The Instigator
Coremeister13
Pro (for)
Losing
35 Points
The Contender
Lightkeeper
Con (against)
Winning
47 Points

The United States of America is a Republic not a Democracy

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 14 votes the winner is...
Lightkeeper
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/10/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,894 times Debate No: 5936
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (14)

 

Coremeister13

Pro

So basically this is the debate, I am arguing that the United States of America is a republic, and you my oponet are arguing it is a democracy. Now on to the debate.

Often times teachers, or other news worthy figures will refer tot he United States as a democracy, and other times they will refer to it as a republic, and to most people the terms are synonymous, but there is a major difference. In my opening argument I will include the following:
1. Defining the difference between a republic and a democracy
2. Thoughts from the founding fathers
3. Our history and our constitution

First of all lets define the definition of a democracy. The word democracy comes from the words demo + kratia literally meaning government by or of the people.

When defining the word republic the word comes from he Latin words res + republica meaning everybody' s thign or interest. The Merriam Webster dictionary offers this definition of the modern word: a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law. The exact definition clearly explains that a republic is a group of elected officials with a supreme leader such as our president.

The difference between the two forms of government basically a republic: Rule by Law vs a democracy: Rule by Majority. While a republic is a government ruled by a Constitution a democracy is basically mob rule.

Not once in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution is the word democracy mentioned. We sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic and we pledge allegiance to the flag of "the Republic for which it stands." Even the "Father of the Constitution" James Madison warns of the dangers of a democracy: "In a pure democracy there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such 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." This was stated in the Federalist 10.

That is my opening argument and I can't wait for whoever responds.

Sources:
1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://www.devvy.com...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
4. http://www.garymcleod.org...
Lightkeeper

Con

I thank my opponent for this opportunity.

I contend that The United States of America is both a republic and a democracy.

My opponent's definition of democracy is:
"1 a: government by the people ; especially : rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections" (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Let's look at this again... a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

I contend that the USA has very much such a system as that in the above definition. The people vote (directly) for their Local, State and Federal representatives. The people vote for some judges. The people vote for the President. The USA may not be a "pure democracy" (one where each person votes on each issue), however it is very much a democracy. Indeed, pure democracies do not exist in today's world.

Wikipedia describes the USA as follows:
"The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a constitutional republic, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law."[44] It is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy, though U.S. citizens residing in the territories are excluded from voting for federal officials.[45] "
(http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Furthermore, the USA is ranked as the 17th most democratic country in the world and classed as a "functioning democracy" (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

My opponent's contention that democracy is mob rule finds no support in any dictionary or encyclopedia definition I have come across. Neither does his contention that a democracy does not have a constitution nor that a republic necessarily does have one.

The fact that the Constitution does not mention the word "democracy" does not mean that the USA is not a democracy. It is not up to the Constitution, nor is it up the founding fathers, to decide what the definition of "democracy" is.

I have read my opponent's sources. Firstly, both of his sources (devvy.com and garymcleod.org) are basically opinion-based essays. Secondly, neither of them is written by anyone who can be said to be an expert in the field. Thirdly, neither of them is in line with the dictionary definition of democracy; a definition that my opponent himself has taken the liberty to use. Thirdly, I contend that my opponent's use of those sources must be limited to his argument. In other words, they can be used to say "what I have written as my argument was also supported by someone else". They can't, however, be used as an argument in and of itself. In other words, any reasoning put in those sources by their authors does not form part of the present debate. To form such part, it would have to be written into my opponent's argument within the debate.

I have demonstrated that the USA is a democracy. It fairly and squarely meets the very definition used by my opponent. Secondly, it is described by wikipedia as a democracy. Thirdly, it is 17th in the democracy index.

Is the USA a republic?
The definition of "republic" is as follows:
"1 a (1): a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2): a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1): a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2)"
(http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Again this is a source used by my opponent in his very argument.

The first part of the definition distinguishes republic from a monarchy. This is in fact (I would suggest) the most common usage given to the term. The second part of the definition is virtually identical to the definition of democracy.

The USA is undoubtedly a republic.

I will note as a matter of interest that not every democracy is a republic. The UK is a democratic monarchy. Australia is a federal democratic monarchy. Spain is a democratic monarchy.

I conclude by saying that the USA is both a republic and a democracy.
Debate Round No. 1
Coremeister13

Pro

First of all I thank my opponet for his response. But the problem is that his response did not prove the argument the debate was set on. He argued that he would prove and that the U.S. is boh a republic and a democracy, but that is not the terms of the debate. I state in my opening statement that, "So basically this is the debate, I am arguing that the United States of America is a republic, and you my oponet are arguing it is a democracy." It clearly shows that he is arguing that the U.S. is a demcracy, as in the the form of government. And I am arguing that it is a republic, not arguing it has parts of both, because in many forms of government you can find similarities. He even states near the end of his argument that "The USA is undoubtedly a republic."

Looking into the definitions he misrepresents both definitions. Although both definitions do state that both a democracy and a republic can have representation there are clear differences. The base differences, are that:
1."a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president ." Are government has a leader, a president who is elcted by officials, the definition of democracy does not include a cheif of state, or leader.
2." a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law" Basically in a republic we elect officers and representitives to govern for us. At first glance this may seem no different then the term used for democracy. But in the term republic it states at the end, "... and governing according to law." This clearly shows that although we elect are officials they must follow a set of laws, or outlines, an example would be our Constitution. While a democracy's definition only shows majority rule, where they must not follow set guidline, while a in a republic they must.

Unless my opponet is able to show that we are a democracy NOT a republic, as stated in the openign lines, then he will not be able to win this debate
NOTE: I am sorry if I may come off arrogant. I do not mean too, because it is hard to express emotion in text. Thank you, and I cannot wait for you response.
Lightkeeper

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

My opponent claims that I have not countered his Resolution. He claims that my job in this debate was to prove that USA is a democracy and that USA is not a republic. He further says that I what I have done instead is argued that USA has elements of each.

The resolution is "The USA is a Republic, not a Democracy". This is what I often call a "double resolution" because proving it involves proving two things. Unless my opponent proves both that the USA is a Republic AND that the USA is not a Democracy, he has not proven his resolution.

It is true that he contended in R1 that he is to argue that USA is a Republic and I am to argue that it is a Democracy. And we have done just that. I have argued that it is a Democracy. However, nowhere in R1 has my opponent demanded that I prove that USA is not a Republic. He cannot impose that obligation on me now that we are in Round 2.

My opponent has posted dictionary definitions of each term. They are virtually identical. He has, however, argued that there is a difference between the two terms by claiming that Democracy is a rule by mob. There is a reason why he has argued this. You see, to prove his resolution that USA is a Republic and not a Democracy, he must prove that the two are mutually exclusive, at least insofar as they apply to the USA. I contend he has not proven that as even his own definitions are both met by the factual circumstances of the USA. In addition, he has presented no argument for his contention that a democracy is mob rule.

Am I required in this debate to prove that USA is not a Republic? I am not. It's not expressed in R1 and it certainly doesn't flow from my opponent's double resolution. The onus is on my opponent to prove the double resolution (both of its "limbs") and he has attempted this by arguing that the two terms are different in that Democracy is mob rule.

I contend that I can win this debate if only I can prove that the USA is both a republic and a democracy, in other words that it is not the case that "The USA is a Republic, not a Democracy". If for example I posted a debate "Beet root is a plant part, not food", would that resolution fail if my opponent showed that beat root is both? The answer is "YES". It would fail. Proving that the resolution is not correct defeats the resolution.

My opponent claims that I have misrepresented the dictionary definitions. I have done no such thing. The USA meets both. I quote them from his post:

1."a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president ."
>>>> The USA meets his definition.

2. 2." a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law"
>>>> The USA meets this definition.

My opponent now appears to argue that in a democracy, the elected officials do not need to govern "according to law" whereas in a republic they do. Some points on this:

1. If the supreme power resides in a body of citizens then it is an obvious implication that the officials govern according to law. Secondly it is the officials who make law in the first place; both in a democracy and in a republic.

