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14 Principles of Democracy
Transcript of 14 Principles of Democracy
A country must be comprised of all of the these principles to be considered a true democracy.
1: Citizen Participation
becoming informed, debating issues
voting in elections
attending community meetings
being members of private voluntary organizations
serving in the military
serving on a jury
running for office
3: Accepting Results of the Election
Assuming an election has been judged “free and fair,” ignoring or rejecting election results violates democratic principles.
Democracy depends on a peaceful transfer of power from one set of leaders to the next, so accepting the results of a free and fair election is essential.
2: Regular Free & Fair Elections
4: Rule of Law
5: Majority Rule with Minority Rights
Elected and appointed officials are responsible for their actions and have to be accountable to the people.
Officials must make decisions and perform their duties according to the will and wishes of the people they represent, not for themselves or their friends.
A transparent government holds public meetings and allows citizens to attend or learn what happened in meetings.
In a democracy, the press and the people are able to get information about what decisions are being made, by whom, and why.
Citizen partipation is duty required to build a stronger democracy.
elections are held regularly, usually every few years.
Elected officials must be chosen by the people in a free and fair manner.
Most adult citizens should have the right to vote and to run for office—regardless of their gender, ethnicity, and level of wealth.
All votes should be counted equally.
obstacles should not exist that make it difficult for people to vote.
There should be no intimidation, corruption, or threats to citizens before or during an election.
no one is above the law—not even a king, elected president, police officer, or member of the military.
According to the rule of law, everyone must obey the law and will be held accountable if they violate it.
Laws are known by the people and equally, fairly, and consistently enforced.
If the people in the majority try to destroy the rights of people in minority groups or those with minority viewpoints, then they also destroy democracy.
In democracies, people who are not in power are allowed to organize and speak out.
8: Limited Government
& a Bill of Rights
Most democratic countries have a list of citizens’ rights and freedoms. Often called a “Bill of Rights,” this document limits the power of government and explains the freedoms that are guaranteed to all people in the country.
It protects people from a government that might abuse its powers.
When a Bill of Rights becomes part of a country’s constitution, it is easier for courts to enforce and harder for a government to take those rights away.
9: Control of the Abuse of Power
One of the most common abuses of power is corruption, which occurs when government officials use public funds for their own benefit or exercise power in an illegal way.
To protect against these abuses, democratic governments are often structured to limit the powers of government officials.
In addition, independent agencies can investigate and impartial courts can punish government leaders and employees who abuse power.
10: Economic Freedom
People in a democracy must have some form of economic freedom.
This means that the government allows some private ownership of property and businesses.
People are allowed to choose their own work and to join labor unions.
A democratic government should not totally control the economy.
All individuals should be valued equally and should be free from unreasonable discrimination.
Individuals and groups maintain their rights to have different cultures, personalities, languages, and beliefs.
All are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law.
12: Individual or Human Rights
Human rights are the rights all people have simply because they are human beings.
Democracies respect and protect the dignity of all people.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights spells out many human rights.
Examples include, but are not limited to, the freedom of movement, religion, speech, and assembly.
13: Independent Judiciary
In democracies, courts and the judicial system should be fair and impartial.
Judges and the judicial branch must be free to act without influence or control from the executive and legislative branches of government.
Judges should not be corrupt or obligated to influential individuals, businesses, or political groups.
14: Competing Political Parties
A political party is a group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates for office, win elections, conduct government, and determine public policy.
To have a democracy, more than one political party must participate in elections and play a role in government.
Rival parties make elections meaningful because they give voters a choice of candidates and policies.