Definition of Democracy: History, Characteristics, Purpose, Types, and Principles

Definition of Democracy – Starting from the mid-5th century BC the term democracy has been widely used to indicate the political system that existed in several Greek countries and cities, especially in Athens.

Democracy itself is a system of government from the people, for the people, and by the people, where everyone can take part regarding decisions that will affect their life in the state.

See a more complete explanation about Democracy below:

Definition of Democracy

In a book entitled Political Communication, Media & Democracy by Henry Subiakto, the background, approaches, methods of studying political communication, political communication and political leadership are described which will shape democracy itself.

However, what is the meaning of democracy itself?

Democracy comes from the Greek words “Demos” and “Kratos” . Demos means people or audience, while Kratos means government. Democracy as a system of government that allows and gives rights, freedom to its citizens to express opinions and participate in decision-making in government.

Definition of Democracy According to Experts

Here are some definitions of democracy according to experts:

1. CF Strong

Democracy is a system of government in which the majority of the adult population participates in politics on the basis of a representation system, which then ensures that the government is accountable for its actions and decisions.

2. Haris Soche

Democracy as a form of people’s government, therefore in governmental power there is a portion for the people or the crowd to organize, defend and protect themselves from being coerced by other people or bodies who are responsible for governing.

3. Montesquieu

State power must be divided and implemented by three different and separate institutions or institutions, namely first, the legislature which is the holder of the power to make laws, second, the executive which has the power to implement laws, and the third is the judiciary. who holds the power to adjudicate the implementation of the law. And each of these institutions stands independently without being influenced by other institutions.

4. Aristotle

The principle of democracy is freedom, because only through freedom can every citizen share power within their country.

5. John L Esposito

In a democratic system, everyone has the right to participate, whether actively involved or controlling the policies issued by the government. In addition, of course in official government institutions there is a clear separation between executive, legislative and judicial elements.

6. Affan Gaffa

According to Affan, democracy itself is divided into two definitions. The first, if interpreted normatively, is democracy that the state ideally wants to realize, while empirically, democracy is the embodiment of the world of politics.

7.Abraham Lincoln

Democracy according to Abraham Lincoln is a matter based on the people. Abraham Lincoln explained that democracy is a government that comes from the people, by the people, and for the people.

8. Joseph A. Schemer

According to Joseph A. Schemer, democracy is an institutional plan. The planning is done to reach a political decision. Where each individual will gain the power to decide how to compete competitively. This was done on the basis of the people’s vote.

9. Aristotle

Democracy according to Aristotle is the freedom of every citizen. This freedom is used to share power. According to Aristotle, democracy is a freedom, the principle of democracy is freedom. That’s because only through freedom, every citizen can share a power within his own country.

A Brief History of Democracy in the World

The idea of ​​democracy as a system of government comes from Greek culture. With this system, the people will be directly involved in making decisions related to the sustainability of a country.

In a book entitled Throes of Democracy written by Walter A. Mcdougall there is a history of democratic upheaval that occurred in the United States from 1829 to 1877. If you are interested in buying, click “buy now” above.

So, all state matters must be discussed directly with the people. Pure democracy or direct democracy is the system that was carried out at that time. Thousands of years later, in the 6th century BC, a relatively democratic form of government was introduced in the Athenian states by Cleisthenes in 508 BC.

These conditions made Cleisthenes known as the father of Athenian democracy. At that time, Athens adopted a direct democracy and had two main features, namely the random election of citizens to fill administrative and judicial positions in the government, and a legislative assembly consisting of all Athenian citizens.

All of them at that time had the right to speak and vote in the Athenian assembly. Although made by the assembly, Athenian democracy runs with direct control of the people. The people will voice their opinions through assemblies or courts to help control politics.

Until the middle ages (6-15 AD) in Western Europe, this idea was not used anymore, there are many systems where elections are still carried out even though only a few people can join.

The British Parliament itself started from the Magna Carta, a document showing that the King’s powers were limited and protected certain rights of the people. The first elected parliament was the Parliament of De Montfort in England in 1265. However, only a few people could actually join because parliament was elected by a few.

Features of Democracy

Democracy is carried out so that the needs of the general public can be met. Policy making in a democracy depends on the wishes and aspirations of the people in general.

