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“To the Size of States There is a Limit”

What is a Republic and does it contain an element of representation?  In the US Constitutional context, James Madison defined republic as “…a government in which the scheme of representation takes place…” and “…the delegation of the government, in the latter [republic], to a small number of citizens elected by the rest…” –Federalist #10.  John Adams defined republic as “…a government, in which all men, rich and poor, magistrates and subjects, officers and people, masters and servants, the first citizen and the last, are equally subject to the laws.”  Also, the word republic was used specifically to describe a non-monarchical constitution during the writing and ratifying of the US Constitution. 

According to Donald Livingston, in his lecture Size, Scale, and American Republicanism, in the Greek traditions of republican governments, a republic requires three things:

1)      The citizens make the laws in which they live under;

2)      Legislation must be in accord with inherited tradition or common law, which they do not make – The Rule of Law;

3)      Human Scale – that is they must be small.

In a classical sense of the term representation does not appear to be a requisite for a republican form of government.  It might be inferred that because the citizens make the laws that representation is required, however it is not required that citizens be represented in order for them to participate in the lawmaking.  In the United States under the Constitution, a republican form of government was defined to include representation as a mode of citizen participation in the lawmaking process. 

So what does Donald Livingston mean when he refers to laws being made in accord with inherited tradition?  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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