A person casts their vote in the second round of the 2007 French presidential election.
Constitution of the Year XII (First French Republic)
The Roman Republic was established following the overthrow of the Roman monarchy.
Democracy's de facto status in the world as of 2020, according to Democracy Index by The Economist
Constitution of the Kingdom of Naples in 1848.
Magna Carta marks one of the earliest attempts to limit a sovereign's authority and it is seen as a symbol of the rule of law.
Democracy's de jure status in the world as of 2020; only Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Brunei, Afghanistan, and the Vatican do not claim to be a democracy.
Detail from Hammurabi's stele shows him receiving the laws of Babylon from the seated sun deity.
Two Treatises of Government, written by John Locke, developed the idea of "right of revolution". This notion was used as a basis for the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
Nineteenth-century painting by Philipp Foltz depicting the Athenian politician Pericles delivering his famous funeral oration in front of the Assembly.
Diagram illustrating the classification of constitutions by Aristotle.
Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality argues in favour of the right of revolution against despots.
Magna Carta, 1215, England
Third volume of the compilation of Catalan Constitutions of 1585
John Stuart Mill was a proponent of the right to revolution in the name of liberty.
John Locke expanded on Thomas Hobbes's social contract theory and developed the concept of natural rights, the right to private property and the principle of consent of the governed. His ideas form the ideological basis of liberal democracies today.
The Cossack Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk, 1710.
Samuel Johnson saw the justifications for the right to rebel against tyranny.
Statue of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, in front of the Austrian Parliament Building. Athena has been used as an international symbol of freedom and democracy since at least the late eighteenth century.
A painting depicting George Washington at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution
The storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 has come to symbolize the French Revolution, when a people rose up to exercise their right of revolution.
The establishment of universal male suffrage in France in 1848 was an important milestone in the history of democracy.
Constitution of May 3, 1791 (painting by Jan Matejko, 1891). Polish King Stanisław August (left, in regal ermine-trimmed cloak), enters St. John's Cathedral, where Sejm deputies will swear to uphold the new Constitution; in background, Warsaw's Royal Castle, where the Constitution has just been adopted.
The presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence in John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence depicts another idealization of the exercise of the right of revolution.
The number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale, another widely used measure of democracy
Presidential copy of the Russian Constitution.
Corazon Aquino taking the Oath of Office, becoming the first female president in Asia
Magna Carta
Age of democracies at the end of 2015
United States Constitution
Meeting of the Grand Committee of the Parliament of Finland in 2008.
Countries autocratizing (red) or democratizing (blue) substantially and significantly (2010–2020). Countries in grey are substantially unchanged.
designated "electoral democracies" in Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021 survey, covering the year 2020.
A Landsgemeinde (in 2009) of the canton of Glarus, an example of direct democracy in Switzerland
In Switzerland, without needing to register, every citizen receives ballot papers and information brochures for each vote (and can send it back by post). Switzerland has a direct democracy system and votes (and elections) are organised about four times a year; here, to Berne's citizen in November 2008 about 5 national, 2 cantonal, 4 municipal referendums, and 2 elections (government and parliament of the City of Berne) to take care of at the same time.
Queen Elizabeth II, a constitutional monarch
Banner in Hong Kong asking for democracy, August 2019

In the common variant of liberal democracy, the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority—usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech or freedom of association.

- Democracy

For Locke, citizens had the right to revolt against a government that acted against their interest or became tyrannical.

- Democracy

The model proposed that constitutional governments should be stable, adaptable, accountable, open and should represent the people (i.e., support democracy).

- Constitution

Although many declarations of independence seek legitimacy by appealing to the right of revolution, far fewer constitutions mention this right or guarantee this right to citizens because of the destabilizing effect such a guarantee would likely produce.

- Right of revolution

Some have argued that because in modern times democratic governments can be overthrown by popular vote, the right of the people to remove the government has become embedded into the political system.

- Right of revolution

Right of revolution

- Constitution
A person casts their vote in the second round of the 2007 French presidential election.

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