"It may perhaps be a Sufficient Recommendation of this Article to say that it was introduced by Mr Charles Pinkney of South Carolina, and he ought to have the Glory of it. But I confess I never understood it, and I believe no other Man ever did or ever will. A Republican Government is a Government of more than one. The Word Republick has been used, it is true by learned Men to Signify every actual and every possible Government among Men, that of Constantinople as well as that of Geneva. But the most accurate Writers distinguish Republicks from Despotisms and Simple Monarchies, and call every Government by that name in which more than one Person is concerned in the Sovereignty, and in this Sense the Kingdoms of Sparta Poland and England were Republicks as truely as Saint Marino. Venice Holland and other States were universally called Republicks both by the Learned and unlearned; yet the People in these States had certainly no more Liberty than those of England or France. The most Accurate distinction then has been between free Republicks and Republicks which are not free. It is not even said in our Constitution that the People shall be guarranteed in a Free Republican Government. The Word is So loose and indeffinite that Successive Predominant Factions will put Glosses and Constructions upon it as different as light and darkness, and if ever there should be a Civil War which Heaven forbid, the conquering General in all his Tryumphs may establish a Military Despotism and yet call it a constitutional Republic as Napoleon has already Set him the Example. The only Effect of it that I could ever See, is to deceive the People: and this practice my heart abhors my head disapproves, and my Tongue my Pen have ever avoided."
by:
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source:
letter to Mrs. Mercy Warren, July 20, 1807
http://founders.archives.gov/?q=Date%3A1807-07-20&s=1111311111&r=1
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