"government by the people, system of government in which the sovereign power is vested in the people as a whole exercising power directly or by elected officials; a state so governed," 1570s, from Middle French démocratie (14c.), from Medieval Latin democratia (13c.), from Greek dēmokratia "popular government," from dēmos "common people," originally "district" (see demotic), + kratos "rule, strength" (see -cracy).
Sometimes 16c.-17c. in Latinized form democratie. In 19c. England it could refer to "the class of people which has no hereditary or other rank, the common people." In 19c. U.S. politics it could mean "principles or members of the Democratic Party."
Democracy implies that the man must take the responsibility for choosing his rulers and representatives, and for the maintenance of his own 'rights' against the possible and probable encroachments of the government which he has sanctioned to act for him in public matters. [Ezra Pound, "ABC of Economics," 1933]