Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Davy Crockett on Charity
http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Constitution_Issues/davy_crockett_and_charity.htm ^

Posted on 01/01/2005 2:21:20 AM PST by Exton1

CROCKETT was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.

I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support — rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker — I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it.

We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount.

There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt.

The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity.

Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:

"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."

He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:

"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

SEVERAL YEARS AGO I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.

The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.

So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."

He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."

I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and —"

"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'

This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."

"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"

"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."

"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"

Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:

"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government.

So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.

No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.

The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."

I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:

"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."

I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."

He laughingly replied:

"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."

"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday a week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."

"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"My name is Bunce."

"Not Horatio Bunce?"

"Yes."

"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."

We shook hands and parted.

It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.

I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him — no, that is not the word — I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted — at least, they all knew me.

In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow citizens — I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."

He came upon the stand and said:

"Fellow citizens — It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."

He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"NOW, SIR," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.

"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men — men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased — a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: asia; charity; constitutionalism; davycrockett; money; tsunami
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

1 posted on 01/01/2005 2:21:20 AM PST by Exton1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Exton1
And the giving away of the peoples money continues and will continue.

It is, afterall, about feeling good, and to alleviate the guilt that comes from becoming comparatively wealthy and stable in a world of poverty and chaos.

2 posted on 01/01/2005 2:45:50 AM PST by G.Mason (A war mongering, UN hating, military industrial complex loving, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason

This was presented in a thread yesterday about charity extended by the U.S. to those countries affected by the tsunami.

Col. Crockett was correct in his conversion to the idea that congress shouldn't be giving away the peoples money in that they have no constitutional authority to do so.

On the other hand it is a long standing practice that will not be changed even though in many instances it has gotten completely out of hand.


3 posted on 01/01/2005 3:51:57 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58

Sure, it's gotten out of hand...& it's OUR fault! We refuse to elect people with the character & backbone of Col. Crockett into Congress (w/ the ONE possible exception, the very honorable Representative RON PAUL!).

It is up to us to make this change. Since the House of Representatives controls the purse strings, all we hafta do is find & ELECT enough members throughout the country into the House who will "just say no" to any & all unconstitutional spending. It's as simple as that--there is nothing the Senate, White House, Supreme Court, of MSM could do about it, because it's written in black & white that all spending bills must originate in the House.

Are we going to start doing that, or will we continue to vote for Representatives who will "bring home the bacon" back to OUR district, using our federal tax money for programs that benefit us or our local area? I'm not gonna hold my breath that it will be the former.


4 posted on 01/01/2005 4:06:35 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
"This was presented in a thread yesterday about charity extended by the U.S. to those countries affected by the tsunami ... "

We agree.

Can it be long before "we the people" demand to all be made instant millionaires by the government?

I mean, with this unlimited taxpayers cash floating around, why not?

I'll be glad to pay you tomorrow for the price of a hamburger today. ;)

5 posted on 01/01/2005 4:07:18 AM PST by G.Mason (A war mongering, UN hating, military industrial complex loving, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason

It's more than that, I'm afraid: I'd say it also comes from a deep-seated anger, hatred, bitterness, or jealousy that comes from those who want America's succes but refuse to work for it. By & large, the American people have a giving spirit & WANT to help others...but the Marxists around the world (& here at home, too) who despise our form of government, way of life, religious values, & good intentions will NEVER be satisfied, regardless of what we do. Their plans of changing every aspect of our lives may be subtle & utopian sounding, but sinister nonetheless.


6 posted on 01/01/2005 4:19:37 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Exton1

PING


7 posted on 01/01/2005 4:32:53 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck......... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Exton1
Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people.

Nothing much has changed in the last 175 years.
8 posted on 01/01/2005 4:33:20 AM PST by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason

About your "millionaires" question: I remember back in the 2000 election (maybe it was '96???) that the guy running for the Presidential nomination for the Green Party--a punk rocker whose name is Jello Biafra, who came in 2nd place against Ralph Nader--said that not only should America's minimum wage be increased significantly (up to what he called a "living wage" of around $11/hr), there should also be a MAXIMUM wage!

In his corny little "progressive" socialist world, NO ONE would be able to earn more than $100k a year!!! I'm not kidding! I heard him say this on C-SPAN @ the Green Party Convention while he was stating his case for why he should be their nominee.


