Republic or Democracy?

Here we go again. A commentator online asserts “America is a Republic, not a Democracy”, and depending on a person’s political orientation the notion could be partially true, or totally false
The United States, like most modern nations, is neither a pure republic nor a pure democracy. Instead, it is a hybrid democratic republic. The main difference between a democracy and a republic is the extent and the means by which the people control the process of making and enforcing rules and laws under each form of government.


But in modern practice, it has more to do with HOW the representatives are chosen. In Russia, some countries in Africa and Latin America, or the DPRK, representatives are selected by the ruling Party which makes the laws and rules all citizens must follow. In a democracy ALL the eligible citizens select their representatives from a multi-party offering in a fair and just manner.


So America has been, at times, more oriented toward republicanism, like when women, non-property owners, and black people could not select their preferred representatives. Other times, like during the second and third FDR administrations or the Kennedy/Johnson years there was a strong movement in support of “The Commons”, meaning everyone.


The word ‘democracy’ has its origins in the Greek language. It combines two shorter words: ‘demos’ meaning whole citizen living within a particular city-state and ‘kratos’ meaning power or rule. On the contrary, “republic” is derived from the Latin expression res publica (“the public thing”), the category of “republic” could encompass not only democratic states but also oligarchies, aristocracies, and monarchies.


See the difference?

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