Democratic Countries in the World

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  • 0:00 What Is a Democratic Country?
  • 1:09 North American…
  • 2:20 South American…
  • 2:47 European Democratic Countries
  • 4:02 Other Democratic Countries
  • 5:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Do you know what a democratic country is? Can you name some examples of truly democratic countries? This lesson explores many different democratic counties and a few of the characteristics that make them unique.

What is a Democratic Country?

Do you know what a democratic country is? Can you name some examples of truly democratic countries? This lesson explores many different democratic countries and a few of the characteristics that make them unique.

What do the following four countries have in common?

  • Vatican City
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Burma
  • Brunei

Need a hint? They all claim the same thing and are the only countries in the entire world that claim this. Well, these are the only countries on our planet that openly admit they are not democratic countries. A democratic country is a country that's ruled by its people or agents elected by them in a free electoral system. In other words, a democratic country is one where its people have a high degree of civil as well as political freedom. Partial democratic countries have a low degree of either or of both. Non-democratic countries are those where the country's people have little to no civil freedom.

In this lesson we're going to focus on the major democratic countries of the world.

North American Democratic Countries

North America's major democratic countries should be pretty familiar to us, as they're quite large and populous. The United States of America and Mexico are both federal presidential republics, in which the president is the chief of state and head of government. Citizens elect the American president indirectly through the Electoral College, which is composed of representatives elected by the people who pledge to vote for a certain candidate. The president of Mexico is elected through a majority popular vote for a term of six years.

To the north is Canada, which is a federal parliamentary democracy. It's also a constitutional monarchy since its current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Don't get this confused with the head of the government, which is the Prime Minister of Canada. Nor should you think that the title of head of state is meaningful nowadays when it's a constitutional monarch. The monarch has virtually no real power or influence over any proceedings in a true democracy. Despite having a close connection to the UK, historically the United States, unlike Canada, doesn't recognize the UK's monarch as its head of state nor is it a constitutional monarchy.

Canada, the USA, and Mexico can be seen in this map.

South American Democratic Countries

Further south, in South America, lie many important democratic countries as well. The two largest include Brazil and Argentina, who practice similar forms of democracy. Both are federal presidential republics; the chief of state and head of government is the president who is elected by a majority popular vote in both nations. Presidential democracy is by far the most popular variation of democracy in South America.

Many nations in South America are democracies, like Brazil and Argentina.
South America

European Democratic Countries

In addition to North and South America, Europe also contains a lot of important democratic nations. In fact, Europe was the home of the first known democratic form of government instituted in the Greek city-state of Athens in the 6th-century BCE. While that earliest form of democracy was only open to wealthy men, Europe is home to many nations that practice varying forms of rule by the people.

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