2. He argues that a republic has a constitution (as an example of "according to law") whereas a democracy does not. That's simply untrue, even though his dictionary definition doesn't mention a constitution. Here's a quote from the US Dept of State ("What is democracy?"):

"When a representative democracy operates in accordance with a constitution that limits the powers of the government and guarantees fundamental rights to all citizens, this form of government is a constitutional democracy. " (http://usinfo.state.gov...). That article also gives an example of New England (USA) when discussing modern democracy and dealing with the idea of pure (direct) democracy.

Another quote (same source): "Democracy is more than a set of constitutional rules and procedures that determine how a government functions. " Since it is "MORE than" it must also INCLUDE constitutional rules.

And one more quote (same source again), directly on the point of "according to law":

"In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. For this reason, it is possible to identify the time-tested fundamentals of constitutional government, human rights, and equality before the law that any society must possess to be properly called democratic."

I contend that the US Dept of State hits the nail right on its head with the above statement.

3. My opponent argues that a Republic has a chief of state whereas a democracy does not. Every country has a chief of state. That's a simple fact. However, in a democratic monarchy, such chief of state may be the monarch as opposed to an elected figure. That's the main difference between a democracy and a republic. Thus, the UK is a democracy but not a republic. A republic cannot have a monarch. However, most democracies do not have one either. Does this difference mean the US is not a democracy? No, it does not. The US meets every criterion of Democracy. It meets every part of every definition of democracy that I have seen. It certainly meets my opponent's dictionary definitions.

At the end my opponent again claims that for me to win this debate I must prove that the USA is a democracy and NOT a republic. He is simply incorrect. That was never stipulated. It was not in his Resolution. It was also not in his Round 1. All I am required to do is prove that the USA is a democracy. Once I have done that, I have disproven one limb of his resolution. Since his resolution is a double resolution and is not put in the alternative (eg "The USA is a republic OR not a democracy"), disproving either limb of it disproves the entire resolution. Remember my example of "Beet root is a plant part, not food"? If I posted that, my opponent would not have to prove that beet root is food and NOT a plant part. It would be sufficient for him to prove that I'm incorrect because beet root is in fact both.
Debate Round No. 2
Coremeister13

Pro

Once again I thank my opponent for his response.

So my opponent has decided that I never made it clear that I was supposed to prove the U.S was a republic not a democracy. But in his standards it is impossible to win. In my first paragraph of round I clearly state that I am arguing that the US is a republic, and my opponent is arguing it is a democracy. How this gives leeway for him to argue that he can win by jus proving that it shares certain elements, is not what I had stated, and what he refuse's to accept I stated, instead interpreting the entire debate in a completely different way adding what he has to do. SO I will stand by what I said in that unless he prove that the USA is a democracy, then he loses. And unless I'm able to prove that the U.S. is a republic then I lose, simple.

Now I will show what elements the USA shares with a republic, and once again show the differences. The U.S. in definition is a Constitutional Republic. Wikipedia describes a Constitutional Republic as a, "A constitutional republic is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government's power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican; should the judicial review be maximized."

If you say that Wikipedia is not a reliable source just look at round one in which my opponent uses Wiki therefore allowing me to use it as a source. The entire definition fits the United States. We elect our rep. and other officials, and they must govern according to law, in which they create laws only if they do not go against the Constitution. An example in the U.S. would be if someone tried to pass a bill that limits free speech, it would not be allowed because it goes against the Consitution. This is a clearr difference between the definition we have presented in a democracy is that a democracy is that a a democracy does not contain a Constitution that limits the powers of the government. The definition even states that it contains 3 branches, as witht he U.S.A. Also our heads of state are elected and does not automatically gain it.

