CORTES: Republic… or Oligarchy?

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, when asked what kind of government the Framers had created for our new nation, Benjamin Franklin reportedly responded: “a republic, if you can keep it.” Like the other Founding Fathers, Franklin understood deeply how representative government, like the Roman Republic, could devolve into oligarchy and eventual dictatorship. Accordingly, the American Constitution endeavored to channel the best practices of self-government from the Classical world while avoiding a similar subsequent fate. This coming week in America may well determine the “if you can keep it” part. The most powerful interests in