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What the heck are we? A Democracy or a Republic?

So if you asked someone what type of government we have in the US, what would they say? Most would probably say that we have a democracy. Most would be wrong. But it’s not surprising given the fact that the media and government are always talking about America doing its job to “spread democracy” around the world. Government schools have political science books such as “The Cornerstones of American Democracy.” And some might even know the famous quote by Winston Churchill saying, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” America, contrary to popular belief, was founded as a constitutional republic. Some might remember the Pledge of Allegiance when they were in school and if so, you may remember the line “and to this republic, for which it stands…” We didn’t say, “and to this democracy, for which it stands…”

As a matter of fact, our Founding Fathers loathed democracies. They knew from history that democracies were a tyranny of the majority in which 51% of the people could take away the rights of the 49%. If you lived in a democracy and had prime land but the majority of the people wanted to take your land, then you are SOL.  There’s an adage that goes “democracy is four wolves and a sheep sitting at a table deciding what’s for dinner.” Sure you had a vote, but it wouldn’t make a difference. James Madison, one of the authors of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist #10, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths.” Therefore, in order to preserve the basic rights to every individual, they created a Constitutional Republic.

Before going any further, I think it’s important to clarify the differences between the different forms of governments in history. This picture below shows a scale:


Types of government

If you start at the left of the scale you get the most tyrannical form of government, a monarchy, where only one person, the monarch, holds all the power. The next one on the scale is an oligarchy where a tiny group of people hold the power. Examples of oligarchies include communism and fascism and these forms of government have been just as tyrannical as monarchies. A democracy is a government where the people hold the power. Ancient Greece had a democracy but it was very short lived. The next one over on the scale is a republic which is a government based on laws. Greece, Rome, and America were examples of republics throughout history where people elected representatives and the laws were displayed for everyone man to see and understand. Anarchy is a state without any government. Few countries have been in anarchy for very long as it usually arises during a transition between two different governments. Examples of countries under anarchy have been Haiti and Somalia during the past century.

Therefore, without some form of government, an individual’s rights cannot be protected. Our Founding Fathers knew a republic would be the best form of government to protect our rights and guarantee our freedom, but only if we remain vigilant and prevented our government from gaining too much power. However, this hasn’t been the case in the recent century as our government has grown stronger and stronger while further trampling upon and perverting the constitution. Is it starting to feel like mob rule to anyone?

I will leave you with this prophetic quote from Alexander Tytler, a Scottish history professor in 1787, who had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic just after our 13 original colonies adopted the constitution: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.

“During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage ”

I believe we are in step #7 and heading into #8.


The American Form of Government:



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