a sovereign people, consider themself a democracy


Senior Member
Source: VOA Learning English, The Unique Invention of the American President

For thousands of years before the American Constitution people thought a strong executive power and a democracy – what Jefferson called self-government – were incompatible. Because how could a sovereign people delegate tremendous responsibility to one individual and still consider themself a democracy, even a representative democracy?

What does sovereign mean?
Is the use of themself correct?
Can I consider a people a democracy?
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I often use "themself" as a gender-neutral third person singular reflexive pronoun referring to a person, but not everyone accepts this use, and sometimes it is best avoided. Here it seems completely unnecessary. A people is not the same thing as a person, and can take the pronoun "itself", but it is more common to regard a people as a collective noun and use plural pronouns: "themselves".

    "For thousands of years" is something of an exaggeration. Democracy had only been around for a little over two thousand years, with very few historical examples to draw upon.
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