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It is a republic

November 19, 2012
The Daily News


Every now and then someone will write to this paper about U.S. of A. being a country governed by a democracy. How far from wrong?

Well it is a republic, if we can keep it. And after the Nov. 6 election, it don't look good.

Let me explain. Back a few years ago when U.S. government was a class subject, I was in the seventh grade at the torn down Quinnesec High School.

We learned that our Founding Fathers had a clear idea of the needed form of government they wanted guaranteed by the new constitution. They addressed that issue in Article 4, Section 4, paragraph I:

"The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government."

Not a democracy. I repeat, for slow learners, we are not a democracy.

Well then, what is the difference? In a democracy, when an issue is to be decided, the entire population votes on it; the majority of the voters wins and rules. A democracy is rule by the majority feelings. Emotions and rants work well in these situations (what the Founding Fathers described as mobocracy).

Example: in a democracy, if a majority of the voters decides that murder is no longer a crime, murder will no longer be a crime.

In a republic, the general population elects representatives who then make decisions and pass laws. Our republic is a form of government where power is separated, pitting men against each other, debate is encouraged, making it difficult to pass laws and changes, but it does work.

A republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (the mob).

A republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants. Law-making in a democracy occurs rapidly requiring approval from the whim of the majority as determined by polls and/or voter referendums.

Voter referendums allow elected officials (servants) to blame bad law on the people, thus no accountability. A good example of democracy in action is a lynch mob.

"We have a republic, if we can keep it," quote by a supporter of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) when asked what kind of government have you got for us? As a statesman, Franklin stood in the front ranks of the men who built the U.S. of A.

When people write to this paper and don't know what they are talking about, it should not be put to print.

Joe Massie




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