Republicanism in the United States

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Modern republicanism [1] is a guiding political philosophy of the United States that has been a major part of American civic thought since its founding. [2] 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 virtuous and faithful in their performance of civic duties, and vilifies corruption. [3] American republicanism was articulated and first practiced by the Founding Fathers in the 18th century. For them, "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." [4]

Republicanism is a representative form of government organization. It is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interpretations which vary significantly based on historical context and methodological approach.

An ideology is a collection of normative beliefs and values that an individual or group holds for other than purely epistemic reasons. In other words, these rely on basic assumptions about reality that may or may not have any factual basis. The term is especially used to describe systems of ideas and ideals which form the basis of economic or political theories and resultant policies. In these there are tenuous causal links between policies and outcomes owing to the large numbers of variables available, so that many key assumptions have to be made. In political science the term is used in a descriptive sense to refer to political belief systems

American Revolution Colonial revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt which occurred between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) with the assistance of France, winning independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.

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Republicanism was based on Ancient Greco-Roman, Renaissance, and English models and ideas. [5] It formed the basis for the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Constitution (1787), and the Bill of Rights, as well as the Gettysburg Address (1863). [6]

Greco-Roman world Regions historically influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans

The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth), when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally were directly, long-term, and intimately influenced by the language, culture, government and religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is also better known as the Classical Civilisation. In exact terms the area refers to the "Mediterranean world", the extensive tracts of land centered on the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins, the "swimming-pool and spa" of the Greeks and Romans, i.e. one wherein the cultural perceptions, ideas and sensitivities of these peoples were dominant.

The rights of Englishmen are the perceived traditional rights of citizens of England. In the 18th century, some of the colonists who objected to British rule in the British colonies in North America argued that their traditional rights as Englishmen were being violated. The colonists wanted and expected the rights that they had previously enjoyed in England: a local, representative government, with regards to judicial matters and particularly with regards to taxation. Belief in these rights subsequently became a widely-accepted justification for the American Revolution.

United States Declaration of Independence announcement by which the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain and thus founded the United States

The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America. The declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Republicanism includes guarantees of rights that cannot be repealed by a majority vote. [7] 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. [8]

Alexis de Tocqueville French political thinker and historian

Alexis Charles Henri Clérel, Viscount de Tocqueville was a French diplomat, political scientist and historian. He was best known for his works Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both, he analyzed the improved living standards and social conditions of individuals as well as their relationship to the market and state in Western societies. Democracy in America was published after Tocqueville's travels in the United States and is today considered an early work of sociology and political science.

The tyranny of the majority is an inherent weakness of majority rule in which the majority of an electorate can and does place its own interests above, and at the expense of those in the minority. This results in oppression of minority groups comparable to that of a tyrant or despot, argued John Stuart Mill in his 1859 book On Liberty.

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. [9]

Two major parties have used the term in their name [10] – the Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson (founded in 1793, and often called the 'Jeffersonian Republican Party'), and the current Republican Party, founded in 1854 and named after the Jeffersonian party. [11]

Democratic-Republican Party Historical American political party

The Democratic-Republican Party was an American political party formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison around 1792 to oppose the centralizing policies of the new Federalist Party run by Alexander Hamilton, who was Secretary of the Treasury and chief architect of George Washington's administration. From 1801 to 1825, the new party controlled the presidency and Congress as well as most states during the First Party System. It began in 1791 as one faction in Congress and included many politicians who had been opposed to the new constitution. They called themselves Republicans after their political philosophy, republicanism. They distrusted the Federalist tendency to centralize and loosely interpret the Constitution, believing these policies were signs of monarchism and anti-republican values. The party splintered in 1824, with the faction loyal to Andrew Jackson coalescing into the Jacksonian movement, the faction led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay forming the National Republican Party and some other groups going on to form the Anti-Masonic Party. The National Republicans, Anti-Masons, and other opponents of Andrew Jackson later formed themselves into the Whig Party.

