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 WebGiven 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 In the realm of politics, where opinions can be passionate and divergent, providing a space for varied voices reflects a dedication to the values that underpin civic life in a democracy.—Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Nov. 2023 It was supposed to be democracy and meritocracy at its best.—Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2023 Within a few months of becoming the 39th president in 1977, Jimmy Carter sent his wife on a mission to Central and South America to promote human rights and democracy.—Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2023 Climate catastrophes, new diseases, crumbling infrastructure, wealth inequality, cyber risks, geopolitical conflicts, and threats to democracy around the globe are just some of the things now shaking people’s confidence in a better tomorrow.—WIRED, 17 Nov. 2023 Meanwhile, Biden has posed his presidency as playing a pivotal role in the global battle between autocracies and democracies.—Selina Wang, ABC News, 16 Nov. 2023 Abiy’s comments come at a time when Ethiopia is in a period of soul-searching, caught between the paths of democracy and authoritarianism.—Mahad Darar, The Conversation, 13 Nov. 2023 The 20th century brought six coups and restrictions on democracy were not lifted until 1983.—Callum McLennan, Variety, 10 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