Political history taught us that Democracy started among the Athenians in what they called then as the "Polis" or the "city state". Etymologically, the term originated from two Greek terms, "demo" which means "people" and "cratus", meaning to rule, hence Democracy as the "rule of the people". It started as a popular or direct form with the state in a size of a "city". However, this Athenian idea of direct, participatory democracy has become incompatible with large societies. Hence, the idea of Representative Democracy was conceived, where elected representatives do the public business on behalf of the people. Under this form of Democracy, the people indirectly govern themselves through elected representatives. .
According to Greenberg, there are three "fundamental attributes of democracy: popular sovereignty, which requires that the ultimate source of authority rests with the people and that government functions in the interest and deliberative will of a majority of citizens who are active and participate in the political process armed with accurate political information; political equality, which refers to decision-making where each person carries the same weight in voting and other political decision making; and political liberty, which refers to basic freedoms essential to the formation and expression of the popular will and its translation into policy. These essential liberties include the freedom of speech, conscience and religion, the press, and assembly and association, embodied in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.".
Representative Government operates under the principles of "Majority rules" and the "Rule of Law". Elections are the marks of a Democracy. These are the legal processes by which the sovereign people are presented with the alternatives (candidates) from whom they shall choose the best that would represent them in government. Only those who are legally qualified vote, and the majority of the votes cast determine the "titular sovereign" representing the "real sovereign" (people).