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Republican Government

The Founders‘ study of ancient republics and philosophers like Thomas Hobbes and Baron de Montesquieu led them to determine that republican government, also called representative government or mixed government, was most conducive to a good way of life. The people are the source of government power, and they elect representatives who make laws to serve their interests and for the common good. James Madison explained, “we may define a republic to be…a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.”

The Constitution guarantees in Article IV, Section 4 that the federal government will provide each state with a republican form of government.

Republican government requires that citizens practice civic values such as respect, moderation, and justice, and understand that one responsibility of citizenship is that their personal interests must sometimes give way to the common good. As George Washington explained, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”