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And to the Republic...

The United States is not a Democracy.

The next time you feel the urge to extoll America as a bastion of Democracy (I don't know how often this desire actually manifests in people) stop yourself for a minute. The United States is a "Constitutional Republic", and this is alluded to in our Pledge of Allegiance. I've been reading on this quite a bit lately, my interest sparked by a friend. In my ignorance, I've always thought of us as a Democracy. I hate to blame the public school systems that I attended, but I wasn't asleep in high school, and I think I would have remembered being told that we are not a Democracy.

Our Founding Fathers intentionally avoided creating a Democracy when they drafted the Constitution. The principal difference between a Republic and a Democracy, in fact, is the presence of a Constitution.

Here are the primary differences between a Constitutional Republic and a Democracy, courtesy of Citizens for Constitutional Government:

DEMOCRACY:
  • A government of the masses.
  • Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of "direct" expression.
    Results in mobocracy.
  • Attitude toward property is communistic--negating property rights.
  • Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether is be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences.
  • Results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

REPUBLIC:
  • Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
  • Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.
  • A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.
  • Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.
  • Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
  • Is the "standard form" of government throughout the world.

I find this fascinating, and I continue to read up on this daily. Before you proclaim your love for your country, maybe it's not a bad idea to know what it is you love so much.

Some other links:


Comments

  1. I agree 100%! I get so tired of hearing about how America is a democracy when we are a republic! The reason the French Revolution ended up the way it did was because they were trying to establish a French democracy, not republic.

    ReplyDelete

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