The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Science

Authors: Bogdanor
Summary: This very brief entry of only about 270 words defines both republic and republicanism, and mentions the historical origins of the term 'republic.'
Republic derives originally from Greek and is best translated into English as Commonwealth. Thus, at its root, republic means simply the state. Two new meanings have become associated with republic in modern politics. First, is the republic as a form of state and government. A modern republic is characterized by a constitutionally appointed head or state with legally defined and limited powers and functions. Most modern states are republics in this sense. The second meaning associated with republic refers to a style of politics, which is characterized by equality, political democracy, and political participation. This political style is a marked contrast to the private orientation of liberalism and the authoritarian state policies associated with socialism.
The term republicanism generally means characterized by the republic as a form of state and style of politics. In some countries like the United States and France, this term also refers to supporters of political parties called republican.