Classical Republicanism and Constitutional Democracy | Social Studies

February 11, 2016 Jennifer Brandt

Classical Republicanism and Constitutional Democracy | Social Studies

Understanding the ideas behind classical republicanism and constitutional democracy is a high emphasis topic on the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Social Studies subtest. Today we will discuss why ideas of classical republicanism are reflected in the values and principles of American constitutional democracy.

First, let’s discuss what these terms mean:

  • According to, classical republicanism is the idea that a government should be based on the consent of the people. In other words, if the actions of the government differ from the will of the citizens (governed), the citizens have the right to form a new government.
  • According to, constitutional democracy is a government that applies recognized limits on those who govern and allows its citizens to be heard through free, fair, and frequent elections.

It is important to note that classical republicanism is an idea or practice that a government can enact, and constitutional democracy is a form of government.

According to the Center for Civic Education, the purpose behind classical republicanism is to protect individual rights and further the common welfare of citizens.

Under this practice, citizens are freer than under other forms of government, and therefore, a nation is more successful, wealthier, and stronger.

Ideas of classical republicanism align with the core values of American constitutional democracy because:

  • Power of the government is limited
  • The Constitution is the ruling law of the land
  • They both stand for a free government that protects individual rights and liberties

Classical republicanism has been a major part of American constitutional democracy since our nation’s founding in 1776.

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