9 posted on 01/01/2005 4:34:46 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: libertyman
" ... I remember back in the 2000 election ... "

And I get stomped on for calling for a thinning of the herds! ;)

10 posted on 01/01/2005 4:41:54 AM PST by G.Mason (A war mongering, UN hating, military industrial complex loving, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason
I have friends who are politicians in Kentucky and I plan on sending this piece to them.
As I recall from my history Davy Crockett's days in congress were short and not very sweet. You can see with an attitude like exhibited in this piece he would not be one of the popular boys who bleed constantly with the peoples money.
Look how far we have come in our countries history where our leaders think nothing of giving away $350M. I believe that if the government taxed and spent our money as intended that the American public on its own would have given twice as much.
Today if W had stood up and made a speech like Davy Crockett he might have been crucified on the spot. The only way to change the thinking in Washington is term limits. A representative not worrying about reelection might vote differently.
11 posted on 01/01/2005 4:42:26 AM PST by Recon Dad (Great Post)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Recon Dad
" ... The only way to change the thinking in Washington is term limits. A representative not worrying about reelection might vote differently."

Respectfully, I think it is much deeper than that.

There aren't many in this great country like farmer Horatio Bunce.

We, as a nation, have lost Mr. Bunce's ideals of hard work and self reliance.

Instead, we have become a nation with an "if it's free, it's for me" attitude.

The pigs are feeding at the trough and will continue doing so until the trough is empty.



Brother ... can you spare few thousand?

12 posted on 01/01/2005 4:57:25 AM PST by G.Mason (A war mongering, UN hating, military industrial complex loving, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
"no constitutional authority "

Congress has authority to give money to other countries. We have from the very first congress.

Those who think they know better than the authors and ratifiers of the Constitution what is constitutional are self-professed fools by definition.

Of course many miss the point that Davy is not talking about aid to foreigners.

13 posted on 01/01/2005 5:03:40 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Recon Dad

About the term limits thing: I strongly disageree, because a changing of the guard makes little difference when the "newbies" are as ignorant of the Constitution & its limits on federal spending, war, & police powers as the members they are replacing. Federal involvement in education (which President Bush supports wholeheartedly) could have something to do w/ that, among other things.

On top of that, should we ever get another member of Congress with the honesty & backbone of Davy Crockett (which we do, & his name is Rep. RON PAUL), I don't wanna be forced to vote for someone else, one who has less respect for the Constitution, due to his being term-limited from office. If he decides VOLUNTARILY to term limit himself (which Rep. PAUL has in the past, & he has followed through on his promise), fine...I may not like it, but that's his choice.

I say we need a REVIVAL of constitutional knowledge in this country instead: didn't you notice how back in Davy Crockett's day that Horatio Bruce, an ordinary "blue collar" guy who may or may not have had the finest lifestyle or education, seemed to know more about our Constitution than well-educated white collar movers & shakers of our age do? & how he based his voting preferences on Congressional candidates who would obey their Constitutional Oath of Office, rather than some special interest/single-issue voters of today (which fill the ranks of BOTH the Dim & GOP constituencies)?


14 posted on 01/01/2005 5:19:10 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
what is constitutional are self-professed fools

Little harsh today arent we?

15 posted on 01/01/2005 5:21:14 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Exton1

Before you get all excited about Davy Crockett's "Libertarian" pronouncments, realize this was a Whig who supported the National Bank, internal improvements, the tariff, and especially dedicated his congressional career to providing government subsidies for land purchases by artificially lowering the market prices for western lands. So if you celebrate one of his nostrums, perhaps you need to celebrate all?


16 posted on 01/01/2005 5:22:16 AM PST by LS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
Congress has authority to give money to other countries. We have from the very first congress. Those who think they know better than the authors and ratifiers of the Constitution what is constitutional are self-professed fools by definition. Of course many miss the point that Davy is not talking about aid to foreigners.

Here is your opportunity to rise above all of us "self-professed fools", quote Chapter and Verse from the Constitution where the fedguv is authorized to give my money to anyone. You seem to think this is a clear cut case, so it shouldn't take more than a minute or two of your time. Right? I'm anxious to sit down and STFU this morning so make your case. Blackbird.

17 posted on 01/01/2005 5:29:23 AM PST by BlackbirdSST
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Recon Dad

I first read this piece on the Constitution Society's webpage. They have a TON of information there, & one that is especially fitting for our time is their printing of Frederic Bastiat's political premise called "THE LAW", written back in 1850 (pay special attn. to the section called, "The Book & Its Author"). What Mr. Bastiat had to say there is INCREDIBLE!

