James Madison

December 6, 2009

Our country has come a long way in the past 200 years.  But, the nature of man is very much the same.  Many political skirmishes are driven by the fundamental disagreement in the purpose of government.  I think it’s wise to understand why the men who had in writing the Constitution put those words to paper.  Over the past 100 years or so, the purpose and power of our government has diverged widely from their intentions.

Here’s something to remember of anyone who finds themselves putting a great deal of trust in anyone they vote for:

The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.

Here’s the purpose of government, in 20 words:

The rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted.

Thanks to this page of quotes at George Mason University.

On losing freedom:

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

And this isn’t a good thing…

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one….

Remember, he’s considered the Father of the Constitution:

With respect to the two words “general welfare,” I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the “Articles of Confederation,” and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted.

If only:

[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.

This is just a good one.

Philosophy is common sense with big words.


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