So said Benjamin Franklin at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. He had been asked what government had been formed, and as he emerged from the convention a certain Mrs. Powell called out:
`Well, Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?'
`A republic, if you can keep it,' responded Franklin.
His response sheds light on the very real understanding Mr. Franklin had of the difficulty of keeping power in the hands of the people and away from those who would seek to rule over them.
US Representative Ron Paul had some valuable things to say regarding our government, which he shared in an address to the US House in January of 2000:
"The Republic made a strict limitation of government power. Those powers permitted would be precisely defined and delegated by the people with all public officials being bound by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution."
"The Revolution and subsequent Constitution settled the question as to which authority should rule man's action, the individual or the state. The authors of the Constitution clearly understood that man has free will to make personal choices and be responsible for the consequences of his own actions. Man, they knew, was not simply to be a cog in a wheel or a single cell of an organism or a branch of a tree but an individual with free will and responsibility for his eternal soul as well as his life on earth. If God could permit spiritual freedom, government certainly ought to permit the political freedom that allows one to pursue life's dreams and assume one's responsibilities."
Well said, sir.
It is a very great tragedy that our nation does not endeavor to teach our history and the very rich tradition we have of freedom, and the moral superiority of its necessary precondition, limited government.