When immigrants to the United States apply for citizenship they learn something that most American-born citizens have never learned or long forgotten. Some of the reactions to the recent elections have made it evident that natural citizen or naturalized, a review of our how our government operates is in order. Every person petitioning to immigrate to the U.S. should understand these basics.
Is the United States a Democracy?
Everyone seems to know that the USA is a democracy. What many do not understand is that it is a Federal Presidential Constitutional Republic, which is a form of democracy.
In a pure democracy, all government officials are elected by a direct vote of the people. However, the United States is not a pure democracy. It is a republic.
“I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands.”
What Is a Federal Presidential Constitutional Republic?
Let’s break it down.
- A Federal government is one in which regional governments, independent of each other, operate in harmony together under a centralized government.
- A Presidential government is one in which the head of state is the leader of the executive branch (a CEO). A separate legislative branch makes the laws by which the executive leads.
- A Constitutional government is one where a written constitution is the basis for the rule of law and to which all subsequent legislation must conform.
- A Republic form of government is one in the elected officials represent the citizens in matters of the government. This is where a republic and a democracy differ.
In the purest form of democracy, everyone would vote on every matter. As a republic, we elect men and women whom in whom we vest the power to legislate and function on our behalf and in the best interests of their constituency.
Every citizen, every permanent resident, every immigrant, and every visa applicant should understand how the U.S. government is structured and how it operates. There is no room for either monarchy or anarchy, dictator or chaos. But there is plenty of room for those who are willing to pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands.
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