A constitutional republic is a form of government, where the head of state and other representatives are elected from a group of people. It also means that there is a constitution. The constitution says how the state may be run. The constitution limits the power of each officeholder. Constitutional republics usually have a separation of powers. This acts so that no single officeholder can get unlimited power. John Adams said that a constitutional republic was "a government of laws and not of people".
A constitutional republic is an attempt to limit the dangers which result from a simple majority rule. The constitution limits the power of each officeholder, and protects rights of minorities from the "tyranny of the majority". In a constitutional republic, no officeholder can get to a position of absolute power.
Aristotle was the first to write about the idea in his works on politics.
- Levinson, Sanford. Constitutional Faith. Princeton University Press, 1989, p. 60
- Delattre, Edwin. Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing, American Enterprise Institute, 2002, p. 16.