The Constitution Explained: A Constitutional Republic
The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic, and NOT a Democracy!!
NOTE: In the book excerpt below, any emphasis with regard to bold and italic type, bracketed and capitalized text --- is mine, and mine alone. This has been done to highlight certain important points brought up by Harry Atwood, a Constitutional scholar, and a true American patriot. He gave up his law practice in 1918, to study the legal issues surrounding U.S. Constitution. His book, although rare and difficult to find, is of sufficient depth and intelligence, that it could be used as a University textbook, and represents nine years of Mr. Atwood's intensive research.
The Constitution Explained
by Harry Atwood (1927)
Chapter XX: A [Constitutional] Republic (Representative Government) pgs. 149-158
One of the outstanding features and chief merits of the Federal Constitution is that it provides for a strictly representative form of government and in Article IV, Section 4, guarantees a representative form of government to each of the States.
A Republic is the standard form of government adopted by the Constitution for the nation and for the States. This is a fundemental fact which is too frequently overlooked, resulting in much confusion.
There are just three basic forms of government:
An AUTOCRACY is a form of government in which a monarch derives power through heredity and permits too little participation by the people, with a final result of reaction against tyranny. It creates the kind of condition in the world of government that would be created in the field of medicine if we were required to engage the services of a doctor whose father was our father's doctor, whether we wanted it or not.
A REPUBLIC is a form of government in which power is vested in regularly selected representatives with authority to act and decide public questions. It provides just enough participation by the people in governmental affairs and leads to orderly progress. It creates the kind of condition in the world of government that is created in the field of medicine when, in the event of our illness, we select a doctor whom we regard as qualified to treat our ailment.
A DEMOCRACY is a form of government in which the people speak and act directly on public questions. It permits too much participation by the people and finally results in chaos. It creates the kind of condition in the world of government that would be created in the field of medicine if, in the event of our illness, we were to submit to a popular vote what medicine we should take, and then take it regardless of the consequences.
A REPUBLIC does not bring a perfect condition, but it is the best form that human agency can devise. It is the GOLDEN MEAN between the extremes of AUTOCRACY and DEMOCRACY.
The authors of the Constitution seemed to understand clearly the meaning and importance of the law of the "GOLDEN MEAN," and applied it effectively to the science of government. It is that middle point or degree in any quality, state, or activity which avoids the dangers or errors of either extreme by the striking of a well-balanced medium.
In the study of any science or of any problem, we can learn much by observing the laws of nature. Too little food means starvation; the proper amount of food makes for health; too much food means gluttony. Again, too little seed means meager crops; just enough seed means the best possible crops; too much seed means crops sickly from over-crowding. The application of the principle can be clearly seen by stating it graphically, as follows:
EXTREME = Starvation and drought
GOLDEN MEAN = Nourishment and moisture
EXTREME = Gluttony and food
It is plain that not much is accomplished by discussing the value of either extreme, unless, indeed, it is to emphasize the great value of the mean. There is no sphere of activity in which the extremes are more disasterous or the mean more beneficial than in the realm of government. Some illustrations of the results are as follows:
EXTREME = Autocracy, Autocrats, and Bondage
GOLDEN MEAN = Republic, Statesmen, and Liberty
EXTREME = Democracy, Demagogues, and License
The Constitution was written in a convention by selected representatives, and there is convincing evidence running all through the Constitution that the men who wrote it intended to provide for strictly representative government in the nation and in the States, as proved by the following significant provisions:
"All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States."
"The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States."
"The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in sucn inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish."
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican (representative) form of government."
The ratification of the conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same."
"The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a convention for proposing amendments ... when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by the conventions in three-fourths thereof."
Thus we see nowhere in the Constitution is there any suggestion of government through direct action, which is DEMOCRACY. The Constitution provides for vesting the legislature, executive, and judicial powers in representatives. It guarantees a representative form of government to every State in the Union and provices for its' ratification and amendment through representatives.
The form of government established by the Constitution is discussed in The Federalist, Numbers 10, 14, and 39, all written by James Madison. In The Federalist, Number 10, he said:
"Democracies have never been spectacles of turbulance and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short as their lives as they have been violent in their deaths ... A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking."
