Republic? Democracy?

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One point that Allen Kukovich brought up that got me thinking is when he referred to our country as a democracy. Is it? I have heard our country most often called a democracy, sometimes a republic, and least often a democratic republic. What is the difference? And which is our country?

  • A democracy is a government in which decisions are made by elected officials.
  • A republic is a government not controlled by a monarchy, but by the people it governs.
  • A democratic republic is "a system of government in which the people hold the majority of the power; this is done through elected officials chosen by people who are eligible."
So which are are?

According to a website titled History of Democracy, American democracy is in the form of a democratic republic. This made most sense to me. A republic gives more rights directly to the people. The United States is a democracy, with most of the decision making done by elected officials, in the form a democratic republic, in which ultimately the people, the citizens, are to hold the power.

Another site really helped to explain it fully. This site is meant for children, so it gave me a clear picture of what exactly our country is:

The Constitution establishes a federal democratic republic form of government. That is, we have an indivisible union of 50 sovereign States. It is a democracy because people govern themselves. It is representative because people choose elected officials by free and secret ballot. It is a republic because the Government derives its power from the people.
Ben's Guide to US Government: The Constitution of the United States of America

Overall, our country is really a combination of two (democracy and republic) that makes up the third (democratic republic). I think citizens need to realize that. Our constitution establishes a federal democratic republic for its citizens. The citizens must truly realize what that is to truly understand the way the government should work.

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