Saturday, April 30, 2011

Let's Not ReWrite The History of Our Constitution.

The Tea Party Movement is a force to be reckoned with, it will be a major player in who will be nominated to office as well as win in the fall of 12. This is a wonderful change from the apathy that has plagued most Americans about the political world going on around them for decades.

I do have some concerns though. One of them is that, while I am thrilled with the new embrace of history, our founding, and our Constitution that is burning like wild-fire through the Tea Partiers, I am concerned about who is teaching them. Or at least who they might be hearing explain it. Most people do not read for themselves, the average American man reads less than one book a year. That means they "learn" from being told by others, who likely learned from being told by others, and on and on, like looking into a old barbershop mirror.

When this is the method of disseminating information, it can be twisted, and perverted to the point of destroying that they hope to protect. Have you ever played the telephone game? A friend of mine, who was a surveyor, explained it to me this way. If you are surveying land, you start at the known point and then measure to where you are going. If you get off just a hair at the beginning your final measure can be off by miles. That is exactly what is happening with so many factions in the movement. One of which is the Ron Paul following who are, like so many others, trying to co-op the movement for their own purposes.

Ron Paul's teaching of the Constitution is close, but then veers off to the point that it doesn't even resemble the original document or intent of our founders. Listening to Ron Paul reminds me of the speeches of Clement Vallandigham, one of the main Copperheads during the Civil War.

The more I think about what I am hearing from the Paul followers, and far too many of the Tea Partiers is a strictly Jeffersonian version of the founding. While Thomas Jefferson was one of the great leaders and key players in our founding, he was not the only voice heard. The Constitution is not reflective of the Jeffersonian view, in fact Thomas Jefferson was anything but a fan of the Constitution he thought it was tyranny. He advocated a revolution every twenty years, than no generation should be bound by the former generation's laws.

The Constitution was probably not 100% loved by any of the founders who fought and debated throughout that hot summer in 1787. The final product wasn't any one man's, but a truly compromised document to get while not total support by any, enough support by all to pass it. The result of this Melting Pot of ideas was a recipe for the greatest nation in the history of mankind.

When I hear the Ron Paul followers, and some of the Tea Party folks, parroting the purity of Jefferson and the evil of Adams, and Hamilton it is scary. Thank God, we don't have a nation designed exclusively by any of them, but a compromise of those different views.

For a point of order, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were no where near the writing of the Constitution. Both were overseas that summer, Jefferson as ambassador of France, Adams as same for England. Alexander Hamilton was not happy with the Constitution he wanted a much stronger document, but realized quickly it was the best he could hope for at the time and became head salesman of it writing most of the Federalist Papers, along with James Madison, and John Jay.

There were very many different views, different understandings, different experiences that were involved in that room creating this magnificent document. It was those differences that made it great. We were blessed by God that these brilliant men, the most educated men who may have yet ever filled our representatives, were able to work past those differences to create our Republic. Two of the most key men in getting this done were Benjamin Franklin, who didn't write much, debate much, but was able through the respect the others held for him to get them back on track when needed. The key was the presence of George Washington, the least educated man in the room, but whose larger than life presence and perfected leadership skills, and quiet demeanor was able to keep all the competing factions working toward a common goal.

We do not want to re-write the Constitution in Jefferson's image as Ron Paul and his followers do, we don't want Hamilton's, or any one's, we had the greatest mastermind meeting in history, why just take one.


  1. funny how you have not listed one example of how ron paul is inconsistent with our constitution. i challenge you to name JUST ONE! and while you are at it, please identify someone else that is a presidential candidate that would do a better job of defending the conservative and constitutional platform. your assertions without examples is laughable.

  2. Okay John, how about three. Ron Paul endorses openly or at least doesn't discourage the ideas of Nullification, Secession, and of Coining competing currencies. All are supported by many if not most of his followers. They will fuss and fight that they are part of the Constitution, problem is they are not. Madison, commonly known as the Father of the Constitution came out on record against Nullification when his best friend and mentor Jefferson tried to use it against the Alien and Sedition Acts in Virginia and Kentucky. Madison made it very clear the Constitution doesn't abide by it. Jefferson even admitted that Secession wasn't within the Constitution.

