Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system. It is derived from the Greek δημοκρατία "popular government which was coined from δήμος (dēmos), "people" and κράτος (kratos), "rule, strength" in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC. In this form, there were no defined human rights or legal restraints upon the actions of assembly, making it the first instance of "illiberal democracy.
In political theory, democracy describes a small number of related forms of government and also a political philosophy. Even though there is no universally accepted definition of 'democracy', there are two principles that any definition of democracy includes. The first principle is that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second that all members enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties.
There are several varieties of democracy, some of which provide better representation and more freedoms for their citizens than others. However, if any democracy is not carefully legislated to avoid an uneven distribution of political power with balances such as the separation of powers, then a branch of the system of rule is able to accumulate power in a way that is harmful to democracy itself. The "majority rule" is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without responsible government it is possible for the rights of a minority to be abused by the "tyranny of the majority". An essential process in representative democracies are competitive elections, that are fair both substantively and procedurally. Furthermore, freedom of political expression, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential so that citizens are informed and able to vote in their personal interests.
Popular sovereignty is common but not a universal motivating philosophy for establishing a democracy. In some countries, democracy is based on the philosophical principle of equal rights. Many people use the term "democracy" as shorthand for liberal democracy, which may include additional elements such as political pluralism, equality before the law, the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances, due process, civil liberties, human rights, and elements of civil society outside the government. In the United States, separation of powers is often cited as a supporting attribute, but in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the dominant philosophy is parliamentary sovereignty (though in practice judicial independence is generally maintained). In other cases, "democracy" is used to mean direct democracy. Though the term "democracy" is typically used in the context of a political state, the principles are also applicable to private organizations and other groups.
Democracy has its origins in ancient Greece. However other cultures have significantly contributed to the evolution of democracy such as Ancient Rome, Europe, and North and South America. Democracy has been called the "last form of government" and has spread considerably across the globe. Suffrage has been expanded in many jurisdictions over time from relatively narrow groups (such as wealthy men of a particular ethnic group), but still remains a controversial issue with regard to disputed territories, areas with significant immigration, and countries that exclude certain demographic groups.
Forms of democracy
involves the selection of government officials by the people being represented. The most common mechanisms involve election of the candidate with a majority or a plurality of the votes.
Representatives may be elected or become diplomatic representatives by a particular district (or constituency), or represent the entire electorate proportionally proportional systems, with some using a combination of the two. Some representative democracies also incorporate elements of direct democracy, such as referendums. A characteristic of representative democracy is that while the representatives are elected by the people to act in their interest, they retain the freedom to exercise their own judgment as how best to do so.
where government is appointed by parliamentary representatives as opposed to a 'presidential rule' by decree dictatorship. Under a parliamentary democracy, government is exercised by delegation to an executive ministry and subject to ongoing review, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people.
A Liberal democracy
is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law
, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities (see civil liberties
- See: Constitutional democracy
is a political system where the citizens participate in the decision-making personally, contrary to relying on intermediaries or representatives. The supporters of direct democracy argue that democracy is more than merely a procedural issue (i.e., voting). Most direct democracies to date have been weak forms, relatively small communities, usually city-states
. However, some see the extensive use of referendums
, as in California
, as akin to direct democracy in a very large polity with more than 20 million in California, 1898-1998 (2000) (ISBN 0-8047-3821-1).
, five million voters decide on national referendums and initiatives
two to four times a year; direct democratic instruments are also well established at the cantonal and communal level. Vermont
towns have been known for their yearly town meetings, held every March to decide on local issues.
thought has several different views on democracy. Social democracy
, democratic socialism
, and the dictatorship of the proletariat
(usually exercised through Soviet democracy
) are some examples. Many democratic socialists and social democrats believe in a form of participatory democracy
and workplace democracy
combined with a representative democracy
Within Marxist orthodoxy there is a hostility to what is commonly called "liberal democracy", which they simply refer to as parliamentary democracy because of its often centralized nature. Because of their desire to eliminate the political elitism they see in capitalism, Marxists, Leninists and Trotskyists believe in direct democracy implemented though a system of communes (which are sometimes called soviets). This system ultimately manifests itself as council democracy and begins with workplace democracy. (See Democracy in Marxism)
The only form of democracy considered acceptable to many anarchists is direct democracy. Some anarchists
oppose direct democracy while others favour it. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
argued that the only acceptable form of direct democracy is one in which it is recognized that majority decisions are not binding on the minority, even when unanimous. However, anarcho-communist Murray Bookchin
criticized individualist anarchists
for opposing democracy, and says "majority rule" is consistent with anarchism.
