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A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

Do You Think You Live in a Democracy or a Republic?

In the free world, most people believe they live in a democracy. However unlikely this may seem, no one really lives in a true democracy. Most people (including citizens of the United States of America, Russia, India, several European countries, etc.) live in a republic.

You may be asking yourself what is the difference between a democracy and a republic? So let me define both of them.

First, a democracy is a form of government where the supreme power of voting is vested and exercised by the citizens of the government.

Second, a republic is a form of government that has a chief of state who is not a monarch. In modern times, this chief of state is usually called a president or prime minister.

Right about now, you may be thinking that you live in both a democracy and a republic, and you would be closer to the truth but still not quite right.

A real democracy gives their citizens the right to vote on every issue, initiative, and referendum. This does NOT include the voting for politicians who take real political power from the office that they attained through elections.

On the other hand, a republic is a form of government that allows their citizens to elect politicians into office, so that these representatives can make policy decisions on the citizenís behalf. Therefore, governments that have periodic and free elections of representatives, such as presidents, are republics instead of democracies.

As you can see, both forms of governments are different yet intertwined; because in both types of governments, citizens are free to vote for their beliefs. In democracies, citizens vote directly; while in republics, citizens vote indirectly. It has been historically proven that republics are much more stable than democracies, since republics have a single and strong head of state and are not easily swayed to current public opinion.

However in todayís modern usage of the words "democracy" and "republic", both words are used interchangeably where democracy also implies a republic and vice versa, even though this in technically incorrect. Therefore, the next time someone says that they live in a democracy, you will know that they really live in a republic.

by Phil for Humanity
on 02/25/2007

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