Notice how he praises the United States of 1850 & forecasts the upcoming War for Southern Independence--11 years before it happens, & in most part, for the right reasons! Reading this booklet (???) fills my heart with love of country every time.


18 posted on 01/01/2005 5:31:13 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: LS
So if you celebrate one of his nostrums, perhaps you need to celebrate all?

Common sense dictates otherwise, try it sometime. No one is correct 100% of the time, are they? Blackbird.

19 posted on 01/01/2005 5:31:52 AM PST by BlackbirdSST
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
It does tick me off somewhat to start the year off seeing the living constitutionalists winning on Free Republic.
20 posted on 01/01/2005 5:34:25 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: BlackbirdSST
"Those who think they know better than the authors and ratifiers of the Constitution what is constitutional are self-professed fools "

I suppose that statement is hard for a living constitutionalist to understand, considering the intellectual limits that incline one to be a living constitutionalist.

The Constitution must mean what it always meant. Or it means nothing.

21 posted on 01/01/2005 5:40:25 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith; BlackbirdSST

I do not profess to be a constitutional expert but am anxious to see your reply to "BlackbirdSST" in post #17.

If congress does indeed have constitutional authority to give tax money to other countries or individuals I would like to see chapter and verse.


22 posted on 01/01/2005 5:40:38 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: libertyman

Bump!


23 posted on 01/01/2005 5:42:41 AM PST by LibertarianInExile (NO BLOOD FOR CHOCOLATE! Get the UN-ignoring, unilateralist Frogs out of Ivory Coast!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
I suppose that statement is hard for a living constitutionalist to understand, considering the intellectual limits that incline one to be a living constitutionalist.

Yet another personal attack but still no facts.

Someone who reads into the constitution that which is not there is a "living constitutionalist"

If it's there, show me where I have erred.

24 posted on 01/01/2005 5:44:08 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton... all the Founders supported giving money to other nations.

It is not an insult to call those who claim otherwise living constitutionalists. It is a statement of historical fact.

25 posted on 01/01/2005 5:55:26 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: BlackbirdSST
Absolutely not. But common sense also says Davy Crockett was much further from so-called "Libertarian" ideas than this post would have people believe. He also supported military action, often, both against Indians and against the Mexican army.

I love Davy Crockett---he gets a lot of ink in my book, "A Patriot's History of the United States" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1595230017/qid=1092168718/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/002-0543492-4011203?v=glance&s=books but he was a staunch Whig.

26 posted on 01/01/2005 5:56:05 AM PST by LS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58

Any national defense clause permits the government to protect United States' security, and if that involves directing money to other countries, that is covered. Washington said that paying tribute to the Barbaray pirates was constitutional, and no one disagreed, until we had a navy powerful enough to confront the pirates.


27 posted on 01/01/2005 5:58:22 AM PST by LS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: LS
Under Washington we also gave money to indian tribes.

In the Madison administration we gave "foreign aid" specifically in relief of a natural disaster like this tsunami. That was for a Venzuela earthquake in 1812.

28 posted on 01/01/2005 6:03:34 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton... all the Founders supported giving money to other nations.

Well at least you didn't call me a "fool" that time or accuse me of having low intellect, so you are gertting better.

If those wise men you mentioned believed it was ok to give money to other countries or individuals why wasn't it written into the constitution?

It seems to me that you are the one who is a "living constitutionalist" - That which you are accusing others of.

Please cite the clause in the U.S. constitution that gives congress the power to give away my money.

Try to do it without any more personal attacks.

29 posted on 01/01/2005 6:04:35 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith; LS
Under Washington we also gave money to indian tribes.

In the Madison administration we gave "foreign aid" specifically in relief of a natural disaster like this tsunami. That was for a Venzuela earthquake in 1812.

Citing instances of past practices doesn't make it more or less constitutional it only means that it has been done for a long time.

30 posted on 01/01/2005 6:08:48 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
Don't you think it's your claim that the Founders- all the Founders in this case- didn't know what the Constitution meant that needs to be defended?

A living constitutionalist wouldn't of course.

31 posted on 01/01/2005 6:13:56 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58

No, it means that the very men who DRAFTED the Constitution knew what it meant better than you.


32 posted on 01/01/2005 6:17:59 AM PST by LS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
Congress has authority to give money to other countries

I am looking at Article I. section 8 and cannot find that authority listed in the enumerated powers. A liberal interpretation of the "general Welfare" perhaps?

