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is america a republic

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The United States of America is governed as a federal republic, and therefore some argue that the U.S. is not a democracy. What they may do is written in the constitution. But every 10 days, these 6,000 citizens would gather to consider an agenda that had been prepared for it by an elected council of 500 citizens (boule), each of whom served terms of one year. And in some cases, they dictate the consequences of failing to observe and uphold them. There the largest power was the assembly (ekklessia) in which some 30,000 male citizens were entitled to participate. It’s also a democratic republic. In fact, the heterogeneous character of justice, as Aristotle showed, would require a much more flexible political order, one capable of addressing and managing the constantly shifting needs, passions, and interests of its distinctive parts, such that any solution it might devise would only constitute an incomplete and temporary remedy. So too with the methods for amending and ratifying the Constitution: Both of these require the support of the majority of the American people to effect, but they organize and channel the will of the majority through individual state legislatures, which, again, respects state sovereignty. The claim to rule most consistent with the view of political life as a matter of dignity and honor is that put forward by human beings of great moral and intellectual virtue. Republicanism recognizes the valid contributions to the welfare of the community by non- and even counter-majoritarian parts of the community. Despite what many of today’s activists would have us believe, the anti-democratic institutions of the American Republic are just as vital now as they were over 200 years ago. The Times author notes that “Conservatives are often unmoved by complaints that our system is undemocratic, arguing that America was intended not as a democracy but a republic.” They set expectations for them, clarifying who is to command and who is to obey, who is to speak and who is to listen. Politics and Public Opinion Constitution Executive Branch Legislature September 13, 2018 “The United States is a republic, not a democracy.” This is … “The Constitution is repealed; America is no longer a democratic republic.’ It saddens me to say that I believe he may be right about what economists call macro trends across the fruited plain. This egalitarian zeal even weakens party hierarchies within Congress, as newly elected Members, like those in the Tea Party a decade ago or “The Squad,” publicly wrestle with their leadership for legislative control, tossing aside the traditional deference afforded more seasoned party Members as an unacceptable delay to the fulfillment of their desires. Various forms of digital democracy, or e-democracy as it is sometimes called, are already used by democratic countries throughout the West for everything from filing taxes to making communal budgetary decisions to voting in national referenda and elections. The only voice that counts is that of the majority. Democratic habits, an ethic of familiarity, and egalitarian social, fiscal, and educational policies have erased any meaningful differences between the sexes; denied the special place reserved under the law for the traditional family; replaced procreation with the equalizing power of “choice” as the basis of marriage; flattened economic inequalities between the rich and the poor; treated good and bad students as equals; and dissolved the difference between citizen and foreigner. Or, as Martin Diamond puts it, the Founders wanted to make the republic decent despite its being democratic.REF. With no outside authority to check their judgments, these 6,000 Athenians were free to make and act on whatever fickle or dangerous decisions.REF And make them they did, whether it was the decision to execute some of their generals for failing to collect the wrecks of shipwrecked sailors after the victory at Arginusae (406 BC),REF or the decision to kill all the adult males of the rebellious city of Mytilene (427 BC), (a decision that they revoked the next day).REF Madison may thus have had more than the Athenians’ execution of Socrates in mind when, in describing the fickleness of their assembly, he noted that these citizens were free to decree hemlock for some of their citizens one day and erect statues to them the next.REF, Athens was the freest of the ancient Greek city-states. Tocqueville highlights the virtues of the kind of “aristocratic literature” found among the ancient Greek and Roman authors, such as Plutarch, whom he read closely, or Polybius, Cicero, and Livy, whom members of our founding generation read. These rights are inalienable and cannot be changed or altered by an elected government. America is a republic. Thus, Madison writes, lamenting the popular governments of the ancient world: These governments were tumultuous because they supplied no check on the people. The U.S. is a Democratic Constitutional Republic, and Yes, It Matters 12 min James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution and primary author of the Bill of Rights, repeatedly emphasized that the United States is a “republic” and not a “democracy.” As a result of all of this, the majority is allowed to live in a state of perpetual self-adoration.REF It recognizes no power above it with the authority to correct it.REF As Tocqueville writes, democratic citizens “have an ardent, insatiable, eternal, invincible passion for equality; they want equality in liberty, and if they cannot obtain that, they still want equality in slavery. The Concept of a Republic . Why Are Conservatives Saying America Is A Republic, ... McKenna College, about the argument some are making on the right that the U.S. is not a democracy, but rather the republic. Indeed, justice demands that, even in a nation rooted in popular consent, non- and counter-majoritarian forces must be blended together. 