Monday, September 2, 2013

Is America a Republic?

A foremost constitutional scholar and expositor of the compact nature of the American Union, Dr. Donald W. Livingston’s writings and lectures highlight the spirit of American republicanism – true federalism, nullification, secession.  He is president of the acclaimed Abbeville Institute, well-known for training and nurturing future Southern scholars -- his lectures can be found via the website.  The following article was published in the May 2009 issue of Chronicles. (
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
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Is America a Republic?

“The United States is not now and has never been a republic. It is a federation of states, each one of which, in Article IV of the Constitution, is guaranteed a republican form of government. But a federation of republics is not itself a republic any more than a federation of nations in the United Nations, or in the European Union, is a nation. 

Whatever else a republic might be, it is not a service agency of something else.  So instead of talking about “restoring the old Republic,” we should talk of restoring republicanism in a federation of states.  And this can only mean recalling the vast domain of enumerated powers that the Constitution reserves to the states and which have been usurped by that artificial corporation, known as the United States, created by the states for their welfare.

This is not a quibble with words. To talk of the Republic inclines one to think of America as a single political society in the manner of Joseph Story, Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln. In this view, the states are service agencies created by the sovereign will of the American people in the aggregate. That will is expressed through the central government, which, for all practical purposes, has the final say on the limits of its power.  

This means that the states are merely administrative units of a unitary American state. If so, they are not republics at all, but counties. This is how Lincoln viewed them. He asked, “What is this particular sacredness of a State? . . . If a State, in one instance, and a county, in another, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in number of people, where is that State any better than a county?”

Lincoln was tone deaf to the deep social bonds that made it rational for Socrates to take the hemlock and Jefferson Davis to say that if his state seceded he would “hug [Mississippi] to his heart,” and Robert E. Lee to risk all to protect his beloved Virginia. 

A Lincoln scholar, and an admirer, recently acknowledged that “[Lincoln] was intimately attached to almost no one, and this was how he believed community relationships -- local, state, and national – should best function . . . Lincoln imagined America was a nation of strangers.”  This is a perfect picture of a modern unitary state, modeled on that of Thomas Hobbs, with an all-powerful central authority guaranteeing rootless and egoistic individuals their “civil rights.”

It is this unitary state, “one and indivisible,” that Lincoln and the Republican party meant when they spoke of “the Republic.” But such a regime is no more a republic than is the “republic” of the French Revolution or the Peoples’ Republic of China.  When Lincoln looked at Virginia he could not see a genuine political society two-and-a-half centuries old; one that was the leader in forming the American federation; fable in song and story; and known as the mother of presidents and the mother of states [including Lincoln’s own). 

All he could see was an aggregate of individuals in rebellion against “the Republic” – the central government of a would-be Hobbesian unitary state. 

Before Lincoln’s “republican” rhetoric, Americans most often described their polity as a “union,” a “federation,” or a “confederation.” And when it was described as a “republic” or a “nation,” it was usually understood to mean a federation or a union.  

For example, in a speech celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Constitution, John Quincy Adams describes America as a “confederated nation,” held together by “kindly sympathies” and “common interests.” And he went on to say that, should these social bonds fail, “far better will it be for the people of the disunited states to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint.” 

Thirteen years later Adams would sign a document stating that the annexation of Texas would justify the secession of New England.  That is the spirit of American republicanism – rooted, as it must be, in a bold acknowledgment of state and local sovereignty. 

The first step toward restoring genuine republicanism is to invert the Lincolnian inversion of republican language by describing America as a federation, not a republic.  Today, such speech might appear odd and even radical.  But there is no alternative.  Talk of “restoring the Republic” cannot escape connotations of the inverted Lincolnian “Republic.”  But that regime does not need restoration. Not only is it flourishing, it is now on steroids.”

(Is America a Republic?, Dr. Donald Livingston; Chronicles Magazine, May 2009, pp. 17-18)


  1. I looked up the definition of republic the other day. Its kinda vague. We need to define it or come up with something else.

    1. This piece was an eye opener for me, as I had always thought that we were one.

  2. Dr. Livingston is INCORRECT in his assertions and I would have no problem debating him on them. Ya'll are just blindly taking his word for what he wrote. I don't expect you to pay me such curtsey.

    Brock, you are correct in that we were ONCE a Republic.

    Dr. Livingston is correct in stating that the usa is a Federation. Where he pulled it over on ya'll is that a country's political system is decided by how its' laws are designed(legislated) and how those laws are applied to the people in that country. A Federation confers NO power of law. A confederation is simply what it says, a number or group separate entities forming a National Government. Does that make any sense?

    The rest of my post is somewhat lengthy, so I will start it in a new post.

    Michael-- Deo Vindicabamur

  3. I would want to agree with the statement that we are a Republic, as that was the way the US Constitution originally meant. However things change and that is absolutely not true today. Abraham Lincoln destroyed the Republic, and here is his quote saying so, “In saving the union I have destroyed the republic.” You can Google this and read the full context if you wish but it’s saying the same thing.

    Lincoln committed treason, pure and simple and he knew it. To prove this all one need do is read his address to congress when it reconvened in July 1861.

    In destroying the Republic Lincoln created what is today the modern USA which is actually a Representative Federal Democratic Union-FORCED. Over the years, because of this, the country has evolved from a Capitalist economic society into what is known as “State Capitalism”. This is close to we what we understand as being a form of fascism. (Google “State Capitalism” also for a better understanding.)

    Does anyone know what the term “Republican form of Government” stands for?

    It stands for “Rule of Law”. Meaning no one is above the law, even presidents. Everything, every disagreement and every law contemplated MUST undergo the process of the Rule of Law before a law can be passed, judgement rendered or disagreement resolved. In ANY event where this does not happen the Rule of Law has been avoided, and in this country today the Rule of Law is merely stated as a charade, paying lip service to what the powers that be want accomplished. To them the Rule of Law means NOTHING, just as it didn't to Abraham Lincoln.

    Lincoln CLEARLY stated he DESTROYED the Republic in saving the union. He also said near war's end, that he hoped he didn't live long enuff for a Democrat president to take office because he knew he would stand trial for treason. I ask this question; What’s most important concerning a country, following the Rule of Law, or saving a union? Being a Federation or following the Rule of Law?

    Yet everywhere, everyday, and on here, I hear we live in a Republic? Why? A Republic means we follow a Republican form of Law, which is, “Rule by Law” NOT that everybody votes as in a Democracy. Yet we are taught that everybody has the right to vote. And we even go to war under this pretext.

    Technically today the united States is politically a “Representative Federal Democratic Union-Forced”. The Rule of Law has little bearing on the legislation that affects us.

    Remember, “A democracy cannot ever exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

    You gonna change this? Anyone gonna change it?

    Michael-Deo Vindicabamur

  4. I don't care to write much more unless there are readers. But I will add this:

    Livingstone really did goof. A serious goof to boot. And ya'll wonder how a nobody like myself would challenge someone of his credentials? It's simple, I no longer accept man's self ordained and bestowed titles of nobility and merits. Those I did have I have rejected and no longer claim. I even purposely, at times, write in non-standardized manners in order to mock the establishment's dictum's regarding their rules of etiquette, particularly concerning English. So, I treat Livingston as I would any other person. But I do claim a title, though not one now recognized by academia. They don't acknowledge it simply because there is no profit in it for them, nor am I after any profit.

    A debate in general would go similar to this with Livingston.

    I make an assertion against his claim.

    He counters trying to substantiate his claims.

    This goes on for a number of rounds, until I see the opportunity to present this.

    The Founding Fathers, particularly Franklin claimed we were a Republic. Then quoting Franklin and if need be others.

    Livingston has now boxed himself into a corner by defending his claims. He will claim they were wrong.

    I ask for proof.

    He gives more *revised* understandings as it relates to today understanding as it concerns Political Science. Saying understandings change and become more knowledgeable.

    I respond simply be stating that it boils down to a choice of either believing what the Founding Fathers told us or what you, Livingston tells us to believe.

    I ask; whom am I to believe, you are them?

    He says they were wrong as he has no choice now.

    To which I say, it has always been taught that way in public and private schools. You are now denying everything they were taught form the Founding Fathers were wrong also.

    He answers, yes.

    I ask everyone; who has revised history? Where are the standards that were originally used to make and define what constituted a Republican form of government? What Livingston is claiming is extremely dangerous, for if he succeeds in revising history, all of you will then be forced to change others areas of history that were established and taught as laws arising out of Rule by Law being a Republican form of government.

    While not exactly like the actual debate, those general lines of debate would ensue. I write this because there are no alternatives, thus his mistake is obvious.

    Don't count me out, I've done this to many professors who claim to be experts in their field. I haven't lost yet. And you better hope and pray I don't ever lose, because if I lose, YOU lose! I do it for your sakes, not mine...

    Michael-- Deo Vindicabamur
    Classical Historian Western Civilization
    My ordained title. (Look up ordained in the Free Dictionary, 3rd definition.)

    1. :) Thanks and why don't you write him? This would be interesting.

  5. They won't respond in any positive manner.
    They will simply brush off my comments.
    You do realize I have already tried that many dozens of times? The response is always similar.

    What it boils down to is a person who has a paying title accredited him by academia will never debate a Classical based historian or scholar. Like I said, there is no profit in it, but there is great risk to their reputation. And that also affects their profits. So it doesn't pay them to respond. What debating I do, I accomplish by tricking my opponents into a debate, usually suckering them in without them realizing what they are doing.

    One nice way to accomplish this is by my use of English. I do seem so backwards and ignorant with its' use and application; don't I? Works like a charm, but I do make actual mistakes, especially in spelling because I don't proof, while trying to type so much. I do have many places I post to that has much larger audiences than here. But I've surly tried to send you people, and still am.. Look over my FaceBook Wall under Mike Lamb for lots of information, some of which comes from here.

    Michael-- Deo Vindicabamur

  6. Been thinking...
    If you or someone wishes too, you can take my post concerning the debate, stripping my name and references to me off, tidy it up a bit, and send it to Livingston. Use your own name or claim someone said this in response to his comments. Now that would be interesting.

    Michael-- Deo Vindicabamur

    1. Well, you can do the same thing, but you stated they never reply, correct?

  7. They usually reply but with no rebuttals or corrections. Kind'of along the lines of, that is the way I see it, or it's not for discussion at this time....etc...etc...

    Plus, many of these people will try and do background checks or check profiles of who they may be responding too. If and when they figure out who I am, that settles that debate. They won't touch me.

    I've actually been in online debates where I won my debate over some professor of noted rank and he would go back and pull the offending posts or the whole thread. It's happened a few times. I now try and catch them in neutral forums where they don't have that ability. But catching one is as scarce as finding hen's teeth.

    I almost caught Noam Chomsky once. I've been trying to nab him for ages. I was also told by one of my lookouts recently, he had been thrown off a TEA Party blog simply because no one there could handle him in debates. What I wouldn't have given to have caught him there.

    Currently, number 1 on my list is a radio talk show host and commenter, Mark Levin. If any of you sees him in a blog/forum where he cannot ban me or delete my posts, please let me know, ASAP. I have a gunfight planned for him. He is one bad dood that has cost you plenty and you don't even realize it. I've promised to cremate him for ya'll.....

    Michael-- Deo Vindicabamur

    1. Please do as I remember he thought more gun control would be good after the last school killings.

  8. Mark Levin is as anti-Southern as they come. If you know of Hunter Wallace, he helped cost Hunter his Senatorial aides position in DC. Levin boils over any mention of Confederate, heritage or culture. His latest slam is he's wrote a book concerning the Amendments, titled, "The Liberty Amendments". Problem is it's not even about Amending the us Constitution, but rather it is about calling for a Constitutional Convention (aka ConCon.)It's all a sneaky way of getting hidden agenda sneaked past unsuspecting gullible people. And there is no shortage of them. He's already fooled The Confederate Society of America, although they may retract their support after I sent them a email explaining how a ConCon really works and how in the 90's I along, helping Robin Hayes defeated it in the NC House by eventually sitting on it never allowing it to be brought up for a vote. If it had, there was a real good chance it would have passed.

    What's so bad on top of this, Levin presents himself as a conservative and berates Obama and company constantly. To the point people really think he is a conservative. At best Levin is a Neoconservative, but most likely a 5th column. Yet people flock to hear him and take his word as gospel. He's really dangerous.

    Mark Levin isn't anti-gun, YET. Problem is he has a habit of changing his mind and siding with issues that makes headlines for the moment. He's been caught in several lies where he's subtly twisted his intent and meaning to cover his tracks. He has a known habit of blocking anyone who calls his hand or bluff, so-to-speak. He also callers harshly screened before allowing them on the air. It's very possible many of his calls are faked. It's simply the Khazar in him, covering for his buddies, pretending to be a good guy. You know the story, good cop, bad cop when dealing with others.

    Michael-- Deo Vindicabamur