By determining policies in accordance with the wishes of the people, in a democratic country will create people’s satisfaction. A country itself is said to have implemented a democratic system, if it has fulfilled the following characteristics:

1. Have People’s Representatives

Indonesia has a legislative body called the People’s Representative Council (DPR) which has been elected through general elections. So that state affairs, power and people’s sovereignty are then represented through these members of the DPR.

2. Decisions Based on Citizens’ Aspirations and Interests

All decisions made by the government are based on the aspirations and interests of its citizens, and not merely personal or group interests. This also prevents rampant corrupt practices.

3. Applying Constitutional Characteristics

This relates to the will, interests or power of the people. Where it is also stated in the stipulation of law or law. The law that is created must also be applied fairly.

4. Holding General Elections

People’s parties must be held regularly until representatives or leaders are elected to run the wheels of government.

5. There is a party system

The party is a means or media to implement a democratic system. With the existence of a party, the people can also be elected as representatives of the people who function to be the successors of aspirations. The goal, of course, is for the government to realize the will of the people.

At the same time representatives of the people can control the work of government. If deviations occur, the people’s representatives can then take legal action.

Democracy Goals

In general, the aim of democracy is to create a prosperous, just and prosperous society with the concept of prioritizing justice, honesty and openness.

In concept, the goal of democracy in the life of the state also includes freedom of opinion and people’s sovereignty. For more details, here are some of the goals of democracy in general and their explanations:

1. Freedom of Opinion

The purpose of democracy is to give freedom of opinion and expression. A country that adheres to a democratic system of government, where its people have the freedom to express their opinions and voice their aspirations and expressions.

This is fundamental for a democracy. The guarantee of basic rights is also carried out openly as a way of uncovering and overcoming social problems that have not materialized.

2. Establishing Security and Order

In general, democracy aims to create security, order and peace in society. Democracy will guarantee the rights of every citizen and prioritize deliberation to solve joint solutions so that mutual security is established in the community.

3. Encouraging Active Communities in Government

Democracy prioritizes people’s sovereignty, so that the people will be involved in every government process, from direct general elections to giving aspirations regarding public policies. The people are encouraged to be actively involved in politics in order to advance the performance of the country’s government.

The existence of the role of the people in government will also make every citizen more responsible for the role he has as a citizen who is obliged to maintain the integrity of the country.

4. Limiting the Power of Government

The highest power in a country that adheres to a democratic system of government is in the hands of the people.

This means that the people have the right to give aspirations and criticize the government. The democratic government system also aims to limit government power, so as not to give rise to absolute or dictatorial power. With democracy it is hoped that it will create an accountable government, where the Government only functions as a representative of the people who are tasked with summarizing all the needs of the people.

The people can assess and demand if there is a discrepancy between the needs and the policies formulated. The people can file demands if the government violates the policies that have been made.

5. Prevent Disputes

In a democratic country, every problem or conflict that occurs will be resolved by deliberation. So it is hoped that by adopting a democratic system it can prevent disputes between groups and can resolve all problems peacefully.

Types of Democracy

The highest power in a democratic country belongs to the people, regardless of where these people come from or what background they have. All citizens are considered the same regardless of the background and origin of the people. Thus, in a democratic country all citizens are considered to have equality. Here are the types of democracy you need to know:

1. Parliamentary Democracy

Parliamentary democracy is a democracy that gives more power to the legislature or also called parliamentary democracy. The executive party obtains the right to power over its democracy only from the legislature, namely the parliament.

The head of state is also different from the head of government, and both have different levels of power. However, in most cases, the president is either a weak king (Britain) or an official leader (India).

2. Direct Democracy

Direct democracy or pure democracy is a type of democracy in which the people have direct power without representatives, intermediaries or parliamentary assemblies. This democracy requires broad participation in politics.

If the government has to pass certain laws or policies, those regulations will then be determined by the people. They vote on issues and determine the fate of their own country.

3. Indirect Democracy

Indirect democracy is when the people can choose who will represent their voice in parliament. This democracy is the most common form of democracy worldwide.

The emphasis is on protecting the rights not only of the majority of the people in the state, but also of minorities.

By electing more qualified representatives, minorities will then be able to voice their grievances in a more efficient manner.

4. Pancasila Democracy

Pancasila democracy is a democracy currently in force in Indonesia. Democracy that originates from the nation’s socio-cultural values ​​and is based on consensus deliberation by prioritizing the interests of the entire community or citizens as stated in the five Pancasila precepts.

