Democratic republic

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A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. Rather than being a cross between two entirely separate systems, democratic republics may function on principles shared by both republics and democracies.

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.

Contents

Theory

Common definitions of the terms democracy and republic often feature overlapping concerns, suggesting that many democracies function as republics, and many republics operate on democratic principles, as shown by these definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press. It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law notes that the United States exemplifies the varied nature of a constitutional republica country where some decisions (often local) are made by direct democratic processes, while others (often federal) are made by democratically elected representatives. [3] As with many large systems, US governance is incompletely described by any single term. It also employs the concept, for instance, of a constitutional democracy in which a court system is involved in matters of jurisprudence. [3]

Jurisprudence theoretical study of law, by philosophers and social scientists

Jurisprudence or legal theory is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence seek to explain the nature of law in its most general form and provide a deeper understanding of legal reasoning, legal systems, legal institutions, and the role of law in society.

As with other democracies, not all persons in a democratic republic are necessarily citizens, and not all citizens are necessarily entitled to vote. [4] Suffrage is commonly restricted by criteria such as voting age. [5]

Suffrage right to vote

Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections. In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, which is the right to stand for election. The combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage.

A voting age is a minimum age established by law that a person must attain before they become eligible to vote in a public election. Today, the most common voting age is 18 years; however, voting ages as low as 16 and as high as 25 currently exist. Most countries have set a minimum voting age, often set in their constitution. In a number of countries voting is compulsory for those eligible to vote, while in most it is optional.

History

In the US, the notion that a republic was a form of democracy was common from the time of its founding, and the concepts associated with representative democracy (and hence with a democratic republic) are suggested by John Adams (writing in 1784):

No determinations are carried, it is true, in a simple representative democracy, but by consent of the majority or their representatives. [6]

Historically, some inconsistency around the term is frequent. China claims to be the oldest of Asia's democratic republics, though its recent history of democratic process is largely linked only to Taiwan. [7] Likewise, Africa's oldest democratic republic, Liberia (formed in 1822), has had its political stability rocked by periodic violence and coups. [8]

Global use of the term

Many countries that use the term "democratic republic" in their official names (such as Algeria, [9] Congo-Kinshasa, [10] Ethiopia, [11] North Korea, [12] Laos, [13] and Nepal [13] ) are considered undemocratic "hybrid regimes" or "authoritarian regimes" by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index [14] and "not free" by the U.S.-based, U.S.-government-funded non-governmental organization Freedom House. [15] In addition, East Germany was also officially known as the German Democratic Republic, but, like the Somali Democratic Republic, [16] the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, [17] was controlled by a bureaucratic government espousing Marxism–Leninism. [18] Incidentally, the Democratic Republic of Madagascar was a non-Marxist socialist state that existed on the island of Madagascar from 1975 until 1992.

There are also countries which use the term "Democratic Republic" in the name and have a good track of general election and were rated "flawed democracy" or "full democracy" in the Democracy Index, such as the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

See also

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References

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  2. "democracy | Definition of democracy in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  3. 1 2 Volokh, Eugene (2015-05-13). "Is the United States of America a republic or a democracy?". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  4. "Characteristics of Democratic Republic". Government VS. softUsvista Inc.
  5. "Voter Registration Age Requirements by State". USA.gov. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  6. Adams, John (1851). The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations. Little, Brown.
  7. Yongnian, Zheng; Fook, Lye Liang; Hofmeister, Wilhelm (2013-10-23). Parliaments in Asia: Institution Building and Political Development. Routledge. ISBN   9781134469659.
  8. "Elections history in Africa's oldest democratic republic: Liberia". euronews. 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  9. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  10. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  11. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  12. "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  13. 1 2 "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  14. "EIU Democracy Index 2016". infographics.economist.com. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  15. "Freedom in the World 2017". freedomhouse.org. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  16. "Somali Democratic Republic". www.onwar.com. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  17. Clapham, Christopher (1987-06-01). "The constitution of the people's democratic Republic of Ethiopia". Journal of Communist Studies. 3 (2): 192–195. doi:10.1080/13523278708414865. ISSN   0268-4535.
  18. "Berlin Wall - Cold War - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2017-12-03.