14 Definitions of Democracy

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Many have tried to define democracy, but there is no single definition that everybody agrees upon and that is exhaustive and definitive. Fourteen different definitions are presented here, all focusing on a different aspect of democracy. They are all correct, at least in part, but none of them can be said to contain the whole truth about democracy.

  • Democracy is a word from the ancient Greek. Demos means people, kratos means rule or governing. Democracy, then, means rule or governing by the people.
  • Democracy is a way of life based on respect for the individual.
  • Democracy is the equal right of each person to try to shape society in such a way that the greatest number of people achieve the greatest possible happiness.
  • Democracy is a political ideology, whose basic values are freedom, equality and tolerance.
  • Democracy is the right to live as you desire, with respect for others' right to live as they desire.
  • Democracy is conversation and debate executed with the greatest possible freedom by all members of society.
  • Democracy involves the principle that those who are affected by a decision should help to make it, directly or indirectly. This principle should apply everywhere: in private, at work, as well as in society in general.
  • Democracy is a form of governance that ensures the greatest equality and the greatest possible freedom for all.
  • Democracy is a form of government where all the people - directly or indirectly - take part in the crucial decisions on the allocation and distribution of value in society.
  • Democracy is a form of government where the State must establish and maintain a legal system based on human rights.
  • Democracy is a form of government where the government can be changed without revolution and/or bloodshed.
  • Democracy is a form of government, where the state implements and enforces decisions that are consistent with what the majority of people want.
  • A democracy is a state whose parliament and government are appointed through free general elections held every few years among candidates proposed by at least two different political parties.
  • A democracy is a state where everyone is obliged to defend human rights, partly by respecting them and partly by causing them to be respected by all other citizens and by all of the country's political institutions.

Next chapter: About Democracy's Institutions, Traditions and Laws