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Guarantee of a republican form of government
. ^ | 2/4/03 | Marcia H. Armstrong

Posted on 02/04/2003 11:59:39 AM PST by tpaine

Guarantee of a republican form of government

by Marcia H. Armstrong

I admit that I am among the post-Roosevelt public school-indoctrinated adults that were taught to use the word "democracy" to describe our form of government. So it initially surprised me when the same word was used by avowed socialists to taut their political wares. After some research, I found that the system my ancestors helped to create was a "republic," not a democracy. (Although democratic elements, such as the "initiative," have since crept into the system.)

A republic is representative government, where the power of government is delegated to a few elected citizens. These representatives serve for an established term of office. In our constitutional republic, the distribution of power and limits of authority granted are all set down in writing. Because representatives are elected, they are directly accountable to those who elected them. A republic allows the representative to focus on decisions that will serve the best interests of the community; but that will also protect all citizens in the security of their persons and property and the enjoyment of their rights.

The strength of a republic is to elect individuals of the highest character and spirit - those who can be trusted to make good decisions. One might think of a republic as sort of like having a designated driver. On the other hand, in a democracy, each individual directly exercises the power of government. Every citizen participates directly in making the decisions. For obvious reasons, a democracy works best when it is at the small-scale level, where only a few simple issues present themselves. Democracy is also called "majority rule." The best way to describe the detrimental effects of this is to envision two wolves and a sheep sitting down together to vote on what they want for dinner, (or two preservationists and a property owner deciding on how to manage the owner's private land.) Some of the problems with a democracy are:

(1) That the majority is mighty prone to make decisions swayed by the popular passion of the moment;

(2) That there is no one who can be individually held accountable for a decision or action;

(3) That those, who don't understand the issue and often will never be effected by the laws they make, are the ones that often make the law;

(4) That ballots take on proportions of the Encyclopedia Britannica; and (5) That laws and decisions tend to erode individual rights and private property.

Democracy sounds good, but in practice, beliefs held by the majority tend to morph into standards that are officially forced upon everyone as a leveler. This is accomplished either by social coercion ("political correctness,") or through a gazillion behavioral regulations Founders like James Madison, pointed to the will of the majority as the greatest potential threat for encroachment upon personal liberty:

             "Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is a real danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of its constituents." Now, when I now place my hand over my heart and recite the "Pledge of Allegiance," I pay closer attention to the words: ....."and to the Republic, for which it stands." Note that the word "democracy" is entirely absent from that pledge.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy
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Conventional wisdom has insisted that republics must be small, to avoid a descent into tyranny and oppression.
But small republics quarrel, and cannot always defend their independence. -- By uniting, small republics, states, can protect themselves against aggression, but also against internal subversion or corruption.

This was the intention of the United States Constitution, which guarantees every state in the Union a "republican form of government" (USC 1787, Article IV, Section 4). This united republic of the United States provides a republican model for solving the dilemma of democratic intolerance, that of majority rule.
Our constitution leaves local culture and development to the self-determination of states or localities, while putting certain individual rights under the protection of an over-arching republican constitution , to prevent the tyranny of local majorities.

Thus our founders theory, that our U.S. Constitution would locate rights-protecting basic law at the federal level, while leaving culture-promoting activities to be locally determined, and reasonably regulated.
This reinforces the basic purposes of republican government by preventing the excesses of popular sovereignty, while ensuring that local sovereignty remains the best test of justice, and private perceptions of the common good.

1 posted on 02/04/2003 11:59:39 AM PST by tpaine
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To: EternalVigilance
EternalVigilance:
Would even one of the Founders, much less all of them assembled in Congress, have approved of any sort of pornography as being covered under the First Amendment to the Constitution?
-ev-


Then, as now, the founders, in the 10th, delegated such power, - IE, - as that over the commercial & public aspects of sexuality, - was to be left up to state/local standards & ~reasonable~ controls, ---- under a guaranteed republican form of government in the states, - subject to the supreme law of the land, our U.S. Constitution.

-- Thus, 'porno' laws/regulations can be enacted which do not violate our other inalienable rights to life, liberty, or property.

Simple republican concept really. To bad many here at FR have such problems understanding it.

