Skip to comments.James Madison: The subversion of the very foundations of limited government in America
Posted on 07/06/2012 4:08:32 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
-- James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792
For Conservatives, this is a caution - for Liberals, it’s a roadmap...
HUGE and powerful find, EV. Thank you very much!
Every SCOTUS justice should have had this in hand before ruling on obamacare. No excuses for Roberts or any of the libtard traitors.
I hear ya. But, frankly, we could fairly easily deal with the liberals, if the conservatives would simply return to the original principles of the republic and quit compromising them.
Newt Gingrich’s Ping List because y’all will appreciate.
I continue to pray for a miracle in Tampa. “She” and Newt are attending, ya know.
My thanks to both of you.
Good luck with the FReepathon!
Thanks very much, EV! Please continue to participate on our FReepathon threads!!!
Free Republic is here to stay, thanks to loyal support from FReepers like you!!
Amen. Until all the cards are on the table, I lay await.
I just pray we actually have an election this year. If not, it will be a bloodbath......which is NOT what I want.
Amen. Not what we want, but, I think, I’m ready.
Can’t be post to FR due to his copyright request, but here’s a couple good ones by Ramirez on Obama vs the Founders (extremists):
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787"
Will amen that prayer...and add one more. Prayers for a VP candidate of the quality of.......
Here's another important quote from the father of our Constitution:
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
Heck of a way for the greatest republic in history to die, ain’t it.
IOW, don't vote for Romney, it'll only encourage them.
Best of luck at the polls, Tom. (If Romney wins the Republican Primary, then I'm voting for either you or Virgil Goode.)
Really, why would you put those two amendments as the worst?
I'm thinking the 16th and 14th amendments are -- though there is in fact enough documentation to cast serious doubt on the 14th's legitimacy -- so, possibly the 16th and 17th.
Yep. Ramirez gets it. Thanks, Jim.
Beautiful rendering (and quote).
Beautiful rendering (and quote).
I’m so mad at those five.
Keep praying for a miracle in Tampa.
Excellent post. Romney should have ripped Roberts to shreds and pointed out the intent of our founding fathers and the constitution.
From day one I knew that nominating a candidate that introduced socialized medicine to Mass. would be a huge mistake. It was one of the main issues that ignited the Tea Party folks. Have the republicans lost their minds? didn’t they get the message during the 2010 elections?
Praying hard sister!
Yes, Republicans have lost their convictions and no they didn’t get the 2010 message.
Don’t get me started on Romney. I continue to pray for a miracle in Tampa.
Thanks for the ping. Ramirez is one of the very best. Quality messages and the best cartoonist drawings around.
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." -- James Madison, Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention [June 16, 1788]
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one...." -- James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792
"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions." -- James Madison, National Gazette essay, March 27, 1792
James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, elaborated upon this limitation in a letter to James Robertson: With respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the "Articles of Confederation," and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted.
Bless you all for the ping to EG post. I am very grateful.
Heartbreaking reminder from where we are falling, how far, and how fast.
On the road to Santa Fe for the week end, on my itty bitty cell key board.
Love to all. Rita.
I’ve missed you! Good to hear from you.
See you when you return. Best wishes for a great vacation!
Prayers, love and mega hugs!
no miracles. the GOP made its choice.
Romney will win and many will cheer that it is good news! But by Jan 2014, Romney will be a failure, a loser Prez like Jerry Ford ... and we will get another DEM in ‘16. Freedom is still 9 years away.
Madison was an outstanding man.
If anyone can post a link for the whole letter from an archival source, it would be greatly appreciated.
Ford held his post in an era where it was much less possible for the commoner to exert influence upon him.
I don’t see the Tea Party, and the like, leaving a president Mitt Romney alone for a millisecond. What Mitt does matters too much, and there will be a constant press for Mitt to pull his waffles off of the right side of the iron, not the left side. He may survive as a figurehead through 2016 and if the VP is decent, he or she will be the heir apparent in 2020.
"Americans have the right and advantage of being armet - unlike the citizens of other countries who governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." ~James Madison
Here is what Congress may now tax and regulate, courtesy of SCOTUS:
"Put simply, Congress may tax and spend. This grant gives the Federal Government considerable influence even in areas where it cannot directly regulate. The Federal Government may enact a tax on an activity that it cannot authorize, forbid, or otherwise control." --J Roberts, Obamacare
Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce.--Scalia, concurring in Raich
Thanks for the ping!
The picture of INSANITY in the flesh.
My apologies to all. I had this quote down as being from the letter to Edmund Pendleton, but as it turns out it came from a speech he gave shortly thereafter.
Doesn’t change the substance at all, though.
AS TO THE POWERS of The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
MR. MADISON’S Speech on the Cod Fishery Bill, Feb. 7, 1792.
