The translation of the Greek word democracy means power to the people. Not all democratic societies are alike, but the characteristics remain the same. First, citizens rule. Civic responsibility and power are shared by citizens. Second, the majority rules but will not negatively affect the rights of the minority. Third, the citizens have human rights in a true democracy. Examples include freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion. The last characteristic of a democracy is setting limits on the lawmakers.
This involves separating areas of government to even out the power. There are three basic types of democracy. A direct democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide policy initiatives directly. One nation to use this system is Switzerland. A presidential democracy is a system of government where the president is elected by the people. The united States of America uses this system of government. Parliamentary democracy is the type of government where the public vote government officials into power and parliamentarians are representatives of the people.
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The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy. Ancient Greece specifically Athens, played a big part in modern Democracy. By listening to individuals and respecting heir ideas, Greece formed a group of citizens who were able to make laws. This was happening around 594 BC. By 560 BC things changed as wealthy land owners started to resist. Change came again in 508 BC when laws started to include all citizens. According to Lafayette (1998), women did not have political rights and slaves were not citizens in a Greek Democracy.
Young men received a strong education with a focus on art, philosophy, speech and writing. They also took a vow to defend their Gods and their city. Young men also spleenwort years in the military. The USA as we know it would not be what it is today without Greek Democracy. Ancient Rome had its first assembly by 600 SC. Only male members who had limited power under the king were elected. By 509 BC supreme power was given to a pair of consul for one year. This was the start of the Roman Republic.
A senate, made up of 100 prestigious family members, approved laws and elected magistrates. There was also the assembly of Roman citizens. They were responsible for electing the consuls. The members of this assembly were chosen by the senate. Therefore, the power was in the senate. Another system in Rome called the Clientele system, distorted the democratic system. According to Lafayette (1 998), this system was similar to the mafia. Wealthy family members of the senate had clients that they helped in exchange for votes.