1 the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives
2 a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them [syn: republic, commonwealth] [ant: autocracy]
3 the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group [syn: majority rule]
EtymologyFrom democratie (French démocratie) < democratia < cs=polytonic < sc=polytonic < *|da-mo- < base *|da- + Ancient Greek sc=polytonic < *|kratus.
- Rule by the people, especially as a form of government; either directly,
as in Ancient Greece, or through elected representatives as in many
modern societies (representative
- 1866, J. Arthur Partridge, On Democracy, Trübner & Co.,
- And the essential value and power of Democracy consists in this,—that it combines, as far as possible, power and organization ; THE SPIRIT, MANHOOD, is at one with THE BODY, ORGANIZATION. [....] Democracy is Government by the People.
- 1901, The American Historical Review, American Historical
Association, page 260:
- The period, that is, which marks the transition from absolutism or aristocracy to democracy will mark also the transition from absolutist or autocratic methods of nomination to democratic methods.
- 1921, James Bryce Bryce, Modern Democracies, The Macmillan
Company, page 1:
- A century ago there was in the Old World only one tiny spot in which the working of democracy could be studied. A few of the ancient rural cantons of Switzerland had recovered their freedom after the fall of Napoleon, and were governing themselves as they had done from the earlier Middle Ages[...]. Nowhere else in Europe did the people rule.
- 1866, J. Arthur Partridge, On Democracy, Trübner & Co., page 2:
- countable government A government under the direct
or representative rule of the people of its jurisdiction.
- 2003, Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal
Democracy at Home and Abroad, W. W. Norton & Company, page 13:
- In 1900 not a single country had what we would today consider a democracy: a government created by elections in which every adult citizen could vote.
- 2003, Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, W. W. Norton & Company, page 13:
- Belief in political freedom and equality; the "spirit of democracy".
- 1918, Charles Horton Cooley, “A Primary Culture for Democracy”,
in Publications of the American Sociological Society 13,
- As states of the human spirit democracy, righteousness, and faith have much in common and may be cultivated by the same means...
- 1919, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, The Spirit of Russia: Studies in
History, Literature and Philosophy, Macmillan,
- It must further be admitted that he provided a successful interpretation of democracy in its philosophic aspects when he conceived democracy as a general outlook on the universe... In Bakunin's conception of democracy as religious in character we trace the influence of French socialism.
- 1996, Petre Roman, The Spirit of Democracy and the Fabric of
NATO - The New European Democracies and NATO Enlargement, p1
- The spirit of democracy means, above all, liberty of choice for human beings... democracy, in both its individual and collective forms, is the main engine of the eternal human striving for justice and prosperity.
- 1918, Charles Horton Cooley, “A Primary Culture for Democracy”, in Publications of the American Sociological Society 13, p8
rule by the people
government under the rule of its people
- Bosnian: demokratija
- Breton: demokratelezh
- Bulgarian: демокрация
- Catalan: democràcia ,
- Chinese: 民主 (mínzhǔ)
- Czech: demokracie
- Danish: demokrati
- Dutch: democratie
- Esperanto: demokratia ŝtatformo
- Estonian: demokraatia
- Finnish: demokratia
- French: démocratie
- German: Demokratie
- Greek: δημοκρατία (dimokratía)
- Hebrew: דמוקרטיה (demoqrat'ia)
- Hindi: [lokatantra]
- Icelandic: lýðræði
- Indonesian: demokrasi
- Irish: daonláthas
- Italian: democrazia
- Japanese: 民主主義
- Latin: democratia
- Latvian: demokrātija
- Lithuanian: demokratija
- Macedonian: Демократија
- Maltese: demokrazija ((f))
- Norwegian: demokrati
- Polish: demokracja
- Portuguese: democracia
- Romanian: democraţie
- Russian: демократия
- Scottish Gaelic: daonfhlaitheas , sluagh-fhlaitheas
- Spanish: democracia
- Swedish: demokrati
- Telugu: ప్రజాస్వామ్యం (prajaasvaamyaM)
- Ukrainian: демократія
Democracy is a system of government by which political sovereignty is retained by the people and either exercised directly by citizens or through their elected representatives. It is derived from the Greek δημοκρατία (), "popular government" which was coined from δήμος (dēmos), "people" and κράτος (kratos), "rule, strength" in the middle of the 5th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens.
