Benjamin Franklin: We Have Given You a Republic, It Remains To Be Seen If You Will Be Able to Retain It

Topics: United States Constitution, United States, Democracy Pages: 4 (1236 words) Published: February 21, 2012
We Have Given You A Republic. It Remains To Be Seen If You Will Be Able To Retain It:

Benjamin Franklin said “We have given you a Republic. It remains to be seen if you will be able to retain it.” The statement was made soon after Benjamin Franklin and the other delegates had concluded their work on the Constitution. A woman approached Ben Franklin outside and asked him "Well, Dr. Franklin, what have you done for us?”

The response from Ben Franklin was directed or likely meant as a warning to “we the people” (the electorate) due to our Founders’ fear of our country losing its republican form of government (in the future) by transitioning into a democracy. I am of the opinion that Ben Franklin and other signers of the Constitution were keenly aware that keeping our nation a republic versus a democracy would be difficult because they understood the internal enemies a republic would face; our enemies, the oligarchic families of the British Empire’s Liberal system referred to in today’s world as the “extreme left.” Most of our founders likely felt that preserving liberties (individual rights/freedom) for themselves and future generations would not be an easy task. What comes to mind is a comment I think I heard on talk radio: “Liberty is a way station between anarchy (no government) on one end of the political spectrum and totalitarianism (total government) on the other end.”

James Madison within Essay #10 of the Federalist Papers “defines a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited time, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise; a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressors by a delegation of their powers, might aspire...
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