When asked after the Constitutional Convention whether they had produced a republic or a monarchy, Benjamin Franklin replied, "A republic, if you can keep it." In the book that derives its title from this portentous quote, Ronald Brecke contends that American government has not done such a good job of keeping it. Brecke describes how changes in our politics and government have illustrated a departure from the republican principles on the Constitution-changes purportedly in the direction of direct democracy. A Republic, If You Can Keep It argues that these changes have instead stripped the governing structures of much of their ability to govern effectively and responsibly. By critically examining each institution in terms of its relationship to effective and responsible republican government, the book does more than simply describe how government and politics work. It asks readers to evaluate why things work as they do and how improvements can be made; it engages readers in a debate about republicanism and their role in it. Brecke brings readers-political scientists, Constitutional law scholars, students of American government-face to face with their responsibilities as citizens.