It is supposed by some gentlemen, that Congress had authority not only to grant hounties in the sense here used, merely as a commutation for drawback, but even to grant them under a power by virtue of which they may do any thing which they may think conducive to the general welfare! This, sir, in my mind, raises the important and fundamental question, whether the general terms which have been cited, are to be considered as a sort of caption or general description of the specificd powers, and as having no further meaning, and giving no further powers, than what is found in that specification, or as an abstract and indefinite delegation of power extending to all cases whatever; to all snrh, at least, as will admit the application of money, which is giving as much latitude as any government could well desire.
I, sir, have always conceivedI helieved those who proposed the Constitution conceivedit is still more fully known, and more material to observe, that those who ratificd the Constitution conceivedthat this is not an indefinite Government, deriving its powers from the general terms prefixed to the specificd powersbut a limited government tied down to the specified powers, which explain and define the general terms.
It is to be recollected that the terms “common defence and general welfare,” as here used, are not novel terms, first introduced into this Constitution. They are terms familiar in their construction, and well known to the people of America. They are repeatedly found in the Articles of Confederation, where, although they are susceptible of as great a latitude as can be given them by the context here, it was never supposed or pretended that they conveyed any such power as is now assigned to them. On the contrary, it was always considered clear and certain, that the old Congress was limited lo the enumerated powers, and that the enumeration limited and explained the general terms. I ask the gentlemen themselves whether it ever was supposed or suspected that the old Congress could give away the money of the States, in hounties to encourage agriculture, or for any other purpose they pleased. If such a power had been possessed by any hody, it would have bcen much less impotent, or have borne a very different character from that universally ascribed to it.
The novel idea now annexed to those terms, and never before entertained by the friends or enemies of the government, will have a further consequence which cannot have bcen taken into the view of the gentlemen. Their construction would not only give Congress the complete legislative power I have stated, it would do moreit would supersede all the restrictions understood at present to lie on their power with respect to a judiciary. It would put it in the power of Congress to establish courts throughout the United States, with cognizance of suits hetween citizen and citizen, and in all cases whatsoever. This, sir, seems to he demonstrable: for if the clause in question really authorizes Congress to do whatever they think fit, provided it be for the general welfare, of which they are to judge, and money can be applied to it, Congress must have power to create and support a judiciary establishment, with the jurisdiction exlending to all cases favorable, in their opinion, to the general welfare, in the same manner as they have power to pass laws, and apply money, providing it be in any other way for the general welfare. I shall be reminded, perhaps, that, according to the terms of the Constitution, the judicial power is to extend to certain cases only, not to all cases. But this circumstance can have no effect in the argument, it being presupposed by the gentlemen that the specification of certain objects does not limit the import of the general terms. Taking these terms as an abstract and indefinite grant of power, they comprise all the objects of the legislative regulations, as well such as fall under the judiciary article, in the Constitution, as those falling immediately under the legislative article; and if the partial enumeration of objects in the legislative article does not, as these gentlemen contend, limit the general power, neither will it be limited by the partial enumeration of objects in the judiciary article.
There are consequences, sir, still more extensive, which, as they follow clearly from the doctrine combatted, must either be admitled, or the doctrine must he given np. If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and 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, and parish, and pay them out of the 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: for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.
The language held in various discussions of this house is a proof that the doctrine in question was never entertained by this hody. Arguments, wherever the subject would permit, have constantly been drawn from the peculiar nature of this government, as limited to certain enumerated powers, instead of extending, like other Governments, to all cases not particularly excepted. In a very late instance, I mean the debate on the Representation Bill, it must he remembered that an argument much used, particularly by gentlemen from Massachusetts, against the ratio of 1 for 30,000, was, that this Government was unlike the State Governments, which had an indefinite variety of objects within their power, that it had a smaller number of objects only attended to, and therefore that a smaller number of representatives would he sufficient to administer it.
Argnments have been advanced to show that hecause, in the regulation of trade, indirect and eventual encouragement is given to manufactures, therefore Congress have power to give money in direct bounties, or to grant it in any other way that would answer the same purpose. But surely, sir, there is a great and obvious difference, which it cannot he necessary to enlarge upon; a duty laid on imported implements of husbandry would, in its operation, be an indirect tax on exported produce; but will any ouesay, that by virtue of a mere power to lay duties on imports, Congress might go directly to the produce or implements of agriculture, or to the articles exported? It is true, duties on exports are expressly prohibited; but if there were no article forbidding them, a power directly to tax exports would never he deduced from a power to tax imports, although such a power might indirectly and incidentally affect exports.
In short, sir, without going farther into the subject, which I should not have here touched on at all, but for the reasons already mentioned, I venture to declare it as my opinion, that were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundation, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America: and what inferences might be drawn, or what consequences ensue from such a step, it is incumbent on us all to consider.
That is a beautiful painting. I viewed this yesterday, and was struck by the way the artist captured those men, and made some of them appear to be looking at the artist or into a camera and into the future. Awesome work.
A continuous daily history lesson is indeed a need, we have come so far away from their intent, and we must be cautious of where we are headed if it is not to late already, but then they did give us recourse. We just have to remind ourselves that we have that recourse available.