REPULLIC (Lat. res publioa, the public good), a political community in which the sovereign power is lodged, not in a hereditary chief, but either in certain privileged members of the community, or in the whole community. According to the constitution of the governing body, a republic may therefore vary from the most exclusive oligarchy to a pure democracy. The several republics of Greece, and that of Rome were, at the outset at least, aristocratic communities. The medieval republics of Venice, Genoa, and the other Italian towns were also more or less aristocratic. The sovereign power was held to be vested in the franchised Citizens, and every function—legislative, executive, or judicial—not exercised directly by that body, could only be exercised by parties deriving their authority from it. But the extent of the franchise, and the mode of exer cising it, varied much in these civic communities; and the most prosperous and long lived was Venice, which was also the most aristocratic of them all. In the 16th c., the seven provinces of the Netherlands, on their revolt from Spain, adopted a republican form of government, as did Switzerland on becoming independent of the German empire. Great Britain was nominally a republic for eleven years (from 1649 to 1660). France was a republic from 1793 to 1805, and from 1848 to 1853; and the republic was again proclaimed Sept. 4, 1870. Such government as Spain had between Feb., 1873, and Dee. 31, 1874, was of a republican form. Switzerland is also a republic; since 1848 more democratic than formerly. The other republics of Europe are the diminutive states
of San Marino and Andorra; and, in certain respects, the tree cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck. The most important of modern republics is that of the United States of America—dating from its separation from Great Britain—where pure democ racy has been tried on a scale unknown elsewhere. Except during the short-lived empire from 1863-67, Mexico has been a republic since 1824. Nine republics at present exist in South America—Peru, Chili, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia or New Granada, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uragnay, and the Argentine Confederation. In the republics of the ancient world, the franchised classes exercised their power directly without any system of delegation or representation. The same was at first the case in the Swiss can tons, where, however, representative government has been gradually introduced. Mod ern republics have been founded on the representative, not the direct, system, which can hardly exist except in a community that is very small and concentrated as to space. Switzerland and the United States of America are federal republics, consisting of a uum 'her of separate states bound together by a treaty, so as to present to the external world the appearance of one state with a central government, which has the power of enacting laws and issuing orders which are directly binding on the individual citizens.