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American Revolution: Republicanism and Democracy - Book Report/Review Example

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A paper " American Revolution: Republicanism and Democracy" outlines that they were stepping away from the democratic political system whereby the majority could infringe on the rights of the minority without the minority being able to defend themselves. …
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American Revolution: Republicanism and Democracy
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American Revolution: Republicanism and Democracy

Download file to see previous pages... Democracy is based on the majority rule such as voting for political representatives. These representatives may then act against the rights of those who were opposed to them. Thus, the Republicans advocated for a situation whereby the fundamental rights of the minority could not be taken away by the majority vote. This led to the Declaration of Independence (1776) as well as the formation of a constitution in 1787, both of which were meant to secure the rights of all regardless of whether they were the minority or majority and which the majority were bound to observe in carrying out their functions. Gordon’s View on Democracy and Republicanism Gordon Woods, in his work The Radicalism of the American Revolution, disagrees that the American Revolution resulted in any kind of protection for the minority. He opines that the efforts which were meant to result in conservative Republican revolution were a total failure and which instead resulted in liberal democracy frustrating even the men who pioneered it such as Thomas Jefferson. He argues that from the onset both monarchical and republican values operated parallel to each other in the society and even the monarchists adopted the republican values without realizing that they, in the long-run, had adverse implications to everyone. The original idea of republicanism was so pervasive and enlightened to exhibit any signs of monarchism. Therefore, instead of existing on its own, republicanism joined with the monarchial mainstream, mingled with it and influenced it by changing its direction. Thus, during the 18th century, the republicanisms did not displace monarchy but only transformed it. What Constituted the Republicanism According to Wood, the tradition of the classical republican was that man is naturally a political being and who achieved great moral satisfaction in being a part of a self-governing republic. Thus public or political liberty, now commonly known as positive liberty, was derived by participating in government. This political liberty, in turn, guaranteed the protection of private rights and personal liberty of the people now referred to as negative liberty. During that time, the positive and negative liberties were not clearly distinguished and were often mistakenly confused to be one and the same thing. Liberty could only be realized if the individuals were virtuous where they were ready to compromise their individual private interests for the benefit of the community such as serving in public offices without demanding any monetary pay. Of course, the virtue could only be achieved where the citizens were equal, independent and active. One had to be independent of the common and ordinary interests in the marketplace. Any kind of dependence was perceived to be corruption. Republicanism was only concerned with public virtue. Private virtues were often disregarded as they were thought to contribute to selfishness where men only cared for themselves and no one else. They made a person pursue his/her own interests at the expense of community interests. They prevented men from performing their role in the society to advance community interests and thus civic duty.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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