OK I am just going to say it…We Are Not A Democracy!
I feel much better now. This is a very common misconception propagated by our politicians through there speaking and our education system. So what is a Democracy?
a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
a state governed by a democracy.plural noun: democracies“a multiparty democracy”
control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.“the intended extension of industrial democracy”
A Democracy is just majority rule either directly or through representation. Some like to call it mob rule because it often falls victim to the politics and emotions of the day. As we know the constitution provides very strict limitations and structure that often prevents this type of mentality from our government. So what did our Founder think about Democracy?
“Democracy is the most vile form of government… 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
“We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.“ ~ Alexander Hamilton
“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” ~ John Adams
These are just some of the Founders thoughts on Democracy. And remember John Adams and Alexander Hamilton were Federalists who supported a strong central government. What they all wanted was a Republic which, unlike Democracy, is specifically mention in the Constitution. Article IV Section 4 states:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
The government’s job is to GUARANTEE a republican government to all the state’s. So what is a Republic then?
archaica group with a certain equality between its members.
Hmm, so your probably asking, “What’s the difference?”, right…
Well the big difference is where the power and authority is. One is the power is in the hands of the majority through the government, ie a Democracy, while the other is in the hands of the individual/people, or a Republic. Or a simpler way to put it, one government has the authority to do whatever the majority says it can do and the other has no power except to protect the power or rights of the people. I think this is a very important distinction as one is designed to trample the freedom of the minority opinion while the other is designed to protect it.
To clarify even further, the United States operates as a Constitutional Republic which means that our representatives/elected officials are meant to operate within the set of rules defined in the Constitution. So our government has been granted a limited set of powers with the purpose to protect and defend our rights and liberties.
I think it is clear what the purpose of our government is and that is was intentionally not created as a Democracy. Our Founders fear the tyranny of the majority and its tendency to self destruct and trample the rights of other. The preamble sums up the purpose of our government clearly:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I remember having to memorize the preamble in high school. I’m not sure if that is required anymore but maybe if it was, we would have more people who understand the purpose of the government and stop voting for the party team and getting team USA back to being a free and prosperous nation.
What are your thoughts?