The idea that our Founding Fathers may have been naive is something that never entered my head until yesterday. I had always considered our Founders to be among the most astute men to ever grace this planet we all share. They certainly understood the nature of governments. They knew that governments, by their nature would always try to expand their powers unless those powers were severely restricted by a constitution. They understood that it would be very dangerous to vest too much power in any one branch of government and so they devised a constitution that gave a balance of power to the different branches. The constitution they gave us was designed to keep the majority of power with the states and the people, while the federal government was given certain enumerated powers.
Yesterday, however, I was reading an article by Plubius Huldah, in which she was refuting the proposals of Mark Levin in his new book, The Liberty Amendments. I won’t go into her arguments against the Liberty Amendments. You can read her essay for yourself, if you are interested. What caught my eye was a couple of references in her conclusions on how Alexander Hamilton and James Madison thought those who were chosen to govern would be held to the letter of the constitution. She noted that, in Federalist No. 16, Alexander Hamilton expected The People to be “the natural guardians of the constitution”. Ms. Huldah also makes reference to what James Madison said on June 20, 1788 at the Virginia Ratifying Convention:
“…. But I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks – no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.” _ (Bold added)
Well, putting their faith in the American electorate didn’t turn out so well, did it? As Plubius Huldah commented:
Since we never bothered to learn the Constitution, we elected politicians who also hadn’t bothered to learn it. So they ignored the Constitution when they assumed office.
This is why, after more than 100 years of electing politicians who ignore the Constitution, we are now under tyranny and headed for disaster.
So, were our Founding Fathers naive? After further thought, I conclude they were not naive. What other choice did they have but to put their faith in We The People? In hind sight, I wonder why the delegates to the constitutional convention didn’t return to their respective states and insist that the electorate be schooled on all of the founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution. The Federalist Papers, and etc. Maybe such an effort would have carried over into our education system where the Founding Documents were given equal weight with reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?