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Revolutionary republic

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Title: Revolutionary republic  
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Subject: Irish states since 1171, President of Dáil Éireann, Federal Republic of Central America, Republic of Liège, United Provinces of New Granada
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Revolutionary republic

Proclamation of the Bremen republic

A revolutionary republic is a form of republic that revolutionaries favored during the period nearing and throughout the age of revolutions. Its main ideals were popular sovereignty, rule by law, and legislation by elected representatives. It also borrowed ideas from Whig and Enlightenment thinkers. It's the consolidation of a revolutionary political power, by means of the formation of a provisional government in the wake of an existing state and political regime overthrow. A revolutionary republic often takes the form of a revolutionary state, which represents the will exercised of its constituents.[1]

It generally refers to a form of republic that the National Convention and Robespierre favored during the period leading up to and throughout the French Revolutionary Wars. Its main tenets were popular sovereignty, rule by law, and representative democracy. The revolutionary republic is also heavily influenced by Whiggism and Enlightenment ideologues and philosophers. During its occupation of neighboring territories in Europe during the French Revolutionary Wars, France established republican regimes. The French Republic claimed to support the spread of republican principles in Europe, but most of these established client republics, or sister republics, were in fact a means of controlling occupied lands through a mix of French and local control. The institution of republican governments that seeks to promote democratic nationalism over monarchies (primarily the Bourbons and Habsburgs) set the stage for the appearance of nationalist sentiment in all Europe, which significantly influenced the course of European history (see 1830 and Revolutions of 1848). Today, however, a revolutionary republic can refer to various governments in disparate locations. In the United Kingdom, it can be defined as those who advocate for the removal of the monarch as head of state, or simply replace a monarchical leader with an elected figurehead, as told by a history of Irish nationalism. In Australia, revolutionary republicanism is closely tied to moderate nationalism, and the removal of the monarch as a head of state in keeping with the British tradition.

Revolutionary republicanism

Irish republicanism: the Easter Rising

In the United States, the colonial intellectual and political leaders in the 1760s and 1770s closely read history to compare governments and their effectiveness of rule.[2] They were especially concerned with the history of liberty in England, and the rights Englishmen, which they claimed were the proper heritage of the colonists. These intellectuals were especially influenced by Britain's "country party" (which opposed the Court Party that actually held power). Country party relied heavily on the classical republicanism of Roman heritage; it celebrated the ideals of duty and virtuous citizenship in a republic. It drew heavily on ancient Greek city-state and Roman republican examples.[3] The Country party roundly denounced the corruption surrounding the "court" party in London centering on the royal court. This approach produced a political ideology Americans called "republicanism", which was widespread in America by 1775.[4] "Republicanism was the distinctive political consciousness of the entire Revolutionary generation."[5] J.G.A. Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:[6]

Revolutionary republicanism is used to limit corruption and greed. Revolutionaries took a lesson from Ancient Rome. They knew it was necessary to avoid the luxurious lifestyles and gluttonous greed that had destroyed the Greatest Empire on Earth.[7] A virtuous citizen was defined one that ignored monetary compensation and made a commitment to resist and eradicate corruption. The Republic was sacred; therefore it is necessary to served the state in a truly representative way, ignoring self-interest and individual will. Republicanism required the service of those who were willing to give up their own interests for a common good. According to Bernard Bailyn, "The preservation of liberty rested on the ability of the people to maintain effective checks on wielders of power and hence in the last analysis rested on the vigilance and moral stamina of the people." Virtuous citizens needed to be strong defenders of liberty and challenge the corruption and greed in government. The duty of the virtuous citizen become a foundation for the American Revolution.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (1965) online version
  3. ^ H. T. Dickinson, ed., A companion to eighteenth-century Britain (2002) p. 300
  4. ^ Mortimer N. S. Sellers, American republicanism (1994) p. 3
  5. ^ Robert Kelley, "Ideology and Political Culture from Jefferson to Nixon," American Historical Review, 82 (June 1977), 536
  6. ^ J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p 507
  7. ^ Gordon Wood, The Idea of America (2011) p. 325
  8. ^ Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)


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