“Democracy” literally means “rule by the people” and history suggests that it should be thought of as a work in progress. Although its origins have been attributed to ancient Athens, the philosophy, institutions, and political culture that underpin modern democracies were substantially transformed by the Enlightenment and the American Revolution. Philosophically, democracy argues that people have both the capacity and the right to rule themselves, so governments must gain their citizens’ consent to exercise power legitimately. Democracy is institutionalized in any system of government that either enables citizens to participate directly in the policy-making process or allows them to elect representatives to make policies on their behalf. Democratic political cultures encourage citizens to participate in the formal policy-making process, persuade them to accept the outcomes ...

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