JAMES MADISON’S TAKE ON PRESENT DAY POLITICS….


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            Oh I realize that I have to theorize to hypothesize what Mr. Madison would or would not have thought or said regarding today’s Federal Politics but I am taking that liberty based on history and his own words.  As with anything that I or anyone else writes or says you have the right and liberty to choose to agree or disagree, but I hope to make you think and cause you to examine your perspective and views.  I believe it is good from time to time to reexamine what we think and why we think it.

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            When it comes to the ’lack of ‘transparency’ in contrast to what was promised by Barack Obama, that we would have the ‘most transparent’ administration in American history, I believe Mr. Madison’s own statements would help to conclude what he would think.  Mr. Madison, in a letter to W.T. Barry in August of 1822 said:  “A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”  Mr. Madison and our founders believed that it was not only good but mandatory that the government be forthcoming to the people and that it was not only good but essential that the people be informed.  They realized, as should we, that this may require the public to do some personal research but one of the responsibilities of government and elected officials is to provide access to information in keeping the ‘public trust’.  To suppress the ability of the public to know what is going on in Washington is the door to a “sham government” and will ultimately result in Tyranny.  Yet, today we are afforded less information than from any administration in history and we’ve had some pretty tight lipped administrations.  Sadly, too many voters just do not care so long as they get their handout or piece of the pie.

             When it comes to indiscriminate spending, welfare, subsidies, and some of the most outlandish expenditures in foreign aid I believe that Mr. Madison would have been outraged at what is happening.  Again, I go to his, own words as a basis for my conclusions which were echoed by many of our founders.  Mr. Madison said, in a letter to Edmund Pendleton January 1, 1792 – “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.  It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated, is copied from the old articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers, and it is a fact that it was preferred in the new instrument for that very reason as less liable than any other to misconstruction.”  Mr. Madison did not view the ‘general welfare clause’ to mean that Congress or the President should take tax-payer funds and use them to redistribute the wealth to people creating a Nanny State. 

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            He further stated, on the House floor during the Cod Fishery bill in February 1792 – ”If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing the manner of schools throughout the Union, they may undertake to the regulation of all roads other than post roads.  In short, everything, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.”

             Mr. Madison’s objection should serve as a clear warning and evidence that the framers did not believe, as is being proclaimed by many on the left, that the ‘general welfare clause’ was a license for Congress and/or the President to create a Nanny State nor did they believe that every citizen had a right to ‘happiness’ as some have said only that they had the right to PURSUE HAPPINESS unimpeded by the Federal Government. 

             Mr. Madison also said regarding using tax-payer funds for benevolence, I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”  In the Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, Page 170 (January 10, 1794).  The Annals summarize speeches in the third person and Mr. Madison’s statement is as follows:  “Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity.  He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”  The expense in question was for French refuges from the Haitian Revolution.

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            I am convinced that our Founding Fathers would be totally opposed to what is taking place in Washington today and has been the norm for some time.  They wanted a very restricted and limited government and believed that any law or action MUST be in harmony and in obedience with the written Constitution of these United States of America.  This is foreign to most members of Congress and is most assuredly foreign to this President and his Attorney General. 

             We need men and women in Congress who will completely and strictly uphold the Constitution, follow the Rule of Law, and do what is right for America and Americans.  We, as citizens, need to pray diligently for our nation and seek the mercy and grace of God in these troubled times. 

             God bless you and may God bless America!

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