One of the most significant societal benefits of a democracy is that it is intended to provide equality and access to opportunity for all citizens. Additionally, a democracy is designed with checks and balances to minimize the potential for abuses of political power.
A democracy gives citizens the ability to influence laws and policies through the election of representatives. Through support of certain candidates and public communication, citizens are able to influence the direction of economic, social and political values. Because of this power in the hands of everyday citizens, the theoretical political control of the country lies with the majority as opposed to a select few in power.
If a single politician or a particular party takes on too much power and control, the popular majority has the chance to vote elected officials out of office. In fact, democratic governments often have systems in place to moderate the power of individuals or branches of government.
Democracy also contributes to a sense of freedom, which has significant cultural importance. People tend to have higher morale and a better quality of life when they feel like they have basic human rights. Closely related is the ability of citizens to pursue economic gain. Unlike socialist governments, democracies tend to promote benefits to private enterprises. Such financial opportunity drives innovation and new business development.Learn More
Many countries have democratic governments under different constitutional forms. France, Germany, India, Ireland and Italy are constitutional republics, while Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom are constitutional monarchies. The United States, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have presidential systems. France has a semi-presidential system, whereas Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have parliamentary systems.Full Answer >
A government creates and enforces the laws that protect the rights and lives of citizens and discourages crime by punishing delinquents. Government provides an ordered, systematic way to ensure the safety of the citizenry. Without a government, people would be less likely to respect contracts and agreements with one another due to the lack of an objective way to settle disputes.Full Answer >
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) contemplated a republic in which a community of people gave up individual rights to promote the good of the community, rather than to a monarch or elected representatives, as stated by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. As a result, voting became the means of expressing the general will of "all the people" and to establish community statues and laws. This type of representation was called "direct democracy."Full Answer >
The term "oligarchy" refers to a form of government that concentrates power in the hands of an elite group, rather than a central figure, an elected assembly or the people at large, and the primary advantages appear to exist for the benefit of that elite group, while the disadvantages apply to the rest of the citizens who have to follow laws written to benefit that small group. Oligarchies often come about as a response to social disaster, such as the fallout in Germany after World War I or the ruling group in the fictitious country of Oceania that emerged in George Orwell's novel "1984."Full Answer >