What is at the Center of a Representative Democracy

Type of democracy principled on elected representation

Representative democracy, also known as
indirect commonwealth, is a blazon of commonwealth where elected persons represent a group of people, in contrast to directly democracy.[1]
Virtually all modernistic Western-manner democracies office as some type of representative democracy: for example, the United Kingdom (a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy), Republic of india (a federal parliamentary republic), France (a unitary semi-presidential republic), and the U.s.a. (a federal presidential republic).[2]

Representative commonwealth can office as an chemical element of both the parliamentary and the presidential systems of government. It typically manifests in a lower chamber such as the House of Commons of the U.k., and the Lok Sabha of Republic of india, just may be curtailed by constitutional constraints such every bit an upper sleeping room and judicial review of legislation. Some political theorists (including Robert Dahl, Gregory Houston, and Ian Liebenberg) have described representative democracy every bit polyarchy.[3]
Representative commonwealth places power in the easily of representatives who are elected past the people. Political parties often become fundamental to this form of democracy if electoral systems crave or encourage voters to vote for political parties or for candidates associated with political parties (as opposed to voting for individual representatives).[five]

Powers of representatives


Representatives are elected past the public, equally in national elections for the national legislature.[2]
Elected representatives may hold the power to select other representatives, presidents, or other officers of the government or of the legislature, equally the prime government minister in the latter instance.

The power of representatives is usually curtailed by a constitution (as in a constitutional commonwealth or a ramble monarchy) or other measures to balance representative power:[six]

  • An independent judiciary, which may take the power to declare legislative acts unconstitutional (due east.1000. constitutional courtroom, supreme court).
  • The constitution may also provide for some deliberative democracy (due east.g., Imperial Commissions) or direct popular measures (e.g., initiative, referendum, think elections). However, these are not always binding and usually require some legislative activity—legal power usually remains firmly with representatives.[
  • In some cases, a bicameral legislature may have an “upper house” that is not direct elected, such every bit the Senate of Canada, which was in turn modeled on the British House of Lords.

Theorists such every bit Edmund Shush believe that part of the duty of a representative was not simply to communicate the wishes of the electorate but also to use their own judgment in the exercise of their powers, even if their views are non reflective of those of a bulk of voters:[7]

Certainly, Gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a Representative, to live in the strictest spousal relationship, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to take great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and in a higher place all, e’er, and in all cases, to prefer their involvement to his ain. But his unbiassed stance, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to whatever man, or to any gear up of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the Law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, simply his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.



The Roman Republic was the first known land in the Western earth to have a representative regime, despite taking the class of a directly regime in the Roman assemblies. The Roman model of governance would inspire many political thinkers over the centuries,[8]
and today’s modern representative democracies imitate more the Roman than the Greek model, because information technology was a land in which supreme power was held by the people and their elected representatives, and which had an elected or nominated leader.[9]
Representative democracy is a form of democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives; as opposed to direct democracy, a form of democracy in which people vote on policy initiatives directly.[10]
A European medieval tradition of selecting representatives from the various estates (classes, but not as we know them today) to advise/control monarchs led to relatively wide familiarity with representative systems inspired past Roman systems.

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In Britain, Simon de Montfort is remembered every bit i of the fathers of representative authorities for holding two famous parliaments.[11]
The first, in 1258, stripped the male monarch of unlimited authorisation and the second, in 1265, included ordinary citizens from the towns.[13]
Later, in the 17th century, the Parliament of England pioneered some of the ideas and systems of liberal democracy, culminating in the Glorious Revolution and passage of the Pecker of Rights 1689.[14]

The American Revolution led to the creation of a new Constitution of the United States in 1787, with a national legislature based partly on directly elections of representatives every two years, and thus responsible to the electorate for continuance in office. Senators were not straight elected by the people until the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913. Women, men who endemic no property, and Black people, and others not originally given voting rights, in nigh states somewhen gained the vote through changes in land and federal law in the form of the 19th and 20th centuries. Until it was repealed by the Fourteenth Amendment following the Ceremonious War, the Iii-Fifths Compromise gave a disproportionate representation of slave states in the House of Representatives relative to the voters in free states.[16]

In 1789, Revolutionary France adopted the Proclamation of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and, although short-lived, the National Convention was elected by all males in 1792.[18]
Universal male suffrage was re-established in France in the wake of the French Revolution of 1848.[19]

Representative democracy came into general favour particularly in post-industrial revolution nation states where large numbers of citizens evinced interest in politics, just where applied science and population figures remained unsuited to direct commonwealth.[
citation needed

Many historians credit the Reform Act 1832 with launching modern representative democracy in the Britain.[20]

The U.S. Firm of Representatives, one example of representative democracy

Globally, a majority of governments in the earth are representative democracies, including constitutional monarchies and republics with strong representative branches.[22]

Research on representation
per se


Separate simply related, and very large, bodies of inquiry in political philosophy and social science investigate how and how well elected representatives, such every bit legislators, represent the interests or preferences of one or some other constituency. The empirical research shows that representative systems tend to be biased towards the representation of more than affluent classes, to the detriment of the population at large.[23]



In his book
Political Parties, written in 1911, Robert Michels argues that almost representative systems deteriorate towards an oligarchy or particracy. This is known as the atomic number 26 law of oligarchy.[31]
Representative democracies which are stable have been analysed by Adolf Gasser and compared to the unstable representative democracies in his book
Gemeindefreiheit als Rettung Europas
which was published in 1943 and a second edition in 1947.[32]
Adolf Gasser stated the post-obit requirements for a representative democracy in order to remain stable, unaffected by the fe law of oligarchy:

  • Gild has to be built up from bottom to meridian. Equally a consequence, society is built up by people, who are free and have the power to defend themselves with weapons.
  • These gratis people join or class local communities. These local communities are independent, which includes financial independence, and they are free to determine their own rules.
  • Local communities join into a higher unit, e.thou. a county.
  • At that place is no hierarchical hierarchy.
  • There is competition betwixt these local communities, e.thousand. on services delivered or on taxes.

A drawback to this type of government is that elected officials are non required to fulfill promises fabricated before their election and are able to promote their ain self-interests once elected, providing an incohesive organization of governance.[33]
Legislators are also under scrutiny as the system of majority-won legislators voting for bug for the big group of people fosters inequality amidst the marginalized.[34]

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Proponents of direct democracy criticize representative republic due to its inherent structure. As the fundamental basis of representative democracy is not inclusive system, in which representatives plough into an elite class that works behind closed doors, also equally the criticizing the elector system as beingness driven by a capitalistic and authoritarian system.[35]

Proposed solutions


The system of stochocracy has been proposed every bit an improved system compared to the system of representative democracy, where representatives are elected. Stochocracy aims to at least reduce this degradation by having all representatives appointed by lottery instead of by voting. Therefore, this system is also called lottocracy. The system was proposed by the author Roger de Sizif in 1998 in his book
La Stochocratie. Choosing officeholders by lot was also the standard practice in aboriginal Athenian democracy[37]
and in ancient India. The rationale behind this practice was to avert lobbying and electioneering by economic oligarchs.

The system of deliberative democracy is a mix between a majority ruled system and a consensus-based system. It allows for representative democracies or direct democracies to coexist with its system of governance, providing an initial advantage.[38]



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External links


  • Representative democracy at Curlie
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What is at the Center of a Representative Democracy

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_democracy