Fisher-Ames (1758-1808) warned his countrymen of the dangers of democracy.
Fisher-Ames (1758-1808) warned his countrymen of the dangers of democracy.

(I’m indebted to one of my long-time heroes, John F. McManus, patriot extraordinaire and the long time President, now President Emeritus, of The John Birch Society, for the inspiration for this article, and I quote freely from his article titled: “A Republic, If You Can Keep It”, published January 18, 2021 in the best and most informative bi-weekly news magazine in this nation—The New American magazine.  (Subscriptions available at JBS. Org., or free with membership in the John Birch Society).

Fisher Ames (1758-1808) served his new nation as a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts for the entire eight years that George Washington served as our first President (1789-1797).  Ames, a dedicated patriot, had some cogent—and accurate—observations about “democracy” that need to be dredged from the darkness of liberal mendacity and the perfidy of putrid politicians and mediocre “talking heads” who love to mindlessly prattle about the “glories of our democracy”.  For example, consider the following observations that Fisher Ames left for posterity:

  • “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way”;
  • Democracy is a government by the passions of the multitude or, no less correctly, according to the vices and ambitions of their leaders”;
  • (Democracy’s majority rule) “is one of the intermediate stages toward tyranny”;
  • “Democracy, in its best state, is but the politics of Bedlam, while kept chained, its thoughts are frantic, but when it breaks loose, it kills the keeper, fires the building, and perishes”;
  • “…(T)he framers of the Constitution intended our government should be a republic, which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism”.

Space limitations prevent me from quoting several other of our Founders, who also wisely knew that a “democracy” was one of the WORST forms of government that could be fastened upon a nation and its people.  I assume that all educated Americans (a dwindling species in our day) have heard of the confrontation between Benjamin Franklin and Mrs.  Powell, wife of a man well known in colonial Philadelphia.  After the 1787 RUNAWAY Constitutional Convention  (a CON CON) concluded in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), Mrs. Powell approached Franklin and asked:

“Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”  Franklin responded, “A REPUBLIC, MADAME, IF  YOU CAN KEEP IT!” 

This was undoubtedly one of the most astute, and cautionary, prophecies ever uttered by anyone in the long history of mankind’s struggle with the propensity of some men to dominate and tyrannize other men.

Ever since I can remember, and for many generations, Americans have been referring to our American constitutional  republic as a “democracy”, and politicians and other leaders who should know better are always assuring our people that democracy was (and is)  “a good thing”.  In particular, ever since the 2020 POTUS election was stolen from President Trump (and it surely was), Americans have been listening to the constant drumbeats that conservatives/Trump supporters/Republicans are assaulting our “democracy” over their efforts to expose the certain voter fraud and illegally manufactured votes for Comrade Joe Biden that have now been conclusively proved to have occurred. 

For example, a recent opinion piece in The New  York Times by Jesse Wegman opined: “The Republican Party is Attacking Democracy”.  Vanity Fair also warned: “Republicans Still Rushing to the Frontlines in Trump’s War Against Democracy.”  Even the super-sleazy Marxist, former President Comrade Barack Obama, assured the American people

that our democracy had been “stained” by what Trump was saying.  (Our Republic surely WAS “stained” by Comrade Obama). Sadly, it is not just the enemies of our republic who assure us that we are now, and always have been, a “democracy”, for even some of those who should know better, and who are ostensibly on the side of the “good guys”, reiterate the same nonsense.  A case in point:  Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s long time attorney, said: “If we allow elections in the future to be conducted the way this election was conducted, we will have lost our democracy”!   Well, for certain we’ll have lost our REPUBLIC! 

I’ve previously written several articles on this topic of “Republics vs. Democracies”, and I urge you to log onto <>, click on my name under Local Columnists on our home page, and at the bottom of each article list, search the archives for those articles, the titles of which make them fairly  obvious as to what I was writing about.  Our Founders were surely wise and astute men, most of them Christians who had studied their Bibles for many years.  When they wrote, in our Declaration of Independence, that “Men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”, they knew, as John McManus wrote: “…that such rights should not be violated by an unrestrained majority any more than they should be violated by an unrestrained king or monarch.  In fact, they recognized that majority rule would quickly degenerate into mobocracy and then into tyranny. They had studied the history of both the Greek democracies and the Roman Republic.  They had a clear  understanding of the relative freedom and stability that had characterized the latter, and of the strife and turmoil—quickly followed by despotism—that had characterized the former.  In drafting the Constitution, they created a government of law and not of men; a republic and not a democracy.”  I.E. ‘Lex Rex’, not ‘Rex Lex’.

So then, if we concur that our nation was originally conceived as a ‘constitutional republic’, what has happened to us?  What happened to that noble republic?  Why have our leaders in all levels of government taken to assuring Americans that our “democracy” is in peril, when quite obviously it is our “constitutional republic” that is, for all intents, on LIFE SUPPORT today?  I wish the answers to those questions were readily apparent to our people, and easy to explain.  But they aren’t!  While our people were reasonably knowledgeable about republics vs. democracies in the late 18th and most of the 19th centuries, by the dawn of the 20th century our leaders were assuring us that Americans had to “make the world safe for democracy”.  Throughout the 19th century, despite the efforts of shadowy groups composed of a mixed bag of Marxists, leftist religious cultists, abolitionists, anti-constitutionalists, militarists, and the very wealthy who subsidized them, to trash our U.S. Constitution and establish some form of a collectivist society, our American people generally prospered because they continued to subscribe to the wisdom of our Founding generation who gave us a “republican” form of government and who encouraged free enterprise. 

What did some notable people of the 19th century believe about “democracy”?  Here’s a sampling of some of them:

  • John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835, said: “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”
  • James Lowell, the American poet and writer, cautioned his countrymen that: “democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, another famous poet and author, wrote that: “democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.”
  • Thomas Macauly, a British statesman, observed: “I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.”
  • Lord Acton, well known British statesman, reminded the people of his nation and ours: “The one prevailing evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather that party, not always the majority that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”

Sadly, by the time that the 20th century rolled around, two famous presidents were assuring Americans that the U.S. was a “democracy” from its beginnings, being established as such by our Founders.  Although older, better-educated Americans knew better, the younger people of those times bought the lies—the rewriting of American history—hook, line, and sinker.  For example:

  • President Woodrow Wilson, who in 1916 appealed to his countrymen to enter WW1 “to make the world safe for democracy”. Wilson was a notorious racist who despised the U.S. Constitution.
  • President Franklin Roosevelt, who in 1940 claimed that America “must be the great arsenal of democracy”. Roosevelt was a long-time big government socialist and communist sympathizer.

It’s been going downhill ever since, as the line between “democracy” and “republic” got more and more blurry, on purpose! 

NEXT TIME we’ll explore this deliberate push to “fade out” our historic republican form of government and “fade in” the “democracy” so favored by collectivists, socialists, Marxists, and sundry other scumbags, including our present pseudo-president and his entire administration, and why they prefer the latter over the former.

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