If one has to choose between the dictionary definition of ” democracy” and the political theory of democracy, the latter would have to be the correct choice. Of course, “democracy” has a variety of different definitions throughout the world. One nation’s version of “democracy” may differ slightly from the other’s.
The word ” democracy” can be defined as a form of government in which the society shares power or decisions making authority. It also can mean that the societal system works to maintain freedom, equality, and consideration of human rights. In modern times, “democracy” has been used to describe a number of social institutions. Some of these include representative government, constitutional government, direct election of leaders, multi-party democracy, and multiparty politics.
The major premise behind democracy is equality before and after law. This means that all individuals have an equal right to participate in societal decisions and activities, regardless of race, gender, religion, disability, or age. Additionally, American democracy also ensures equal opportunity for everyone. It also promotes social peace, social justice, economic prosperity, and environmental conservation.
By its very nature, a democratic polity requires and encourages open debate and discussion. A key feature of a democratic political system is the right of citizens to criticize their government and elected officials without reprisal. Many scholars and political scientists note that this “democratic paradox” stems from the American enlightenment ideal of “rights of the petitioning individual”. Because the framers of the US constitution recognized the rights of individuals to peacefully assemble and petition the federal government, the US political system works to ensure that all citizens have the rights to participate in elections and free speech. Consequently, a free press plays an important role in the overall protection of democracy in America.
Historically, throughout much of the western world, democracy has been linked to a lack of self-interest on the part of citizens. Historically, in most nations, the term “self-interest” referred to the need of wealthier citizens to exert political power and wealth in order to fund higher education, medical care, and other public services. In Europe, however, the concept of self-interest is not linked to any national interest or wealth. Rather, citizens are motivated by a desire to serve as good representatives of their nation and the world, and to stand up for what is right. Because of this, Europeans have long been skeptical of democratic theories such as self-interest, and democratic societies have often been plagued by high levels of corruption and cronyism.
Additionally, in both Canada and the United States, the concept of democracy is linked closely to social equity. According to Martin Luther King Jr., “ither wealth or poverty is more evil than the other. Far from becoming an end in itself, liberty and equality help to make possible the greatest good for humanity.” From this standpoint, the statement that separates the United States from most European nations during the history of either country’s existence is that America cares more about social equity than wealth or level of wealth per se.