10, the effort to eliminate factional differences out of a desire to decrease tension is a fool’s errand. Virtually all domestic political conflict can be reduced to the clash between these two parties. The decisions rendered by such an assembly were absolute and there was no higher authority governing it. In other words, federalism, by protecting the sovereignty of the individual states, ensures that the states will cultivate different spheres of republican activity reflective of their particular needs, tastes, opinions, and interests, all of which may differ widely from—and even be at odds with—those of their neighbors. But in America, equality it is not just left to political power; all aspects of human life fall under the homogenizing influence of our addiction to egalitarianism. To advocates, this pursuit of ever more equality represents a panacea, a “one-size-fits-all” solution, to the various political conflicts we face. Ancient democracies like Athens, what Madison calls “pure” democracies, could engage in this kind of behavior because they guaranteed in principle the right of each citizen to exercise directly the powers of government. As a reminder, this subreddit is for civil discussion.. Of course, the job of preserving and perpetuating the intellectual inequality of “aristocratic literature” falls to our colleges and universities. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Yet many people often mistakenly refer to America as a democracy. Direct democracies hold referendums each time an issue has to be decided upon because there are no elective representatives. America is in actuality a republic. The republic ended upon the murder of Julius Caesar, and the subsequent ascension of Caesar’s nephew, Octavian, to assume the role of the first emperor.. A republic, on the other hand, meant a democratic government with limited powers that are widely divided among different voting blocs in order to protect the rights of as many people as possible. It comes from the Latin rēs pūblica, meaning “public thing,” characterizing that a state is ultimately run by its people—as opposed to monarchy or tyranny. Precisely because the democrats and oligarchs understand political rule to be an honor and the political community to be a human association that is noble and worthy of our greatest devotion, political life has to be something larger or more dignified than a mere military alliance (as defined by the democratic view) or a business partnership (as defined by the oligarchic view). The United States is a republic because our elected representatives exercise political power. Of course, resurrecting these in the midst of our egalitarian excesses requires cultivating once again an appreciation for difference and inequality, and chiefly an inequality of intellect that is at the heart of republicanism and anathema to pure or direct democracy. In other words, our contemporary egalitarian ethos, in seeking to apply a single, uniform view of justice to all aspects of American social, familial, religious, economic, and political life, approaches inequality and difference as if they were problems in need of permanent solution. America is a Representative Republic, Not a Democracy By J.W. Our system (arguably the most innovative feature of the new constitution) recognizes as legitimate the differences between different regions of the country and provides them with the electoral avenues for expressing and preserving those differences. Why the United States was designed as a Republic – The elements of a republic are these: 1) a representative government, 2) a written constitution and 3) the rule of law. Bryan | 2020-10-16T02:02:21-04:00 October 16th, 2020 | Click on name above to read more articles by this author No one today seriously questions the value of democratic equality or whether the will of the majority should rule. This recognition that no one faction has a monopoly on justice offers a useful corrective to those who think that more equality and more democracy are the panaceas for whatever might ail us, and who thus try to weaken the republican protections of our freedom so that they can impose on everyone else their uniform view of justice. The key difference between a republic and a democracy is not how power is projected, but the limits to power. Democracy Is The Best Form Of Government: Arguments For And Against. The logic at work in the heart of modern democracy here is deceptively simple. Americans encounter these forms or hierarchies in their schools, family rituals, religious observances, and all social and civic interactions. Indeed, the United States might be labeled a constitutional federal representative democracy. For instance, during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (431 BC–404 BC), the Athenian assembly voted in favor of Alcibiades’ outrageously daring plan to conquer Sicily. And with this cultural push for more equality, we can expect to see more vocal attacks on all of those instruments designed to temper the will of the majority, to inject greater deliberations into our decisions, and to preserve the distinctive voices and interests of the American people. The term “republic,” however, does appear in the Constitution.REF. That’s the core of how our government works. For nearly 500 years, ancient