Government: Republic or Democracy?

What is the Difference between a Republic and a Democracy?

Month-Defining Moment

More Defining Moments Here

key “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

“A Republic, if you can keep it.” ~Benjamin Franklin

We may define a republic to be …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 [the people’s] pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. ~James Madison (Federalist Papers, No. 39, p. 241)

Because Progressives were corrupting the definition of democracy, the U.S. Army published the following explanations in their Training Manual in 1928. (Skousen, The 5,000-Year Leap, 157-158.)

 

Government Manual Defines a “Democracy”

democracyjeffersonDemocracies 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. ~ James Madison (Federalist Papers, No. 10, p.81)

The manual had the following to say concerning the characteristics of a democracy:

  • A government of the masses.
  • Authority derived through mass meetings or any other form of “direct” expression.
  • Results in mobocracy.
  • Attitude toward property is communistic—negating property rights.
  • Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or government by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restrain or regard to consequences.
  • Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

 

Government Manual Defines a Republic

225px-BenFranklin2 “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

  “A Republic, if you can keep it.” ~Benjamin Franklin

We may define a republic to be …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 [the people’s] pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. ~James Madison (Federalist Papers, No. 39, p. 241)

 

The government manual then proceeded to outline the characteristics of a republic, which all of the Founders had vigorously recommended over a pure democracy or any other form of government.

  • Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
  • Attitude toward property is respect for laws and individual rights, and a sensible economic procedure.
  • Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard for consequences.
  • A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.
  • Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.
  • Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
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