Some anarcho-communists oppose the majoritarian nature of direct democracy, feeling that it can impede individual liberty and opt in favour of a non-majoritarian form of consensus democracy
, similar to Proudhon's position on direct democracy.
society had a form of participatory democracy and representative democracy. Iroquois government and law was discussed by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Because of this, some scholars regard it to have influenced the formation of American representative democracy. Others disagree.
Sometimes called "democracy without elections", sortition
is the process of choosing decision makers via a random process. The intention is that those chosen will be representative of the opinions and interests of the people at large, and be more fair and impartial than an elected official. The technique was in widespread use in Athenian Democracy
and is still used in modern jury selection
. It is not universally agreed that sortition should be considered "democracy" due to the lack of actual elections.
requires varying degrees of consensus rather than just a mere democratic majority. It typically attempts to protect minority rights from domination by majority rule.
seeks to utilise information technology to involve voters in law making. It provides a system for proposing new laws, prioritising proposals, clarifying them through parliament and validating them through referendum.
The term democracy
first appeared in ancient Greek
political and philosophical thought. The philosopher Plato
, the system of "rule by the governed", with the alternative systems of monarchy
(rule by one individual), oligarchy
(rule by a small élite class) and timocracy
Although Athenian democracy
is today considered by many to have been a form of direct democracy, originally it had two distinguishing features: firstly the allotment (selection by lot) of ordinary citizens to government offices and courts, and secondarily the assembly of all the citizens. All the male Athenian citizens were eligible to speak and vote in the Assembly, which set the laws of the city-state, but neither political rights, nor citizenship, were granted to women
, or poor
. Of the 250,000 inhabitants only some 30,000 on average were citizens. Of those 30,000 perhaps 5,000 might regularly attend one or more meetings of the popular Assembly. Most of the officers and magistrates of Athenian government were allotted; only the generals (strategoi
) and a few other officers were elected.
The island of Arwad, settled in the early 2nd millennium BC by the Phoenicians, has been cited as one of the first known examples of a democracy in the world. In Arwad, the people, rather than a monarch, are described as sovereign. In Greek, Arwad was known as Arado or Arados. Another example of a primitive democracy were the early Sumerian city-states. Vaishali in what is now Bihar, India is also one of the first governments in the world to have elements of what we would today consider democracy, similar to those found in ancient Greece (although it was not a monarchy, ancient Vaishali is perhaps better described as an oligarchy).
Even though the Roman Republic contributed significantly into certain aspects of democracy, such as Laws, it never became a democracy. The Romans had elections for choosing representatives, but again women, slaves, and the large foreign population were excluded. Also the votes of the wealthy were given more weight and almost all high officials, such as being member of Senate, come from a few wealthy and noble families.
A serious claim for early democratic institutions comes from the independent "republics" of India, sanghas and ganas, which existed as early as the sixth century BCE and persisted in some areas until the fourth century CE. The evidence is scattered and no pure historical source exists for that period. In addition, Diodorus (a Greek historian at the time of Alexander the Great's excursion of India), without offering any detail, mentions that independent and democratic states existed in India. However, modern scholars note that the word democracy at the third century BC had been degraded and could mean any autonomous state no matter how oligarchic it was..
During the Middle Ages
, there were various systems involving elections or assemblies, although often only involving a minority of the population, such as the election of Uthman
in the Rashidun Caliphate
, the election of Gopala
, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
, the Althing
, certain medieval Italian
city-states such as Venice
, the tuatha
system in early medieval Ireland, the Veche
Republics of medieval Russia, Scandinavian Things
, The States
and the autonomous merchant city of Sakai
in the 16th century in Japan. However, participation was often restricted to a minority, and so may be better classified as oligarchy
. Most regions in medieval Europe were ruled by clergy or feudal lords.
The Parliament of England had its roots in the restrictions on the power of kings written into Magna Carta. The first elected parliament was De Montfort's Parliament in England in 1265. However only a small minority actually had a voice; Parliament was elected by only a few percent of the population (less than 3% in 1780.), and the system had problematic features such as rotten boroughs. The power to call parliament was at the pleasure of the monarch (usually when he or she needed funds). After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the English Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, which codified certain rights and increased the influence of the Parliament. The franchise was slowly increased and the Parliament gradually gained more power until the monarch became largely a figurehead.
