No, the word democracy does not actually appear in the United States Constitution. Nowhere is the word democracy mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution. However, the United States government is a democratic republic. Basically, the men who founded America actually feared democratic rule. James Madison expressed this attitude in Federalist #10: "...instability, injustice, and confusion ...have in truth been the mortal disease under which popular governments everywhere have perished..." Rule by the people was thought to lead to disorder and disruption. Yet, when America was formed, a democratically based government was seen as superior to the monarchies of Europe.

The founders of America used indirect or representative democracy. In this system, representatives are chosen by the people to make decisions for them. The representative body, then, becomes a manageable size for doing the business of government. So, in the 18th century, the term republic was preferred to democracy. It described a system that men generally preferred. The interests of most people were represented by more knowledgeable or wealthier citizens who were responsible to those that supported them. Today, we tend to use the terms republic and democracy interchangeably. Nonetheless, a widespread criticism of representative democracy is that the representatives become the "elites" and they seldom consult ordinary citizens. Critics now say that democracy does not really exist.

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