  3. Your right, nullification isn't explicitely stated out but neither was Judicial review. The founders probably never meant for the courts to be the final say in constitutional matters. Why go through the trouble of splitting power between state and federal governments if the federal government would have the last say on constitutional issues? When the federal government invented its first power (to be the final voice on all issues of constitutionality) it inadvertedly created the power of nullification, as there is more evidence for the implied power of nullification than there is judicial review. First of all the federal government has only the powers specifically given to it in the constitution as well as those absolutely necessary procedural and minor issues (such as issuing passports)(9th & 10th Amend). The states and the people on the otherhand have all powers reserved to them which are not given specifically to the government (9th & 10th Amend), these powers would include nullification and leaving the United States peacably. Both the North (supposedly staunch unionists) and the South practiced nullification and debated secession at different points. Both of these were recognized powers of the states with Federalists arguing against them only when it suited their purposes (the Alien & Sedition Acts). As to competing currencies, there is again more constitutional basis for this as it was almost exactly what the United States did for most of its early years! Bank notes were differing 'currencies' which could be redeemed for central currency and finally gold. IT is far more constitutional than our current system of currency manipulation as carried out by a -private- institution (the Federal Reserve) which should be ruled as unconstitutional because 'executive officers' which is essentially what the chair of the federal reserve is cannot be given legislative powers, which is essentially what he and the board do. (Bowshar case involving the office of comptroller). Please actually look at the Constitution. Do not be afraid, the truth will set you free.

  4. If you would actually read history you would soon learn that the first time Nullification was tried it was instigated by Thomas Jefferson in both Virginia and Kentucky to fight the Alien and Sedition Acts. However, neither state actually followed through with his wording. His closest friend and ally, James Madison, also known as "The Father of the Constitution" repudiated Jefferson's belief that nullification was within the state's rights. Remember Jefferson did not have anything to do with the debate or writing the Constitution nor did he like it. Jefferson did come out against the idea of secession, even he wouldn't go that far. Once again the Constitution was NOT Jefferson's vision, nor was it Hamilton's, even though Hamilton had much more to do with it since he was present in the debate and was the leading defender selling it to Americans in the Federalists Papers.

  5. Thats a pretty narrow reading of history. Patrick Henry and Henry Lee as well as many other of those present for the signing of the Constitution signed it with the understanding that they indeed had a right to nullify. This was largely due to the fact that they saw the Constitution (correctly) as merely a contract between largely independent and sovereign States, a view which Madison supported in several of his own Federalist papers. And 1798 (merely 10 years after the signing of the Const.) is pretty early for arguments of nullification to begin, so I'm unsure what you mean when you say 'arguments for nullification only began in...'. And your wrong in suggesting that Jefferson didn't believe that secession was within the States rights, he stated several times that it would be tragic, but that the greatest tragedy would be to remain within a Union which was infinite in power; he believed that nullification would make seccession unnecessary. I would suggest you read Dr. Woods book 'Nullification'. Not only does he make an excellent case but he will point you in the right direction for excellent period works on nullification.

  6. And James Madison didn't support nullification? You're aware that he helped pen the Virginia Resolution of 1798, and that he penned another paper in support of that resolution in 1800?

  7. Nowhere in the Constitution is a State/Commonwealth forbidden to secede, and I challenge Mr. Morgan to cite the section of the Constitution he believes contains that ban.

    Nowhere in the Constitution is a State required to enforce un-Constitutional statutes, and I challenge him to cite the section he believes does show that requirement.

    Nowhere does the Constitution ban private currencies, and I challenge Mr. Morgan to list which provision in the Constitution he believe does have such a ban.

    Jeff Daiell

  8. Jefferson supported "Nullification", while Madison supported the idea of "Interposition". However, there is not a dimes worth of difference between the two.

    In fact, in Federalist #44, Madison points out that, the reason our state leaders are required to swear an oath to the Federal Constitution (rather than an oath to obey the Federal Govt.) is that it is their duty to "give effect to the Constitution".

    They "give effect", or make it effective, by upholding federal laws which are constitutional (whether they like the law or not), while blocking such laws which are not constitutional (again, whether they like the law or not).