A Constitutional Republic is a state where the officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens.
A Constitutional Republic is the current form of government in the United States. However in recent years, many people have criticized the federal government for moving away from a Constitutional Republic, as defined by the Constitution, and towards a pure democracy.
TeamLaw.org defines a Constitutional Republic as follows:
A Republic, by definition, has two principle elements. First, it is controlled by Law; therefore, it does not control Law. Second, it recognizes the private independent sovereign nature of each person (man or woman) of competent age and capacity; therefore, a Republic must be representative in its nature.
A Republic recognizes Law is unchangeable, or at least that it can only be changed by a higher source than government. In a Republic the concept of “collective sovereignty” cannot exist, except with recognition that the State or nation, as a body of sovereigns, can speak through one elected voice; though that one voice can never lawfully interfere with the private rights of the individual sovereigns.
“A Constitutional Republic” is a government created and controlled, at least, by the Law of a Constitution. The Constitution of the United States of America was, in Law, a foundation based on the Bible, the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence. Those documents recognize man’s sovereignty, the divine nature of man’s creation and man’s divine right to Life, Liberty, the means of acquiring and possessing Property, and the pursuit of happiness.
Limits On Government
The purpose of a Constitutional Republic is to place limits on the tyranny of the majority. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:
If, on the other hand, a legislative power could be so constituted as to represent the majority without necessarily being the slave of its passions, an executive so as to retain a proper share of authority, and a judiciary so as to remain independent of the other two powers, a government would be formed which would still be democratic while incurring scarcely any risk of tyranny.
The United States Constitution has many protections against the "tyranny of the majority." Specifically, it protects the Unalienable rights of the People from an overreaching government. For example:
- Congress cannot establish a religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof -- Amendment 1
- Congress cannot prohibit free speech -- Amendment 1
- Congress cannot infringe on the right to keep and bear arms -- Amendment 2
- Senators must be elected by the States, not the people -- annulled by Amendment 17
- Presidents must be elected by the Electoral College, not directly by the population
- habeas corpus shall not be suspended, except during invasion or rebellion -- Article 1, Section 9
- No direct tax shall be placed on the people without apportionment -- Article 1, Section 9 - annulled by Amendment 16
- Anything not explicitly permitted to Congress by the Constitution is reserved for the States or the People -- Amendment 10
- Sorry, Mr. Franklin, “We’re All Democrats Now” - A speech by Dr. Ron Paul January 29, 2003
- Definition of a Constitutional Republic by teamlaw.org
- Democracy in America Chapter 15