I have heard numerous conflicting interpretations of Article IV section 4 of the constitution, specifically the clause “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” Would one of the professors comment on the meaning/history of this clause and whether it is a restriction on the federal government or the states or both.
In response to Shays’ Rebellion (1786), which had left many federal officials feeling impotent over their inability to assist Massachusetts, the Framers included this provision. Its point is to empower the Federal Government to help states put down rebellions.
Professor Gutzman, specifically regarding the statement “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,” does this mean that the federal government must be of a republican form or that all state governments must be of republican form or both? Also, why would this be attached to a clause specifying the federal government’s duty to protect states from invasion and domestic violence? They seem very different. Thanks.
Domestic violence seems very different from rebellion? Hmm. I confess that I don’t see it that way. Again, the point was that the Federal Government guaranteed each state a republican form of government — which meant that in case of future events like Shays’ Rebellion, the feds could intervene on behalf of duly-constituted authority.