Is the U.S. a compound constitutional republic? | The Chalkboard | The Salt Lake Tribune
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Lisa Schencker
Lisa Schencker has covered K-12 education for The Salt Lake Tribune since 2007. Before that, she covered education in California and communities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As an education reporter, she visits classrooms and talks with teachers, parents, kids and policymakers.

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Is the U.S. a compound constitutional republic?

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.

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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.

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