climate catastrophes, rogue AI, threats to democracy and more — that kind of faith and optimism won’t just be helpful.—Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'democracy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
borrowed from Middle French democracie, democratie, borrowed from Late Latin dēmocratia, borrowed from Greek dēmokratía, from dēmo-demo- + -kratia-cracy
: government in which the supreme power is held by the people and used by them directly or indirectly through representation
: a political unit (as a nation) that has a democratic government
: belief in or practice of the idea that all people are socially equal
from early French democratie "democracy," from Latin democratia (same meaning), from Greek demokratia "democracy," from dēmos "people, the masses" and -kratia "rule, government," from kratos "strength, power, authority" — related to epidemic