Are We a Republic or a Democracy?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Bonnie, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    We often hear the claim that our nation is a democracy. that wasn't the vision of the founders. They saw democracy as another form of tyranny. If we've become a democracy, I guarantee you that the founders would be deeply disappointed by our betrayal of their vision. the founders intended, and laid out the ground rules, for our nation to be a republic.

    The word democracy appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution--two most fundamental documents of our nation. Instead of a democracy, the Consitution's Article IV, Section 4, guarantees "to every State in this Union a Republic Form of Government." Moreover, let's ask ourselves: does our pledge of allegiance to the flag say to "the democracy for which it stands," or does it say "to the republic for which it stands"? Or do we sing "The Battle Hymm of the Democracy" or "The Battle Hymm of the Republic"?

    So what's the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the great Legislator of the Universe." Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of rights. Instead, government is a protector of rights.

    In recognition that it's Congress that poses the greatest threat to our liberties, the framers used negative phrases against Congress throughout the consititution such as: shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, and shall not be violated, nor be denied. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. all citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. Government intervenes in civil society to protect it's citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the caases of peaceble, voluntary exchange.

    Contrast the framers' vision of a republic with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that envisioned under a republic form of government, rights are seen as priveleges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.

    the framers gave us a Consitution that is replete with undemocratic mechanisms. One that has come in for recent criticism and calls for its elimination is the Electorla College. In their wisdom, the framers gave us the Electoral College so that in presidential elections large, heavily populated states couldn't democratically run roughshod over small, sparsely populated states.

    Here's my question. Do Americans share the republican values laid out by our founders, and is it simply a matter of our being unschooled about the differences between a republic and a democracy? Or is it a matter of preference and now we want the kind of tyranny feared byt the founders where Congress can do anything it can muster a majority vote to do?


    Walter Williams
    www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/printww20050105.shtml
     
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  2. ScreamingEagle
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    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

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    I think a lot of the confusion results from people not being schooled in the differences between a democracy and a republic. Given the state of our school system I am not surprised.

    Democracy - as described in a 1928 U.S. Army training manual:
    "Democracy: A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of ‘direct' expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude towards laws is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice or impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy."

    Republic - "A constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general."

    Funny how the Democrats seem to favor Democracy and the Republicans a Republic...
     
  3. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    We are a Democratic Republic.

    Our Republic, seperate states, vote with Democracy. We are after all trying to promote Democracy throughout the world.
     
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  4. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Intersting way that you broke that down. Also ironic that the Democrats chose the one that opts more control over people and a centralized monolithic type government, and YET they claim Republicans want to impose on everyone..........Hmmm
     
  5. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Yes a represented Republic that promotes Democracy, you may be on to something here MB.
     
  6. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    :thup:
     
  7. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    We are a constitutional republic with democratically elected legislators and executives.
     
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  8. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    We started out as a Federal Republic, where the federal government had very limited powers, and the state government had the most impact on day-to-day life. That has reversed itself over the last two centuries.
     
  9. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    True. And the senate was initially designed to represent the governments of the states, moreso than the people of the states, as the house was intended.
     

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