StudyCorgi Politics & Government

Democracy in the United States


Democracy refers to a system of governance where citizens play a significant role in making decisions on how they are to be governed (Sullivan 19). Citizens exercise their rights by electing leaders. In other words, democracy can be defined as a situation where the majority has the say on matters to do with governance. Citizens hold the supreme power, which they exercise through legislative bodies. Democracy is believed to comprise four primary features. It embodies a political structure that allows people to elect and recall the government. In addition, it allows all people to participate in public and political life.

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Democracy emphasizes on the need to uphold and safeguard human rights of all people regardless of their race, creed or financial status. Additionally, it supports the rule of law and treats all people equally. Today, it is hard to find a nation that practices pure democracy. The majority of countries practice representative democracy where few people, particularly legislators make critical decisions on behalf of citizens. This paper will discuss democracy in the United States. It will determine how the United States exercises democracy and how it violates justice. Besides, it will consider the benefits of democracy and give recommendations on what the United States should do to strengthen democracy.

Practical Application of Democracy

Presently, there are numerous forms of democracy worldwide. Some types of democracies give citizens the power to elect leaders and run their countries while some vest powers in a small group of influential individuals. Democracy is credited with ensuring that the governments do not use their powers to enrich themselves at the expense of the public. It ensures that there is clear separation of powers among different state institutions, therefore guaranteeing that no single institution has exclusive powers. As aforementioned, many countries exercise representative democracy, where citizens exercise their political powers indirectly (Pastor 17).

There are claims that representative democracy does not help to meet people’s needs. At times, officials use their powers to pursue personal objectives and discount public interests. Nevertheless, representative democracy has numerous benefits not only for a country, but also to citizens. It gives citizens ultimate power to recall representatives if they do not perform according to public expectations. Thus, representative democracy guarantees stability and accountability in administration. Individuals who are elected to represent the citizens ensure that they deliberate on issues before making decisions.

One of the greatest benefits of democracy is that it helps to safeguard the interests of people. Democracy bestows power on citizens. Indeed, it is believed that a democratic system helps to propagate social, political and economic interests of citizens. Presently, representative democracy incorporates democratic political actions. For instance, in Switzerland, people have rights to participate in national politics (Pastor 20).

They recommend amendments to the federal constitution and can demand for a referendum if they feel that some laws were not established through the right procedures. Even though the United States does not exercise direct democracy, there is a significant degree of democracy in its system of governance. The country does not witness political strife witnessed in many countries, thanks to democracy. Citizens are allowed to participate in political issues through voting. Besides, the majority of states hold citizen-sponsored referendums aimed at changing laws to suit public interests. Democracy helps to curb cases of revolution in the United States and many other countries because people are given a chance to air their grievances and actions taken immediately. National affairs are managed through consensus, therefore shunning cases of revolution.

Discrimination hinders national development. State regimes discriminate against certain groups of people due to their belief, race or political affiliation. Consequently, it is hard for such groups to develop economically, socially, and politically, thus affecting overall national growth. Democracy is founded on the canon of equality. Hence, it is paramount to economic, social, and political growth of a country. It maintains that all people are equal and should be accorded equal opportunities to social, political and economic growth. Hence, democracy ensures that the government provides homogeneous services to all people regardless of their political affiliation or race. Apart from ensuring social, political and economic growth of a country, democracy promotes social cohesion among citizens. People are treated equally. Thus, they see each other as equal citizens, and therefore interact without prejudice.

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United States as a Democratic Country

The United States is known to use democracy to address its national affairs. The state respects the will of the majority. Americans have the freedom to elect their legislators who are supposed to serve for a short period in order to give others the opportunities to lead. As a sign of democracy, the United States has bestowed a lot of power on the legislature, which comprises of representatives elected by citizens (Lipset 69).

Hence, they represent the interests of the citizens at the national level. Citizens have the right to choose attorneys in a majority of states in the United States. In addition, everyone’s opinion counts. Lipset posits that the United States applies the theory of equality in making decisions (70). It holds that the correct and most feasible solution is one that receives massive support from the public. Indeed, President Abraham Lincoln once defined the American government as one made by people and aimed at serving people’s interests.

