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Dec 26 2014

Republic vs Democracy

A democracy involves representation by the people and intends to preserve the sovereign power of the people. But in a pure democracy, decisions are reached by majority opinion, creating a tyranny of the majority which suppresses the will of the minority. This principle generally applies to both direct democracy (where the people vote on every issue) and representative democracy (where the people vote for representatives who make decisions by majority rule).

While a republic does use the principle of democratic representation, the main focus is on a constitutional framework that limits government and lawmaking with the intent of preserving the rights of all of the people, even those in the minority. Republics tend to use representative democracy to elect lawmakers and also to reach decisions in the bodies of lawmakers, but they are bound by rules of law, as described in a constitution.

The intent of a democracy is to preserve the sovereign will of the people, but it neglects the rights of the minority and historically tends to devolve into a mob based form of tyranny. The intent of a republic is to preserve the sovereign rights of each and every individual by establishing a constitutional rule of law that limits the ability of government to infringe upon those rights.