Home Advantages and Disadvantages Disadvantages and Advantages of Representative Democracy

Disadvantages and Advantages of Representative Democracy

A representative democracy is a form of government that allows people to elect officials, who make decisions on their behalf. In this way, the citizens have second hand control of the government, which is ideal for most countries. The main goal of representative democracy is to protect the rights and interests of the citizens in the country, this is accomplished by giving them a strong voice within the government. While this form of government is widely viewed as the “best” for the people, it has it’s severe downfalls as well.

Advantages of Representative Democracy

1. Citizen Representation
With this form of government, the people have the say in who is elected into any form of government office. These elected officials then make decisions based on what the people want, and in the best interest of majority of people. They represent the citizens in ways that they could not do for themselves.

2. A Place To Turn To
By having elected officials in all areas of the country, if someone has an issue that they think should be addressed or something that they feel should change, they can easily access their local official. These officials can then help them with their problems and guide them through the steps they need to take to get it to the next level of government.

3. High Participation
Knowing that they have a voice in the government urges people to be more educated and up to date on issues that are happening in the country as well as the world. Each year we see an increase in the amount of people showing up to vote for their officials.

Disadvantages of Representative Democracy

1. Misplaced Trust
Once the election process is over, the people’s voice in government is virtually done. They have to put their faith and trust in the person that they elect to communicate and do things that they’ve promised to do. This is rarely the case. Many times these elected officials have ulterior agendas that are not in the best interest of the citizens.

2. The Majority Rules
The election process of representative government focuses solely on the majority. The minority groups, no matter how significant their issues may be, are rarely represented simply because they do not have the majority of the votes to get an official into office. This causes a feeling of separation with these groups as well as feeling like their issues are not as important.

3. No Accountability
Once elected, officials can do whatever they please, and this often includes breaking campaign promises that they made to be elected in the first place. When things go wrong, or not in favor of the people, there are no repercussion for these officials. The only possible consequence that could come is that they would not be reelected.

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Important Facts About Representative Democracy

  • The United States of America is the most infamous representative democracy in the world.
  • Other countries do practice this form of government, including: Great Britain, India, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
  • There has to be an element of competition in order for a representative democracy to work well.
  • The very first democracy in the world was in Ancient Greece in the city state of Athens.
  • Most representative democracies are also considered federal republics. This means that a large central government works in conjunction with smaller local governments.