Modern republicanism is a guiding political philosophy of the United States that has been a major part of American civic thought since its founding. 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. 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."
Republicanism was based on Ancient Greco-Roman, Renaissance, and English models and ideas. 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).
Republicanism includes guarantees of rights that cannot be repealed by a majority vote. 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.
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.
Two major parties have used the term in their name – 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.
The colonial intellectual and political leaders in the 1760s and 1770s closely read history to compare governments and their effectiveness of rule. 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. 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. "Republicanism was the distinctive political consciousness of the entire Revolutionary generation." J.G.A. Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:
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.
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. 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.
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." 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. 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.
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. 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." Kidd further argues that "new blend of Christian and republican ideology led religious traditionalists to embrace wholesale the concept of republican virtue."
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." 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.
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.
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.
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."
The open question, as Pocock suggested, 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."
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."
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. They thought democracy could take the form of mob rule that could be shaped on the spot by a demagogue. Therefore, they devised a written Constitution that could be amended only by a super majority, preserved competing sovereignties in the constituent states, 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.
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. 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." 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.
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.
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.
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:
Andrew Jackson believed the national debt was a "national curse" and he took special pride in paying off the entire national debt in 1835. 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.
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." 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. Jefferson warned that "an elective despotism is not the government we fought for."
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." 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. 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.
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.
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. 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." 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. 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.
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." 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. 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.
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." 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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) 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.
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:
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. A common term for the party in the 19th century was "The Democracy." 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.
After 1800 the limitations on democracy were systematically removed; property qualifications for state voters were largely eliminated in the 1820s. 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.
Black conservatism in the United States is a political and social movement rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the American conservative movement. Since the Civil Rights Movement, the black community generally has favored the left of the political spectrum, and predominantly has placed itself on the side of liberalism and civil rights progressives. Black conservatism emphasizes traditionalism, patriotism, capitalism, free markets, and sometimes social conservatism.Classical republicanism
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.Commonwealth men
The Commonwealth men, Commonwealth's men, or Commonwealth Party were highly outspoken British Protestant religious, political, and economic reformers during the early 18th century. They were active in the movement called the Country Party. They promoted republicanism and had a great influence on Republicanism in the United States, but little impact in Britain.The most noted commonwealthmen were John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, who wrote the seminal work Cato's Letters between 1720 and 1723. Other members include Robert Crowley, Henry Brinkelow, Thomas Beccon, Thomas Lever, and John Hales. They condemned corruption and lack of morality in British political life, theorizing that only civic virtue could protect a country from despotism and ruin.
Their criticism about enclosure and the general material plight of the poor were particularly notable to early twentieth-century scholars like Richard Tawney who saw in them a valuable though regrettably abortive form of Christian socialism that represented a preferable alternative to the view of Max Weber that Protestantism enabled and sustained the rise of capitalism. On the other hand, it has been argued that the Commonwealth Men "by no means stand against an individualistic or capitalistic spirit, and--despite what [for example, historians JGA Pocock and Gordon Wood] have claimed--are far from espousing classical virtue or the Aristotelian conception of man as zoon politikon [a political animal]."Since the 1979 publication of an article by G. R. Elton, the existence of a "commonwealth party" has been widely rejected as a largely romantic, sentimental construction, and its supposed "members" are unlikely to be classified even as a "movement" now, but reference to the "commonwealth men" or "commonwealthsmen" persists in scholarly literature.
Although nearly all British politicians and thinkers rejected the ideas of the commonwealth men in the eighteenth century, these writers had a powerful effect on British colonial America. It is estimated that half the private libraries in the American Colonies held bound volumes of Cato's Letters on their shelves. The Commonwealthman ideas of civic virtue, freedom, and government carefully regulated and controlled by the people were major principles in the republicanism that became the dominant ideology of the American Revolution and the new American nation.Country Party (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 (instead of the seven-year term in effect), 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.