And don't bother to support your assertion with examples. I am starting to come around to the idea that the Constitution was not worth the paper it was written on from the git-go. Your defense only bolsters that opinion.

33 posted on 01/01/2005 6:20:12 AM PST by NMC EXP (Choose one: [a] party [b] principle.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
Exactly: we can't have it both ways. ONLY if the constitution is a "living document" can we ignore what the FOUNDERS thought the constitution meant---and they clearly thought it included things like the use of tax dollars for bribes, payoffs, support to Indians, etc., all in the name of national defense.

Their concerns were less over HOW the money was spent than WHO had the autorization to spend it, and as long as it was Congress doing the authorizing, most of the Founders considered that constitutional, and the Marshall court agreed.

34 posted on 01/01/2005 6:20:17 AM PST by LS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Exton1
I posted same story the last time disaster relief was debated on here. I totally agree with Crockett's point of view, but unfortunately the precedent has been set.
35 posted on 01/01/2005 6:25:20 AM PST by TheBattman (Islam (and liberals)- the cult of Satan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NMC EXP
There were people with your view even in the earliest years of the republic.

Senator MacClay is the best known example:
"...Memorandum: Get, if I can, The Federalist [Papers] without buying it. It is not worth it. But, being a lost book, Izard, or some one else, will give it to me. It certainly was instrumental in procuring the adoption of the Constitution. This is merely a point of curiosity and amusement to see how wide of its explanations and conjectures the stream of business has taken its course. "
From his journal of the First Senate.

Even the contrary and anti-government MacClay supported giving money to other nations however.

36 posted on 01/01/2005 6:27:08 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: libertyman
I wish I had your Ron Paul, but I am stuck with John Boehner, who has decided that the most important thing he can do is get reelected. My quandary is that here I am in a heavily conservative area, solid red zone and I have no alternatives. The party will never back someone else because they lose the seniority and that means less bacon coming home. The days of citizen representatives is over. If you take a position like Ron Paul your fighting the party system designed to reward those who conform.
A person who knows he has only 6 or 8 years to serve will be more inclined to make decisions that are not based on getting elected in the future.
I appreciate the presidents efforts in education reform, but I don't know that this is an area covered in the Constitution. At least he isn't throwing money at the education problem.
Thanks you for your response.
37 posted on 01/01/2005 6:29:24 AM PST by Recon Dad (Response)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: NMC EXP

A link to MacClay's Journal.
Libertarian and anti-federalist freepers all should treat themselves to reading it sometime.

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(mj001T000)):


38 posted on 01/01/2005 6:31:19 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
Citing instances of past practices doesn't make it more or less constitutional it only means that it has been done for a long time.

That is worth repeating.

I suspect that you may be arguing with lawyers who believe in the concept of "case law".

39 posted on 01/01/2005 6:31:58 AM PST by NMC EXP (Choose one: [a] party [b] principle.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: LS
Yes, matters that the Founders did not address- or were anbiguous or divided upon- are wide open to debate .

But when the understanding was universally agreed upon- what's the point in even discussing it?

In fairness, this thread has Crockett's (apocryphal?) remarks upon domestic charity not foreign charity. The federal power domestically was very limited and it is not at all clear that it is constitutional for the feds to give money to American citizens. Like Madison, I personally don't think so.

40 posted on 01/01/2005 6:45:07 AM PST by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: libertyman
Preface When a reviewer wishes to give special recognition to a book, he predicts that it will still be read "a hundred years from now." The Law, first published as a pamphlet in June, 1850, is already more than a hundred years old. And because its truths are eternal, it will still be read when another century has passed.

Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) was a French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before - and immediately following -- the Revolution of February 1848. This was the period when France was rapidly turning to complete socialism. As a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Bastiat was studying and explaining each socialist fallacy as it appeared. And he explained how socialism must inevitably degenerate into communism. But most of his countrymen chose to ignore his logic.

The Law is here presented again because the same situation exists in America today as in the France of 1848. The same socialist-communist ideas and plans that were then adopted in France are now sweeping America. The explanations and arguments then advanced against socialism by Mr. Bastiat are -- word for word -- equally valid today. His ideas deserve a serious hearing.

