Skip to comments.The Constitution: A Big Gubmint Boondoggle Born of Manufactured Crisis
Posted on 11/12/2009 6:16:08 AM PST by Huck
Nowadays, were all familiar with the formula: Government alarms the citizenry with a trumped up crisis from which the only refuge is more and bigger government. But did you know thats how our government was born?
Here are excerpts from Patrick Henrys speeches at the Virginia Convention, where he spells it out:
Where is the danger? If, sir, there was any, I would recur to the American spirit to defend us; that spirit which has enabled us to surmount the greatest difficulties -- to that illustrious spirit I address my most fervent prayer to prevent our adopting a system destructive to liberty. Let not gentlemen be told that it is not safe to reject this government. Wherefore is it not safe? We are told there are dangers, but those dangers are ideal; they cannot be demonstrated....
The Confederation, this despised government, merits, in my opinion, the highest encomium -- it carried us through a long and dangerous war; it rendered us victorious in that bloody conflict with a powerful nation; it has secured us a territory greater than any European monarch possesses -- and shall a government which has been thus strong and vigorous, be accused of imbecility, and abandoned for want of energy? Consider what you are about to do before you part with the government. Take longer time in reckoning things; revolutions like this have happened in almost every country in Europe; similar examples are to be found in ancient Greece and ancient Rome -- instances of the people losing their liberty by their own carelessness and the ambition of a few. We are cautioned ... against faction and turbulence. I acknowledge that licentiousness is dangerous, and that it ought to be provided against. I acknowledge, also, the new form of government may effectually prevent it. Yet there is another thing it will as effectually do -- it will oppress and ruin the people.
Consider our situation, sir: go to the poor man, and ask him what he does. He will inform you that he enjoys the fruits of his labor, under his own fig-tree, with his wife and children around him, in peace and security. Go to every other member of society, you will find the same tranquil ease and content; you will find no alarms or disturbances. Why, then, tell us of danger, to terrify us into an adoption of this new form of government? And yet who knows the dangers that this new system may produce?....
Consolidated national government
Mr. Chairman, I rose yesterday to ask a question which arose in my own mind.... When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious. The fate of this question and of America may depend on this. Have they said, We, the states? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation. It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government.
The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing the expression, We, the people, instead of the states, of America. I need not take much pains to show that the principles of this system are extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous. Is this a monarchy, like England a compact between prince and people, with checks on the former to secure the liberty of the latter? Is this a confederacy, like Holland an association of a number of independent states, each of which retains its individual sovereignty? It is not a democracy, wherein the people retain all their rights securely.
Had these principles been adhered to, we should not have been brought to this alarming transition, from a confederacy to a consolidated government. We have no detail of these great considerations, which, in my opinion, ought to have abounded before we should recur to a government of this kind. Here is a revolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain. It is radical in this transition; our rights and privileges are endangered, and the sovereignty of the states will be relinquished: and cannot we plainly see that this is actually the case?
The honorable gentleman's observations, respecting the people's right of being the agents in the formation of this government, are not accurate, in my humble conception. The distinction between a national government and a confederacy is not sufficiently discerned. Had the delegates, who were sent to Philadelphia, a power to propose a consolidated government instead of a confederacy? Were they not deputed by states, and not by the people? The assent of the people, in their collective capacity, is not necessary to the formation of a federal government. The people have no right to enter into leagues, alliances, or confederations; they are not the proper agents for this purpose. States and foreign powers are the only proper agents for this kind of government. Show me an instance where the people have exercised this business. Has it not always gone through the legislatures?....
Constitution turns a confederacy into an EMPIRE
The American spirit has fled from hence: it has gone to regions where it has never been expected; it has gone to the people of France, in search of a splendid government a strong, energetic government. ....But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together. Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?....