The Country Party attracted a number of influential writers (such as Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, and Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun) and political theorists. The ideology of the party faded away in England but became a powerful force in the American colonies, where its tracts strongly motivated the Patriots to oppose what the country party had cast as British monarchical tyranny and to develop a powerful political philosophy of republicanism in the United States.Historically, the name "country party" was used by what became the Whig Party itself in its initial stages, when headed by the Earl of Shaftesbury during the Exclusion Crisis of 1679-1681. Then, the term "whiggamor", shortened to "Whig", started being applied to the party - first as a pejorative term, then adopted and taken up by the party itself. The name "country party" was thus discarded - to be taken up later by opponents of the Whig Party itself, once it had come to dominate British politics following the Glorious Revolution.Democratic-Republican Party
The Democratic-Republican Party (formally called the 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 (which would soon acquire the name Democratic Party), 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.During the time that this party existed, it was usually referred to as the Republican Party. To distinguish it from the modern Republican Party (founded in 1854), historians, political scientists and pundits often refer to this party as the Democratic-Republican Party or the Jeffersonian Republican Party. When the modern Republican Party was founded in 1854, it deliberately chose to name itself after the Jeffersonians. In response, contemporary Democrats embraced the name Democratic-Republican to reinforce their party's claim to the party's pre-Jacksonian history. Modern Democratic politicians continue to claim Jefferson as their founder.The party arose from the Anti-Administration faction which met secretly in the national capital (Philadelphia) to oppose Alexander Hamilton's financial programs (see the American School and the Hamiltonian economic program). Jefferson denounced the programs as leading to monarchy and subversive of republicanism. Jefferson needed to have a nationwide party to challenge the Federalists, which Hamilton was building up with allies in major cities. Foreign affairs took a leading role in 1794–1795 as the Republicans vigorously opposed the Jay Treaty with Great Britain, which was then at war against the French Revolution. Republicans saw France as more democratic after its Revolution while the Britain represented the hated monarchy and aristocracy. The party denounced many of Hamilton's measures as unconstitutional, especially the national bank.
The party was strongest in the South and weakest in the Northeast. It demanded states' rights as expressed by the "Principles of 1798" articulated in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions that would allow states to nullify a federal law. Above all, the party stood for the primacy of the yeoman farmers. Republicans were deeply committed to the principles of republicanism, which they feared were threatened by the supposed monarchical tendencies of the Hamiltonian Federalists. The party came to power in 1801 with the election of Jefferson in the 1800 presidential election. The Federalists—too elitist to appeal to most people—faded away and totally collapsed after 1815. Despite internal divisions, the Republicans dominated the First Party System until partisanship itself withered away during the Era of Good Feelings after 1816.
The party selected its presidential candidates in a caucus of members of Congress. They included Thomas Jefferson (nominated 1796; elected 1800–1801, 1804), James Madison (1808, 1812) and James Monroe (1816, 1820). By 1824, the caucus system had practically collapsed. After 1800, the party dominated Congress and most state governments outside New England. By 1824, the party was also split four ways and lacked a center as the First Party System collapsed. The emergence of the Second Party System in the 1820s and 30s realigned the old factions. One remnant followed Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren into the new Democratic Party by 1828. Another remnant, led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, formed the National Republican Party in 1824 while some remaining smaller factions formed the Anti-Masonic Party, which along with some National Republican groups developed into the Whig Party by 1836. Most remaining National Republicans would soon after go on to be a part of the Free Soil and modern Republican parties in the 1840s and 1850s.Democratic-Republican Societies
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."The Germans of Philadelphia began the first society in April 1793, inspired by Peter Muhlenberg. Philadelphia was then the national capital and soon an English-speaking society was formed in the city by David Rittenhouse, Charles Biddle (a prominent Quaker merchant), Dr. George Logan and Alexander J. Dallas. Its charter was widely copied. At least 35 societies sprang up by 1795, located in most important American cities. Many leaders soon became active in Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party, a national political party he founded. As foreign affairs became dominant issues of the day, members of such groups opposed the British and rallied behind Jefferson, proclaiming their friendship with France.Douglass Adair
Douglass Greybill Adair (March 5, 1912 – May 2, 1968) was an American historian who specialized in intellectual history. He is best known for his work in researching the authorship of disputed numbers of The Federalist Papers, and his influential studies in the history and influence of republicanism in the United States during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries—the era of the Enlightenment. His most famous essay, "Fame and the Founding Fathers," introduced the pursuit of fame as a new motivation for understanding the actions for the Framers.Jeffersonian democracy
