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Representative Governance

The Constitution of the United States requires that the national government protect states’ representative governments. This is called the Republican Guarantee Clause:


The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government….


It means that the national government is obligated to defend–not diminish–state governments. And it means that state governments must be representative. In a republic, people elect representatives to make and carry out their laws. This is better than a direct democracy because it allows for more checks and balances and deliberation.


The Founders recognized, and history continues to show, that republics are the best form of government for protecting rights and perpetuating self government.


State legislatures are far more representative than Congress. Individual legislators and the entire legislative process are more accessible to ordinary citizens. Yet that representation only matters–and constitutes a true “republican form of government,” if state legislators retain the power to govern.

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