Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison really wanted the Constitution to be ratified and so they wrote The Federalist Papers to encourage ratification. The disputes came later over who wrote what but today I wanted to have a chat with the most interesting Mr. Madison about our splendid republic in his own words.
Mr. President, I was wondering if individual freedom is ever safe under any government
“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
So we should never let our guard down so to speak.
“Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the community, and the invasion of private
rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents.”
We hear a lot about the separation of church and state. Set us clear on your original position.
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries….Whilst we assert a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to choose minds who have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.”
And interpretation of the Constitution in general which can be problematic to us today?
“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”
How about the right to bear arms?
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”
Statistics show that most Americans don’t even have a simple understanding of the “law of the land”. Isn’t there individual responsibility associated with our republic’s success?
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives… The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”
What about fiscal responsibility? We seem to constantly be bickering about money.
“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
And what about war? Shouldn’t we always proceed carefully?
“War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.”
Shouldn’t we trust those in power?
(Madison scratches his chin and grimaces slightly.)
“The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.”
That statement made me scratch my chin and smile.
The Federalist Papers is a compilation of 85 essays. The writers used the pseudonym Publius when signing the essays. Publius Valerius was not a last minute defender of the Roman republic, the model for our American experiement, but one of its founders. The name appropriately means friend of the people. Hamilton and Madison and Jay in my opinion were definitely that.
The Federalist papers are available on line to read for free my patriot friends @
Beati pacifici – Blessed are the peacemakers