A Democracy vs. a Republic: What’s the difference and which do you prefer?
Harry Burke, 1/18/2017
This morning, I was reading in my new book on history and came across a section about the origin and early years of the Grecian Empire and the Roman Empire. Amazingly, both started out as republics and had successful empires. However, as the governments aged and as the populace began to demand more participation in the management of their governments, they transitioned to become democracies, ruled by simple majority vote. Later on, when the people demanded more privileges from their governments, both empires began to suffer setbacks and the empires degenerated.
To investigate the difference between these two forms of government, I checked on Google and was surprised at the simplicity and clarity regarding their differences. I think that you will be interested in what I learned:
In the United States, “the Constitution guarantees to every state a Republican form of government (Art. 4, Sec. 4). No state may join the United States unless it is a Republic. Our Republic is one dedicated to "liberty and justice for all." Minority individual rights are the priority. The people have natural rights instead of civil rights. The people are protected by the Bill of Rights from the majority. One vote in a jury can stop all of the majority from depriving any one of the people of his rights; this would not be so if the United States were a democracy.
“In a pure democracy 51 beats 49[%]. In a democracy there is no such thing as a significant minority: there are no minority rights except civil rights (privileges) granted by a condescending majority. Only five of the U.S. Constitution's first ten amendments apply to Citizens of the United States. Simply stated, a democracy is a dictatorship of the majority. Socrates was executed by a democracy: though he harmed no one, the majority found him intolerable.”
By definition, then, the United States is a confederation of states which are bound together by two documents: The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Google further states that “in the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. ‘Republic’ is the proper description of our government, not ‘democracy.’"
From another source I learned that “the Founding Fathers (purposely) created for us a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. . . Almost to a man, (the Founding Fathers) abhorred the idea of framing a ‘true [or mass] democracy’ for the emerging United States. A democracy for them was the capricious and irresponsible rule of the mob. Our Founding Fathers believed that democracy represented the degeneration of a republic; they feared and loathed it, and felt that it was the precursor of dictatorship. For them the Electoral College system is neither ‘flawed,’ nor ‘inequitable.’’’
One of the ways that the Electoral College system has preserved the rights of voters is illustrated in the recent election. Voters in the vast majority of the states, 49 states, were won by one candidate. Enough votes in the one remaining state, California, were able to push the total votes for the election to be gained by the other candidate. However, since our nation is a republic and not a democracy, the rights of the citizens of the majority number of the states were protected using the EC system.
Concluding question: Which system do you prefer, the one in which there are “no minority or individual rights except those privileges (or civil rights) which are granted by a condescending majority” . . . or do you prefer the system in which, despite the outcome of the election, a constitution enumerates the rights of individuals and the minority is protected?
Considering the two different systems of government, of which do you prefer to be a citizen?
A Republic or a Democracy?