When asked what kind of a government we would have, Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic, Ma’am – if you can keep it.” A few days later, on September 17, 1787, our Founding Fathers signed the “supreme Law of the Land,” a document which established the form and structure of our government, as well as the rights, responsibilities, powers, and authorities of both the United States and the individual States. They gave it the title of “Constitution for the United States of America.” More than 230 years later, it stands firm as the sole foundation of law from which all law throughout our United States and territories is derived, and upon which is measured.
Our Founding Fathers did indeed establish a Republic, and not a democracy: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…” – Article IV, Section 4. From that day forth they convened, created law, and attended to business. The term “Republic” is reflected through each and every state Constitution. The term “Democracy,” however, is not. This was by design. Historically, democracies tend to slide into welfare states, then anarchy when the state can no longer support the masses. The most famous example is the fall of Rome.
Our great nation was born!
The importance of a system of government based on the rule of law cannot be underestimated. We are not subject to the tyrannical demands of a dictator. Nor are not subject to “mob rule,” which is what happens in a democracy. Because we are a Republic, a form of government in which affairs of state are a “public matter,” and not the private concerns of monarchs or oligarchies, whose rule is achieved through inheritance or divine mandate, we enjoy a degree of openness in our government that was unparalleled at the time our nation was founded. Those elected or appointed to serve the people are (or should be) held accountable.
Below you will find links to various historical and legal resources:
Bill of Rights (Constitutional Amendments 1-10)
Constitutional Amendments 11-27