In political theory, democracy describes a small number of related forms of government and also a political philosophy. Even though there is no universally accepted definition of 'democracy', there are two principles that any definition of democracy is required to have. The first principle is that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second that all members enjoy universally recognised freedoms and liberties.
There are several varieties of democracy, some of which provide better representation and more freedoms for their citizens than others. However, if any democracy is not carefully legislated to avoid an uneven distribution of political power with balances such as the separation of powers, then a branch of the system of rule is able to accumulate power in a way that is harmful to democracy itself. The "majority rule" is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without responsible government it is possible for the rights of a minority to be abused by the "tyranny of the majority". An essential process in representative democracies are competitive elections, that are fair both substantively and procedurally. Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential so that citizens are informed and able to vote in their personal interests.
Popular sovereignty is common but not a universal motivating philosophy for establishing a democracy. In some countries, democracy is based on the philosophical principle of equal rights. Many people use the term "democracy" as shorthand for liberal democracy, which may include additional elements such as political pluralism, equality before the law, the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances, due process, civil liberties, human rights, and elements of civil society outside the government. In the United States, separation of powers is often cited as a supporting attribute, but in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the dominant philosophy is parliamentary sovereignty (though in practice judicial independence is generally maintained). In other cases, "democracy" is used to mean direct democracy. Though the term "democracy" is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to private organizations and other groups.
Democracy has its origins in Ancient Greece. However other cultures have significant contributed to the evolution of democracy such as Ancient Rome Democracy has been called the "last form of government" and has spread considerably across the globe. Suffrage has been expanded in many jurisdictions over time from relatively narrow groups (such as wealthy men of a particular ethnic group), but still remains a controversial issue with regard disputed territories, areas with significant immigration, and countries that exclude certain demographic groups.
Forms of democracy
RepresentativeRepresentative democracy involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented. The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes.
Representatives may be elected or become diplomatic representatives by a particular district (or constituency), or represent the entire electorate proportionally proportional systems, with some using a combination of the two. Some representative democracies also incorporate elements of direct democracy, such as referendums. A characteristic of representative democracy is that while the representatives are elected by the people to act in their interest, they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so.
Parliamentary democracyParliamentary democracy where government is appointed by parliamentary representatives as opposed to a 'presidential rule' by decree dictatorship. Under a parliamentary democracy government is exercised by delegation to an executive ministry and subject to ongoing review, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people.
Liberal democracyA Liberal democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities (see civil liberties).
Direct DemocracyDirect democracy is a political system where the citizens participate in the decision-making personally, contrary to relying on intermediaries or representatives. The supporters of direct democracy argue that democracy is more than merely a procedural issue (i.e., voting). Most direct democracies to date have been weak forms, relatively small communities, usually city-states. However, some see the extensive use of referendums, as in California, as akin to direct democracy in a very large polity with more than 20 million in California, 1898-1998 (2000) (ISBN 0-8047-3821-1). In Switzerland, five million voters decide on national referendums and initiatives two to four times a year; direct democratic instruments are also well established at the cantonal and communal level. Vermont towns have been known for their yearly town meetings, held every March to decide on local issues.
Socialist DemocracySocialist thought has several different views on democracy. Social democracy, democratic socialism, and the dictatorship of the proletariat (usually exercised through Soviet democracy) are some examples. Many democratic socialists and social democrats believe in a form of participatory democracy and workplace democracy combined with a representative democracy.
Within Marxist orthodoxy there is a hostility to what is commonly called "liberal democracy", which they simply refer to as parliamentary democracy because of its often centralized nature. Because of their desire to eliminate the political elitism they see in capitalism, Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyists believe in direct democracy implemented though a system of communes (which are sometimes called soviets). This system ultimately manifests itself as council democracy and begins with workplace democracy. (See Democracy in Marxism)
Anarchist DemocracyThe only form of democracy considered acceptable to many anarchists is direct democracy. Some anarchists oppose direct democracy while others favour it. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon argued that the only acceptable form of direct democracy is one in which it is recognized that majority decisions are not binding on the minority, even when unanimous. However, anarcho-communist Murray Bookchin criticized individualist anarchists for opposing democracy, and says "majority rule" is consistent with anarchism. Some anarcho-communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and opt in favour of a non-majoritarian form of consensus democracy, similar to Proudhon's position on direct democracy.