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 (formally named the "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".They were antagonistic to the aristocratic elitism of merchants, bankers, and manufacturers, distrusted factory workers, and were on the watch for supporters of the dreaded British system of government. Jeffersonian democracy persisted as an element of the Democratic Party into the early 20th century, as exemplified by the rise of Jacksonian democracy and the three presidential candidacies of William Jennings Bryan. Its themes continue to echo in the 21st century, particularly among the Libertarian and Republican parties.At the beginning of the Jeffersonian era, only two states (Vermont and Kentucky) had established universal white male suffrage by abolishing property requirements. By the end of the period, more than half of the states had followed suit, including virtually all of the states in the Old Northwest. States then also moved on to allowing popular votes for presidential elections, canvassing voters in a more modern style. Jefferson's party, known today as the Democratic-Republican Party, was then in full control of the apparatus of government—from the state legislature and city hall to the White House.Knights of Labor
Knights of Labor (K of L), officially Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, was an American labor federation active in the late 19th century, especially the 1880s. Its most important leaders were Terence V. Powderly and step-brother Joseph Bath. The Knights promoted the social and cultural uplift of the working man, rejected socialism and anarchism, demanded the eight-hour day, and promoted the producers ethic of Republicanism in the United States. In some cases it acted as a labor union, negotiating with employers, but it was never well organized. After a rapid expansion in the mid-1880s, it suddenly lost its new members and became an operation again.
It was founded by Uriah Smith Stephens on December 28, 1869, reached 28,000 members in 1880, then jumped to 100,000 in 1884. By 1886, 20% of all workers were affiliated, nearly 800,000 members. Its frail organizational structure could not cope as it was battered by charges of failure and violence and calumnies of the association with the Haymarket Square riot. Most members abandoned the movement in 1886–1887, leaving at most 100,000 in 1890. Many opted to join groups that helped to identify their specific needs, instead of the KOL which addressed many different types of issues. The Panic of 1893 terminated the Knights of Labor's importance. Remnants of the Knights of Labor continued in existence until 1949, when the group's last 50-member local dropped its affiliation.Liberalism
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights (including civil rights and human rights), capitalism (free markets), democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion.Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among Western philosophers and economists. Liberalism sought to replace the norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, the divine right of kings and traditional conservatism with representative democracy and the rule of law. Liberals also ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free markets. Philosopher John Locke is often credited with founding liberalism as a distinct tradition, based on the social contract, arguing that each man has a natural right to life, liberty and property and governments must not violate these rights. While the British liberal tradition has emphasized expanding democracy, French liberalism has emphasized rejecting authoritarianism and is linked to nation-building.Leaders in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal tyranny. Liberalism started to spread rapidly especially after the French Revolution. The 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe and South America, whereas it was well-established alongside republicanism in the United States. In Victorian Britain, it was used to critique the political establishment, appealing to science and reason on behalf of the people. During 19th and early 20th century, liberalism in the Ottoman Empire and Middle East influenced periods of reform such as the Tanzimat and Al-Nahda as well as the rise of secularism, constitutionalism and nationalism. These changes, along with other factors, helped to create a sense of crisis within Islam, which continues to this day, leading to Islamic revivalism. Before 1920, the main ideological opponent of classical liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism then faced major ideological challenges from new opponents: fascism and communism. However, during the 20th century liberal ideas also spread even further—especially in Western Europe—as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars.In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism (often called simply "liberalism" in the United States) became a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Today, liberal parties continue to wield power and influence throughout the world. However, liberalism still has challenges to overcome in Africa and Asia. The fundamental elements of contemporary society have liberal roots. The early waves of liberalism popularised economic individualism while expanding constitutional government and parliamentary authority. Liberals sought and established a constitutional order that prized important individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom of association; an independent judiciary and public trial by jury; and the abolition of aristocratic privileges. Later waves of modern liberal thought and struggle were strongly influenced by the need to expand civil rights. Liberals have advocated gender and racial equality in their drive to promote civil rights and a global civil rights movement in the 20th century achieved several objectives towards both goals. Continental European liberalism is divided between moderates and progressives, with the moderates tending to elitism and the progressives supporting the universalisation of fundamental institutions, such as universal suffrage, universal education and the expansion of property rights. Over time, the moderates displaced the progressives as the main guardians of continental European liberalism.Political philosophy
Political philosophy, also known as political theory, is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of laws by authority: what they are, if they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect, what form it should take, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.
