With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s an appropriate time to take a few moments, reflect on the advantages we enjoy as citizens of our great country, and give thanks.

Our Founders bequeathed us a democratic system that has provided Americans with unparalleled prosperity and political stability. The United States was the first nation whose system of government was based on democratic representation and our constitution has outlived all others.

But our Founders also recognized that their work was never done, that our system would be in a constant state of vulnerability. Continuous efforts would be needed to preserve the principles of democratic representation – to ensure they are alive and progressing.

One story illustrates this awareness. During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the deliberations were not made public and the people were keen to know what the Founders were developing. As Benjamin Franklin walked out of the convention one day a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia is said to have asked him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” In no uncertain terms, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

So as we gather together with family and friends for the holiday, let’s acknowledge the insight of our Founders and the system of representative government they established, those centuries ago. Our society has benefitted from their wisdom and toil and it is up to all of us to preserve and protect those ideals.