Democratic Government: Definition, Characteristics and Types

A Democratic government Is one that is composed of a form of organization of the state and social coexistence based on equality and freedom of all inhabitants of a given territory.

These types of companies establish their social relations based on contractual agreements, whose custody is the responsibility of society as a whole.

Voters of a democratic system

As its etymology says; Democracy is the government (demos, in ancient Greek) of the town (krátos) and the power corresponds to the whole of the citizenship.

The ways of popular participation in democracy can be in two ways: direct, as in the ancient Greek assemblies; Or indirect, in which citizens confer legitimacy on their representatives, mostly through suffrage.

The bases of democracy or its principles bear similarity with some systems of government like the republic, although there are Differences between both.

Characteristics of democratic governments

Democratic Government: Definition, Characteristics and Types

The main characteristics of democratic governments are associated with the idea of ​​equality, freedom, participation, sovereignty, justice and inclusion.

In a democratic society, all citizens are equal and enjoy the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities, so no exclusion or discrimination is contemplated.

Likewise, the authorities are freely elected by all inhabitants, with an equitable mechanism and for a certain period of time, in which it confers them no particular benefit but only the governing responsibility.

For its part, all citizens in a democratic society have the right to express their opinions without any restrictions, in a free way and must be respected.

Without freedom of expression we could not speak of democracy, nor of government of the people. All the people themselves can decide which issues are important to the group.

This way of participation was designed to reach and understand all the problems that people may suffer in their lives and contain the inconveniences of social coexistence.

Another of the characteristics of democratic governments is the respect and defense of social plurality, through its three powers: executive, legislative and judicial, all legitimized by the people.

In this line, the executive branch is responsible for the general action of the State, the legislature for the elaboration, approval and control of legislation, and the judicial, controls, judges and punishes compliance with laws.

Finally, a democratic government must ensure the inclusion of all inhabitants and ensure equal opportunities and benefits for all, without exception.

If you are interested in knowing more about the characteristics of this form of government you can consult the following link .

History of democracy and governments

Characteristics of democracy

Its origins are believed to date back around 500 BC. C. in Ancient Greece although there is no exact record of the first form of democratic social organization in the history of mankind

The first experiments of this way of governing of the society were made in small civilizations. However, as a curiosity, they did not include all citizens, but there were still beneficiary strata.

Slowly, with the extension of freedom and equality for all inhabitants, the model expanded across the globe to reach the entire world.

It was during the Middle Ages, around 900, that this form of organization had its peak in the main commercial cities of Europe. While in America passed 800 years more so that it will begin to give itself a form of government of the town.

It is currently believed that there are 167 democratic countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are members of the United Nations. On the contrary, there are still 38 nations that have imposed governments.

In spite of being the system of social organization of the favored state of mankind, only 26 cases enjoy a full democracy, 51 have an imperfect democratic situation, 37 of a hybrid democratic essay and 51 there are authoritarian regimes.

On the other hand, authoritarian governments occur in a smaller number of nations, mostly distributed between the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Arab countries. In many cases these are countries that are not recognized by the United Nations.

Types of democracy

There are currently four possible types of democracy in the modern world, which were accentuated from the second half of the twentieth century to the end of World War II.

Indirect Democracy

One of these forms is indirect or representative democracy, which is one in which the people themselves establish the limits to their representatives. Here the citizens have the duty to deliberate and decide the best conditions for all.

Semi-direct democracy

Another type is semi-direct or participatory democracy, in which citizens exercise their power of expression in certain circumstances through various mechanisms, which are: plebiscite, referendum, initiative and popular destitution. All are exercised by society as a whole under equal conditions.

Direct Democracy

Another form is direct democracy characterized by the purest application of this system of organization and that is only put into practice in a few countries of the world. It stands out because all decisions are taken sovereignly by the people as a whole.

These forms of participation are carried out through popular assemblies, in which there are no representatives but only bearers of the voice of a particular group. This idea of ​​democracy is more modern than that of the origins of the system.

Net democracy

Finally, liquid democracy is one in which citizens have the possibility to vote all legislative decisions. Those who do not want to participate can yield their decision. This form of organization also has application in very few societies today.


  1. Liberalism and democracy , Norberto Bobbio, Fondo de Cultura Económica. Mexico, 1985.
  2. Democracy in Am and delicious , Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840.
  3. The social contract Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762.
  4. On freedom, John Stuart Mill, 1859.

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