Monday, July 4, 2016

A Republic - If You Can Keep It

Hope you are celebrating the birth of the greatest nation today.  I like to remember that the nation was not founded in revolution against the concepts and rights afforded British peoples, but to attain the rights the founders were due because they were Englishmen.  Even though the language of the Declaration is universalist, its concepts trace a direct lineage to the Magna Carta.

When we look at the specific abuses King George is accused of committing, we see that he thwarted the proper functioning of Republican form of government.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
On this day, we celebrate the founding of a government constrained by constitutional limits.  We have work to do to save this Republic from despotism.  I am reminded of this quote from Benjamin Franklin, when asked after the Constitutional Convention whether we had a Republic or a Monarchy:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

No comments:

Post a Comment