Skip to comments.Why the Consitution matters
Posted on 03/08/2012 3:16:14 PM PST by Starman417
What does it mean to you?
To me, it stands as the shield against tyranny. Where the Declaration announced the intention to engage in a truly free and open society, the Constitution extended just enough power to a federal government to protect that free and open society.
The framers of the Constitution understood the need for a common, centralized, government entity to provide for those things the state and local governments and individuals could not provide for themselves. Things such as a defense against other nations hostile to us, an overreaching or tyrannical state imposing it's will and infringing upon it's neighbor's freedom, a common representation of the states for other nations to negotiate and treat with, and to protect the individual against abuse of power.
However, the framers also understood that giving too much power to a centralized government could result in it's own kind of tyranny, something they had fought a war to be free from. So, the Constitution was written as a granting of powers to the central government, in effect, and intention, limiting the federal government to only those powers. This limiting of powers is the shield to the states and individual from central government tyranny.
The thing is, though, that a shield is only as good as the person holding it. In the case of the Constitution, it's use as a shield is only as good as we, the people, allow it to be. To have the Constitution be a strong shield against tyranny, one must believe in it and hold it inviolable. As a people, we have not done so. We, as a people, have let politicians, since the ratification of the Constitution, twist meanings and words, propose their own definitions of terms, and insert their own viewpoints of the framers' intentions. In effect, the Constitution is no longer the Supreme Law of the Land as envisioned by people such as Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, etc.
We, the people, like to believe that we are a nation ruled by laws, and that those laws stem from the granted powers and the limitations of that power, to the federal government. However, when the standard describing what powers are granted, and what limitations are imposed on that power, is continually changing based on the people's current viewpoints, we no longer can stand as a Nation of laws, but rather, we become a nation of Rule by men, where the only limitation on the federal government's power is entirely dependent upon the morality and benevolence of the person(s) holding that power.
Rule by men leads to completely arbitrary ideas on what freedoms we, the people, can enjoy. It leads to completely arbitrary ideas on what constitutes a right. When these arbitrary ideas are involved, one man's freedom or right becomes another man's enslavement, infringing on his freedoms and rights, and the arbiter over the conflict depends entirely upon the people in power at that time. And when the people in power are able to arbitrarily change the rules, tyranny is the result.
We have become a nation where rule by men is commonplace, where we extend rights to every manner of people, groups, and entities, based not on a standardized rule of law, but rather, on which person, group, or entity is most politically expedient. Because of this, equality has become an arbitrary idea, and used as the reasoning behind which person, group, or entity will be favored. And, since the arbiters of the standard and the arbiters of equality are not limited in their power, and are the ones who decide exactly what the standard is, and what equality means, what may be protected for a person, group, or entity today can be just as easily infringed upon tomorrow.
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
I am amending my previous glowing assessment of James Madison and our Constitution. There was no grass roots effort to repeal The Articles of Confederation. James Madison and a number of other “leaders” caused an “unlawful” scrapping of the Articles under the guise of amending them. The resulting constitution, certainly in retrospect, can be seen to have eroded states rights to our present drain-circling reality. Those aforementioned leaders overreacted to Shay’s Rebellion IMHO...but I’ve been wrong before.Who was our first President?
You might be surprised.
It occurred to me again today that unlike us, the Left plans its assaults.
Roe didn't just happen. The plot included precursor rights to birth control in Griswold v. Connecticut. The result was legalized murder.
There are conservative, legal think tanks out there. Where are our guys storming a decade long hill to reinstate, for instance, the 9th Amendment?
Care to comment?
The left is always pushin the envelope as to where they can take the social compact by distorting the Constitution through executive and judical action. I hope they have misclaculated and Obama and the left will get a wicked response in November. We cannot tolerate the new radical social compact that they are foisting upon us. It ain’t Constitutional. Mr. Bamboozler!
From Page xv of "Our Ageless Constitution," allow me to include here excerpted words from President Andrew Jackson's Proclamation of December 10, 1832:
"We have received it [the Constitution] as the work of the assembled wisdom of the nation. We have trusted to it as to the sheet anchor of our safety in the stormy times of conflict with a foreign or domestic foe. We have looked to it with sacred awe as the palladium of our liberties, and with all the solemnities of religion have pledged to each other our lives and fortunes here and our hopes of happiness hereafter in its defense and support. Were we mistaken, my countrymen, in attaching this importance to the Constitution . . .? No. We were not mistaken. The letter of this great instrument is free from this radical fault. . . . No, we did not err! . . . The sages . . . have given us a practical and, as they hoped, a permanent* Constitutional compact. . . . The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the bond of our Union, our defense in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace: it shall descend, as we have received it, uncorrupted by sophistical construction, to our posterity. . . ."
*Underlining added for emphasis
gorush, with regard to your "amending" of your view "of James Madison and our Constitution," please consider the words of John Quincy Adams, who was 9 years old when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, 20 when the Constitution was framed, and from his teen years, served in various capacities in both the Legislative and Executive branches of the government, including as President.
His words on this subject should be instructive on the subject at hand.
In 1839, he was invited by the New York Historical Society to deliver the "Jubilee" Address honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Inauguration of George Washington. He delivered that lengthy discourse which should be read by all who love liberty, for it traced the history of the development of the ideas underlying and the actions leading to the establishment of the Constitution which structured the United States government.
