What is Democracy?


In a democracy, people have the right to take part in their government’s decision making. They can do this directly, as in a town meeting, or through their elected representatives. In either case, democracy is about the rule of law and the rights of citizens.

A democracy means a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It means that everyone has the right to vote and participate in government, and that governments should be based on laws that are created and enforced by the people. It also means that governments should be free from coercion, which means that people do not have to give up their own property or freedoms to participate in a democracy.

Democracy is one of the most important political ideas in human history. It has helped bring about peace and prosperity for most of the world’s population. But it is not without its critics. In fact, there are countries that do not claim to be democratic.

The word democracy comes from the Greek words demos (people) and kratos (rule). It is a system of government based on the principle that the people should be in control of the government.

This is a difficult idea to put into practice, and many people have tried. Early democracies included the city-states of Greece and Rome. Later, medieval European cities and some monarchical states had limited forms of democracy. For example, some of the city-states in Italy had parliaments, and Sweden had a representative democracy starting in the sixteenth century.

Today, most countries that have a functioning economy and are not dictatorships are democracies. However, some of these have problems with corruption or inequality. In addition, some of them are experiencing social unrest, which can threaten the democracy.

A key challenge for democracy is how to balance the demands of all of the different interests in society. For instance, how do you make sure that all of the minority interests are represented in a society that is democratic? The answer is complex, and it involves finding ways to involve more people in politics, increase the accuracy of information, and create mechanisms for resolving disagreements.

The best way to learn about democracy is to study how different societies have organized themselves to meet their needs and goals. It is also helpful to look at the different ways that democracy can be defined. To help students explore their own definition of democracy, divide the class into groups of four to six. Have each group select an image that matches their current view of democracy. Then ask them to walk around the room and record their thinking on a shared document such as a large piece of chart paper or another shared document. Once each group has recorded their thoughts, conduct a whole-class discussion, with each group sharing what they have written. Through consensus in a group discussion, arrive at a class definition of democracy and post it in a visible spot for the remainder of the lesson.