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What is Democracy?

Civics | 7-14 yrs | Interactive, Learning Pod

Definition of Democracy

Democracy is derived from the Greek words demos (people) and kratos (rule). It means a government that is ruled by the citizens of the society. People vote on issues as a group.

Features of Democratic Government :

  • Representatives are elected by the people.
  • Every citizen is allowed to vote in the elections.
  • Everyone has the same political rights, whatever their income, race, religion, etc
  • The majority party makes the decisions but individual rights (freedom of speech) are also protected.
  • Certain restrictions are placed on law makers’ powers and they can only be in office for a limited amount of time.

Types of Democracy

Direct Democracy

  • Each citizen votes on all important matters.
  • Switzerland has a direct democratic government. Citizens can accept or reject decisions made by the legislative body.
  • This kind of democracy is suitable for small states with few people. Suppose you decide to form a club. You and the other members decide that each one of you will vote on matters concerning the club. This is an example of direct democracy.

Representative Democracy

  • Supposing your club has so many members that you all can’t meet at the same time, to vote on matters. You all hold elections to elect representatives like a Director and a Treasurer to run the club on an everyday basis, on your behalf. This is an example of representative democracy.
  • In the federal republic of USA, people elect the government officials who act on behalf of their constituencies.

History of Democracy

  • Democratic government first came into place in Greece.
  • In the Middle Ages, feudalism allowed people to protect their rights in courts.
  • Later, the Magna Carta (a British document) had 63 clauses that allowed people to have a fair trial and gave them more power than they had before.
  • Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” in USA in 1776 created a stronger and proper democratic government.

To know more about the different Types of Governments visit http://mocomi.com/types-of-government/
To read more interesting Civics articles for kids, visit: http://mocomi.com/learn/civics/

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Comments4 reactions

  1. thanks, I got all the information I wanted but there no meaning of representative democracy there were only example for representative democracy