What's The Difference Between a Republic and a Democracy? 

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According to Oxford, a democracy is, "government by the people," or a form of government in which the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them or by officers elected by them." On the other hand, a republic is “a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives” and a republic also has “an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.” Going off those definitions, the two words do seem interchangeable. However, there’s a little more to it.

“Democracy” is more of an umbrella term. The word describes a lot of different types of governments in which government officials are chosen by a group of voters. Neither “democracy” or “republic” has an affiliation with any political parties — they describe systems of government, for the most part. There are many different types of democracies. There are also different types of republics, which are typically more intricate.

A government that is a republic — or has elements of a democracy — is not inherently superior or inferior to other styles of government. It’s important to note the subtle differences in governments, and in a single government over time. We’ll walk you through why that’s so important, all while  exploring different types of republics.