Constitutional republic

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Diagram of the Federal Government and American Union, the first constitutional republic. This print was published in 1862.

A constitutional republic is a form of government, where the head of state and other representatives are elected from a group of people. It also means that there is a constitution. The constitution says how the state may be run. The constitution limits the power of each officeholder. Constitutional republics usually have a separation of powers. This acts so that no single officeholder can get unlimited power. John Adams said that a constitutional republic was "a government of laws and not of people".[1]

A constitutional republic is an attempt to limit the dangers which result from a simple majority rule. The constitution limits the power of each officeholder, and protects rights of minorities from the "tyranny of the majority". In a constitutional republic, no officeholder can get to a position of absolute power.[2]

Aristotle was the first to write about the idea in his works on politics.

Constitutional monarchies are a special case: even though the monarch is not elected, the people still elect other governing bodies. The constitution also limits the power of the monarch.

References[change | change source]

  1. Levinson, Sanford. Constitutional Faith. Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 60
  2. Delattre, Edwin. Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing, American Enterprise Institute, 2002, p. 16.

Related pages[change | change source]