The Difference Between A Republic And A Representative Democracy: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering from those constitutional and foundational principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as, are the rich elite just another form of socialism, the Founders’ view on slavery, is there a difference between a republic and a representative democracy, and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!

Air Date: 04/27/2017


Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Welcome

President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”

Rick:

That it is!  Welcome to WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom today! We’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and culture from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. That’s why we call it the intersection of faith and the culture because we talk about the influence of faith on the culture. We talk about the foundation that our faith has had in the American culture for sure.

We’re here with David Barton.  He’s America’s premiere historian. My name is Rick Green.  I’m a former Texas state rep. And you can find out more about our organization at WallBuilders.com and the radio program at WallBuildersLive.com.

Foundations of Freedom Thursday is a day where you get to ask the questions and drive the discussion to those foundational principles. You can send in your questions to [email protected], that’s [email protected]Builders.com.

Are The Rich Elite Just Another Form Of Socialism

Alright, David, we’ve got quite a few questions, probably not going to get to near enough today. But we’ll try to knock out two or three. First, one coming from John Lamb and his question has to do with socialism. You ready for this?

David:

Fire away.

Rick:

“I already said that I love your podcast.  I’m a daily listener.  I remember a series you guys did a while ago talking about socialism. Democrats always try to blame the problems on the rich elites and big businesses and corporations. Republicans always blame the problems on big government and socialism. Is it not true that the problem could be both? Are the big corporations and businesses and the super rich elite not just another manifestation of socialism in the financial and economic realms the way socialism is in big government?”

Alright, David, that’s a mouthful for you.

David:

You know, there’s a couple of ways of going at this. One is, I would first off make the distinction between those super wealthy elite versus big corporations. That’s not always the same. So many big corporations are publicly owned corporations that have a board, have a CEO, etc. There are others that we would call super wealthy and they, particularly if it’s a family run business, it’s different. It’s real different.  It maybe a big business, but it runs differently. And they have if you look at somebody like Hobby Lobby, the Green family is a wealthy family. No question about it.

Rick:

Yeah, that’s a three billion dollar a year business.

David:

That’s right. That would be big business anywhere, except, it is all family owned. And so they’re starting minimum wage is 14 bucks an hour. Now, that’s not what big business does. And what they do for benefits, you know, there’s no work on Sunday.  You don’t have seven days a week.  They take that day off.  They have a very clear set of values, they reward their employees.  They are really generous with what they do.

And that’s really what you find a lot of times with individuals who own businesses is they really want to help because but folks are what makes that thing work. And they understand that.

Rick:

Certainly, the ones that take their faith and use it to drive how they run their business. You think a Chick-fil-A, McCoy’s lumbering, a lot of these businesses that are very successful and very big but they’ve got those values that are actually permeating their business as well.

David:

And they really are servant minded. I mean, their employees love working for them. They’re very generous with their employees. There’s just so many things right. That’s not what you see in big business. So, I don’t necessarily draw the parallel that just because you’re wealthy means you’re big business.

Definition Of Socialism

Now, there are those that are in big business who are very wealthy but they don’t own the business. They have a board of directors, etc. Here’s the thing, because this is an interesting thing. We’re talking about how Republicans blame big government and socialism.

Let’s just kind of throw out socialism for a moment and say, “Alright, based on the axiom that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and looks like a duck it probably is a duck. What does socialism look like? What would you use to measure and say, ‘Oh, that’s socialistic?” What are your measurements?

Rick:

Man, I guess everybody you know has to share whatever they earn so that they don’t you don’t get the fruit of your labor you have to give it away to everybody else.

David:

So, there’s a common pot and regardless of whether you’re very productive or not very productive everybody kind of gets a common pot and you split what’s there. So, that’s part of it. What else?

Rick:

I always picture the big tub full of lobsters, you know? Where one’s getting successful and kind of getting up the side of the wall then the other ones are grabbing and pull it back down. So to me, that’s the picture of socialism. Nobody gets ahead and succeeds they force everybody back down to be in the bottom of the bottom of the barrel with the others.

David:

Well, I would disagree with that to some degree. Because in every place where there is socialism there is always a group that does succeed.

Rick:

Oh, well, you’re talking about the ones that aren’t in the barrel though.

David:

Yeah, that’s right. You’re talking about the guys at Red Lobster standing around the tank getting to pick out a lobster to eat.

David:

That’s exactly it. Everywhere there’s socialism there is always a small elite group that doesn’t use the same rules that everybody else has to follow.