In a vernacular sense, the term "political philosophy" often refers to a general view, or specific ethic, political belief or attitude, about politics, synonymous to the term "political ideology".
Political philosophy is a branch of philosophy. Within political science, a strong focus has historically been placed on the role of political philosophy (also known as normative theory), moral philosophy and the humanities, although in recent years there has been increased focus to political theory based on quantitative methodological approaches as well as economic theory, the natural sciences and behaviouralism.Political positions of the Republican Party
The platform of the Republican Party of the United States is generally based on conservatism, in contrast to the modern liberalism of the Democrats. A major conflict within the party is between moderates, sometimes described as establishment Republicans, and members of the Tea Party or Freedom Caucus, who have been described as populist, right-wing, and far-right. The Republican Party's conservatism involves support for free market capitalism, free enterprise, business, a strong national defense, deregulation, restrictions on labor unions, social-conservative policies, and traditional values, usually with a Christian foundation. The party is generally split on the issue of how to deal with illegal immigration.In general, Republicans oppose abortion rights, funding to Planned Parenthood, drugs, the Affordable Care Act, Common Core, gun control and support Just Say No and school choice. On economics, Republicans oppose an increased minimum wage and the estate tax, and support free markets and individual achievement. On the environment, Republicans have introduced environmental programs such as the Environmental Protection Agency and cap-and-trade policies in the past, but tend to oppose them today. Republicans support clean air and clean water policies, but also support increased fracking. Republicans are quite divided on some environmental topics, such as climate change, where a 2018 poll found that 64% of Republicans to believed in climate change. The majority of Republicans support same-sex marriage. That being said, it is notable that Republicans, like Democrats, tend to vote in favor of policies endorsed by party leaders irrespective of ideology.Republican
Republican can refer to:
An advocate of a republic, a form of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law
Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against monarchy; the opposite of monarchism
Republicanism in Australia
Republicanism in Barbados
Republicanism in Canada
Republicanism in Ireland
Republicanism in Morocco
Republicanism in the Netherlands
Republicanism in New Zealand
Republicanism in Spain
Republicanism in Sweden
Republicanism in Turkey
Republicanism in the United Kingdom
Republicanism in the United States
Classical republicanism, republicanism as formulated in the Renaissance
A member of a Republican Party:
List of Republican Parties
Republican Party (United States), one of the two main parties in the U.S.
Fianna Fáil, a conservative political party in Ireland
The Republicans (France), the main centre-right political party in France
List of Republican People's Parties
Institutions or supporters of particular governments that called themselves republics, including:
List of republics
Roman Republic, as well as supporters of the Republic during the Roman Empire
Second Spanish Republic, during the Spanish Civil War, as well as its supporters
Various French Republics, most notably the First Republic established during the French Revolution and the Second Republic, the first post-Revolution republic in France
Republican faction (Spanish Civil War)Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP (Grand Old Party), is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.
The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which had expanded slavery into U.S. territories. The party originally subscribed to classical liberalism and took ideological stands that were anti-slavery and pro-economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in the history of the United States; under his leadership and the leadership of a Republican Congress, slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. The Party was usually dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System and Fourth Party System. In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After the 1912 election, many Roosevelt supporters left the Party, and the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right.The liberal Republican element in the GOP was overwhelmed by a conservative surge begun by Barry Goldwater in 1964 that continued during the Reagan Era in the 1980s. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic. White voters increasingly identified with the Republican Party after the 1960s. Following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party made opposition to abortion a key plank of its national party platform and grew its support among evangelicals. By 2000, the Republican Party was aligned with Christian conservatism. The Party's core support since the 1990s comes chiefly from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North.The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism, which contrasts with the Democrats' liberal platform and progressive wing. The GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights, deregulation and restrictions on labor unions. The GOP was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs from its founding until the 1930s when it was based in the industrial Northeast and Midwest, but has grown more supportive of free trade since 1952. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is socially conservative.
