A Definition of Republicanism

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Republicanism is the ideology embraced by members of a republic -- a form of government in which leaders are elected for a specific period by the preponderance of the citizenry, and laws are passed by leaders for the benefit of the entire republic, rather than a select aristocracy. In an ideal republic, leaders are selected from among the working citizenry, serve the republic for a defined period, then return to their work, never to serve again.

Republicanism stresses several key concepts; notably, the importance of civic virtue, the benefits of universal political participation, the dangers of corruption, the need for separate powers and a healthy reverence for the rule of law.

From these concepts, one paramount value stands apart -- political liberty. For Republicans, political liberty entails not only freedom from government interference in private affairs, it also places great emphasis on self-discipline and self-reliance. Political liberty keeps government out of individuals' lives (unless to do this threatens the republic as a whole), it also prevents the government from becoming a guardian to its individuals. The role of government in a republic is to safeguard the collective republic.

Pronunciation: ripublikinizim

Examples: Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.

-- John Adams

Citizenship is what makes a republic; monarchies can get along without it.
-- Mark Twain

The true republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.
-- Susan B. Anthony

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Hawkins, Marcus. "A Definition of Republicanism." ThoughtCo, Apr. 22, 2017, thoughtco.com/a-definition-of-republicanism-3303634. Hawkins, Marcus. (2017, April 22). A Definition of Republicanism. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/a-definition-of-republicanism-3303634 Hawkins, Marcus. "A Definition of Republicanism." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/a-definition-of-republicanism-3303634 (accessed January 16, 2018).