(This is the second in a series on Founding Principles with help from the Bill of Rights Institute. These principles are the foundation of our Constitutional Republic).
If I titled this article “Consent and a Republican Government,” I’m guessing at least half the viewers and readers of this page would think I was talking about party politics. So, let’s define a republican form of government and a democracy.
The Clear Difference
Republic- (republican government, NOT one-party rule!) a constitutional representative form of government elected by the people, allowing for discussion and debate ultimately for the will of the people; both minority and majority opinions are considered.
Democracy- a form of government based directly upon the will of the people with no discussion or debate necessarily included. Minority opinions do not have a voice in a pure democracy.
Note that in a democracy, the minority does not have a voice because the majority vote always wins. No discussion or debate allows minority voices on an issue to be heard. The majority can take away the rights of the minority just because they are the majority.
Consent, Majority Rule and Minority Rights
Consequently, this second building block of our American founding principles includes the consent of the governed, majority rule, and minority rights. Our government allows the majority to win without taking away the unalienable rights of the minority. The minority opinion is to be heard and represented. (This is why we have the Electoral College and the popular vote to represent small states in selecting a president).
I want to leave you with the words of some historical figures on the matter of consent and a republican form of government:
“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy.” Plato
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” John Adams
“The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.” Thomas Jefferson
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸
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