Democracy was also seen to a certain extent in bands and tribes such as the Iroquois Confederacy. However, in the Iroquois Confederacy only the males of certain clans could be leaders and some clans were excluded. Only the oldest females from the same clans could choose and remove the leaders. This excluded most of the population. An interesting detail is that there should be consensus among the leaders, not majority support decided by voting, when making decisions. Band societies, such as the Bushmen, which usually number 20-50 people in the band often do not have leaders and make decisions based on consensus among the majority. In Melanesia, farming village communities have traditionally been egalitarian and lacking in a rigid, authoritarian hierarchy. Although a "Big man" or "Big woman" could gain influence, that influence was conditional on a continued demonstration of leadership skills, and on the willingness of the community. Every person was expected to share in communal duties, and entitled to participate in communal decisions. However, strong social pressure encouraged conformity and discouraged individualism.
18th and 19th centuries
Although not described as a democracy by the founding fathers
, the United States founders shared a commitment to the principle of natural freedom and equality. The United States Constitution
, adopted in 1788, provided for an elected government and protected civil rights and liberties. However, in the colonial period before 1776, only adult white male property owners could vote; enslaved Africans, free black people and women were not extended the franchise. On the American frontier
, democracy became a way of life, with widespread social, economic and political equality. However the frontier did not produce much democracy in Canada, Australia or Russia. By the 1840s almost all property restrictions were ended and nearly all white adult male citizens could vote; and turnout averaged 60-80% in frequent elections for local, state and national officials. The system gradually evolved, from Jeffersonian Democracy
to Jacksonian Democracy
and beyond. In Reconstruction
after the Civil War (late 1860s) the newly freed slaves became citizens with (in the case of men) a nominal right to vote.
In 1789, Revolutionary France adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and, although short-lived, the National Convention was elected by all males.
Liberal democracies were few and often short-lived before the late nineteenth century. Various nations and territories have claimed to be the first with universal suffrage.
20th century transitions to liberal democracy have come in successive "waves of democracy," variously resulting from wars, revolutions, decolonization
, and economic circumstances. World War I
and the dissolution of the Ottoman
empires resulted in the creation of new nation-states in Europe, most of them at least nominally democratic. In the 1920s democracy flourished, but the Great Depression
brought disenchantment, and most of the countries of Europe, Latin America, and Asia turned to strong-man rule or dictatorships. Fascism
and dictatorships flourished in Nazi Germany
, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as well as nondemocratic regimes in the Baltics, the Balkans, Brazil, Cuba, China, and Japan, among others.
World War II brought a definitive reversal of this trend in western Europe. The successful democratization of the American, British, and French sectors of occupied Germany (disputed), Austria, Italy, and the occupied Japan served as a model for the later theory of regime change. However, most of Eastern Europe, including the Soviet sector of Germany was forced into the non-democratic Soviet bloc. The war was followed by decolonization, and again most of the new independent states had nominally democratic constitutions. India, however emerged as the world's largest democracy and continues to be so. In the decades following World War II, most western democratic nations had mixed economies and developed a welfare state, reflecting a general consensus among their electorates and political parties. In the 1950s and 1960s, economic growth was high in both the western and Communist countries; it later declined in the state-controlled economies. By 1960, the vast majority of nation-states were nominally democracies, although the majority of the world's populations lived in nations that experienced sham elections, and other forms of subterfuge (particularly in Communist nations and the former colonies.)
A subsequent wave of democratization brought substantial gains toward true liberal democracy for many nations. Spain, Portugal (1974), and several of the military dictatorships in South America returned to civilian rule in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Argentina in 1983, Bolivia, Uruguay in 1984, Brazil in 1985, and Chile in the early 1990s). This was followed by nations in East and South Asia by the mid- to late 1980s. Economic malaise in the 1980s, along with resentment of communist oppression, contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the associated end of the Cold War, and the democratization and liberalization of the former Eastern bloc countries. The most successful of the new democracies were those geographically and culturally closest to western Europe, and they are now members or candidate members of the European Union . The liberal trend spread to some nations in Africa in the 1990s, most prominently in South Africa. Some recent examples of attempts of liberalization include the Indonesian Revolution of 1998, the Bulldozer Revolution in Yugoslavia, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan.