Consolidated government spells OPPRESSION
This government is not a Virginian, but an American government. Is it not, therefore, a consolidated government? .... Consider how the only remaining defence we have left is destroyed in this manner. Besides the expenses of maintaining the Senate and other house in as much splendor as they please, there is to be a great and mighty President, with very extensive powers the powers of a king. He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence; so that the whole of our property may be taken by this American government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure....In this scheme of energetic government, the people will find two sets of tax-gatherers the state and the federal sheriffs. This, it seems to me, will produce such dreadful oppression as the people cannot possibly bear.
Relying on honest leaders is folly(devastates the if only they followed the constitution nonsense)
Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt....If your American chief be a man of ambition and abilities, how easy is it for him to render himself absolute! The army is in his hands, and if he be a man of address,.... This, sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves....
We should have been like Switzerland
The history of Switzerland clearly proves that we might be in amicable alliance with those states without adopting this Constitution. Switzerland is a confederacy, consisting of dissimilar governments. This is an example which proves that governments of dissimilar structures may be confederated. That confederate republic has stood upwards of four hundred years; and, although several of the individual republics are democratic, and the rest aristocratic, no evil has resulted from this dissimilarity; for they have braved all the power of France and Germany during that long period. The Swiss spirit, sir, has kept them together;.... Look at the peasants of that country and of France; and mark the difference. You will find the condition of the former far more desirable and comfortable. No matter whether the people be great, splendid, and powerful, if they enjoy freedom.
The Constitution was a mistakea grave error
The most valuable end of government is the liberty of the inhabitants. No possible advantages can compensate for the loss of this privilege....Permit me, sir, to say, that a great majority of the people, even in the adopting states, are averse to this government. I believe I would be right to say, that they have been egregiously misled.
The history of the world would be something else, for sure. What it might have been we'll never know.
The “Anti-Federalists” had good arguments. The “Federalists” were statists then as they are now. When you have a prostituted “general welfare” clause among other atrocities committed on the Constitution, what can we expect but the incrementalism that has got us here today? “Here” being on the verge of totalitarianism.
I do see your point. I have been reading the federalists and anit-federalists papers for the past 3 weeks. I try to read the argument for and then the argument against certain provisions in the order they were presented to NY.
After the thread the other day I got to thinking about what the country would look like as a federation. Patrick Henry's assessment and comparison to the Swiss might have seemed appropriate at the time. But the Swiss heritage and history back then was much different than what would happen during the American expansion and growth.
America has (imo) very diverse cultures even within itself. From the early Gold Rush, to the southern agg industry and northern Manufacturing industry, etc. I think each state government, left to its own devices and developed at different times would have left the country divided. I would go so far as to suggest there may have been several different Confederacies or nations had all not had to “join the Union”.
There would have not been a central government to negotiate land deals on behalf of the nation, raising an army would have been more difficult, especially from territories or to defend territories. Consider the Louisiana Purchase. I doubt that would have ever happened. Fulton's Folly was very unpopular. Texas would likely have been part of Mexico or at least would be it's own nation if offered to join a Confederacy (imo). Consider New Mexico, Arizona and even what CA would look like.
The problem with leaving the Confederacy as it was is that states would be less motivated to act in support of expansion that did not affect their own interests. Collecting taxes from the states of the confederacy would have become increasingly more difficult. Consider the civil war. Had their been a confederacy and no Union or constitution to defend, I doubt there would have been a civil war to speak of. The nation would have either split into separate confederacies, or nations.
After considering your comments from the other day, I believe in what the founders argued for, even if I concede in some flaws that failed to limit the fed enough. I don't believe they were for big government but finally agreed that some national government was needed.
I do not think America would have ever become a Superpower. We would likely have not gotten involved in WWI or WWII. Hawaii and Alaska would not be a state of the union. Germany and Japan would likely be Tyrannical Superpowers today. Either that or Japan and the Soviet Union. Anyway you cut it, there would be few free nations in the world and I believe America would have been a target for it's wealth and resources of other aggressive nations.
It has been urged and echoed, that the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.
Translation: He thinks it's a stupid argument. He seems to labor under the assumption that the politicians under his system would be honest. I don't know where he got that idea.
