RHL School - Democracy

Reading Comprehension
Volume 3, Number 18, January 20, 1998

Note: Vocabulary for this page is introduced at http://www.rhlschool.com/ref3n18.htm.


xxxxDemocracy is the right of the people to choose their own government. In its purest form, people of every community from small villages to the whole nation would discuss and vote on every proposed law. This is rarely practical in today's busy world. In most democracies, citizens choose, or elect, representatives. Representatives are lawmakers who represent, or work for, all the people who elected them. Voters also choose the officials who will administer, or carry out, the laws.
xxxxIn a democracy, if the people are unhappy with the job their representatives are doing, they can replace them with new ones. For this reason, elected officials who want to keep their jobs tend to pay attention to what the citizens want.
xxxxSometimes, even in a representative democracy, citizens do vote directly on a proposed law. These proposals get to the ballot when enough people sign petitions requiring a vote. Sometimes the elected representatives must present certain proposed laws to the voters for a yes or no vote.
xxxxAs you study history, you'll find that many people have not been fortunate enough to have the benefit of democracy. Throughout recorded history, most people have been ruled by kings and other dictators. Even today, millions of people are forced to live without democracy.
xxxxDemocracy is not a system, or method, of government. In fact, there are many different forms of democratic governments in the world. Democracy is a basic human right. It is the idea that people own their government instead of being owned by it.

Based on the above essay, would the author consider the following statements to be true or false? If the essay seems to take no position on the matter, the answer is false.

1. Representatives are smarter than the people who elect them.
2. Government should serve the people, not rule them.
3. Representatives who want to keep their jobs will try to keep the voters happy.
4. Many people don't have the time to discuss and vote on every single proposed law.
5. Throughout history, most people have had the right to choose their leaders.
6. Democracy is the best system, or method, of government.
7. It would be a good thing if all governments were chosen by the people.
8. Democracy is a human right.


Copyright 1998 RHL


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