- a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
- any body of persons viewed as a commonwealth.
- a state in which the head of government is not a monarch or other hereditary head of state.
- (initial capital letter) any of the five periods of republican government in France.Compare First Republic, Second Republic, Third Republic, Fourth Republic, Fifth Republic.
- (initial capital letter, italics) a philosophical dialogue (4th century b.c.) by Plato dealing with the composition and structure of the ideal state.
- a form of government in which the people or their elected representatives possess the supreme power
- a political or national unit possessing such a form of government
- a constitutional form in which the head of state is an elected or nominated president
- any community or group that resembles a political republic in that its members or elements exhibit a general equality, shared interests, etcthe republic of letters
c.1600, “state in which supreme power rests in the people via elected representatives,” from Middle French république (15c.), from Latin respublica (ablative republica) “the common weal, a commonwealth, state, republic,” literally res publica “public interest, the state,” from res “affair, matter, thing” + publica, fem. of publicus “public” (see public (adj.)). Republic of letters attested from 1702.
A form of government in which power is explicitly vested in the people, who in turn exercise their power through elected representatives. Today, the terms republic and democracy are virtually interchangeable, but historically the two differed. Democracy implied direct rule by the people, all of whom were equal, whereas republic implied a system of government in which the will of the people was mediated by representatives, who might be wiser and better educated than the average person. In the early American republic, for example, the requirement that voters own property and the establishment of institutions such as the Electoral College were intended to cushion the government from the direct expression of the popular will.