I presented a debate on whether the U.S. is a republic or a democracy, my opponet admits the U.S.A is a republic when in round 1 he states "The USA is undoubtedly a republic." What else do I need to prove, when it fits all the definitions of a republic, my opponet admits its a republic, and there are differences between the 2 forms of government that are made clear. So in my closing argument I state that unless you believe that just because my opponet can show a single similarity of voting, then auotmaically it is not a republic and then he turns around and says it is a republic, yet stating it isn't, then my opponet has not made it clear what he is arguing, and therefore has lost. My opponets refusal to accept the guidlines on the basis a basis that I never stated it, and I did, is nto an excuse. The tititle is not a double negative, it is a clear choice between republic or democracy, it is not between republic, or both.
Lightkeeper

Con

I thank my opponent for this debate.

My opponent's claim was that the "USA is a republic, not a democracy". I have contended that he is not correct; that the USA is in fact both a republic and a democracy.

My opponent has posted links to dictionary definitions of both terms. I have taken no issue with those. In fact, I adopted those definitions. In accordance with those definitions, the USA is both a republic and a democracy.

It is not a question of some "single similarity in voting", as my opponent has claimed in his final round. I don't want to go as far as to say that my opponent is being dishonest by making that statement. You have seen the definitions, they are there for you to look at again. I have clearly demonstrated, using my opponent's OWN dictionary definitions, that the USA meets every single word of the definition of democracy. The USA IS IN FACT a democracy inasmuch as it is a republic. It has been ranked highly on the democratic index. It is there described as a "functioning democracy".

This only leaves one issue. I have addressed it before and I will address it again. My opponent claims that I was expected to prove that the USA is a democracy and that it is not a republic. I disagree with that. It is HIS resolution that states that the USA is a republic and not a democracy. By showing that the USA is both a republic and a democracy, I have proven his resolution wrong. That is all that is required of me. It is true that he stipulated that I need to show that the USA is a democracy (in his Round 1). However, I have in fact shown it.

My opponent seeks to rely on wikiepedia. I take no issue with that. I have in fact posted you a definition from wikipedia itself which classes the USA as a democracy. See my Round 1.

My opponent now says that in "my standards" it was impossible to win (he doesn't make it clear just for which of the parties it was impossible to win). These are not "my standards", ladies and gentlemen. My opponent's resolution made it clear that he sought to prove that the USA is a republic and not a democracy. Nowhere in the resolution NOR in his Round 1 does he contend that I need to prove that the USA is a democracy and NOT a republic. In these circumstances, all I have to do is disprove his resolution. I have done just that.

I thank you for taking your time to read this debate. I urge you to accept, based on clear evidence, that the USA is both a republic and a democracy and therefore my opponent's resolution fails. I ask that you vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by theitalianstallion 8 years ago
theitalianstallion
*republic is, to be,......*
Posted by theitalianstallion 8 years ago
theitalianstallion
republic is to be simple a government in which representatives are elected

USA is a rupublic
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
democratic Republic. not republican Democracy or whatnot... democratic Republic.
Posted by Killer542 8 years ago
Killer542
Depending on how you look at it the US could be either a republic or an indirect democracy, as they are basically the same thing.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
At first glance, Con seemed to be arguing semantics. However, he convinced that Republic and Democracy are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, Pro was indeed burdened with a double resolution. He should have shown that it was not a democracy in addition to showing it was a republic. Of course, Pro tried to do this later on, but his own definitions worked in Con's favor. I awarded Con with most convincing argument. Con also had better spelling and grammar and awarded Con most reliable sources since Pro's sources were used against him. Conduct was a tie.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
Lightkeeper
sadolite,

I never argued about attributes. I argued about the definition. The same one that Pro posted. Anyway, thanks for your interest and vote.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
I voted Pro because the bottom line is, the USA is a Republic. It does have democratic attributes as Con states but it is officially a Republic none the less.
Posted by RenegadeIconoclast 8 years ago
RenegadeIconoclast
Good debate, you two. Affirmative painted himself into a corner with his debate resolution. You tied on conduct and sources, the rest went to con.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
You said so after I had already thought so. You merely confirmed my thoughts. You wouldn't say you didn't mean to do something if you didn't do it. Regardless, that is not the only point I made about conduct.
Posted by Coremeister13 8 years ago
Coremeister13
mangani i was saying that I didnt mean to come across arrogant not saying I was,
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Vote Placed by Jerred102 8 years ago
Jerred102
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