Monday, September 19, 2005


With all the talk of creating democracies in the MidEast, I started wondering if that is exactly what we want. In skimming through my files I came up with many, many thoughts that I wanted to share, but have condensed them so as not to bore my readers to death. If democracies don't tickle your fancy, hang tight. Next blog just might be on baking pies:

Republic or Democracy?

Did our Founding Fathers give us a democracy? In 1789 a woman asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government they had created. His reply was, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Sadly, Americans are misinformed about our system of government.

James Madison in Federalist Paper No.10 warned that in democracy, “there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party.” John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself...,” and Fisher Ames, a Congressman during Washington’s presidency, said democracy was “the intermediate stages towards … tyranny.”

A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority, making it possible to deprive individuals of rights. This majority can vote itself handouts by electing the candidate who promises the most benefits from the public treasury. Taxes increase and incentive to produce decreases. The once productive workers drop out of the labor force and join the non-productive. Eventually, democracy fails.

The word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence. We pledge allegiance “to our Republic,” not “to our democracy.” The Founders established a government which was not a democracy and guaranteed to every state a “republican form” of state government.

These men structured a Constitutional Republic with checks and balances between the different branches. They designed it to protect the individual’s God-given inalienable rights. It was a government of laws, not men.

The 1928 War Department’s Training Manual No. 2000-25 described democracy as a government of the masses, resulting in mobocracy with a communistic attitude toward property. The same manual depicted a republic as resulting in liberty, reason, justice, contentment and progress. This manual was destroyed in the thirties, and by 1952 in The Soldiers Guide, we find, “Meaning of democracy. Because the United States is a democracy, the majority of the people decide how our government will be organized and run – .”

The governor of New York did not use the word “democracy” in his 1933 inaugural address, but in 1940 he used it 33 times in his annual message.

What changed? Some claim it was absolute conspiracy. Others believe it to be a matter of semantics. Does it matter? Thoreau said, “There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.” Even De Tocqueville warned, “If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event will arise from the unlimited tyranny of the majority.” More fearfully, Gorbachev stated that “according to Lenin, socialism and democracy are indivisible…”

Yes, it does matter. The difference is foundational. A republic recognizes man’s heart as being desperately wicked, needing the law structure to keep from destroying itself. A democracy depends on man’s innate goodness. The Founders gave us a republic because they wanted to protect us from democracy. We need to understand the difference, educate our children and inform our citizens to keep from sliding into what we do not want.


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