Rome was a republic before it became ruled by emperors. There are many facets to that viewpoint of theirs, but a central one is that we live in an evil country because America is not a democracy, but a republic. A constitutional republic is a state where the chief executive and representatives are democratically elected by the people, and the rules are set down in a written constitution.. Such authors, Tocqueville tells us, “always demonstrated an admirable art and care in details; nothing in their works seems done in haste or by chance; everything is written for connoisseurs, and the search for ideal beauty is shown constantly.”REF These “special qualities” can “serve marvelously to counterbalance our particular defects.”REF, How can such “aristocratic literature” counterbalance our particularly democratic defects? Both use the representational system, meaning that the citizenry is represented in the government by elected leaders. Under the banner of making “every vote count,” the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC)REF “compels” the state legislatures that have passed it into law to give their slate of electors to the candidate who received the most votes nationwide regardless of how the majority of the people in that state voted. Like Aristotle, Madison and Hamilton understood why incorporating contentious forces within our political institutions was such a necessity: Both political reality, which is characterized by diverse interests, and the demands of political justice, which is not a simple but a compound thing, mandate it. But Athens, democratic though it was, was still rife with social and political hierarchies. Those who do manage to question the judgment of the majority frequently find themselves “canceled,” that is, publicly shunned and professionally silenced. This means that one should not hope to eliminate, for instance, the different and unequal distribution of private property on the basis of which men form factions and which so thoroughly influences their sense of justice. It is important to stress that, for Aristotle, both parties advance these claims on the basis of justice. Given the importance of such practices to human flourishing, the recovery of republicanism means the recovery of our humanity. It is the end of civil society. But given what is at stake—“a republic, if we can keep it,” to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin’s legendary quip—the fight must go on. Republican institutions refine views, apply a brake to impetuous decisions, inject reason into impassioned debates, and help make far-sighted decisions. While the philosophical terminology developed in classical Greece and Rome, as already noted by Aristotle there was already a long history of city states with a wide variety of constitutions, not only in Greece but also in the Middle East. Nor should attempts be made to eliminate the formal pillars of republicanism noted above, mechanisms that promote and protect diversity and prevent the voice of the majority from being the only voice in American politics. In the contemporary democratic view, those who possess more technical knowledge and expertise than others in these fields (reflected in their appropriate credentials of course) are owed obedience on matters related to their expertise. TIP: America isn’t just “a Republic,” it is a Constitutional Federal Republic with a Democratic spirit. As a result, the principle of equality so deeply cherished by the majority is never examined with care. Bryan | 2020-10-16T02:02:21-04:00 October 16th, 2020 | Click on name above to read more articles by this author In their embrace of term limits (to restore more electoral control to the people), or their desire to eliminate the filibuster and expand the size of the Supreme Court, Members of the U.S. Congress exhibit a kind of egalitarian mania. Americans today confuse republicanism with democracy because they have forgotten, and our educators no longer remind them of, the non- and even counter-majoritarian rationale for our distinctive political institutions. American republicanism, by contrast, offers protections from the instability, rashness, impetuosity, and social and political tyranny of democratic politics because it recognizes that the majority does not equal the whole of the community. But, as intense as they may be, when viewed from the perspective of our foundational principles, these disagreements are epiphenomenal. After the classical period, during the Middle Ages, many free cities developed again, such as Venice. Some rights such as the Bill of Rights, the right to vote, and the powers to amend the constitution are limited and cannot be changed by the sitting government without consulting the public directly. All human beings are fundamentally equal: When it comes to knowing how we ought to live our lives, no single individual possesses more wisdom than anyone else. And we see a similar disrespect or ignorance of republican purposes in the progressive effort to extend or preserve the use of the ballot initiative in the name of more democracy against state legislatures who, in curbing the reach of such a measure, seek to recover their representative and deliberative powers. The contemporary efforts to weaken our republican customs and institutions in the name of greater … Towards that end, the founders of the U.S. produced what is now the longest-standing constitution of all nations in the world. The Athenians never thought to extend the political principle of equality to anything else. A republic is: This recourse to representation makes it possible for modern republics to govern vast territories and large