2 posted on 02/04/2003 12:11:00 PM PST by tpaine
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To: tpaine
They have probably been listening to NPR too much. Every other guest "expert" they have uses the word "democracy" like most people use "like." (D'ohhh!)
3 posted on 02/04/2003 12:17:41 PM PST by mywholebodyisaweapon
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To: tpaine
...preventing the excesses of popular sovereignty, while ensuring that local sovereignty remains the best test of justice, and private perceptions of the common good.

If this is indeed the heart of a true republic, then the republic envisioned by our forefathers, to all intents and purposes, died on April 9, 1865.

4 posted on 02/04/2003 12:22:36 PM PST by sheltonmac
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To: sheltonmac
"...preventing the excesses of popular sovereignty, while ensuring that local sovereignty remains the best test of justice, and private perceptions of the common good."




If this is indeed the heart of a true republic, then the republic envisioned by our forefathers, to all intents and purposes, died on April 9, 1865.
-mac-


Would you grant that the southern states were exceeding 'popular sovereignty' in ~any~ way by secession?
- IE, were the property rights & liberties of their citizens who did not want to secede being violated?
5 posted on 02/04/2003 12:35:51 PM PST by tpaine
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To: tpaine
The article and your post at number 1 are dead-on-target.
6 posted on 02/04/2003 12:48:49 PM PST by KC Burke
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To: sheltonmac
The Violence that begot Violence
http://Lew Rockwell.com ^ | January 31, 2003 | Lew Rockwell
Posted on 01/31/2003 7:02 AM PST by satyam
The Violence That Begat Violence by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.


"The President, a Republican no less, seems to believe that government should be telling us what kind of car to drive, what kind of education our kids should receive, how to cure disease in Africa and the Caribbean, how to liberate women the world over, how to fund technological innovation, and even how to "transform" our "souls" and lift the "hopes of all mankind"


Should our president, under a 'republican form of goverment' be telling us the above?
-- We seem to agree neither he, nor the state, -- should have that power, -- which is the point of this thread.

Yet you seem to want the southern states to have this type of power back before the civil war. - Can you exlain?

7 posted on 02/04/2003 12:55:06 PM PST by tpaine
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To: KC Burke
Thank you.

The catch 22 being that most 'conservatives' here won't even ~try~ to understand the point.
8 posted on 02/04/2003 12:58:27 PM PST by tpaine
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To: tpaine
The last time that invoking Article 4, Section 4 was considered was during the Civil War, when many Republicans urged President Lincoln to declare that all government officials of Confederate states were fired (never happened). Many also urged Congress to pass a law declaring rebel state governments and borders dissolved (for having dissolved themselves by violating Article 4, Section 4) and to establish a federal Territory of the South. That way, setting up Reconstructed state government could be done as easily as was being done in the western territories. See www.republicanbasics.com.
9 posted on 02/04/2003 1:07:40 PM PST by Grand Old Partisan
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To: tpaine
Good post....in my mind the debate between republic vs. democracy boils down to the issue of rights. Our founding fathers envisioned a republic where one's rights are granted by God Almighty and are UNALIENABLE. Their intent was to make sure the rights of Americans are UN-A-LIEN-ABLE which meant the rights of the people could never be threatened or garnished by a fedgov with questionable motives. Our problem is that we've morphed into a "democracy" that has essentially altered our rights and made them into CIVIL RIGHTS...which are basically granted and controlled by gov't. Anyone with some historical knowledge should be able to see the big difference between these two sets of rights.
10 posted on 02/04/2003 1:11:40 PM PST by american spirit
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To: tpaine
Here is where I support some activism among judges. It is obvious by this clause that the occupation of elected offices by members of the Democrat Party is unconstitutional.
11 posted on 02/04/2003 1:22:12 PM PST by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: tpaine
Democracy: Two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.

Constitutional republic: The sheep is armed.

12 posted on 02/04/2003 1:22:49 PM PST by snarkpup
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To: tpaine
In a republic, there will always be those who are compelled to go along with the majority in certain situations. For example, I didn't vote for George W. Bush, but I am forced to recognize him as president of the United States. The same goes for politics at the local level. Those of us who voted against a proposed public school referendum will h