We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
(1787-06-26 Hamilton – Debates of the Federal Convention)
This statement may be surprising to many, since most people believe the United States is, and always was, a democracy. I will assume that most of us were taught in school that we are a democracy, or a democratic republic (whatever that is). Of course, we all are used to reporters and politicians referring to the United States as a democracy. However, our founders gave us a republic not a democracy.
The U.S. Constitution states, in Article IV, section 4;
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,…
Although our teachers taught us we are a democracy, we began our school day with The Pledge of Allegiance, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands…”
As you may be aware, Madison, Hamilton, and Jay wrote The Federalist Papers, to explain the Constitution, to the people. The introduction was written by Alexander Hamilton. It states;
I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars:
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION TO YOUR POLITICAL PROSPERITY THE INSUFFICIENCY OF THE PRESENT CONFEDERATION TO PRESERVE THAT UNION THE NECESSITY OF A GOVERNMENT AT LEAST EQUALLY ENERGETIC WITH THE ONE PROPOSED, TO THE ATTAINMENT OF THIS OBJECT THE CONFORMITY OF THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTION TO THE TRUE PRINCIPLES OF REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT ITS ANALOGY TO YOUR OWN STATE CONSTITUTION and lastly, THE ADDITIONAL SECURITY WHICH ITS ADOPTION WILL AFFORD TO THE PRESERVATION OF THAT SPECIES OF GOVERNMENT, TO LIBERTY, AND TO PROPERTY. (emphasis added)
James Madison states, in Federalist #10;
Hence it is that such 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.
Madison continues, in the same paper;
A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.
I urge you to investigate this for yourself. You will not find the word democracy in the Constitution. However, Marx and Engels mention democracy in the Communist Manifesto;
We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class; to win the battle of democracy.
Our republican form of government is an important part of Americanism. Our founders studied history, this is obvious by reading The Federalist Papers. They chose to give us a republic not a democracy.
I will take a look at the cause of confusion, concerning our form of government in a future post.