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Democracy, No!

Democracy NO!


The much revered founders of the United States are guilty.  Guilty of disliking democracy — even fearing it.  They did not want this new country to have democracy.  Ever. They erected statutory barriers to it.



“The years leading up the Declaration of Independence gave them them the motive.  The years during and immediately after the war for Independence confirmed that motive. The drafting of the Constitution in 1787 gave them the means to carry out this crime.  Their intent is confirmed by the writing and  passage of the so-called ’Bill of Rights’ — the Constitution’s first ten amendments.


So begins the prosecution’s opening statement against the founders of the United States – and its Constitution’s esteemed framers.


The defense statement: “The founders were many things.  They were first, anti-royalists … abhorring ancestral rule by monarchs. Similarly, they distrusted peerage: the archaic protocol by which great titles and seats to government were granted by heredity.  They were believers that government — the state — derives its ‘just powers’ from the consent of the governed.  That is to say: the government might have any number of powers at any time, but those that are just and righteous can only be conferred by consent through contract with the people who are governed.


In all these ways the founders and framers were radically protective of ‘we the people.’  The charge itself, then, is unjust. It is not appropriate.”


The prosecution presents its case.  To establish the motive, we see videos of angry, shouting mobs.  In one, on King Street in Boston, a large crowd of hundreds is spurred on by chants and slogans memorized in dingy pubs from the shallow words of pamphleteering provocateurs.  Hundreds scream crude obscenities at a solitary young British sentry.

After a while, eight other soldiers – all but one quite young also – appear to relieve the poor lad.  The crowd continues to shout profanities and inane insults. They yell “fire”; actually daring the soldiers to shoot at them. When they still get no response, they begin hurling feces covered rocks. Hooting shouters urge them on.  A jar of urine is flung upon the soldiers.  Shouting back and forth.

Finally, a soldier opens fire.  A struggle and yelling.  Then more gunshot. The mob would call it the Boston Massacre. Even founder and patriot John Adams could see the horror of giving the power of law making to a people so easily agitated and manipulated; he defended the soldiers in the King’s Court, earning acquittal for six, and light sentences for the other two… despite a jury of American locals.

In other video clips, we the jury, are shown scenes of similar mobs — yelling, shouting, literally drunk; drunk with spirit, drunk with mob mentality — breaking into the residences of government officials.  One after another, in city after city, they are pulled out of their homes, often dressed only in a nightgown.  They are stripped naked. To the huzzahs and hollers of the mob — those spurred on by slogans and chants and pamphleteers — we cannot bring ourselves to avert our eyes as the videos show hot oily tar inhumanely poured over bare flesh. They are then covered in feathers.

During the war, popular movements, supported by vox populi, led to harassment of Tories.  Those loyal to the established government were subject to all sorts of vengeful acts, not limited to the taking of life and property.


Even after independence, and after the War for Independence (but before the Constitution), the rule of law was subject to the rule of the populace .

“Serious rioting recurred in many of the major cities … Extralegal groups and conventions repeatedly sprang up to take public action into their own hands, to intimidate voters, to regulate prices, or to close courts.  … In the 1780s … mobs were taking over the functions of government.  This was not simply a chimerical fear, for the legislatures in the 1780s appeared to be extraordinarily susceptible to mass demonstrations and mob violence.  State governments were continually forced to submit to various kinds of popular pressures, often expressed outside the regular legal channels.” [1]


Before, during and even after the revolution.  All of these actions, the prosecution points out, were done with the look and feel of popular democracy; And so the framers had the motive to suppress the will of the people, the will of the demos.


Now the prosecution directs our attention to the deed itself: Restricting democracy.  The framers gave us – we the people – three branches of government, and yet only one-half of one branch is “chosen by the people”; so says Article 1, Section 2.


How crafty they were to throw “the people” a “democratic bone.”  This House would turn over rapidly, every two years, as “chosen by the people.”  It served the framers doubly well: 1) this house would give vent to the popular current trends; they could be more responsive to democratic populism and even recite popular chants in the halls of government; and 2) they would probably,  hopefully, go back to their plows,  mills, and shops after a term or two.


The Senate, the more powerful house of the Legislature, would be chosen not by the people, but by the Legislatures of the States themselves (Article 1, Section 3).  These terms were six years, thus allowing the members to take a less populist view, (the defense interjects: “And a more long term view.”  The judge pounds the gavel: “That’s out of order and enough of that, counsel!)  … ahem, the Senate would naturally take a less populist view, a less democratic view, of legislative issues.  Note: Not chosen by the people.  Not reflecting the view of the people. Not democracy.


And then, look what they did to the Executive Office.  The framers did not want this person to be fawned over by the public, worshiped as some regal or charismatic persona.  Consequently, they struggled mightily with what to call this person, and how to choose him.


By what simple non-populist title to address him in person and in legal documents?  They feared anything that might smack of privilege or royalty. They desired to convey a humble, yet appropriate title.  A struggle for sure; after all, no country yet known had done such a thing.  They settled on such a wonderfully simple solution that it was doomed to fail. The executive is the person who presides over government and presides over the highest meetings of government.  They called him, simply, President.

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