Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis (1798)
“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
These United States of America are a Republic. They have never been, nor did the founders ever ratify a Democracy. There are 50 State Constitutions in America and one Federal Constitution. Neither the Declaration of Independence, nor any of these 51 documents contain any mention of democracy.
There is a reason for this.
The Philadelphia convention resulted in the scrapping of the Articles of Confederation for an entirely new American Constitution. When Benjamin Franklin, the internationally renown author, inventor, diplomat, and statesman was asked by a woman who asked, “Well, what have you given us?, he responded, “A Republic Madam, if you can keep it.”
As one of only six people who signed both the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the US Constitution (1787), Franklin would know. He stands alone as the only person to sign all of the “Big Four” documents that created America and established it as a sovereign and Independent power. These documents also include the Treaty of Alliance, Amity, and Commerce with France (1778), and the Definitive Treaty of Peace between England, France, and the United States (1783) also known as the “Treaty of Paris.”
Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution 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 can not be convened), against domestic Violence”
Republic (Res =the thing/ Publica = the public): the public thing or the rule of law. (Latin)
Democracy (Demos = people/ Kratien = to rule): or rule of the people. (Greek)
Ben Franklin said “if you can keep it.” Why the Warning?
Founding Presidents quotes concerning Democracy
Federalist Party leader John Adams and Republican Party leader Thomas Jefferson were often bitter political adversaries on most issues. not when it comes to the concept of democracy. James Madison, who later became an Anti-federalist leader also expressed his views. All were once President of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Thomas Jefferson
John Adams by Gilbert Stuart, 1800
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” John Adams
John Adams “A Republic of laws”
James Madison by John Vanderlyn, 1816
“Hence it is that democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths… A republic, by which I mean a government in which a scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.” James Madison, Federalist Papers No. 10 (1787)
True Representation vs Manufactured Consent
Edward Bernays, Public Relations Museum, npr.org
Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, was an expert in applied psychological warfare. Considered to be the Father of Spin, Advertising, and Modern Propaganda (Public Relations), he served as the inspiration for totalitarian regimes through the 20th-21st centuries. In his 1928 book Propaganda, he unabashedly lauded the virtues of mass manipulation, revealing the dangers that occur when the goal of transforming a representative republic into a democracy is fully realized:
“THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized”.
The efforts to transform our Republic into a Democracy the very heart of most of the problem facing America. Classic examples for manufacturing of consent are Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein being democratically elected to positions of dictatorship. if one actually believes the results are genuine.
“Making the World Safe for Democracy”
Woodrow Wilson by Tony Essex (Hulton Archive/Getty)
Woodrow Wilson is a man described by Judge Andrew Napalitano as ” A great destroyer of liberty,” allowed himself to be duped into surrendering American sovereignty over to international banks and multinational corporations. This came at the behest of his controller and “second soul,” the Rockefeller man who permanently occupied two rooms in the white house, Edward Mendel House. Wilson gave us the World War I justification, “Making the World Safe for Democracy.” This phrase was manufactured by Bernays and sold by Wilson. Towards the end of his life, he apologized to the people for allowing banks to hijack our monetary and political system.
Yes, there are underpinnings of democracy that work in the Congress, sometimes
The United States Constitution
Some democratic principles are infused into our republican system of government for internal operations in the Legislative branch. During a vote for a candidate or regular legislative process, the requirement of more than 50% works. There are many cases where it does not work, inside or outside government. A lynch mob is a majority; the only dissenting vote is at the end of a rope. In our republic, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law and a fair trial. Even then, it must be a unanimous, a 100% jury decision of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Senate ratifications of treaties and proposals constitution convention require a 2/3 vote and ratification of new amendments must be a 3/4 vote. This is the rule of law, not majority rule.
Democracy in the form of a popular vote works in a limited fashion, for example: Choosing members of the House of Representatives. This is good news for all citizens because the people have a direct voice in in Congress, especially the big states because they get more representatives. To balance the this and prevent presidential candidates from only appealing to a few select densely populated urban areas, the electoral college was put in place. Good news for the small states in the Executive arena. The Senate is another story.
