The Republic

The founders of the United States were very knowledgeable people who understood history.  As they rebelled against a monarchy, they had no desire to replace it with a dictatorship, as they understood that this was merely another form of absolute rule.  And it was extremely rare that an absolute ruler would be a fair and honest person putting the needs of the people first.  So instead, they looked at the history of Rome and Greece to come up with a viable alternative.

So the United States was founded as a democratic Republic.  Under such a system, rulers are not determined by birth.  Instead, people vote to elect representatives who in turn act as their agents in making important decisions regarding the governance of the country.  The ideal was that people would seek out and support wise and selfless individuals who would do what was best for the country.

The founders were afraid of what had, in their understanding, been the greatest dangers to democracies and Republics in the past.  These threats were populism, demagoguery, and corruption.  This is why they opted to design a system of government that would protect the country from these things.  This is why the United States is not a pure democracy, but rather a Republic.

Looking back over time, the founding fathers saw too many instances of people appealing to the masses by “telling them what they wanted to hear”, using their support to gain power, and then using that power to either enrich themselves or to try and grab even more power.  The founding fathers were terrified of the “golden tongued” populist and the demagogue.

To protect the country they set up a government of three branches, including a set of “checks and balances” to keep too much power out of the hands of anyone.  But underlying this was the principle that the people were represented by the wise and honorable.  In fact, Senators, the members of the senior body of congress, were not elected directly by the population; instead, they were elected by State legislatures.  So originally, Senators were the representatives chosen by other representatives.  The hope was that this would further insure that the wise and honorable, rather than populists and demagogues would be making important government decisions.

The constitution was changed in 1913 to have the population directly elect Senators.  Only a few at the time, such as revered Elihu Root, opposed this change.  Since this change happened so long ago, few understand the long term effects of the change.  But consider this.  Today, 32 state legislators are Republican controlled.  Another 6 are split between Republican and Democrat control.  If half of the split controlled states, plus all the Republican controlled legislatures sent Republican Senators to congress, there would be 70 Republican Senators.  Obamacare never would have happened in the first place.  In addition, 70 is more than two thirds, and would allow for things such as the removal of Federal and Supreme Court Judges who are modifying the laws of the country without ANY input from the electorate.

What To Do

Study and learn more about the constitution.  Not just what the document says, but WHY it was set up the way it was.  The Constitution was written by one of the noblest bodies of wise and honorable people ever to assemble.  Almost every revolution in history was subverted by a Populist or Demagogue (think of the French or Russian revolutions).  But NOT in the United States, because of our Constitution and those that upheld it.

The Constitution is the bedrock of the United States.  It is not a “living, breathing” document that is changed by the whims of the times.  Recognize that the Constitution has been attacked in the past.  And it is in increasing danger as its principles are “modified” to suit the needs of those who wish to rule by dictate.  Commit yourself, as part of an educated electorate, to defend the Constitution and its principles.

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