The Federalist Papers

When the final agreement was reached with the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution, it had to be submitted to the 13 new States for ratification. That road was still rough. Even though the document was signed unanimously as requested by Benjamin Franklin, there was still much uncertainty among the States.

Each State had its own ratification Convention. To explain the arguments in favor of adoption, three great men, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” wrote a series of articles explaining the meaning of this new intended Constitution. read more

Constitutional Amendments

As you know our U.S. Constitution has 27 Amendments. The process of Amending the Constitution is explained in Article V of the document itself.

The 27th , and last approved Amendment, was submitted by James Madison along with what became our Bill of Rights. It’s a good one and it finally received approval of Michigan, the last needed state, on May 7, 1992. It says that Congress can’t give itself a raise unless a national vote has intervened before one can be granted. Why didn’t that pass with the other 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights? I dunno. read more

Patrick Henry and the Constitution

In addition to Thomas Jefferson, another Virginian, Patrick Henry was opposed to ratification of the newly proposed Constitution. As the Constitution went around to the various States for adoption, the States held their own conventions to approve or reject it.

In the Virginia Convention, which lasted 23 days, Patrick Henry spoke in opposition on 18 of those days. One day he made 8 different speeches. And he was quite an orator, as you know from his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. People listened to him. However the rational arguments were on the side of fellow Virginian, James Madison. read more

Thomas Jefferson and the Constitution

Not only was John Adams not present at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, neither was Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson had sent his good friend, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, trunk-loads of books about government for use in preparing for the Constitution.

Why wasn’t Jefferson there? He was in France, from where he sent those books to Madison. Why was he in France? Because he was sent there by Congress to join Benjamin Franklin and John Adams in preparing the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War. Adams went to England and Franklin returned home to Pennsylvania after that treaty was signed. read more

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. read more

Founders’ vs. Today’s Bible

I’ll bet you can’t tell who said the following:

“You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories; to create readiness, to nudge people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it.” read more

The Founding Fathers and Education

The Founding Fathers agreed that education was the most important way to teach virtue, shape character, and mold citizens. The “best means of forming manly, virtuous, happy people, will be found in the right education of youth.” And as George Washington wrote: “Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion must fail.”

Moral education should begin when the first habits and manners were established. That’s why they supported public education. “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom. The education here intended is not merely that of the children of the rich and noble, but of every rank and class of people, down to the lowest and poorest. It is not too much to say that schools for the education of all should be placed at convenient distances, and maintained at the public expense.” (John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America”, a two volume work which was next to the Bible the most often quoted work at the Constitutional Convention.) read more

The Declaration of Independence

I haven’t checked this out myself yet, but I’ve been told that the word Independence, although it’s in the title, is not in the body of the document. How can that be? Time to read it again.

It should be noticed that of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, only two went on the become Presidents of the United States of America. And they were the two who had the most to do with the writing and adoption of that historic document. Those two were Thomas Jefferson (3rd President) and John Adams (1st Vice President and 2nd President, to serve only 1 term). read more

The Father of the Constitution

Fathers Day having just passed, I have been thinking a little bit about the man we call “The Father of the Constitution”. The anniversary of his death is coming soon. He died on June 28, 1836, at the age of 85. He lived the last several years at his home, Montpelier, Virginia. His home wasn’t too far from Monticello, the home of his beloved friend, Thomas Jefferson.

Madison was the tireless scholar who fought for and caused the Constitutional Convention to occur. He knew the Articles of Confederation (the preliminary agreement between the colonies to bring unity) wasn’t working. He invited and got 55 of the most revered men from each of the 13 colonies to attend—eventually. And he proposed the plan that became the basis for our Constitution. read more

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day to all of you Founding Fathers fans. You know that two of our most famous Founding Fathers had no children of their own. What? They weren’t really Fathers. Well, no, not in that sense. But they were Founding Fathers, and are esteemed as such.

Who are they, you ask? George Washington, known as the Father of our Country, and James Madison, the Father of the Constitution. They had no children of their own.

Martha had 4 children with her previous husband, Daniel Parke Custis, but only 2 of them lived to adulthood. read more