Government

Democracy - Characteristics of Democracy

len Alfred Ajibola - Thu, 22nd August, 2019 @ 11:38: AM

Topics in Government

Democracy and Types of Democracy Democracy - Characteristics of Democracy Government - Types and Forms of Government Characteristics, Functions and Importance of Government Definitions, Branches, Scope and Divisions of Government Organs, Arms or Branches of Government and their Functions Meaning, Types, Qualities and Importance of Constitution Meaning, Types and Characteristics of Pressure Group Gender Equality, Ways to achieve Gender Equality



Academic Questions in Government

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

The definition of democracy as "Government of the people, by the people and for the people" is a concept of _____.

  • A. John F. Kennedy
  • B. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • C. Aristotle
  • D. George W. Bush
  • E. Kamala Harris
  • F. Abraham Lincoln

A form of government where the wealthy rule the people is known as _____.

  • A. plutocracy
  • B. timocracy
  • C. technocracy
  • D. meritocracy
  • E. richocracy
  • F. autocracy

Which of the following countries isn't a result of the disintegration of the Soviet Union (USSR)?

  • A. Malta
  • B. Latvia
  • C. Moldova
  • D. Estonia
  • E. Georgia
  • F. Uzbekistan

Characteristics of Democracy:

The popular term Democracy originated from the fusion of two Greek words. These are “Demos” which means people and “Kratia” meaning government or rule. According to one of the greatest American presidents of all time, Abraham Lincoln, (the 16th American President) expressed democracy in its popular definition which is:

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

Abraham Lincoln

Note: Democracy is one of the forms of government and it allows the people to choose their leaders.

 If the democratically elected leaders are failing in their responsibility, democracy also permits that such leaders can be rejected by the people. The power to choose and reject the leaders is vested on the people in democratized society.

With the popular notion that the power to choose various leaders and those vying for political offices are vested in the hands of the people, democracy has shown the following characteristics as explained below:

 

  • Constitutional Supremacy

A constitution is highest or supreme law in a country, nation or state and it specifies how such nation or state should be governed. In democracy, the constitution rise above everyone no matter their status or rank. It is this supremacy of the constitution that permits for the removal of a democratically elected official. Such official (even if they are the president of a nation) may even be made to face trial at a law court if certain sections of the constitution had been violated.

Supremacy of the constitution is a very important feature of democracy because it gives rise to the popular phrase:

No one is above the law.

Note: Where there is the presence massive corruption is a country, constitutional supremacy become ineffective or dysfunctional.

Please read more on constitution here.

 

  • Rule of the majority

You may have heard of the popular saying: “The voice of the people is the voice of God”. This saying may have emanated from democracy since the voice or vote of majority of the people determines their leaders.

The process of a free and fair election is the most important tool in which democracy utilizes in determining the rule of the majority. This imply that majority of the people will determine the faith of electoral candidates (for instance; the presidential candidates) through their vote.

Note: Without the vote of a majority of the people, one cannot be a political officer in a democratized society.

 

  • Freedom of Expression

This is one of the fundamental human rights and democracy permits for its realization. The freedom of expression empowers the media and the general public to report any activity of the government.

Just recently, we saw how policemen shot some alleged criminals at a pointblank range without any form of trial and conviction. This unconstitutional act was brought to light through the social media, and all thanks to democracy.

Note: The absence of democracy may result in the ban of mass media from reporting issues (especially the negatives of the incumbent government); be it on the radio, television or the internet at large. This is what actually happens in a military or dictatorship form of government.

Please read on the forms of government here.

 

  • Political Equality

In democracy, every citizen has the right to vote and be voted for. Also, there is the principle of one man, one vote to further express political equality.

Note: If one thinks he or she has what it takes to bring about a positive change in the society (at a political level); they can register with a political party, or form a new political party; and such person will be voted into power in a free and fair election if the majority of the people entrust him or her with their vote.

We should not disenfranchise ourselves by not utilizing either or both of our democratic rights; that is right to vote and be voted for.

 

  • Separation of Power

Separation of power is an important characteristic in a democratic state. This imply that one arm of government must be on oversight by another arm who checks their excesses. For instance, the executive arm of government (comprising of the President, Vice Presidents, and Ministers among others) must be checked by the Legislative and Judiciary arms of governments. To this end, the president can even be impeached by the upper and lower houses (Legislators) if he or she is found guilty of breaking some important rule of law.

The arms or branches of government are:

  1. Executive
  2. Legislator
  3. Judiciary

Please read on the arms of government here.

 

  • Popular Sovereignty

One of the meanings of the word sovereignty is “to be in control”. Popular sovereignty in democracy imply that the vote of the people have total control over any government decision.

Always note that the main goal of democracy is to invest the power to "govern" or choose "who governs" on the people; and for this reason, the vote of the majority is considered to be popular and sovereign.

You may also read on the Sovereignty of God here.

 

  • Multi Party System

In a democratic system, political parties are established and they house the political aspirants. Ideally, we should have two or more political parties so that the people can optimally vote for their preferred candidates through their party.

Oftentimes, we seem to have a strong opposition party to the ruling party; and that’s a good thing for democracy. In fact, it would even be better if we can have more than two strong opposition parties in a political system.

In Nigeria, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are the two major opposition parties.

United States of America have the Democratic Party and the Republicans as the two strongest opposition parties. Apart from these two, three other thriving parties are the:

  1. Libertarian Party
  2. Green Party
  3. Constitution Party

 

  • Human Rights

Each citizen of a Nation is entitled to his or her fundamental human rights. These rights are often spelt out in the constitution of a nation. An important feature of democracy is the respect for these rights.  

Some of the fundamental human rights of every citizen include:

  1. Right to Life
  2. Right to Movement
  3. Right to Freedom of Speech
  4. Right to Religion
  5. Right to Property and so on

Please read on all your Fundamental human rights here.

 

  • Rule of Law

In democracy, the law of the Land must rule above everyone, even the president of the country.

In a democratized society, No one is above the rule of Law.

This rule of law is supreme thus giving rise to equality, equity and justice which are often visible in a democratized society.


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len

Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.



Amazing facts in Government


NOTABLE POINTS IN Government

Anarchy is one of the forms of government. Ironically, it is the absence of government in a society, country or state.

An instance of anarchy occurred in Somalia in 1991 after a dictator name Said Barre was overthrown. This made Somalia disintegrate into fractions with local warlords imposing their authority over their land/area.

Other forms of government includes:

  1. Oligarchy
  2. Colonialism
  3. Monarchy
  4. Communism
  5. Federalism
  6. Dictatorship
  7. Democracy
  8. Meritocracy
  9. Autocracy
  10. Aristocracy 

Please read on the various forms of government here

Democracy is a form of government where the power of choosing a leader is vested on the people. It represents a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

According to Abrahim Lincoln,

Democracy means government of the people, by the people and for the people.

In democracy, the citizens have the rights to vote and be voted for. The citizens are mandated to choose their preferred candidate by voting for them through their political party. In fact, this voting process is considered as one of the civic responsibility of every citizen.

Please read on the fundamental Human Rights here.

NOTE: No one is above the rule of law in the democratic system. If the election outcome does not reflect the mandate of the people, a court of competent jurisdiction can nullify such election.

Democracy is practiced in countries like Nigeria, United States of America, India and South Africa.

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