The Republican Form of government is one in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially delegated. Unlike the democratic form of government, in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the whole body of free citizens, individuals retain sovereign prerogatives over their private property rights (absolute ownership) of their person, labor and property.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees a republican form to the states. (See Art.4, Sec.4)
The Republican form is based on the foundation that people are supreme, and governments are instituted to help secure their rights to life, liberty and property. Examples of sovereign prerogatives are the right to defend private property with deadly force, right of locomotion (freedom to travel) upon public roads and waterways, and free exercise of rights and powers. The source and origin of the republican form is found in the Declaration of Independence, wherein all men have Creator endowed rights that governments were instituted to secure. All state constitutions restate the Declaration's self evident truths.
The political philosophy of the classical republics, such as The Roman republic, Icelandic Commonwealth, and the Carthaginian Republic, has had a central influence on republican thought throughout the subsequent centuries. A number of classical writers discussed forms of government alternative to monarchies and later writers have treated these as foundational works on the nature of republics. Philosophers and politicians advocating for republics, such as Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Adams, and Madison, relied heavily on these sources.
It is a common error to assume that a republic is synonymous with a republican form of government. Many are misled to assume that the republican form is merely a populist democracy limited by a constitution. In fact, exercising political liberty (voting and holding office) requires one to step down in status, changing from the republican form to the democratic form. American citizens are assumed to have voluntarily accepted obligations and duties associated with democracy that are inapplicable to the people at large. For example, conscription, if compulsory, would be a violation of liberty and life. However, in American law, sovereign people are not subjects to or objects of such impositions - only citizens are obligated.
Another misconception is that elected officials in the legislature are representatives of the people at large. In fact, they can only represent constituents, i.e., citizens / voters who gave consent, thus power of attorney to bind them to obedience. In a republican form, the individual's delegated representative who exercises power on his behalf, in defense of his life, liberty or property rights is not the legislature but the appropriate executive officer. A sheriff, if within a county, is his representative. Or an ambassador is his representative, if within a foreign nation.
Since property and sovereignty are inseparable, one without property cannot exercise dominion (sovereignty). Absolute ownership by an individual of land, houses, and chattels, characterizes private property. Private property is protected from being taken for public use without just compensation (see U.S. Constitution, Fifth Amendment). To exercise natural liberty, a domicile (legal permanent home) is essential. Powers and rights are the prerogatives of a sovereign, while privileges and immunities are the prerogatives of a citizen.
Due to the widespread enrollment into Social Security (national socialism), private property ownership has been practically eradicated within the U.S.A. In its place, qualified ownership has superseded it. Socialism (and Communism) abolish absolute ownership by individuals, and replace it with collective ownership by society, as a whole. Thus it would appear that the republican form has been supplanted by the democratic form of government.
REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT. One in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially delegated. In re Duncan, 139 U.S. 449, 11 S.Ct. 573, 35 L.Ed. 219; Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. (21 Wall.) 162, 22 L.Ed. 627.
"What I do say is that no man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent. I say this is the leading principle, the sheet-anchor of American republicanism. Our Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." —Abraham Lincoln, Speech at Peoria, Illinois (1854)