What is the definition of democracy

Definition of democracy


'Democracy'
in the ancient
The 'democracy' in Athens and Rome can only be compared to a very limited extent with a modern democracy. Athens and Rome were class societies with unlawful slaves and unequal rights for the rest of the citizens.
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State theories
the enlightenment
The root the modern democracy lie in the State theories the philosophy of enlightenment in the 17th - 18th centuries.
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What is democracy

The term democracy comes from the Greek language and means "Rule of the (common) people". The ancient" democracies "in Athens and Rome are forerunners of today's democracies and, like them, emerged as a reaction to excessive power and abuse of power by the rulers. However, it was not until the Enlightenment (17th / 18th centuries) that philosophers formulated the essential elements a modern democracy: separation of powers, basic rights / human rights, religious freedom and separation of church and state.


Democracy - classic demarcation

One borders the democracy [= Rule of the people] often against the following other forms of rule already known to the ancient Greeks:
monarchyHereditary rule of an individual, i.e. a king, emperor or prince
aristocracyRule of a group of nobles (offices are not inherited directly as in the monarchy, but only members of a few noble families can be elected)
oligarchyRule of a few. In contrast to the aristocracy, parentage does not play an essential role. Since the collapse of communism in 1987, the originally ancient Greek term has experienced a slight shift in meaning. In Russia, wealthy entrepreneurs who do not hold political offices but pull the strings behind the scenes are referred to as oligarchs.
theocracy"Rule of God" (in reality it is the rule of religious leaders
dictatorshipRule of people who have seized power by force and who remain in power by force (often: military dictatorship)

Most of the world today are democratically constituted states Republics, i.e. they do not know any hereditary offices. However, some countries in Europe, especially in Northern Europe (Great Britain, BENELUX countries, Scandinavia) have as constitutional monarchies the monarchy or principality retained, but their constitution nevertheless guarantees all basic democratic rights and significantly restricts the monarch's duties and powers. Such a queen can do more than Guarantor because be seen as a danger to a stable democracy. For this reason, the conventional demarcation of democracy, at least in relation to the monarchy, is of little help.


Democracy - modern demarcation

Because the definition of the term democracy in contrast to monarchy regarding today's constitutional monarchies causes more confusion than clarity, there are newer approaches democracy in distinction from authoritarian and totalitarian regime define.

democracyForm of government with a constitution that guarantees general personal and political rights, with fair elections and independent courts
Totalitarian regimeRule of a small group of rulers on the basis of an ideology that claims general validity for all areas of life and usually takes on the traits of a substitute religion. The regime does not tolerate any deviation from its state ideology, not even in thought. Opponents of the regime are silenced through torture, concentration camps and genocide.
Examples from history: National Socialism, Stalinism
Authoritarian regimeRule of a small group of rulers. In contrast to the totalitarian state, authoritarian regimes do not have a distinctive state ideology and tolerate certain freedoms (e.g. economic and cultural) as long as their rule is not jeopardized. The most important goal of authoritarian regimes is to maintain their own power and personal enrichment at the expense of the state or its people.
God stateRule of a small group of rulers who declare a certain interpretation of a religious tradition to be generally binding. Usually very strict moral concepts are at the center.
Example: Islamic state of God in Iran.