A Strange November
Veterans Day, 2022

The Democracy vs The Republic

For whatever reason, this election cycle one of the slogans being trotted out is that "democracy is at stake."

Setting aside the political hype, it's interesting to me because more than a century ago, "The Democracy" was the common name for the Democrat Party.  Andrew Jackson essentially refounded the Jeffersonian Democratic Republicans and did so on populist ground, sweeping aside the more aristocratic Federalists.

The Democracy dominated national politics, and it was only their split over slavery in 1860 that allowed the new Republican Party to win the presidential election and become a national political power.

Also of note is that when referring to the country as a whole, the term "republic" was by far the most common.  Pro-Union rhetoric emphasized that The Republic is in danger.  A camp meeting song was repurposed as The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

And when the war was over, the primary organization to support US veterans was named The Grand Army of the Republic.

Meanwhile, The Democracy was dead.  That term ceased to exist after the war.

I just find it fascinating how these things pop up.

By the way, if you want a great overview of the Civil War, I highly recommend anything by Bruce Catton.  He's really good.


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