• A political system that gives power to the people as a whole.
  • Originates from the Greek word dēmokratía – “rule of the people”.
  • This system allows people to choose their leaders.


Earliest democratic state:

  • First practiced in the city-state of Athens, Greece in the 6th Century BC.
  • Voting was limited to citizens. Only men had voting rights while women and slaves were not eligible to vote.
  • It had a rocky history as its continuity depended on Athens’ independence. It was interrupted during wars with Sparta and later Macedon.
  • Roman conquest brought a permanent end to Athenian Democracy in the Classical Era.



  • Even with the end of Athenian democracy, some form of it would continue to exist among other nations and city-states even during the Middle Ages. However most only allowed a small percentage of the population to participate.
  • Democracy in the form that we know today only really started in the 18th century CE with the American and French Revolutions.


  • A system of representative democracy that puts authority in the hands of leaders chosen by the people in elections.
  • Candidates for leadership are chosen among different competing political parties. Each have their own vision of what they want for the country.
  • A government is sworn in by the party that wins. They can only remain in power for a term (4 or 5 years) but can be extended due to extraordinary circumstances (State of Emergency).
  • Economic systems may vary but the most predominant form is capitalism.

1. Citizen rule A democratic government grants adult citizens the right to elect their representatives. It also establishes clear guidelines for election cycles and term limits so that the key positions are contested at regular intervals. Through this process of voting, citizens are regularly given the ability to hire or fire their representatives.

2. Majority rule and minority rights The principle of majority rule is an important parts of the democracy system. The majority rules in election process, but individual rights are protected by the maintenance of decentralized, local government bodies. In a democracy, it is understood that all levels of government should be accessible to, and representative of people.

3. Individual rights Democracies value the protection of individual rights. these rights such as freedom of religion and equal protection under he law, are such important parts of a democracy that the term ‘freedom’ is often associate with the term ‘democracy’.

4. Free and fair election The key to exercise of democracy is the election process. Free and fair election are held at regular intervals for the election of representatives at all levels of government in a fee. Democratic election, all adult citizens are given the right to cast votes-ensuring that the will of the people will be expressed.

5. Citizen participation Citizens of democracy not only have the right to vote, but also the responsibility to participate. informed participation is key in a democracy. Having the right t vote and express themselves, those living in a democratic society are called upon to act as guardians of their own freedom.

6. Cooperation and compromise Democracies also value cooperation and compromise to protect individual rights. To adequately safeguard diversity and accurately represent all communities, a democracy must protect the right to be different. For this, a climate of tolerance is critical.


Types of authority:

  • Rational-legal authority
  • Power is legitimized through the election process.
  • A Constitution functions as a legal document that states the rights and privileges of the ruler and the ruled.
  • The bureaucracy helps run the administration of the government and country. They are appointed, not elected. They are also impersonal and hierarchical.


Examplary models of democracy:

  • Tribal societies
    • Native American tribes such as the Iroquois implements a voting system to elect a chief
    • Women have voting rights and could even be elected as chief
    • Small number of members enabled direct democracy to take place in which each and every member has a say and vote publicly
  • Athens
    • One of the first civilization located in Greece that practiced democracy 2500 years ago
    • Each free male above a certain age is eligible to vote
    • However, women and slaves had no rights
  • Postcolonial America
    • Founding members of America, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin, invented the representative democracy
    • Wealthy white citizens voted for other wealthy white men to present them in Washington
    • Citizenship, the idea that people have basic rights by virtue of birth and residence, was a revolutionary change
  • Most countries in present day
    • Universal citizenship is implemented in which everyone is given basic rights by virtue of birth and residence regardless of race, religion, sex, etc.
    • Everyone also have the right to vote after a certain age