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The United States was a Republic, now it is a Democracy...or is it???

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posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 03:30 AM
We all know that our founding fathers established our nation to be a "Republic". Now I am not sure how that term came about, I suppose one should not confuse it with the Roman Republic, because that modeled disaster is exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted to avoid.

Some, like df1, prefer to live in a dream world, thinking "popular vote" and democracy is the answer. These people have little knowledge of history and even less of modern policy making.

However, often times we hear ourselves say, "We are not a democracy! We are a republic!"

But are we even "falling" into a democracy?

This postulation is still in the works, but might as well begin discussion now.

A few things characterized the SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus):

1) The Senate was comprised of aristocrats.
2) The Senate was divided into two parties: For the People, and For the Aristocrats.
3) The Senate was not the ONLY power, but it was the strongest power.
4) Candidates (from the word Candidatus: to be clothed in white) would not only say what they would do for their clients (those who would elect them), but also beat eachother up and hire thugs to beat up citizens who were for "the other guy". (And we thought our politicians were dirty).
5) The only real political power the people of Rome had, was to rise up in a mob and raise hell.

Now with these 5 brief characteristics I want to draw a distinction in hopes to answer the thesis.

In America, our most powerful body now is no longer the people (States and local governments), but the Senate and its lesser cousin the House. However both combined is simply the "Legislature".

Now in Rome, the people had assemblies which voted on laws, the Senate would propose, the people would pass.

The way the assemblies were set up was they were comprised of groups (to draw a distinction, the states), and each group had a vote. When the group voted by simple majority one way or the other, that vote went towards that simple majority. Who ever won the most groups, won the vote. The aristocrat groups were very small in comparison to the commoner groups, you can obviously tell what that means.

*Hypothesis for future warning* Monitor over the next 50 years if such a system is re-established in efforts to make a "national referrendum" system.

Now we don't have anything like that yet, but there have been proposals of such referrendums.

Now obviously we can compare the rise of US dirty politics with Rome easily...

And we all know that even the "commoner" running for the Senate is well-to-do.

So basically, the way I see it, and what I want to debate, is that our Founding Fathers established a Union, that would be nothing like SPQR. Nothing like SPQR because it was a Union of states.

Without that Union of states, all that is left is the legislature and the federal government.

And as the years pass, it seems that the central government is not resembling a democracy, but the Republic of Rome. A horrible inefficient system that in the end collapsed into an Empire.

Is this driven by one's evil desires? No.

It is natural.

SPQR was divided by a "popular" and "aristocratic" partisanship, as we are today (relatively).

That alone, I think, is sound evidence that centralization naturally will lead to the same fate as Rome.

If a nation that before did not have "popular" and "aristocratic" divisions, by the second century of its existence can create devestating divisions along those lines, then the trend to centralization is a very serious one.

We are not becoming more "Democratic", we are becoming more Roman. Vietnam proves this as well. A war that took 5 years of millions in the streets rioting and protesting to stop. The federal government is not our servant, but our master.

Just as the Senate in the end, was the master of the Romans, and when power struggles in that Senate led to a collapse in government, an Empire was born.

If we were becoming more democratic, then there probably would not be a war in Iraq, regardless of how right it was, there probably would not be the level of federal regulations that there are, and there would probably be more efficient health and welfare.

We are not "devolving" into a democracy, simply because the aristocrats will protect what is theirs, at the expense of freedoms to others. The Founding Fathers knew this as they knew the history of Rome, so they built a system where both the people and the rich would be protected and represented.

But with the collapse of the states, the federal government is now becoming a citadel for the aristocrats, and a weapon for the commoners.

And the end result is the Romanization of our government.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 07:06 AM
Actually, no country in history has EVER been a democracy, as democracy is supposed to be (as written by political theorists past and present) a system controlled DIRECTLY by the people, not representatively through party hegemony.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 07:11 AM
The Greeks did, in fact, have a democracy with rotation of the general populace holding the representative body. Basically just about everybody in the Greek citizenry had a chance at representing the general populace at some point - unless you died before your chance came up - but you can't blame that on the Greek democracy.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 07:45 AM

In this, our Lord's year 2004, it's called PLUTOCRACY.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 10:33 AM
The United States is not and never has been a political democracy or a republic for that matter. We are a democratic/republic.
In a democracy, everyone votes for everything. In a republic, your leaders vote for everything. In a democratic/republic, we elect officials (weasel boy not included) to represent our wants in votes.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 10:39 AM
Yeah, in theory it's a democratic Republic. In reality its run by the wealthy elites. That is a Plutocracy.
That's how we get Bush v. Kerry.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 10:49 AM
It looks more like a Junta to me currently. It's amusing when you get these posts about republic vs democracy and they're always from the same set that support Bushs quest to 'export democracy' to the middle east.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 11:20 AM
We ARE a CONSTITUTIONAL Republic whether people realize it's been hijacked or not.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 11:28 AM
From my research on what the nation is, it appears to be imperialism...
Started 20+ years ago, the wheels have been turning and nobody's tried to stop it. Little by little they do a couple big things at a time and then wham! It's already done and nobody can turn back the clock.

This nation is turning into the Roman Empire so many striking similarities, I often wonder, how long has that agenda been going on for. It seems that there have been bloodlines of current presidents tracing back to the early times. Google it, you'll find many interesting things, but it really has to do with survival of the fittest, the states just took a different route then some other countries, it's what keeps the competition flowing, social darwinism.
However I don't agree w/ it but there is nothing we can do now unless we got into office somehow.. But then we run the high risk of being assassinated..
There's no room for democracy or republic in Amerika anymore... Although they would like to try and keep that flame burning in our minds, there will come a time when they will put it out thought, and it's not in the too distant future...

