This chapter discusses the contested concept of democracy itself, and sketches the problems of democratization. The major period of re-creation of democracy began with the revolutionary era when, gradually and hesitatingly, the word came to be applied to systems of representative government in which a sizeable proportion of the male population had the franchise. Democracy becomes 'the rule of the politician' rather than of the people in any direct sense. The politicians make possible some significant choice between packages of policies. The successful leaders gain from the election at least the authority to govern for a period of years. Virtually every country in the world proclaims itself to be a democracy. Occasionally military regimes seize power but they lack a distinctive legitimacy and often claim that they are cleansing the state in order to restore a rightful democracy.