Original Intent & a Constitutionally Constrained Representative Republic


The upcoming 2014 midterm elections have a different feel to them. We have a rare opportunity to send to Washington several real conservatives who may actually attempt to govern in accordance with the Constitution. Sad that it’s rare, isn’t it?

But governing by Constitution? What a quaint & provincial idea. I keep thinking, maybe this time we might just try it. Heck, we’ve either tried or been witness to every other failed type of Government. Why not give it a go? Why not try a constitutionally constrained Representative Republic?

The United States Constitution spells out plainly how to get it right, what is allowed & what isn’t. Although this seems like a simple concept, and it is, lawmakers, the courts and academia purposely make it seem that the average Joe could never truly comprehend it.

When I hear a democrat say that they don’t really worry about the Constitution, I cringe. When I hear a republican claim, regarding any issue, he isn’t sure it is constitutional, I have the same response.

What do you mean you’re not sure? Aren’t you guys charged with upholding it? It either is or isn’t! Look it up. It’s not hard. I was able to do it. Read what the founders had to say.

Our history is replete with quotes regarding the Constitution, far too many to cover in this article.

So for the sake of all mentioned above, why don’t we look back at some of those who had a hand in the original process.

Let’s start with James Jackson of the first Congress. He said, “We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic government.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801, “A wise and frugal government…shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

What! Regulate ourselves? Is it possible that just maybe we could do a better job than our government?

It’s astonishing how far we’ve strayed from those concepts. It is, however, easy to understand how it happened. Ben Franklin understood it just fine when he explained, “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” Boy, how right he was.

But, as has been said on many occasions, the Constitution & the founders promoted slavery. Why should we listen to them? Well, the founders were very wise men and they knew that the issue would be addressed, which it was.

The founding documents must be looked at, on this issue, as promissory notes. They would put us on the right path toward that goal. Let’s see what some of them had to say on the subject.

Patrick Henry in 1773 wrote, “I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil.” (No, he wasn’t speaking of Harry Reid, although Reid may have been his contemporary).

In 1786 George Washington wrote, “There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.”

Ben Franklin was an outspoken abolitionist.

Please pick up a copy of the Constitution and read it. It’s not that difficult to comprehend.

The second amendment, for instance, is quite simple, but it’s made to seem complicated by anti-gun activists. By the way, it has nothing at all to do with hunting.

George Washington plainly said, “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ teeth.” Thomas Jefferson wrote,” No free men shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

Patrick Henry, “The great object is, that every man be armed… Everyone who is able may have a gun.”

The tenth amendment is an easy one. It’s been at the center of many a debate recently. It’s the whole states’ rights thing. James Madison (the guy who wrote the Constitution) probably had a good handle on what it meant when he said, “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are general.” So, for example, if the wackos in California or Colorado want to legalize marijuana, let them. It’s none of the federal governments business.

My personal favorite: the separation of church & state. Anyone who can read knows this is not in the Constitution. If you can find it, that would be news to George Washington who said, “It is impossible to govern a nation without God or the Bible.”

I could continue for page after page, but in closing I’ll leave you with one last quote from Thomas Jefferson in 1823. He wrote, “On every question of construction [of the Constitution], let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or inventing against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

So the next time you hear the words, “Original Intent,” that is what is meant.

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