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"Republic" is from the Latin res publica for "state", derived from the Latin res for "thing" and publicus for "public".
A republic is a country or other entity that has an elected head of state. The first republic, pre-imperial Ancient Rome, was ruled over by two elected consuls, but modern republics usually have a single president, who may be appointed either by a direct election, or indirectly by a ballot of other elected representatives. One of the first modern republics began in 1789 with the French Revolution, when the people overthrew what they saw as a decadent, autocratic monarchy and set up a republic with the goal of building a more egalitarian system.

While a republic is theoretically a more egalitarian system than a monarchy, many modern republics exhibit a tendency for powerful families to gain and hold onto influence in a way that somewhat resembles aristocracy; a good example is the Gandhi family in India. Worse still, many modern dictatorships claim to be republics, but in practice give the people no say over who their leaders are. These countries are really closer to monarchy or oligarchy.

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