MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

645 views

What is democracy?

Bernard Crick noted that democracy is 'perhaps the most promiscous word' in political discourse. Therefore, establishing precisely what is meant by 'democracy' is a difficult task. 

The word finds its roots in the Greek 'Demokratia'; which translates to 'rule' (kratos) by 'the people' (demos). This Ancient Greek conception of democracy was 'direct' in that the people themselves participated in the decision making. Whereas, modern 'representational' democracy sees people elect politicians to do that decision making for them. 

The former model of democracy is more faithful to the idea of 'rule by the people', whereas, the latter 'representational' model perhaps provides a more practical method of government. 

Beyond this distinction between direct and representational democracy there are a host of other questions that can be raised. Is democracy merely the existence of free elections, or does it entail a wider provision of rights and freedoms? If so, at what point can we define a state as being truly democratic? Are there degrees of democracy, or is it a binary state?

Therefore, it is clear that the concept of democracy is perhaps more difficult to establish than one might imagine. Perhaps a better way to establish the nature of democracy, is to establish what it isnt. Democracy isnt a dictatorship or an absolute monarchy. Power should not be entirely vested in an individual or a small elite. In a democracy citizens must have a level of control over their leaders. Abraham Lincoln's proclamation that representative democracy should be 'of the people, by the people and for the people' is perhaps the most succint encapsulation of this idea.

Angus H.

1 year ago

Answered by Angus, an A Level Politics tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

26 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£26 /hr

Claudia B.

Degree: Politics and International Relations (minored in Geography) (Bachelors) - Lancaster University

Subjects offered:Politics, Geography+ 3 more

Politics
Geography
English Literature
-Personal Statements-

“I am passionate about studying and try to instil the same passion in my students. I have previous experience as an English teacher in Cambodia and sports coach.”

£22 /hr

Jake B.

Degree: History and Politics (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered:Politics, History

Politics
History

“I offer A Level and GCSE tutorials on History and Politics. These subjects have opened my eyes, and I love to share my enthusiasm and experience with students!”

£20 /hr

Thomas N.

Degree: Politics Philosophy and Economics (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered:Politics, Maths+ 1 more

Politics
Maths
Chemistry

“Hi my name is Tom. I study at the university of York doing PPE. I tutor in chemistry, maths at GCSE level and politics A level”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

£20 /hr

Angus H.

Degree: Politics (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered:Politics, Philosophy+ 1 more

Politics
Philosophy
English Literature

“Top tutor from the renowned Russell university group, ready to help you improve your grades.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level Politics questions

What is meant by the term 'sofa government'?

I'm struggling with supporting my arguments with theory. How do I tackle this?

What is the Conservative view of human nature?

How can I best prepare for a politics essay-based exam?

View A Level Politics tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok