About American democracy
The Red Hat cartoon’s message on the commentary page of your Aug. 23, 2020 issue boasted, “Make America a Democracy Again.”
This reminds me of the message our nation’s Founders would, if they could, convey to any student of history found at The Aspen Times as well as within the city of Aspen.
Their label on the Red Hat would be, “Make America a Republic Again.”
During their preliminary debates on the forms of government our nation should pursue, they overwhelmingly rejected democracy. In their study of history, they believed democracy would eventually lead to mob rule. The word “democracy” is found on only 40 lonely pages of the 1,400 pages of a collection of the Founder’s political writing from 1760 through 1850.
A message from Congressman,Fisher Ames,in 1789 was clear; he wrote: “The great object, then of political wisdom in framing the Constitution was to guard against licentiousness that inbred malady of democracies.” In an old dictionary I found the word, “licentiousness” with the companion words, anarchy, disorder, irresponsibly and self-indulgence.
The word “democracy” is certainly not found in any of our founding documents, including the U. S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the amendments to the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton said, “Real liberty is never found in … the extremes of democracy.” John Adams said, “There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” Benjamin Franklin described democracy as “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”