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Exploring the Key Distinctions between Democracy and Other Forms of Government

Jan 18, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jan 18, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


A government is a group of people governing a unit or a community. It administers and sets public policy and exercises political, executive and sovereign power through laws, institutions and customs within a state (Benoit 23). There are different forms of government, and they include democracy, monarchy, republic, aristocracy and dictatorship among others. Generally the governments are responsible for enacting and enforcing laws, protecting he populace from internal and external threats, managing currency, set tax rates and regulate the country’s investments practices (Haugen, David and Susan 61).

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Differences between democracy and other forms of government

There are different forms of governments in place in various countries in the world including democracy. Democracy according to Benoit is the rule of the people (19). Democracy is a political system where the populace or the people in the country have a say in the matters and issues that affect their lives because they have power of electing their representatives who lead them and also remove them from office when they do not satisfy their aspirations (Moore 44). Democracy is also referred to as the rule of the ballot where people go in elections to elect their leaders or candidates whom they believe are right ad can run the country’s administration. Despite the fact that democracy worldwide is the preferred form of polity, other forms of governments are followed in other countries. Other non-democratic political structures or forms of governments are referred to as non-democracies.

The first difference between democracy and other forms of governments is that a democracy is a form of government that is of the people, by the people and for the people. Elections that are free and fair are the democracies hallmark where people vote and elect their representatives governing them through a rule of law. Therefore, people have a say in the passage of legislation and development through their representatives elected (Benoit 107).

According to Haugen, David and Susan, another notable difference of democracy and other forms of government is the feature of the rule of the majority (39). For instance, in a two party democracy, the party having the highest number of elected representatives or the majority party forms the government and rules. Similarly, in a multiparty democracy, the parties that are like minded forms a coalition and the coalition having the highest number of representatives elected choose a candidate amongst them when they are in power and the candidate becomes the head of the government.

Democracy compared to other forms of government that are non-democratic such as aristocracy, autocracy, authoritarianism, communism, military rule among others has significant differences. The fundamental difference between other forms of government and democracy is that in a democracy people enjoy a lot of freedom and equality unlike other non-democratic forms of government. Moreover, unlike other forms of government, in a democracy, people have a say in a legislation passage (Benoit 27).

a) Democracy verses Monarchy

In Democratic form of government, the governing power is derived from the people while, in monarchy, an individual referred to as monarch has all the political power and is the head of state. The origin of democracy is traced in Greece while monarchy has no clear definition of origin. Democratic governments are headed by representative elected while in monarchy including the constitutional monarchies such as Thailand and United Kingdom are not elected but inherited. This implies that individuals in the bloodline and heritage get the position and power (Haugen, David and Susan 91).

Another difference according to Moore is that in a democracy, all people are equal before the law while, in monarchy system, the monarch is the law (65). Lastly, in a democratic form of government, the citizens are promised in terms of freedom and equality while, in monarchy, freedom of individuals is so restricted to the privilege depends on monarch’s considerations.

b) Democracy verses dictatorship

There are significant differences between democracy form of government and dictatorship in terms of their concepts and methodologies. For instance, in a dictatorship, the dictator enjoys and has an absolute rule in a state or a country while, in a democracy, the choice of creating laws lies with the people. Similarly, another difference is that in a democracy, there is a self-indulgence where the people chose for themselves what is best. In contrast, in a dictatorship, someone else chooses to the people what he or she thinks is good (Benoit 33).

Dictatorship government frames laws are governing people’s rights and the economy, in addition to outlining governing laws of private property. In contrast, in a democracy, the power of creating laws lies with the people (Haugen, David and Susan 112).

Moore stated that in a dictatorship, citizens are unhappy with anything then they will continue being unhappy for the rest of their lives (82). In contrast, if the citizens are unhappy in a democracy with something, there is a chance of changing it to make it right because there is people’s involvement.

Benoit observed that in framing laws dominating certain sections, dictatorship is very much efficient (35). On the other hand, there is no place in a democracy for creating dominating laws on certain people or sections or to oppress certain groups. Similarly, in a dictatorship, personal liberties and freedom have to be sacrificed completely. On the contrary, in a democracy always there is respect of people’s personal liberties and freedoms. In fact, democracy safeguards and encourages freedom of speech, expression to every citizen in the nation. Lastly, in a dictatorship, the time taken for implementing decisions is fairly fast whereas in a democracy, the decision implementation process is slow (Haugen, David and Susan 112).

c) Theocracy verses democracy

Moore (85) pointed out that in theocracy, which is a form of government with a supreme religious leader, who has the power of ruling by decree and is also above the rule of law has great difference with democracy. Despite the fact that in a theocracy elections are held similar to democracy, the supreme leader has the power of dismissing even the president chosen if he desires. A classical theocracy case is in Iran

d) Democracy verses republic

Republic form of governing involves election of a legislative body, an executive, a judiciary to recognize individual rights and uphold justice in a nation. The first significant difference between democracy and republic is that in a democracy, there is majority rule while in a republic there is the state chief, usually a president at the helm of affairs (Benoit 41).

According to Haugen, David and Susan, both republic and democracy governments are elected by the people. However, in the democracy case the majority rules while in a republic the government rules in accordance to the law (110).

The best system of government

There are various systems of governance in many countries and states of the world, but the most preferred one is a democracy. However, there are also other forms of governments that are non-democratic in the world. The essay believes that Democracies is the best system of government because it is characterized by equality and rule of law and freedom of the people unlike other forms of government that are non-democratic. The non-democratic forms of government have less equality and freedom for the people.

Work Cited

Benoit, Peter. Forms of Government. , 2014. Print.

Haugen, David M, and Susan Musser. Democracy. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Print.

Moore, Barrington. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Boston: Beacon Press, 2013. Print.

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