(PatriotWise.com) – From a young age, we’re taught that America is a democracy, but this isn’t quite accurate. The US isn’t a true democracy, but rather a constitutional republic. The Founding Fathers recognized that any power left unchecked — including that in a democracy — can easily become tyrannical. So, they created a system of checks and balances within the governing document known as the US Constitution.
True Democracy vs. Constitutional Republic
There’s one significant difference between these two types of government. In a true democracy, the powers of elected officials are left unchecked, as there’s no governing document to abide by. In a constitutional republic, officials, including the president, must adhere to the constitution.
The leader of a republic differs between countries. The United States, for example, has a president that’s elected by the citizens. In the UK, another republic, parliament is the governing body. The country’s citizens elect the legislative branch, which is then responsible for filling the roles in the executive branch.
In a constitutional republic, all citizens are supposed to have a say and be treated equally as outlined in the constitution. In a democracy, the majority rules over the minority, often in a tyrannical manner.
Governmental Power Restrictions
One of the main ways the powers remain balanced is through the separation of state and federal governments. Elected state officials protect the interests of the citizens living within their boundaries, while the federal government establishes laws for the country as a whole.
This separation of powers helps citizens because state and local governments have officials who know what their constituents need, especially when you break it down into the needs of congressional districts. Those who live in rural areas have far different needs than those living in a metropolis, so to speak.
A constitutional republic is more about the people as a whole. With its governing document, the US constitution, America fails to fit the definition of true democracy. This system of government has allowed the country to thrive as well as it has over the last few centuries.
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