Skip to comments.The Guarantee of a Republican Form of Government – Notes from the Convention of 1787
Posted on 01/28/2009 11:08:26 AM PST by Loud Mime
We have only one guarantee in our Constitution, found in Article IV Section 4, which reads:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
How did this come about?
Here are the notes from the Constitutional Convention concerning this matter:
Resol. 16.  That a Republican Constitution & its existing laws ought to be guarantied to each State by the U. States. 
Mr. Govr MORRIS thought the Resol: very objectionable. He should be very unwilling that such laws as exist in R. Island should be guarantied.
Mr. WILSON. The object is merely to secure the States agst dangerous commotions, insurrections and rebellions.
Col. MASON. If the Genl Govt should have no right to suppress rebellions agst particular States, it will be in a bad situation indeed. As Rebellions agst itself originate in & agst individual States, it must remain a passive Spectator of its own subversion.
Mr. RANDOLPH. The Resoln has 2. objects. 1. to secure Republican Government. 2. to suppress domestic commotions. He urged the necessity of both these provisions.
Mr. MADISON moved to substitute that the Constitutional authority of the States shall be guarantied to them respectively agst domestic as well as foreign violence.
Docr McCLURG seconded the motion.
Mr. HOUSTON was afraid of perpetuating the existing Constitutions of the States. That of Georgia was a very bad one, and he hoped would be revised & amended. It may also be difficult for the Genl Govt to decide between contending parties each of which claim the sanction of the Constitution.
Mr. L. MARTIN was for leaving the States to suppress Rebellions themselves.
Mr. GHORUM thought it strange that a Rebellion should be known to exist in the Empire, and the Genl Govt shd be restrained from interposing to subdue it. At this rate an enterprising Citizen might erect the standard of Monarchy in a particular State, might gather together partizans from all quarters, might extend his views from State to State, and threaten to establish a tyranny over the whole & the Genl Govt be compelled to remain an inactive witness of its own destruction. With regard to different parties in a State; as long as they confine their disputes to words, they will be harmless to the Genl Govt & to each other. If they appeal to the sword, it will then be necessary for the Genl Govt, however difficult it may be to decide on the merits of their contest, to interpose & put an end to it.
Mr. CARROL. Some such provision is essential. Every State ought to wish for it. It has been doubted whether it is a casus federis at present. And no room ought to be left for such a doubt hereafter.
Mr. RANDOLPH moved to add as  amendt to the motion; and that no State be at liberty to form any other than a Republican Govt
Mr. MADISON seconded the motion
Mr. RUTLIDGE thought it unnecessary to insert any guarantee. No doubt could be entertained but that Congs had the authority if they had the means to co-operate with any State in subduing a rebellion. It was & would be involved in the nature of the thing.
Mr. WILSON moved as a better expression of the idea, that a Republican form of Governmt shall be guarantied to each State & that each State shall be protected agst foreign & domestic violence.
This seeming to be well received, Mr. MADISON & Mr. RANDOLPH withdrew their propositions & on the Question for agreeing to Mr. Wilsons motion, it passed nem. con.
Nice link. Thanks.
Whoops! Forgot that.
Of course one of the key points in our history when it should have been necessary was "adoption" of the 16th.
You have expressed an extremely valid point most citizens do not understand.
As to where the nation strayed from a Republican form of government, I believe the answer is the Fourteenth Amendment. This single amendment essentially rewrote the Constitution. Supreme Court decisions based upon this amendment, particularly the "Incorporation Doctrine" adopted by the Taft Supreme Court in the mid-nineteen twenties, stripped states of the guarantee of a Republican form of government.
OK, you have me studying the 14th Amendment now. Several years ago some attorney claimed that it was changed from its original; he provided some records on the matter which I will have to find.
I see we are fellow Californians; what’s happening to our state???