Democracy and Types of Democracy

len Alfred Ajibola - Sat, 24th August, 2019 @ 15:23

Topics in Government

Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, First Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Second Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Third Term Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Party System Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-Party System Pressure Group: Types of Pressure Group Characteristics of Pressure Group Constitution - Types of Constitution Government - Scope of Government Government - Characteristics of Government Government - Importance of Government One-Party System explained Multi-Party System explained with its Characteristics Party System: Zero Party System Two-Party System explained with its Characteristics Democracy and Types of Democracy Democracy - Characteristics of Democracy Government - Types and Forms of Government Government - Functions of Government What is Government? Definitions of Government

Academic Questions in Government

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

Government may be defined as an agency or machinery or instrument that is established to manage the general welfare of the people that make up a country.

In the above statement, government is defined _____.

  • A. As a process

  • B. As an act of governing

  • C. As an institution of a state

  • D. As an academic field o study

  • E. As a political wheel

  • F. As a machine of movement

Which of the following statement is false regarding the constitution?

  • A. No one is above the constitution, even the president or prime minister of a country

  • B. A constitution can be written or unwritten

  • C. The constitution consists of the fundamental human rights of citizens of a nation

  • D. The constitution does not necessarily allocate power to the different arms of government

  • E. The constitution upholds the people's sovereignty

  • F. A good constitution is neither too rigid not too flexible

A form of government whereby each state that makes up a country has the power to govern itself and manage it's own resources is known as _____.

  • A. Democracy
  • B. Communism
  • C. Federalism
  • D. Meritocracy
  • E. Autocracy
  • F. Oligarchy

The following are examples of pressure group in Nigeria except _____.

  • A. End SARS

  • B. Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR)

  • C. Odua Peoples Congress (OPC)

  • D. Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

  • E. Operation Feed the Nation (OFN)

  • H. National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

Which of the following is not an ethnic pressure group in Nigeria?

  • A. Bring Back our Girls (BBOG)

  • B. Afenifere

  • C. Ohanaeze Ndigbo

  • D. Middle Belt Forum (MBF)

  • E. Arewa Consultative Forum

  • F. Ijaw Youth Council (IYC)

The followings are ways to achieve gender equality except _____.

  • A. Education of the girl child

  • B. Encouraging women to go into power

  • C. Putting a stop to child marriage

  • D. Encouraging women to vote for women during elections

  • E. Empowering girls and women

  • F. Making laws that prohibits sexual harassment

The absence of government in a country or state is referred to as _____.

  • A. Chaos
  • B. Doom
  • C. Oligarchy
  • D. Autocracy
  • E. Anarchy
  • F. Meritocracy

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



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What is Democracy?

Democracy is one of the systems or forms of government. It focuses more on the people (citizens) of a nation or state. The practice of democracy provides an opportunity for each citizen to vote or be voted for with regards to national or political offices within the state where it is practiced.

The term "democracy" can be expressed in a variety of ways. Below are some definitions:

  • Democracy can be defined as the government by the people in whom ultimate and supreme power lies; and is exercised through their vote in a free and fair electoral system.

  • Democracy may also be defined as a government formed by the consent of the governed.

    Think of the governed as those whom the leaders of a nation serve.

  • Another definition for Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people - Abraham Lincoln

Please read on the Characteristics of Democracy here.

Democracy is often considered to be the best form of government because it allows the people (citizens) to choose and reject their leaders. Rejection of their leaders comes into context when such leaders no longer serve the interest of the people who voted them in.

Note: Democracy assures the citizens of some basic rights that no one can take away from them.

Please read on the Fundamental Human Rights here.

Examples of countries practicing democracy include Nigeria, United States of America, India, South Africa and France.

Democracy can take a variety of instance depending on the nation’s geopolitical terrain, ideology or history. For this reason, we have different type or forms of democracy.


Types or Forms of Democracy

Think of the term "Forms of Democracy" as the various ways in which democracy can exist in a state or country.

Below are some explanations on the various Forms of Democracy:

  • Direct Democracy

Direct democracy empowers the citizens such that they become an active and vital part in any decision making process of the country.

In direct democracy, the citizens go to vote directly for a bill to be passed into law. They do not need any form of representative (for instance, the lawmakers or legislature or the upper and lower houses) to vote such bill.

In some cases, the people practicing direct democracy could raise up important issues which the government must look into. The people eventually vote on such issues, and based on the outcome, it may be passed into law.

Please read on the Characteristics, Functions and Importance of Government here.

Direct democracy is not feasible in a large society as we have in modern times.

Also, when the people are of different tribes or ethnicity, it may also become difficult to achieve.

Once upon a time, direct democracy was practiced in the ancient Greek cities of Sparta and Athens. Also, Switzerland has a good history of direct democracy and even to this day, certain parts of the country still practice this kind of democracy.

Ideally, direct democracy is practiced in villages or rural areas consisting of a specific tribe. It is also practiced in a small and homogenous state; (that is; a state where the people share a common origin. For instance, they share the same culture and speak similar languages).

