What Is Democracy? Definition, Meaning, Origin And Characteristics

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Democracy
2. Origin Of Democracy
3. Types Of Democracy
4. Main Characteristics Of Democracy

Meaning Of Democracy

Democracy is defined according “Abraham Lincoln” as the government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Democracy means a system of government that involves the majority of the adult in decision making and issues of governance in a state. It is the government of many who decide how the state can be controlled or governed.

Origin Of Government

Democracy started in Athens, Greece in 55BC era before then, the Greek have practiced plutocracy, aristocracy, feudalism and found all of them unaccepted.

Democracy was derived from two greek words of Demos and Kratia. Demo (Many), Kratia (Rule of government).

Types Of Democracy

1. Ancient Or Direct: This is the type of democracy that started in Athens Greece where every adult assembles in a square occasionally to make decisions and govern the states. In this democracy, the people were not represented by anybody but were directly participating in the government and this means, in direct democracy there is no election.

2. Modern Or Indirect Or Representative Democracy: This is the type of democracy that involves election and representation.

It is the type of democracy where the people choose their leaders who will govern them or represent them through the process of voting. Example Nigeria, U.S.A, South Africa etc.

Main Features Of Democracy

1. Majority or popular participation.

2. There is freedom and respect of human rights.

3. There is popular free and fair election which comes up periodically and regularly.

4. There must be party system and political parties.

5. There must be freedom of the press to inform the public.

Conditions Necessary For Democracy To Succeed In A State

1. The government must be a legitimate government that is established according to the law.

2. There must be opportunity for mass participation.

3. There must be respect for human right.

4. There must be independent judiciary made up of fearless and impartial.

5. There must be free and fair election in a state.

Factors That Can Hinder Democracy In A State

1. The Type Of Government: System like autocracy, monarch which do not allow mass participation can hinder democracy.

2. Party System: When a state adopts one party the citizens are denied the opportunity to choose a party of their choice and the opportunity to challenge the government.

3. Dependent And Partial Judiciary: When judges do not have the freedom to carryout their duties without fear of favour, this will hinder democracy because the judiciary can no longer protect the common man.

4. Dependent Press: This will deny the masses the opportunity to get informed about the events that take place in government.

5. Political Brutality: This involves the wicked application of force, power, suppression, injuries on innocent by political actors and their security agents.

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