His 50th-year summation seems to be a better source for understanding the kind of government the Founders formed than those of recent historians and politicians. He addresses the ideas of "democracy" and "republic" throughout, but here are only a few of his concluding remarks:
"Every change of a President of the United States, has exhibited some variety of policy from that of his predecessor. In more than one case, the change has extended to political and even to moral principle; but the policy of the country has been fashioned far more by the influences of public opinion, and the prevailing humors in the two Houses of Congress, than by the judgment, the will, or the principles of the President of the United States. The President himself is no more than a representative of public opinion at the time of his election; and as public opinion is subject to great and frequent fluctuations, he must accommodate his policy to them; or the people will speedily give him a successor; or either House of Congress will effectually control his power. It is thus, and in no other sense that the Constitution of the United States is democratic - for the government of our country, instead of a Democracy the most simple, is the most complicated government on the face of the globe. From the immense extent of our territory, the difference of manners, habits, opinions, and above all, the clashing interests of the North, South, East, and West, public opinion formed by the combination of numerous aggregates, becomes itself a problem of compound arithmetic, which nothing but the result of the popular elections can solve.
"It has been my purpose, Fellow-Citizens, in this discourse to show:-
"1. That this Union was formed by a spontaneous movement of the people of thirteen English Colonies; all subjects of the King of Great Britain - bound to him in allegiance, and to the British empire as their country. That the first object of this Union,was united resistance against oppression, and to obtain from the government of their country redress of their wrongs.
"2. That failing in this object, their petitions having been spurned, and the oppressions of which they complained, aggravated beyond endurance, their Delegates in Congress, in their name and by their authority, issued the Declaration of Independence - proclaiming them to the world as one people, absolving them from their ties and oaths of allegiance to their king and country - renouncing that country; declared the UNITED Colonies, Independent States, and announcing that this ONE PEOPLE of thirteen united independent states, by that act, assumed among the powers of the earth, that separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitled them.
"3. That in justification of themselves for this act of transcendent power, they proclaimed the principles upon which they held all lawful government upon earth to be founded - which principles were, the natural, unalienable, imprescriptible rights of man, specifying among them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that the institution of government is to secure to men in society the possession of those rights: that the institution, dissolution, and reinstitution of government, belong exclusively to THE PEOPLE under a moral responsibility to the Supreme Ruler of the universe; and that all the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed.
"4. That under this proclamation of principles, the dissolution of allegiance to the British king, and the compatriot connection with the people of the British empire, were accomplished; and the one people of the United States of America, became one separate sovereign independent power, assuming an equal station among the nations of the earth.
"5. That this one people did not immediately institute a government for themselves. But instead of it, their delegates in Congress, by authority from their separate state legislatures, without voice or consultation of the people, instituted a mere confederacy.
"6. That this confederacy totally departed from the principles of the Declaration of independence, and substituted instead of the constituent power of the people, an assumed sovereignty of each separate state, as the source of all its authority.
"7. That as a primitive source of power, this separate state sovereignty,was not only a departure from the principles of the Declaration of Independence, but directly contrary to, and utterly incompatible with them.
"8. That the tree was made known by its fruits. That after five years wasted in its preparation, the confederation dragged out a miserable existence of eight years more, and expired like a candle in the socket, having brought the union itself to the verge of dissolution.
"9. That the Constitution of the United States was a return to the principles of the Declaration of independence, and the exclusive constituent power of the people. That it was the work of the ONE PEOPLE of the United States; and that those United States, though doubled in numbers, still constitute as a nation, but ONE PEOPLE.
"10. That this Constitution, making due allowance for the imperfections and errors incident to all human affairs, has under all the vicissitudes and changes of war and peace, been administered upon those same principles, during a career of fifty years.
"11. That its fruits have been, still making allowance for human imperfection, a more perfect union, established justice, domestic tranquility, provision for the common defence, promotion of the general welfare, and the enjoyment of the blessings of liberty by the constituent people, and their posterity to the present day.
"And now the future is all before us, and Providence our guide."
In an earlier paragraph, he had stated:
"But this institution was republican, and even democratic. And here not to be misunderstood, I mean by democratic, a government, the administration of which must always be rendered comfortable to that predominating public opinion . . . and by republican I mean a government reposing, not upon the virtues or the powers of any one man - not upon that honor, which Montesquieu lays down as the fundamental principle of monarchy - far less upon that fear which he pronounces the basis of despotism; but upon that virtue which he, a noble of aristocratic peerage, and the subject of an absolute monarch, boldly proclaims as a fundamental principle of republican government. The Constitution of the United States was republican and democratic - but the experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived; and it was obvious that if virtue - the virtue of the people, was the foundation of republican government, the stability and duration of the government must depend upon the stability and duration of the virtue by which it is sustained."
I have very much enjoyed John Quincy Adams’ journal, the reading of which also changed my view of him from negative to positive. I enjoy destroying my biases which, I guess, is why I so love history. My whole point is that I, as a strict constructionist conservative, wish that we had the even more restrictive Articles of Confederation. Maybe we would be in better shape, maybe worse. I don’t know. But we’re headed down the toilet now and I blame an overbearing national (”federal” was a term expropriated, much like “liberal”) government.
“...it stands as the shield against tyranny.”
Ah, once upon a time, long, long ago...
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