Horatio Seymour Quote

“The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it.”

~ Horatio Seymour

Ratings and Comments

Bruce, Alabama

Depends on one's definition of democracy. The American definition includes protection of minorities and minorities opinion and free speech. Speech is not just free for the rich or the majority but for all of us. Some folks claim a there is a difference between a democracy and a republic. That is a specious argument. The word REpublic means return to the people, or back to the people. The prefix RE means return or redo as in retry, try again etcetera so repubic has a more pure democracy ring to it than does the word democracy itself. Ours is a representative democracy. In a literal republic it would mean to return to the people with all questions of public policy.

Robert, Sarasota

Marx said it was the road to Socialism and Lenin said that Democracy was indispensable to Socialism - the intent is honorable but Seymour is right, if we are to be ruled by the people (the definition of the word) then Democracy must take into account the rights of the minorities - as a Democracy is a system where the majority rules and that majority can either be greedy and down right evil or philanthropic and compassionate - the same applies to a Republic that represents the people. Unfortunitly both systems have merit but are abused by their administrators – our present administration is an example of indolance, corruption and abuse of power.

Mike, Norwalk

There is a difference between "A Democracy" and democratic process. Democracy is a form of government. Democratic process does not have form in and of itself; it is uniquely an action given form by an implementing government. The difference between a Representative Republic with democratic process and a Democracy is in the Republic, "We the People" elect persons to represent the individual sovereign with inalienable rights and status while, a Democracy is the majority electing someone or thing (possibly a corporation, a union, etc.) to represent the collective state (government). Democracy's government then holds all rights and privileges aloof from the public and affords or recognizes such by license or otherwise. The merit of our Constitution was to promote a Representative Republic.

Mike, Norwalk

Another fine line distinction of the founders intent to form a Republic vs a Democracy was the definintive name given to the nation. It is the States united or United States, NOT the States Union. "Union" being the sum of the parts becoming one without distinction of individual self sovereignty. The war between the States was politically more about the deployment of a Democracy than anything else. The Constitution was to secure the Representative Republic and the demise of a Democracy.

E Archer, NYC

Jefferson called the US government a 'democratic-republic'. Adams referred to a republic as a nation of laws not of men. We do use some democratic processes for managing the republic; however, majority rule may not abridge natural-born rights. That is what the Constitution was meant to check -- as well as the ambitions of the Executive and Legislative branches.

warren giese, olathe ks

Gee Mike you said the same thing as Horatio but he said it in one sentence!

Mike, Norwalk

warren LOL, you'd think I was getting paid by the word, I guess its just an occupational hazard but, I said it better (-;

ccal, Lewisville

This was before the supreme court rewrote it.

Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT

The term "checks and balances" comes to my mind. I don't know where I saw or heard it, but they're essential conditions for laws.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Democ, MOB RULE ! State Sovereignty vs Individual Sovereignty. Knowing mob rule can vote away the Individual Sovereigns ( Inalienable Rights. ) Simple. Socialism has entered through the democratic process. Our Constitution Thrown aside by the federalist party which came into power after the civil war. Radical republicans, Catholic base religion of the north, corporatist in bed with the bank of England ! Knowing well they would institutionalize " Legalized Plunder " Notice well, the avoiding of mention, the ( Declaration of Independence ) which contains our ( Inalienable Rights ) by any of the current politicians. It is hard to, if not impossible to privately interpret or Declaration. Only one candidate in the GOP has even mentioned the words. The Constitution on the other hand is privately interpreted all the time. " Majority Tyranny " ( Democ , Mob Rule ) within the Supreme Court ! As also every court throughout the nation. Intruding into every aspect of the citizens life. Intervention were it is none of their business, Unconstitutional !!

Mike, Pleasant Hill

Well, it was supposed to check it, like the Second Amendment was to protect our right to keep and bear arms from being infringed, and now we have the specter of "free speech zones" or that the failed war on drugs has all but destroyed the fourth amendment and expanded police powers or the imposition of the income tax destroyed our Fifth Amendment right.

"Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy; such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few." -- John Adams, An Essay on Man's Lust for Power (1763)


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