Someone sent me a link to an article yesterday where someone had used a feature on Google to crunch numbers on the amount of times the words “republic” and “democracy” appear in print. The word republic is in red and democracy in blue. Note that the crossover happened during the progressive movement when the socialists were changing their line of attack on the constitution. You can read some of that history from this chapter on republics from the 5,000 Year Leap.
Here’s a link to the article this chart comes from.
My daughter is actually studying the progressive era in her history class right now and I didn’t realize that initiatives, referendums, and recalls came out of that movement. These 3 items were designed by progressives to bypass constitutional government and begin to introduce direct democracy to the nation (ie. the kind the Framers warned us about). Each of these items gives citizens the ability to propose law, pass law, and undo appointments and elections, completely bypassing the normal process and doing it themselves. Thus by states adopting these measures they gave up republican government guaranteed in article 4, section 4 of the constitution. However, by writing them into state law, they are now constitutional at the state level. I would suppose a valid case could be made to overturn an initiative, referendum, or recall, based on them violating the U.S. Constitution since it is the supreme law of the law and trumps state law where it specifically declares something as law such as article 4, section 4 guaranteeing republican government to the states.