The word "democracy", originated from the Greeks, which meant "the people to rule." However, democracy in America is not as simple as "power to the people", but is actually a complicated system of government and politics. There are two forms of democracy, which are direct and indirect. A direct democracy requires that all citizens attend regularly held meetings to make laws and decide issues where everyone has a voice. The most practiced type of democracy in America's large society is the indirect, or representative democracy, where people elect representatives to make decisions for them. A representative democracy consists of three attributes or principles, which are popular sovereignty, political equality, and political liberty. If all three of these principles are obtained and preserved completely in America, a true democracy can exist. The democratic "yardstick" measures how democratic we are since a true democracy does not exist. This is why Greenberg and Page entitle their book Struggle for Democracy. Greenberg believes there will always be conflict over decisions of democracy. The notion of democracy is an ongoing struggle because race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and class have affected the three principles of democracy. The "struggle for democracy" has also been seen in the U.S. through the experiences of Chinese and European immigrants, and women because these groups were not defined as "the people" in the Constitution. This brings up the question of who were "the people"?.
In America, from the late 1700's to the mid 1800's, democracy was a struggle because the three principles have not been perfected for equality. In a popular sovereignty, there was always a majority that threatened the minority by violating the citizenship and liberties of the minority. Minorities such as Asians, Africans, and women struggled for equality in America. For example, Asians were discriminated against and used as cheap labor when they immigrated to America, and Africans were slaves until the Civil War.