Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The word republic derives from the Latin, res publica (literally “public thing” or “public matter”), and denotes a state that is filled by a government composed of citizens; the branches of the government—executive, legislative, and judicial—exhaust its store of power and exist independently of one another. Historically, then, republicans are those who opposed unchecked discretionary power of kings by proposing alternative constitutions based on institutionally divided power, each accessible to all. Civic virtue, understood as a citizen's assiduous cultivation of respect and reverence for the spirit and letter of the republic's law, animates the archetypal patriot who is willing to defend the republic against moral corruption and military invasion. Republicans, looking to encourage civic virtue and explain its cause, commonly harangue political life's intrinsic worth. A human, it is said, is a political animal who needs to participate in politics in order to reach her highest end. Formal equality before ...