"But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity
Translation: But I made a list! Anyone seeing the list will naturally discern that the general statement is actually worthless, and just a superfluous summation of the listed powers! That's obvious, and to conclude otherwise is absurd!
Wrong James. Totally, completely wrong.
The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are "their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare. "
But James, in the Articles, it doesn't give Congress power to "promote" the general welfare. It merely says that the league was entered into for their general welfare.
The terms of article eighth are still more identical: "All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury," etc.
AND ARE ALLOWED, James. It says AND ARE ALLOWED.
Madison just couldn't see the glaring problems in the Constitution. No one thinks their own child is ugly, I guess.
Agreed. Everyone was caught off guard by the immediate power grab for the judiciary by Marshal as well.
When decent and honest people don't run for office and win, the lowlifes in expensive suits are more than happy to fill the void. They can rob us blind legally, because they write the laws and have armed force to back them. And how are they voted in, except that the majority of voters either want to be ruled (safety over liberty), are willing to believe what they're told without checking facts or thinking of the long-term consequences of their vote, or don't take thier vote seroiusly enough. Too busy with TV and sports or taking care of their family and job.
We see the loss of respect for God. We see the recent polls that say 60% of high school grads think it's okay to cheat, and another that says the average citizen scores higher on a civics test than the average politician, so it looks bleak right now.
It is said by many bible scholars that the US isn't menioned in the book of Revelation. Which makes me think of the TV show Flashforward. Many of the characters saw the future. But many saw nothing. Darkness.
Excellent post! Thank you.
The history of the world would be different, to be sure. That’s fine with me. I don’t know what the end result would have been. You take westward expansion as a given—you are a believer in “manifest destiny” I take it. I am not. I can see other outcomes. Maybe there would have been other confederacies. So what? Maybe we wouldn’t have been involved in Europe’s wars. So what? The US civil war wouldn’t have happened at all. No Hawaii or Alaska? So what? No superpower? So what?
I think the idea is that you can NEVER rely on the honesty of politicians. Complaining about politicians lying is like complaining about hookers being floosies. Duh. The trick is to limit government’s scope, size, and power, and to preserve the rights and defenses of the people at large. Government attracts schemers, job-seekers, ambitious men. It has ALWAYS been this way.
That’s not true. It was predicted before the ratification:
Antifederalist No. 80 THE POWER OF THE JUDICIARY (PART 2)
From the 11th essay of “Brutus” taken from The New-York Journal, January 31, 1788.
The nature and extent of the judicial power of the United States, proposed to be granted by the constitution, claims our particular attention.
Much has been said and written upon the subject of this new system on both sides, but I have not met with any writer who has discussed the judicial powers with any degree of accuracy. And yet it is obvious, that we can gain but very imperfect ideas of the manner in which this government will work, or the effect it will have in changing the internal police and mode of distributing justice at present subsisting in the respective states, without a thorough investigation of the powers of the judiciary and of the manner in which they will operate. This government is a complete system, not only for making, but for executing laws. And the courts of law, which will be constituted by it, are not only to decide upon the constitution and the laws made in pursuance of it, but by officers subordinate to them to execute all their decisions. The real effect of this system of government, will therefore be brought home to the feelings of the people, through the medium of the judicial power. It is, moreover, of great importance, to examine with care the nature and extent of the judicial power, because those who are to be vested with it, are to be placed in a situation altogether unprecedented in a free country. They are to be rendered totally independent, both of the people and the legislature, both with respect to their offices and salaries. No errors they may commit can be corrected by any power above them, if any such power there be, nor can they be removed from office for making ever so many erroneous adjudications.
The only causes for which they can be displaced, is, conviction of treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanors.
This part of the plan is so modelled, as to authorize the courts, not only to carry into execution the powers expressly given, but where these are wanting or ambiguously expressed, to supply what is wanting by their own decisions.
