The term democracy is derived from ‘demos’ and ‘cratia’ which respectively mean people and power; thus democracy means “power in the hands of the people.”

Definition: Democracy is a form of government where sovereignty belongs to the people; the government is representative of and respon­sible to them; the purpose of the state is welfare of the people which includes the development of personalities of the citizens.

It is thus not only a form of government but a type of state as well as an order of society. According to Bryce, “democracy is that form of government in which the ruling power is vested not in any individual, or in a particular class or classes but in the members of community as a whole”.

Dicey calls it “a form of government in which the governing body is comparatively a large fraction of the entire nation”. Lincoln gave the historic definition of democracy as “government of the people, for the people, and by the people”. Seeley defines democracy as a “government in which every­body has a share”.


According to Bassett, Democracy is essentially a matter of political method. Democracy is not a particular kind of civilization. It is rather a civilized way of taking political action. Democracy reconciles freedom with the need for law and its enforcement.

It may be defined as “political method by which every citizen has the opportunity of participating through discussion in an attempt to reach voluntary agreements as to what shall be done for the good of the community as a whole.” In fact democracy is not only a form of government, it is also a way of life.