Webster's Dictionary 
(1): ( a.) A state in which the sovereign power resides in the whole body of the people, and is exercised by representatives elected by them; a commonwealth. Cf. Democracy, 2.
(2): ( a.) Common weal.
The Nuttall Encyclopedia 
The name given to a State in which the sovereign power is vested in one or more elected by the community, and held answerable to it though in point of fact, both in Rome and the Republic of Venice the community was not free to elect any one outside of a privileged order.