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Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Volume 30, Issue 1/2, 2018

The American Experiment: A Republic, If You Can Keep It

George A. Seaver
Pages 97-116

Civil Rights in an Extended Republic
Multiplicity and Competition, Not Government Preference

It is now apparent even to traditional civil rights advocates that the well-meaning effort to be inclusive has degenerated into identity politics and its violent offspring in universities, the judicial system, and public education. Reviewing these institutions, it is necessary to return to what civil rights were intended to be, to their inherent part of the original “extended republic” concept used by James Madison. Prior to the U.S. Constitution, republican forms of government were considered appropriate only for limited, homogeneous populations, or city-states. The extension to a large republic in terms of population and land area, to multitudinous factions, was Madison’s greatest contribution to the Constitution and the long-term “exceptionalism” of the U.S. republic. The widely-held belief that attention to minorities began in the 1960s with the “Civil Rights Revolution” is wrong as demonstrated by the extended republic’s dependence on them and its success. The multiplicity and competition of factions, sects, and interests, the greater the multiplicity the greater the security, was the reason for this success, and government interference was considered harmful to this end. To help us return to that concept is the purpose of this essay.

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