I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for which it stands, . . . . .
How many times have we stood at attention, hands over our hearts and recited those words? Then we dutifully sat down at our desks, pulled out our history lessons and learned that our Country has a democratic form of government.
Contrary to what most of us were taught in school, the Founding Fathers set up this nation as a republic, not a democracy! The term democracy does not appear even once in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, or any of the 50 state constitutions.
So, what is the difference?
A democracy is simple majority rules. The law can change at any time and there are no limits; only what the majority of the people want. This type of government has seats of power elected by the people at large, but there is no rule of law. The individuals and minorities have no voice in a Democracy. This type of government is straight and simple majority rules.
A republic form of government has at its core a set of unbreakable, unchangeable laws, in our case the U.S. Constitution, and the government cannot usurp power not expressly granted to them in the Constitution. The republic is designed so that the rights of individuals and minorities cannot be taken away by mob rule or by a government that gets too large. The people of this type of government have a say in who sits in the seats of government, but it is not a simple majority rule. A republic considers the fact that men are corruptible, so places limits on the government.
Our Founding Fathers and history walked hand in hand. They knew that no democratic society could survive.
John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself! There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
And here we are in 2014…
Our Constitution is in the news and under fire on a daily basis. The current powers seem hell-bent on changing the very fabric that our nation was built on. The Founding Fathers knew that this would happen. They hoped that “we the people” would educate ourselves with a heavy dose of history so that we would not be doomed to repeat it. Clearly that has not been the case.
That’s why I am writing the posts that I am on American History, Liberty and Freedom. Right now we are at the very cross-roads that our Founders hoped to avoid. Pass these posts along, help to educate and reeducate before it is too late.
“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.”
–Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia Q. XIII, 1782. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors ME 2:163
More in Part II on Monday…
At *your* service,