Republic or Democracy 5

Some people prefer to say the U.S.A. is a republic.  They are correct.  According to James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.[1]   

In the late 1700s, when the U.S. Constitution was written, a republic was thought of as a system in which the government of the country is considered a “public matter.” This idea stands in contrast to the many absolute (or near absolute) monarchs of their day who saw countries as their private concern or property.[2]

Excerpted from America: Democracy or Republic?

Image: Mercy Otis Warren. J.S. Copley. Not who B. Franklin spoke to, but an important historical figure on her own.

[1] From The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, and the anecdote on p. 618 as recorded in

[2] See

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