Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Excerpts from Federalist #39 regarding republican form or government - James Madison

What, then, are the distinctive characters of the republican form? We may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is SUFFICIENT for such a government that the persons administering it be appointed, either directly or indirectly, by the people. The House of Representatives is elected immediately by the great body of the people. The Senate derives its appointment indirectly from the people. The President is indirectly derived from the choice of the people. The President is to continue in office for the period of four years. The President of the United States is impeachable at any time during his continuance in office. The tenure by which the judges are to hold their places, is, as it unquestionably ought to be, that of good behavior. Could any further proof be required of the republican complexion of this system, the most decisive one might be found in its absolute prohibition of titles of nobility, both under the federal and the State governments; and in its express guaranty of the republican form to each of the latter.

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