I honestly suspect that less than 10% of Americans have ever read the critical documents that define our republic, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Amendments that followed. The process of creating these documents was not some whimsical “fly-by-night” operation. The delegates spent 4 months debating and thrashing about at the Constitutional Convention until they arrived at the final wording. Let me be very clear about this. The Founding Fathers decided that America should be a republic and NOT a democracy. The difference being that in a democracy the people vote directly on all issues. With modern technology, that’s what we should be doing as a nation.
Although many Americans are not aware of their existence, the Federalist Papers, a collection of hundreds of papers written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay offer great insight into the birth of our nation. The purpose of the Federalist Papers, which were written by the same people who wrote the Constitution, was to gain support from the people to justify the new government. In actuality, this was likely the first massive printed public relations campaign in history.
During this time frame, New York had become an independent nation under the prevailing Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document of the United States of America that combined the colonies of the American Revolutionary War into a loose confederation after we threw out King George. Alexander Hamilton decided that a massive propaganda campaign was necessary for the American people to “buy” into the new Constitution, if for no other reason then to convince the people of New York more so than any other nation state. I can’t help wondering, if New York had maintained its status as an independent nation, would the Staten Island Ferry be viewed as its ship of state?
James Madison, widely recognized as the Father of the Constitution, would later go on to become President of the United States, as would Thomas Jefferson. John Jay would become the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court and Alexander Hamilton would serve in the Cabinet and become a major force in setting economic policy for the country.
Based upon recent state and Federal Supreme Court decisions, the very foundation of our democracy is being shaken to the core. This knowledge base of our laws has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats or conservatives or liberals. It’s an issue we all need be concerned about. We need to be extremely knowledgeable in our country’s legal mechanisms so we may take issue with these illegal decisions that are being fostered by the liberal political base that mandates many of these diabolical acts. If nothing else, take a few minutes and read or browse the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Amendments so you can appreciate the tremendous wisdom imparted by the individuals who created these marvelous documents.
The Federalist Papers are a treatise on free government. The combined papers or essays demonstrate a vision on constitutional democracy and Federalism. The delegates looked to the states and not the existing interim government for ratification of the new Constitution and government. Let’s be clear on one point. Not everyone supported the idea of the new constitution. There was also a strong Anti-Federalist movement afoot at the same time. There was much quibbling and arguing for we must remember that this was a politically revolutionary concept that the new nation was spawning.
Philosophically, the papers emphasized the need for security from foreign intervention, for peace throughout America; fear of the mob mentality, and above all, individual freedom. A very important point is that the Founding Fathers as a group were extremely educated men who were very aware of the pros and cons of the previous democratic republics in Greece and Rome. In their mind, the new republic would need to avoid the pitfalls of these prior attempts at true democracy in order to succeed. They debated long and hard differentiating the merits of a true democracy, wherein the people vote directly on all matters of state, versus a republican form of government. One of their main concerns was how to defend liberty in a republican form of government over the large geographic area of the United States. Remember that in the infancy of the new republic, travel was by horse or stagecoach. This in itself is why the idea of elected representatives became paramount in their minds, as it was unrealistic to expect citizens to travel to Washington to vote on every issue. That was then; this is today. With emerging technologies, we can view the need for elected representatives from a vastly different viewpoint and hopefully eliminate much of the power and corruption inherent in our career politicians. But I will delve into that point in the 10-point plan to return the government to the people.
In summary, a careful review of these papers reveals that the innermost concerns of Jay, Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson were focused on the following salient points:
· On one hand, the thought was that there was no need for a strong Federal government as the country was already united by natural boundaries of geography, speech and a belief in God; while on the other hand, there was great concern that a strong Federal government is necessary to regulate conflict and administer law. In addition, there was concern that under a loose confederation, the states would divide into separate political entities, and have frequent and violent contests with one another. Therefore, a balance was needed.
· There was also the utmost need for equal balance and independence between the three branches of the government: the executive (President); the legislature (Senate and House of Representatives); and the judicial (Supreme Court). Although the three branches must be independent entities, each must have sufficient power to impose restraints over the other two.
· Neither Hamilton nor Madison wanted the individual states absorbed entirely into a national government. At that time, it seemed inconceivable to them that the national government would want to interfere with local governments. How wrong they were!
· There was a strong impetus for a professional standing army controlled by the national government, not so much because they were necessarily afraid of foreign intervention and wars, but the need was to enforce its laws and control internal conflict (“mob rule”) between states and individuals.
One of the most significant characteristics of these papers is that this diverse group of people writing these essays seemed to have one sense as to the powers of the Federal government. Its responsibilities were relegated to the formation and maintenance of a large standing army, a legislative body and the present day Supreme Court. No discussion whatever can be attributed to any of the papers wherein the authors enlarged the scope of the Federal government to include many of the issues that have been assumed (or forcibly overtaken) by the Federal government today including health care, social security, education, housing, abortion, labor laws, and many other important topics. By inference, it can be said that the creators of the Constitution felt that all of these issues were the responsibility of the individual states or local councils comprising the union.
The Declaration of Independence focused mainly on announcing to King George of England that the people of America would no longer tolerate rule by the British government.
Note that you may find what you consider to be spelling errors, such as “shewn (shown)” and “defence (defense),” in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but in those days some words were spelled differently from today’s accepted version.
Let’s examine a few of the critical phrases (or clauses in lawyer talk) that are pertinent to many of the issues being debated or illegally distorted by the courts today:
· “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
· “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government laying its foundation on such principles”
· “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States;” and “they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”
Remember the phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” because it will justify many of the arguments on subjects such as Affirmative Action.
The Founding Fathers recognized that since the new government they were creating was potentially fallible, they brazenly stated that it if that government becomes destructive, is the right of the people to abolish it and institute new government.
Most importantly, note the use of the phrase, “Independent States” in at least two clauses. No mention is made of a central government, as it exists today.
As with the Declaration of Independence, I doubt if but a few select individuals have ever read the Constitution, if for no other reason because of it’s sheer volume. Take a few minutes and learn about the wisdom our forefathers demonstrated in the 1770’s.
The Constitution explicitly defines the responsibilities of the Federal government. A summary of these responsibilities follows:
None of the responsibilities identified in the above list makes any mention of healthcare, social security, education, housing, abortion, labor laws, and many other “hot” topics for which Congress debates, passes new laws and allocates funds.
One of the most powerful features of the Constitution was that it recognized that as the country grew and values changed, future Americans could modify the Constitution via amendments (see Article V of the Constitution).
Over 10,000 Constitutional amendments have been proposed in Congress since 1789. Rarely do any of these proposals make it through Congressional committee, much less get passed by the Congress. Of the thirty-three amendments that have been proposed by Congress, six have failed ratification by the required three-quarters of the state legislatures (leaving 27) — and four of those six are still technically pending before state lawmakers.
The first ten amendments are also referred to as the “Bill of Rights.”
There is only one clause of importance, Article X, in these amendments that affect the power sharing arrangement between the Federal government and the states:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
This is a very important point. This clause very clearly states that if a specific power is not delegated to the United States (read Federal government), then the states are responsible for that power. Again, there is no mention of social security, education, housing, abortion, labor laws, gun control, drug wars, regulating utilities, etc. The list could go on and on ad infinitum.