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Republic vs. Democracy

  1. Dec 3, 2016 #1
    I'm just curious, and can't find an answer to my specific question. If the majority of people can vote on representatives, and the majority of representatives can vote on AMENDMENTS to the constitution/bill of rights, then how is America still considered a republic when at some point the majority can vote on the unalienable rights given to the individual?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2016 #2
    First, a republic is not necessarily a democracy and democracies need not be republics. The US is a republic and a democracy. North Korea is technically a republic, but not a democracy. Canada is a democracy and a constitutional monarchy, not a republic.

    I'm not sure what you mean by a majority can vote on "inalienable" rights. A constitutional amendment must pass both houses of Congress by a 2/3 majority. It then goes to the states where 3/4 of the state legislatures must act to pass it. I suppose it's possible that the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) could be altered by this process. It's contradictory that a democracy could be sustained by unconstitutional force, so I suppose a constitutional process could alter or eliminate the people's rights. Until that happens, the US is an indirect democracy with some examples of direct democracy at the state level (initiative and referendum).
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
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