Monthly Archives: July 2010

Madison on the proper role of government…

What does the Constitution say about the proper role of government? Just what was the intent of its framers?

James Madison is regarded as both the primary author of the Constitution and a prime mover of the Bill of Rights. On 03 March, 1809 Madison was inaugurated as the fourth president of the United States, and defined his goals and intentions as:

“To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well as its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the rights of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve in their full energy the other salutary provisions in behalf of private and personal rights, and the freedom of the press; to observe economy in public expenditures; to liberate the public resources by an honorable discharge of the public debts; to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics – that without standing armies their liberties can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe; to promote by authorized means improvements friendly to agriculture, to manufacturers, and to external as well as internal commerce; to favor in like manner the advancement of science and the diffusion of information as the best aliment to true liberty;…”

Once we get beyond the incredible length of this single, run-on sentence, two things come to mind:

  1. All or at worst most of what he said could be mistaken as coming from a Libertarian Party platform, and
  2. Neither of the two major parties have even taken a single phrase in the address, much less the entirety of its intent, seriously.

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