Friday, June 18, 2010

Why are we a Republic?

If you would have asked me in sixth grade what type of government we have I would have said a democracy. Heck, you could have probably asked me that in high school and I would have said the same thing. We usually call ourselves a democracy, and in a way we are but not in the true sense of the word.

A full-fledged democracy would not have representatives to act on our behalf. Each individual given voter rights would vote on each issue that affected them.

We are more of a hybrid democracy. We vote for our representation on the federal level and often even on the state level. Those representatives then make and/or enforce our laws. It usually isn't until we get to the city or county level where a full on democracy begins to take shape, but even then we often have council members to represent us and create our laws albeit usually on a limited basis.

So why did the founders of this great nation choose a republic over a democracy? Was it because it would have been too hard to get the states to allow a straight democracy? Was it because those in charge didn't want to share power with every citizen? Was it because up to that point every democracy ended in bloodshed and corruption using the ignorance of the masses to fuel the fires created through politics? Or was it for some other reason?

As far as I can tell from my understanding of history the idea that our country is more of a democracy than a republic wasn't something that was portrayed until the early twentieth century. Before that, you would be hard pressed to find the word 'democracy' in the speeches of the leaders and thinkers at the level you find it today.

Today the word 'democracy' is a buzzword that is used and abused. Even communist dictatorships can use 'democracy' to describe their country's government without much question by the international community on the use of that word.

I think that we most certainly need democratic means to create and run our republic. But I also think there was some wisdom in the founders for making this nation a republic instead of using any of the other choices for a government structure.

What do you think? Why are we a republic and not a democracy? Was it wise for the founders of this country to chose a form of republicanism as the government of this country, or should they have chosen a different form of government?

5 comments:

Casi said...

Up until now I think a republic has suited our needs. I think people were fairly confident in the belief that sending up representatives to express our opinions for us was adequate.

I, however, don't think that cuts the mustard anymore. I think people are starting to crave a true democracy, where every vote counts. I know I am.

Brandon said...

Frankly I like the republic Idea, lets face the entire population is to busy, or lazy, or apathetic to be an informed voter, I would rather be in a republic where the educated few made the choices for the rest than a democracy where the uniformed masses vote only on the information they have been spoon fed from the talking heads on radio and television.

Honestly I think before you are handed a ballot you should have pass a test. Not a hard one, not one that discriminates, I think at a minimum you should be able to identify the two candidates for office by name. (sadly I think that would reduce the number of people allowed to vote for any office besides president)

merrilykaroly said...

I think that the reason of "because up to that point every democracy ended in bloodshed and corruption using the ignorance of the masses to fuel the fires created through politics" makes sense. I agree with Brandon's opinions on that, too. I just wish there were less politics involved, and more people honestly trying represent the ideals of those who have elected them. But maybe it's just part of human nature and the days of honest politicians are forever behind us.

Bill Karoly said...

A straight up TRUE democracy would be a fiasco. But look at what we have right now? A fiasco in Washington DC and there is little we can do to change the situation.

Look at who we voted President of The United States this last time around. America voted for Change and Change is what we got and look where that has gotten us. We are no longer represented in Washington. Our duly elected, high and mighty, Senators are Congressmen who have been in office for two or more terms feel they are entitled to do whatever they please.

Right now I think the system is broken because too few individuals are anymore about the Constitution. Heck, members of the Senate and Congress have so stated recently. Sad sad sad.

What is Brandon talking about? Uniformed masses? Are goose stepping Nazis now? The uniformed masses. Maybe he meant uninformed masses. This year more Americans are informed than ever before. Look at the Tea Party movement. Incumbents in both parties are in big trouble.

Who are the talking heads Brandon is talking about? Rush Limbaugh? Glenn Beck? Sean Hannity? Laura Ingraham? Because those are the only talking heads I can think of because only conservatives seem to listen to other conservatives. Look at the viewership numbers of CNN or MSNBC or the traditional network news broadcasts. They are WAY down because a majority of us uninformed masses are not enlightened the way liberals are.

There are just not enough liberals out there to support liberal media.

Ricky said...

Republic, Democracy... I mean whatever it is now I don't think it's what our forefathers intended it to be then. Now, I know very little about government, history, and probably don't follow any of this as much as most of you do, but I can say that the system is broken. When I go to vote in a person who will represent me and my views it seems I have to choose the better of two evils and who will most closely fit my views. AND EVEN WORSE... I have to base my decision off of information about them I get either from themselves (which we can assume is extremely biased) or from their opponents (even more biased). Now I don't know of a fix but I know that we need change. JUST LIKE THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM NEEDS CHANGE... but that's a whole different topic.