This chapter examines how democracy has achieved global ascendancy, in part by detaching it from local political allegiance or appropriation. More specifically, it traces the passage of the term “democracy” across the world and between languages, as it moves out beyond Europe or North America. It also analyzes the political interpretations that democracy has evoked in the course of the profoundly disparate vicissitudes in which it has figured with increasing prominence across this widening realm. Furthermore, it considers how most people today view democracy as a form of government or an assemblage of institutional practices. The chapter concludes by discussing democracy’s role in America’s politics.
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