On This Day in History: September 27, 

2019May God Bless and Save the United States of America – Our Constitutional Republic !

Constitutional Republic v. Democracy

In 1787 at the close of the Constitutional Convention, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well Doctor Franklin, what have we got – a Republic or a Monarchy?” He is quoted as saying, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

This article contrasts the differences between a democracy and a republic, and explains why the Founding Fathers wanted a republican form of government. It is significant that the Founding Fathers did not use the word “democracy” in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States of America. Nor does the word “democracy” appear in the constitutions of any of the fifty States. In fact, Article IV. Section 4. of our Constitution 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. (Emphasis added.)

Our Founding Fathers understood the excesses of a democracy and they wanted to avoid them for our nation. In the discussion which follows the reader must bear in mind that present day definitions of these two political terms – Republic and Democracy – have been blurred, merged and used interchangeably. Historically the definitions were vastly different.

In 1917 while seeking a declaration of war against Germany [World War I], President Woodrow Wilson said, “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.” With this began the progressives intentional efforts to change the thinking of We the People from living in a Republic to living in a Democracy. They began to equate the two to achieve their over-arching goal of global governance through Socialism.

If we are to save our Constitutional Republic, We the People, as individuals and as a nation, must understand, as our Founding Fathers did, the difference between a Republic and a Democracy. From Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, we get the following definitions:

Democracy, from the Greek people to possess, to govern. Government by the people; a form of government, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which the people exercise the powers of legislation. Such was the government of Athens. A modern example would be a New England Town Hall meeting. (Emphasis added.)

Republic, from the Latin res publica; public affairs. 1. A commonwealth; a state in which the exercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by the people. In modern usage, it differs from a democracy or democratic state, in which the people exercise the powers of sovereignty in person. Yet the democracies of Greece are often called republics. (Emphasis added.)

These 1828 definitions are only 40 years removed from the understanding our Founding Fathers would have had at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. A close reading of the definitions will lead us toward our better understanding what our Founding Fathers understood was the difference between the two terms – Republic and Democracy – rather than our present day understanding more than two centuries later.

A democracy is a type of government and is distinct from other forms of government; such as, republic, monarchy, autocracy, or oligarchy. Democracy began in Greece during the Sixth Century BC with Solon in the Athenian City State. Solon’s written regulation for the Athenians became the first ever effort to govern by written and permanent law. This was not to be capricious “Ruler’s Law” subject to the whims of the ruler, but a fixed codified set of laws obeyed by rulers and the people they governed. In Solon’s own words, “when the people obey the rulers and the rulers obey the laws.”

A democracy with a written and codified law however is not enough to create a Republic where “the people” are the rulers. Democracies can be very tyrannical if a proper framework of governance is not also established by the people.

The following is a series of quotes concerning Democracy:

“Democracy is more cruel than wars or tyrants.” — Seneca

“Without checks and balances, monarchy becomes despotism, aristocracy becomes oligarchy, democracy becomes mob rule, chaos, and dictatorship.” — Cicero

“The man chosen as leader by an ungoverned populace, is someone bold and unscrupulous, who curries favor with the people by giving them other men’s property. — Cicero

“The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.” — Disraeli

“Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.” — James Russell Lowell

“Remember, Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself! There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.” — John Adams, Founding Father and Second President of the United States.

The history of republics begins in the Roman Empire. In 454 BC, the Roman Senate sent three men to Greece to study the rules of Solon. On their return the Decemviri, a temporary legislative commission of ten men that supplanted the regular magistracy from 451 to 449 BC, was established which developed The Twelve Tablets that became the written constitution of the Roman Republic. The Tablets were based on Solon’s laws. The difference between Greece and Rome was that the Romans included in their effort a structure of “checks and balances” to protect their citizens. Eventually the Roman Republic decayed into the Roman Empire ruled by the Caesars. Even during this period however The Twelve Tablets still retained a status similar to English Common Law. All of this led Tacitus to lament, “It is easier for a republican form of government to be applauded than realized.”

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitutional Republic. A Republic differs from a Democracy. A Republic is government of the people, by the people, for the people through their elected representatives. A Democracy is bludgeoning of the people, by the politicians (representatives), for their selfish interests. A Republic exists only when the system of government holds both the people, the rulers, and their representatives, their servants, subject to law. It is a government of laws and not of men. Man becomes free when he recognizes that he is subject to law. As stated by Alexander Hamilton, “We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.”