Please read on Values here.

Note: Size is a limiting factor for the practice of direct democracy.


  • Representative Democracy

Also called Indirect democracy, representative democracy requires that the citizens elect or vote in those that will represent or govern the state on their behalf.

This type of democracy is the most common of all democracy forms or types since it is quite impossible for everyone in a state to frequently convene at a place in order to take decisions on their state.

Representative democracy gives the people an opportunity to choose the most qualified sets of persons to represent the state. The chosen representatives are able to present the grievances or sufferings of their state and its people in a more effective and convincing manner.

Note: These representatives are normally elected to serve periodically through the voting system. For instance, they may be voted in to serve their state for four years.

Please read on Gender Equality here.

A representative democracy can become disadvantageous when the voted representatives fail to deliver their mandate on their state and people. In this case, they put themselves and their families first by embezzling the money meant for the development of the state involved.

Please read on the Disadvantages of Money here.

Countries like Nigeria, USA, India and France all practice indirect or representative democracy.


  • Authoritarian Democracy

In an authoritarian democracy, only the elites (educated and rich) are allowed to be voted for. Ordinary people and the masses cannot contest for electoral positions and thus, have no chance to become political leaders.

Russia and Hong Kong are sometimes considered to run an authoritarian democracy.

Please read on Autocracy and the various Forms of Government here.


  • Constitutional Democracy

A constitutional democracy utilizes the constitution in determining the right to rule.

Please read more on Meaning, Types, Qualities and Importance of Constitution here.

Under this system, the constitution defines democracy and powers of the government. It also spells out how such government must operate. This is so because the rule of law; which is based on the rights of the people is taken from the constitution.

By definition, a constitution is the supreme law in a country, nation or state.

It specifies how the nation or state should be governed; while also attributing power to the different arms of government.

We have 3 arms or organs or branches of government. These are:

  1. Executive
  2. Judiciary
  3. Legislature
  4. Please read more on the Arms of Government and their Functions here.

Note: Constitutional democracy states the powers of the presidents, governors, senators, ministers, legislatures and other government representatives. It is practiced in the United States of America, Nigeria and Ghana.


  • Participatory democracy

Participatory democracy presents an opportunity for each citizen of a country or state to be a part of the decision making process.

To achieve this, the governance of the state is usually broken down into small communities, giving a rise to grassroots politics.

Please read on the Branches, Scope and Divisions of Government here.

This kind of democracy can be quite difficult to achieve since the number of grass roots communities can become overtly large; giving rise to complexities and complications.

Participatory democracy is sometimes considered as an opposite to Authoritarian democracy.


  • Islamic Democracy

The Islamic law serves as the corner stone to which Islamic democracy is laid.

This type/form of democracy has three main features. These are:

  1. The leaders are elected by the people through a voting system.
  2. Sharia law becomes a standard which all must abide to. (The leaders as well as the followers).
  3. The leader practices a special form of consultation practiced by Prophet Muhammad. This practice is called shura.

Countries that practice an ideal Islamic democracy include Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

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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.

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Amazing facts in Government


Dictatorship is one of the forms of Government. It can exist either as:

  1. Military Dictatorship
  2. Civilian Dictatorship

In 1966, Major General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi became the first military Head of State in Nigeria after he overthrew a democratic and constitutional government (headed by the prime minister; Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa)

The above instance is a military form of dictatorship.

A typical example of a civilian dictatorship is Adolf Hitler of Germany and Joseph Stalin of Russia and Georgia

You can read more on dictatorship here

A Pressure group is defined as any formal and organized body or group of people with the same interest and whose main goal is to put pressure on any governmental institution in order to influence government policies and laws to their own gain.

An example of a pressure group whose voice is often heard in Nigeria is the Academic Staff Union for Universities (ASUU).

Another instance of a pressure group in Nigeria is the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group who pressured the Nigerian Government into taking appropriate actions towards the release of the 276 kidnapped female secondary students popularly referred to as the Chibok Girls, in Chibok, Bornu State, Nigeria.

Bring Back Our Girls - Len Academy

Note: These innocent female students were kidnapped by the so called "Boko Haram" on the night of April 14th - 15th, 2014.

The above pressure group was massive globally to an extent that even the first ladies of various foreign countries became a part of it.

The EndsSars is another pressure group in Nigeria. They forced the Nigerian government into scrapping the Special Anti-Robbery Squard (SARS) who had constantly brutalized the Nigerian youths.

If men and women enjoyed the same rights, same freedom, same opportunities, same resources and same rewards in all sectors of society, then that's gender equality.

Gender equality is the process of being fair to humans; both males and females.

Below are some ways towards achieving gender equality.

  • Education of the girl child

  • Encouraging women to go into power

  • Putting a stop to sexual harassment and child marriage

  • Women and girls empowerment

  • Putting a stop to harmful traditional practices against women

  • Stopping the violence and war

Please read more on gender equality and ways to achieve it here

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.

Please read more on the Characteristics of Democracy here.