Currently, there are 123 countries that are democratic, and the trend is increasing (up from 40 in 1972). As such, it has been speculated that this trend may continue in the future to the point where liberal democratic nation-states become the universal standard form of human society. This prediction forms the core of Francis Fukayama's "End of History" controversial theory. These theories are criticized by those who fear an evolution of liberal democracies to Post-democracy, and other who points out the high number of illiberal democracies.
contrasted rule by the many (democracy/polity
), with rule by the few (oligarchy
), and with rule by a single person (tyranny
or today autocracy
). He also thought that there was a good and a bad variant of each system (he considered democracy to be the degenerate counterpart to polity).
For Aristotle the underlying principle of democracy is freedom, since only in a democracy the citizens can have a share in freedom. In essence, he argues that this is what every democracy should make its aim. There are two main aspects of freedom: being ruled and ruling in turn, since everyone is equal according to number, not merit, and to be able to live as one pleases.
But one factor of liberty is to govern and be governed in turn; for the popular principle of justice is to have equality according to number, not worth, and if this is the principle of justice prevailing, the multitude must of necessity be sovereign and the decision of the majority must be final and must constitute justice, for they say that each of the citizens ought to have an equal share; so that it results that in democracies the poor are more powerful than the rich, because there are more of them and whatever is decided by the majority is sovereign. This then is one mark of liberty which all democrats set down as a principle of the constitution. And one is for a man to live as he likes; for they say that this is the function of liberty, inasmuch as to live not as one likes is the life of a man that is a slave. This is the second principle of democracy, and from it has come the claim not to be governed, preferably not by anybody, or failing that, to govern and be governed in turns; and this is the way in which the second principle contributes to equalitarian liberty.
Among political theorists, there are many contending conceptions of democracy.
- Aggregative democracy uses democratic processes to solicit citizens’ preferences and then aggregate them together to determine what social policies society should adopt. Therefore, proponents of this view hold that democratic participation should primarily focus on voting, where the policy with the most votes gets implemented. There are different variants of this:
- Under minimalism, democracy is a system of government in which citizens give teams of political leaders the right to rule in periodic elections. According to this minimalist conception, citizens cannot and should not “rule” because, for example, on most issues, most of the time, they have no clear views or their views are not well-founded. Joseph Schumpeter articulated this view most famously in his book Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. Contemporary proponents of minimalism include William H. Riker, Adam Przeworski, Richard Posner.
- Direct democracy, on the other hand, holds that citizens should participate directly, not through their representatives, in making laws and policies. Proponents of direct democracy offer varied reasons to support this view. Political activity can be valuable in itself, it socializes and educates citizens, and popular participation can check powerful elites. Most importantly, citizens do not really rule themselves unless they directly decide laws and policies.
- Governments will tend to produce laws and policies that are close to the views of the median voter with half to his left and the other half to his right. This is not actually a desirable outcome as it represents the action of self-interested and somewhat unaccountable political elites competing for votes. Downs suggests that ideological political parties are necessary to act as a mediating broker between individual and governments.Anthony Downs laid out this view in his 1957 book An Economic Theory of Democracy.
- Robert A. Dahl argues that the fundamental democratic principle is that, when it comes to binding collective decisions, each person in a political community is entitled to have his/her interests be given equal consideration (not necessarily that all people are equally satisfied by the collective decision). He uses the term polyarchy to refer to societies in which there exists a certain set of institutions and procedures which are perceived as leading to such democracy. First and foremost among these institutions is the regular occurrence of free and open elections which are used to select representatives who then manage all or most of the public policy of the society. However, these polyarchic procedures may not create a full democracy if, for example, poverty prevents political participation. Some see a problem with the wealthy having more influence and therefore argue for reforms like campaign finance reform. Some may see it as a problem that the majority of the voters decide policy, as opposed to majority rule of the entire population. This can be used as an argument for making political participation mandatory, like compulsory voting or for making it more patient (non-compulsory) by simply refusing power to the government until the full majority feels inclined to speak their minds.
- Deliberative democracy is based on the notion that democracy is government by discussion. Deliberative democrats contend that laws and policies should be based upon reasons that all citizens can accept. The political arena should be one in which leaders and citizens make arguments, listen, and change their minds.
