• Welcome to the PopMalt Forums! Whether you're new to forums or a veteran, welcome to our humble home on the web! We're a 20-year old forum community with thousands of discussions on entertainment, lifestyle, leisure, and more.

    Our rules are simple. Be nice and don't spam. Registration is free, so what are you waiting for? Join today!.

Republic vs democracy

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
Since we have been having this discussion in another thread and gotten way off topic, I thought it would merit it's own thread.

Do you understand that the US is not a democratic form of government? Were you taught that it is? Do you understand the difference between a representative republic and a democracy? Do you think it is an important distinction?

I do, of course! I also think that this fundamental lack of understanding has allowed the US to move further and further away from the principles that helped to make us exceptional. I hope you will join in this debate!
 

NeoCaesar

Registered Member
As I said in the other thread -both forms exist in the many complicated levels of US gov't. I understand that the US is a republic is a fiercely guarded aspect of the constitution but democracy does exist. What about when people vote on a specific bill or proposition -is that not democracy? If both systems exist I believe it is incorrect to call the system entirely one thing or the other.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
Thanks for your reply Neo!

The people do not vote on any specific bill or proposition in US federal elections! Maybe some at the state or local level, but none at the federal level (US government), which is what we are talking about.
 

NeoCaesar

Registered Member
Thanks for your reply Neo!

The people do not vote on any specific bill or proposition in US federal elections! Maybe some at the state or local level, but none at the federal level (US government), which is what we are talking about.
Yeah but state level still comes under the umbrella of your gov't. This is what I was talking about in the many levels. I don't see how the term Representative Republic could refer to only the federal level of gov't. Probably the founding fathers would be turning in their graves that pure democracy existed anywhere in the states but it does.
------
The definition of 'republic' is representative democracy. it was given that designation for American context in Federalist Paper No. 10, so yeah, you should have known that.
So this Federalist Paper No 10 disproves what you are saying, Smilin and backs up my definition of a representative democracy..? I must admit I do not know it so I don't know.
 
Last edited:

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
@ Tuck: That may be your opinion of what Madison wrote but I did not find that in my reading of it and my interpretation. So please point it out to me.

The Federalist #10

You may also note that the federalist papers were basically a discussion of ideas and not the founding document of our republic. That singular founding documemt would be the US Constitution upon which the rule of law is based.

But thanks for bringing it into the discussion, it was a good read!
------
@ Neo: The US is a union where the federal government has certain enumerated powers and those powers not specifically designated to the federal government are reserved for the states or to the individual. The laws and rules vary from state to state, so to lump them all together is inaccurate.

I have posted a link to Madison's federalist #10 and would be interested to know if you think it supports Tuck's argument.
 
Last edited:

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
I've always understood the US to be a representative republic, at least at the federal level. I can understand those referring to the US as a democracy and I think initially it was intended to be more of a democracy. The intent was that our government would be more local, ie at the state level. In many states for example amendments to their Constitutions are made by the citizens themselves in a vote. That isn't done at the federal level of course.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
@ CO: au contraire, mon frere! :lol:

My reading of federalist #10 and other stuff leads me to believe that they argued against the evil of democracy as "mob rule".
 

Tucker

Lion Rampant
@ Tuck: That may be your opinion of what Madison wrote but I did not find that in my reading of it and my interpretation. So please point it out to me.

The Federalist #10

You may also note that the federalist papers were basically a discussion of ideas and not the founding document of our republic. That singular founding documemt would be the US Constitution upon which the rule of law is based.
I'd point it out, but that's a laborious task and ultimately you'd read what you wanted it to say. Let me cite instead the term's entry in Webster's historically meticulous 1828 dictionary, referenced on Wiki as follows:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic#United_States said:
In common parlance a republic is a state that does not practice direct democracy but rather has a government indirectly controlled by the people. In the rest of the world this is known as representative democracy. This understanding of the term was originally developed by James Madison, and notably employed in Federalist Paper No. 10. This meaning was widely adopted early in the history of the United States, including in Noah Webster's dictionary of 1828.
And to your pooh-poohing of the Federalist Papers, that's kind of funny, considering what you said previously in trying to claim that the Founding Fathers were not the Progressives of their day:

These things can be easily determined by reading and understanding such things as the federalist papers and the constitution.
 
Last edited:

PretzelCorps

Registered Member
Political debates like this are subjective, because the exact definitions of political systems are subjective; that is to say, no one political definition is better than another, because they are qualitative analyses of various forms of governments and attempts to classify them together. You can argue, if you like, about the amount of Democracy in the US, but since the word "Democracy" is generally held by the majority to mean "government determined by the people, either directly or through representative agents," you cannot say the US is not a Democracy without redefining the word itself.

Since "Republic" and "Democracy" are not mutually exclusive (ie: they do not cancel each other out), you can't prove the absence of one by the presence of the other.

To use the Oxford dictionary definition:
1. definition of democracy from Oxford Dictionaries Online Democracy (n.) - "a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives..."
2. The US has elected representatives.
3. Therefore, the US is some form of typical Democracy.
 
Top