(uncountable) Rule by the people, especially as a form of government; either directly, as in Ancient Greece, or through elected representatives as in many modern societies (representative democracy).
1866, J. Arthur Partridge, On Democracy, Trí¼bner & Co., page 2:
: And the essential value and power of Democracy consists in this,"that it combines, as far as possible, power and organization ; THE SPIRIT, MANHOOD, is at one with THE BODY, ORGANIZATION. .... Democracy is Government by the People.
1901, The American Historical Review, American Historical Association, page 260:
: The period, that is, which marks the transition from absolutism or aristocracy to will mark also the transition from absolutist or autocratic methods of nomination to democratic methods.
1921, James Bryce Bryce, Modern Democracies, The Macmillan Company, page 1:
: A century ago there was in the Old World only one tiny spot in which the working of could be studied. A few of the ancient rural cantons of Switzerland had recovered their freedom after the fall of Napoleon, and were governing themselves as they had done from the earlier Middle Ages.... Nowhere else in Europe did the people rule.
(countable, government) A government under the direct or representative rule of the people of its jurisdiction.
2003, Fareed Zakaria, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, W. W. Norton & Company, page 13:
: In 1900 not a single country had what we would today consider a : a government created by elections in which every adult citizen could vote.
(rfv-sense) (uncountable) Belief in political freedom and equality; the spirit of democracy.
: It must further be admitted that he provided a successful interpretation of in its philosophic aspects when he conceived as a general outlook on the universe... In Bakunin's conception of as religious in character we trace the influence of French socialism.