What does this James Madison quote mean?

"We may define a republic to be ... a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic."

I just don't get the last part and didn't just want to quote it out of context.

7 Answers

  • Jim
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    If nobles elect other nobles to represent them in the government and call this a republic then its not actually a republic at all.

  • 1 decade ago

    In my opinion this is Madison warning against exactly what is in place in DC right now. A handful of "noble, excercising their oppression". The idea was for "the people" to serve as congressional delegates" and it has changed to a point where only the elite get into office, and once there serve the special interests, for long long terms. It has become an elite group of people that no longer speak for the "people in general, nor derive their power from the people.

    How many times have we voted for the party, not because a person actually deserved our vote???

    It is time to vote them all out, regardless of party affiliation. They have abandoned the prinicples of the founding fathers, and it will soon be too late to turn back

  • 1 decade ago

    First off, the "Republican Party" was not formed until Lincoln was running for President, so Madison was talking about the classic definition of 'republican'.

    The word has been used since ancient Greece or Rome.

    Without looking it up, Madison was likely already dead before Lincoln was even born, and long before the "Republican Party" began.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is important that the government derive its powers from all of society and not just from the rich and wealthy or the upper class, otherwise we will get tyrants.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    simply put...there are at least two sides to every story. these separate poles should be examined and a determination made as to whether or not they advance the case for equality amongst all strata of a nations population.

  • 1 decade ago

    Every generation needs a revolution.

    Thomas Jefferson

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