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Affluent Christian Investor | December 8, 2023

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Why The Founding Fathers Despised Democracy

Declaration of Independence (painted by John Trumbull) (1819)

Plato wrote in The Republic, “And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy.”[1]

The Founding Fathers despised democracies.  They desired democratic principles, but not a democracy.  As Plato decrees above, a democracy can easily be commandeered to establish a totalitarian state.  The Founders inherently understand this, and wholly rejected forming a democracy.

…democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.[2]

And Madison goes on to splendidly explain how this very same “erroneous” belief held by collectivists destroys property rights, which is foundational to any free society:

Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.[3]

Madison reiterates the view of Plato over 2000 years prior when, in The Republic, Plato writes that the loss of principles sends a democracy spiraling into tyranny.  “[T]he neglect of other things,” writes Plato, “introduce the change in democracy, which occasions a demand for tyranny.”  Just as Samuel warned the Israelites nearly 3000 years ago as their principles and Faith in God waned, Plato issued a warning which has now befallen the United States. With each Presidential cycle, many Americans demand a powerful strongman to ease their suffering, and falsely and foolishly believe we are a democracy.  “[T]he same disease magnified and intensified by liberty overmasters democracy – the truth being that the excessive increase in anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction,” forewarns Plato, “The excess of liberty, whether in States or individuals, seems only to pass into excess slavery…And so tyranny naturally arises out of democracy.”[4]

Cincinnatus,[5] in Anti Federalist No. 64, gives a description of a democracy.  “A democracy,” declares Cincinnatus, “which, thus bereft of its powers, and shorn of its strength, will stand a melancholy monument of popular impotence.”[6]  Not a raving support of such governmental structures flowing from the pen of Cincinnatus, disclosing the distain our Founders had for such a political structure.

In fact, the word “democracy” appears nowhere in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, and Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution guarantees “to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”[7]  James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, states we are to exist under “republican constitutions,”[8]referencing both the Federal Constitution and the State Constitutions, not constitutions under a democracy.

The functional deficiency of a democracy is unprotected majority rule – or tyranny of the majority.   The majority simply cannot rule otherwise, it could, and would, simply vote in advantages and even the theft and destruction of the minority.  This is the very reason for a moral compact recognizing Fundamental Right; our Natural Right, rights which are bestowed upon us by our Creator.  Therefore, regardless of majority opinion, or vote, these Natural Rights remain always, utterly undisturbed by others; whether government or the majority.  The only purpose of a civil government is to protect our Natural Rights.  Adam Smith elucidated in 1759 that “All government is but an imperfect remedy for the deficiency of [wisdom and virtue];”[9] thus acknowledging the fallen nature of man, as did our Forefathers and Founding Fathers.

California State University professor of political science, Edward Erler, expounds this point, writing, “The majority cannot invade the rights of the minority…Nor can unanimous consent ‘rightfully’ do what is intrinsically unjust…Majority rule itself can operate only within certain bounds.”[10]  Yes, quite often the voice of the majority is completely irrelevant as even the voice of the majority is bound to the sovereign rights of the individual and those rights which God bequeathed upon each of us at Creation.

Attorney and Professor Jenna Ellis explains, “It does not matter to Divine Law whether an individual “agrees” with biblical principles – we are not free under Divine Law to negotiate the fixed, objective scientific and construct of law.”[11]  Natural Law, God’s Law, is immutable and immovable.  And this is why America is a conscious republic, nota democracy.

[1]Plato, 1999 (Originally published in 360 BC), The Republic, Book VIII, (New York, NY: Barnes & Nobles Book), p. 264.

[2]James Madison, November 22, 1787, Federalist Paper No. 10.  Taken from James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers: The Classic Original Edition, (SoHo Books), p. 26.

[3]James Madison, November 22, 1787, Federalist Paper No. 10.  Taken from James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers: The Classic Original Edition, (SoHo Books), p. 26.

[4]Plato, 1999 (Originally published in 360 BC), The Republic, Book VIII, (New York, NY: Barnes & Nobles Book), p. 262 and p. 264.

[5]Cincinnatus was the pseudonym for Founding Father, Arthur Lee, used in his writings addressed to James Wilson in the New York Journel.  The name Cincinnatus was taken from Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (c. 519 – c. 430 BC), the great Roman statesmen and military leader during the early Roman Republic.

[6]Antifederalist Paper No. 64, November 22, 1787, (From the New York Journel).   Taken from Patrick Henry, Robert Yates, and Samuel Byron, The Anti Federalist Papers, 2010 (originally published 1787-1790), “, (Lexington, KY:  Pacific Publishing Studios), p. 136.

[7]Constitution of the United States, September 17, 1787, “Article IV, Section 4.”   Also see Walter Williams, February 23, 2011, “Democracy Verses Liberty,”, [].

[8]James Madison, 1800, “Report to the Virginia General Assembly,” (Virginia General Assembly, House of Delegates, Session of 1799-1800).

[9]Adam Smith, 2014 (originally published in 1759), The Theory of Moral Sentiments, (Lexington, KY: Economic Classics), p. 160.

[10]Edward J. Erler, “From Subjects to Citizens:   The Social Compact Origins of American Citizenship,” in Ronald J. Pestritto and Thomas G. West, ed., 2003, The American Founding and the Social Compact, (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books), p. 182.

[11]Jenna Ellis, Esq., 2015, The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press), p. 116.



Originally published on Townhall Finance.


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