We’ve all heard the claim that the system of government in America is a republic, not a democracy. In every case I’ve seen, myself included, this is just accepted. But today I looked into it and found that it is actually not true. Not exactly, anyway.
The problem is that there are no hard and fast rules to say precisely what type of government a country has in a single word. There are many different types of republics, just as there are many different types of democracies. America is definitely not a “direct democracy” where every citizen votes on every issue. But it absolutely does fit the definitions of republic, constitutional democracy and representative democracy. So yeah, America is a republic. It’s also two types of democracy. It’s also a democratic republic.
In my experience this statement is usually thrown out to “muddy the water” in a partisan argument wherein one side (always the conservative side) is trying to justify actions intended to dilute democracy, especially by disenfranchising voters, most often nonwhite voters. These days, especially, we need to keep them from changing the subject with an argument on semantics.