Difference Between Republic and Democracy

Difference Between Republic and Democracy

Humans live on one planet and under one atmosphere. However, due to the separation of landmasses into different continents, different countries are formed. Each country has its own culture, language, and governance. The differences can be attributed to many things. This can be due to the type of climate and the topography of a country. History can also play an important role in the type of leadership decided by its people. The values of the people can also contribute to their community and their ability to make decisions.

Each government has different methods of leadership. With 195 countries around the world, every country has a government, and leaders and people can have different levels of power and rights. There may also be differences in the way rules or laws are created and enforced. Decision-making can also be influenced by the type of government.

The United States is in a federal form. The United Kingdom is under a constitutional monarchy. The government of Russia is a semi-presidential republic. The government of China is considered a people’s republic. How are these governments different? What’s the difference between a republic and a democracy? What is the difference between a federal government and a monarchy?

The changing needs and perceptions of the people are also accompanied by a varying preference for leadership and a growing need for well-defined rights. This is probably why two of the most common political systems in the world are republics and democracies. To better understand these two types of political systems, this article will focus on the differences between republic and democracy. It will define these two forms of government, list their characteristics, explains their structure of government, and then present their disparities in a table.

Definition of Republic

What is a republic, and what is the difference between republic and democracy? The term republic comes from the Latin term res publica, which means “public affairs”. The term was formed from the constitution of the Roman Republic, which persisted from 509 BC to 27 BC. AD Their constitution, at that time, was written to guide the procedural governance of the republic, and it was drafted by their Senate, some of the people’s assemblies of their time, and public offices.

This form of government, therefore, follows a similar principle. Under this form, the country is considered a public affair and its actions and state, as far as possible, should be revealed to its citizens rather than kept private by its rulers. The highest positions that govern the country are chosen by democratic, oligarchic or autocratic methods, depending on what is stipulated in the country’s constitution.

Most republics designate the head of state as president, and the first country to adopt this term is the United States. At the time, however, it was used to refer to the president of continental progress, but it was later changed to refer to the highest executive branch of government, and thus to the president of the entire country. In countries where the executive branch is dominant, as in the Philippines, the president holds the highest power. However, there are other countries with the highest legislative power, such as Germany or India. In this case, the head of the state is the prime minister and the role of the president is not at the top of the pyramid.

Philosophically, the republic is based on the ideology of classical republicanism. This ideology stems from the Roman Republic and the philosophy of ancient Greece, and it emphasizes civic virtue, the rule of law and a mixed type of governing body.

Electoral procedures may vary depending on whether a republic follows a presidential or parliamentary form. In the presidential type, the president is elected by the citizens by direct vote. In the parliamentary type, the election may be conducted by a parliament or a council.   

The main difference between democracy and republic lies in the way laws are created. In a republic, laws are created by the legislature, and the legislature is made up of a body of people elected by the citizens as their representatives. Before explaining how it works for a democratic form of governance, let us first define what it is.

Definition of Democracy

What is a democracy, and what is the difference between democracy and republic? By definition, democracy is a system of government in which citizens have the power to vote. The term comes from the Greek words “demos” (meaning “common people”) and “kratos” (meaning “force”). It comes in different forms; there are direct, representative and liberal. The first is direct democracy, in the form of Athenian democracy. During their period, they randomly select a few citizens to occupy the current positions of government administration and the judiciary.

Then, the legislative power is composed of all citizens. The direct democracy of modern times still follows this rule, but this time all citizens of legal age, regardless of gender or profession, can participate in voting on the country’s issues. In the representative type, citizens choose people who believe they can represent them to be part of the law-drafting body. In the liberal type, the majority is represented by the people they have chosen, but they remain protected by the constitution by retaining their individual rights and privileges.

In this sense, all republics are democracies. It is simply a question of what kind of democracy they are. Therefore, in order to fully explain the difference between a republic and democracy, we need to define what type of democracy we are comparing it to. Otherwise, the comparison will not be very effective. Normally, you would not see the term democracy when you look at a country’s system of government. On the contrary, you can see that it follows a republican or federal system of government.

To further explain the difference between a democracy and a republic, a republic can take the form of one of the three types of democracy. The following section should explain their differences in even more detail.

Republic vs Democracy Comparison Table

In order to clearly answer “what is the difference between a republic and a democracy?”, here is a table of the main differences between the two. As there are several types of democracies, in the table below, only the characteristics of one, direct democracy, and of the republic are presented.

Basis of Comparison  Direct Democracy Republic
Decision power People Some elected officials
Legislative power Majority of the voting body, minorities are less protected Elected representatives, minorities have rights and privileges
Ruling Majority Legislated laws
Citizen rights’ protection Can be overruled by the decision of the majority Guarded by the constitutional rights
Origin Greece’s Athenian democracy Roman Republic

The table above presents the difference between democracy and republic in terms of decision-making and legislative power, government and administration, safeguarding citizens’ rights and origin. While democracy gives more power to the people, the majority may not represent the interests of the minority.

On the other hand, the decision-making power of the republic is given to a few elected officials, which means that the majority of the population may not have a say. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and this is probably why different countries have different forms of government because of the diversity of their priorities.

Conclusion of Main Difference Between Republic vs Democracy

Do you now know what is the difference between a republic and democracy? The key to understanding them individually is to examine their roots. Democracy literally means the strength of the people. Republic means public affairs. In a democracy, it is important that the masses have a say in the rules.

In a republic, the mass must be well informed about the affairs of the government in order to assess whether their rights are being violated and whether decisions are in the best interests of the country. The difference between a republic and a democracy in this area, however, is that the people of a democracy get a vote on decisions, while the people of the republic get a vote only on who is empowered to make those decisions.

Being able to tell what is the difference between a republic and a democracy is vital for citizens. This is how they can become more involved in matters of government and determine whether their rights and voting power are protected. Sometimes people are not sure whether they have a direct or representative democracy.

In a republican system of government that uses a representative democracy, it is essential that citizens exercise their right to vote so that their beliefs and opinions are well represented. Problems arise when ignorant citizens vote for people with differing beliefs and expect them to follow their own.

Therefore, educational systems must instill in students what is the difference between republic and democracy from their primary school years onwards. This enables them to have a clearer idea of the kind of government they have and to be informed citizens and voters in the future. After all, a country is only strong if its people are strong, and the best people a country can have are those who are informed and involved.