What Are the Key Components of a Democracy?

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The key components of a democracy are free and fair elections, the active participation of citizens in the government, protection of human rights for citizens of the democracy and laws that are applied fairly among all citizens.

The types of democracies include direct democracy, democratic centralism and representative democracy. Direct democracy occurs when citizens meet and make decisions based on a majority vote. The ancient Greeks adhered to this form of democracy, but only males were allowed to be a part of the voting public.

In the United States, New England towns practice direct democracy. Representative democracy occurs when citizens elect representatives who act on the behalf of their constituents. The founding fathers of the United States implemented a representative democracy. They selected this type of democracy because they felt that wealthier citizens, who were also more knowledgeable, should be the people representing the citizens. The United States still operates using a representative democracy.

Democratic centralism, which was founded by Vladimir Lenin, was first introduced in Russia. Lenin did not allow for citizens to own private property under this form of government. While all people are technically considered equal in democratic centralism, a small group of people are in charge of making decisions.