— In 1787, we were given a republic, not really a democratic republic, even though the new constitution began with “We the people”...
A few years later, a Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments) was added. Thus, we had the framework to create a democratic republic.
Thomas Jefferson’s words — unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — from the Declaration of Independence — were made explicit in the first 10 amendments.
If we were to keep this kind of republic, Jefferson knew, the whole mass of the people had to be educated and informed. Moreover, lawmakers, he thought, should have educations both far-ranging and profound.
None of this happened, and that is why the ideal republic we were given slips further and further away.
Jefferson’s vision is, I believe, the only system of government that can survive the kind of world we live in.
Lincoln’s closing words at Gettysburg echo: “...government of the people, by the people, for the people...”