Thomas Jefferson 3rd president of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

History of the United States Republican Party Aspect of history

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the world's oldest extant political parties. The party values reflect economic conservatism, classical conservatism and corporate liberty rights. It is the second oldest existing political party in the United States after its primary rival, the Democratic Party. The party emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas–Nebraska Act, an act that dissolved the terms of the Missouri Compromise and allowed slave or free status to be decided in the territories by popular sovereignty. The early Republican Party had almost no presence in the Southern United States, but by 1858 it had enlisted former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities in nearly every Northern state.

The Capitol exalted classical republican virtues USCapitol.jpg
The Capitol exalted classical republican virtues

The American Revolution

Republican virtues

The colonial intellectual and political leaders in the 1760s and 1770s closely read history to compare governments and their effectiveness of rule. [13] 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 philosophy 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. [14] 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 colonial America by 1775. [15] "Republicanism was the distinctive political consciousness of the entire Revolutionary generation." [16] J.G.A. Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:

Kingdom of England Historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

In Britain in the period from the 1680s to the 1740s, and especially under the Walpole ministry from 1730 to 1743, the country Party was a coalition of Tories and disaffected Whigs. It was a movement rather than an organised party and had no formal structure or leaders. It claimed to be a nonpartisan force fighting for the nation's interest—the whole "country"—against the self-interested actions of the court party, that is the politicians in power in London. Country men believed the court party was corrupting Britain by using patronage to buy support and was threatening English and Scottish liberties and the proper balance of authority by shifting power from Parliament to the prime minister. It sought to constrain the court by opposing standing armies, calling for annual elections to Parliament, and wanted to fix power in the hands of the landed gentry rather than the royal officials, urban merchants or bankers. It opposed any practices it saw as corruption.

Classical republicanism, also known as civic republicanism or civic humanism, is a form of republicanism developed in the Renaissance inspired by the governmental forms and writings of classical antiquity, especially such classical writers as Aristotle, Polybius, and Cicero. Classical republicanism is built around concepts such as civil society, civic virtue and mixed government.

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. [17]

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. [18] A virtuous citizen was one who ignored monetary compensation and made a commitment to resist and eradicate corruption. The republic was sacred; therefore, it was 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. [19] [20]

Cause of revolution

The commitment of Patriots to republican values was a key intellectual foundation of the American Revolution. In particular, the key was Patriots' intense fear of political corruption and the threat it posed to liberty. Bernard Bailyn states, "The fact that the ministerial conspiracy against liberty had risen from corruption was of the utmost importance to the colonists." [21] In 1768 to 1773 newspaper exposés such as John Dickinson's series of "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" (1767–68) were widely reprinted and spread American disgust with British corruption. The patriot press provided emphasized British corruption, mismanagement, and tyranny. [22] Britain was increasingly portrayed as corrupt and hostile and that of a threat to the very idea of democracy; a threat to the established liberties that colonists enjoyed and to colonial 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 J.G.A. Pocock argues that Republicanism explains the American Revolution in terms of virtuous Republican resistance to British imperial corruption. [23]

Historian Sarah Purcell studied the sermons preached by the New England patriot clergy in 1774-1776. They stirred up a martial spirit justified war against England. The preachers cited New England's Puritan history in defense of freedom, blamed Britain's depravity and corruption for the necessity of armed conflict. The sermons called on soldiers to behave morally and in a "manly" disciplined fashion. The rhetoric not only encouraged heavy enlistment, but helped create the intellectual climate the Patriots needed to fight a civil war. [24] Historian Thomas Kidd argues that during the Revolution active 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." [25] Kidd further argues that "new blend of Christian and republican ideology led religious traditionalists to embrace wholesale the concept of republican virtue." [26]

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." [27] 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. [28]

Founding Fathers

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. [29]

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. [30]

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." [31]

Virtue vs. commerce

The open question, as Pocock suggested, [32] 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." [33]

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." [34]

Other influences

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. [35] 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. [36]

Historiography

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. [37]

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. [38] However, some scholars, especially Isaac Kramnick and the late Joyce Appleby, 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. [39] They thought democracy could take the form of mob rule that could be shaped on the spot by a demagogue. [40] Therefore, they devised a written Constitution that could be amended only by a super majority, preserved competing sovereignties in the constituent states, [41] 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. [42]

"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. [43] 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." [44] 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.

