Devil’s Dictionary: Republic (n)

“Republic, n. A nation in which, the thing governing and the thing governed being the same, there is only a permitted authority to enforce and optional obedience. In a republic the foundation of public order is the ever lessening habit of submission inherited from ancestors who, being truly governed, submitted because they had to. There are as many kinds of republics as there are gradations between the despotism whence they came and the anarchy whither they lead.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. David E. Schultz and S.J. Joshi, eds. The Unabridged Devil’s Dictionary. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2000.

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