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Topic: Republic, Matches 7 quotes.



The problem was not new. It was as old as history, but no one had ever found the answer. The Greeks had been unable to solve it. The Romans had been unable to solve it. Various experiments had been tried, and all had failed.

No one had ever found the solution. But it is doubtful that, in the entire history of mankind, so unusual a group had ever come together for so important a purpose—realistic frontiersmen, practical builders, jurists, statesmen, students of history, analysts of Old World government from the perspective of a New World in the making. Their counterparts are rare in this modern age of specialization and so-called “progressive” education.

Democracy was not the answer. The word democracy means rule by the masses, and mass rule means mob rule. As James Madison pointed out in The Federalist:

A pure democracy . . . can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will . . . be felt by a majority . . . and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party . . . . Hence it is that such democracies 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 death.

Obviously, there can be no individual freedom unless the rights of the minority are protected; and in an unrestrained democracy, it’s too easy for the organized pressure groups to infringe on the rights of others.

A Republic

America was to be set up as a republic—which means that the laws would be made and administered by representatives chosen, directly or indirectly, by the people to protect the interests of all the people.

The word republic means rule for the people, and as Isabel Paterson points out:

A Republic signifies an organization dealing with affairs which concern the public, thus implying that there are also private affairs, a sphere of social and personal life, with which government is not and should not be concerned; it sets a limit to the political power.

In the last analysis, any government, regardless of what it may be called, must be one man or a small group of men in power over many men. That being the case, how is it possible to transfer the power of the ruler to each man in the multitude?

The answer is that it is not possible. The only solution lies in the direction of destroying power itself. The only way in which men can remain free and be left in control of their individual energies is to cut the power of government to an irreducible minimum.

But how can that be done without the danger of out-and-out anarchy? The answer is quite simple—once it is found. But until the time of the American Revolution, no one had found it.

The head of a state is a human being; and a human being’s thinking, deciding, acting, and judging are inseparable. But in this new American republic, no top official would ever be permitted to act as a whole human being. The functions of government would be divided into three parts:

1. The first part was to think and decide. It would be called the Congress.

2. The second part was to be responsible for getting action. It would be headed by the chief executive—the President.

3. The third part was to serve as judge or referee and would be known as the Supreme Court.

Each of these three parts was to act as a check on the other two; and over the three was set a written statement of political principles, intended to be the strongest check on them all. There was to be government by law—with clearly defined rules of the game—rather than government by whim. Thus, the Constitution was to serve as an impersonal restraint upon the fallible human beings who must be allowed to use their fragments of authority over the multitudes of free individuals.

The dangers of dictatorship must be avoided for all time to come. No one person nor small group of persons must ever be permitted to get too much power; and the minority—even down to the last individual citizen—must be protected against oppression by the majority or by any organized pressure group.

Source: Henry Grady Weaver
The Mainspring of Human Progress
Chapter 15 - The New Model

Topics: Checks and Balances; Government; Republic



When To Vote?

If voting could really be used to determine right from wrong—and what we should all be forced or forbidden to do—we could use it to settle the religious question once and for all. We could vote democratically to decide which religion we shall all be compelled to follow. (It always amuses me to observe how some of the most rabid of the social democrats back away from that one; and on occasion, I have been known to resort to the low trick of taunting the worst of them with this question: “What’s the matter—don’t you believe in democracy and the right to vote anymore?”)

Perhaps James Madison, in the tenth Federalist Paper, best answered this general question on voting and democracy. “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”

That’s why our Founding Fathers deliberately established a Republic with heavy checks and balances against popular and hasty actions, instead of a Democracy in which the people are encouraged to believe that they have the “right” to vote on anything and everything. It’s too bad that their plan is being so constantly eroded away.

Source: Dean Russell
Legal But Immoral, Essays on Liberty, Volume IX

Topics: Democracy; Republic; Voting



(These paragraphs are not sequential in the original essay. I selected specific ones to include here for brevity.)

The Founding Fathers saw no reason to assume that a majority of citizens should have the final and deciding word on what bills should be enacted into law; decisions of such depth and complexity could not be left to the ever-changing whims of a majority. “No one imagines that a majority of passengers should control a plane. No one assumes that, by majority vote, the patients, nurses, elevator boys and cooks and ambulance drivers and interns and telephone operators and students and scrubwomen in a hospital should control the hospital. Would you ever ride on a train if all the passengers stepped into booths and elected the train crews by majority vote, as intelligently as you elect the men whose names appear in lists before you in a voting booth? Then why is it taken for granted that every person is endowed on his 21st birthday with a God-given right and ability to elect the men who decide questions of political philosophy and international diplomacy?

