Some people argue that the genius of our system is the fact that ours is not merely a republic; it is a constitutional republic. There is a lot to be said in favor of this idea. A written constitution is almost everywhere defined as the supreme law of the land. Thus, a constitution is an ideal place to require a republican form of government – as ours does. A constitution can also be made difficult to change, as ours is, thus helping to protect the republican nature of our government.
Yet, there are many constitutional republics around the world where life and liberty are not at all secure. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is just one example.
The difference between them and us is not the presence of a constitution. Instead, there are two key distinctions. One comes from what a constitution requires for our liberty beyond a republican form of government. (More on this next week!) The other comes from citizen’s willingness to defend their constitution from those who would weaken it or turn it to tyranny.
Excerpted from America: Democracy or Republic?