The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that the Founders designed Congress to be slow. They were deathly afraid of democracy and how changes could be made quickly by a simple majority rule. This is one reason why they designed Congress with two Houses. They designed the House of Representatives to be based on population with representatives elected with a popular vote. They designed the Senate to representative of the states with Senators elected by state legislatures.
The House was supposed to represent democratic principles, while the Senate represented republican principles. Democratic principles means that the Representatives were directly elected by a popular vote of the people, and republican principles means that the Senators were elected by the state representatives of the people. The House and the Senate were both supposed to be slow-moving organizations that would take the time necessary to consider all aspects of any laws they passed. They hoped that a slow-moving legislature would be less likely to infringe on the rights of the people.
The same is true of the Electoral College. The Founders used both democratic and republican principles in the process to elect the President of the United States. Democratic principles are used when the people go to the polls on Election Day and vote for their choice for President. Then republican principles are used when electors in the Electoral College, representing the people in their state, vote for the President.
Bruce R. Booker wrote an article that explains why the Founders designed the federal government to be slow in its actions. He reminds us that the Founding Fathers had just overthrown “the tyrannical rule of King George and His government” and that they did not want the same type of government in their newly established nation.
So, they created a Constitutional Republic, NOT a Democracy and NOT a monarchy! A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people. They must govern to existing constitution. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers can be separated into distinct branches.
This means that “We the People” elect our representatives – all the way to our head of state: The President (not the King) of the United States of America.
Sure, this slows the process of government and legislating and judging, but that’s the way it should be – by design – else, with hasty decisions the rights of “We the People” will be trampled by an out of control federal government….
So the next time that you get frustrated because the federal government works so slowly, thank the Founding Fathers for giving us a republic rather than a democracy. The Senators and the Representatives are supposed to work through bills slowly before sending them to the other House or to the President to sign. Each branch of the federal government -- Legislative, Executive, and Judicial --was designed to check and balance the other two branches.
Booker reminds us that we now have Obamacare because the three branches of the federal government colluded rather than check or balance each other. He says that the same thing happened in Nazi Germany under the dictates of Adolph Hitler.
We know from history that neither circumstance was good for the people. We do not want the House of Representatives and the Senate colluding to pass bills quickly. The Representatives and the Senators need enough time to read the bills before they pass them. We do not want the three branches of our federal government colluding to pass bills and make laws quickly. We want them to take the time to do the business of the people properly and lawfully – even if it does take time.
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