It's a constitutional republic, got it?

Beginning this week, schools in Utah are required to teach that the United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

No one has yet been able to articulate exactly why it was necessary to pass a law requiring such a thing. There seems to be some vague notion that Utah’s schoolchildren were being taught something different. Some lawmakers seemed to be inordinately angry that people were throwing around the d-word irresponsibly.

But there were no studies or opinion polls to back up this notion — at least not that I am aware of. published this interesting list of countries that describe themselves as republics:

People’s Republic of China
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of Cuba
Republic of the Fiji Islands
Republic of Iraq
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Federal Republic of Germany
French Republic
Co-Operative Republic of Guyana
Republic of Madagascar
Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (“jamahiriya” is an Arabic translation of “republic”)
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

With a few exceptions (Germany, France, South Korea and possibly Madagascar, where a lot of turmoil exists), one of the things all these have in common is that they are dominated by one political party.

Maybe that’s why one-party Utah seems obsessed with this issue.

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About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.

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