Iroquois DemocracyIroquois society had a form of participatory democracy and representative democracy. Iroquois government and law was discussed by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Because of this, some scholars regard it to have influenced the formation of American representative democracy. However scholars who reject multiculturalism disagree that the influence existed or was of any great importance.
SortitionSometimes called "democracy without elections", sortition is the process of choosing decision makers via a random process. The intention is that those chosen will be representative of the opinions and interests of the people at large, and be more fair and impartial than an elected official. The technique was in widespread use in Athenian Democracy and is still used in modern jury selection. It is not universally agreed that sortition should be considered "democracy" due to the lack of actual elections.
Consensus democracyConsensus democracy requires varying degrees of consensus rather than just a mere democratic majority. It typically attempts to protect minority rights from domination by majority rule.
Interactive DemocracyInteractive Democracy seeks to utilise information technology to involve voters in law making. It provides a system for proposing new laws, prioritising proposals, clarifying them through parliament and validating them through referendum.
Ancient originsThe term democracy first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought. The philosopher Plato contrasted democracy, the system of "rule by the governed", with the alternative systems of monarchy (rule by one individual), oligarchy (rule by a small élite class) and timocracy. Although Athenian democracy is today considered by many to have been a form of direct democracy, originally it had two distinguishing features: firstly the allotment (selection by lot) of ordinary citizens to government offices and courts, and secondarily the assembly of all the citizens. All the male Athenian citizens were eligible to speak and vote in the Assembly, which set the laws of the city-state, but neither political rights, nor citizenship, were granted to women, slaves, or metics. Of the 250,000 inhabitants only some 30,000 on average were citizens. Of those 30,000 perhaps 5,000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular Assembly. Most of the officers and magistrates of Athenian government were allotted; only the generals (strategoi) and a few other officers were elected.
Middle AgesDuring the Middle Ages, there were various systems involving elections or assemblies, although often only involving a minority of the population, such as the election of Gopala in Bengal, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Althing in Iceland, certain medieval Italian city-states such as Venice, the tuatha system in early medieval Ireland, the Veche in Novgorod and Pskov Republics of medieval Russia, Scandinavian Things, The States in Tyrol and Switzerland and the autonomous merchant city of Sakai in the 16th century in Japan. However, participation was often restricted to a minority, and so may be better classified as oligarchy. Most regions during the middle-ages were ruled by clergy or feudal lords.
The Parliament of England had its roots in the restrictions on the power of kings written into Magna Carta. The first elected parliament was De Montfort's Parliament in England in 1265. However only a small minority actually had a voice; Parliament was elected by only a few percent of the population (less than 3% in 1780.), and the system had problematic features such as rotten boroughs. The power to call parliament was at the pleasure of the monarch (usually when he or she needed funds). After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and increased the influence of the Parliament.
Democracy was also seen to a certain extent in bands and tribes such as the Iroquois Confederacy. However, in the Iroquois Confederacy only the males of certain clans could be leaders and some clans were excluded. Only the oldest females from the same clans could choose and remove the leaders. This excluded most of the population. An interesting detail is that there should be consensus among the leaders, not majority support decided by voting, when making decisions. Band societies, such as the Bushmen, which usually number 20-50 people in the band often do not have leaders and make decisions based on consensus among the majority. In Melanesia, farming village communities have traditionally been egalitarian and lacking in a rigid, authoritarian hierarchy. Although a "Big man" or "Big woman" could gain influence, that influence was conditional on a continued demonstration of leadership skills, and on the willingness of the community. Every person was expected to share in communal duties, and entitled to participate in communal decisions. However, strong social pressure encouraged conformity and discouraged individualism.
18th and 19th centuriesAlthough not described as a democracy by the founding fathers, the United States has been described as the first liberal democracy on the basis that its founders shared a commitment to the principle of natural freedom and equality. The United States Constitution, adopted in 1788, provided for an elected government and protected civil rights and liberties. However, in the colonial period before 1776, only adult white male property owners could vote; enslaved Africans, free black people and women were not extended the franchise. On the American frontier, democracy became a way of life, with widespread social, economic and political equality. However the frontier did not produce much democracy in Canada, Australia or Russia. By the 1840s almost all property restrictions were ended and nearly all white adult male citizens could vote; and turnout averaged 60-80% in frequent elections for local, state and national officials. The system gradually evolved, from Jeffersonian Democracy to Jacksonian Democracy and beyond. In Reconstruction after the Civil War (late 1860s) the newly freed slaves became citizens with (in the case of men) the right to vote.
