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The republicanism ( latin - French - neulateinisch : from res publica ( "public thing" or " communities ")) is an out of state theory emerged direction of political philosophy, for which the democratic will not - as in the political liberalism - on an aggregation prepolitical , plural and individual interests, but is actively shaped in a public process on the basis of civic virtues.


What is important for republicanism is the expansion of the integrative possibilities of the people and individuals , in that the rulers are elected (legitimized) by the people or their representatives at periodic intervals for a predetermined, irrevocable time, so that sovereignty is not limited to the short process of voting reduced ( interactive democracy theory ). Politics is the space for public decisions .

The active political realist ( active citizenship ) seems to be an incarnation of the Enlightenment ideal of mature (citizen and the Republican idea of common sense oriented lat. Sensus communis ) citoyens to be.

Republicans assume a (legal) person in the structure of the legal and state order, as the bearer of rights and duties as sovereign power, an association of the entire citizenship, which initially shapes the collective will and later, according to general welfare aspects, a common will ( volonté générale ), which also has to take into account the intellectual participation of minorities and non-participants.

Central characteristics are the rule of the many and the striving for the well-being of all while taking into account a protected privacy . Permanent freedom of will and opinion are elementary in republican constitutions, but are also subject to the risk that the participation of the people is not sufficiently taken into account if the rulers do not care for the well-being of all citizens, but only for their own or that of individual minorities. However, as a democratic side effect, minorities can also be completely disenfranchised in republicanism. The curtailment of liberal rights happens when the majority see a benefit, e.g. B. promises more security.

If the people are given a growing say in government decisions, the ability to reach a consensus becomes more difficult; if the drafting of the law is only carried out by specially elected representatives, those representatives are granted such a great deal of authority that there is a risk of quasi-dictatorship; unbridled liberalism poses a threat to the oligarchy .

Republicanism versus Liberalism

Republicanism comes in different forms and has evolved over the course of history. Republicanism assumes that the individual is fundamentally a participant, solidarity-oriented and rational citizen . On the part of liberalism - or the representative democracy movement, republicanism is criticized for its high expectations of rationality and the citizen's involvement in politics.

According to another view, republicanism and liberalism are not mutually exclusive, but rather differentiate themselves in terms of distinctive features.

Republicanism believes in the socio-moral abilities of citizens and favors the optimistic ideology of a participatory, grassroots democracy based on citizen activity. During this process, citizens and representatives of the people (or interest groups , parties , associations and state organs ) come to an understanding among themselves in the interest of the general public and submit participatory proposals in order to have a decided influence on the implementation of the policy.

Political liberalism generally represents an elite-oriented idea of ​​democracy, which, based on the division of labor, leaves elected representatives to the formulation of political decisions with the determination to refine the will of the people and citizens, judged to be insufficiently sensible, to achieve an unadulterated overall interest in a community.

Republicanism is closely related to the blueprint of communitarianism , civil or civil society , associative and deliberative democracy .

A continuation of political liberalism can be seen in the factual, anthropological , pluralistic theory of democracy , although here the political and moral responsibility of the citizen as claimed in republicanism is questioned.

History of republicanism

Groups that promoted republicanism developed out of opposition to monarchies (especially any form of inheritance law) as well as from support for the bourgeois constitutional movement and existed in isolated cases before the idea of ​​republican forms of government was implemented. Finally, when states were formed on the model of a republic and the people were involved in the decision-making process of the political community, their goals were increasingly adopted by socialist parties on the one hand and popular right- center parties on the other; both directions mark features of the so-called modern parties that have developed in modern times. Parliamentary-democratic republics practice a parliamentarism or a presidential system .

Vaishali (today: Indian state of Bihar ) was the first republic in the world, which was structured similarly to the later founded Greek. In ancient times , historiography is z. B. Tacitus anchored in his own political and ideological position, a deeply rooted republicanism and aristocracy , based on concern about the values ​​of the Roman state idea threatened in the sole rule. Mixed constitutions developed , which term describes a constitution that mixes elements from two or more other types of forms of government (e.g. democracy, aristocracy, oligarchy, etc.) and thus creates a new form of government. Such theories were already developed in antiquity: for example by Herodotus , Aristotle (as in his Politie ), Plato , Polybius, etc., but also in the more recent past (see, among other things, the mixed constitution of Montesquieu ). Also Helvidius Priscus enjoyed as his father Publius Clodius Thrasea Paetus reputation for his passionate and courageous republicanism. Plato dealt e.g. B. in his work Nomoi (“The Laws”) extensively held in dialogue form about a desirable state, which also takes into account state constitutions, which historical models can already be found implemented in Argos , Messenia , Sparta , Persia and Athens . In the democratic, polis-normalized city-states of ancient Greece, also through Aristotle's work, the citizen was formed who could intervene directly in the political events of his state as a sovereign member of the citizenry through elections . A cycle of constitutions is used by Aristotle in the 4th century BC. A system of constitutional development designed based on the actual development in ancient Greece . The vote at that time was not carried out by people as individuals, but as participants in the demo who were guided by the will of the majority . However, this traditional form of republicanism was burdened with the serious deficiency that only free men or patricians were counted in the demos and that general equality or freedom of the whole of the people was irrelevant.


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