A constitutional Republic

The Basics

The Difference Between a Democracy and a Republic

In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority from the will of the majority.

Embarked as they were on a wholly unprecedented effort to construct a constitutional government for an already large and continuously expanding country, the framers could have had no clear idea of how their experiment would work in practice. Fearful of the destructive power of “factions,” for example, they did not foresee that in a country where laws are enacted by representatives chosen by the people in regular and competitive elections, political parties inevitably become fundamentally important institutions.