To govern a country, a system is required that allows the smooth functioning of the state. Two of the most prominent systems are democracy and republic. While years of practice under different governing styles, the world has recognized these two to be the most feasible and fair means of governance.
In both of these systems, the participation of the citizens is empowered to represent the political system. These governing systems allow people to elect officials to represent their political interests and opinions. This way, the government functions according to the will of the commoners.
In a pure democracy, laws are made according to majority opinion suppressing the minority vote. While in a republic, the laws are made by elected representatives that must be in accordance with the constitution. Here the rights of the minority are guarded by a constitution.
Democracy vs Republic
The difference between Democracy and Republic is their system structures. In a democracy, laws are made by people. Conversely, in the republic, representatives are selected to make decisions. The general public is the priority of democracy. Whereas the republic mostly concentrates on the constitution of the place.
Comparison Table Between Democracy and Republic (in Tabular Form)
|Parameters of Comparison||Democracy||Republic|
|Definition||It is stated to be the rule of the majority. In this system, minorities have no protection against the power held by the majority.||A republic is in a way comparable to a representative democracy. Here a set of rules called the constitution ensures equal power distribution among the minorities and the majority.|
|Ruled by||The majority of the population.||The laws made by the elected representatives.|
|Economic System||Democracy is a free-market economy, allows policies that govern economies to be chosen by the voters or the representatives.||Republics are almost free-market economies that allow policies governing economies to be chosen by the voters or the representatives.|
|Discrimination||All the citizens are treated equally as they have an equal say. But somehow, the majority seems to suppress the minority.||All the citizens are treated equally by the government as they have an equal say.|
|Sovereignty is held by||The complete population as a whole.||Individual citizens.|
|Disadvantage||Majority overpowers the minority||There are deadlocks and constant debates faced in the functioning.|
What is Democracy?
Democracy originates from the combination of two Greek words “demos” and “kratia.” Here, “demos” means “the people” and “kratia” means the “power of authority.”
In a democracy, the ruling power of the government rests with the country’s people instead of the ruling family or an individual.
A democracy allows the citizens to exercise control on how the government functions by majority votes.
The eligible part of the population is allowed equal participation directly or through elected representatives.
This system basically allows people to choose their government, create laws, and operate according to the majority opinion.
The concept of democracy originated back in 500 BCE in Athens, Greece.
It was stated to be a true democracy or “mobocracy,” which stressed on public participation in every decision making. The majority had total control over the rights, rules, and freedoms.
There are three major types of democracy known:
Direct democracy is also called a pure form of democracy. Here each qualified citizen has the power to shape the governing structure with a vote.
This system allows each person irrespective of his class, race, or economic position to have a voice.
Representative democracy is an indirect form of democracy. In this system, the citizens are made to elect their representatives who vote on their behalf.
The grouping can be made of the basis of the neighborhood, the city, province, or the country.
Constitutional democracy differs from the rest two by the by they limit the power of the majority.
Here the government systems help regulate the power distribution by making a set of governing rules or constitutions.
What is Republic?
The term “republic” originates from the Greek word “politeia,” which means the “rights of the citizens.”
This governing system makes sure that the governing power rests with the individual citizens of the nation. There is a fair distribution of power between the majority and the minorities.
To implement this, the republics allow the citizens to elect officials who can represent them in the government.
These elected officials voice the vote and opinion of their group. It is a representational form of government, similar to a representational democracy.
Democratic republic and constitutional republic are two variations of a republic.
The Roman Republic, which existed between 500 BCE and 27 BCE, is one of the most famous republics of ancient times.
During that period, Rome switched from a monarchy to a constitutional government.
This is where they adopted into a republican government where the legislative assemblies elected consuls to power.
A republican government thus ensures that the law-making and decision making is done indirectly via representatives.
The power is so distributed that the majority cannot overpower the minorities in terms of rules and rights.
The elected head of the state can be a monarch like that of Canada and the United Kingdom or an elected president like that of Germany or France.
Main Differences Between Democracy and Republic
- Democracy establishes a rule of the majority whereas a republic assures the Individual rights of the people of the state,
- In a democracy, the majority overpowers and suppresses the minority. However, In a Republic, the rights of the minority are protected by a set constitution.
- The participation of the citizens in a democracy is ensured by individual participation or through elected officials. While in a republic, the elected representatives only participate in the decision making by voicing their individual groups.
- In a democracy, minorities are prone to face abuse by majorities. While in a republic, there are constant debates and deadlocks in the operations.
Democracy and Republics both enforce the participation of the citizens in the law-making and running of the government.
The way the power distribution is made between the majority and minorities is the main difference between both.
In the wider scenario today, most governments are democratic-republics today, including the United States. Here, the government is run by the elected head of the state either directly or indirectly.
The head has the power to make amendments to the constitution according to the majority opinion.