- Radical democracy is based on the idea that there are hierarchical and oppressive power relations that exist in society. Democracy's role is to make visible and challenge those relations by allowing for difference, dissent and antagonisms in decision making processes.
Democracy and republic
In contemporary usage, the term democracy
refers to a government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative. The term republic
has many different meanings, but today often refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state
, such as a president
, serving for a limited term, in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch
as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies with an elected or appointed head of government
such as a prime minister
The Founding Fathers of the United States rarely praised and often criticized democracy, which in their time tended to specifically mean direct democracy; James Madison argued, especially in The Federalist No. 10, that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure. What was critical to American values, John Adams insisted, was that the government be "bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend." Also, as Benjamin Franklin was exiting after writing the U.S. constitution, a woman asked him Sir, what have you given us?. He replied A republic ma'am, if you can keep it
Constitutional monarchs and upper chambers
Initially after the American and French revolutions the question was open whether a democracy, in order to restrain unchecked majority rule, should have an elitist upper chamber
, the members perhaps appointed meritorious experts or having lifetime tenures, or should have a constitutional monarch
with limited but real powers. Some countries (as Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries and Japan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional monarchs with limited or, often gradually, merely symbolic roles. Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system (as in the U.S., France, China, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece and Egypt). Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures which often had lifetime tenure, but eventually these senates lost power (as in Britain) or else became elective and remained powerful (as in the United States).
Qualified majority voting
(QMV) is designed by the Treaty of Rome
to be the principal method of reaching decisions in the European Council of Ministers
. This system allocates votes to member states in part according to their population, but heavily weighted in favour of the smaller states. This might be seen as a form of representative democracy, but representatives to the Council might be appointed rather than directly elected. Some might consider the "individuals" being democratically represented to be states rather than people, as with many other international organizations
European Parliament members are democratically directly elected on the basis of universal suffrage, may be seen as an example of a supranational democratic institution.
Aside from the public sphere, similar democratic principles and mechanisms of voting and representation have been used to govern other kinds of communities and organizations.
Plato's the Republic
presents a critical view of democracy through the narration of Socrates
: "Democracy, which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequaled alike. Assuming that the Republic
was intended to be a serious critique of the political thought in Athens, Plato argues that only aristocracy
is a just
form of government, believing that a majority is too irrational to make decisions for the entire populace, thus degrading to mob rule
The Founding Fathers of the United States intended to address this criticism by combining democracy with republicanism. A constitution would limit the powers of what a simple majority can accomplish. However, anarchists and other critics of large governments find this to be a poor solution, as there is nothing inherent in a constitution that will prevent democratic abuses.
Traditional Asian cultures, in particular that of Confucian
thought believe that democracy results in the people's distrust and disrespect of governments and/or religious sanctity. The distrust and disrespect pervades to all parts of society whenever and wherever there is seniority and juniority, for example between a parent and a child, a teacher and a student. This in turn is suggested to be the cause of frequent divoreces, teenage crimes, vandalism, hooliganism and low education attainment in Western societies, in particular the United States. It is argued (also by some psychologists) that moral decay occurs when there is no longer a respectable leader (or God as in the case of Islam) who sets high moral standards and when a politically free environment creates excessive individuality.
Further, Islamists argue that only an Islamic republic is truly compatible with the will of God.
More recently, democracy is criticised for not offering enough political stability. As governments are frequently elected on and off there tends to be frequent changes in the policies of democratic countries both domestically and internationally. Even if a political party maintains power, vociferous, headline grabbing protests and harsh criticism from the mass media are often enough to force sudden, unexpected political change. Frequent policy changes with regard to business and immigration are likely to deter investment and so hinder economic growth. For this reason, many people have put forward the idea that democracy is undesirable for a developing country in which economic growth and the reduction of poverty are top priority.
Association with Americanisation, consumerism and elitism
Conflicts between groups
Conflicts between people with different opinions and interests can arise. Whenever this occurs, democracy tends to support a referendum or vote in which the majority's wish is carried out. Critics therefore, argue the accountability of making decision based on this.
Social, religious and political segregation
The United Nations
has declared 15 September as the International Day of Democracy
- Appleby, Joyce, Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination (1992)
- Becker, Peter, Juergen Heideking and James A. Henretta, eds. Republicanism and Liberalism in America and the German States, 1750-1850. Cambridge University Press. 2002.
