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Basic American Civics 101

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In 1789, our Founding Fathers gave America a Constitutional Republic

Because of them, Americans were born free. However, because we have lost sight of basic truths,we could very shortly lose our Republic and become enslaved in tyranny. At one time, these principles of government and basic truths were taught in every school. By age 10, every child clearly understood these principles and truths. Sadly, today not only are these basics of freedom rarely, if ever taught in our schools, most adults know little or nothing about them. The purpose of this article is to ‘refresh’ our memories on these basic principles of freedom.

1. Morality is vital if freedom is to exist. Unless we as a society have moral fortitude and character, we will be unable to have self-government. An immoral, free people is an oxymoron. It makes no more sense than “dry water”. When a society allows morality to decline, the increased abuse of individual civil rights quickly follows and more government is necessary. Criminals need jailers, domesticated animals need herdsmen and an immoral society needs a police state. Our degree of freedom is in direct proportion to our level of morality. As a famous radio personality was known for saying “Self government will not work without self control”.

2. Ignorance and freedom are mutually exclusive. For a society to be capable of self-government, the citizens must be informed. If they are not, they will vote for the politician who promises the most. They will vote for more and bigger government – until one day they will have total government, i.e. tyranny. Our form of government, (a Republic) is based on this fundamental truth. If we ever abandon it, we will lose our government and our freedom. Moral or immoral, an uninformed electorate will eventually vote itself into slavery.

Only a moral, well-informed electorate will vote for people who put principle over politics and who will limit government to its proper role.

3. Our rights come from God. God created man and gave him certain inalienable rights. Because these rights existed prior to men joining together to form governments, the sole purpose of government is to protect these God-given rights. Government cannot grant us rights that we already have – nor can it legislate out of existence rights that are inalienable.

4. The limitation of government is the very essence of freedom. Mankind is not perfect, therefore, some government is necessary to insure our God-given rights. Because government officials are human, the powers of government must be strictly limited and constantly held in check. The U.S. Constitution limits the power of the Federal Government. Nonetheless, much that the Federal Government does today is unconstitutional. Because we have forgotten the basic truths, we have allowed this abuse of authority to occur. Only if we recall the wisdom of our founding fathers and get back to basics, will we preserve our freedom for future generations.

A Government Of Laws – Or Of Men?

Men created governments (and not vice versa), therefore, the rights of government are based on the God-given rights of the individual. An individual has the right to defend his life, liberty, and property, therefore he also has the right to join with others and form a government to protect his rights. An individual does not have the right to violate the rights of another, and neither does government!

Government should be large enough to secure our God-given rights but not large enough to violate these rights. Those who understand this, clearly comprehend the proper role of government. Our rights would not be secure if there were no government whatsoever. Individuals acting alone would be unable to protect their liberty against the criminal acts of unjust men. In absence of any organized government, anarchy would prevail. Ultimately, the criminals would take control and enslave their fellow citizens.

A system of total government control would also not secure our rights. Such a government might grant its citizens privileges from time to time, but it could also take away those privileges on a whim. When government has total power, individuals have none. Remember the root of the word totalitarian is total!

We Have Been Told a Lie!

For over four generations, people have been told that Communism and Nazism are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. “That’s why Russia and Germany fought against each other during World War II.” It’s simply not true. Communism and Nazism are ideological twins! Both are totalitarian, and both are examples of 100 percent government control. One operates on a country level (Nazi Germany for example) and one attempts to operate on a global level (Communist China as an example).

The True Political Spectrum

Total Gov’t Limited Government Anarchy

Communism Republic No Government
Republic Anarchy

Only under a limited government can our rights be secure! Between anarchy, (no government) on the one extreme and totalitarianism (total government) on the other, liberty can only be secured via a Republic. But wait! There is another form of government on the spectrum – Democracy. Isn’t a Democracy the same thing as a Republic? No, absolutely not!

A Democracy is majority rule and is destructive of liberty because there is no law to prevent the majority from trampling on individual rights. Whatever the majority says goes! A lynch mob is an example of pure democracy in action. There is only one dissenting vote – cast by the person at the end of the rope.

A Republic is a government of law under a Constitution. The Constitution holds the government in check and prevents the majority (acting through their government) from violating the rights of the individual. Under this system of government a lynch mob is illegal. The suspected criminal cannot be denied his right to a fair trial even if a majority of the citizenry demands otherwise.

George Washington warned, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Because our Founding Fathers realized that government, like fire, had to be contained, they gave us a government of laws and not of men. They created a republic and not a democracy. History has shown that no democracy has ever long survived – they have all fallen into a totalitarian form of government.

We Have a Choice

We will either be governed by laws or ruled by men. Because of man’s nature, rule by men (kings, dictators, potentates, supreme leaders, etc) has always ended in tyranny. Only under a government of laws will our God-given rights be secure. This means that a Republic is a haven for liberty and a Democracy is merely a way station into slavery!

Yet today, we hear the word ‘democracy’ and almost never the word ‘republic’. For decades the term ‘democracy’ has been used by politicians, news media and others to describe our political system – when in reality, we were given a Republic. Today, most Americans have become so confused they do not know the difference between these two very different forms of government.

Not only did our Founding Fathers establish a republic, they greatly feared democracy. James Madison (who wrote much of the U.S. Constitution), wrote in “Essay #10” of the Federalist Papers: “…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.”

The United States Constitution does not even contain the word democracy. It does “guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government …”.

Remember when you were a child and recited the Pledge of Allegiance? We said “…and to the Republic for which it stands…”not “…to the Democracy…”

The difference between a republic and a democracy was once widely understood in America. The U.S. War Department (later called the Department of Defense) taught that difference in a training manual (No.2000-25) published in 1928. This official U.S. government document, used at the time for the training of American military personnel, said of democracy:

“A government of the masses.”

“Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of ‘direct’ expression.”

“Results in mobocracy.”

“Attitude toward property is communistic – negating property rights.”

“Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences.” “Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.”

It went on to state: “Our Constitutional fathers, familiar with the strength and weakness of both autocracy and democracy, with fixed principles definitely in mind, defined a representative republican form of government. They ‘made a very marked distinction between a republic and a democracy and said repeatedly and emphatically that they had founded a republic.’“

Is It Constitutional?

The United States of America is not a Democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic consisting of the Federal Government and the state governments. The Federal Government operates under the specific powers delegated to it by the United States Constitution, while each of the state governments operates under a state constitution.

The U.S. Congress is not authorized to make any law it chooses, instead it is bound by this Constitutional mandate. Example: the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably, to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” And the Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Constitution authorizes the Federal Government to protect our God-given rights and to provide for the common defense. It does not authorize the federal government to provide foreign aid handouts, unemployment benefits, subsidized housing units, health care, public education, food stamps, agricultural price supports, universal Internet access or other share-the-wealth communist schemes.

Tragically, much of the legislation that Congress passes is unconstitutional. This abuse of authority has occurred because we have lost sight of basic principles. Your representative in Congress has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. Whenever a new bill comes up for a vote, they should ask themselves: Is It Constitutional? If it is unconstitutional, they should vote against it. If they do not vote against unconstitutional legislation, they have violated their
oath of office and violated your trust! You have the right and obligation to ask them why. You are welcome to copy this pamphlet in its entirety and pass it on to others, just do not make a changes or alterations.

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