Republican motherhood

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. [45]

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. [46]

National debt

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. [47]

Andrew Jackson believed the national debt was a "national curse" and he took special pride in paying off the entire national debt in 1835. [48] 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. [49]

Democracy

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." [50] 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. [51] Jefferson warned that "an elective despotism is not the government we fought for." [52]

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." [53] 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. [54] 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. [55]

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. [56]

Property rights

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. [57] 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." [58] 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. [59] 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. [60]

Military service

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." [61] 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. [62] 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. [63] [64]

Role of the South

In reaction to the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 that promoted democracy by saying new settlers could decide themselves whether or not to have slavery, antislavery forces across 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." [65] [66] 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 against slavery as a threat to their republican values. [67]

After the war, the Republicans believed that the Constitutional guarantee of republicanism enabled Congress to Reconstruct the political system of the former Confederate states. The main legislation was explicitly designed to promote Republicanism. [68] Radical Republicans push forward, to secure not only citizenship for freedmen through the 14th amendment, but to give them the vote through the 15th amendment. They held that the republicanism meant that true political knowledge was to be gained in exercising the right to vote and organizing for elections. Susan B. Anthony and other advocates of woman suffrage said republicanism covered them too, as they demanded the vote. [69] [70]

Progressive Era

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. [71]

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. [72] 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. [73] 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. [74]

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) [75] 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.[ citation needed ]

Democracy

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." [76]

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. [77] A common term for the party in the 19th century was "The Democracy." [78] 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. [79]

After 1800 the limitations on democracy were systematically removed; property qualifications for state voters were largely eliminated in the 1820s. [80] 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.

See also

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John Taylor, usually called John Taylor of Caroline, was a politician and writer. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the United States Senate. He wrote several books on politics and agriculture. He was a Jeffersonian Republican and his works provided inspiration to the later states' rights and libertarian movements. Sheldon and Hill (2008) locate Taylor at the intersection of republicanism and classical liberalism. They see his position as a "combination of a concern with Lockean natural rights, freedom, and limited government along with a classical interest in strong citizen participation in rule to prevent concentrated power and wealth, political corruption, and financial manipulation" (p. 224).

Wealth, like suffrage, must be considerably distributed, to sustain a democratic republic; and hence, whatever draws a considerable proportion of either into a few hands, will destroy it. As power follows wealth, the majority must have wealth or lose power.

Jay Treaty 1795 treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain to relieve post-war tension

The Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, Between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, commonly known as the Jay Treaty, and also as Jay's Treaty, was a 1795 treaty between the United States and Great Britain that averted war, resolved issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, and facilitated ten years of peaceful trade between the United States and Britain in the midst of the French Revolutionary Wars, which began in 1792. The Treaty was designed by Alexander Hamilton and supported by President George Washington. It angered France and bitterly divided Americans. It inflamed the new growth of two opposing parties in every state, the pro-Treaty Federalists and the anti-Treaty Democratic Republicans.

Jeffersonian democracy American political persuasion of the 1790s until the 1820s

Jeffersonian democracy, named after its advocate Thomas Jefferson, was one of two dominant political outlooks and movements in the United States from the 1790s to the 1820s. The term was commonly used to refer to the Democratic-Republican Party, which Jefferson founded in opposition to the Federalist Party of Alexander Hamilton. The Jeffersonians were deeply committed to American republicanism, which meant opposition to what they considered to be artificial aristocracy, opposition to corruption, and insistence on virtue, with a priority for the "yeoman farmer", "planters", and the "plain folk".

Bernard Bailyn is an American historian, author, and academic specializing in U.S. Colonial and Revolutionary-era History. He has been a professor at Harvard University since 1953. Bailyn has won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice. In 1998 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected him for the Jefferson Lecture. He was a recipient of the 2010 National Humanities Medal. He is married to MIT Professor of Management Lotte Bailyn and is the father of Yale astrophysicist Charles Bailyn and Stony Brook Linguist John Bailyn.