Rick:

The rules don’t apply to those guys.

David:

The rules don’t apply to them. They are above the rules. They set the rules for everyone else and all of that suffering of those lobsters that get drug back in benefits the elite. You look at large businesses and they’ve got, I don’t know, 10,000 employees. Well, maybe the employees average $75,000 a year. What do you think the board of directors and the CEO average is a year? Maybe about 30 million a year? That’s not socialism. But yet big businesses is run like socialism because they don’t necessarily reward those who are innovative. They don’t really tolerate innovation. They’re much like a union.

How Big Businesses Are Like Unions

I had guys who worked for me that went to work for a union. Texas is not a union state but there are certain areas, defense contractors and others that had union jobs. And the two guys that worked for me actually got written up by the union because they said, “You’re working too fast and getting too much done. It makes the rest of us look bad.” And that was their union write up. “We’re going to kick you out of the union unless you become less productive.”

Rick:

Wow. I think you just explained the downfall of the American automobile industry.

David:

Well, anywhere that you have this union stuff you could make others look bad. And that’s where socialism is. We want you all to look equally mediocre. So we don’t reward achievement.  We’re not going to cause you to be individual, we don’t want you to go out and find your own patents, it belongs to the company because you’re actually working on our time.

How Socialism First Started

So, rather than individualism, we look at you as- we go back to something Rabbi Lapin taught us years ago, which is that, what you find with socialism is exactly the first time it appears in the Bible.  That’s back in Genesis 10 or 11, the Tower of Babel.  He said, “Christians don’t get it right. You look at that and think ‘Oh, they were all going to have unity and so God separated them.”  That wasn’t God’s intention.  When God looked down from heaven and got the attention is when Nimrod started that movement. And he said, ‘Let’s make bricks.”

And he said, “What’s a brick? A brick is something that you put in a mold and every one of them looks alike. God makes individual stones and no two of them look alike. They’re all different, everyone, just like snowflakes, just like the iris of your eyes, just like your fingerprints, there are no two alike. But what socialism does is says, ‘Let’s make bricks. Let’s all fit the same mold. We’re going to squeeze you in the same mold, and treat you the same, and stack one on top of another.”

And anything that does that, big government does that, it does not allow for individualism. And big business does that when it’s run by an elite board.  You don’t want to become socialistic. So, in that sense, yeah.

Republicans and Democrats complained about the same. But, going back to, Rick, your analogy with the tub full of lobsters and the people outside the tub that are getting to pick which lobster they want. That’s what happens with big business.

So it’s interesting that what we call big business, or Wall Street business, which is the publicly owned businesses, 80 percent of their contributions go to Democrats. Now, why would that be?

Because if you’re in a socialist company you love being part of the elites and you’ll give to the elites because the elites over and government will give you all sorts of exclusions on your business and they’ll make sure that even though they demonize you and use you as the whipping post and get everybody frenzied up over you, they keep giving you all these perks. And they keep doing Obamacare in such a way that it protects big businesses.

What True Free Market Is

Rick:

Which by the way, for those folks that are really learning for the first time some of these things, that is not free enterprise and capitalism. Government is good doing special favors for some and picking winners and losers like that and making those deals. That’s the opposite of true free enterprise. That’s government-controlled marketplace.

David:

That’s government control. And by the way, about 15 years ago they started changing the definition of what free market meant. Free market 15 years ago in the dictionary says, “Free from government regulation.” End of story, period.

Today, we consider free market, “Well you have to have safety and health regulators. And you have to have fire regulators.” And so they regulate the dickens out of you and they say, “Well, that’s part of free market.”

No, it’s not.  Free market is when competition is what makes the difference. I’m smart enough to choose what works and what doesn’t work.  I’m smart enough to know what price I want to pay for what I choose.

Nobody has to tell me. I’m going to find out from the trial attorney that what you’re adding to your hamburger causes cancer. I don’t need the government telling me that I need a trial attorney who’s had a lawsuit and won $4 million on it. And then that’s all I need. And then it’s all over the news. See, the free market does that stuff. The government always reacts way too late. And by the way, for those that don’t know, the estimate is that right now about one-fourth of your annual income goes to pay for the cost of government regulations.

Rick:

Not necessarily taxes and all the other government programs. You’re talking about just when I spend X number of dollars a year on goods and services. Twenty-five percent of that money is paying for all the regulation of those goods and services.