There are numerous key principles that depict the United States as a democratic nation. First, the country upholds the rule of law. All people are equal before the law and are treated equally. The United States ensures that its laws do not discriminate against particular people. Second, the United States promotes democratic representation (Lipset 97). All legislators are democratically elected by the public. Therefore, they propagate the interests of the people who send them to parliament. Every person of voting age has a right to participate in all forms of elections in the United States. This ensures that all Americans are democratically represented in federal institutions.

United States as an Undemocratic Country

One of the factors that depict the United States as an undemocratic state is the use of Electoral College system in presidential elections. Slaveholders established the Electoral College system as a means to safeguard their interests. However, Americans continue to use the system hundreds of years after the abolishment of slavery and declaration of independence. Slaveholders held that Americans could not manage to elect the best president (Lijphart 7). Hence, they came up with a system that enabled each state to appoint representatives who would later meet and elect the president. Today, the Electoral College system denies the Americans the right to elect their president democratically. There have been cases of unpopular individuals ascending to presidency as witnessed in 2000.

Democracy helps to ensure that all people benefit from national resources, and their interests are served equally. However, this does not happen in the United States. The Congress does not pay attention to the plight of the minority groups. Instead, its policies are aimed at benefiting white financial elites. Cases of Congressional Black Caucus colluding with white Democrat allies are prevalent in the United States (Lijphart 11).

Instead of fighting for the rights of the minority groups, the Black Caucus succumbs to manipulation in order to preserve their positions. Democracy upholds equal representation in terms of gender, which is not manifested in the United States’ Congress. Despite women being more than men, they are underrepresented in the Congress. The United States is always first in criticizing countries that perpetuate gender discrimination. However, it does the same back home. The United States still oppresses the minority groups and deny them an opportunity to exercise their democratic rights.


The United States should implement numerous changes so as to strengthen its democracy. First, the country should abolish the Electoral College system. The system denies Americans the right to elect their president democratically. It imposes a president on the citizens. Consequently, it is hard for Americans to pressure or control the president. Delegates from all states may conspire to elect a president that supports their personal agendas. In such a case, it would be hard for Americans to tame the president. In a democratic system, citizens have the ultimate powers. However, in the United States, a few individuals have the power to make all decisions.

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The country should change this system and give Americans the power to elect a president and to make and amend laws to suit their interests. In addition, the United States should come up with laws that guarantee gender representation in the Congress and other state institutions. For instance, it can establish a law that requires a third of all elected officials to be from one gender. This will ensure that women get a chance to serve in the Congress.

Today, Americans are forced to select between two presidential candidates. The country needs to have numerous political parties so as to give Americans a chance to choose from a number of presidential candidates. Currently, many Americans vote for candidates who do not fight for their rights and values since they are presented with only two options. Moreover, the country should change the way political parties acquire their campaign funds. Presidential candidates get funds from lobbyists (Smith 1053). Once a person becomes the president, s/he is forced to comply with lobbyists’ demands as a way to compensate them for their support. Thus, it becomes hard for the president to discharge his/her duties in line with the United States’ constitution.


Democracy refers to a system of governance where citizens have powers to make decisions on how they are to be governed. It ensures that all people are treated equally irrespective of their gender, race, faith or financial status. The United States practices representative democracy where Americans chose legislators who elect the president and formulate laws. Nevertheless, the use of Electoral College system deprives the Americans of their democratic right to elect the president. The United States should abolish Electoral College system as a way to strengthen its democracy.

Works Cited

Lijphart, Arend. “Unequal Participation: Democracy’s Unresolved Dilemma Presidential Address, American Political Science Association, 1996.” American Political Science Review 91.1 (2014): 1-14. Print.

Lipset, Seymour Martin. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy.” American Political Science Review 53.1 (2012): 69-105. Print.

Pastor, Robert. “The Role of Electoral Administration in Democratic Transitions: Implications for Policy and Research.” Democratization 6.4 (1999): 10-27. Print.

Smith, Bradley. “Faulty assumptions and Undemocratic Consequences of Campaign Finance Reforms.” The Yale Law Journal 105.4 (1996): 1049-1091. Print.

Sullivan, John Lawrence. Political Tolerance and American Democracy, London: The University of Chicago, 1993. Print.

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