In 1789, Revolutionary France adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and, although short-lived, the National Convention was elected by all males.
Liberal democracies were few and often short-lived before the late nineteenth century. Various nations and territories have claimed to be the first with universal suffrage.
20th century20th century transitions to liberal democracy have come in successive "waves of democracy," variously resulting from wars, revolutions, decolonization, and economic circumstances. World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires resulted in the creation of new nation-states in Europe, most of them at least nominally democratic. In the 1920s democracy flourished, but the Great Depression brought disenchantment, and most of the countries of Europe, Latin America, and Asia turned to strong-man rule or dictatorships. Fascism and dictatorships flourished in Nazi Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as nondemocratic regimes in the Baltics, the Balkans, Brazil, Cuba, China, and Japan, among others.
World War II brought a definitive reversal of this trend in western Europe. The successful democratization of the American, British, and French sectors of occupied Germany (disputed http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?issueID=47&articleID=599), Austria, Italy, and the occupied Japan served as a model for the later theory of regime change. However, most of Eastern Europe, including the Soviet sector of Germany was forced into the non-democratic Soviet bloc. The war was followed by decolonization, and again most of the new independent states had nominally democratic constitutions. India, however emerged as the world's largest democracy and continues to be so. In the decades following World War II, most western democratic nations had mixed economies and developed a welfare state, reflecting a general consensus among their electorates and political parties. In the 1950s and 1960s, economic growth was high in both the western and Communist countries; it later declined in the state-controlled economies. By 1960, the vast majority of nation-states were nominally democracies, although the majority of the world's populations lived in nations that experienced sham elections, and other forms of subterfuge (particularly in Communist nations and the former colonies.)
A subsequent wave of democratization brought substantial gains toward true liberal democracy for many nations. Spain, Portugal (1974), and several of the military dictatorships in South America returned to civilian rule in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Argentina in 1983, Bolivia, Uruguay in 1984, Brazil in 1985, and Chile in the early 1990s). This was followed by nations in East and South Asia by the mid- to late 1980s. Economic malaise in the 1980s, along with resentment of communist oppression, contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the associated end of the Cold War, and the democratization and liberalization of the former Eastern bloc countries. The most successful of the new democracies were those geographically and culturally closest to western Europe, and they are now members or candidate members of the European Union . The liberal trend spread to some nations in Africa in the 1990s, most prominently in South Africa. Some recent examples of attempts of liberalization include the Indonesian Revolution of 1998, the Bulldozer Revolution in Yugoslavia, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
Currently, there are 123 countries that are democratic, and the trend is increasing (up from 40 in 1972). As such, it has been speculated that this trend may continue in the future to the point where liberal democratic nation-states become the universal standard form of human society. This prediction forms the core of Francis Fukayama's "End of History" controversial theory. These theories are criticized by those who fear an evolution of liberal democracies to Post-democracy, and other who points out the high number of illiberal democracies.
AristotleAristotle contrasted rule by the many (democracy/polity), with rule by the few (oligarchy/aristocracy), and with rule by a single person (tyranny/monarchy or today autocracy). He also thought that there was a good and a bad variant of each system (he considered democracy to be the degenerate counterpart to polity).
For Aristotle the underlying principle of democracy is freedom, since only in a democracy the citizens can have a share in freedom. In essence, he argues that this is what every democracy should make its aim. There are two main aspects of freedom: being ruled and ruling in turn, since everyone is equal according to number, not merit, and to be able to live as one pleases.
ConceptionsAmong political theorists, there are many contending conceptions of democracy.
- Aggregative democracy uses democratic processes to solicit citizens’ preferences and then aggregate them together to determine what social policies society should adopt. Therefore, proponents of this view hold that democratic participation should primarily focus on voting, where the policy with the most votes gets implemented. There are different variants of this:
- Under minimalism, democracy is a system of government in which citizens give teams of political leaders the right to rule in periodic elections. According to this minimalist conception, citizens cannot and should not “rule” because, for example, on most issues, most of the time, they have no clear views or their views are not well-founded. Joseph Schumpeter articulated this view most famously in his book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. Contemporary proponents of minimalism include William H. Riker, Adam Przeworski, Richard Posner.
- Direct democracy, on the other hand, holds that citizens should participate directly, not through their representatives, in making laws and policies. Proponents of direct democracy offer varied reasons to support this view. Political activity can be valuable in itself, it socializes and educates citizens, and popular participation can check powerful elites. Most importantly, citizens do not really rule themselves unless they directly decide laws and policies.
- Governments will tend to produce laws and policies that are close to the views of the median voter — with half to his left and the other half to his right. This is not actually a desirable outcome as it represents the action of self-interested and somewhat unaccountable political elites competing for votes. Downs suggests that ideological political parties are necessary to act as a mediating broker between individual and governments.Anthony Downs laid out this view in his 1957 book An Economic Theory of Democracy.
- Robert A. Dahl argues that the fundamental democratic principle is that, when it comes to binding collective decisions, each person in a political community is entitled to have his/her interests be given equal consideration (not necessarily that all people are equally satisfied by the collective decision). He uses the term polyarchy to refer to societies in which there exists a certain set of institutions and procedures which are perceived as leading to such democracy. First and foremost among these institutions is the regular occurrence of free and open elections which are used to select representatives who then manage all or most of the public policy of the society. However, these polyarchic procedures may not create a full democracy if, for example, poverty prevents political participation. Some see a problem with the wealthy having more influence and therefore argue for reforms like campaign finance reform. Some may see it as a problem that the majority of the voters decide policy, as opposed to majority rule of the entire population. This can be used as an argument for making political participation mandatory, like compulsory voting or for making it more patient (non-compulsory) by simply refusing power to the government until the full majority feels inclined to speak their minds.
- Deliberative democracy is based on the notion that democracy is government by discussion. Deliberative democrats contend that laws and policies should be based upon reasons that all citizens can accept. The political arena should be one in which leaders and citizens make arguments, listen, and change their minds.
- Radical democracy is based on the idea that there are hierarchical and oppressive power relations that exist in society. Democracy's role is to make visible and challenge those relations by allowing for difference, dissent and antagonisms in decision making processes.
Democracy and republic
Constitutional monarchs and upper chambersInitially after the American and French revolutions the question was open whether a democracy, in order to restrain unchecked majority rule, should have an elitist upper chamber, the members perhaps appointed meritorious experts or having lifetime tenures, or should have a constitutional monarch with limited but real powers. Some countries (as Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries and Japan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional monarchs with limited or, often gradually, merely symbolic roles. Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system (as in the U.S., France, China, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Egypt). Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures which often had lifetime tenure, but eventually these senates lost power (as in Britain) or else became elective and remained powerful (as in the United States).
Supranational democracyQualified majority voting (QMV) is designed by the Treaty of Rome to be the principal method of reaching decisions in the European Council of Ministers. This system allocates votes to member states in part according to their population, but heavily weighted in favour of the smaller states. This might be seen as a form of representative democracy, but representatives to the Council might be appointed rather than directly elected. Some might consider the "individuals" being democratically represented to be states rather than people, as with many other international organizations.
European Parliament members are democratically directly elected on the basis of universal suffrage, may be seen as an example of a supranational democratic institution.
Non-government democracyAside from the public sphere, similar democratic principles and mechanisms of voting and representation have been used to govern other kinds of communities and organizations.
- Democracy is a system ensuring that the people are governed no better than they deserve.
- The strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter.
- -Sir Winston Churchill
- Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried.
- -Sir Winston Churchill
- In the case of a word like DEMOCRACY, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.
- The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.
- List of types of democracy
- Community of Democracies
- Democracy Index
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Direct democracy
- Foucault/Habermas debate
- Freedom deficit
- Freedom House, Freedom in the World report
- Liberal democracy
- Majority rule
- Media democracy
- Appleby, Joyce, Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination (1992)
- Becker, Peter, Juergen Heideking and James A. Henretta, eds. Republicanism and Liberalism in America and the German States, 1750-1850. Cambridge University Press. 2002.
- Benhabib, Seyla, ed., Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political (Princeton University Press, 1996)
- Charles Blattberg, From Pluralist to Patriotic Politics: Putting Practice First, Oxford University Press, 2000, ch. 5. ISBN 0-19-829688-6
- Birch, Anthony H., The Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy, (London: Routledge, 1993)
- Copp, David, Jean Hampton, and John E. Roemer, eds. The Idea of Democracy Cambridge University Press (1993)
- Caputo, Nicholas America's Bible of Democracy, SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc. (ISBN 1-58501-092-8)
- Dahl, Robert A. Democracy and its Critics, Yale University Press (1989)
- Dahl, Robert A. On Democracy Yale University Press (2000)
- Dahl, Robert A. Ian Shapiro, and Jose Antonio Cheibub, eds, The Democracy Sourcebook MIT Press (2003)
- Dahl, Robert A. A Preface to Democratic Theory, University of Chicago Press (1956)
- Davenport, Christian. State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace Cambridge University Press (2007) ISBN 9780521864909
- Diamond, Larry and Marc Plattner, The Global Resurgence of Democracy, 2nd edition Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996
- Diamond, Larry and Richard Gunther, eds. Political Parties and Democracy (2001)
- Diamond, Larry and Leonardo Morlino, eds. Assessing the Quality of Democracy (2005)
- Diamond, Larry, Marc F. Plattner, and Philip J. Costopoulos, eds. World Religions and Democracy (2005)
- Diamond, Larry, Marc F. Plattner, and Daniel Brumberg, eds. Islam and Democracy in the Middle East (2003)
- Elster, Jon (ed.). Deliberative Democracy Cambridge University Press (1997)
- Fotopoulos, Takis, "Liberal and Socialist “Democracies” versus Inclusive Democracy", The International Journal Of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.2 No.2 (January 2006)
- Fotopoulos, Takis, "Direct and Economic Democracy in Ancient Athens and its Significance Today", Democracy & Nature, Vol.1 No.1 (Issue 1), 1992
- Gabardi, Wayne. "Contemporary Models of Democracy," Polity 33#4 (2001) pp 547+.
- Griswold, Daniel, Trade, Democracy and Peace: The Virtuous Cycle
- Hansen, Mogens Herman, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991)
- Held, David. Models of Democracy Stanford University Press, (1996), reviews the major interpretations
- Inglehart, Ronald. Modernization and Postmodernization. Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies Princeton University Press. 1997.
- Khan, L. Ali, A Theory of Universal Democracy. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers(2003)
- Hans Köchler ed., The Crisis of Representative Democracy, (Frankfurt a. M./Bern/New York: Peter Lang, 1987) (ISBN 3-8204-8843-X)
- Lijphart, Arend. Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries Yale University Press (1999)
- Lipset, Seymour Martin. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy”, American Political Science Review, (1959) 53 (1): 69-105. online at JSTOR
- Macpherson, C. B. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy. Oxford University Press (1977)
- Morgan, Edmund. Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America (1989)
- Plattner, Marc F. and Aleksander Smolar, eds. Globalization, Power, and Democracy (2000)
- Plattner, Marc F. and João Carlos Espada, eds. The Democratic Invention (2000)
- Putnam, Robert. Making Democracy Work Princeton University Press. (1993)
- Raaflaub, Kurt A.; Ober, Josiah; Wallace, Robert W. Origins of democracy in ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007 (hardcover, ISBN 0520245628).
- Riker, William H., The Theory of Political Coalitions (1962)
- Sen, Amartya K. “Democracy as a Universal Value”, Journal of Democracy'' (1999) 10 (3): 3-17.
- Tannsjo, Torbjorn. Global Democracy: The Case for a World Government (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), argues that not only is world government necessary if we want to deal successfully with global problems it is also, pace Kant and Rawls, desirable in its own right.