That we may be enabled to form a just opinion on this subject, I shall, in considering it, lst. Examine the nature and extent of the judicial powers, and 2nd. Inquire, whether the courts who are to exercise them, are so constituted as to afford reasonable ground of confidence, that they will exercise them for the general good.
With a regard to the nature and extent of the judicial powers, I have to regret my want of capacity to give that full and minute explanation of them that the subject merits. To be able to do this, a man should be possessed of a degree of law knowledge far beyond what I pretend to. A number of hard words and technical phrases are used in this part of the system, about the meaning of which gentlemen learned in the law differ. Its advocates know how to avail themselves of these phrases. In a number of instances, where objections are made to the powers given to the judicial, they give such an explanation to the technical terms as to avoid them.
Though I am not competent to give a perfect explanation of the powers granted to this department of the government, I shall yet attempt to trace some of the leading features of it, from which I presume it will appear, that they will operate to a total subversion of the state judiciaries, if not to the legislative authority of the states.
In article 3d, sect. 2d, it is said, “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority, etc.” The first article to which this power extends is, all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution.
What latitude of construction this clause should receive, it is not easy to say. At first view, one would suppose, that it meant no more than this, that the courts under the general government should exercise, not only the powers of courts of law, but also that of courts of equity, in the manner in which those powers are usually exercised in the different states. But this cannot be the meaning, because the next clause authorises the courts to take cognizance of all cases in law and equity arising under the laws of the United States; this last article, I conceive, conveys as much power to the general judicial as any of the state courts possess.
The cases arising under the constitution must be different from those arising under the laws, or else the two clauses mean exactly the same thing. The cases arising under the constitution must include such, as bring into question its meaning, and will require an explanation of the nature and extent of the powers of the different departments under it. This article, therefore, vests the judicial with a power to resolve all questions that may arise on any case on the construction of the constitution, either in law or in equity.
lst. They are authorised to determine all questions that may arise upon the meaning of the constitution in law. This article vests the courts with authority to give the constitution a legal construction, or to explain it according to the rules laid down for construing a law. These rules give a certain degree of latitude of explanation. According to this mode of construction, the courts are to give such meaning to the constitution as comports best with the common, and generally received acceptation of the words in which it is expressed, regarding their ordinary and popular use, rather than their grammatical propriety. Where words are dubious, they will be explained by the context. The end of the clause will be attended to, and the words will be understood, as having a view to it; and the words will not be so understood as to bear no meaning or a very absurd one.
2nd. The judicial are not only to decide questions arising upon the meaning of the constitution in law, but also in equity. By this they are empowered, to explain the constitution according to the reasoning spirit of it, without being confined to the words or letter. “From this method of interpreting laws (says Blackstone) by the reason of them, arises what we call equity”; which is thus defined by Grotius, “the correction of that, wherein the law, by reason of its universality, is deficient; for since in laws all cases cannot be foreseen, or expressed, it is necessary, that when the decrees of the law cannot be applied to particular cases, there should somewhere be a power vested of defining those circumstances, which had they been foreseen the legislator would have expressed. . . .” The same learned author observes, “That equity, thus depending essentially upon each individual case, there can be no established rules and fixed principles of equity laid down, without destroying its very essence, and reducing it to a positive law.”
From these remarks, the authority and business of the courts of law, under this clause, may be understood.
They [the courts] will give the sense of every article of the constitution, that may from time to time come before them. And in their decisions they will not confine themselves to any fixed or established rules, but will determine, according to what appears to them, the reason and spirit of the constitution. The opinions of the supreme court, whatever they may be, will have the force of law; because there is no power provided in the constitution that can correct their errors, or control their adjudications. From this court there is no appeal. And I conceive the legislature themselves, cannot set aside a judgment of this court, because they are authorised by the constitution to decide in the last resort. The legislature must be controlled by the constitution, and not the constitution by them. They have therefore no more right to set aside any judgment pronounced upon the construction of the constitution, than they have to take from the president, the chief command of the army and navy, and commit it to some other person. The reason is plain; the judicial and executive derive their authority from the same source, that the legislature do theirs; and therefore in all cases, where the constitution does not make the one responsible to, or controllable by the other, they are altogether independent of each other.
