WHAT IS DEMOCRACY IN A BOX?
Democracy = Representative democracy in which eligible citizens elect officials to represent them.
In a Box = Effective, proven, ready-to-use actions and programs by individuals or organizations to further a cause. In this case “Democracy”.
In the twenty-first century, democracy refers to a political system in which legislative and chief executive decision-makers are elected by majority or plurality rule by eligible voters, with a presumption that the franchise approaches universal adult suffrage among legal citizens and that minority-protecting mechanisms are also in place. This definition refers to representative rather than direct democracy, reflecting that all existing democratic societies are representative. While we use both constitutional democracy and democracy in this report, we recognize these as synonyms to other terms in common usage in the United States, including “republic” and “democratic republic.” In traditions of American political thought, all these terms capture forms of rights-based representative government in which
1) elected government leadership is constrained by constitutionalism, the rule of law, the separation of powers, the free expression of the people, and the legal protection and moral affirmation of the rights of individuals; and
2) groups and parties that are not part of electoral majorities cannot easily be disenfranchised or suffer loss of rights of association, voice, and legal protection by the electorally determined leadership. *
THE PILLARS OF DEMOCRACY
Sovereignty of the people.
Government based upon consent of the governed.
Guarantee of basic human rights.
Free and fair elections.
Equality before the law.
Due process of law.
Constitutional limits on government.
Social, economic, and political pluralism.
Values of tolerance, pragmatism, cooperation, and compromise.
More on Democracy
Citizenship: Citizenship can be understood broadly in two ways. One is a formal status within a state that affords political participation, including the vote, and implies certain obligations of engagement or participation in state activities. Over the course of U.S. history, the formal status of citizen has sometimes attached to membership in particular cities, sometimes to states, and sometimes to the nation as a whole; the different categories of formal membership have not always aligned. The second, broader conception of citizenship is an ethical notion of being a prosocial contributor to a self-governing community. This notion pertains regardless of legal documentation status. It centers on participation in common life, contribution to the common good, and a spirit of obligation to interests greater than one’s own. The colloquialism “a good citizen” captures this meaning. The work of the Commission is intended to include the first way of thinking about citizenship and extend to the second. This is contested territory. Not everyone thinks that the ethical category of citizenship should apply to those who do not have the formal status of citizens. In our work, however, we take the fact that anyone can contribute positively to their community as foundational to the development of all formal institutions of citizenship. We protect the idea of self-government for free and equal citizens by cultivating the values and practices of self-government in all members of a community.
Brief History of U.S. democratic self-government