In the movie “The Alamo,” John Wayne utters the following words as Davy Crockett: “Republic! I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober however they choose. Some words give you a feeling. Republic is one of those words that makes me tight in the throat. The same tightness a man gets when his baby takes his first steps, or his first baby shaves, or makes his first sounds as a man. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words.”

Our unalienable rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the private ownership of property are granted by God and can be abridged in our Constitutional Republic only as We the People allow. In the words of Daniel Webster, “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”

In our Bill of Rights, Amendment 10 is entitled “Powers of the States and People.” This amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791. The amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

From this it can be concluded as Benjamin Franklin stated, that we have been given a Constitutional Republic by our Founding Fathers as supported by Webster’s definitions above.

In our Constitutional Republic the supreme power resides with We the People, the voters; and, this power does NOT transfer to our elected legislators by reason of their election. They are hired (elected) by We the People to represent our views and NOT their Party’s view or the view of lobbyists or special interest groups who may help to get them elected. (Sidebar: This is why only individual voters, who are eligible to vote for a candidate, should be allowed to make political contributions to that candidate. Unions, lobbies, other special interest groups, and corporations should be prohibited from making any political donations whatsoever. This is because these entities are not citizens and therefore cannot vote. They only contribute to campaigns to curry favor from our elected representatives over the will of the voters. Likewise citizens of one State should NOT be permitted to contribute to the election of Congressional races in another State. This is inter-State interference in the electoral process and is unconstitutional. Our elected representatives are to be elected by citizen voters, constituents, to represent citizen voters, constituents, and not entities who are without vote.)

John Adams, Founding Father and our second President, said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” (Emphasis added.)

If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, can a nation rise or survive without His divine approval and assistance? Is it possible for an individual or a nation to get ahead by leaving God behind?

The lesson is clear for all who can hear. God is our Ruler. He set up our nation in His own way and time. He appointed for its rulers the humble men of the street; the artisans, the farmers and the builders not would be political elites and unelected bureaucrats. Under the influence of His Holy Spirit, as long as they would listen, they worked together and built a mighty nation. The people were sovereign and We the People ruled well and with a mighty hand from March 4, 1789 as a Constitutional Republic. Their elected representatives recognized that the Federal Government only had power as We the People granted it to them within the framework of our 1787 Constitution, with its checks and balances, and Bill of Rights. Six purposes clearly outlined and stated in the Preamble of our Constitution.

So what happened in 1913 that altered the design of our Constitutional Republic? We the People got lazy and were not as vigilant as we should have been. We the People allowed the ratification of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments of our Constitution.

The Sixteenth Amendment allowed for direct taxation by the federal government upon We the People before this they could only raise revenue through apportionment to the several States. Before this amendment the federal government had to ask (beg) the several States for money for their budget. This was not a balanced budget amendment asked for today, but it was the next best thing to it. It is this direct taxation, without hesitation, that has allowed the federal government to run up We the People’s National Debt to 26.5 Trillion Dollars.

The Seventeenth Amendment allowed for the direct election of Senators. This destroyed the vertical separation of powers placed in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers. The Senate was envisioned by the Founding Fathers to give the several States a seat at the table with equal representation in the Congress. The Senators did not have to campaign before the Seventeenth Amendment. They were nominated by the Governor and with the “advice and consent” of the State Legislature their appointment was ratified. As such, they were beholden to the Governor for their continued service in the Congress. Now they are popularly elected by the voters of their State. They no longer represent the State government. They represent the voters of the State and are beholden to them and the special interest groups that keep them in office.

Together these two amendments removed two strong checks and balances, links in the chains of the Constitution, placed on the federal government by the Founding Fathers for We the People. It was these two amendments that changed our Constitutional Republic into a Democracy. It was these two amendments that have allowed the progressive and socialistic Democrats, by little baby steps, to silently and stealthily place We the People unflaggingly and unflinchingly on the road toward Socialism for more than one hundred years. If We the People are to restore our nation to the Constitutional Republic bequeath to us by the Founding Fathers, it is these two amendments that need to be and must be repealed. It is only then that We the People will be able to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

May God Bless and Save the United States of America —
Our Constitutional Republic !