The judicial power will operate to effect, in the most certain, but yet silent and imperceptible manner, what is evidently the tendency of the constitution: I mean, an entire subversion of the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the individual states. Every adjudication of the supreme court, on any question that may arise upon the nature and extent of the general government, will affect the limits of the state jurisdiction. In proportion as the former enlarge the exercise of their powers, will that of the latter be restricted.
That the judicial power of the United States, will lean strongly in favor of the general government, and will give such an explanation to the constitution, as will favor an extension of its jurisdiction, is very evident from a variety of considerations.
lst. The constitution itself strongly countenances such a mode of construction. Most of the articles in this system, which convey powers of any considerable importance, are conceived in general and indefinite terms, which are either equivocal, ambiguous, or which require long definitions to unfold the extent of their meaning. The two most important powers committed to any government, those of raising money, and of raising and keeping up troops, have already been considered, and shown to be unlimited by any thing but the discretion of the legislature. The clause which vests the power to pass all laws which are proper and necessary, to carry the powers given into execution, it has been shown, leaves the legislature at liberty, to do everything, which in their judgment is best. It is said, I know, that this clause confers no power on the legislature, which they would not have had without it-though I believe this is not the fact, Yet, admitting it to be, it implies that the constitution is not to receive an explanation strictly according to its letter; but more power is implied than is expressed. And this clause, if it is to be considered as explanatory of the extent of the powers given, rather than giving a new power, is to be understood as declaring that in construing any of the articles conveying power, the spirit, intent and design of the clause should be attended to, as welt as the words in their common acceptation.
This constitution gives sufficient color for adopting an equitable construction, if we consider the great end and design it professedly has in view. These appear from its preamble to be, “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity.” The design of this system is here expressed, and it is proper to give such a meaning to the various parts, as will best promote the accomplishment of the end; this idea suggests itself naturally upon reading the preamble, and will countenance the court in giving the several articles such a sense, as will the most effectually promote the ends the constitution had in view. How this manner of explaining the constitution will operate in practice, shall be the subject of future inquiry.
2nd. Not only will the constitution justify the courts in inclining to this mode of explaining it, but they will be interested in using this latitude of interpretation. Every body of men invested with office are tenacious of power; they feel interested, and hence it has become a kind of maxim, to hand down their offices, with all its rights and privileges, unimpaired to their successors. The same principle will influence them to extend their power, and increase their rights; this of itself will operate strongly upon the courts to give such a meaning to the constitution in all cases where it can possibly be done, as will enlarge the sphere of their own authority. Every extension of the power of the general legislature, as well as of the judicial powers, will increase the powers of the courts; and the dignity and importance of the judges, will be in proportion to the extent and magnitude of the powers they exercise. I add, it is highly probable the emolument of the judges will be increased, with the increase of the business they will have to transact and its importance. From these considerations the judges will be interested to extend the powers of the courts, and to construe the constitution as much as possible, in such a way as to favor it; and that they will do it, appears probable.
3rd. Because they [the courts] will have precedent to plead, to justify them in it [extending their powers]. It is well known, that the courts in England, have by their authority, extended their jurisdiction far beyond the limits set them in their original institution, and by the laws of the land.
The court of exchequer is a remarkable instance of this. It was originally intended principally to recover the king’s debts, and to order the revenues of the crown. It had a common law jurisdiction, which was established merely for the benefit of the king’s accountants. We learn from Blackstone, that the proceedings in this court are grounded on a writ called quo minus, in which the plaintiff suggests, that he is the king’s farmer or debtor, and that the defendant hath done him the damage complained of, by which he is less able to pay the king. These suits, by the statute of Rutland, are expressly directed to be confined to such matters as specially concern the king, or his ministers in the exchequer. And by the articuli super cartas, it is enacted, that no common pleas be thenceforth held in the exchequer contrary to the form of the great charter. But now any person may sue in the exchequer. The surmise of being debtor to the king being matter of form, and mere words of course, the court is open to all the nation.
