The book, The 5000 year leap: Principles of Freedom 101," reminds of of this, and notes the following:
"There are many reasons why the Founders wanted a republican form of government rather than a democracy. Theoretically, a democracy requires the full participation of the masses of the people in the legislature or decision making processes of government. This has never worked because the people become so occupied with their daily tasks that they will not properly study the issues, nor will they take the time to participate in extensive hearings before the vote is taken. The Greeks tried to use democratic mass-participation in the government of the city-states, and each time it ended in tyranny."The authors note that while a democracy becomes "increasingly unwieldy and inefficient as the population grows," a republic "governs through elected representatives and can be expanded indefinitely."
So a democracy demands the participation of all the people, yet a republic, according to James Madison, "derives its power directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.
"It is essential," Madison continued, "to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic."
Yet around the 1900s socialists (including progressives in the U.S.) took the term republic hostage and started referring to their socialisic programs as democracies in order to make them sound more appealing in the United States.
For instance, socialism and progressivism and liberalism fell out of favor due to what was happening in Europe, so any one who wanted to implement socialism in the U.S. had to find a friendly way to implement their policies. So they Democracies.
For example, in 1921 socialists in the United States started calling themselves, "The League for Industrial Democracy." It has a much more appealing taste to Americans, and is much more likely to suck people in. It worked for a while. You really can't fool Americans for too long.
Yet the consequence of this is that history teachers in schools and journalists started using the word democracy to refer to the United States instead of Republic, and hence the modern confusion. During WWII Woodrow Wilson added to the confusion when he hailed, "Make the world safe for Democracy." Of course now we know Wilson himself was a socialist under the guise of progressive agent.
The attack on the word republican was actually a planned attack, as we now know that the only way for progressives to get their socialistic agenda passed is by ignoring the Constitution. If they could destabilize it's meaning, they could make it easier to convince people to ignore it or to change it.
I was taught wrong also, that is until a few years ago one of my friends -- a liberal ironically -- set me straight on this.