In The Federalist, Number 14, he wrote:
"The adversaries of the new Constitution are availing themselves of the prevailing prejudice with regard to the practicable sphere of republican administration, in order to supply, by imaginary difficulties, the want of those solid objections which they endeavor in vain to find. ... It seems to owe its' rise and prevalence chiefly to the confounding of a republic with a democracy, applying the former reasonings drawn from the nature of the latter. The true distinction between these forms [of government] was also averted to on a former occasion. It is, tat in a democracy, the people exercise the government in person; in a republic, they administer it by their representatives. ... Under the confusion of names, it has been an easy task to transfer to a republic, observations applicable to a democracy only."
In The Federalist, Number 39, he went on to say:
"If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be ... a government which ... is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior."
In the first session of Congress, in 1789, when proposed amendments were being discussed, Representative Tucker of South Carolina proposed that Congress offer to the States for consideration, an amendment "giving people the right to instruct their representatives.""
In opposing the proposed amendment, Representative Hartley of Pennslyvania said:
"Representation is the principle of our government; the people ought to have confidence in the honor and integrity of those they send forward to transact their business; their right to instruct them is a problematical subject. We have seen it attended with bad consequnces both in england and America ... I kave known within my own time so many inconveniences and real evils arise from adopting the popular opinions of the moment, that ... I hope this government will particularly guard against them, at least I hope that they will not bind themselves by a Constitutional act, and by oath, to submit to their influence; if they do, the great object which this government has been established to attain will inevitably elude our grasp on the uncertain and veering winds of popular emotion."
Representative Clymer, also of Pennslyvania, said:
"Do gentlemen forsee the extent of these words? If they have a Constitutional right to instruct us, it infers that we are bound by those instructions ... This is a most dangerous principle, utterly destructive of all the ideas of an independent and deliberative body, which are essential requisites in the legislatures of free governments ...
It is the duty of a good representative to inquire what measures are most likely to promote the general welfare, and, after he has discovered them, to give them his support. Should his instructions, therefore, coincide with his ideas on any measure, they would be unnecessary; if they were contrary to the conviction of his own mind, he must be bound by every principle of justice to disregard them."
Representative James Madison, who was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and later served two terms as Secretary of State and as President of the United States, said:
"Suppose they instruct a representative, by his vote, to violate the Constitution; is he at liberty to obey such instructions? Suppose he is instructed to patronize certain measures, and from circumstances known to him, but not to his constituents, he is convinced that they will endanger the public good, is he obliged to sacrifice his own judgment to them?"
The proposed amendment was not submitted --- a fact which indicates that Congress at that time understood clearly the importance of adhering to representative government, as provided in the Constitution and emphasized in The Federalst.
For more than a century, not only the nation at large, but the States also adhered closely to the convention plan of naming candidates for office, and entrusted the making, interpreting, and enforcing of the laws to chosen representatives. Under the representative plan of procedure we made progress unparalelled in the history of government.
Toward the latter part of the last century, agitation became insistent for direct primaries, the initiative, the referendum, and the recall, and many of the States have enacted legislation providing for these methods of direct action.
DIRECT PRIMARIES are a substitute for the delegate convention plan of nominating candidates for public office, providing for their nomination by a direct vote of the people.
The INITIATIVE is a system whereby a given number of voters may, on petition, propose a law and require the legislature to submit it to a popular vote.
The REFERENDUM is a system which requires the reference of an act passed by the legislature to the voters for approval or rejection.
The States have gradually adopted the custom of submitting State constitutions to a referendum of the people for ratification. It will be generally conceded, however, that no State has adopted a constitution so well adapted to the national government.
The RECALL is a system for submitting to the voters the question whether or not a public official, regularly elected for a definite term, shall be removed before the term expires, without the opportunity of a trial based on the rules of evidence.
These innovations were inspired because of charges that conventions were not naming good candidates, thatthe legislative bodies were enacting undesireable laws, and that public officials were frequently untrustworthy.
Unfortunately, there was much justification for these contentions, but it is extremely doubtful if the introduction of the direct action of democracy is the proper remedy, as the evils resulting from the change seem greater than those which it sought to rectify. The real remedy, it would seem, is to continue the plan of representative government provided for by the Constitution, and to exercise greater vigilance and discretion in the selection of delegates for executive and legislative positions.
Perhaps the point can be made clearer by way of analogy if we apply the principle of the direct action of democracy to the great game of baseball.
If in the game of baseball, umpires were chosen by virtue of their fathers' having been umpires, it can readily be seen that through autocracy, baseball would degenerate just as hereditary government always has.
We play baseball as a republic, based on strictly representative government. The selection of the players and the umpire is usually left to those who are interested in baseball and understand the game.
Players are selected becauuse of their ability to play. The umpire is selected for his knowledge of the rules and his moral courage to make decisions in accordance with them, regardless of public clamor of the moment in the bleachers.
Under these conditions, baseball as played is a wonderful game, and we have excellent players and efficient umpires, and enormous crowds are hadled with little disorder.
Suppose that the method of conducting baseball should be changed, and provisions were made for selecting members of the teams through direct primaries by a vote of the people in attendance at the game, or for referring the rulings of the umpire to the bleachers for decision by referendum, or for circulating a petition for the initiative to change the rules of the game, or to recall the umpire or some of theplayers, it can readily be seen that chaotic conditions would result.
If the selection of the members of debating teams and football and baseball teams were left to a voye of the student bodies in high schools and colleges, it is not likely that championship teams would be assembled.
Apply the principle of the direct action of democracy to the fields of engineering, surgery, and other activities and consider the inevitable results. Such contemplation will help us appreciate the wisdom of the authors of the Constitution in understanding that in the plan of things, great responsibility was placed upon a wise exercise of the law of selection, which is the essence of a REPUBLIC.
01) What is one of the outstanding features of the Constitution?
02) What form of government was adopted by the Constitution?
03) What is an autocracy?
04) What is a republic?
05) What is a democracy?
06) What law did the authors of the Constitution seem to understand?
07) What is the "golden mean?"
08) Illustrate with reference to the laws of nature.
09) Illustrate with reference to the natural results of the three forms of government.
10) What are the six significant provisions in the Constitution proving that it provides for a representative form of government?
11) What did James Madision say regarding the matter in The Federalist, Numbers 10, 14, and 39?
12) What did Representative Tucker propose in the first session of Congress?
13) What was said in opposition by Representative Hartley?
14) By Representative Clymer?
15) By Representative Madision?
16) For what did agitation become insistent duing the latter part of the last century [i.e., the late 1800's]?
17) What are direct primaries?
18) What is the initiative?
19) What is the referendum?
20) What is the recall?
21) What inspired these innovations?
22) Illustrate the application of the three forms of government to the game of baseball.
23) What is the essence of a republic?
The U.S. Constitution USED TO be taught in school, but that is no longer the case. Most Americans believe that the USA is a DEMOCRACY, and this is because it is what they are told to believe. As anyone with a clear mind can come to realize upon reading this book excerpt, the USA is anything BUT a democracy.
Such semantical nonsense is the hallmark for ORWELLIAN DOUBLETHINK, which serves the evil forces that have hijacked our Constitutional Republic. Controlling thought is the basis of BRAINWASHING and MIND-CONTROL --- which in our modern world --- is carried out through the television. In 1984, it is called the TELESCREEN, and is described as being able to be dimmed, but never shut off entirely.
George Orwell [real name: Eric Blair] knew what was coming because he was one of THEM.
Recently, George Bush Jr. complained in a staff meeting that the Constitution was just a "godamned piece of paper." I immediately sent a FAX to the White House to voice my own personal outrage at his ignorant and ill-informed statement, but there is no one in the streets marching on Washington, as they should be.
Most people do not understand how the Constitution is being shredded before our very eyes, and this is because, they do not understand WHAT the Constitution means to them in their own lives. They believe they have freedom of speech, because this is what they are told to believe. However, people from other parts of the world, upon visiting the USA, comment on how HEAVILY CENSORED the mass media is here.
There is NO representation of alternate viewpoints --- and a perfect example of this has been the mass news media's treatment of dissident voices --- such as Alex Jones --- a great American patriot from Austin, Texas. There was a point in 2004 when Brian Lamb, on CSPAN'S Washington Journal program, spent an hour trashing Mr. Jones' name and reputation on the air. However, Mr. Lamb has NEVER allowed Mr. Jones to come on as a guest, and this is because of the HEAVY CENSORSHIP of our so-called FREE PRESS.
How many wounded soldier's have been shown on the TV news? How many flag-draped caskets have been shown? When is the last time DEPLETED URANIUM AMMUNITION has been discussed in any part of the US mass media?
Most people do not understand what the LOSS of the Constitution will mean to their lives, because they never knew what the Constitution meant to begin with.
And, it's as simple as that . . .
The following source was used in the creation of this Kentroversy Paper . . .
Harry Atwood - The Constitution Explained (1927)