(FiveNation.com) – It has been said that America is a melting pot. As such, it contains a fantastic blend of cultures and ideas intermixed with various political and historical conceptions. Likewise, the nation’s governmental structure is a unique blend of the various forms of democracies and republics.
When it comes to the various types of democracies, the United States is most closely aligned with the aspects of a representative democracy. As the name implies, people elect individuals to represent their interests.
Republics are similar in that the power lies within the people through their elected officials. However, there is one distinction: republics must have an elected head of state and not a monarch.
Confused? It’s simple if we take the example of the United Kingdom. In the UK, the king or queen is the head of state, and the prime minister is the head of government.
The United States’ form of government is close to these but not quite the same. We are governed under a Constitutional Republic.
So, what exactly is a constitutional republic?
All About Constitutional Republics
In a constitutional republic, the sovereign power of the people is established by the adoption of a formal constitution. Usually secular, the constitution establishes the role of citizens in electing officials to represent their interests.
Additionally, it establishes the structure and legal limits for the government, as well as the framework for the rule of law. In a constitutional republic, elected officials are voted into office and must follow the rules of governance as written in the constitution.
Said constitution always lays out the process for electing the head of state, government, and the judiciary. Most constitutions also create some form of a bill of rights for the protection of its citizens.
South Africa and India are other good examples of constitutional republics.
Asked whether America was a democracy or a republic, Benjamin Franklin reportedly responded, “a republic, if you can keep it.” While less poetic, it’s probably more accurate to say the United States embodies aspects of both a republic and a democracy — known better as a constitutional republic.
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