Democracy vs Republic: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. In a democracy, the people directly participate in making government decisions and voting on legislation. In a republic, citizens elect representatives to make decisions and pass laws on their behalf.
  2. Democracies are ruled by the majority, which means the majority of citizens have the power to make decisions. Republics guard against “tyranny of the majority” by limiting the power of the majority to protect minority rights.
  3. A true democracy is based on the principle of “one person, one vote” where all citizens have equal say. Republics use mechanisms like representative districts, separation of powers, and checks and balances to balance majority rule with minority rights.

What is Democracy?

Democracy is defined as the type of government in which the power is mainly in the hands of the people, and the majority makes the final decision. The primary emphasis of democratic government is to provide equal rights to all citizens, including freedom, the right to vote, education, speech, life, etc.

Looking at the examples of democracy, India is the best example of direct democracy in which citizens vote and elect their representatives.

What is Republic?

A republic is defined as a type of government similar to representative democracy. In this, the rights of minority groups are protected. In this form of government, representatives are elected and responsible for making decisions for the country’s citizens.

The head of the state is mainly the president, also chosen by the fair elections. The constitution of such a government always protects the rights of the individuals. Their primary aim is to give stability, defend the rights of citizens irrespective of majority or minor groups, and maintain the law.  

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Difference Between Democracy and Republic

  1. Democracy is defined as the type of government in which the power is mainly in the hands of the people, and the majority makes the final decision. On the other hand, the republic is defined as a type of government similar to representative democracy. In this, the rights of minority groups are protected.
  2. The philosophy behind democracy is that the community holds power and elects its representative to govern them. At the same time, the philosophy behind republic government is that the rulership of a single person is opposed.
  3. In a democratic government, having or not having a written constitution is unnecessary. At the same time, talking about the republic government, it must have a written constitution. 
  4. The role of citizens in a democratic government is that they are directly involved in the process of decision-making. In contrast, to this, the role of citizens in a republican government is that the citizens are not engaged in decision-making; instead, the elected representatives take decisions on their behalf.
  5. The different types of democracy are – direct democracy, presidential democracy, parliament democracy, and representative democracy. At the same time, the different types of republican democracy are – Constitutional Republic and Democratic Republic. 
  6. The early example of democracy is from 500 BCE in Greece, i.e., Athenian democracy. While on the other hand, the early example of republican is from 509 BCE, i.e., The Roman Republic.
  7. Some modern examples of democracy are – India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc. On the other hand, the modern example of a republican government is The United States of America. 
  8. The disadvantage of democracy is that the majority party exploits the rights of individuals of minority groups. On the contrary, the disadvantage of republican government is the constant deadlocks and debates.
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Comparison Between Democracy and Republic

Parameter of ComparisonDemocracyRepublic
DefinitionIt is the type of government in which the power is mainly in the hands of the people, and the final decision is made by the majorityIt is the type of government in which the power is mainly in the hands of the people, and the majority makes the final decision
PhilosophyIn this, the community holds power and elects their representative to govern themIn this, the rulership of a single person is opposed
Political SystemDemocraticRepublicans
ConstitutionIt may have or may not have a written constitutionit has a written constitution
Role of citizensCitizens are directly involved in the process of decision-makingCitizens are not engaged in decision-making; instead, the elected representatives take decisions on their behalf
TypesDirect democracy, presidential democracy, parliament democracy, representative democracyConstitutional Republic and Democratic Republic
Early ExamplesAthenian democracy (Greece)The Roman Republic
Modern ExamplesIndia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etcThe United States of America
DisadvantageSometimes majority exploits the right of the minorityDeadlocks and constant debates
Sovereignty held byWhole populationPeople
References
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/453126
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/009770040202800401

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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