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

3 Answers

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

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.
shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

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.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

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.