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why did the framers of the constitution choose to create a republic instead of a pure democracy

why did the framers of the constitution choose to create a republic instead of a pure democracy

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Chris N. | History Tutor for Middle, High school and collegeHistory Tutor for Middle, High school an...
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Hey Edwin,

 

This is a classic question that the majority of the modern population does not know the outcome.  A republic or a democracy was debated in North America for decades of the eighteenth century.  The Founding Fathers that crafted our Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were starkly divided on this subject.  They were for the most part drawn to ancient Greece and their advances in democracy.  Ancient Grecians were political voters and  would place a stone into a vase to cast their ballot on a case or subject.  A white stone meant yea, a black stone meant nay.  A vote similar to this were cast for a new Greek navy to battle against the Persians for the Battle of Thermopylae in 490 B.C. 

 

Democracy is a difficult subject as Greece figured out.  For example, if the voting bloc decided all blondes must be put to death, and the blonds are in the minority, then it becomes law.

 

A republic, is much similar and much different.  In a republic, we choose representatives to go to the seat of our government and make laws in our behalf.  This was a revolutionary theory.  At the Constitutional Convention, sides were drawn into Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  Both sides were good guys and ardent patriots, the debate would be held predominantly in the newspapers.  The Federalists, who were on board for a republic, would write editorials in the paper under the pen name: Publius.  These are now known and numbered as the Federalist Papers.  Federalist # 10 warns its readers of the dangers of factions.  This should be required reading for historians and poly sci majors.

 

The anti-federalist patriots were just as passionate to create a new nation.  the anti-feds also wrote in the editorial pages of the newspaper using the pen name Farmer.  They are not convinced to throw out the republican ideal, however, they wanted to limit the powers of the executive branch.

 

At the Constitutional Convention, they managed to scrap the Articles of Confederation and adopt the Constitution of the United States

 

Chris Nawrocki, MA
Nathan B. | Elementary and Algebraic skilledElementary and Algebraic skilled
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To go a little bit further on what Matt said, the people that were the original representatives were the cream of the crop: lawyers, reverends, doctors--people with a very high education generally, in other words.  These were people who had to learn much of the word.  The populace at large, however, were not.  Vast swathes of people had little experience in anything outside of their profession, which often was basic life necessities.
 
Would the highly educated really want people who only knew how to run a farm help decide how their state and the country at large make the laws?
Matt H. | PATIENT :-) Elem/Middle MATH and WRITING; HS SAT and COLLEGE ESSAYS!PATIENT :-) Elem/Middle MATH and WRITING...
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the two basic quick answers are that 1) pure democracy would be too difficult to work--every citizen having to vote on every law, the country was far, far too big to make that work...
 
and 2) since they knew that the government was going to have some mix of governing the individual states and governing the union as a whole, again a pure democracy would have been impractical.
 
The republic means every individual has a vote, but not for the laws themselves--we vote for the people who in turn create and approve the laws.
 
That's the quick-cooked version!
 
Matt