If you’ve been on the political side of the Internet long enough: you’ve probably seen people bickering back and forth over whether the United States is a democracy or a republic. Democrats will swear it’s a democracy, and Republicans will swear it’s a republic—you can quit arguing now, because it’s both.
As an Independent, it’s clear to me that this argument is an infantile non-issue between two polarized tribes dead-set on proving they’re more legitimate than the other through any means necessary. If we still had the Democratic-Republican and Federalist parties: they’d be arguing over whether we’re a democratic-republic or a federation.
Republicans love to argue that democracy is a “tyranny of the majority” or only when everyone can vote on each issue directly, but these are factually incorrect. A democracy can have safeguards against the tyranny of the majority while still being a democracy, and not all democracies have to be direct democracies.
A democracy is simply:
“a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections” (Merriam-Webster)
Basically, democracy is a form of government in which ordinary people can vote; the specifics are left up to the particular form of democracy. In the United States: all citizens (except felons) are allowed to vote for representatives, and occasionally legislation, which makes it a semi-representative democracy.
Meanwhile, Democrats argue that America isn’t a republic, which is also factually incorrect. A republic is simply:
“a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president” (Merriam-Webster)
Simply put: a republic is anything that isn’t a monarchy. So what’s is a monarchy?
We have a single head of state, the President, but they don’t have complete control of the country, merely the executive branch, and even then: there are checks and balances. So no, America is not a monarchy, and is thus a republic.
It’s pretty cut and dry that America is both a republic and a democracy; citizens can vote for representatives and there is no one person who holds dictatorial control over the country.
“Democracy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/democracy. Accessed 31 May. 2021.
“Monarchy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monarchy. Accessed 31 May. 2021.
“Republic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/republic. Accessed 31 May. 2021.