Deanne Durrett
Author of Nonfiction for Kids and Adults*
*Rated OK for Adults
Right to Vote
The right to vote is:  
A precious right
That protects all other rights
Taxation without representation means that the people who
were forced to pay taxes did not have the right to vote in
the  legislative body that wrote the laws that governed them.

When the tax burden on the English citizens living in the
American Colonies (who did not have a member of
Parliament representing them) became too great - they
declared themselves independent from England,  fought the
Revolutionary War, won, and established a Republic they
called the United States of America. In doing so they  gave
themselves the right to vote for representatives  who would
cast a vote in the legislative bodies that governed them (the
House and Senate) and for the Electors who would vote on
their behalf for the President. Thus, according to Benjamin
Franklin, after he had participated in the creation of the
Constitution, they gave themselves (and us) "a Republic."
The word "Republic" was commonly used in the President's Inaugural speeches
until the bicentennial Celebration. After that the term Repubic seems to have
slipped from the official vocabulary, replaced by Democracy. However, those who
have studied American history know that we still have a Republic and just as
Benjamin Franklin there is still a need "to keep it."
Democracies fail when the people who want a large share of what others have earned become the
majority and vote massive government benefits for themselves.  Eventually,  the "earners" rebel, quit
eaning, or, like the goose that laid the golden egg, they die. Then, there is no one to pay taxes to fund
the benefits the electorate has voted themselves and the failing democracy opens the door to
dictatorship where no one has the right to vote their choice. If elections are held, those in authority
decide the outcome.

And some day, the oppressed people may gain the strength to fight for freedom and the right to vote.
Democracy or republic - what's the difference as long as the citizens have the right to vote?
A lot!    
 In a true democracy, everyone votes directly on everything. The majority rules.   For example, a
certain small church allowed all its members an equal vote. Several of the members were under 12,
did not have jobs, and did not contribute toward the financial obligations of the church. Some church
members (without investigating the financial aspects of the matter) decided that it would be nice for the
church to buy a cabin at a youth camp.  After further investigation, the adults,  who contributed
towards paying the church's bills, knew the church couldn't afford to buy the cabin. The young people,
who would use the cabin and did not bear any of the financial responsibility, and out numbered the
adults, voted to buy the cabin.  (Fortunately, families are not democracies and thus the matter was
settled outside the church.)

There are many kinds of democracies and there are very few true democracies where the majority
has complete rule. Majority rule usualy becomes an out of control mob rule that tramples the rights of
those in the minority.

The Avalon Project at Yale University

James Madison's notes on the
Constitutional Convention containing
Benjamin Franklin's Speech
Educating herself as she prepares to vote for the first time,
this eighteen-year-old looks over a sample ballot similar
to the one she will receive at her home address.
Voting tip: Decide how you are going to vote, mark your
sample ballot at home and take it with you when you go to the
In the 1700s,
the Colonists became very aware
To free themselves from
Taxation without Representation
They went to WAR!
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Copyright 2002 - 2008 Deanne Durrett
Last update 8/23/08