What is Democracy? (10): Republic

Democracy versus Republic. It’s a popular topic in many blogs. However, it’s an increasingly irrelevant discussion. The difference between the 2 concepts tends to disappear as time goes by.

“The term “republic” has many different meanings but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a President, serving for a limited term, in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected head of government such as a Prime Minister ” (Wikipedia)

A large republic such as the United States is explicitly a democracy as well. One could claim that “republican democracies”, as opposed to other democracies, try to impose more safeguards against abuses by the majority with regard to the minority. The different states in the US, for example, have equal representation in the Senate to protect them against the imposition of certain measures by the most populated states.

Republicanism originally developed as the anti-thesis of inherited rule and inherited elitism in general. Most modern-day republics are states which have an elected head of state rather than a monarch (“elected” not necessarily in the democratic sense; many self-identified “republics” are not democracies).

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