James Madison Advises Virtue

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, wrote a message to the States complete with a dire warning that still holds true today. It’s quite a long sentence and paragraph (I took the liberty of dividing the paragraph in two for easier reading). Nevertheless, I’m going to repeat it here for you:

“The citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude and all the other qualities which ennoble (mark the word, ennoble) the character of a nation and fulfill the ends of government be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and luster, which it has never yet enjoyed, and an example will be set, which cannot but have the most favorable influence on the rights of Mankind.

“If on the other side, our governments should be unfortunately blotted with the reverse of these cardinal virtues (the ones stated above, Justice, etc.), the great cause which we have engaged to vindicate, will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest experiment in favor of the rights of human nature will be turned against them; and their patrons and friends exposed to be insulted and silenced by the votaries of tyranny and usurpation.” (As quoted in “We Still Hold These Truths”, 2009, Matthew Spalding, page 159).

I realize it will take some concentration, slow reading, and perhaps a dictionary, to understand these words. But it will be worth it for the gained understanding and wisdom. So if we become course as a people and a nation, what does James say will become of us? Think this through—it may be important!

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