Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by MORGAN. MORGAN Wonders, “What is democracy ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, MORGAN!

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Sometimes people vote on other types of things. Has your classroom ever had a choice of playing kickball or volleyball at recess? If so, you may have been asked to vote for which sport you’d like to play. Whichever sport gets the most votes gets played at recess. That’s democracy in action.

Of course, voting is most powerful when citizens vote for leaders to represent them in government. The word “democracy” itself means “rule by the people.” It comes from the Greek words demos (“people”) and kratos (“rule”).

A democracy is a government in which the people hold the power. Other types of governments may put power in the hands of one person, such as a king or queen. Sometimes, governments give power to a small group of people. Democracy is just one form of government.

There are different types of democracies. A direct democracy allows all citizens to vote directly on issues. Direct democracies aren’t that common. What if every single law had to be voted on by all the people in the United States? Every day would be Election Day!

Such a system would be impossible. That’s why indirect democracies are more common. In an indirect democracy, the people vote for representatives to make decisions on their behalf. For example, the United States is an indirect democracy. In particular, it’s a representative democracy. That means the people elect representatives who vote on important issues. Ideally, these people vote in the best interests of those they represent.

Not all governments embrace the idea of democracy. Through the efforts of the United Nations, democracy is being championed around the world. Why is it so important? According to the United Nations, “[d]emocracy provides an environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.”

However, democracies aren’t always perfect. Even in a democracy, people often have to fight for their human rights. For example, when America was founded, only white male landowners could vote. It took a long time for women and people of color to get to take part in democracy.

It’s important for people to vote for their representatives. It means they can make sure their rights are defended by their government. Having a voice in government is important. Democracy gives people that voice they desire!

Standards: C3.D2.Civ.2, C3.D2.Civ.5, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.SL.1

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