“A republic, if you can keep it”
As Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1776, he was asked by a bystander if the framers had created a monarchy or a republic.
“A republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin famously replied.
Our nation’s founders had no idea how successful this experiment in self-government would be.
Yet, here we are more than 200 years later and still practicing this form of government.
One which was not a pure democracy where the majority ruled, but rather a government which relied on representatives bound to the interests and well- being of their constituents. A government where states would hold powers and restrict a central government from possessing too much autonomy. A government where individual rights would be guaranteed and protected.
A government far different from the British monarchy early settlers wanted so desperately to leave behind.
Of course, this new government, this republic, has met many challenges.
A bitter Civil War, financial collapse, a Great Depression, an attack by Japan a struggle to extend Civil Rights to all, and terrorism.
Independence Day is this Sunday, July 4. We come together as families, friends and communities to celebrate our nation’s independence.
Some believe this is the greatest country in the history of the world. Despite a brief history, we have achieved great things. We have stuck by our allies in times of war and fed the famished, safeguarded the weak and provided a home for millions of refugees and others who have longed for a fresh start.
Of course we have also had our troubles. We haven’t always held true to our principles. We have endured political scandals, racial tension, wars and domestics affairs which have shaken our citizens’ confidence in our leaders.
However, we always press on, just as our forefathers did during the darkest days of the American Revolution. And just as our Constitutional framers who argued and debated over what new government we should create.
Yes, we have a republic. And some days it is not a perfect form of government.
However, we have kept it.
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