Is The. United States a Democracy?


Was Chating to an American about Politics & world Affairs ,
He explained the U S. Is a Republic not a Democracy,
So , I’m just a little Confused …
I thought the U S is a Democratic Republic ,
The Californian Flag , has the Words California Republic on it ,
Any help would be Appreciated to Clear this up,


Definitions can be a little obtuse sometimes. Some literalists will insist on representative republic. A “pure” democracy is one in which all things are voted on by the people, based on majority. In the US, we vote for candidates (assuming no fraud :rolleyes:) and then those candidates in turn do stuff in their senates or mayoral offices and whatnot without requiring a vote from the people every time. But the elections are “democratic,” so there is that aspect to the system.

I’m sure a greater political junkie than me can explain better. :o


I don’t think that the founders of the nation much trusted in direct democracy. Nationally, the only vote the people were to have for Federal offices was to vote for their congressional representative. They didn’t get to vote for their two senators. Originally, those were left to the state legislatures to choose. Of course, the people do get to vote for their state legislatures now, due to constitutional amendment allowing them to vote for the Senate as well as the House. But the original idea was to give the state legislatures input into the Senate selection process, not the people.

The people were to vote for local people whose judgement they trusted, precisely because the people as a whole were not considered competent to make every national decision on their own, (i.e., democracy) or even to force their own judgment on their elected representatives.


The United States is a Republic in which the representatives in Government, are elected and function in government through a democratic process.

A pure democracy would be where majority rules over individual rights.



Like others have said, we are a republic, not a democracy


A constitutional republic.



I lived in Switzerland for 10 years; it is a pure democracy. As Jim stated, the populace has to vote on everything. The Swiss Parliament can propose laws, etc., but the decision is always left up to the citizens. When I lived there, we were voting on things almost every weekend. We voted at the local town halls, called the Gemeinde.

In some ways, I liked it, in others, it was a pain in the behind, although people are not required to vote. I think the US is too big to be a pure democracy. When I lived in Switzerland, the population of the entire country was only about seven million.


That’s what I was taught in school.


Nope. We are a representative republic.



I was taught it was a Constitutional Republic! LOL Of course my teachers were French, so they may have gotten it wrong.


If you trace the concept back to its roots in Greece the polis of Athens for example allowed all important decisions by a vote of all citizens. This worked well when the entire population of the city state could be counted in the thousands. Not possible in the millions until now. With the technology available we could put voting booths supported by thumbprint passcodes in every home through the cable or an I phone apt. Then people could vote on every issue such as in Switzerland.

Ok, the very poor would be excluded, but given it takes millions to run for President in the Land of the Free, no one would miss them.
But, given the quality of decision making of the populace exampled say in the Presidential election process along with the inordinate lack of political education exposed in many media quizzes of college students, allowing such a vote, voluntary at best, would grind the political process to a stand-still, similar to last years impasse on the budget between the Congress and the Senate.

At present, with the popular vote sieved through electoral colleges; Primaries, registered Democrats and Republicans, democracy has been blurred beyond recognition.

A Republic just means you don’t have a Monarch. Although with Obama as President with his questionable executive orders, you may find you need a Magna Carta of your own to ensure the balance between the Executive the Congress and the Supreme Court is maintained.
No, Democracy is at best, tyranny of the mediocre. At worst, with a voluntary vote it quickly descends into oligarchy or in the case of modern America, a plutocracy; or if there is a Clinton win, a plutocratic dynasty. LOL





Direct Democracy as practiced in classical times sounds awesome until you consider that:

A) Governance was restricted from slaves, women, and males below a certain property level. So it was still a minority of the people who voted;

B) There was no check on the will of the majority (of eligible citizens). Sounds good until the majority came after you.

Case B was the misgiving our Founders had about democracy.





It’s technically both. Republics are representative by definition. The USA is constitutional because any laws that are passed need to (in theory at least) adhere to the Constitution. Your teachers have it right.

I promise that I am not following you around the boards ready to pounce with a civics lessons. :stuck_out_tongue:


The USA is no democracy. There is no parlamentarism and not even a prime minister. The constitution of the US is the same as Nazi Germany had (they copied it).


We’re a republic, a land where a Constitution is the law of the land.


“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”



Well by definition a democracy is “A government by the people for the people” and a system where you vote is by the people for the people

so technically yes

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