"In republican governments, men are all equal;
equal they are also in despotic governments:
in the former, because they are everything;
in the latter, because they are nothing."
Charles-Louis de Secondat
(1689-1755) Baron de Montesquieu
"The Spirit of Laws" (1748)
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Reader comments about this quote:
Clear signs that a government is despotic, and outside the realm of a representative republic is when it sets forth such rules and codes as licenses (all rights being presumed by an alien power), and compelled compliances (if a representative compels the actions of a sovereign, he represents an authority outside the domain of the sovereign).
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
    We are equal in our natural born rights.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    The U.S. is a Republic, though our government would have you believe we are a democracy. Despotic means too many incomprehensible rules and codes, i.e. the tax code, and arms (gun) registration (anti-2nd Amendment). "Shall not be infringed" is very clear, yet our government despots violate our rights with registrations and bans of varying types. When the 2nd Amendment falls, the 1st will be next. Websites like this one will be shut down and WE will become targets of BATFE, FBI, and police investigations. After all, if we dare say anything about our government, we "could" be terrorists. Thanks to the Patriot Act, the mere suggestion is all they need to break down our doors at 2:00 am.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    Well said.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    The People's Republic of China and the Republic of Cuba also refer to their governments as republican, while they are totalitarian. As to our government, I frankly do not understand why they have not charged me with something; I have been sending letters and emails to the president and the Justice Department regarding the elimination of Castro. Maybe they are watching to see whether I cross the line. I already wrote that I would support any effort by any person to eliminate Castro's regime. Maybe I will soon be commenting via the prison computer.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
    I must concur that the 'Republic vs. Democracy' rhetoric does not really accomplish much. People understand that a Democracy means that the People get to elect their leaders and representatives. The word Republic does not automatically convey what type of republic it may in fact be -- like the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Jefferson did refer to our government as a 'democracy' in several instances, and even Adams had his own ideas of what a Republic was. The fact that the US Constitution specifically states that the form of government of the United States is to be "republican" certainly gives credence to those who endeavor to remind us. Jefferson referred to the government as 'democratic-republican' because the system allows the masses of qualified electors to participate in the election of their officials (democracy) who will in turn enact the laws and administer the affairs of the people under majority rule but with the equal protection of individual rights (a republic). I think that what republicans (not to be confused with the Republican Party) are trying to remind democrats (not the party called Democratic) is that even a majority cannot infringe on the rights of individuals and the several States. That means that a block of States cannot force another State into submission merely because they have the votes (at least that was the theory -- the War Between the States may have proven otherwise). Remember, it is the Electoral College that elects the US President -- it is not a Democracy as was evidenced by the last couple elections. The real question is, who are the real 'electors?' The answer to that reveals that the US is indeed NOT a Democracy and your vote is merely taken into consideration. I would say that the US today operates arbitrarily under a de facto system of so-called democracy but is in actuality a plutocracy governed by the central banks that hold the US in receivership. It ain't a Republic any more.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The 'real' electors may be Diebold.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
    I firmly believe that the agenda behind the US government facade is beyond the reach of the citizen. You don't become Ceaser fullfilling the needs of the masses,although that was the concept at the framing of the constitution,but it evolved over time into a present incomprehensible (for the average citizen-do as your told through our laws) form of so called government for good of the people of our nation. Sure.
     -- rb, Mountain Grove     
    Nicely phrased with an ironic twist.
     -- Anonymous     
    Democracy is a process, Not our form of Republicanism at the heart of the matter. Fundamentals and principles leading to a moral balanced outcome and state of Being. Privilege to some is only a means of excess and greed. This, most of all in government is a great evil. A unprivileged sovereign state is the best way for all.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    In Amerika, the subjects of the occupying statist theocracy are equal in voting for their next jailer and despotic overlords (with an occasional 108% of the vote going for one candidate while not being checked). In the land of the fee and home of the slave, equality is a sought after depravity. The de jure Constitution guaranteed a republican form of government to the States (the 9th and 10th Amendments supporting the application thereof). With the vast majority of States implementing compelled compliance, victimless crimes, license, larceny with impunity (second plank of the communist manifesto, property/life taxes, funny money, etc.) and enforcement against sovereign individuals inalienable rights and individual ownership (perfected allodium) the nationalist dictatorship as abandoned in toto the guarantee, principle and natural law related to the Constitution in favor of usurpation, despotism and tyranny.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- jim k, Austin      
     -- ariana, san bernardino     
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