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Is the United States a democracy or a republic?Is the United States a democracy or a...

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brainstorm15 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:58 AM via web

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Is the United States a democracy or a republic?

Is the United States a democracy or a republic?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 30, 2012 at 2:21 AM (Answer #2)

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There is no way to say this for certain as the difference between a democracy and a republic is not very clear at all.  Different people use the terms differently.  The US is clearly not a direct democracy.  We vote for people who represent us rather than voting directly on laws ourselves.  This means we are either an indirect democracy or a republic, but these terms are typically used interchangeably.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM (Answer #3)

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Some entities make another type of distinction between a republic and a democracy. In their view, a republic makes a priority of protecting the minority rights. "Minority" in this sense does not just refer to a racial or cultural subgroup, but to any group that is not in the majority on any particular issue. Certain rights are protected no matter what. In a "democracy," according to this interpretation, rights could be selectively granted based on majority rule. For example, citizens who oppose unionization could attempt to pass a law denying unions freedom of speech.

To sum up, in this view, a republic seeks to keep minorities from being overwhelmed and outvoted by majorities when it comes to applying rights.

Another major component of a republic is, as post 2 stated, the election of representatives to serve certain electoral areas.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 3, 2012 at 3:11 AM (Answer #4)

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The United States is a democratic republic. We elect representatives. The fact that the people elect the representatives and vote on laws makes us a democracy. The fact that we don't vote with a universal show of hands or something, and we are indirectly represented, makes us a republic.

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