The United States is a Constitutional Republic with Limited Democracy

People power in the United States is often hijacked by mobs both small and big, but we are often saved by the fact that the United States is a Constitutional Republic that allows adult citizens to register and vote for their state and federal representatives who, when elected, take an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against enemies both domestic and foreign.

The oath says: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Oath of Office | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

How many of those elected representatives allegedly lied when they took the oath, just like Donald Trump did when he became president of the United States?

In the United States, adult citizens that vote have little or no power beyond their individual vote, unless they have a lot of money to buy elected officials. And even then, millionaires and billionaires that buy the loyalty of elected officials through campaign donations often run into the U.S. Constitutional when what they want done turns out to be unconstitutional.

In fact, at the state level, when voters pass new legislation/laws through Ballot initiatives, the litmus test is if that initiative is constitutional. If the majority of voters approve an initiative and it is challenged in court and the case reaches the US Supreme Court, the US Supreme Court has a long history of ruling against Ballot initiatives that are judged unconstitutional.

The list of state laws held unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court is long.
State Laws Held Unconstitutional

The US Supreme Court has also ruled against legislation passed by the U.S. Congress.
Acts of Congress Held Unconstitutional in Whole or in Part by the Supreme Court of the United States

No matter what elected state and federal representatives promise their supporters, if the promise is unconstitutional, then they are lying and also breaking the oath they took to support the U.S. Constitution.

The three branches of the federal government are supposed to lead the country guided by what the U.S. Constitution says, not what the majority of voters or a few millionaires and billionaires want them to do.  That explains why the Koch brothers, their allies, and ALEC want a Constitutional Convention so they can rewrite the Constitution to change the United States into what they and a few thousand very wealthy Americans want the country to be.

Just like Social Security and Medicare are not pure socialism, the United States is not a pure democracy ruled by the majority of its citizens. If the majority of voters ruled the country as a pure democracy, what they wanted could not be ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is a story that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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3 responses to “The United States is a Constitutional Republic with Limited Democracy”

  1. Yes. We were a a country based on a set of laws, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the purpose of… of..hmmm making as much money as possible… hmmm… all men are created equal?

    Lived y our post, Lloyd… everyone needs to see this, becasue our CONSTITUTION is about to take a hitQ Here is a famous historian, giving the long view in a short, entertaining interview on Bill Maher:

  2. There is no question that David and Charles and ALEC are drooling over the possibilities. I haven’t heard their agenda, but imagine it will give them the rest of the country. Perhaps Corps will be able to cast votes for those employed by them who are registered and don’t vote.

    After all, who knows and protects them better than their employers?

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