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The word democracy comes from the Greek words "demos", meaning people, and "kratos" meaning power; so democracy can be thought of as "power of the people": a way of governing which depends on the will of the people.
Of the People
By The People
For The People
A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.
Where was the first democratic government?
The concepts (and name) of democracy and constitution as a form of government originated in ancient Athens circa 508 BCE.
The first known democracy in the world was in Athens. Athenian democracy developed around the fifth century B.C.E. The Greek idea of democracy was different from present-day democracy because, in Athens, all adult citizens were required to take an active part in the government.
The ancient Greeks were the first to create a democracy. The word “democracy” comes from two Greek words that mean people (demos) and rule (kratos). Democracy is the idea that the citizens of a country should take an active role in the government of their country and manage it directly or through elected representatives. In addition, it supports the idea that the people can replace their government through peaceful transfers of power rather than violent uprising or revolution. Thus, a key part of democracy is that the people have a voice.
The idea of democracy derives its moral strength – and popular appeal – from two key principles:
1. Individual autonomy: The idea that no-one should be subject to rules which have been imposed by others. People should be able to control their own lives (within reason).
2. Equality: The idea that everyone should have the same opportunity to influence the decisions that affect people in society.
These principles are intuitively appealing, and they help to explain why democracy is so popular. Of course we feel it is fair that we should have as much chance as anyone else to decide on common rules!
The problems arise when we consider how the principles can be put into practice, because we need a mechanism for deciding how to address conflicting views. Because it offers a simple mechanism, democracy tends to be "rule of the majority"; but rule of the majority can mean that some people's interests are never represented. A more genuine way of representing everyone's interests is to use decision making by consensus, where the aim is to find common points of interest.
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