What is the difference between a republic and a representative democracy....?
Which one would you say we are......?
- Anonymous3 years agoFavorite Answer
The USA is both a representative democracy and a republic.
A representative democracy is any country which is democratic in form, with elected representatives passing laws, rather than the population as a whole (which is called direct democracy). A democracy features the following:
* A government that comes into power through elections
* Elections that are frequent, free, fair, and competitive
* Guaranteed civil rights (the right to speak out, the right to assemble and petition, etc.)
* Guaranteed political rights (the right to vote, the right to run for office)
* A free press that it is independent of the government, and multiple sources of media information
* Accountability to the voters (through elections, recall mechanisms, polls, etc.)
* Government transparency (the government generally works in the open, and corruption is limited)
* Horizontal accountability between branches of government (checks and balances)
* Internally sovereign government (the government can act without an unelected force [like the military] preventing it from ruling)
* Near-universal adult suffrage (almost all citizens of age are allowed to vote, regardless of race, religion, etc.)
* Rule of law (the government cannot violate the constitution or basic laws at will)
Based on this, the USA is clearly a democracy, and is, like almost all democracies (save the possible exception, Switzerland), representative.
As for a republic, there are two definitions. One says that a country whose head of state (the ceremonial leader who calls legislatures into session, signs bills into laws, and greets foreign dignitaries) is chosen individually, rather than inheriting the office by being related by blood to the last chief of state, is a republic. Under this definition, countries like China, Russia, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe are all republics: they have no king, queen, or emperor. Many former communist countries (like East Germany, a.k.a. the German Democratic Republic) called themselves republics.
A more restrictive definition of republic is embodied by this quote from the Oxford English Dictionary: "a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch." By this definition, only democratic states can be republics, since only in democracies can supreme power really rest with the people. If one uses the second definition, then all democracies are either republics or constitutional monarchies. All other countries are some variant of authoritarianism/autocracy. Political scientists don't necessarily agree on which definition to use, but the US is a republic under either definition.
- AceSeptreLv 63 years ago
Technically the United States is both. A republic is a group in which there is equality between all the members, so in the United States it is the states that are all equal members of the same group which forms a republic of states (also called a Union). These states work together to accomplish goals through a representative democracy. For the United States, these two terms are just different sides of the same coin. If you wanted to get really technical, you could imagine a situation where there exists a representative democracy that is not a republic. In fact if we only had a House of Representatives, then our government would not be considered a republic. But we have a Senate that gives all the members of the union and equal voice.
- Anonymous3 years ago