History of the United States (1789–1849) aspect of history

George Washington, elected the first president in 1789, set up a cabinet form of government, with departments of State, Treasury, and War, along with an Attorney General. Based in New York, the new government acted quickly to rebuild the nation's financial structure. Enacting the program of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, the government assumed the Revolutionary war debts of the states and the national government, and refinanced them with new federal bonds. It paid for the program through new tariffs and taxes; the tax on whiskey led to a revolt in the west; Washington raised an army and suppressed it. The nation adopted a Bill of Rights as 10 amendments to the new constitution. The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the entire federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court became important under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall (1801–1835), a federalist and nationalist who built a strong Supreme Court and strengthened the national government.

American Enlightenment intellectual thriving period in the United States

The American Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the 17th to 18th century, which led to the American Revolution, and the creation of the United States of America. The American Enlightenment was influenced by the 17th-century European Enlightenment and its own native American philosophy. According to James MacGregor Burns, the spirit of the American Enlightenment was to give Enlightenment ideals a practical, useful form in the life of the nation and its people.

Mixed government is a form of government that combines elements of democracy (polity), aristocracy and monarchy, making impossible their respective degenerations which are conceived as anarchy, oligarchy and tyranny. The idea was popularized during classical antiquity in order to describe the stability, the innovation and the success of the republic as a form of government developed under the Roman constitution.

Tertium quids

The tertium quids refers to various factions of the Democratic-Republican Party in the United States during the period 1804–1812. In Latin, tertium quid means "a third something". Quid was a disparaging term that referred to cross-party coalitions of Federalists and moderate Democratic-Republicans.

The Anti-Administration party (1789–1792) was an informal faction led by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson that opposed policies of then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in the first term of President George Washington. This was not an organized political party, but an unorganized faction and most had been Anti-Federalists in 1788, meaning they opposed ratification of the Constitution of the United States. However, the situation was fluid, with members moving in and out.

Democratic-Republican Societies were local political organizations formed in the United States in 1793-94 to promote republicanism and democracy and to fight aristocratic tendencies. Historians use the term "Democratic-Republican" to describe the societies, but the societies rarely ever used the name "Democratic-Republican." They called themselves "Democratic," "Republican," "True Republican," "Constitutional," "United Freeman," "Patriotic," "Political," "Franklin," and "Madisonian."

First Party System

The First Party System is a model of American politics used in history and political science to periodize the political party system that existed in the United States between roughly 1792 and 1824. It featured two national parties competing for control of the presidency, Congress, and the states: the Federalist Party, created largely by Alexander Hamilton, and the rival Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party, formed by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, usually called at the time the Republican Party. The Federalists were dominant until 1800, while the Republicans were dominant after 1800.

Missouri Compromise legislative compromise between pro- and anti-slavery parties in the run-up to the American Civil War

The Missouri Compromise was the legislation that provided for the admission of Maine to the United States as a free state along with Missouri as a slave state, thus maintaining the balance of power between North and South in the United States Senate. As part of the compromise, slavery was prohibited north of the 36°30′ parallel, excluding Missouri. The 16th United States Congress passed the legislation on March 3, 1820, and President James Monroe signed it on March 6, 1820.

The Federalist Era in American history ran from 1788-1800, a time when the Federalist Party and its predecessors were dominant in American politics. During this period, Federalists generally controlled Congress and enjoyed the support of President George Washington and President John Adams. The era saw the creation of a new, stronger federal government under the United States Constitution, a deepening of support for nationalism, and diminished fears of tyranny by a central government. The era began with the ratification of the United States Constitution and ended with the Democratic-Republican Party's victory in the 1800 elections.

Revolutionary republic

A revolutionary republic is a form of government whose main tenets are popular sovereignty, rule of law, and representative democracy. It is based in part on the ideas of Whig and Enlightenment thinkers, and was favored by revolutionaries during the Age of Revolution. A revolutionary republic tends to arise from the formation of a provisional government after the overthrow of an existing state and political regime. It often takes the form of a revolutionary state, which represents the will of its constituents.

