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

John Adams and The U.S. Constitution

History teaches us that John Adams was not at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. That’s right, he was not there. He was in Great Britain at the request of Congress to try to enter into a new treaty of commerce with the nation we had just defeated in the Revolutionary War.

As you can imagine, Adams was not very well received by the British! He was shunned, ignored, and given no attention to his requests for a treaty. John wanted very much to be at the Convention. After all he had created or written the new Constitution for the new State of Massachusetts. He was most interested in helping with a new Constitution for the new American nation. But no. Congress asked him to stay put in England. read more

“We The People”

Today I believe the Founding Fathers are looking at our government with surprise and disbelief. The leaders of our nation seem to have forgotten that the Constitution starts out with these Words:

“We, the People . . .”

It’s not we the politicians. It’s not we the elected. It’s not we the smarter among us. It’s “We the People . . .”

Get about the people’s business!

As Will Rogers declared: “There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” 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

Virtue Discussed by Adams and Washington

John Adams, our second President, believed adamantly in Virtue and Religion. He said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

In other words, a virtuous people can maintain our best Constitutional form of government. But without virtue, no written document can protect the people from themselves

George Washington underscored this thought in his First Inaugural Address’ “. . . No Wall of words, no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.” read more

The Declaration of Independence

Yes, within a week we will celebrate the Fourth of July, or Independence Day. It was a dramatic change in the way individuals looked at being the subjects to a higher power, namely a King.

The colonies were separated from Great Britain by a wide ocean. They had become used to deciding what should be done in their own country. In many senses they had already been governing themselves, and they liked it that way. So when England decided the colonies needed to pay more in the way of taxes to support their King, they rebelled. read more