Republic, Political philosophy

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Summary

A republic is a form of government in which power resides in the people, and the government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law (from ), rather than inherited or appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch. Currently, 135 of the world's 206 sovereign states use the word "republic" as part of their official names.

Details

The term republic originated from the writers of the Renaissance as a descriptive term for states that were not monarchies. These writers, such as Machiavelli, also wrote important prescriptive works describing how such governments should function. These ideas of how a government and society should be structured is the basis for an ideology known as classical republicanism or civic humanism. This ideology is based on the Roman Republic and the city states of Ancient Greece and focuses on ideals such as civic virtue, rule of law, and mixed government.

This understanding of a republic as a distinct form of government from a liberal democracy is one of the main theses of the Cambridge School of historical analysis. This grew out of the work of J. G. A. Pocock who in 1975 argued that a series of scholars had expressed a consistent set of republican ideals. These writers included Machiavelli, Milton, Montesquieu, and the founders of the United States of America.

Pocock argued that this was an ideology with a history and principles distinct from liberalism. These ideas were embraced by a number of different writers Quentin Skinner, Philip Pettit and Cass Sunstein. These subsequent writers have further explored the history of the idea, and also outlined how a modern republic should function.

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