This bibliography of James Madison is a list of published works about James Madison, 4th President of the United States.

References

  1. 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:
  2. 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.
  3. Richard Buel, Securing the Revolution: Ideology in American Politics, 1789–1815 (1972)
  4. Robert A. Divine, T. H. Breen, et al. The American Story (3rd ed. 2007) p. 147
  5. Becker et al (2002), ch 1
  6. Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (2011) pp. 95ff.
  7. John Phillip Reid, Constitutional History of the American Revolution (2003) p. 76
  8. 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.
  9. Hart, (2002), ch. 1
  10. "Democratic-Republican Party". The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Archived from the original on July 13, 2017.
  11. Robert Williams, Horace Greeley: champion of American freedom (2006) pp. 175–76
  12. 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)
  13. Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (1965) online version
  14. H. T. Dickinson, ed., A companion to eighteenth-century Britain (2002) p. 300
  15. Mortimer N. S. Sellers, American republicanism (1994) p. 3
  16. Robert Kelley, "Ideology and Political Culture from Jefferson to Nixon," American Historical Review, 82 (June 1977), p. 536
  17. J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p. 507
  18. Wood, Gordon (2011). The Idea of America. New York: The Penguin Press. p. 325.
  19. Bernard, Bailyn. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press.
  20. Zephyr Teachout, Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United (2014)
  21. Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) p 138 online
  22. Thomas C. Leonard, "News for a Revolution: The Expose in America, 1768-1773." Journal of American History 67.1 (1980): 26-40. online
  23. Garrett Ward Sheldon (2001). Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Infobase. p. 234.
  24. Sarah J. Purcell, "`Spread this martial fire': The New England patriot clergy and civil military inspiration," Journal of Church & State (1996) 38#3 pp 621-38/
  25. Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution p. 9
  26. Kidd, God of Liberty, p. 8
  27. Gordon Wood, "Introduction" in Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011) online.
  28. Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution p. 92
  29. Robert E. Shalhope, "Toward a Republican Synthesis," William and Mary Quarterly, 29 (January 1972), pp. 49–80
  30. "Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, May 28, 1816" . Retrieved October 31, 2006. See also: James Madison on Majority Government
  31. Republican Government. Retrieved on 2006-12-14.
  32. J.G.A. Pocock, "Virtue and Commerce in the Eighteenth Century," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 3#1 (1972), pp. 119–34.
  33. Adams quoted in Paul A. Rahe, Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution. Volume: 2 (1994) p. 23.
  34. Adams 1776 quoted in Rahe, Republics Ancient and Modern 2:23.
  35. "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.
  36. Craig Yirush, "Bailyn, the Republican Interpretation, and the Future of Revolutionary Scholarship." Eighteenth-Century Studies 50.3 (2017): 321-325.
  37. Gordon S. Wood, "Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly 23#1 (1966), pp. 3–32 in JSTOR
  38. Rodgers (1992)
  39. Gordon S. Wood, Empire of liberty: a history of the early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009) p. 214
  40. Mark B. Brown, Science in democracy: expertise, institutions, and representation (2009) p. 83
  41. When Alexander Hamilton proposed at the Constitutional Convention to drastically reduce the power of the states, he won no support and dropped the idea.
  42. Alexander Keyssar, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States (2001)
  43. Fawn Brodie, Thomas Jefferson (1974) p. 267
  44. quoted in John C. Miller, Alexander Hamilton: Portrait in Paradox (1959) p. 320; online edition of Webster p. 332
  45. Kerber 1997
  46. Dublin, Strike of 1830
  47. Edwin G. Burrows. "Gallatin, Albert" in American National Biography Online (2000) Accessed Dec 03 2013
