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- The Bible verse cast into our original Liberty Bell


DEMOCRACY OR FREEDOM? THE SUCCESS OF THE UNITED STATES AS A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC

The United States, in its declaration of independence, were the first country to explicitly recognize that the rights to life, liberty and property (the latter replaced by “pursuit of happiness” during the debate to approve the text) are inalienable, inherent every individual and not mere social convention or benefit granted by the government.

Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the original text, clearly based it on the theory of natural rights of John Locke – at that time the best argument in defense of ethical and rational policy.

The depth of this conceptual change can not be minimized. For the first time in human history had a country whose principle of government was to defend the rights that citizens have by nature – unlike all previous governments whose principle was to grant rights to one or other.

The entire system of government created in the United States was based on this cornerstone. The American constitution adopted in 1787 (and still in force, albeit with significant changes) requires a whole system of government: authorities, institutions, powers. But the basic principle, its source of legitimacy is the defense of individual rights of American citizens.

In the original conception of the American system of government is the government representative. Representatives are elected by popular vote and defend their voters positions in government. The system is federative, with governments at the municipal level, “county” (micro region – unparalleled in the Brazilian system), state and federal. The representation at the federal level is indirect, the president is elected by a system of “electoral college”, and not by direct popular vote.

It is important to note that the cornerstone is individual rights. Representative government is instituted as a way to protect this ground against interference from future rulers. Just as the division of powers, elections and representation are not the end but only a means of ensuring the perpetuity of a fair system: the protection of individual rights. United States are not a democracy!

The success of the American political system is absolutely undeniable. In that country there was freedom as there has never been any other in human history. The inevitable result of true freedom, that guaranteed the protection of individual rights, was prosperity. Prosperity in a hitherto unimaginable scale. A scale that is still difficult to really understand.

At this point pause and contemplate what the American system has allowed to occur in the country in 231 years between 1776 and 2007. In 1776 the United States was a narrow strip of colonies on the east coast – simple farm living to export to the Europe. In practice the North American continent was virtually empty, populated only by primitive indigenous populations.

Today the United States is a continent with a much higher level of material prosperity to that we find in the largest and richest cities in Brazil – Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. A “poor” American has a real quality of life higher than most of the “middle class” Brazilian. In less than 200 years America was to become richer than all of Europe – with its millennia of history.

This astonishing success is a result of the political system created by the founders of the United States can be no doubt.The same people who were regarded as the dregs of society in Europe and emigrated built industrial and financial empires in America.

The mistake was to identify the root of this success. A striking feature in the functioning of the US government, in its inception, was the representative. Yes, the country had a declaration of independence with a striking text. Yes, I had a constitution. But there were other texts and other constitutions – in England and France in particular. What drew attention was the elections!

Over time, given the undeniable and fantastic success of the United States, other countries sought to emulate the “American system”. But not emulated the individual rights of government’s vision and limiting its protection as a basis. They emulated the mechanics of the US government, the elections and representatives, but did not capture his soul: individual rights.

Confusing the vote with true freedom is a result of this error. Americans were free, because his government was constitutionally limited. They voted and elected representatives to preserve this freedom. In other countries it has to implement elections as government mechanism – as if it was cause and not the consequence of freedom.

The most tragic is that today the own Americans have lost sight of the principles on which their country was founded. The United States was not a democracy, but are becoming one.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the theoreticians founders of America said about the system they created, “It’s a republic, if you can keep it.” Apparently they failed. The Constitutional Republic, where the right of each is inviolable even by the government, slowly gives way to democracy where everything is allowed – provided that “for the good of the majority.”

This is therefore the source of the error. Not recognize that it was the individual freedoms and not the elections that created the world’s prosperity in which we live today. That elections must exist to preserve a legitimate government – not its foundation. Unfortunately today is taking the cat of democracy, freedom Hare. Convert your article into pdf file here hush hush pdf.

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