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What is a Republic and Democracy

Updated on September 9, 2012

What is a democracy?

Republic vs. Democracy

There is much confusion over whether the United States was founded as a republic or democracy. Usually today you will hear many say, the US is a democracy. This is not true. The US was founded as a Constitutional Republic. In fact, the word democracy is not in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. When people recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they are pledging "to the republic for which it stands".

The founders of the US were strongly against democracy. They knew history and democracies have always failed in the past.

'Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; 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 deaths.'
- James Madison

In James Madison's quote, he explains, democracies never last long and they become violent when they fail. The US turned into a democracy, because when it was a republic politicians encouraged people to receive benefits from government. So it turned into the people voting for the candidate who offered the most "free stuff". Well, we all know nothing is free, these services always come at a price. People have to be taxed to fund these socialized programs created by the Government.

Taxation comes in more then one way, it is either a direct tax from your salary, borrowed money, or printed money. When they tax the individual they have less money to go out and by these services without assistance. If the money is borrowed, it then puts our country or people into debt. Also, they can print money if programs need extra money that can't be provided by the tax payer. When any government prints money, it dilutes the value of the currency, and in return the individual loses purchasing power. The politicians encourage people to confuse rights with services. Take for instance education, it is a service not a right. The founders never intended for the Government to handle education. If education was handled locally, it would create more competition, instead of a one sided view that most young kids are subjected to.

The Government also feels the need to create credit out of nothing, or print money to fund college loans to kids wanting an education. This is why tuition prices are so high, because Government inflated prices so kids can go to college. Before the Government funded college loans, people were able to save money and pay themselves, because prices were much lower. This is why giving away "free money" does not work.

People should be able to work, save, and purchase the services they want. When government gets involved in areas like this, they usually push prices up, and the quality of those services lowers. You can see the same effects in energy, healthcare, and housing.

We have a right to life, liberty and justice for all. These rights are written out in the Bill of Rights for specific instances. You have the right to live your life however you may choose as long as you don't harm anyone. If you do harm to someone, or commit a crime, you are given the chance to prove your innocence by trial. In a true democracy, your fate would be determined by the majority.

Democracies fail because eventually the money runs out, and the people rebel. When the people rebel it turns into anarchy. To remain in power, the government can then step in with the military and take control of the people by establishing a dictatorship. It has happened throughout history and is also explained in James Madison's quote above.

In a democracy you will receive special benefits for belonging to a specific group. In a republic you will be given the freedom to do what you wish and take care of yourself without government charity. If government stays out of the way people will become more prosperous and won't need government assistance. Unfortunately, in a democracy people become dependent on the government. This is because most of the people are receiving free money which again raises prices; people can't afford inflated services. This makes the public feel as though they are entitled to those services and look to government to provide them.

This whole system encourages the lack of work ethic. In the past, people were hard workers, saved, and were able to pay for living. Today, we are a society based off of debt. Half of the US population supports the other 50% through taxation. The majority benefits and the minority suffers.

The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.
- John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams explains, democracy is unstable, it has ups and downs and eventually falls apart. You can compare this to the housing bubble or any bubble occuring today. Government inflates a specific area that should be run by the market place, it raises prices and creates our booms and busts.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
-Benjamin Franklin

This is a great example of what a true democracy is. The two wolves are the majority, and the lamb is the minority. If you are the lamb you have no rights, and of course you would be for lunch. Liberty, which refers to a republic, is where the lamb has a gun and is equally able to defend himself. Republic allows you to remain free, and not a victim to any group or majority.

So why did they reject Democracy? Because it is flawed with a share the wealth mentality, which will only work as long as there is someone to take the money from. Those receiving are quite pleased with getting something for nothing. The ones forced to give are denied the right to spend the benefits of their own hard work on their own self interests. Also, the people who receive the free money also lose a portion of their incentive to produce. A good republic should provide, freedom of choice, liberty, free markets, sound money (gold, and silver, which retains value), no inflating of the money supply, and no direct taxes.


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