• American Government

    As the Constitutional Convention of 1787 came to a close, after three and a half months of deliberation, a lady asked Dr. Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"  "A republic," replied the Doctor, "if you can keep it." -Anecdote from the records of the Federal Convention of 1787, ED., Max Farrand, Vol. 3, Appendix A, 1911

    "'A republic... if you can keep it.'  The founders were not at all optimistic about the future of the Republic.  There had been only a handful of other republics in all of human history, and most were small and far away.  The founders' pessimism, though, came not from history but from their knowledge of human nature.  A republic, to survive, needed not only the consent of the governed but also their active participation.  It was not a machine that would go of itself; free societies do not stay free without the involvement of their citizens." - Richard Stengel, Time Magazine, 10 September 2007

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