- Benhabib, Seyla, ed., Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political (Princeton University Press, 1996)
- Charles Blattberg, From Pluralist to Patriotic Politics: Putting Practice First, Oxford University Press, 2000, ch. 5. ISBN 0-19-829688-6
- Birch, Anthony H., The Concepts and Theories of Modern Democracy, (London: Routledge, 1993)
- Castiglione, Dario. "Republicanism and its Legacy," European Journal of Political Theory (2005) v 4 #4 pp 453-65. online version
- Copp, David, Jean Hampton, and John E. Roemer, eds. The Idea of Democracy Cambridge University Press (1993)
- Caputo, Nicholas America's Bible of Democracy, SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc. (ISBN 1-58501-092-8)
- Dahl, Robert A. Democracy and its Critics, Yale University Press (1989)
- Dahl, Robert A. On Democracy Yale University Press (2000)
- Dahl, Robert A. Ian Shapiro, and Jose Antonio Cheibub, eds, The Democracy Sourcebook MIT Press (2003)
- Dahl, Robert A. A Preface to Democratic Theory, University of Chicago Press (1956)
- Davenport, Christian. State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace Cambridge University Press (2007) ISBN 9780521864909
- Diamond, Larry and Marc Plattner, The Global Resurgence of Democracy, 2nd edition Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996
- Diamond, Larry and Richard Gunther, eds. Political Parties and Democracy (2001)
- Diamond, Larry and Leonardo Morlino, eds. Assessing the Quality of Democracy (2005)
- Diamond, Larry, Marc F. Plattner, and Philip J. Costopoulos, eds. World Religions and Democracy (2005)
- Diamond, Larry, Marc F. Plattner, and Daniel Brumberg, eds. Islam and Democracy in the Middle East (2003)
- Elster, Jon (ed.). Deliberative Democracy Cambridge University Press (1997)
- Fotopoulos, Takis, " Liberal and Socialist “Democracies” versus Inclusive Democracy", The International Journal Of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.2 No.2 (January 2006)
- Fotopoulos, Takis, "Direct and Economic Democracy in Ancient Athens and its Significance Today", Democracy & Nature, Vol.1 No.1 (Issue 1), 1992
- Gabardi, Wayne. "Contemporary Models of Democracy," Polity 33#4 (2001) pp 547+.
- Griswold, Daniel, Trade, Democracy and Peace: The Virtuous Cycle
- Hansen, Mogens Herman, The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991)
- Held, David. Models of Democracy Stanford University Press, (1996), reviews the major interpretations
- Inglehart, Ronald. Modernization and Postmodernization. Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies Princeton University Press. 1997.
- Khan, L. Ali, A Theory of Universal Democracy. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers(2003)
- Hans Köchler ed., The Crisis of Representative Democracy, (Frankfurt a. M./Bern/New York: Peter Lang, 1987) (ISBN 3-8204-8843-X)
- Lijphart, Arend. Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries Yale University Press (1999)
- Lipset, Seymour Martin. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy”, American Political Science Review, (1959) 53 (1): 69-105. online at JSTOR
- Macpherson, C. B. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy. Oxford University Press (1977)
- Morgan, Edmund. Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America (1989)
- Plattner, Marc F. and Aleksander Smolar, eds. Globalization, Power, and Democracy (2000)
- Plattner, Marc F. and João Carlos Espada, eds. The Democratic Invention (2000)
- Putnam, Robert. Making Democracy Work Princeton University Press. (1993)
- Raaflaub, Kurt A.; Ober, Josiah; Wallace, Robert W. Origins of democracy in ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007 (hardcover, ISBN 0520245628).
- Riker, William H., ''The Theory of Political Coalitions (1962)
- Sen, Amartya K. “Democracy as a Universal Value”, Journal of Democracy (1999) 10 (3): 3-17.
- Tannsjo, Torbjorn. Global Democracy: The Case for a World Government (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008), argues that not only is world government necessary if we want to deal successfully with global problems it is also, pace Kant and Rawls, desirable in its own right.
- Weingast, Barry. “The Political Foundations of the Rule of Law and Democracy”, American Political Science Review, (1997) 91 (2): 245-263. online at JSTOR
- Whitehead, Laurence ed. Emerging Market Democracies: East Asia and Latin America (2002)
- Wood, E.M., Democracy Against Capitalism, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
- Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1993), examines democratic dimensions of republicanism