Tuesday, January 10, 2006

An Earlier Generation Got It Right

Sometimes it's useful to remember why the US Constitution was created in the first place. It is a contract between the people and their representatives in all branches of the government; the representatives receive the stewardship of certain limited powers in exchange for agreeing to abide by the terms of that contract, to defend that contract and to remember at all times who they work for. The US Constitution is a flexible document but now and then it's important to go back to the beginning.

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold....

—William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, 1763


Government and the people do not in America constitute distinct bodies. They are one, and their interest is the same. Members of Congress, members of assembly or council, or by any other name they may be called, are only a selected part of the people. They are the representatives of majesty, but not majesty itself.

—Thomas Paine, 1782

If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.

—George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

1 Comments:

Blogger Always Question said...

Excellent post.
Be advised that I am stealing the heck out of that Washington quote!
Thank you.

6:45 AM  

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