|1.||a form of government in which the people or their elected representatives possess the supreme power|
|2.||a political or national unit possessing such a form of government|
|3.||a constitutional form in which the head of state is an elected or nominated president|
|4.||any community or group that resembles a political republic in that its members or elements exhibit a general equality, shared interests, etc: the republic of letters|
|[C17: from French république, from Latin rēspublica literally: the public thing, from rēs thing + publica|
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.