Features of Democracy

Features of Democracy

Features of Democracy
Sahil Dahal

There is no one definition of democracy. The phrase is pliable and may expand and contract according to its user's time, place, and circumstances. One of the famous democracy definitions is by Abraham Lincoln:

"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people." 

The reason the definition of democracy is different from person to person is because of the following reasons:

  • Who are ‘the people? Who is not?
  • How is it possible for ‘the people to rule in vastly differentiated societies?
  • How do we classify systems where leaders are not elected but instead supported by most people?

Democracy is known as the most acceptable form of government. The people of a country elect its government under a democracy. They have certain rights necessary for any individual to live freely and happily.

There are several democratic countries in the world. While other forms of government have failed, democracy stood firm. It has proved the history of governance, its importance, and its impact.

Types of democracies

Direct democracy

In this system, such as in ancient Athens, all citizens were asked to participate in all political decisions (only adult males who had finished their military training; women, enslaved persons, and plebs were not citizens)

This type of democracy no longer exists. Citizens are constantly active in exerting power under this kind of democracy, and decisions are made by majority rule.

Representative democracy:

In this system of representative democracy, representatives are chosen by the people and tasked with the government task. For example, Nepal is a representative democracy.

Constitutional democracy:

A constitution defines who and how the people shall be represented in a constitutional democracy. For example, Nepal is also a constitutional democracy.

Monitory democracy

Political scientist John Keane believes that a new type of democracy is emerging. Many public and private institutions, commissions, and regulatory mechanisms regularly scrutinize the government's exercise of power.


The brief history of democracy and the process it went through to achieve today's features are described below:


During classical antiquity, the term democracy originated in ancient Greek political and philosophical philosophy in the city-state of Athens

In 508-507 BC, Cleisthenes founded what is often regarded as the earliest example of a sort of democracy in Athens. Cleisthenes is called the "Father of Athenian Democracy."

Middle Ages:

  • The Italian republics, from the 12th century to the Renaissance
  • The power of kings was written in the Magna Carta (1215), which explicitly protected certain rights of the King's subject.
  • The noble democracy of Poland was marked by a rise in the activity of the middle nobility, which sought to enhance their share of power.
  • Since 1059, the pope has been elected by a papal conclave of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church.


  • The English Civil War (1642–1651) elected Parliament, during which the idea of a political party took form.
  • The first Parliament of the UK was founded in 1707, after the amalgamation of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland under the Acts of Union.
  • The 1828 presidential election in the United States was the first in which most states allowed non-property-holding white males to vote.
  • The Ottoman Empire changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1876.
  • The Great Depression sowed discontent, and most European countries, Latin America, and Asia resorted to strong-man rule or dictatorships.
  • India emerged as the world's largest democracy after the end of the world war and continues to be so.
  • Once part of the British Empire, countries often adopted the British Westminster system.
  • "The third wave of democracy purchased" Portugal, Spain, and numerous South American military dictatorships reverted to civilian control in the 1970s and 1980s. By the mid-to-late 1980s, East and South Asia countries had followed suit.
  • According to Freedom House, there were 123 electoral democracies in 2007. (up from 40 in 1972)
  • At the end of 2017, 96 of 167 nations with populations of at least 500,000 were democracies (57%).


Elected representative: 

Elected representatives are elected by the people in a country, city, or another geographical unit to represent them in a legislature or government. They make laws, interact with constituents, and participate in debates and interviews to explain and promote their positions.

Civil liberties:

Civil liberties are protections and freedoms that governments agree not to abridge without due process, whether through the constitution, statute, or judicial interpretation. Though the definition varies by country, civil rights may include freedom of expression, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government.

Independent judiciary:

Judicial independence is critical to the separation of powers concept. Judicial independence refers to the idea that the judiciary should be separate from the other arms of government. Courts should not be influenced improperly by other branches of government or private or party interests.

Organized opposition party:

The opposition consists of one or more political parties or other organized organizations that oppose the government (or, in American English, the administration), party, or group in the political power of a city, region, state, nation, or other political entity, primarily philosophically.

The rule of law:

The system, process, institution, practice, or standard maintains all people's equality before the law, provides a nonarbitrary form of government, and generally prevents arbitrary authority.

Citizens are responsible for participating in the political system:

Political rights, closely linked to citizenship status, relate to an individual's freedom to engage in the civil and political life of society and the state without fear of discrimination or persecution.

These rights include the right to vote in elections, the right to join a political party, the right to run for office, and the freedom to engage freely in political rallies, events, or demonstrations.

Tolerance, collaboration, and compromise are virtues that democratic societies uphold: 

Tolerance, collaboration, and compromise are core virtues in democratic countries. Mahatma Gandhi said."Intolerance is a form of violence and an impediment to establishing a real democratic spirit," 

It provides a method to resolve conflicts:

Various people have different perspectives and interests. However, there are free and fair elections. People cannot be permanent losers or winners in a democracy. Other groups can live with one another in harmony and peace.

Enhances the dignity of each individual:

Democracy is based on equality, where every citizen, irrespective of his/her caste or class, has the right to vote. People, whether educated or not, elect their representatives. This makes the people rulers themselves. This enhances the dignity of citizens.

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