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the United States pursued an aggressive policy of expansionism, extending its political and economic influence around the globe. That pivotal era in the history of our nation is the subject of this on-line history.

[edit on 20-7-2004 by TrueLies]

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 11:56 AM
I gotta agree with TrueLies on this one, my findings are that the United States is Imperialist. Although that does not describe our system of representation, which I would say that EastCoastKid got right, it's a Plutocracy.

Here's the frightening thing though, Rome fell because of psychotic emperors, mismanagement of the nations and a group of invaders that Rome thought for years were inconsiquental. Sound firmiliar?

The American Presidency is turning into something much more powerful than it was originally supposed to be, I'm not sure we can change this though, the people are loosing their power.

My hopes for the future rest with the European Union and China, the upcoming superpowers, I think America's time is starting to end, but that's a story for a different thread.

May Peace Travel With You

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 12:14 PM
Here is an excellent website that discusses
the Architecture of Modern Political Power.
It starts at the beggining of recorded time........


posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 12:25 PM

Originally posted by FreeMason
Some, like df1, prefer to live in a dream world, thinking "popular vote" and democracy is the answer.

Normally a member is not mentioned in a discussion until offering a comment, so I am quite honored at the respect shown to me by FreeMason at the start of this topic. FreeMason's respect for me is appropriate and well deserved.

Thank you FreeMason.

posted on Jul, 20 2004 @ 02:07 PM
The United States is a democratic republic, which does make it a type of democracy; but not a pure democracy (which is otherwise known as "mob rule").

The Founding Fathers hated the idea of a pure democracy as much as they hated the idea of a dictatorship; as Benjamin Franklin said in 1787, near the beginning of the Contsitutional Convention, "A pure democracy is four wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner." In a pure democracy, anything goes, no matter how aborrent it may be, as long as 51% of the people approve of it. (In other words, there's no minority protection of any kind -- and minorities aren't just races, or religions, they're also subcultures, economic groups, etc. -- in a pure democracy.) Also, every single law would have to be passed by popular vote, which would be inefficient at best, and impossible at worst.

In a pure republic, people from different parts of a country meet to make the laws in a legislature. A republic by no means has to be democratic; history is full of undemocratic republics -- in these cases, the legislature members are appointed, not elected.

The genius in putting the two together into a democratic republic is that you end up with a democracy that can run fairly smoothly (you elect representatives to represent you at the national legislature and vote on every single law that comes up; if you don't like the decisions they make, you can elect someone else to take their place next term) but has minority protection at the same time.

I think the writers of the U.S. Constitution were social science geniuses ahead of their time
, and the fact that the U.S. is still a free and prosperous country, depsite all the trials and tribulations that this country has been through, is evidence of that.
Of course, "liberty and justice for all" is never as simple as a document and a rule book; it will never be perfect as long as human nature isn't perfect -- but as long as we work towards that perfect goal, however impossible that may be, and progress -- then we know we're doing the right thing.

And no, the United States is not an empire -- an empire is a conquerer by nature, absorbing other countries into itself and using those countries (by controlling their governments) to produce for the mother country alone. You can't equate sphere of influence with empire! The U.S. may be one of a small group of nations who have a global sphere of influence right now, but last time I checked, all U.S. allies (and enemies!) were all sovereign nations. There's also a huge difference between being an ally, and being a puppet state; just ask the nations of Eastern Europe (especially Poland), who were "allies" of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and are U.S. allies now...

A democratic republic naturally functions best when it has a free market (though it can be regulated). A democratic republic with a restricted market (where the government runs most or all industries and businesses) will choke itself to death with corruption eventually, and a dictatorship with a free market is a contradiction in itself, an impossibility.

I'm not saying by any means that the U.S. is perfect; I'm well aware of the fact that the U.S., like every other country on Earth, has a dark side to its past as well -- the scourge of slavery, open discrimination against blacks and women in the past, etc. -- but, like any good country, the U.S. owns up to its mistakes, fixes them, and moves on. As Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government known to man... That is, until you consider the alternatives."

[edit on 7/20/2004 by ThunderCloud]

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 03:38 AM
I think my point was missed.

We are often told we are a democracy, then the other side says, "no we are a Republic" even though they know more lately we have had growing democratic trends.

My question was...have we really?

Rome around 140BC had these exact same trends...and after Caesar in 46BC, became an empire through Augustus.

So looking at history, are we about to repeat it?

I urge to draw the comparisons of our current government to the Roman one, and how ours was different before ruined by progressives and Civil War.

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 04:26 AM
I think you make a good point, just as the roman empire the USs expansive politics normaly have no consideration for the the native people. I think the US empire erned that name when it as early as the beggining of the the 1900s when dictating other nations politics as they saw fit.
and thundercloud, you dont need to raise the american flag over controlled terretory and put another star on it, it just as efficiant to be able to control that country in rerly questioned submission.
this is particulay true during the cold war, when "the evil red empire" had to be stopped to any economical and moral cost.

there is no question that the US is, as the only super power is an international dictator, and is gladly filling that role.

I also place my hopes for the future in china and the EU, even though the EU will gratly weaken the integredy and social struture of sweden, but as more and more leftwing leaders rise to power in brussels I hope they wont just take the place of the fallen US empire when the time comes.

[edit on 21-7-2004 by disturbence]

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 05:28 AM
BTW a nicely coherent rant by free mason. Read K.Poppers "open society and its enemies" he analyses and looks for totalitarian elements in Plato as an analysis of the US.

I digress...

I just wanted to point towards the "Confederatio Helvetica" (switzerland in case you needed to google it) as an honorable mention of a democracy.

posted on Mar, 22 2009 @ 09:27 AM

1h.) Spamming: You will not post identical content, or snippets of identical content, to multiple threads in the discussion forums.

[edit on 22-3-2009 by 12m8keall2c]

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