A republic if you can keep it conference new america


Upon exiting the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a passerby whether the new constitution would provide a monarchy or a republic. “A republic,” he answered, and famously added, “if you can keep it.”


What does it take to “keep a republic”?

What does it take to “keep a republic”? Nearly two and a half centuries into this experiment in self-governance, Americans tend to think that they keep their republic by relying on constitutional structure: separated powers, federalism, checks and balances. But constitutional structure, like any structure, does not maintain itself.

What did ‘a republic replied the doctor if you can keep it’?

A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Dec. 18 opened the House debate on two articles of impeachment against President Trump. (The Washington Post) The notes are both more and less specific than the legend.

Did Ben Franklin say ‘a republic if you can keep it’?

To which Franklin supposedly responded, with a rejoinder at once witty and ominous: “A republic, if you can keep it.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the first to drop this anecdote as she opened the debate in the morning.

What is Neil Gorsuch’s ‘a republic if you can keep it’?

Last autumn, Justice Neil Gorsuch published A Republic, If You Can Keep It, a collection of essays, speeches, and judicial opinions in which he elaborates on his sense of the Supreme Court’s proper place in constitutional government, and in the country more generally.


Who said America is a republic if you can keep it?

“A republic if you can keep it”: Elizabeth Willing Powel, Benjamin Franklin, and the James McHenry Journal.

Did Ben Franklin say a democracy if you can keep it?

When Benjamin Franklin was asked after a session of the Constitutional Convention, “”What kind of a government have you given us? “” he replied, “”A democracy, if you can keep it. “” Our republic is founded on the principle that it will continue only as long as the people keep democracy alive.

What was Ben Franklin’s famous quote after signing the Declaration of Independence?

To which Franklin supposedly responded, with a rejoinder at once witty and ominous: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

What was Ben Franklin’s opinion on the Constitution?

Speaking at the Philadelphia convention in September 1787, Benjamin Franklin offered his cautious and measured support for the new Constitution: “I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present.

Is the United States of America a democratic republic?

Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law notes that the United States exemplifies the varied nature of a constitutional republic—a country where some decisions (often local) are made by direct democratic processes, while others (often federal) are made by democratically elected representatives.

What is Madison’s definition of a republic?

This corresponds to the Madisonian republic, which means the system of government where the citizens of the state elect representatives to make decisions for them using three powerful branches: the executive, the judicial, and the legislative.

What is the most famous phrase from the Constitution?

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of …

What is Thomas Jefferson’s most famous quote?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal. . . .” “it is the great parent of science & of virtue: and that a nation will be great in both, always in proportion as it is free.” “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

What was Benjamin Franklin’s last great quote?

“I have the Honor to be with the greatest Esteem and Respect Sir, Your most obedient and most humble Servant,” Franklin said in his last letter. While the concept of a “death and taxes” quote existed before Franklin, the publication of his papers in 1817 made the proverb a staple in American popular culture.

What is Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quote?

Benjamin Franklin’s Famous Quotes“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.” … “He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” … “There never was a good war or a bad peace.” … “He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.” … “Better slip with foot than tongue.”More items…

Why did the Founding Fathers want a republic?

The Founding Fathers wanted republicanism because its principles guaranteed liberty, with opposing, limited powers offsetting one another.

Is the United States a constitutional republic?

While often categorized as a democracy, the United States is more accurately defined as a constitutional federal republic.

What was Benjamin Franklin’s reaction to the US Constitution?

Benjamin Franklin, ever the optimist even at the age of 81, gave what was for him a remarkably restrained assessment in his final speech before the Constitutional Convention: “…when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views.” He thought it impossible to expect a “perfect production” from such a gathering, but he believed that the Constitution they had just drafted, “with all its faults,” was better than any alternative that was likely to emerge.

What sort of government did Franklin want?

His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”. The brevity of that response should not cause us to under-value its essential meaning: democratic republics …

Is the Constitution a stronger document than the Philadelphia Convention?

Moreover, our Constitution is a stronger, better document than it was when it initially emerged from the Philadelphia Convention. Through the amendment process (in particular, through the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th Amendments), it has become the protector of the rights of all the people, not just some of the people.

Is the US Constitution a symbol of unity?

To be sure, the US Constitution itself has not only survived the crises confronting it in the past, but in so doing, it has in itself become our nation’s most powerful symbol of unity–a far preferable alternative to a monarch or a national religion, the institutions on which most nations around the world have relied.

Who opened the House debate on impeachment?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Dec. 18 opened the House debate on two articles of impeachment against President Trump. (The Washington Post) The notes are both more and less specific than the legend. It was a “lady” who asked him, not just “someone.”.

Who said “Doctor, what have we got”?

But none of the founders had the day Benjamin Franklin had. As the story was told and retold on the House floor, Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention in 1787, when someone shouted out, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”

America is a republic if you can keep it

Americans and now the rest of the free world live under a very special form of government. One that was built to preserve a system of self-governance and most importantly, individual liberty. It was not built to cater to the wishes of the mob such as a pure democracy and it was not built to cater to the elite such as an oligarchy or a monarchy.

The Separation of Powers Doctrine

The Separation of Powers doctrine is something Justice Gorsuch spends much time speaking about and for good reason. It is the bulwark against tyranny and essential to a system of self-government.

Civility and Civics

What may be just as important as these institutional checks and balances on government are checks and balances on ourselves as well. Politics is warfare by other means which is why the government needs so many restrictions.


With the ideological balance of the Supreme Court now shifted towards the Originalist side of judicial interpretation, reading this book will provide a strong explanation about this judicial philosophy.

Key Takeaway

Justice Gorsuch is a shining example of a patriot and a public servant. He is someone who genuinely cares about the institutions the United States of America was built on and recognizes that those institutions mean nothing without an engaged citizenry.

What is republican virtue?

As the late Irving Kristol argued in an essay 45 years ago, republican virtue is fundamentally the virtue of public-spiritedness as the Founding Fathers knew it: It means curbing one’s passions and moderating one’s opinions in order to achieve a large consensus that will ensure domestic tranquility.

Who said the Supreme Court is not well?

Garrett Epps: ‘The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it.’. Constitutional government, by contrast, requires an administration staffed by the nation’s best servants, not by a president’s favorite friends.

What is the essential goodness of the American people?

While the “essential goodness of the American people is a profound reservoir of strength, ” it “cannot be taken for granted”; it “need [s] constant tending.”. In an era of fractured politics, the blessings of freedom come “with the duty of having to listen to and tolerate other points of view,” because “democracy depends on our willingness, …

What are the themes of the book “The Constitution”?

Many of the book’s themes—originalism, textualism, and the structural Constitution —are familiar to lawyers and the broader public. But Gorsuch, like Roberts, goes beyond familiar structural arguments and calls for civic education and civility, reminding Americans that the Constitution’s structure is not self-preserving.

Why did Hamilton champion energy in the executive?

Hamilton championed energy in the executive not for its own sake but for “the steady administration of the laws” and “the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.”.

What did Roberts call on the federal courts?

On December 31, in a letter accompanying his annual report on the work of the federal courts, Roberts called on federal judges —and everyone else—to invest themselves in the preservation of constitutional democracy.

Why is judicial independence important?

Hamilton argued that judicial independence is necessary because constitutional government requires judges of a particular temperament, judges whose deep learning in the law makes them willing to “be bound down”—more accurately, to bind themselves down—“by strict rules and precedents.”. It requires judicial self-restraint.

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