Caution with Constitutional Amendment

Routine teaching about the US Constitution… instructs students that its genius is found in the fact that it can be changed.  This dogma can be traced to the influence of Charles Beard’s contention that it was purely an economic document, and well timed amendments rescued our republic from new world feudalism.  Such orthodoxy perfectly definesContinue reading “Caution with Constitutional Amendment”

Unintended Consequences

The Senate of the United States was designed… to give equal representation to the States- a more disciplined, stable, and experienced legislative body.  Madison saw the dangers in the popularly elected House, for people were often, “subject to the [periodic] infection of violent passions… that such an institution may be sometimes necessary as a defenseContinue reading “Unintended Consequences”

Electoral Protections

The Electoral College was designed by…. Madison and Hamilton to help guarantee that Federal cooperation was protected in the election of the President.  Fearing that plurality would bring nationalized power to the executive branch, Madison argued that the mixed authority of Federalism was the best protector of republican virtue: The executive power will be derived fromContinue reading “Electoral Protections”

Madison and Party

The current political parties are trying to harness the power of the disinterested masses by stoking fears and passions rooted in volatile issues like immigration and the culture wars. Both parties want to maintain a majority and implement policy. Neither side has been given such a mandate by the people. Any minority with greater thanContinue reading “Madison and Party”

Madison and American Spirit

Madison argues that oligarchy is difficult in America because of our size and diversity… but critics consistently cited the House of Representatives as the most susceptible institution in the new government.   Anti-Federalists argued that the Representatives would have the least amount of sympathy… with the masses of people; focusing exclusively on the narrow interestsContinue reading “Madison and American Spirit”

Nullification Lingers

The Doctrine of Nullification lost in the court of history… as a nation state and as a people we rejected it, outright.  Our Constitution created a hierarchy of law to bring order to the muddled system of 13 competing legal systems.  Madison, describing government as an unruly beast defended the Supremacy Clause: “it would haveContinue reading “Nullification Lingers”

Madison and Original Intent

Joe Ellis explained the absence of serious Madison biographies… by proclaiming “he’s boring as hell” and that “only lawyers like him.” As previously stated, Ellis’s recent comments on the Framers and Original Intent cast doubt on the rigor of his scholarship- and these nuggets of wisdom only enhance the evidence of his misguided revisionism. TheContinue reading “Madison and Original Intent”

Madison on Republics

Remember the thoughts of Madison on Constitution Day: “Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,–is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution ofContinue reading “Madison on Republics”