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So, just WHAT is a [r]epublican and is there a difference between [r]epublicans and Republicans? The answer is you betcha and let us have Thomas Jefferson, the world’s most renowned [r]epublican explain the term to the second most renowned [r]epublican, John Taylor of Caroline (see “Spirit of ’76” and “What Lincoln Killed”)
Jefferson’s Definition of [r]epulicanism in this letter to John Taylor:
Monticello May 28, 1816
You have successfully and completely pulverized Mr. Adams’ system of orders, and his opening the mantle of republicanism to every government of laws, whether consistent or not with natural right. Indeed, it must be acknowledged, that the term republic is of very vague application in every language. Witness the self-styled republics of Holland, Switzerland, Genoa, Venice, Poland.
Were I to assign to this term a precise and definite idea, I would say, purely and simply, it means a government by its citizens in mass, acting directly and personally, according to rules established by the majority; and that every other government is more or less republican, in proportion as it has in its composition more or less of this ingredient of the direct action of the citizens. Such a government is evidently restrained to very narrow limits of space and population. I doubt if it would be practicable beyond the extent of a New England township.”
For more information on Jefferson’s understanding of [r]epublicanism please visit this page
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