David:

Do you know that WallBuilders products, that we offer to the public as a nonprofit are affected by those government regulations? Because we’re told what size our bathrooms have to be, how many bathrooms we have to have, where we have to have elevators, how many elevators we have to have, we’re told everything about that and we’re not going to pay that price we pass it on to the consumer.

Anybody who thinks businesses pay taxes, you’re crazy. Businesses don’t, they pass on to the consumers or they go out of business. And so the regulations- I have here at WallBuilders, I have three people who are hired and I pay them to do nothing but keep up with government regulations and the bookkeeping that goes with it. Now, that means I have to sell a lot more products, a lot more books, and raise the price of those products to cover those three employees so that I don’t get thrown in jail for not following regulation I didn’t even know existed. You would have an annual increase in your income of ¼ —  25 percent if we didn’t have all these regulations-

Rick:

If we had true free market.

David:

If we had true free market.

Rick:

Which actually would work better as well. You would get those changes and improvements in everything much faster than these government regulations.

David:

Absolutely. I mean, the free market people are not stupid.  The government thinks we are and that’s what socialism does. It says, “All the people except we the elites are stupid. They don’t know how to do anything. We’ll tell them how to do everything.” And that’s what you see from the big businesses that are run by the elites or the big government that’s run by the elites. They assume they’re the only intelligent people in the world and they’ll tell everybody else how to do it. They live a different life than what they want the rest of us live. And if you get rid of those regulations, go back to a free market, your income goes up and your expenses go down. It’s good for everybody in the nation except the elites.

And that’s what you see from the big businesses that are run by the elites or the big government that’s run by the elites. They assume they’re the only intelligent people in the world and they’ll tell everybody else how to do it. They live a different life than what they want the rest of us live. And if you get rid of those regulations, go back to a free market, your income goes up and your expenses go down. It’s good for everybody in the nation except the elites.

Rick:

Stay with us folks. We’ll take a quick break.  We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and in the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they will exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”

Moment From American History

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Alexis Tocqueville, a political official from France, traveled to the United States in 1831 and penned his observations in the now famous book, “Democracy In America.”

Being from France, what he found in America was completely unexpected to him. He reported, “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. And the longer I stayed there the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America, I found that they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”

Did Tocqueville recognize that it was Biblical Christianity and the morals it produced that made America great? For more information about Alexis Tocqueville and the positive influence of Christianity in early America go to WallBuilders.com.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”

The Founders View On Slavery

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Foundations of Freedom Thursday today! Taking your questions which you can send into radio [email protected] Next question comes from Ray in Maine, “How do we defend the truths of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights freed the slaves? When you look at the current tide of divisiveness coming from the media and driven by the powers that be.”

David, there are a lot of people out there that are that are claiming racism because of the Founding Fathers. Or are saying that they don’t want people reading the Declaration of Independence. Even though the Founders view was that they wanted to get rid of slavery, and it obviously took a long time to get it done, but they were still way ahead of most of the world you know.

David:

In Good Friday last week, we talked about education and how to train young people to think differently and it’s all about expectations and the way you see it. For the last hundred years, we’ve been looking at education from the way the Progressive’s told us that education is run, and that’s the wrong paradigm.

Therefore, we see homeschooling, or Christian school, charter school, or private school, or parochial school, or public school all within the same framework. They all use age graded education, they all use compulsory education, everybody uses the same. We just use some Christian values here or there. And that’s what makes a Christian school different from public school. Wrong. It shouldn’t be that way. Well, that’s what happened here.

Since progressives have taken over in the 1920’s and they really changed the interpretation. And it’s not just progressive, that’s education. But when you back up to the wrong viewpoint, and we talked about it in the last segment, God’s viewpoint is, “I don’t like socialism. You’re all individuals.”

The Mindset That Made Them Think Slavery Was Ok

Now, the world’s viewpoint, Nimrod said, “Let’s make bricks.” And anytime you find that group mentality applied versus the individual, you get the wrong interpretation. So that’s where slavery comes from.

The anti-slavery people say, “No, God created everyone to be free. That’s a natural law. An inalienable right is something that belongs to every single person.” And in the south, they said, “No, inalienable rights belong to groups. White guys get them, black guys don’t.” Well, the anti-slavery guys said, “No, every individual. God is not concerned about race. He is not concerned about ethnicity.”

