What Are the Pros and Cons of a Republic?

The pros of having a republic type of government, include widespread cultivation of civic virtue, increased liberty and just laws, while the cons include mass corruption and government inefficiency. In general, the structure of a republic safeguards people against government abuse better than an autocratic system; however, the dispersion of power makes public action less decisive.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a republic is based on the principles of representative government, citizenship and popular sovereignty. Because the people are the ultimate source of political power and government officials are answerable to both the people and the law, there is a reduced risk of government abuse. The people, acting through their representatives for their self-interest, are more likely than an autocrat to enact just laws that benefit the majority and not only the one or the few.

According to the Center for Civic Education, the opportunity for citizens to participate in government within a republic allows for the population in general to develop publicly beneficial civic virtues like honesty, responsibility, patriotism and duty.

The Center for Civic Education also explains that the problem with a republic is that political decisions become weaker when power is dispersed through many levels: executives, courts, legislatures. Instead of acting as a united whole toward a clear objective, government becomes distracted by the many conflicting purposes of the distinct factions that control the different branches. In addition, there is a danger that the citizens lose sight of the public good and vote according to their personal whims, sacrificing liberty and others’ rights in the process.