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Republic

word, government, publica and res

REPUBLIC is derived immediately from the French ripublique, and ulti mately from the Latin res publica. The Latin expression sea publica is defined, by Facciolati, to be "res eommunis et puhlica civium una viventium," and cor responds very closely with the English word commonwealth, as used in its largest acceptation for a political society. The Latin word res publica might be applied to a community under a substantially monarchical government; thus Augustus is said, in a passage of Capito, a Roman lawyer, to have governed the res publica (Genius, xiii. 12); the word, however, was more applicable to a society having a popular government than to a society having a monarchical government ; thus Cicero denies that the name of res publica can be properly given to a community which is grievously oppressed by the rule of a single man : "Ergo illam rem popnli, id est rem publicam, quis diceret tum, qunm crudelitate umus oppressi essent universi ; neqne esset unum vinculum juris, nec consensus ac societas eoetus, quod est populus." (De Rep., iii. 31.) So Haemon, in the Antigone' of So phocles (v. 733). says that a state which is under the power of one man does not deserve the name of a state.

A republic, according to the modern usage of the word, signifies a political community which is not under monarch ical government, or, in other words, a political community in which one person does not possess the entire sovereign power. Dr. Johnson, in his dictionary, defines a republic to be "a state in which the power is lodged in more than one.'

Since a republic is a political community in which several persons share the sove reign power, it comprehends the two classes of aristocracies and democracies, the differences between which are ex plained under ARISTOCRACY and DEMO CRACY.

The word republic is sometimes under stood to be equivalent to democracy, and the word republican is considered as equivalent to werat ; but this restricted sense of the words appears to be inaccu rate ; for aristocratic communities, such as Sparta, Rome in early times, and Venice, have always been called republics.

It has been shown in MONARCHY that the governments usually styled " limited monarchies " are properly aristocracies presided over by a king ; and conse quently ought to be referred to the class of republics, and not to that of monarchies, in which they are commonly placed. We observe, however, that the German writers, who know from their personal experience the character of monarchies strictly so called, sometimes correctly give the name of republican to the go vernment of England since 1688, and to the government of France since 1815.

A. vast deal of error and confusion of thought (leading to important practical consequences) has arisen from the capri cious and indistinct usage of the words monarchy and republic.