  48. Robert V. Remini (2008). Andrew Jackson. Macmillan. p. 180.
  49. Stuart Nagel (1994). Encyclopedia of Policy Studies (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis. pp. 503–04.
  50. Richard J. Ellis and Michael Nelson, Debating the presidency (2009) p. 211
  51. Paul F. Bourke, "The Pluralist Reading of James Madison's Tenth Federalist," Perspectives in American History (1975) 9:271–99
  52. David Tucker, Enlightened republicanism: a study of Jefferson's Notes on the State if Virginia (2008) p. 109
  53. "George Washington to James McHenry, September 30, 1798". Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2007. Transcript.
  54. Paul S. Boyer, et al. The Enduring Vision (2010) vol. 1 p. 191
  55. Recently Martin has argued that Madison showed his commitment to the popular element of popular government in the "Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments" (1785); Robert W. T. Martin, "James Madison and Popular Government: The Neglected Case of the 'Memorial'" Polity, Apr 2010, Vol. 42 Iss. 2, pp. 185–209
  56. Garrett Ward Sheldon and C. William Hill Jr., The Liberal Republicanism of John Taylor of Caroline (2008)
  57. David Brion Davis, Antebellum American culture (1997) pp. 14–15
  58. Kermit L. Hall and Kevin T. McGuire, eds. Institutions of American Democracy: The Judicial Branch (2005) p. 404
  59. R. Kent Newmyer, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story: Statesman of the Old Republic (1985)
  60. Stephen B. Presser, "Resurrecting the Conservative Tradition in American Legal History," Reviews in American History, Vol. 13#4 (Dec. 1985), pp. 526–33 in JSTOR
  61. Randolph quoted in Banning (1978) p. 262. See Lawrence D. Cress, "Republican Liberty and National Security: American Military Policy as an Ideological Problem, 1783 to 1789." William and Mary Quarterly (1981) 38(1): 73–96. ISSN   0043-5597 Fulltext at Jstor
  62. Samuel F. Scott, "Foreign Mercenaries, Revolutionary War, and Citizen-soldiers in the Late Eighteenth Century." War & Society 1984 2(2): 41–58. ISSN   0729-2473
  63. Ricardo A. Herrera, "Self-governance and the American Citizen as Soldier, 1775–1861." Journal of Military History 2001 65#1 pp. 21–52. online
  64. Ricardo A. Herrera, For Liberty and the Republic: The American Citizen as Soldier, 1775–1861 (New York University Press, 2015) online review
  65. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom (1988) quote p. 126
  66. Lewis L. Gould, Grand Old Party (2003) p. 14
  67. Thornton, Politics and Power in a Slave Society: Alabama, 1800–1860 (1981)
  68. Forrest A. Nabors (2017). From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction. University of Missouri Press. p. 35.
  69. Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al/ (2017). The Complete History of the Suffragette Movement. p. 1253.
  70. Ellen Carol DuBois (1998). Woman Suffrage and Women's Rights. NYU Press. p. 81.
  71. Richard Jensen, "Democracy, Republicanism and Efficiency: The Values of American Politics, 1885–1930," in Byron Shafer and Anthony Badger, eds, Contesting Democracy: Substance and Structure in American Political History, 1775–2000 (U of Kansas Press, 2001) pp. 149–80. online version
  72. Alyn Brodsky, Grover Cleveland: a study in character (2000) p. 96
  73. John Whiteclay II Chambers,To Raise An Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America (1987)
  74. Richard Zuczek (2006). Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era. Greenwood, vol. 1 p. 41.
  75. 139 U.S. 449, (1891)
  76. Herman Belz, Abraham Lincoln, Constitutionalism, and Equal Rights in the Civil War Era (1998) p. 86
  77. William Safire, Safire's Political Dictionary (2008) pp. 175–76
  78. Yonatan Eyal, The Young America Movement and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, 1828–1861 (2007) p. 27
  79. Charles O. Lerche, Jr., "Congressional Interpretations of the Guarantee of a Republican Form of Government during Reconstruction," Journal of Southern History (1949), 15: 192–211 in JSTOR
  80. "Suffrage" in Paul S. Boyer and Melvyn Dubofsky, The Oxford Companion to United States history (2001) p. 754

Further reading