Characteristics of American democracy essay: a quick essay

Democracy is a system of governance in which the government grants power to its citizens. This system is achieved directly or indirectly when the people are represented to the government by elected agents (Baldez et al, 2009).

Since the 17th century, most countries have used this form of government. In 1776, the United States became the first country to adopt democracy. In the United States, democracy has several characteristics.

Characteristics of American democracy

Citizen rule is the first feature of democracy in the United States. Citizens have the constitutional right to vote for their leaders (Henschen & Sidlow, 2015). This process is governed by clear guidelines.

Those elective positions have term limits, and election cycles apply (Henschen & Sidlow, 2015). This provides candidates with opportunities to compete for key positions at regular intervals.

This rule empowers US citizens to hire, rehire, or fire their representatives. As a result, elected candidates strive to keep their promises and act efficiently in order to gain the trust of the people.

The democratic government of the United States also employs the majority rule and the principle of minority rights (Binmber, 2006). This principle is most commonly applied during electoral processes. During elections, it automatically gives the majority the upper hand. This is not to say that minorities are not protected.

Decentralized local government bodies are established to protect minorities (Bimber, 2006). Because democracy entails the accessibility of all government bodies, the people are equally protected by the constitution, which also includes the bill of rights.

Individual rights are another important feature of the American democracy. This means that every individual’s rights in the United States are protected (Riley, 2015). In every country, there are various types of people.

Race, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs, educational levels, and ideologies are typical differences. This feature ensures that the individual rights of every person with different characteristics are therefore protected. As a result, in the United States, every individual has the freedom of expression.

In the United States, elections are held every four years (Freeman & Minow, 2006). These elections involve representatives at all levels of government. These are supposed to be free and fair elections. This is a necessity for any democratic government. Every adult in the United States has the fundamental right to vote for the representative they prefer.

This process puts the people’s will into action in a way that is accepted and deemed to be fair. Following the voting process, citizens of the United States are expected to guide their own liberties through active participation in government.

A democratic government embraces diversity (Henschen & Sidlow, 2015). Individual rights are protected in this regard. This fundamental principle ensures that its citizens have the freedom to be unique. Diversity is thus embraced in the government through active participation and fair representation of all different people.

Without bias or prejudice, all communities are represented equally. This principle ensures tolerance throughout the governing processes. Through cooperation and compromise, this crowns the people’s democratic position.

It is important to note, however, that the American government deviates from the theory of a democratic government. This is due to the fact that America is a republic (Freeman & Minow, 2006). True democracy is founded on the right of every adult to vote on laws and policies that affect their lives (Hall & Overholser, 2005).

This is not the case in America, where representatives make decisions on such matters on behalf of the citizens they represent. As a result, the theory of deliberate democracy is dishonored. America is controlled by popular consent or majority rule. According to Etzioni (2005), minorities are sometimes unfairly represented.

This differs to the radical democracy theory, which allows for differences, antagonism, and dissent in the decision-making process. It is important to note that elected officials may not fairly represent their constituents if they engage in corrupt activities.


Baldez, L, Wolbrecht, C., & Beekwith, K. (2009). Women and American Democracy. London.  Cambridge University Press.

Bimber, B. (2006). Information and American Democracy. London. Cambridge University Press.

Etzioni, A. ( 2005). Capital Corruption. The new attack on American Democracy. New Bruswick Transaction Publishers

Freeman, J., & Minow, M. (2009). Government by contract. Outsourcing and American Democracy. London. Harvard University Press

Hall, K., & Overholser G. (2005). The institution of American Democracy. The press. London. Oxford University Press. Henschen, B., & Sidlow, I. E. (2015). American Government. Boston. Cengage Learning