New Providence Memorial Library's Online Reading Group discussion

November Group Read > Definition of a Republic

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message 1: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
Since the word is thrown around throughout this book, I thought it might be helpful to have a brief refresher about our form of government courtesy of Merriam-Webster:


a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
2.any body of persons viewed as a commonwealth.
3.a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.
4.( initial capital letter ) any of the five periods of republican government in France. Compare First Republic, Second Republic, Third Republic, Fourth Republic, Fifth Republic.
5.( initial capital letter, italics ) a philosophical dialogue (4th century b.c.) by Plato dealing with the composition and structure of the ideal state.

I call your attention to #4. Please see that France has attempted 5 republics so perhaps this accounts for deT's fascination and admiration for our ability to pull it off in 1 long, ongoing try.

The First Republic was established in 1794 after the Revolution and lasted until 1804 and ended by Napoleon being made consul for life.

The Second Republic was established in 1848 and only lasted 4 years. It happened after the whole Napoleon era and after a 30-year restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. And then the person in charge was Napoleon's nephew. Check out this link for a brief timeline of French history:

message 2: by Rosanne (new)

Rosanne | 67 comments Thanks for the French history link! I had been meaning to do a little research and you made it easy.
I think one thing deT saw is that universal education was already important in the US whereas in France the common man wasn't educated. It's hard to be an informed citizen when you can't read. He also saw the strong feeling here that every citizen is equal, very different than in France. Also it sounds like there wasn't sectarian animosity in the US, which made it easier for the republic to hold.

message 3: by New Providence (new)

New Providence (npml) | 302 comments Mod
I found very interesting his discussion of the inheritance laws and how they created equality and furthered democracy. I did not realize that before the revolution, the English laws of succession allowed the first son to inherit everything and an aristocratic class was created. After the revolution, a change in the laws to equal division caused estates to be broken up, the aristos to break up and fostered a more even society. Of course until the railroads and oil wells created the robber baron class...

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