The 28 Principles of Liberty: Principle 12
“The United States of America Shall be a Republic.”
by: Charity Angel
When you recite the pledge of allegiance, you state the very government structure that was the Founder’s favorite theme. “And to the REPUBLIC for which it (the flag) stands.” There are several reasons why the Founders wanted a republican form of government verses a democracy. A democracy requires the full participation of the masses of the people in the legislative processes of the government. This has never worked because the people are too occupied or distracted by their daily tasks, that they do not take the time necessary to properly research and study the issues, participate in extensive hearings each time a vote is taken. The Greeks tried to use democracy many times at all levels of government, only to have it end in tyranny each time.
A democracy becomes less and less efficient as the population increases. A republic governs through elected representatives and can be expanded indefinitely. James Madison wrote: “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 the lives as they have been violent in their deaths…. A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.”
Madison also pointed out that an expanding country like the United States could not possibly confine itself to the limitations of a democracy, but must rely upon a representative or republican form of government to protect the interests of its people. To make his position even more clearly, Madison gave this definition of a republic: “We may define a republic to be…a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.”
During the early 1900’s a war of ideology began and the word democracy was one of the victims of it. The average American will throw around the word democracy to describe our traditional Constitutional republic. It was the Founders hope that we, as their descendants, would maintain a clear distinction between the two. This war began in New York in 1905 when 100 people met together to create the ISS, the Intercollegiate Socialist Society. Sixty chapters were established from coast to coast on college and university campuses. One of the directors explained that the ISS was set up to “throw light on the world-wide movement of industrial democracy known as socialism.”
Socialism is defined as government ownership or control of all the means of production, for example, farms, factories, mines, natural resources, and industries, as well as the means of transportation, communications and the instruments of commerce. This is not democracy in the classical sense at all, clearly; however it is the antithesis of the free-market economy of a republic.
They had a really catchy slogan at that time that caught the attention of 100’s of men and women who later went on to be big names in government, press, radio, television and motion pictures. “Production for use, not for profit,” was the phrase of the day.
Due to the negative connotations that were associated with the word socialism and socialist, the ISS changed their name to “The League for Industrial Democracy.” This way they could give the appearance to the people that as everything became nationalized by the government, that it would then be the property of ‘all the people’. There were movements at the time that tried to stop this ideology from reaching the minds of the people. Even the U.S. Army had a training manual that defined the differences between a democracy and a republic. Despite the efforts of many, the press and school books pushed forward and continually identified the United States as a democracy. President Wilson added to this confusion when he was promoting World War I to ‘make the world safe for democracy.’ President Wilson was surrounded by many of the very first recruits of the ISS, and it appears that they encouraged the adoption of this slogan, which has continued today in the message to ‘spread democracy around the globe.’
A review of the roster of the early ISS members will reveal that by the 1930’s the more brilliant young leaders of the movement from WWI had risen to some of the most prestigious positions in politics, press, publishing houses, radio, academic circles, teacher-training colleges, the National Council of Churches, and just about every major center of opinion molding influence. However, they were not all united in what they desired for The United States. Some wanted the people to consent to socialism, become democratic socialism, others wanted a mixed system with some socialism and some free-enterprise, and some were not happy with it at all and started to return to the principles of the founding fathers, and a few were drunken with the idea of power by force and violence and became leaders of the Communist Party movement. However, all of them still refer to the U.S. as a democracy.
Following World War II, something happened. All of the socialist, communist nations were on the verge of collapse despite the fact that the U.S. had spent tens of billions of dollars to prop them up. Many of them had poor reputations because of the violence, torture and starvation tactics that they had used against their own people. So socialism lost its luster, but many of the American people continued to refer to their Constitutional republic as a democracy. And eventually are likely to call the United States a ‘democratic republic’ as they lean more and more to the thinking of the founders, which was a term used by the followers of Thomas Jefferson.
Samuel Adams pointed out that the founders tried to make socialism unconstitutional. Therefore, to adopt socialism, respect and support for traditional constitutional government would have to be eroded and then emasculated. It would not surprise anyone to learn, that those that wanted to have democracy identified as the American system, also were anxious to have Americans believe that their traditional Constitution was outdated, or even worse obsolete.
When W. Cleon Skousen was in his college days, it was popular in political science to point out that the Constitution was written some two centuries ago by people who were 95% farmers. Now, they say that we live in an industrial society and that the needs of the people can no longer be accommodated under the system provided by the U.S. Constitution. Not only did certain teachers teach this, but U.S. senators also proclaimed it. Occasionally, even the president would say it. Is there any validity to these statements? Principle 13 will address this question.
The 28 Principles of Liberty are written by Charity Angel, and are adapted from W. Cleon Skousen’s book “The 5000 Year Leap.” Learn more about the 28 principles of liberty at http://theprinciplesofliberty.com