When the courts will have a precedent before them of a court which extended its jurisdiction in opposition to an act of the legislature, is it not to be expected that they will extend theirs, especially when there is nothing in the constitution expressly against it? And they are authorised to construe its meaning, and are not under any control.
This power in the judicial, will enable them to mould the government, into any shape they please. The manner in which this may be effected we will hereafter examine.
My rep's lucrative and self-serving "land deal" was well-known before her first election; she was elected in a landslide. She voted for TARP even though calls were running near 100% against; she was reelected in a landslide a few weeks later. Now she has voted for this medical monstrosity; do her constituents give a damn? They've already proven twice that they don't.
Excellent post. Too much truth for many.
You think you got it bad? I live in New Jersey! lol
I understand that.
Well we’re on our way to becoming New Jersey. Libs are fleeing the messes they’ve made by the millions, and invading the South and the Southwest. Look what they’ve already done to Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. And don’t get too smug, Texas. You’ve got the jobs. They’re coming after you now, and bringing their voting habits with them. They won’t change.
Bookmark for later
Whatever political observations may be made, we shouldn’t miss the fact that we’re talking about humanly devised systems of government. To go down the hypothetical rabbit trail of Henry or Madison or whomever would present us with a system that would also be vulnerable to the corruption of humanity.
Many forefathers were in agreement that even the compromise embraced by the Constitution could not be made to work among a people who refused to be moral and godly. And so we have seen it with our own eyes.
The standard of living in the world today and certainly in the US would be lower. WWII, for all the death and destruction it brought, also ushered in a long bought of peace and forced structure and civility among many nations.
You and I may or may not exist today and this continent may have been conquered by tyrannical Superpowers. Check the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Once the feeding and conquering of nations and people proves successful for the wealth and sustainability of a Dictatorship, it needs to continue to feed.
I say it is a huge deal and the world, including America, would not be as great of a place. Call me patriotic, but I enjoy with confidence our status as the greatest nation on earth, even with our current and past flaws.
Agreed. I will take it further and even go as far as to say, several of the founders agreed that the nation, under this new constitution would only limit government by the checks and balances the citizens enforced. It was to be a government for the people by the people. They had faith that the values and morals of the nations charter of freedom and liberty would be minded by the people. It is we the people that have been asleep at the switch for so long through apathy and self inflicted ignorance.
The constitutions gives many avenues to stop a repressive government. Our problem is the first step is electing the representation that stands for the values we promote here at FR. The next step is redress of grievances. Beyond that, there is laws that are written by our government for our government and legal action that relies on the honesty and fairness of an oppressive government. Our forefathers hoped that American's would rise up against a government that had become oppressive and to take up arms if necessary. If not, then the sacrifices made during the revolutionary war would be in vain, even 200+ years later.
I would only concede that as limited of powers as the constitution addressed for the fed, it left the explanation broad. To be specific enough to address the issues we face today, the constitution would have had to be thousands of pages long and the founders would have had to be able to see into the future.
Considering they were only human, I think they did a fine job.
All systems share that weakness. But this is not a rabbit hole, and it's not hypothetical--this is scientific method. We have two sets of arguments (hypothoses) at the time of the ratification. And now we have 200 years of history (data and experiment)and so we can form concusions (results).
True, we can't know what might have been. Would human weakness and corruption have been an issue under any system? Of course, a fact that demolishes this other point...
Many forefathers were in agreement that even the compromise embraced by the Constitution could not be made to work among a people who refused to be moral and godly.
Which is why it was a mistake to enact a government so vast, so far reaching, and so powerful. It wasn't necessary. We needn't have had this beast. It's not a rabbit hole. It's where we are. It ought to be honestly accounted for and reckoned, for posterity's sake if nothing else.