Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Father of Constitution

                    James Madison is known as the "Father of the United States Constitution" because he had the basic idea for the Constitution before the Framers of the Constitution even met to discuss it.  Madison came to the Convention with knowledge of ancient republics and the political theories down through the ages and a plan for a new government based on that knowledge.  During the Convention, he kept detailed notes, notes that allow us to know the inner workings of the meeting.

                    After the Constitution was written and signed, James Madisn joined Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to write the Federalist, a series of papers intended to educate the people as to why the Constitution should be ratified.  The Federalist  included some of the phrases associated with but not actually in the Constitution, such as federalism, checks and balances, and separation of powers. 

Thomas Jefferson considered the Federalist to be "the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written."  Madison himself wrote, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."  He also wrote, "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men … you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

James Madison served in Congress after the new Constitution was ratified and activated.  There he had the opportunity to be the principle author of the Bill of Rights.  "This position enabled him to look after a cause dear to him throughout his political career - religious liberty.  Madison's original draft of the First Amendment read: `the civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship… nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed…'  though somewhat less expansive in its protections, the final version bears Madison's mark:  `Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'  Joe Loconte argues that thanks `largely to Madison, free exercise replaced toleration as the national standard for protecting religious liberty.'"

George Washington (Father of our Country), Thomas Jefferson (Father of the Declaration of Independence), and Abraham Lincoln all have marble monuments to help us remember their greatness.  Madison does not have a marble memorial, but his legacy is the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  He deserves the title of "Father of the Constitution."

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