“Diverse” they often used was out of acts 17 where Paul says, “We’re all of one blood.” And out of Revelations 7 where they gathered around his throne at the end days casting down the thrones and the crowns before him were people from all races, all tribes, all nations, all languages.

God gives rights to every single individual simply because you’re human. And so what happened is the slavery view comes in and says, “Well, they’re not human. They’re a group. And we deal with groups differently here.”

And that’s where Abraham Lincoln in 1858 had a great letter. He was preparing legal arguments and he said, “You know, you slaveholders say that you have the right to rule over blacks because they’re darker skinned than you are. But what are you going to do when somebody comes along this lighter skinned than you are? Will they have the same right to rule you that you’re using right now? And you say that your excuse is you’re smarter than they are. So what happens when someone comes along who’s smarter than you? Does he have the right to enslave you?”

So this thing about not having individuals but having groups, that’s a real problem. And that’s why Black Lives Matter is based on this wrong philosophy that rights belong to groups. No, they don’t. They belong to every single individual.

Is The Declaration Against Our Freedom

So, the lady you mentioned in Louisiana, the legislature in Louisiana said, “I don’t want anybody reading the Declaration. That’s been against our freedom.” No, it’s not. It was the Declaration that was used by the abolitionists to secure freedom. They didn’t believe in groups they believed in individuals.

Rick:

And a hundred years later by the civil rights movement. I mean, MLK quoted from it all the time.

David:

MLK quoted from the Declaration all the time.

David:

And when you have an individual mentality versus a group mentality you get different results. And that’s the best way to explain it, “Look, if you’re seeing the Constitution, Bill of Rights as pertaining to various groups, you’re dead wrong.” It pertains to every single individual on the basis of who they are individually. I don’t have a right to defend myself because I happen to be Anglo or happen to be whatever. Every individual has a right to defend themselves, and a right to a fair trial, and a right to freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. That goes to every individual.

You don’t get that just because of your groups. And so anything that’s based on groups will miss the point of the Constitution and it will not work correctly if you build it on groups rather than individuals.

Rick:

Going to take a quick break. We’ll come back with more questions from our audience. Send those into [email protected] you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Outro:

Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”

Constitution Alive

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.

Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.

We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution.  You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.

George Washington

George Washington said, “The Constitution approaches near to perfection than any other government instituted among man.”

A Difference Between A Republic And A Representative Democracy

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday, today. You can get more of these Foundation programs at our website WallBuildersLive.com. Next question coming in is from Gabriel about our system of government. He says, “I hear teachers and politicians referring to our government as a democracy even though our Constitution states that we’re a republic. After reading a WallBuilders article and doing some research I found that people describe a republic as a representative democracy. Is there a difference between a republic and a representative democracy?”

Next question coming in is from Gabriel about our system of government. He says, “I hear teachers and politicians referring to our government as a democracy even though our Constitution states that we’re a republic. After reading a WallBuilders article and doing some research I found that people describe a republic as a representative democracy. Is there a difference between a republic and a representative democracy?”

Alright, that question comes from Gabriel. David, we’ve also got another one. Let me throw both of them you at you at the same time. This one says, “You’ve explained in the past that America is a republic, not a democracy. Yet, I still see the term ‘American democracy’ used in the media and social media from both the left and the right. My thinking is that this comes mainly from a lack of education the thinking that the terms democracy and republic are interchangeable. Can you briefly clarify why and how a republic is different from a democracy? What are the main weaknesses of a democracy? And how does a republic overcome these weaknesses?

So, both are kind of the same question. But really a definition of terms, if you will, David. Between “Republic,” “representative democracy,” or just “general democracy.”

David:

There is a big difference between the two.  The questions alluded that. Article 4 section 4 of the Constitution requires that every state maintains a republican not a democratic form of government. And that the United States of America, we pledge allegiance to the republic, not to the democracy of the United States. There’s a big difference between the two. If you doubt that all you need to do is look specifically at the Founding Fathers.

I’ll just run through a couple of quotes here to show you that they did not create a democracy. You take James Madison he said, “Democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security and they have in general been assured in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

John Quincy Adams, “The experience of all former ages has shown that of all human governments democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating, and the most short-lived.” You have John Witherspoon who says, “A pure democracy cannot last long. It’s very subject to Caprice in the madness of popular rage.” And on it goes.

You have John Witherspoon who says, “A pure democracy cannot last long. It’s very subject to caprice in the madness of popular rage.” And on it goes.

