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Democracies and Republics

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

In the ongoing struggle between democracies and republics, sometimes it is helpful to stop for a moment and remember why their is even a battle taking place. Democracies are in the most basic sense an understanding between those parties governed that the majority will always rule the minority in all decisions. Right or wrong, the will of the majority is paramount. Republics, on the other hand, place emphasis and supremacy on the individual's rights. While the majority get their say, their will will be done until it conflicts with an individual's rights. To help us understand why our government was modeled after a republic, not a democracy, we can look to the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson:
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
~ Thomas Jefferson (First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801)
It would do us all a great service if we could once again strive to make this a more perfect union by adhering to the principals impressed upon us by the original intentions of our Founding Fathers. We are forever a republic and should never claim to be a democracy!


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