At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a prominent Philadelphia woman asked Ben Franklin, "Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?"
His famous reply: "A republic -- if you can keep it."
Keeping one isn't easy work. More than a monarchy or dictatorship, a republic depends on the goodwill, patience and shared values among citizens.
The events of this past week prove Ben Franklin right. An angry mob, incited by an autocrat, can move quickly to sack the structures of government, and undermine the values that hold a republic together.
These last few days, nearly 234 years after Franklin's warning about a republic, we proved we can keep it.