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Republic or Democracy

Please explain the difference between a Republic and a Democracy and how it pertains to the United States.
Can someone give me a quick poly/sci lesson on this subject. How does it pertain to the United States? Are we a republic, a democracry (aside from presidential theft and other computer fraud) or both. How does it pertain to controlling the masses...sorry I mean governing the people?
Thanks
BTW I am well aware of how Bush stole the election so no need to go into that.
democratic republic 10.Feb.2004 17:50

according to the textbooks

My poli-sci is a little rusty, but I'll give it a try. A republican form of government is one with a legislative branch of government which is ostensibly elected by the people. Most governments in the modern world are republics, but they come in several flavors, some very authoritarian, some less. Democracy is "rule by the people" and this also comes in several varieties, including direct democracy (when we make laws by initiative, or force the rulers to change behavior by demonstrating in the street, these are forms of direct democracy) and representative democracy (which is election of representatives to enact the laws -- what this country has).

So much for the textbook definitions. What we are actually, is an oligarchy ruled by corporations through bribery and media manipulation of our sham "democratic republic."