I mean, the Founding Fathers often used the word “mobocracy” with democracy. They hated democracies. They said, “This is the worst form of government. We created a republic.”

Now, with a republic, it can be a representative republic. But there are several types of republics. You do have a representative republic. You do have a constitutional republic you have a parliamentary republic. What we have in America is a constitutional republic. That’s considered the highest form. A representative republic.

Democracy

Now here’s the difference. A democracy everybody votes on it. We’ve got a question everybody goes online tonight and votes from seven to nine and that will be our national policy tomorrow. Whoever wins the majority that’s national- so you get 330 million people voting on every policy everything that comes up, that’s mob-ocracy.

You don’t have debates.  You can’t slow down emotions.  You can’t say, “Here’s the other side.” Whoever does the most advertised, whoever has the best arguments are going to win. That’s why they called it “mobocracy.”

That’s what happened to Jesus. The mobocracy said, “Hey, we want Barabbas instead of Jesus.” And yet the week before they said, “Hey, let’s make Jesus King.  He’s the messiah.” Well, that’s how quickly emotions turn.

Rick:

It’s that mob rule.

David:

It’s the mob rule. And that’s what you don’t want. That’s the worst of all kinds of government, all forms of government.

Republic

So we have a republic. A Republic says, “We’re going to elect representatives.” This goes back to Exodus 18:21 it says, “Choose out from among you leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands. Choose your local county state and federal officials.”

So they represent you.  They go to Congress, they go to the city council, they go to the school board, whatever, and they represent me. That’s representative democracy or a representative republic.

Constitutional Republic

What we have is a Constitutional Republic that says, “I don’t care who you elect. They’re all subject to the Constitution. The Constitution is the highest thing. The people are high but it’s not the elected people that have the final word.”

Parliamentary

In a parliamentary system whoever the elected people are, that’s what the Constitution means. They choose their own prime minister as you see in Israel, or as you see in Germany, or as you see in England. England does not have a constitution but they do have a parliamentary republic. So they choose their leaders and the leaders are the final word.

We Are A Government Of Laws Not Of Men

But in America, I love the way John Adams said it, “In America, we are a government of laws, not of men.” All of our leaders are subject to all of the laws and they can’t change the law just because they don’t like them. We have a constitution that rules over all and is secure. So that’s the difference between those forms of government and we are a constitutional republic, not just a republic but one that is the rule of laws not of men.

Rick:

It makes such a big difference, too. Because we are driven too often by our passions and emotions and the fad of the day. And so even a pure representative government can be swayed very quickly if the culture or the fad of the day is going a particular direction. Whereas if you have that written constitution, if you’re a constitutional republic, you’ve got a stronger foundation. It’s much harder to change with the winds of whatever’s going on in the culture.

Why Our Constitution Is The Longest Standing

David:

Yeah, it is much harder to change with the winds. And that’s what makes a constitutional republic the most stable of all governments. Because you get winds, and you get factions, and you get groups, and you get people making their arguments. You know we see that in a referendum. When you have a referendum that happens every two years, constitutional referendums, you’re going to have two groups line up. They’ve got to make their arguments.

One side runs an ad, and the other side has to counter that ad, “that’s not true.” And so what happens is the constitution republic the Constitution is the highest thing and under it all the rest of the game if you will, is played. It’s the rule book. But the game is going to be played on the field. And we can choose our teams but they’re still going to follow the same rules and just because we like this team more doesn’t mean they get to break the rules.

So, what our Founders gave us here is the result of all their study of history and government. It’s the best form of government. That’s why we’ve lasted longer than any other constitution in the history of the world.

Rick:

And you see the benefits. It’s not just that government itself lasted. It gave us more stability, it protected people’s freedom even if there was some, again, popular fad going the other direction. Without question, the results speak for themselves. If we want those good results for the future we’ve got to get educated about what the difference is. That’s why these questions are so great so we can understand what a constitutional republic is and why we want to preserve that in our country.

David:

And by the way, Rick, let me add to that, we want to make sure we talk the right way. Don’t let people say this is a democracy. In the state of Texas, in the history textbooks, the state board of education required that any publisher to sell books in Texas describe America as a republic, not a democracy. That’s the right way to train the next generation as well.

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt about it. Folks can get more information on our website. And also for more information on this idea of republic vs democracy, we cover that in depth on the Constitution Alive program and Foundations of Freedom as well. So for more information on those check that out at our website today. We sure appreciate you listening today.  You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

President Calvin Coolidge

President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”