The federal government has also assumed enormous powers through a distortion of the phrase “the general welfare.” In the first Congress, in 1789, a bill was introduced to pay a bounty to fishermen at Cape Cod, as well as a subsidy to certain farmers. James Madison said: “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public treasury: they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union: they may seek the provision of the poor . . . [all of which] would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.”

In a democracy, all such processes are easily sanctioned by popular outcries: “He’s a profiteer—take it away from him.” “He’s getting too much—give it to us.” People who haven’t succeeded, or weren’t willing to make the sacrifices he made, will do all they can to take it away from him after he has succeeded. A democracy easily becomes dominated by the morality of envy. A fickle mob, unaware of the facts of basic economics, but easily swayed by demagogues demanding as their right the fruits of the labor of others, can easily bring about the passage of laws which will inhibit production, destroy the free market, and in the end lead to such shortages and bottlenecks in production that they result, just as Plato said, in riots, calls for “law and order,” and dictatorship.

Only a republic, in which the powers of the government are constitutionally limited, can avoid this fate. That is why the Founding Fathers were careful to create this nation as a republic, so that each person could determine his own destiny and not have it determined by others, whether by the tyranny of one (dictatorship) or of a few (oligarchy), or of many (democracy). “It is the blessing of a free people, not that they live under democratic government, but that they do not.”. [Richard Taylor, “the Basis of Political Authority,” the Monist, Vol. 66 No. 4 (Oct. 1983), p. 471. See also Richard Taylor, Freedom, Anarchy, and the Law (Prentice-Hall, 1973).]

If the return to a republic is not achieved, Alexis de Tocqueville’s prediction of a century and a half ago may yet come true: that the American government will become for its citizens

“an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate . . . For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances—what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? . . . The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting; such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”. [Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, pp. 579-80 of the edition edited by Henry Steele Commager, 1946.]

Source: John Hospers
Freedom and Democracy, p337-8

Topics: Democracy; Government; Republic



[O]ur Constitution provides for a republic. That is, we have a republican form of government based upon the citizenry electing representatives to carry out the functions of government. The Founding Fathers did not frame a constitution that would set up a democracy—a kind of government where political power lay directly in the hands of the people. Under a pure democracy, the citizens of the state would exercise popular vote to decide what laws should be made. The majority view would be registered and then carried out by the administrative hand of the central government. There would be no representation (legislative branch of government) between the citizenry and the administrative branch of government.

A democracy might appear to be more “democratic” than a republic, but the authors of the Constitution knew that a democracy would lead to a loss of individual freedom . . . followed by anarchy or tyranny. While the Constitution was being considered for ratification by the Massachusetts Convention, Moses Ames observed:

“It has been said that a pure democracy is the best government for a small people who assemble in person . . . . It may be of some use in this argument . . . to consider, that it would be very burdensome, subject to faction and violence; decisions would often be made by surprise, in the precipitancy of passion, by men who either understand nothing or care nothing about the subject; or by interested men, or those who vote for their own indemnity. It would be a government not by laws, but by men.”

Source: Against All Enemies
Robert Bearce
The Freeman, 1980

Topics: Democracy; Republic; US Constitution



The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.

Source: Thomas Jefferson

Topics: Republic



Law must be sustained

In a republic, the government has the sovereign right as well as the duty to protect the rights of the individual and to settle civil disputes or disorders by peaceful means. Citizens do not have the right to take the law into their own hands or exercise physical force. The sovereign laws of the state must be sustained, and persons living under those laws must obey them for the good of the whole. In this regard The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes a strong position. One of the fundamental tenets of its faith is clearly stated in these words: “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Article of Faith 12.)

Those in the world who have a belief in God live under the unusual circumstances of a dual sovereignty. In addition to being subject to the supreme power of the state, they have a fealty to God and a solemn duty to keep the commandments given by him. This idea of divine kingship and a sovereignty runs through all of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament.

Source: Elder Howard W. Hunter
General Conference, April 1968

Topics: Christianity; Law; Republic



Power of government derived from will of the people

As you know, the government of the United States is a republic. The genius of this form of government is that the foundation of all law, power, and authority is derived from the will of the people.

Such a government is based upon a written constitution, which provides for three divisions of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial, each independent of the others, having certain powers within prescribed limitations through a “built in” system of checks and balances, in order that the rights and freedoms of the people may be insured.

The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have taught its members ever since its organization to honor and respect the Constitution of the United States as well as the men who brought it forth and who were patriots indeed!

Joseph Smith described the constitution as a “heavenly banner,” a “glorious standard.”

Source: Elder ElRay L. Christiansen
General Conference, October 1967

Topics: Law; Republic

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