Why Did the Founding Fathers Establish a Republic and not a Democracy for The USA?

Fact/Myth – By Thomas DeMichele – Re-posted July 22, 2019

America’s founding fathers intended the U.S. to be a Republic (elected officials vote on laws), rather than a Direct Democracy (everyone votes on laws).

More specifically, the founders intended the U.S. to be a “mixed-republic” comprised of a union of states (federalism), each with a republican government, ruled by elected officials and laws, bound by federal and state Constitutions, in which democratic and liberal principles were ensured. Indeed, they succeeded, and today the United States is a Constitutional Federal Republic; with a strong democratic tradition.

The Constitution specifically creates a Federal Republic, a federation of republican states and a central federal republican government. Meanwhile the focus on states’ rights, a separation of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial, and the liberal-minded the Bill of Rights (which amends the Constitution) helps to ensure “strong Democratic values.” Thus, “the U.S. is a Constitutional Federal Republic; with strong Democratic values” by design.[1]

The Founders did not do this because they thought a “Representative” Republic (AKA Representative Democracy) was perfect, or because they all agreed a strong federal government was better than a looser Confederation of states (see all of American history and the Articles of Confederation, to States’ Rights, to the Confederates). They did it because they wanted to avoid the pitfalls of past governments, including factions, special interests, oligarchs, despots, monarchy, weak central government, and specifically mob rule. Mob rule, also called Tyranny of the Majority, is what happens when a “pure” Democracy devolves into Anarchy, and thus there is no law or laws are not followed.

Although no two founders agreed fully, and although they knew all styles of governments had drawbacks, they came to a consensus that the best way to avoid the pitfalls was to put the creation of laws and the electing of Presidents (and at the time Senators) in the hands of elected and appointed officials, rather than directly in the hands of the public (see how voting works). Thus, while the government is “by the people, of the people, and for the people”, it is not a direct democracy classically speaking.

These intentions can be verified a number of ways, including by: the Constitution which creates a Republic with an electoral college, the Federalist papers which make a case for the Insufficiency of the Confederation to Preserve the Union, a Day-by-Day Summary of the Convention, other written documents from the founders like Jefferson’s letters, the founder’s philosophical influences like Locke or even Aristotle (who was one of the first to warn of mob rule), the debates surrounding past governments, and the condition of America post-Treaty of Paris (1983) which demanded action.

At the time of the Constitution’s drafting in 1789, the U.S.’s currency was a bit of a joke (see Continental currency) and states were off making deals with other countries. This is why the Second Continental Congress called a meeting to discuss replacing the Articles of Confederation with a better document, to create a “more perfect Union”.

Without getting to deep into Locke’s rights or Montesquieu’s laws and liberties like Madison and Jefferson did, we can simply say, you need some form of stable government to protect democracy, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; thus “a mixed-Republic” (a mixed-government rooted in a Republic like we have).

The founders didn’t agree on much, but luckily they did end up agreeing on Jefferson’s Declaration and Madison’s Virginia plan and Bill of Rights; but only after much debate.

The final result (in terms of all the documents) is a compromise between the more right-leaning and left-leaning factions within the Federalist and Anti-Federalist factions.

For example, the anti-Federalist Thomas Jefferson wanted a purer democracy in-line with the spirit of the French revolution, while the Federalist Hamilton wanted a more formal power structure like England’s. Meanwhile, James Madison, the father of the Constitution and Bill of Rights themselves, fell somewhere in the middle. It was Madison who, likely inspired by Montesquieu’s description of Lycia, designed the mixed-confederate-republic with a separation of powers.

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. – Article. IV. Section. 4. guaranteeing every state a Republican form of Government.

Read entire article here

Video source: www.youtube.com

The Pledge of Allegiance – US History

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”.

PS The people of the USA do not vote in our President–that would be A Democracy–it’s representatives from each state or The Electoral College that elects or votes in the President.

Just because our rulers at the top call the USA a Democracy doesn’t mean that we are a Democracy–the USA is a Republic.

Posted by Teri Perticone


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