The Democratic Republican Party was the creation of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to oppose the federalist party. The key factor in this form of governing is: “Republicanism may be distinguished from other forms of democracy as it asserts that people have unalienable rights that cannot be voted away by a majority of voters.” (Wikepedia page for Republicanism in the United States) Jefferson expressed this ideal in two quotes which seem contradictory. “absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the MAJORITY.” (http://www.ushistory.org/us/20b.asp) And also, “though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” (http://www.ushistory.org/us/20b.asp) These ideals were heavily reliant on a way of life that was most common and the time, Farming.
Jefferson in fact was fearful of the result of a more urban society. After seeing the ways of people in the cities of Europe he believed that farming was essential and that there was enough land for all to prosper. His belief in and practice of farming was a way of life for many of the founding fathers which makes the reading of “Barn Raising” by Daniel Kemmis so fitting.
Kemmis in his writing reflects on his childhood living and learning on a farm. Kemmis refers to the lessons learned in ways of working together and coming together politically to accomplish things that would benefit the community as a whole. A need for things to be accomplished outweighed the negative feelings people had for each other and the essential character trait became whether or not a person would show up to help.
Along with this idea of community and people working together the community was only possible if the people were strong and independent enough to get what they had to accomplish done and put forth effort for the whole. “Avoiding people you did not like was not an option. Everyone was needed by everyone else in one capacity or another.”(Barn Raising page 121) The essence of community that was learned in the farming way of life was important for people to learn the ways of cooperation and Democracy. Have we lost that knowledge in the great migration of people from country to city living which is the modern was of the greater majority of the world? Do we learn these lessons today?
In the article by “John Taylor Gatto” link above the answer in modern day is not that these issues were the result of cities but the result of children being raised separate from society. The learning done on a farm is the lessons of adulthood while working alongside adults. This is done in cities and in modern society, but not as often as it could. People must be taught the value of working together and to figure out what they can bring to the table for the greater good. The challenge we face in a democracy is to assure that we are all strong individuals willing to work together to accomplish great things. If we do we might call ourselves Democratic Republicans.