Democracy is a word that is well-known to everyone, but sometimes it remains a concept that is not very well-understood and misrepresented in a time when totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships in a similar way have attempted to assert popular hold up by pinning democratic labels upon themselves. Basically, according to the dictionary democracy “is government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” (Defining Democracy, 2000).
People often use the words freedom and democracy interchangeably, but the two are not the same. Even though there are much similarities between the two and democracy is indeed based on a number of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also comprises of a set of practices and events that have been caste through a long, often meandering history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. Democracy is more than a set of legitimate rules and actions that establish how a government functions (Democracy, 2007).
All democracies are systems in which citizens liberally make opinionated decisions by following the rule of the majority. But rule by the majority is not essentially autonomous: for instance, no one would call a system reasonable or fair that tolerated 51 percent of the inhabitants to tyrannize the left over 49 percent just because of the fact that they formed the majority. In case of a democratic society, majority rule must be attached with undertakings of individual human rights that, in sequence, hand out to defend the rights of minorities—may it be racial, religious, or political, or merely the losers in the debate over a piece of contentious legislation. The rights of minorities are not in any way dependant upon the helpfulness of the preponderance and cannot in any case be gotten rid of by majority vote. The rights of minorities are safeguarded because autonomous laws and institutions care for the rights of all citizens.
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