Disaster for Democracy in the Senate
Seal of the US Senate
For over 120 years, US Senators were originally creatures of the state that were appointed by the state legislators in a vote from among the state representatives at the state capitol. It worked fine. That is what made them different from Representatives in the House. The Senate has 2 votes per state, good news for small states because they have an equal say, unlike the House where larger states have more power. If people didn’t like how House Representatives were performing, they would only have to wait two years to kick them out of office at the ballot box.
The Senate was different. Although senators were appointed for six years and had greater constitutional power in select areas, the accountability was swifter. If enough people didn’t like what their US Senator was doing, they would complain to their state capitol and have them recalled and replaced. By changing US Senators to a popular vote, The 17th Amendment completely redefined a Senator as a glorified representative and eviscerated the state legislatures power to protect their interests and to affect policy at the federal level. Now senators disappear into the land of corporate lobbyists in Washington DC, never to be heard from again, and there is nothing that can be done about it for six years. If they behave badly, most of their constituents will not remember in six years and they will usually be re-elected.
Putting Legislative issues on the ballot
The US Senate Chamber in 1880, Senate.gov
Many states transform legislative issues into constitutional issues in the name of democracy. State referendums on ballots that propose amendments to state constitutions are usually a way for legislators to pass the buck to novice populations who don’t understand all the facets of the law. This absolves themselves of responsibility for the consequences of bad laws while saying it’s what the people want. If the people are to make legislation through direct democracy, then why do they need expert legislators or leaders for?
Republic vs Democracy/ Individualism vs collectivism
Just as Federalists were actually nationalists and the Anti-Federalists were actually federalists in the early days of our America, today, the concepts of republicanism and democracy actually have very little to do with the Republican and Democrat political parties. Both parties, believing that their ideas are so good they make us comply through force of arms through taxation or manufactured consent through fraud and manipulation. They are mostly authoritarians posing as liberals and conservatives or collectivists posing as individualists.
“It’s all for the greater good” A dangerous phrase: Collectivists believe in served by sacrificing individuals for the good of the whole. Individualists believe in protecting all individuals for the good of the whole. Democracy and Collectivism can be one in the same when it comes to morality based on mathematics. Republics and Individualists can be one in the same if they decide that murder will always be against the law, no matter how many people support it.
The source of the modern day confusion
Lexicon specialists can hardly be expected to be political scientists. The modern day dictionary definitions of republic and democracy are so close, they can hardly be distinguished. The words have been used interchangeably for so long, most people believe they are the same. Even the Democrats and the Republicans, which differ from democrats and republicans, no longer read their party charters at their national conventions. The affinity for Greek culture and its ancient democracy makes it a romanticized word. Many smart and powerful people have used republic and democracy interchangeably in their dialog and writings, some well intentioned, others not.
What about other republics like Rome, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) ? Are we equal to them?
China’s Chairman Mao Zedong, APF/Getty Images
Being a Republic based on the rule of law does exempt us from total disaster or mean the laws are good and the rights of the people are respected.
Just as the democracy of a lynch mob may have no respect for the rights of the individual because of the tyranny of the majority, republics based on bad laws can also be brutal totalitarian regimes run by oligarchies exercising the tyranny of the minority over the majority.
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Getty Images
The Communist Party in Russia ruled for 70 years with an iron fist when they only constituted 3% of the population. Banana Republics that descend into anarchy usually move from anarchy to tyranny in a flash because the people with the biggest guns and the hardest fists take power.
The Colosseum in Rome, AA 1999
Historically, many countries that start out as republics degenerate as they expand into empires while simultaneously imploding within from popular ratification of the transfer and redistribution of public assets to ever increasing foreign populations (“Barbarians”) in the name of democracy. Combined with their lust for an unsustainable empire, this led to their inevitable collapse.
If the Stalinist Republic of Russia killed 61.1 million of their own people and Mao -Zedong’s China killed 78.8 million of their own, what makes our Republic different?
The Source and Nature of Rights and Laws makes all the difference.
The Declaration of Independence acknowledges God four times and establishes the foundation of good government and discussing the laws of nature and nature’s God, adding that Rights are endowed by our Creator. Article VII of The Constitution of the United States recognizes the Lord. Title 4, Section 4 of the US Code of Federal Regulations , updated in 2002, shows that the US Congress official finding that this nation is established on Christian principles under God.
Their source determines their nature. If we lose our way, we lose our republic.
“Prayer at Valley Forge” by Arnold Friberg 1999