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posted on 08 November 2016

America: What Did Our Founding Fathers Do, Actually (Version 3)?

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They created a republic by heavily copying the Roman Republic of more than 2,000 years ago!

1. "A republic, if you can keep it"

According to American legend, at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a woman stopped Benjamin Franklin as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation, inquiring whether we had a republic or a monarchy. Below was said to be Franklin's reply.

2. Why a republic?

Our Founding Fathers surely had examined all the major options available at that time, especially the following two:

  1. Monarchy: Almost all other countries were monarchies.
  2. Republic: The most prominent example was the Roman Republic.

They asked George Washington to be King, but he declined. So the only option left was a republic.

3. What a republic?

A republic is not a monarchy. Other than that, a republic may have many forms.

3.1 Why not a democracy?

Democracy was perhaps never seriously considered as an option for one simple reason: Not only was it a proven failure way before 1776, but most, if not all, of our Founding Fathers did not believe in it. Three examples:

Bottom line: the word "democracy" never appears in the U.S. Constitution!

3.2 Anything but a democracy!

With democracy out (perhaps never in contention), our Founding Fathers debated about many other forms. Three examples:

  1. Alexander Hamilton: an oligarchic republic.
  2. John Adams: a balanced republic that addresses both the few and the many.
  3. Thomas Jefferson: a representative republic.

Jefferson won the debate! As a result, America was built as a representative republic!

Now, was it an American invention? No, not at all!

4. Copying the Roman Republic

America, at its birth, resembled the Roman Republic in five major aspects, at least, as follows:

  1. The 3-branch structure of the government. For more, read: 3 Branches of Government in the Roman Republic.
  2. The Electoral College, which remains, to this date, a big anti-democracy element in our system. For more, read: The Electoral College - Origin and History.
  3. A House of Representatives elected "by the People of the several States" (Constitution of the United States), where "the People" referred to some property-owning white men only, just like the Romans did! For example, when George Washington was elected the first President in 1789, only 6% of the American population was eligible to vote. For more, read: U.S. voting rights timeline.
  4. "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature" (Constitution of the United States), just like the Romans did. In other words, the Senators were not chosen by "the People", like we do today!
  5. The two eagles, as shown below. Do not they look eerily alike?

5. Closing

America was built as a representative republic, by heavily copying the Roman Republic of more than 2,000 years ago, specifically precluding democracy!

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