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Old 17.04.2015, 12:56
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Difference between Democracy and Republic

This is a friday thread and that allows me some indulgence:-). But can somebody explain the key technical differences between a Democracy and a Republic? Can this be simply paraphrased as 'Government by the people' vis-a-vis 'Government for the people'? Will a Republic, by its very definition entail a representational form of government and hence a Democracy? Or we define democracy strictly as direct democracy only and distinguish it thus from a Republic (The famous Federalist Papers)?


Regards
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Old 17.04.2015, 12:58
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

I thought Friday threads were meant to be fun.
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Old 17.04.2015, 13:00
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

Don't be unhelpful!

Try here.
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Old 17.04.2015, 13:02
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

A republic might be a democracy, or it might not (USA vs. PRC).

A democratic country might be a republic, or it might not (USA vs. UK).

What's the difference between a vegetable and lunch?


Worst. Friday. Thread. Ever.
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Old 17.04.2015, 13:10
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

mirfield might be a vegetable, but probably not a lunch unless you are a cannibal.
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Old 17.04.2015, 13:13
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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mirfield might be a vegetable, but probably not a lunch unless you are a cannibal.
If he's a Swede then both vegetable and lunch to a cannibal.
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Old 17.04.2015, 13:36
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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This is a friday thread and that allows me some indulgence:-). But can somebody explain the key technical differences between a Democracy and a Republic? Can this be simply paraphrased as 'Government by the people' vis-a-vis 'Government for the people'? Will a Republic, by its very definition entail a representational form of government and hence a Democracy? Or we define democracy strictly as direct democracy only and distinguish it thus from a Republic (The famous Federalist Papers)?


Regards
A democracy is a system of state where all power is vested with the people, coming from the Greek something or other with demos = people (actually literally it means district) and Kratia = rule or power.

A republic is a system of state defined around the common good, from Latin Res = affairs and publica = public.

So a democracy can or cannot be a republic and a republic can or cannot be a democracy.

In reality, I would say a republic is any system of state in which the rulers can ultimately be held accountable to the people and be expected to defend their best interests (although that is of course a fuzzy concept with lots of room for creative interpretation)

A democracy is a system where the people ultimately get to have a say.

The two concepts overlap but are not identical.

For example some dictatorships continue to be republics because the dictator pledges to defend the public interest.

Some democracies are not republics because the government is legitimised by a monarch, even if the monarch is otherwise a purely representational figure and thus not acting contrary to democratic principles (as in the UK)

Last edited by amogles; 17.04.2015 at 13:46.
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Old 17.04.2015, 13:54
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

I would like to contribute to this friday cliff hanger with this!

Switzerland... so is it a democracy or a republic?

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Old 17.04.2015, 13:57
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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If he's a Swede then both vegetable and lunch to a cannibal.
Does this Swede taste funny to you?

Nope, doesn't work.
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Old 17.04.2015, 14:00
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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I would like to contribute to this friday cliff hanger with this!

Switzerland... so is it a democracy or a republic?

Why is this an "or" question?

Is the sea wet or does it contain fish?
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Old 17.04.2015, 14:09
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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Does this Swede taste funny to you?

Nope, doesn't work.
He can be a bit of a clown though.
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Old 17.04.2015, 14:11
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

This is like when catholics ask "are you christian or protestant?"
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Old 17.04.2015, 14:18
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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Why is this an "or" question?

Is the sea wet or does it contain fish?
or a "was" question...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helvetic_Republic

I think we're all getting rusty with our Friday Threads Treatments®!
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Old 17.04.2015, 14:59
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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This is a friday thread and that allows me some indulgence:-). But can somebody explain the key technical differences between a Democracy and a Republic? Can this be simply paraphrased as 'Government by the people' vis-a-vis 'Government for the people'? Will a Republic, by its very definition entail a representational form of government and hence a Democracy? Or we define democracy strictly as direct democracy only and distinguish it thus from a Republic (The famous Federalist Papers)?


Regards

One step back, a Democracy is a systemic process while a Republic is an entity - typically a non-Monarchy State. So you can have a Democractic Republic as well as an Undemocratic (Authoritarian) Republic. And there are Democractic entities that are not states. There are Constitutional Monarchies that are technically Democratic Monarchies.

Apples and Oranges, no?
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Old 17.04.2015, 15:07
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

What Phos said.

I'm not sure of my history here, but didn't Rome continue to be a republic even after they started having emperors?

Spain under Franco was a monarchy but the monarchy had a vacant throne.

So there are examples of both monarchies without monarchs and monarchs without monarchies.

In a republic, certain types of court cases will be The People vs X. The People in this case being a hypothetical entity. They don't of course go out and ask the real people on the street what they think. In fact even if there were mass protests outside the courthouse, that wouldn't change the legal stance of The People.

In a constitutional monarchy, the same cases would be The Crown vs X. Again, the Crown (with a capital C) is a hypothetical entity standing as a placeholder for the common good. They don't send a letter to Buckingham Palace asking for permission or instructions, and the person of the Queen is probably not even briefed of all the actions being taken in her name. Thus in this minimalistic definition, you don't actually need a physical monarch to be a functioning monarchy. Many libertarian types in the UK are thus monarchists, which is what libertarian types in the US don't understand.
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Old 17.04.2015, 16:10
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

The 'Government by the people' and 'Government for the people' can be understood by the concept of minority rights. In a Republic, minority rights are enshrined in the constitution, so even if a Democratic government comes into power through, say a religious/linguistic/class, majority group, in a Republic it won't be able to, theoratically speaking, impinge the rights of the minority group.

Regards
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Old 17.04.2015, 17:09
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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The 'Government by the people' and 'Government for the people' can be understood by the concept of minority rights. In a Republic, minority rights are enshrined in the constitution, so even if a Democratic government comes into power through, say a religious/linguistic/class, majority group, in a Republic it won't be able to, theoratically speaking, impinge the rights of the minority group.

Regards
The minority / majority thing can also be solved through federalism.

This in Switzerland you pass laws by double majority. The first majority is all the people with every vote having the same weight. The second majority is a majority of cantons. This gives people in small cantons a proportionately stronger vote. This was set up because historically the cantons represent differences along linguistic, cultural or religious lines and the smaller groups were concerned the larger groups would outvote them,

Similarly you have the Congress vs Senate thing in the USA, the Bundestag vs Bundesrat thing in Germany etc. In Belgium they even have representation based on linguistic groups, independently of the place where you live.
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Old 17.04.2015, 17:20
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

Do we have democracy here on EF? But obviously it is no republic
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Old 17.04.2015, 17:24
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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Do we have democracy here on EF?
I'll create a poll.
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Old 17.04.2015, 17:28
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Re: Difference between Democracy and Republic

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Do we have democracy here on EF?
I'll create a poll.
I did. There isn't.
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