- Weingast, Barry. “The Political Foundations of the Rule of Law and Democracy”, American Political Science Review, (1997) 91 (2): 245-263. online at JSTOR
- Whitehead, Laurence ed. Emerging Market Democracies: East Asia and Latin America (2002)
- Wood, E.M., Democracy Against Capitalism, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
- Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1993), examines democratic dimensions of republicanism
- Democracy at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Democracy
- The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy
- Democracy Watch (International) — Worldwide democracy monitoring organization.*Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Democracy, The God That Failed, (Rutgers, NJ: 2001). Discussion by the author
- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality
- J.K. Baltzersen, Churchill on Democracy Revisited, (24 January 2005)
democracy in Afrikaans: Demokrasie
democracy in Arabic: ديمقراطية
democracy in Aragonese: Democrazia
democracy in Asturian: Democracia
democracy in Azerbaijani: Demokratiya
democracy in Bengali: গণতন্ত্র
democracy in Min Nan: Bîn-chú
democracy in Bosnian: Demokratija
democracy in Breton: Demokratelezh
democracy in Bulgarian: Демокрация
democracy in Catalan: Democràcia
democracy in Cebuano: Demokrasya
democracy in Czech: Demokracie
democracy in Welsh: Democratiaeth
democracy in Danish: Demokrati
democracy in German: Demokratie
democracy in Estonian: Demokraatia
democracy in Modern Greek (1453-): Δημοκρατία
democracy in Spanish: Democracia
democracy in Esperanto: Demokratio
democracy in Basque: Demokrazia
democracy in Persian: مردمسالاری
democracy in French: Démocratie
democracy in Irish: Daonlathas
democracy in Scottish Gaelic: Deamocrasaidh
democracy in Galician: Democracia
democracy in Kikuyu: Ndemookirathĩ
democracy in Korean: 민주주의
democracy in Hindi: लोकतंत्र
democracy in Croatian: Demokracija
democracy in Ido: Demokratio
democracy in Indonesian: Demokrasi
democracy in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Democratia
democracy in Icelandic: Lýðræði
democracy in Italian: Democrazia
democracy in Hebrew: דמוקרטיה
democracy in Georgian: დემოკრატია
democracy in Kongo: Dimokalasi
democracy in Haitian: Demokrasi
democracy in Kurdish: Demokrasî
democracy in Lao: ລະບອບປະຊາທິປະໄຕ
democracy in Latin: Democratia
democracy in Latvian: Demokrātija
democracy in Lithuanian: Demokratija
democracy in Lingala: Demokrasi
democracy in Hungarian: Demokrácia
democracy in Macedonian: Демократија
democracy in Malayalam: ജനാധിപത്യം
democracy in Marathi: लोकशाही
democracy in Malay (macrolanguage): Demokrasi
democracy in Mongolian: Ардчилал
democracy in Dutch: Democratie
democracy in Newari: मक्कळाट्चि (तमिल संकिपा)
democracy in Japanese: 民主主義
democracy in Norwegian: Demokrati
democracy in Norwegian Nynorsk: Folkestyre
democracy in Low German: Demokratie
democracy in Polish: Demokracja
democracy in Portuguese: Democracia
democracy in Romanian: Democraţie
democracy in Quechua: Akllanakuspa kamachinakuy
democracy in Russian: Демократия
democracy in Albanian: Demokracia
democracy in Sicilian: Dimucrazzìa
democracy in Simple English: Democracy
democracy in Slovak: Demokracia
democracy in Slovenian: Demokracija
democracy in Somali: Dimoqraadi
democracy in Serbian: Демократија
democracy in Serbo-Croatian: Demokracija
democracy in Finnish: Demokratia
democracy in Swedish: Demokrati
democracy in Tagalog: Demokrasya
democracy in Tamil: மக்களாட்சி
democracy in Telugu: ప్రజాస్వామ్యం
democracy in Thai: ประชาธิปไตย
democracy in Vietnamese: Dân chủ
democracy in Tajik: Демократия
democracy in Turkish: Demokrasi
democracy in Ukrainian: Демократія
democracy in Urdu: جمہوریت
democracy in Venetian: Democrazsia
democracy in Yiddish: דעמאקראטיע
democracy in Contenese: 民主
democracy in Zamboanga Chavacano: Democracia
democracy in Chinese: 民主
absolute monarchy, aristocracy, autarchy, autocracy, autonomy, coalition government, collective farm, collectivism, collectivity, collegiality, colonialism, common ownership, commonwealth, communal effort, communion, communism, community, constitutional government, constitutional monarchy, cooperation, cooperative society, dictatorship, dominion rule, duarchy, duumvirate, dyarchy, federal government, federation, feudal system, garrison state, gerontocracy, heteronomy, hierarchy, hierocracy, home rule, kibbutz, kolkhoz, limited monarchy, martial law, meritocracy, militarism, military government, mob rule, mobocracy, monarchy, neocolonialism, ochlocracy, oligarchy, pantisocracy, patriarchate, patriarchy, police state, profit sharing, public ownership, pure democracy, regency, representative democracy, representative government, republic, self-determination, self-government, sharecropping, social democracy, socialism, state ownership, stratocracy, technocracy, thearchy, theocracy, totalitarian government, totalitarian regime, town meeting, triarchy, triumvirate, tyranny, welfare state