A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Volokh on Republic v. Democracy
Eugene Volokh has an outstanding post that argues, correctly I might add, that the concepts of "republic" and "democracy" are not mutually exclusive. The United States, as founded, is aptly termed both a republic AND a democracy. It is not a "direct" or a "pure" democracy, rather a representative-democracy. Terms like that, representative-republic, democratic-republic, are six and one half dozen of the other.
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I would say that we were founded as a Republic, not a democracy. We became more democratic over time -- direct election of senators, expansion of sufferage to progressively larger and larger percentages of our population, etc. But our Republic was not democratic from the start -- it had only limited participatory structures and only one component of the federal government (the House of Representatives) that was subject to direct election. And even then, only landed, white male citizens were allowed to vote. Poor white males, all women, freemen of color, and native Americans were all denied the vote.
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