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Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu and American Exceptionalism

Reader comment on item: The Religious Roots of Turkey's Currency Crisis
in response to reader comment: Alexis de Tocqueville and Turkey

Submitted by Robert (United States), Dec 31, 2021 at 10:30

Dear Dave,

I wish to elaborate on the position of Dr. Daniel Pipes. I believe that when he advocates for Democracy here he means what he calls elsewhere Liberal Democracy. Therefore, when you think of Democracy you reduce it to the Ballot Box (only voting). Don't forget that in Germany's Wiemar Republic Hitler was Elected by his Nazi Party!

Regarding Liberal Democracy, Baron de Montesquieu was also an important early political thinker and expounded his views in "The Spirit of the Laws whereby he recognized the political concept of ([Unwritten] Constitutional) Separation of Powers that existed both in the Roman Republic as well as the British Empire into the Three Branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

Regarding American Exceptionalism, we gave or spread throughout the world the notion of a Written Constitution which was an effective innovation. We also made the Office of the President, formerly the Presiding officer of the Congress of the Confederation, the subsequent Chief Executive Officer of the Federal system that became the United States of America. In the subsequent transformation from the Articles of Confederation into the USA Constitution which produced the American Federal system, Powers were distributed among the 13 distinct original States.

These are among the fundamental Constitution principles which distinguish the American (USA) system of a Liberal Democracy, and make up our American Exceptionalism. And even the names of our (effective) TWO-PARTY-SYSTEM, are enlightening on the point: "Democratic Party" and "Republican Party." We (US Americans) are not only Democratic (as in Ancient Greece), but also Republican (as in the Ancient Rome). The United States of America had to go through (unfortunately) a (bloody) Revolution; the Republican Party was the party of the Northerner (slave-less) Abraham Lincoln. The Democratic Party was the party of the subsequent Confederacy South. The Southern (rebellious) 13 States (historical coincidence) maintained that each was a full Democracy, and the the USA was still the original CONFEDERATION of States, notwithstanding the name-change. And after the end of the Civil War the 14th Amendment to our Constitution was passed which made Citizenship an attribute of the United States first, and State Citizenship subordinate to it. That, incidentally, resolved the legal claim of the South of 1854 in which former African Slaves were ruled never to have citizens except by the grace of the individual states of the Union.

I hope that this small essay is a successful elaboration of our (USA) particular Liberal Democracy. Unfortunately, it is posted here only because the issue of Democracy being reduced to the Ballot Box has been raised by you here. Incidentally, it was (Caribbean) Alexander Hamilton who advocated for a National Bank, which was not favored by the (Gentry/Farmer and slave-holder) Thomas Jefferson. Ultimately our American financial institution emerged, and so Hamilton won the the constitutional struggle.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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