If you were to ask any number of Americans, "What type of government does America have?," I believe you'd be surprised at the number who would answer with the standard response, "a democracy."
To me, that answer's not quite right.
We're creeping toward that form of government, but we're not living under a democracy yet.
Throughout history, there seems to have been five types of government: a monarchy or dictatorship, the rule of one; ogliarchy, rule by a few; democracy, rule by the majority; republic, ruled by law; and anarchy, rule by no one.
There has never really been a monarchy, because a king has his courts or a dictator his czars, therefore a monarchy or dictatorship is actually an oligarchy.
And since anarchy usually happens after revolution and ends with some other form of government, anarchy isn't really a form of lasting government, either.
So, it really boils down to three forms of government: oligarchy, democracy and republic.
Oligarchy is what most governments in the world have ever been — a king and his courts, communism, Marxism, Nazism, and the like.
Democracy never lasts — it always ends in an oligarchy of some kind — because the major flaw with a democracy is people are not restrained, and some group, which ends up being the majority, has the power.
Republic is derived from Latin, res and publica, which translates to thing and public or “the public thing,” which is the law. Under this form of government, government itself is limited by law.
The proper limitation of government over a people has always produced a free people.
Benjamin Franklin was asked by a lady of his day, “What form of government have you given us, Benjamin Franklin?”
His reply was, a republic, "if you can keep it."
Our government, created by our Founding Fathers, is a republic, and the law in America is supposed to be the Constitution and its amendments.
But, in the last 100 years our Constitution has been trampled on by all three branches of our government.
The Constitution was written by our Founding Fathers so that we had a federal government that could not become overly powerful, as the English government had become before our nation was founded.
One other country in history that had a republic was ancient Rome.
Rome prospered until the people became so comfortable that the government grew too large.
Soon most Romans were living off government handouts. In essence, they traded their freedom for security, and soon they were under the oligarchy of the Caesars, and Rome fell from being one of the most powerful nations in the world.
We have nations such as Greece that have a form of democratic socialism and the government had become the security for that nation.
Now that Greece is broke, people are rioting in the streets because the government can no longer afford to take care of them. This is another example of a people who traded security for freedom.
No other government in history but a republic has kept a people free and prosperous.
Are we going to keep our republic, or become a democracy or some type of oligarchy?
Matt Winey is a member of the Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.