Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) contemplated a republic in which a community of people gave up individual rights to promote the good of the community, rather than to a monarch or elected representatives, as stated by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. As a result, voting became the means of expressing the general will of "all the people" and to establish community statues and laws. This type of representation was called "direct democracy."Continue Reading
Rousseau envisioned a "civil state" where each individual enjoyed "security, justice, liberty" and protected property. He imagined a gathering of individuals who voted by consensus to determine applicable community laws. Rousseau's concept was embodied in the U.S. Constitution by the words "We the people ...".
Rousseau detested authority and as a result, his vision strove to restore "respect and creativity" to individuals. The Britannica states that Rousseau believed that the "one for all" approach was basically cooperation between individuals to secure life's necessities. He felt that a united effort resulted in time for leisure, which in turn led to "the production of agriculture and industry."
Rousseau did recognize, however, the limitations that this type of society might impose. He realized that the "general will" of the people is often lost when special interests take precedence over individual concerns. In his view, a civil society as an ideal republic depended wholly upon the character of its people, and that its success was easily measured how well the population flourished.Learn more about Types of Government
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.Full Answer >
A constitutional democratic republic is a type of government based on the principles of a constitution in which officials elected by the people represent the people in the legislative and governing processes. A constitutional republic is not a direct democracy in that a mere plurality of the voters does not get to control the processes of the government directly.Full Answer >
In a democracy, the rights of the majority can overwhelm the rights of the minority, whereas in a republic, a constitution or charter protects its citizens with laws that cannot be changed by a simple majority vote.Full Answer >
The characteristics of a true democracy are the right of citizens to choose their government representatives, a government with limited powers, majority rule, minority rights, and effective checks and balances on the government. Democracies are maintained through rule of law as established by a written constitution.Full Answer >