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Is the U.S. a compound constitutional republic?

Published July 11, 2011 6:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As almost everyone knows by now, lawmakers passed a bill last legislative session requiring Utah educators teach students the U.S. is a compound constitutional republic.

But how common was that term before Utah passed the law? Adam Brown, an assistant professor of political science at BYU, in a blog, Utah Data Points, performs the analysis.

From his blog: "First, let's look at whether the term 'compound Constitutional Republic' existed before HB 220. This is a factual question that is easy to test. The answer: No. The legislature pretty much made this one up."

His explanation, along with some interesting charts, follows that.

During a House debate in February bill sponsor Rep. Mark Morley, R-Spanish Fork, explained his bill saying, "The intent is through study of different types of governments that it would be made known as to why our framers selected this very special form of government ... because it protects the rights of the individual, because it balances power both vertically and horizontally and because it has been and continues to be the best form of government in the world."

The original bill required educators teach students we live in a republic. The words "compound" and "constitutional" were added in later versions of the bill, after further debate.