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Narian Chengiah Naidoo
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South Africa, a Democracy or Republic

17 May 2014, 19:00

Two important forms of government to understand are the democracy the republic. A democratic government is based around the ideals that, every citizen is guaranteed the same rights under the law. Democracies are run using the majority opinion of its citizens and what they feel is right for the government to do. There are no superior citizens, no hierarchical systems, and women are considered equals. A republic is formed around the idea that there should be no monarch and that all citizens should have a part in choosing the leaders of their government. The republic is centered on the people electing someone who can represent their best interests.

The term, republic, was derived from scholar Machiavelli. He believed that there could only be a government by the people or by a king’s rule. Since that time the word republic has been used to define most governments who afford their citizens equal rights and are not under a monarch. The idea of a democracy has been around for much longer, dating back to the times of Plato. Plato believed that a democracy could thrive if the governed ran the government.

There are various forms of a democratic government: representative democracy, constitutional democracy, liberal democracy, etc. Each one is centered on the original ideals of a democracy, however incorporating additional government stipulations. Throughout history, there have also been many forms of republic governments, including liberal and socialist republics. A republic typically follows a constitution, in order to ensure that the elected official to lead the government does not upset the rights which citizens have been given for equality. The democratic government permits its citizens to vote for the individuals who they trust and they feel will value citizen’s rights and opinions.

The United States has taken the main points of a democracy and republic to create a government in which the people are responsible for electing government officials and all citizens are equal underneath the constitution.  Today, candidates for government election are separated into two different categories, democrats and republicans. Each one has taken the original ideas behind that particular form of government and applied it to the way a country should run. Democrats often think of the federal government as a whole in making decisions, whereas a republican believes the people will make the government strong.

While there are many forms of government which can be considered a democracy and a republic, those governments must incorporate the true values behind them in order to be called a republican or democratic state.

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