The word DEMOCRACY comes from the Greek language (specifically from the Greek word “demos” which means “people”), but … and the concept of democracy? The concept of democracy tells us about a form of government in which it (even if it is chaired by a specific person) is led by the people. This means that in a democracy each citizen has something to say (which is usually done formally through voting) about how and who should administer the government, as well as the specific political decisions that are taken.

In a true democratic system, people express their opinions by exercising their right to vote on important issues or on who they think should lead the government. But, to speak of a true modern democracy, a government must comply with rules as important as maintaining a clean system with free elections, that the laws are equal for all its citizens and that individual freedom is respected or that human rights are protected from around the world without distinction.

The first democracy developed in the ancient Greek city of Athens , many, many years ago. There the adult citizens (although unfortunately they did not include in this group neither women nor slaves) were grouped in the so-called Assembly, where they voted on the suitability or not of the laws that were suggested by the Council . The Assembly could also elect its leaders, which was often done by choosing the best candidate from pieces of wood or stones on which their names were written.

Fortunately times have changed, and today in most existing democratic societies all citizens can vote (it is a true universal suffrage), regardless of their gender, race or economic level.

Types of democracy that exist

When we speak of democracy we can refer to a type of direct or indirect democracy.

  • Direct democracy: a direct democracy (or direct participation) is one in which each citizen votes on all important decisions. A direct democracy becomes difficult when the population grows, since it requires that people meet in one place for decision-making, and today most cities are very populous (so even more countries! ). In a direct democracy, each citizen votes on every important decision that takes place , and as an example of this type of democracy we have the old government of Athens, in Greece , which we mentioned earlier and which was a direct democracy.
  • Representative democracy: The other type of democracy is called indirect or representative democracy, and this is where people elect representatives to run the government. Almost all democracies today are representative, although many have particularities (existence of monarchies, as in the United Kingdom, federal republics as in the United States …). In this type of democracy, citizens elect representatives , as we said, who are usually the president, members of congress or senators to lead the government, that is, they elect the people with whom they believe (normally) they will take decisions with which they are more in agreement or that they consider more related or qualified for said work.

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