The Character of Democracy: How Institutions Shape Politics offers a uniquely comprehensive overview of the major democratic institutions found around the world, including electoral systems, party systems, presidential and parliamentary governments, legislatures, federalism, and constitutionalcourts. The authors first present five broad categories of democratic ideals that reflect the consent of the governed - meaningful elections, fair representation, accountability, majority rule and minority rights, and the functionality of the state - and then explain how well different institutionaldesigns live up to these democratic ideals. For each institution, they provide an in-depth treatment of its related literature, describe variations in how it is structured around the world, and explain why these variations are important to how democratic political systems work. Case studies of thepolitical structures found in Brazil, Germany, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States illustrate how differences in institutional design affect democratic government. Taking an analytical and scholarly approach that does not advocate any particular democratic design, The Character of Democracy is ideal for advanced courses in comparative politics and/or democratic institutions.