As we know, Pancasila is the way of life of the Indonesian nation which has the meaning of crystallizing the various life experiences of the Indonesian people which have shaped the attitudes, character, behavior, values, philosophy, morals and ethics that have given birth to it.

5. Presidential Democracy

Under a presidential democratic system, the president is directly elected by the citizens.

The president and the executive branch of government are then not answerable to the legislature, however, cannot completely dissolve the legislature.

In a presidential democracy, the head of state is the head of government. Countries such as the United States, Argentina and Sudan have used this type of democracy.

In a book entitled The Indonesian Presidential System from Soekarno to Jokowi from Sarah Nuraini Siregar wants to explain the dynamics and effectiveness of the performance of the Indonesian presidential democratic system that has occurred from one period to another.

6. Liberal Democracy

Liberal democracy in a democracy that uses a political system with the understanding of giving individual freedom. Liberal democracy can also be said to be a democracy that prioritizes protecting individual rights from government power with notes according to constitutional law.

Therefore, in a liberal democracy, every decision will be made through a majority decision. This is done so that every policy that has been made does not violate the rights of every individual.

Examples of Democratic Attitudes

To make it easier for you to understand what democracy is, you can see some examples of democratic attitudes below.

1. Be fair to everyone

2. If in an organization, always prioritize deliberation in decision making

3. Always respect differences of opinion

4. Mutual respect and respect between fellow human beings

5. Participate in mutual cooperation activities

Democratic Principles

1. State Based on the Constitution

The definition of a democratic country is a country whose government and citizens make the constitution the basis for organizing the life of the nation and state. The constitution can be interpreted as the basic law or all legal regulations that apply in a country.

As a principle of democracy, the existence of a constitution is very important because it is in the administration of state life.

The constitution functions to limit the authority of the ruler or government and guarantee the rights of the people. Thus, the ruler or government will not act arbitrarily towards the people and the people will not act in anarchy in exercising their rights and fulfilling their obligations.

2. Guarantee of protection of human rights

Human rights are basic rights or basic rights that humans have from birth as a gift from God Almighty.

Human rights include the right to live, freedom to embrace religion, freedom to associate, assemble and express opinions, as well as other rights according to the provisions of the law.

Protection of human rights is one of the principles of a democratic country because protection of human rights is essentially part of the development of a democratic country.

3. Freedom of opinion and association

Democracy provides an opportunity for everyone to think and use conscience and express opinions in a good way.

In addition, one of the principles of democracy is to recognize and provide freedom to associate or form organizations.

Everyone is allowed to gather and form an identity with the organization he founded. Through this organization everyone can fight for their rights and at the same time fulfill their obligations.

4. Periodic Change of Power

The idea of ​​the necessity of limiting power in the principles of democracy was coined by Lord Acton. Lord Acton stated that government held by humans is full of weaknesses. His well-known opinion is “power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Humans who have power tend to abuse power. The periodic change of power aims to limit the power or authority of the ruler. Periodic change of power can minimize abuses in government such as corruption, collusion and nepotism. The replacement of a head of state or head of a region can be carried out with an honest and fair general election mechanism.

5. Free and Impartial Justice

Free judiciary is a judiciary that stands alone and is free from interference from other parties, including the hands of the authorities. An independent court is a democratic principle that is absolutely necessary for the rule of law to be enforced properly.

Judges have the opportunity and freedom to discover the truth and enforce the law indiscriminately.

Neutral position is needed to see the problem clearly and precisely. This clarity of understanding will help the judge find the real truth. Furthermore, the judge can consider the existing situation and apply the law fairly to the litigants.

6. Law Enforcement and Equality

The equality of citizens before the law will bring about the authority of the law. Every Citizen Before the Law Law is an instrument to uphold truth and justice. Therefore, the implementation of the rule of law must not be one-sided or indiscriminate.

Any unlawful act must be dealt with strictly. When the law has authority, the law will be obeyed by every citizen.

7. Guarantee of Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press is one of the important pillars of democratic principles. A free press can be a medium for the public to channel their aspirations and provide criticism and input to the government in making public policies.

On the other hand, the press is also a means of disseminating programs made by the government. Through the press it is hoped that good communication can be established between the government and the community.

The democratic government system is the safest system of government because the government and the people can interact with each other through a council that has been elected by the people. Countries with a democratic system prevent the existence of a single power from the government because the people participate in government through an elected council. That’s all the info about democracy, I hope it’s useful, friend!