What Is a Democratic Republic?

A democratic republic is a government formed in accordance with democratic principles which does not have a monarch as its leader. Its core belief is that its authority comes from and must be accepted by its citizens, according to Melvin Urofsky, Virginia Commonwealth University professor of history and public policy.

Among the essentials that establish and maintain a republic’s citizen-based power is the process by which laws are written. Other key factors include free and fair elections and freedom of the press, so the people know the actions their government is taking.

Also important is a division of power, which prevents any one part of the bureaucracy from becoming strong enough to subvert the will of the people. This is often accomplished through a constitution that delegates and limits respective powers.

The culture underlying a democracy is critical as well in that it can work either for or against the misuse of military force. Courts also safeguard against the abuse of power by protecting the rights of individuals and minorities and by keeping the various segments of the government in check.

These overarching principles all come together to support a governmental system that protects its citizens, maintains order, and allows the public the greatest amount of freedom in its pursuit of an enjoyable and satisfying quality of life.