populations (conditions essential to the preservation of civil liberty), which will be explored more fully below. By “forms,” Tocqueville means those customs, ceremonies, and hierarchies that set human beings apart from one another and regulate their interactions. This preference for republicanism over democracy stems largely from the fact that ancient democracies, rooted in popular consent, were also vulnerable to the passions and shortsightedness of popular rule. The key difference between a republic and a democracy is not how power is projected, but the limits to power. It is about cultivating the kind of republican character that only comes from the peculiar thoughtfulness made possible by such literature. But, the careful balance produced by our mixed republic is threatened by an egalitarianism that undermines the social, familial, religious, and economic distinctions and inequalities that undergird our political liberty. The Federalist №39 (James Madison), 233–34 (“[W]e may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior. These men and women will blame anyone or anything else—the media, their opponents, the economy, their staffs, even themselves—for their losses before thinking of criticizing the wisdom and good will of the American majority. To check this body’s potential majoritarian excesses, they borrowed from the ancient republics and devised a senatorial body that would share in legislation. In many cases, this subtle shift is not even acknowledged, let alone reflected on, even by those theorists of modern democracy who populate the academy today.REF And this blind-spot to democracy’s conflation of “the many” with “the all” is made all the more inexcusable by the majority’s uneven record on human rights in American history, from its original support of slavery, to its opposition of women’s rights to vote, to its reluctance to embrace the civil rights movement, among others. This is because both factions claim to deserve to rule their community on the ground that they contribute most to the welfare of the community: the democrats because they contribute their lives and liberty to the defense of the community through service in the infantry and the navy, and the oligarchs because their wealth helps the city’s economy, religious observance, and military defense thrive. If Democrats refuse, then America is officially a banana republic. Individual citizens were allowed to come forward in the assembly and either propose motions on the basis of the agenda supplied by the council or deliver speeches advocating, modifying, or contesting them.REF There were no procedural rules either for these speeches or for the behavior of the audience, which meant that assembly meetings could get raucous and violent depending on both the particular speaker and the mood of fellow citizens.REF In the end, the majority’s will on matters of state was registered through a raised-hand vote, with the outcome depending on the persuasiveness of a particular speaker, which may have flowed from his particular rhetorical gifts, his personal reputation, or his ability to direct the passions of his listeners. The Electoral College thus balances the wishes of the majority against respect for the sovereignty of each state, a balance that tries to protect smaller states from their more populous neighbors and prevents the presidency from becoming the hostage of large urban centers. This preference for republicanism over and against democracy was especially pronounced in America’s Founding political documents and in the numerous writings that justified and explained them. "Republic" was the more popular word in the earlier period when the key question was whether to have a democracy or a monarchy; "democracy" was the … Similar hostility to the pillars of our republic in the name of more democracy is found across our political landscape: in the way many states rely on ballot initiatives to effect public policy; in the hostility to procedural limits that inhibit Congressional majorities from having their way; and in the increased dissatisfaction with the efficiency and responsiveness of our deliberative political institutions.REF As a result, there is an increased interest in non-republican “solutions” to any obstacles to more democracy, whether it be endorsing Congressional term-limits, scrapping the Senatorial filibuster, expanding the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, or developing more effective and immediate ways to express the will of the majority, such as quadratic, ranked-choice, and digital voting—anything to liberate more fully the direct will of the people. In general, be courteous to others. For if all minds are equal, then the view held by the majority of individual minds is most likely the correct one; the individual by himself has no grounds on which he can question it. Recognizing that parties only speak to a part of justice means acknowledging the legitimate existence of rival factions that may well speak to another part of justice. Federalism refers to the division of power between the national and state governments in which the states get to exercise all of those powers not specifically delegated to the national government by the Constitution. Through the innovation of federalism, the republican architects of our political order set up the dynamics for a republican social order that would, through its very diversity, mitigate the effects of unjust majority factions and provide a bulwark against a creeping equality of conditions. And accept unthinkingly question of political significance must reside with the majority that. 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