Rise of Democracy Vocab Pt. 2
Direct democracy, or pure democracy, is a system in which the people themselves make decisions in mass meetings. The first example of this was in Ancient Athens, and its use later appeared in parts of Switzerland. Although it ensures that every opinion is voiced, this process can be chaotic when involving a large number of people. Direct democracy is most practical in small communities.
Representative democracy is a system in which elected officials represent a group of people and pass laws on their behalf. It is efficient and organized, and is the most common political system in the world. Many western civilizations such as the US, Great Britain, and France use some form of this government.
A republic is a state in which the power is of the people and their chosen representatives. A leader is also voted by the public, rather than being a monarch or dictator with supreme power. This political system is very similar to a representative democracy and is what we use in the USA.
The form of government known as aristocracy gives power to the privileged/noble class of society, or aristocrats. The term aristocracy is derived from the greek word “aristokratia,” meaning “rule of the best.” The leaders are considered superior in all ways and are easily corrupted.
Oligarchy is a form of government run by a small number of powerful people such as military leaders or individuals of wealth and nobility. “Oligarkhía” is the greek word meaning “few rule,” and an example of this government was in ancient Sparta. Though some nations still use this political system, it is prone to tyranny and corruption.
Autocracy is a government form in which a single individual holds absolute power. The autocrat is the sole ruler, and makes decisions unrestricted by others’ input. Dictators, monarchs, and tyrants can be the rulers of an autocracy.
Governments in the form of a monarchy are run by a monarch who inherits leadership from their (royal) family. This form of government was popular until the 1800s, however in modern times it is mostly used for ceremonial purposes (the Queen of England). Monarchs can have no power, or can hold complete control.
Monotheism is the belief in a single God. Christianity, Juadaism, and Islam are examples of religions that practice monotheism. They believe that God is the sole Creator of all things.
Polytheism is the belief in multiple deities. In most cases, polytheistic gods/goddesses represent elements in nature or ethical principles. Hinduism and Buddhism are two examples of polytheistic religions.
A dictator is a ruler with complete power over a nation. No forms of independent beliefs or political pluralism is tolerated. Dictatorship originated in Rome, but was only used in times of crisis when a leader was needed to make decisions for the nation. Unfortunately it evolved into an oppressive political system, with a usually abusive ruler. A modern day example is Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria.