This article is about a political and social philosophy. For the United States political party, see Republican Party (United States). For that party's ideology, see Political positions of the Republican Party.
Modern republicanism is the guiding political philosophy of the United States. It has been a major part of American civic thought since its founding. It stresses liberty and unalienable individual rights as central values, making people sovereign as a whole, rejects monarchy, aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be independent in their performance of civic duties, and vilifies corruption. American republicanism was founded and first practiced by the Founding Fathers in the 18th century. For them, according to one team of historians, "republicanism represented more than a particular form of government. It was a way of life, a core ideology, an uncompromising commitment to liberty, and a total rejection of aristocracy."
Republicanism was based on Ancient Greco-Roman, Renaissance, and English models and ideas. It formed the basis for the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Constitution (1787), the Bill of Rights, as well as the Gettysburg Address (1863).
Republicanism is a type of democracy, but if protected by a Bill of Rights, may be distinguished from other forms of democracy as a Bill of Rights asserts that each individual has unalienable rights that cannot be voted away by a majority of voters, unless the other type of democracies are also protected by a Bill of Rights.Alexis de Tocqueville warned about the "tyranny of the majority" in a democracy, and suggested the courts should try to reverse the efforts of the majority of terminating the rights of an unpopular minority.
The term "republicanism" is derived from the term "republic", but the two words have different meanings. A "republic" is a form of government (one without a hereditary ruling class); "republicanism" refers to the values of the citizens in a republic.
Two major parties have used the term in their name – the Democratic-Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson (founded in 1793, and often called the "Jeffersonian Republican Party"), and the current Republican Party, founded in 1854.
The American Revolution
The colonial intellectual and political leaders in the 1760s and 1770s closely read history to compare governments and their effectiveness of rule. The Revolutionists were especially concerned with the history of liberty in England and were primarily influenced by the "country party" (which opposed the Court Party that held power). Country party relied heavily on the classical republicanism of Roman heritage; it celebrated the ideals of duty and virtuous citizenship in a republic. It drew heavily on ancient Greek city-state and Roman republican examples. The Country party shared some of the political philosophy of Whiggism as well as Tory critics in England which roundly denounced the corruption surrounding the "court" party in London centering on the royal court. This approach produced a political ideology Americans called "republicanism", which was widespread in America by 1775. "Republicanism was the distinctive political consciousness of the entire Revolutionary generation."J.G.A. Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:
The Whig canon and the neo-Harringtonians, John Milton, James Harrington and Sidney, Trenchard, Gordon and Bolingbroke, together with the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance masters of the tradition as far as Montesquieu, formed the authoritative literature of this culture; and its values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: a civic and patriot ideal in which the personality was founded in property, perfected in citizenship but perpetually threatened by corruption; government figuring paradoxically as the principal source of corruption and operating through such means as patronage, faction, standing armies (opposed to the ideal of the militia); established churches (opposed to the Puritan and deist modes of American religion); and the promotion of a monied interest – though the formulation of this last concept was somewhat hindered by the keen desire for readily available paper credit common in colonies of settlement.
American republicanism was centered on limiting corruption and greed. Virtue was of the utmost importance for citizens and representatives. Revolutionaries took a lesson from ancient Rome, they knew it was necessary to avoid the luxury that had destroyed the Empire. A virtuous citizen was one who ignored monetary compensation and made a commitment to resist and eradicate corruption. The Republic was sacred; therefore, it is necessary to serve the state in a truly representative way, ignoring self-interest and individual will. Republicanism required the service of those who were willing to give up their own interests for a common good. According to Bernard Bailyn "The preservation of liberty rested on the ability of the people to maintain effective checks on wielders of power and hence in the last analysis rested on the vigilance and moral stamina of the people...." Virtuous citizens needed to be strong defenders of liberty and challenge the corruption and greed in government. The duty of the virtuous citizen became a foundation for the American Revolution.
Cause of revolution
The commitment of most Americans to republican values and to their property rights helped bring about the American Revolution. Britain was increasingly being seen as corrupt and hostile and that of a threat to the very idea of democracy; a threat to the established liberties that Americans enjoyed and to American property rights. The greatest threat to liberty was thought by many to be corruption – not just in London but at home as well. The colonists associated it with luxury and, especially, inherited aristocracy, which they condemned.
Historian Thomas Kidd (2010) argues that during the Revolution Christians linked their religion to republicanism. He states, "With the onset of the revolutionary crisis, a major conceptual shift convinced Americans across the theological spectrum that God was raising up America for some special purpose." Kidd further argues that " new blend of Christian and republican ideology led religious traditionalists to embrace wholesale the concept of republican virtue." As virtuous republicans, citizens had a growing moral obligation to eradicate the corruption they saw in the monarchy.
Historian Gordon Wood has tied the founding ideas to American exceptionalism: "Our beliefs in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, and the well-being of ordinary people came out of the Revolutionary era. So too did our idea that we Americans are a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty and democracy." Americans were the protectors of liberty, they had a greater obligation and destiny to assert republican virtue. In Discourse of 1759 Jonathan Mayhew states "An absolute submission to our prince, or whether disobedience and resistance may not be justified able in some cases…to all those who bear the title of rulers in common but only to those who actually perform the duty of rulers by exercising a reasonable and just authority for the good of human society." The notion that British rulers were not virtuous, nor exercising their authority for the "good of human society" prompted the colonial desire to protect and reestablish republican values in government. This need to protect virtue was a philosophical underpinning of the American Revolution.
The "Founding Fathers" were strong advocates of republican values, especially Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.
Thomas Jefferson defined a republic as:
...a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township. The first shade from this pure element, which, like that of pure vital air, cannot sustain life of itself, would be where the powers of the government, being divided, should be exercised each by representatives chosen...for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents. This I should consider as the nearest approach to a pure republic, which is practicable on a large scale of country or population ... we may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more or less republican as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition; and believing, as I do, that the mass of the citizens is the safest depository of their own rights, and especially, that the evils flowing from the duperies of the people, are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents, I am a friend to that composition of government which has in it the most of this ingredient.
The Founding Fathers discoursed endlessly on the meaning of "republicanism." John Adams in 1787 defined it as "a government, in which all men, rich and poor, magistrates and subjects, officers and people, masters and servants, the first citizen and the last, are equally subject to the laws."
Virtue vs. commerce
The open question, as Pocock suggested, of the conflict between personal economic interest (grounded in Lockean liberalism) and classical republicanism, troubled Americans. Jefferson and Madison roundly denounced the Federalists for creating a national bank as tending to corruption and monarchism; Alexander Hamilton staunchly defended his program, arguing that national economic strength was necessary for the protection of liberty. Jefferson never relented but by 1815 Madison switched and announced in favor of a national bank, which he set up in 1816.
John Adams often pondered the issue of civic virtue. Writing Mercy Otis Warren in 1776, he agreed with the Greeks and the Romans, that, "Public Virtue cannot exist without private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics." Adams insisted, "There must be a positive Passion for the public good, the public Interest, Honor, Power, and Glory, established in the Minds of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty. And this public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests, nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with the Rights of society."
Adams worried that a businessman might have financial interests that conflicted with republican duty; indeed, he was especially suspicious of banks. He decided that history taught that "the Spirit of Commerce ... is incompatible with that purity of Heart, and Greatness of soul which is necessary for a happy Republic." But so much of that spirit of commerce had infected America. In New England, Adams noted, "even the Farmers and Tradesmen are addicted to Commerce." As a result, there was "a great Danger that a Republican Government would be very factious and turbulent there."
A second stream of thought growing in significance was the classical liberalism of John Locke, including his theory of the "social contract". This had a great influence on the revolution as it implied the inborn right of the people to overthrow their leaders should those leaders betray the agreements implicit in the sovereign-follower relationship. Historians find little trace of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's influence in America. In terms of writing state and national constitutions, the Americans used Montesquieu's analysis of the ideally "balanced" British Constitution. But first and last came a commitment to republicanism, as shown by many historians such as Bernard Bailyn and Gordon S. Wood.
For a century, historians have debated how important republicanism was to the Founding Fathers. The interpretation before 1960, following Progressive School historians such as Charles A. Beard, Vernon L. Parrington and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., downplayed rhetoric as superficial and looked for economic motivations. Louis Hartz refined the position in the 1950s, arguing John Locke was the most important source because his property-oriented liberalism supported the materialistic goals of Americans.
In the 1960s and 1970s, two new schools emerged that emphasized the primacy of ideas as motivating forces in history (rather than material self-interest). Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood from Harvard formed the "Cambridge School"; at Washington University the "St. Louis School" was led by J.G.A. Pocock. They emphasized slightly different approaches to republicanism. However, some scholars, especially Isaac Kramnick, continue to emphasize Locke, arguing that Americans are fundamentally individualistic and not devoted to civic virtue. The relative importance of republicanism and liberalism remains a topic of strong debate among historians, as well as the politically active of present day.
New Nation: The Constitution
The Founding Fathers wanted republicanism because its principles guaranteed liberty, with opposing, limited powers offsetting one another. They thought change should occur slowly, as many were afraid that a "democracy" – by which they meant a direct democracy – would allow a majority of voters at any time to trample rights and liberties. They believed the most formidable of these potential majorities was that of the poor against the rich. They thought democracy could take the form of mob rule that could be shaped on the spot by a demagogue. Therefore, they devised a written Constitution that could be amended only by a super majority, preserved competing sovereignties in the constituent states, gave the control of the upper house (Senate) to the states, and created an Electoral College, comprising a small number of elites, to select the president. They set up a House of Representatives to represent the people. In practice the electoral college soon gave way to control by political parties. In 1776, most states required property ownership to vote, but most citizens owned farms in the 90% rural nation, so it was not a severe restriction. As the country urbanized and people took on different work, the property ownership requirement was gradually dropped by many states. Property requirements were gradually dismantled in state after state, so that all had been eliminated by 1850, so that few if any economic barriers remained to prevent white, adult males from voting.
"Republican" as party name
In 1792–93 Jefferson and Madison created a new "Democratic-Republican party" in order to promote their version of the doctrine. They wanted to suggest that Hamilton's version was illegitimate. According to Federalist Noah Webster, a political activist bitter at the defeat of the Federalist party in the White House and Congress, the choice of the name "Democratic-Republican" was "a powerful instrument in the process of making proselytes to the party.... The influence of names on the mass of mankind, was never more distinctly exhibited, than in the increase of the democratic party in the United States. The popularity of the denomination of the Republican Party, was more than a match for the popularity of Washington's character and services, and contributed to overthrow his administration." The party, which historians later called the Democratic-Republican Party, split into separate factions in the 1820s, one of which became the Democratic Party. After 1832, the Democrats were opposed by another faction that named themselves "Whigs" after the Patriots of the 1770s who started the American Revolution. Both of these parties proclaimed their devotion to republicanism in the era of the Second Party System.
Under the new government after the revolution, "republican motherhood" became an ideal, as exemplified by Abigail Adams and Mercy Otis Warren. The first duty of the republican woman was to instill republican values in her children, and to avoid luxury and ostentation.
Two generations later, the daughters and granddaughters of these "Republican mothers" appropriated republican values into their lives as they sought independence and equality in the workforce. During the 1830s, thousands of female mill workers went on strike to battle for their right to fair wages and independence, as there had been major pay cuts. Many of these women were daughters of independent land owners and descendants of men who had fought in the Revolutionary War; they identified as "daughters of freemen". In their fight for independence at the mills, women would incorporate rhetoric from the revolution to convey the importance and strength of their purpose to their corporate employers, as well as to other women. If the Revolutionary War was fought to secure independence from Great Britain, then these "daughters of freemen" could fight for the same republican values that (through striking) would give them fair pay and independence, just as the men had.
Jefferson and Albert Gallatin focused on the danger that the public debt, unless it was paid off, would be a threat to republican values. They were appalled that Hamilton was increasing the national debt and using it to solidify his Federalist base. Gallatin was the Republican Party's chief expert on fiscal issues and as Treasury Secretary under Jefferson and Madison worked hard to lower taxes and lower the debt, while at the same time paying cash for the Louisiana Purchase and funding the War of 1812. Burrows says of Gallatin:
- His own fears of personal dependency and his small-shopkeeper's sense of integrity, both reinforced by a strain of radical republican thought that originated in England a century earlier, convinced him that public debts were a nursery of multiple public evils – corruption, legislative impotence, executive tyranny, social inequality, financial speculation, and personal indolence. Not only was it necessary to extinguish the existing debt as rapidly as possible, he argued, but Congress would have to ensure against the accumulation of future debts by more diligently supervising government expenditures.
Andrew Jackson believed the national debt was a "national curse" and he took special pride in paying off the entire national debt in 1835. Politicians ever since have used the issue of a high national debt to denounce the other party for profligacy and a threat to fiscal soundness and the nation's future.
Ellis and Nelson argue that much constitutional thought, from Madison to Lincoln and beyond, has focused on "the problem of majority tyranny." They conclude, "The principles of republican government embedded in the Constitution represent an effort by the framers to ensure that the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would not be trampled by majorities." Madison, in particular, worried that a small localized majority might threaten inalienable rights, and in "Federalist #10" he argued that the larger the population of the republic, the more diverse it would be and the less liable to this threat. Jefferson warned that "an elective despotism is not the government we fought for."
As late as 1800, the word "democrat" was mostly used to attack an opponent of the Federalist party. Thus, George Washington in 1798 complained, "that you could as soon scrub the blackamoor white, as to change the principles of a profest Democrat; and that he will leave nothing unattempted to overturn the Government of this Country." The Federalist Papers are pervaded by the idea that pure democracy is actually quite dangerous, because it allows a majority to infringe upon the rights of a minority. Thus, in encouraging the states to participate in a strong centralized government under a new constitution and replace the relatively weak Articles of Confederation, Madison argued in Federalist No. 10 that a special interest may take control of a small area, e.g. a state, but it could not easily take over a large nation. Therefore, the larger the nation, the safer is republicanism.
By 1805, the "Old Republicans" or "Quids", a minority faction among Southern Republicans, led by Johan Randolph, John Taylor of Caroline and Nathaniel Macon, opposed Jefferson and Madison on the grounds that they had abandoned the true republican commitment to a weak central government.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (1779–1845), made the protection of property rights by the courts a major component of American republicanism. A precocious legal scholar, Story was appointed to the Court by James Madison in 1811. He and Chief Justice John Marshall made the Court a bastion of nationalism (along the lines of Marshall's Federalist Party) and a protector of the rights of property against runaway democracy. Story opposed Jacksonian democracy because it was inclined to repudiate lawful debts and was too often guilty of what he called "oppression" of property rights by republican governments. Story held that, "the right of the citizens to the free enjoyment of their property legally acquired" was "a great and fundamental principle of a republican government." Newmyer (1985) presents Story as a "Statesman of the Old Republic" who tried to rise above democratic politics and to shape the law in accordance with the republicanism of Story's heroes, Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall, as well as the New England Whigs of the 1820s and 1830s, such as Daniel Webster. Historians agree that Justice Story – as much or more than Marshall or anyone else – did indeed reshape American law in a conservative direction that protected property rights.
Civic virtue required men to put civic goals ahead of their personal desires, and to volunteer to fight for their country. Military service thus was an integral duty of the citizen. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, "When citizen and soldier shall be synonymous terms, then you will be safe." Scott (1984) notes that in both the American and French revolutions, distrust of foreign mercenaries led to the concept of a national, citizen army, and the definition of military service was changed from a choice of careers to a civic duty. Herrera (2001) explains that an appreciation of self-governance is essential to any understanding of the American military character before the Civil War. Military service was considered an important demonstration of patriotism and an essential component of citizenship. To soldiers, military service was a voluntary, negotiated, and temporary abeyance of self-governance by which they signaled their responsibility as citizens. In practice self-governance in military affairs came to include personal independence, enlistment negotiations, petitions to superior officials, militia constitutions, and negotiations regarding discipline. Together these affected all aspects of military order, discipline, and life.
Role of the South
Historian Frank Lawrence Owsley in Plain Folk of the Old South (1949) depicted antebellum Southern society as a numerically dominate by a broad class of yeoman farmers who stood and worked between the slaves and poor whites at one end and the large planters at the opposite end of the economic spectrum. He complained that most scholars until then misconstrued the social structure by portraying a South controlled by rich plantation owners surrounded by lazy, inconsequential poor whites. Owsley asserted that the real South was liberal, American, and Jeffersonian, not radical or reactionary. It reflected the best of republican principles (Owsley did not use the word "republicanism" but his followers did) Agrarianism in the 20th century was a response to the industrialism and modernism that had infiltrated the South. According to Owsley, the position of the South vis-à-vis the North was created not by slavery, cotton, or states' rights, but by the two regions' misunderstanding of each other. J. Mills Thornton argues that in the antebellum South the drive to preserve republican values was the most powerful force, and led Southerners to interpret Northern policies as a threat to their republican values.
In reaction to the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854, antislavery forces in the North formed a new party. The party officially designated itself "Republican" because the name resonated with the struggle of 1776. "In view of the necessity of battling for the first principles of republican government," resolved the Michigan state convention, "and against the schemes of aristocracy the most revolting and oppressive with which the earth was ever cursed, or man debased, we will co-operate and be known as Republicans."
After the war, the Republicans believed that an important aspect of securing citizenship for freedmen was to give them the franchise; that the true political education was to be gained in exercising the right to vote and organizing for political purposes. At the time, only men were allowed to vote. Constitutional amendments were passed granting citizenship to freedmen and the franchise to men.
A central theme of the progressive era was fear of corruption, one of the core ideas of republicanism since the 1770s. The Progressives restructured the political system to combat entrenched interests (for example, through the direct election of Senators), to ban influences such as alcohol that were viewed as corrupting, and to extend the vote to women, who were seen as being morally pure and less corruptible.
Questions of performing civic duty were brought up in presidential campaigns and World War I. In the presidential election of 1888, Republicans emphasized that the Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland had purchased a substitute to fight for him in the Civil War, while his opponent General Benjamin Harrison had fought in numerous battles. In 1917, a great debate took place over Woodrow Wilson's proposal to draft men into the U.S. Army after war broke out in Europe. Many said it violated the republican notion of freely given civic duty to force people to serve. In the end, Wilson was successful and the Selective Service Act of 1917 was passed.
The term republic does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, but does appear in Article IV of the Constitution which "guarantee[s] to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government." What exactly the writers of the constitution felt this should mean is uncertain. The Supreme Court, in Luther v. Borden (1849), declared that the definition of republic was a "political question" in which it would not intervene. During Reconstruction the Constitutional clause was the legal foundation for the extensive Congressional control over the eleven former Confederate states; there was no such oversight over the border slave states that had remained in the Union.
In two later cases, it did establish a basic definition. In United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the court ruled that the "equal rights of citizens" were inherent to the idea of republic. The opinion of the court from In re Duncan (1891) held that the "right of the people to choose their government" is also part of the definition. It is also generally assumed that the clause prevents any state from being a monarchy – or a dictatorship. Due to the 1875 and 1891 court decisions establishing basic definition, in the first version (1892) of the Pledge of Allegiance, which included the word republic, and like Article IV which refers to a Republican form of government, the basic definition of republic is implied and continues to do so in all subsequent versions, including the present edition, by virtue of its consistent inclusion.
In March 1861 in his famous First Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln denounced secession as anarchy and explained that majority rule had to be balanced by constitutional restraints in the American system:
- "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people."
Over time, the pejorative connotations of "democracy" faded. By the 1830s, democracy was seen as an unmitigated positive and the term "Democratic" was assumed by the Democratic Party and the term "Democrat" was adopted by its members. A common term for the party in the 19th century was "The Democracy." In debates on Reconstruction, Radical Republicans, such as Senator Charles Sumner, argued that the republican "guarantee clause" in Article IV supported the introduction by force of law of democratic suffrage in the defeated South.
After 1800 the limitations on democracy were systematically removed; property qualifications for state voters were largely eliminated in the 1820s. The initiative, referendum, recall, and other devices of direct democracy became widely accepted at the state and local level in the 1910s; and senators were made directly electable by the people in 1913. The last restrictions on black voting were made illegal in 1965.
- ^As opposed to classical republicanism; see Pangle, Thomas L., The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke (1988), p. 35: "The misreading of the major sources is ... not the only fault that tells against the "classical republican" interpretation [of early American political thought]. ... A meticulous comparison ... of early American political thought and classical political philosophy is essential ... because eighteenth-century political thought in America and Europe is dominated (though not monopolized) by the diverse and competing offshoots of a profoundly anticlassical conception of human nature and politics.
- ^Robert E. Shalhope, "Toward a Republican Synthesis: The Emergence of an Understanding of Republicanism in American Historiography," William and Mary Quarterly, 29 (January 1972), pp. 49–80.
- ^Richard Buel, Securing the Revolution: Ideology in American Politics, 1789–1815 (1972)
- ^Robert A. Divine, T. H. Breen, et al. The American Story (3rd ed. 2007) p. 147
- ^Becker et al (2002), ch 1
- ^Wood, Gordon S. (1991). The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1st Vintage Books ed.). New York, NY: Vintage Books. ISBN 0679736883. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- ^John Phillip Reid, Constitutional History of the American Revolution (2003) p. 76
- ^Kyle G. Volk, "The Perils of 'Pure Democracy': Minority Rights, Liquor Politics, and Popular Sovereignty in Antebellum America," Journal of the Early Republic Vol. 29, No. 4, Winter 2009 doi:10.1353/jer.0.0113; Volk, Kyle G. (2014). Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
- ^Hart, (2002), ch. 1
- ^Robert Williams, Horace Greeley: champion of American freedom (2006) pp. 175–76
- ^Kenneth R. Bowling "A Capital before a Capitol: Republican Visions," in Donald R. Kennon ed. A Republic for the Ages: The United States Capitol and the Political Culture of the Early Republic (1999)
- ^Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (1965) online version
- ^H. T. Dickinson, ed., A companion to eighteenth-century Britain (2002) p. 300
- ^Mortimer N. S. Sellers, American republicanism (1994) p. 3
- ^Robert Kelley, "Ideology and Political Culture from Jefferson to Nixon," American Historical Review, 82 (June 1977), p. 536
- ^J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p. 507
- ^Wood, Gordon (2011). The Idea of America. New York: The Penguin Press. p. 325.
- ^Bernard, Bailyn. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press.
- ^Zephyr Teachout, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (2014)
- ^Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)
- ^Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution p. 9
- ^Kidd, God of Liberty, p. 8
- ^Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution p. 525
- ^Gordon Wood, "Introduction" in Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011) online.
- ^Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution p. 92
- ^Robert E. Shalhope, "Toward a Republican Synthesis," William and Mary Quarterly, 29 (January 1972), pp. 49–80
- ^"Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, May 28, 1816". Retrieved 2006-10-31. See also: James Madison on Majority Government
- ^Republican Government. Retrieved on 2006-12-14.
- ^J.G.A. Pocock, "Virtue and Commerce in the Eighteenth Century," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 3#1 (1972), pp. 119–34.
- ^Adams quoted in Paul A. Rahe, Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution. Volume: 2 (1994) p. 23.
- ^Adams 1776 quoted in Rahe, Republics Ancient and Modern 2:23.
- ^"Rousseau, whose romantic and egalitarian tenets had practically no influence on the course of Jefferson's, or indeed any American, thought." Nathan Schachner, Thomas Jefferson: A Biography. (1957). p. 47.
- ^Gordon S. Wood, "Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly 23#1 (1966), pp. 3–32 in JSTOR
- ^Rodgers (1992)
- ^Gordon S. Wood, Empire of liberty: a history of the early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009) p. 214
- ^Mark B. Brown, Science in democracy: expertise, institutions, and representation (2009) p. 83
- ^When Alexander Hamilton proposed at the Constitutional Convention to drastically reduce the power of the states, he won no support and dropped the idea.
- ^Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2001)
- ^Fawn Brodie, Thomas Jefferson (1974) p. 267
- ^quoted in John C. Miller, Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox
For other uses, see Republican.
Republicanism is an ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic under which the people hold popular sovereignty. Many countries are "republics" in the sense that they are not monarchies. This article covers only the ideology of republicanism.
The word "republic" derives from the Latin noun-phrase res publica, which referred to the system of government that emerged in the 6th century BC following the semi-legendary expulsion of the kings from Rome by Lucius Junius Brutus and Collatinus.
This form of government in the Roman state collapsed in the latter part of the 1st century BCE, giving way to what was a monarchy in form, if not in name. Republics re-occurred subsequently, with, for example, Renaissance Florence or early modern Britain. The concept of a republic became a powerful force in Britain's North American colonies, where it contributed to the American Revolution. In Europe, it gained enormous influence through the French Revolution and through the First French Republic of 1792-1804.
Historical development of republicanism
In Ancient Greece, several philosophers and historians analysed and described elements we now recognize as classical republicanism. Traditionally, the Greek concept of "politeia" was rendered into Latin as res publica. Consequently, political theory until relatively recently often used republic in the general sense of "regime". There is no single written expression or definition from this era that exactly corresponds with a modern understanding of the term "republic" but most of the essential features of the modern definition are present in the works of Plato, Aristotle, and Polybius. These include theories of mixed government and of civic virtue. For example, in The Republic, Plato places great emphasis on the importance of civic virtue (aiming for the good) together with personal virtue ('just man') on the part of the ideal rulers. Indeed, in Book V, Plato asserts that until rulers have the nature of philosophers (Socrates) or philosophers become the rulers, there can be no civic peace or happiness.
A number of Ancient Greek city-states such as Athens and Sparta have been classified as "classical republics", because they featured extensive participation by the citizens in legislation and political decision-making. Aristotle considered Carthage to have been a republic as it had a political system similar to that of some of the Greek cities, notably Sparta, but avoided some of the defects that affected them.
Both Livy, a Roman historian, and Plutarch, who is noted for his biographies and moral essays, described how Rome had developed its legislation, notably the transition from a kingdom to a republic, by following the example of the Greeks. Some of this history, composed more than 500 years after the events, with scant written sources to rely on, may be fictitious reconstruction.
The Greek historian Polybius, writing in the mid-2nd century BCE, emphasized (in Book 6) the role played by the Roman Republic as an institutional form in the dramatic rise of Rome's hegemony over the Mediterranean. Polybius exerted a great influence on Cicero as he wrote his politico-philosophical works in the 1st century BCE. In one of these works, De re publica, Cicero linked the Roman concept of res publica to the Greek politeia.
The modern term "republic", despite its derivation, is not synonymous with the Roman res publica. Among the several meanings of the term res publica, it is most often translated "republic" where the Latin expression refers to the Roman state, and its form of government, between the era of the Kings and the era of the Emperors. This Roman Republic would, by a modern understanding of the word, still be defined as a true republic, even if not coinciding entirely. Thus, Enlightenment philosophers saw the Roman Republic as an ideal system, because it included features like a systematic separation of powers.
Romans still called their state "Res Publica" in the era of the early emperors because, on the surface, the organization of the state had been preserved by the first emperors without significant alteration. Several offices from the republican era, held by individuals, were combined under the control of a single person. These changes became permanent, and gradually conferred sovereignty on the Emperor.
Cicero's description of the ideal state, in De re publica, does not equate to a modern-day "republic"; it is more like enlightened absolutism. His philosophical works were influential when Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire developed their political concepts.
In its classical meaning, a republic was any stable well-governed political community. Both Plato and Aristotle identified three forms of government: democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. First Plato and Aristotle, and then Polybius and Cicero, held that the ideal republic is a mixture of these three forms of government. The writers of the Renaissance embraced this notion.
Cicero expressed reservations concerning the republican form of government. While in his theoretical works he defended monarchy, or at least a mixed monarchy/oligarchy, in his own political life, he generally opposed men, like Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian, who were trying to realise such ideals. Eventually, that opposition led to his death and Cicero can be seen as a victim of his own republican ideals.
Tacitus, a contemporary of Plutarch, was not concerned with whether a form of government could be analysed as a "republic" or a "monarchy". He analyzed how the powers accumulated by the early Julio-Claudian dynasty were all given by a State that was still notionally a republic. Nor was the Roman Republic "forced" to give away these powers: it did so freely and reasonably, certainly in Augustus' case, because of his many services to the state, freeing it from civil wars and disorder.
Tacitus was one of the first to ask whether such powers were given to the head of state because the citizens wanted to give them, or whether they were given for other reasons (for example, because one had a deified ancestor). The latter case led more easily to abuses of power. In Tacitus' opinion, the trend away from a true republic was irreversible only when Tiberius established power, shortly after Augustus' death in 14 CE (much later than most historians place the start of the Imperial form of government in Rome). By this time, too many principles defining some powers as "untouchable" had been implemented.
In Europe, republicanism was revived in the late Middle Ages when a number of states, which arose from medieval communes, embraced a republican system of government. These were generally small but wealthy trading states in which the merchant class had risen to prominence. Haakonssen notes that by the Renaissance, Europe was divided, such that those states controlled by a landed elite were monarchies, and those controlled by a commercial elite were republics. The latter included the Italian city states of Florence, Genoa, and Venice and members of the Hanseatic League. One notable exception was Dithmarschen, a group of largely autonomous villages, who confederated in a peasants' republic. Building upon concepts of medieval feudalism, Renaissance scholars used the ideas of the ancient world to advance their view of an ideal government. Thus the republicanism developed during the Renaissance is known as 'classical republicanism' because it relied on classical models. This terminology was developed by Zera Fink in the 1960s, but some modern scholars, such as Brugger, consider it confuses the "classical republic" with the system of government used in the ancient world. 'Early modern republicanism' has been proposed as an alternative term. It is also sometimes called civic humanism. Beyond simply a non-monarchy, early modern thinkers conceived of an ideal republic, in which mixed government was an important element, and the notion that virtue and the common good were central to good government. Republicanism also developed its own distinct view of liberty. Renaissance authors who spoke highly of republics were rarely critical of monarchies. While Niccolò Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy is the period's key work on republics, he also wrote The Prince on how best to run a monarchy. The early modern writers did not see the republican model as universally applicable; most thought that it could be successful only in very small and highly urbanized city-states. Jean Bodin in Six Books of the Commonwealth (1576) identified monarchy with republic.
Classical writers like Tacitus, and Renaissance writers like Machiavelli, tried to avoid an outspoken preference for one government system or another. Enlightenment philosophers, on the other hand, expressed a clear opinion. Thomas More, writing before the Age of Enlightenment, was too outspoken for the reigning king's taste, even though he coded his political preferences in a utopian allegory.
In England a type of republicanism evolved that was not wholly opposed to monarchy; thinkers such as Thomas More and Sir Thomas Smith saw a monarchy, firmly constrained by law, as compatible with republicanism.
Anti-monarchism became more strident in the Dutch Republic during and after the Eighty Years' War, which began in 1568. This anti-monarchism was more propaganda than a political philosophy; most of the anti-monarchist works appeared in the form of widely distributed pamphlets. This evolved into a systematic critique of monarchy, written by men such as the brothers Johan and Peter de la Court. They saw all monarchies as illegitimate tyrannies that were inherently corrupt. These authors were more concerned with preventing the position of Stadholder from evolving into a monarchy, than with attacking their former rulers. Dutch republicanism also influenced on French Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. In the other states of early modern Europe republicanism was more moderate.
In the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, republicanism was an influential ideology. After the establishment of the Commonwealth of Two Nations, republicans supported the status quo, of having a very weak monarch, and opposed those who thought a stronger monarchy was needed. These mostly Polish republicans, such as Łukasz Górnicki, Andrzej Wolan, and Stanisław Konarski, were well read in classical and Renaissance texts and firmly believed that their state was a republic on the Roman model, and started to call their state the Rzeczpospolita. Atypically, Polish–Lithuanian republicanism was not the ideology of the commercial class, but rather of the landed nobility, which would lose power if the monarchy were expanded. This resulted in an oligarchy of the great landed magnates.
Oliver Cromwell set up a republic called the Commonwealth of England (1649–1660) and ruled as a near dictator after the overthrow of King Charles I. James Harrington was then a leading philosopher of republicanism. John Milton was another important Republican thinker at this time, expressing his views in political tracts as well as through poetry and prose. In his epic poem Paradise Lost, for instance, Milton uses Satan’s fall to suggest that unfit monarchs should be brought to justice, and that such issues extend beyond the constraints of one nation. As Christopher N. Warren argues, Milton offers “a language to critique imperialism, to question the legitimacy of dictators, to defend free international discourse, to fight unjust property relations, and to forge new political bonds across national lines.” This form of international Miltonic republicanism has been influential on later thinkers including 19th-century radicals Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, according to Warren and other historians.
The collapse of the Commonwealth of England in 1660 and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II discredited republicanism among England's ruling circles. Nevertheless they welcomed the liberalism, and emphasis on rights, of John Locke, which played a major role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Even so, republicanism flourished in the "country" party of the early 18th century (commonwealthmen), which denounced the corruption of the "court" party, producing a political theory that heavily influenced the American colonists. In general, the English ruling classes of the 18th century vehemently opposed republicanism, typified by the attacks on John Wilkes, and especially on the American Revolution and the French Revolution.
French and Swiss thought
French and Swiss Enlightenment thinkers, such as Montesquieu and later Rousseau, expanded upon and altered the ideas of what an ideal republic should be: some of their new ideas were scarcely traceable to antiquity or the Renaissance thinkers. Concepts they contributed, or heavily elaborated, were social contract, positive law, and mixed government. They also borrowed from, and distinguished republicanism from, the ideas of liberalism that were developing at the same time.
Liberalism and republicanism were frequently conflated during this period, because they both opposed absolute monarchy. Modern scholars see them as two distinct streams that both contributed to the democratic ideals of the modern world. An important distinction is that, while republicanism stressed the importance of civic virtue and the common good, liberalism was based on economics and individualism. It is clearest in the matter of private property, which, according to some, can be maintained only under the protection of established positive law.
Jules Ferry, Prime Minister of France from 1880 to 1885, followed both these schools of thought. He eventually enacted the Ferry Laws, which he intended to overturn the Falloux Laws by embracing the anti-clerical thinking of the Philosophs. These laws ended the Catholic Church's involvement in many government institutions in late 19th-century France, including schools.
Republicanism in the United States
Main article: Republicanism in the United States
In recent years a debate has developed over the role of republicanism in the American Revolution and in the British radicalism of the 18th century. For many decades the consensus was that liberalism, especially that of John Locke, was paramount and that republicanism had a distinctly secondary role.
The new interpretations were pioneered by J.G.A. Pocock, who argued in The Machiavellian Moment (1975) that, at least in the early 18th century, republican ideas were just as important as liberal ones. Pocock's view is now widely accepted.Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood pioneered the argument that the American founding fathers were more influenced by republicanism than they were by liberalism. Cornell University professor Isaac Kramnick, on the other hand, argues that Americans have always been highly individualistic and therefore Lockean.Joyce Appleby has argued similarly for the Lockean influence on America.
In the decades before the American Revolution (1776), the intellectual and political leaders of the colonies studied history intently, looking for models of good government. They especially followed the development of republican ideas in England. Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:
The Whig canon and the neo-Harringtonians, John Milton, James Harrington and Sidney, Trenchard, Gordon and Bolingbroke, together with the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance masters of the tradition as far as Montesquieu, formed the authoritative literature of this culture; and its values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: a civic and patriot ideal in which the personality was founded in property, perfected in citizenship but perpetually threatened by corruption; government figuring paradoxically as the principal source of corruption and operating through such means as patronage, faction, standing armies (opposed to the ideal of the militia), established churches (opposed to the Puritan and deist modes of American religion) and the promotion of a monied interest – though the formulation of this last concept was somewhat hindered by the keen desire for readily available paper credit common in colonies of settlement. A neoclassical politics provided both the ethos of the elites and the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile, and accounts for the singular cultural and intellectual homogeneity of the Founding Fathers and their generation.
The commitment of most Americans to these republican values made the American Revolution inevitable. Britain was increasingly seen as corrupt and hostile to republicanism, and as a threat to the established liberties the Americans enjoyed.
Leopold von Ranke in 1848 claimed that American republicanism played a crucial role in the development of European liberalism:
By abandoning English constitutionalism and creating a new republic based on the rights of the individual, the North Americans introduced a new force in the world. Ideas spread most rapidly when they have found adequate concrete expression. Thus republicanism entered our Romanic/Germanic world.... Up to this point, the conviction had prevailed in Europe that monarchy best served the interests of the nation. Now the idea spread that the nation should govern itself. But only after a state had actually been formed on the basis of the theory of representation did the full significance of this idea become clear. All later revolutionary movements have this same goal... This was the complete reversal of a principle. Until then, a king who ruled by the grace of God had been the center around which everything turned. Now the idea emerged that power should come from below.... These two principles are like two opposite poles, and it is the conflict between them that determines the course of the modern world. In Europe the conflict between them had not yet taken on concrete form; with the French Revolution it did.
Republicanism, especially that of Rousseau, played a central role in the French Revolution and foreshadowed modern republicanism. The revolutionaries, after overthrowing the French monarchy in the 1790s, began by setting up a republic; Napoleon converted it into an Empire with a new aristocracy. In the 1830s Belgium adopted some of the innovations of the progressive political philosophers of the Enlightenment.
Républicanisme is a French version of modern republicanism. It is a form of social contract, deduced from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's idea of a general will. Ideally, each citizen is engaged in a direct relationship with the state, removing the need for identity politics based on local, religious, or racial identification.
Républicanisme, in theory, makes anti-discrimination laws unnecessary, but some critics argue that colour-blind laws serve to perpetuate discrimination.
Republicanism in Ireland
Main article: Society of United Irishmen
Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in 1791 in Belfast and Dublin. The inaugural meeting of the United Irishmen in Belfast on 18 October 1791 approved a declaration of the society's objectives. It identified the central grievance that Ireland had no national government: "...we are ruled by Englishmen, and the servants of Englishmen, whose object is the interest of another country, whose instrument is corruption, and whose strength is the weakness of Ireland..." They adopted three central positions: (i) to seek out a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance essential to preserve liberties and extend commerce; (ii) that the sole constitutional mode by which English influence can be opposed, is by a complete and radical reform of the representation of the people in Parliament; (iii) that no reform is practicable or efficacious, or just which shall not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion. The declaration, then, urged constitutional reform, union among Irish people and the removal of all religious disqualifications.
The event that above all[peacock term] influenced men's thoughts at that time was the French Revolution.[original research?] Public interest, already strongly aroused, was brought to a pitch by the publication in 1790 of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Thomas Paine's response, Rights of Man, in February 1791. Theobald Wolfe Tone wrote later that, "This controversy, and the gigantic event which gave rise to it, changed in an instant the politics of Ireland." Paine himself was aware of this commenting on sales of Part I of Rights of Man in November 1791, only eight months after publication of the first edition, he informed a friend that in England "almost sixteen thousand has gone off – and in Ireland above forty thousand". Paine my have been inclined to talk up sales of his works but what is striking in this context is that Paine believed that Irish sales were so far ahead of English ones before Part II had appeared. On 5 June 1792, Thomas Paine, author of the Rights of Man was proposed for honorary membership of the Dublin Society of the United Irishmen.
The fall of the Bastille was to be celebrated in Belfast on 14 July 1791 by a Volunteer meeting. At the request of Thomas Russell, Tone drafted suitable resolutions for the occasion, including one favouring the inclusion of Catholics in any reforms. In a covering letter to Russell, Tone wrote, "I have not said one word that looks like a wish for separation, though I give it to you and your friends as my most decided opinion that such an event would be a regeneration of their country". By 1795, Tone's Republicanism and that of the society had openly crystallized when he tells us: "I remember particularly two days thae we passed on Cave Hill. On the first Russell, Neilson, Simms, McCracken and one or two more of us, on the summit of McArt's fort, took a solemn obligation...never to desist in our efforts until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted her independence."
The culmination was an uprising against British rule in Ireland lasting from May to September 1798 – the Irish Rebellion of 1798 – with military support from revolutionary France in August and again October 1798. After the failure of the rising of 1798 the United Irishman, John Daly Burk, an émigré in the United States in his The History of the Late War in Ireland written in 1799, was most emphatic in its identification of the Irish, French and American causes.
During the Enlightenment, anti-monarchism extended beyond the civic humanism of the Renaissance. Classical republicanism, still supported by philosophers such as Rousseau and Montesquieu, was only one of several theories seeking to limit the power of monarchies rather than directly opposing them. New forms of anti-monarchism, such as liberalism and later socialism, quickly overtook classical republicanism as the leading republican ideologies. Republicanism gained support, and monarchies were challenged throughout Europe.
Further information: Radicalism (historical)
The French version of Republicanism after 1870 was called "Radicalism"; it became the Radical Party a major political party. In Western Europe, there were similar smaller "radical" parties. They all supported a constitutional republic and universal suffrage, while European liberals were at the time in favor of constitutional monarchy and census suffrage. Most radical parties later favored economic liberalism and capitalism. This distinction between radicalism and liberalism had not totally disappeared in the 20th century, although many radicals simply joined liberal parties. For example, the Radical Party of the Left in France or the (originally Italian) Transnational Radical Party, which still exist, focus more on republicanism than on simple liberalism.
Liberalism, was represented in France by the Orleanists who rallied to the Third Republic only in the late 19th century, after the comte de Chambord's 1883 death and the 1891 papal encyclical Rerum novarum.
But the early Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party in France, and Chartism in Britain, were closer to republicanism, and the left-wing. Radicalism remained close to republicanism in the 20th century, at least in France, where they governed several times with other left-wing parties (participating in both the Cartel des Gauches coalitions as well as the Popular Front).
Discredited after the Second World War, French radicals split into a left-wing party – the Radical Party of the Left, an associate of the Socialist Party – and the Radical Party "valoisien", an associate party of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its Gaullist predecessors. Italian radicals also maintained close links with republicanism, as well as with socialism, with the Partito radicale founded in 1955, which became the Transnational Radical Party in 1989.
Increasingly, after the fall of communism in 1989 and the collapse of the Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution, France increasingly turned to Republicanism to define its national identity.Charles de Gaulle, presenting himself as the military savior of France in the 1940s, and the political savior in the 1950s, refashioned the meaning of Republicanism. Both left and right enshrined him in the Republican pantheon.
Main article: Republicanism in the United States
Republicanism became the dominant political value of Americans during and after the American Revolution. The "Founding Fathers" were strong advocates of republican values, especially Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.
The British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations
In some countries of the British Empire, later the Commonwealth of Nations, republicanism has taken a variety of forms.
In Barbados, the government gave the promise of a referendum on becoming a republic in August 2008, but it was postponed due to the change of government in the 2008 election.
In South Africa, republicanism in the 1960s was identified with the supporters of apartheid, who resented British interference in their treatment of the country's black population.
Main article: Republicanism in Australia
In Australia, the debate between republicans and monarchists is still active and Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, has confirmed he supports a republic but only after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
Main article: Republicanism in Barbados
On 22 March 2015, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced that Barbados will move towards a republican form of government "in the very near future".
Main articles: Republicanism in Canada and Debate on the monarchy in Canada
Main article: Republicanism in Jamaica
Andrew Holness, the current Prime Minister of Jamaica, has announced that his government intends to begin the process of transitioning to a republic.
Main article: Republicanism in New Zealand
In New Zealand, there is also a republican movement.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Main article: Republicanism in the United Kingdom
Republican groups are also active in the United Kingdom. The major organisation campaigning for a republic in the United Kingdom is 'Republic'.
Main article: Republicanism in the Netherlands
The Netherlands have known two republican periods: the Dutch Republic (1581–1795) that gained independence from the Spanish Empire during the Eighty Years' War, followed by the Batavian Republic (1795–1806) that after conquest by the French First Republic had been established as a Sister Republic. After Napoleoncrowned himself Emperor of the French, he made his brother Louis BonaparteKing of Holland (1806–1810), then annexed the Netherlands into the French First Empire (1810–1813) until he was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig. Thereafter the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands (1813–1815) was established, granting the Orange-Nassau family, who during the Dutch Republic had only been stadtholders, a princely title over the Netherlands, and soon William Frederick even crowned himself King of the Netherlands. His rather autocratic tendencies in spite of the principles of constitutional monarchy met increasing resistance from Parliament and the population, which eventually limited the monarchy's power and democratised the government, most notably through the Constitutional Reform of 1848. Since the late 19th century, republicanism has had various degrees of support in society, which the royal house generally dealt with by gradually letting go of its formal influence in politics and taking on a more ceremonial and symbolic role. Nowadays, popularity of the monarchy is high, but there is a significant republican minority that strives to abolish the monarchy altogether.
Main article: Republicanism in Sweden
In Sweden, a major promoter of republicanism is the Swedish Republican Association, which advocates the abolition of the Monarchy of Sweden.
Main article: Republicanism in Spain
There is a renewed interest in republicanism in Spain after two earlier attempts: the First Spanish Republic (1873–1874) and the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939). Movements such as Ciudadanos Por la República (es), Citizens for the Republic in Spanish, have emerged, and parties like United Left (Spain) and the Republican Left of Catalonia increasingly refer to republicanism. In a survey conducted in 2007 reported that 69% of the population prefer the monarchy to continue, compared with 22% opting for a Republic. In a 2008 survey, 58% of Spanish citizens were indifferent, 16% favored a republic, 16% were monarchists, and 7% claimed they were Juancarlistas (supporters of continued monarchy under King Juan Carlos I, without a common position for the fate of the monarchy after his death). In the last years republicanism has been rising, especially among the young people.
Neorepublicanism is the effort by current scholars to draw on a classical republican tradition in the development of an attractive public philosophy intended for contemporary purposes. With traditional socialism virtually defunct, it emerges as an alternative postsocialist critique of market society from the left.
Prominent theorists in this movement are Philip Pettit and Cass Sunstein, who have each written several works defining republicanism and how it differs from liberalism. Michael Sandel, a late convert to republicanism from communitarianism, advocates replacing or supplementing liberalism with republicanism, as outlined in his Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy.
In the late 18th century there was convergence of democracy and republicanism. Republicanism is a system that replaces or accompanies inherited rule. There is an emphasis on liberty, and a rejection of corruption. It strongly influenced the American Revolution and the French Revolution in the 1770s and 1790s, respectively. Republicans, in these two examples, tended to reject inherited elites and aristocracies, but left open two questions: whether a republic, to restrain unchecked majority rule, should have an unelected upper chamber—perhaps with members appointed as meritorious experts—and whether it should have a constitutional monarch.
Though conceptually separate from democracy, republicanism included the key principles of rule by consent of the governed and sovereignty of the people. In effect, republicanism held that kings and aristocracies were not the real rulers, but rather the whole people were. Exactly how the people were to rule was an issue of democracy: republicanism itself did not specify a means. In the United States, the solution was the creation of political parties that reflected the votes of the people and controlled the government (see Republicanism in the United States). Many exponents of republicanism, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson were strong promoters of representative democracy. Other supporters of republicanism, such as John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, were more distrustful of majority rule and sought a government with more power for elites. There were similar debates in many other democratizing nations.
Democracy and republic
In contemporary usage, the term democracy refers to a government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative. Today the term republic usually refers to a representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, who serves for a limited term; in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies, with an elected or appointed head of government such as a prime minister.
The Founding Fathers of the United States rarely praised and often criticized democracy, which in their time tended to specifically mean direct democracy; James Madison argued that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combats faction by its very structure. What was critical to American values, John Adams insisted, was that the government should be "bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend."
Constitutional monarchs and upper chambers
Some countries (such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Scandinavian countries, and Japan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional ones with limited, or eventually merely symbolic, powers. Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system, whether or not they were replaced with democratic institutions (such as in France, China, Iran, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt). In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and some other countries the monarch, or its representative, is given supreme executive power, but by convention acts only on the advice of his or her ministers. Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures, the members of which often had lifetime tenure, but eventually these houses lost much power (as the UK House of Lords), or else became elective and remained powerful.
- Republicanism by country
- ^Piccolomini, Manfredi (1991). The Brutus Revival: Parricide and Tyrannicide During the Renaissance. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780809316496. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
- ^Mortimer N. S. Sellers. American Republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States Constitution. (New York University Press, 1994. p. 71.)
- ^Paul A. Rahe, Republics ancient and modern: Classical republicanism and the American revolution (1992).
- ^see for example Ann. IV, 32–33
- ^Ann. I–VI
- ^J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian moment: Florentine political thought and the Atlantic republican tradition (1975)
- ^Zera S. Fink, The classical republicans: an essay on the recovery of a pattern of thought in seventeenth-century England (2011).
- ^Bill Brugger, Republican Theory in Political Thought: Virtuous or Virtual? (1999).
- ^John M. Najemy, "Baron's Machiavelli and renaissance republicanism." American Historical Review 101.1 (1996): 119-129.
- ^Eco Haitsma Mulier, "The language of seventeenth-century republicanism in the United Provinces: Dutch or European?." in Anthony Pagden, ed., The Languages of political theory in early-modern Europe (1987): 179-96.
- ^Jerzy Lukowski, Disorderly Liberty: The political culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the eighteenth century (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010).
- ^Warren, Christopher N (2016). “Big Leagues: Specters of Milton and Republican International Justice between Shakespeare and Marx.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Vol. 7.
- ^Warren, Christopher N (2016). “Big Leagues: Specters of Milton and Republican International Justice between Shakespeare and Marx.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Vol. 7. Pg. 380.
- ^Rose, Jonathan (2001). The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. Pgs. 26, 36-37, 122-25, 187.
- ^Taylor, Antony (2002). “Shakespeare and Radicalism: The Uses and Abuses of Shakespeare in Nineteenth-Century Popular Politics.” Historical Journal 45, no. 2. Pgs. 357-79.
- ^ abPocock, J.G.A. The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (1975; new ed. 2003)
- ^See for example Parrington, Vernon L. (1927). "Main Currents in American Thought". Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- ^Shalhope (1982)
- ^Isaac Kramnick, Ideological Background," in Jack. P. Greene and J. R. Pole, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (1994) ch. 9; Robert E. Shallhope, "Republicanism" ibid ch 70.
- ^Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (1965) online version
- ^Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p. 507
- ^Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)