There have been 19 Republican presidents—the most from any one party—with the most recent being the 45th and current president Donald Trump. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the GOP currently holds the bulk of the political power in the United States, controlling the presidency, a majority in the U.S. Senate, a majority of governorships, a majority of state legislatures (30/50 with shared control of two others), and 22 state "trifectas" (controlling the executive branch and both chambers of the legislative branch). As of April 2019, five of the nine current U.S. Supreme Court justices have been nominated by Republican presidents.Republican motherhood
"Republican Motherhood" is a 18th-century term for an attitude toward women's roles present in the emerging United States before, during, and after the American Revolution. It centered on the belief that the patriots' daughters should be raised to instill the ideals of republicanism, in order to pass on republican values to the next generation. In this way, the "Republican Mother" was considered a custodian of civic virtue responsible for upholding the morality of her husband and children. Although it is an anachronism, the period of Republican Motherhood is hard to categorize in the history of Feminism. On one hand, it reinforced the idea of a domestic women's sphere separate from the public world of men. On the other hand, it encouraged the education of women and invested their "traditional" sphere with a dignity and importance that had been missing from previous conceptions of Women's work.Republicanism
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.
Republicanism may also refer to the non-ideological scientific approach to politics and governance. As the republican thinker John Adams stated in the introduction to his famous Defense of the Constitution, the "science of politics is the science of social happiness" and a republic is the form of government arrived at when the science of politics is appropriately applied to the creation of a rationally designed government. Rather than being ideological, this approach focuses on applying a scientific methodology to the problems of governance through the rigorous study and application of past experience and experimentation in governance. This is the approach that may best be described to apply to republican thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli (as evident in his Discourses on Livy), John Adams, and James Madison.
The word "republic" derives from the Latin noun-phrase res publica (thing of the people), which referred to the system of government that emerged in the 6th century BCE following the expulsion of the kings from Rome by Lucius Junius Brutus and Collatinus.This form of government in the Roman state collapsed in the latter part of the 1st century B.C., giving way to what was a monarchy in form, if not in name. Republics recurred subsequently, with, for example, Renaissance Florence or early modern Britain. The concept of a republic became a powerful force in Britain's North American colonies, where it contributed to the American Revolution. In Europe, it gained enormous influence through the French Revolution and through the First French Republic of 1792–1804.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.The term also refers to the form of government that the National Convention favored during the French Revolutionary Wars, as France established republics through its occupation of neighboring territories in Europe. Most of these client states, or sister republics, were means of controlling occupied lands through a mix of French and local authority. The institution of republican governments as a means of promoting democratic nationalism over monarchies (primarily the Bourbons and Habsburgs) set the stage for the appearance of nationalist sentiment across Europe, which significantly influenced the course of European history (see 1830 and Revolutions of 1848).
Today, "revolutionary republic" can refer to various governments in disparate locations. In the United Kingdom, it can be defined as those who advocate for the removal of the monarch as head of state, or for the replacement of the monarch with an elected figurehead, as in Irish nationalism. In Australia, revolutionary republicanism is closely tied to moderate nationalism, along with opposition to monarchy.Southern Agrarians
The Southern Agrarians (also the Twelve Southerners, the Vanderbilt Agrarians, the Nashville Agrarians, the Tennessee Agrarians, and the Fugitive Agrarians) were a group of twelve American writers, poets, essayists, and novelists, all with roots in the Southern United States, who united to write a pro–Southern agrarian manifesto, published as the essay collection I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930). The Southern Agrarians greatly contributed to the Southern Renaissance, the revival of Southern literature in the 1920s and 1930s, and were based at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, with John Crowe Ransom as the unofficial leader.Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, and ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, and ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, and concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union. The time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
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