VII.5: Getting Back to the Constitution

Many believe that America could solve the problems with our government if only we would “get back to the Constitution”. I like that idea, but it misses the real point. Let’s imagine we could re-align our laws and government operations perfectly with the Constitution. If those laws and operations got away from the Constitution before, … Read more

VII.1: The Origin of the Ideas behind the US Constitution

In early history, people referred to England as Angle-land because of a tribe that settled there called the Angles. Then, in the fifth century, another tribe called the Saxons began to leave what is now the state of Saxony in Germany. They traveled by sea to what is now England. (Jefferson 1774) Later, the Angles … Read more

VI.4: The Virginia Resolution

James Madison had more influence than any other person in creating the form of the U.S. Constitution. Madison wrote the Virginia Resolution a decade after the Constitution. But both came from his understanding of tyranny. That is, to prevent it, a government must divide power between separate groups of people. If the nation is to … Read more

V.4: James Madison and the Virginia Resolution

We know James Madison as the “Father of the Constitution”. But he also expressed an ingenious afterthought in his Virginia Resolution. James Madison wrote his Virginia Resolution to address a serious oversight in the Constitution. The issue began with the French Revolution in 1789, just after the nation elected George Washington for his first term … Read more

V.2: Government by the Masses or by Experts?

America’s founders expected the nation to have government by the masses and by experts at the same time. They looked for a “natural aristocracy” to lead the nation. That phrase means the natural leaders of society. They expected those leaders to take a few weeks or months each year away from their farms, law practices, … Read more

IV.3: Local Self-government

What did the great minds of history have to say about local self-government? In an earlier post I showed that both Thomas Jefferson and Alexis De Tocqueville called for local self-government. That is, local citizens should have authority over their local public decisions without state or national interference. And many more people have expressed the … Read more

IV.1: Local Communities

Thomas Jefferson believed that local community self-government was essential for freedom. Jefferson’s archenemy, Alexander Hamilton, and others wanted to concentrate all American power at the national level. And this made states and local communities as well as individual citizens dependent on a tyrannical national government. Consequently, it greatly troubled Jefferson: Were not this great country … Read more

III.4: Corruption in American Government

Who first brought corruption into the American government? Corruption existed in Great Britain before there was an American government. Consequently, Edmund Burke, a Member of the British Parliament, wrote: There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that … Read more

III.3: Legal Corruption

Would a truly wise person even want to run for political office today? In a previous post, I said that a wise person would desire a solid and comfortable income. And I described how that is different from the ridiculous wealth that most politicians are able to amass through their manipulation of insider information. Corruption … Read more

III.2: What Incentives Drive American Politicians?

Is our government a work of genius, a cesspool of corruption, or both? Virtually all agree that the men who designed America’s government were geniuses and patriots. And they clearly intended to direct all the incentives for politicians toward the public good. But the corruption in that same government has become the butt of jokes. … Read more