Democracy (from the ancient Greek term "rule of the people") refers to a system of government in which all citizens have a say in the affairs of state. The usual manner of implementation is by casting votes.
Democratic rule has emerged in several instances, several Native American cultures were democratic in the way they operated as were several classical Mediterranean civilizations while democratic policies had been used on a small scale in certain situations (such as trade guilds electing leaders). In the case of Europe these traditions fell out of favor and were superseded by Feudalism in Europe during the Dark Ages but these traditions eventually re-emerged due to various power conflicts between nobility and monarchs, the rise of prominent non landowning merchant classes, a renewed interest in the classical world and the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. At first voting rights were limited to wealthy male property owners, then was gradually extended to non property owners and (thanks to the efforts of Feminists) Women.
Types of Democratic Government
- Direct Democracy: Direct Democracy involves having each citizen voting directly on certain issues. This form of democracy generally faces some logistical concerns that makes it nonviable for large scale political entities such as nations. Though many nations do employ referendums for certain issues.
- Representative Democracy: Representative Democracy involves the population voting for individuals to serve as leaders for fixed periods of time.
- Republic: A republic can a take a variety of forms but usually involve a Legislative body that serves as the main ruling body. It can have a Executive leader serving as overall director but the law makers do most of the decision-making of the government.