This is a amazing page. It describes todays politicians to the tee. They are all plunderers.

http://www.constitution.org/law/bastiat.htm

41 posted on 01/01/2005 6:48:35 AM PST by winodog (I wonder where America would be if we had not lost 40+million in the thirty+ year war)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith
You make an interesting point on "clearly understood matters." For example, there was never any mention of the word "gold" in the Federal Reserve Act because everyone at the time understood that banks would continue to use gold as their "reserve currency." But, of course, that quickly changed.

BTW, if I haven't pinged you alerady, please check out my newly released book, "A Patriot's HIstory of the United States" http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1595230017/qid=1092168718/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/002-0543492-4011203?v=glance&s=books

42 posted on 01/01/2005 6:48:51 AM PST by LS
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Exton1
One of my favorite speeches.

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

43 posted on 01/01/2005 6:52:25 AM PST by expatguy (http://laotze.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason
You are correct it isn't as simple as term limits, but I would hope by eliminating the professional politician the motivation to be in Congress would change. Getting people who have respect and understanding of the Constitution would be easier without the temptation to make it a career.
My Congressman, John Boehner, considered a staunch conservative in a very conservative district is a prime example of someone who got to Congress and found out he likes it. The local party will never change horses because it would not serve their purposes.
Over the years the Federal government has assumed more and more authority abetted by a willing congress. Finding a way to get this authority away from them will require a legislature that set limits, right now we have none, liberal or conservative.
44 posted on 01/01/2005 6:58:12 AM PST by Recon Dad (Response)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58

It's the age old Grass is blue, Sky is green argument! Blackbird.


45 posted on 01/01/2005 6:59:20 AM PST by BlackbirdSST
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Graybeard58
WHERE IS THE EXPENSE REPORT?
46 posted on 01/01/2005 7:10:25 AM PST by B4Ranch (((The lack of alcohol in my coffee forces me to see reality!)))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Recon Dad

Rep. Paul isn't my Representative (he is from Surfside, TX, & I'm in Ft. Smith, AR...my Rep. is John Boozman, who is a neocon). Just like you, I wish that a Ron Paul-like candidate would be elected in my district.

As for federal President Bush's efforts in education are concerned, they are flat-out unconstitutional (whatever happened to the GOP that wanted to eliminate the Dept. of Education???). Here's what James Madison had to say as a member of the house on february 7, 1792:

"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, & are the sole & supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, & parish, & pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress...".

So much for "No Child Left Behind"--I'd say, along w/ James Madison, that it's time to leave federal involvement in education behind! We should support (@ the FEDERAL level):

--the seperation of SCHOOL & state;

--the seperation of WELFARE & state;

--the seperation of TRANSPORTATION & state;

--the seperation of CRIMINAL LAW ENFORCEMENT & state (support your LOCAL police!), etc., etc., etc.!

The above issues are left to the states or the people to decide, as the 10th Amendment requires (y'all remember that one, right?).


47 posted on 01/01/2005 7:36:25 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Recon Dad
" ... Getting people who have respect and understanding of the Constitution would be easier without the temptation to make it a career ... "

And here's the rub. The study of our Constitution is not taught, to any great length and understanding, in the public schools.

As we parents are aware, children take the easy way out. They want to begin employment at the top. No apprenticeship, and if possible, be handed everything by others.

I guess what I am saying, is that even should we "children" read and understand the Constitution, we would wish to ammend it, allowing this to continue.

As you decribed Congressman Boehner, so have we all become, and I am afraid the solution to the change in this attitude will be severe when it comes.




"Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year."

48 posted on 01/01/2005 7:36:31 AM PST by G.Mason (A war mongering, UN hating, military industrial complex loving, Al Qaeda incinerating American.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: winodog

You're absolutely right...it IS amazing. Now just imagine how great the REST of the book is, as short as it may be!

This booklet should be REQUIRED READING for anyone who says "I'm proud to be an American"!!!

I challenge ALL FReepers to read this small book & pass it along....


49 posted on 01/01/2005 7:47:31 AM PST by libertyman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: G.Mason

Good thoughts I hope will stimulate thinking. As to my suggestion for term limits I will only point to the term limits put on the Presidency as something I believe works. As much as I would like to see GW able to run for President in 08 I think back to 2000 and know that Bill Clinton would still be President today if there were no term limits.
Listening to Fox as I type Ben Stein is saying the same things about the present aid being given to Asia as Davey did long ago. Let's vote for Ben.


50 posted on 01/01/2005 7:50:01 AM PST by Recon Dad
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-72 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson