“This government will commence in a moderation aristocracy; it is at present impossible to foresee whether it will, in its operation, produce a monarchy, or a corrupt oppressive aristocracy; it will most probably vibrate some years between the two, and then terminate between the one and the other.”
~George Mason’s Objections to the Constitution~
If the truth is of any concern to you then you must be willing to accept that there is the possibility that everything you have been taught to believe about a subject is false. If you cannot accept that possibility there is absolutely no use in studying a subject; as your preconceived ideas will prevent the truth from forming the basis of your beliefs.
I am reminded of the story of how the Chinese scholar Tokusan sought out the Zen Master Ryutan so that he could learn the secrets of Zen. The story goes that Tokusan was so full of his own preconceptions and while he was speaking Master Ryutan began filling his cup with tea. However, when the cup was full Master Ryutan did not stop pouring. Tokusan cried out, “Stop, the cup is full.” Master Ryutan then said, “Exactly. You are like this cup; full of ideas. You must empty your cup before I can teach you.”
Although it sounds simple, emptying one’s cup is harder than you might realize. By the time a person reaches adulthood they have pretty much established their belief system on a wide range of subjects; including whether or not they support this political belief system or another, and any attempt to alter that belief system by contradictory information is filtered through whatever indoctrination a person has been subjected to by their family, their peers, and by the public education system; not to mention the effect media manipulation has had upon forming the basis for a person’s belief system.
It takes a rare individual who can abandon all they have been taught or indoctrinated on a subject and seek out the truth regarding that subject. This is especially true when it comes to their system of government; people seem to almost have this awe and respect for government that leads them to unquestioningly obey whatever laws it enacts, although there is a certain amount of disagreement that goes on based upon political party biases.
The very fact that some people actually go into a state of panic if there is any hint that their government might shut down shows me that people don’t truly understand why governments are instituted among men. If you fear a government shutdown because of the loss of services or protection provided by that government, then you just don’t know what purpose governments are supposed to serve; which is the preservation of your liberty.
If you were to honestly think about it, why do we have the need for a federal government in the first place? After all, we already have State governments; which according to James Madison in Federalist 45, are supposed to be taking care of the things which directly affect our lives, our liberty and our property. So why do we need a federal government, in whatever form it might take?
The reason for which we have a federal government is so that some political body exists to act as a middleman, or mediator that can ensure that the individual States got along with each other in a peaceful manner. In essence, the federal government was supposed to be to the States, what the State governments are to the people; it’s power and authority was supposed to extend only to the things that affected the intercourse between the States as political entities; not as a benevolent government that provided for the safety, comfort, and well being of the people of these States united.
That purpose could have been accomplished under the system of government established by the Articles of Confederation; had the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention stuck to their mandate by proposing amendments to that document to strengthen the government it created. In fact, the very fact that the delegates to that convention DID NOT adhere to their instructions by their State Legislatures is the reason why 2 of the delegates from the State of New York, Robert Yates and John Lansing, left the convention.
In a letter to, then Governor George Clinton, Yates and Lansing explained their decision to leave the convention as follows, “It is with the sincerest concern we observe, that in the prosecution of the important objects of our mission, we have been reduced to the disagreeable alternative of either exceeding the powers delegated to us, and giving our assent to measures which we conceived destructive of the political happiness of the citizens of the United States; or opposing our opinion to that of a body of respectable men, to whom those citizens had given the most unequivocal proofs of confidence.”
Furthermore, Yates and Lansing warned of the dangers to State sovereignty the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention were proposing, “From these expressions, we were led to believe that a system of consolidated Government, could not, in the remotest degree, have been in contemplation of the Legislature of this State, for that so important a trust, as the adopting measures which tended to deprive the State Government of its most essential rights of Sovereignty, and to place it in a dependent situation, could not have been confided, by implication, and the circumstance, that the acts of the Convention were to receive a State approbation, in the last resort, forcibly corroborated the opinion, that our powers could not involve the subversion of a Constitution, which being immediately derived from the people, could only be abolished by their express consent, and not by a Legislature, possessing authority vested in them for its preservation.”
What the delegates attending the Philadelphia Convention were attempting to do was to fundamentally and irrevocably alter the balance of power between the States and the central government; subjugating the States to a supreme centralized federal authority. That was not the instructions given the delegates by their State Legislatures when they were chosen to attend this convention; and had the State Legislatures known that this is what they intended to do they would never have agreed to send them to that convention.
So, from the very outset, our beloved Constitution was born of deceit and a violation of the delegated authority given those who attended the Philadelphia Convention. Is it not, therefore, too much a stretch of the imagination to accept that those who produced this constitution would also resort to fraud and deceit to ensure that the government they were proposing would be adopted by the people?
One instance came when the State of Pennsylvania held its ratification assembly. A small minority of delegates opposed the proposed constitution and offered a list of amendments which, they believed, would better protect the rights of the people and the sovereignty of their State. To quote from their dissent after their State voted to adopt the Constitution, “During the discussion we met with many insults, and some personal abuse; we were not even treated with decency, during the sitting of the convention, by the persons in the gallery of the house, however, we flatter ourselves that in contending for the preservation of those invaluable rights you have thought proper to commit to our charge, we acted with a spirit becoming freemen, and being desirous that you might know- the principles which actuated our conduct, and being prohibited from inserting our reasons of dissent on the minutes of the convention, we have subjoined them for your consideration, as to you alone we are accountable.”
You see, those who drafted the constitution also attached certain conditions upon which it be either adopted or rejected. First the States must accept it en toto; meaning all or nothing. Secondly, no amendments could be introduced to alter or delete passages the ratifying assemblies disagreed with. Finally, it was to be adopted by the people, not the State Legislatures as was what the existing law under the Articles of Confederation required.
Although that may not seem like such a big deal to you now, what it effectively did was to shut the States out of the decision to either establish or reject a system of government that would effectively subjugate them to the government they were considering adopting.
Even though the States were shut out of the process of either adopting or rejecting the proposed Constitution, there were still plenty of people in the States themselves who opposed the idea of a consolidation of all the States under a federal head. The thing was, in many instances their voice was shut out of the debate by newspapers that refused to publish any articles critical of the proposed Constitution.
If the Constitution was so gosh danged good, why would those supporting it fear anything critical being published about it? Even John Jay, in Federalist #2, said, “WHEN the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a question, which, in its consequences, must prove one of the most important that ever engaged their attention, the propriety of their taking a very comprehensive, as well as a very serious, view of it, will be evident.” (My emphasis) Or could it be that John Jay was just saying what people wanted to hear, while in truth he, as well as all the others who supported the Constitution, wanted a speedy adoption without any serious look at its flaws?
In his Letter to the Federal Farmer #5 essay, Melancton Smith wrote, “This subject of consolidating the states is new; and because forty or fifty men have agreed in a system, to suppose the good sense of this country, an enlightened nation, must adopt it without examination, and though in a state of profound peace, without endeavouring to amend those parts they perceive are defective, dangerous to freedom, and destructive of the valuable principles of republican government — is truly humiliating.”
In his essay on George Mason’s objections to the Constitution, the anti-federalist Brutus wrote, “Gentlemen, At this important crisis when we are about to determine upon a government which is not to effect us for a month, for a year, or for our lives: but which, it is probable, will extend its consequences to the remotest posterity, it behooves every friend to the rights and privileges of man, and particularly those who are interested in the prosperity and happiness of this country, to step forward and offer their sentiments upon the subject in an open, candid and independent manner.”
Even Thomas Jefferson, who was serving abroad in France, had his concerns over the proposed Constitution, stating in a letter to William Smith, “There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate.”
In a letter to James Madison, Jefferson also wrote, “Let me add that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse or rest on inference.” That must really have rubbed Madison the wrong way, because both he and Alexander Hamilton felt that a bill of rights was not only unnecessary, but dangerous as well; for they might lead to the omission of other rights not specifically mentioned. Yet once Madison saw that there was a possibility that the Constitution would not be adopted by the required number of States, he changed his mind and agreed to add one if only the States would first adopt his proposal for a new system of government.
Today none of this information is taught in high school civics class; I know for a fact that I wasn’t taught this, and I went through civics class almost 45 years ago in 1976. I had to learn these truths on my own through individual study, and the consequent abandonment of much of what I had been taught…something most people in this country are simply not willing to do.
Those who drafted the Constitution were far from stupid, in fact they were very intelligent. They worded the Constitution in such a fashion as to leave the door wide open for the government they were creating to assume all kinds of powers that the State Ratifying Conventions were promised this new form of government WOULD NOT be allowed to exercise.
Working on the Committee of Style, Gouverneur Morris was instrumental in wording the Constitution AND the Preamble which clearly showed their attempt to consolidate the States under a single federal head by the use of the phrase, “We the People…”
Patrick Henry pointed this fact out to his fellow delegates of the Virginia Ratifying Convention in his argument of June 5, 1788, “I rose yesterday to ask a question which arose in my own mind. When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious: The fate of this question and of America may depend on this: Have they said, we, the States? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation: It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing-the expression, We, the people, instead of the States, of America.”
Ironically, Gouverneur Morris, along with Oliver Ellsworth and Rufus King, led a movement to secede from the Union they had helped create in 1794 over differences of opinion as to how government should or should not control the lives of the people. They opposed the South and their strong support for States rights and limited government; wanting a stronger government that could subjugate both the States and the people for the benefit of Northern business and industry.
You see, even before the Constitution was adopted there was a distinct difference between the Northern States and those to the South. The North was the center of business, industry and banking, while the South was primarily agrarian, (agricultural). Those living in the North felt that government should be used to benefit and help business and industry grow.
That was in direct contradiction to how many in the South, men like Patrick Henry felt about the purpose for which government should exist. To quote from Henry’s speech of June 5, 1788 we read, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
So you can see, from the very outset there were differences of opinion as to what purpose the government should serve. One of the concerns of those in the South was that a majority of the States could enact laws, impose taxes, and otherwise subjugate and oppress the minority. This was proven to be a valid fear when the federal government began imposing high tariffs upon goods being imported into the U.S.; tariffs that were primarily shouldered by the Southern States. Yet nearly every penny collected in revenue was being spent on improvements in the North; leaving the Southern States to feel as did the Colonists who declared their independence, that they were being taxed without representation; as their voice in Congress was ineffective in preventing the pillaging of their wealth.
The anti-federalist Brutus warned of such a scenario prior to the adoption of the Constitution, saying, “By requiring only a majority to make all commercial and navigation laws, the five southern States (whose produce and circumstances are totally different from that of the eight northern and eastern States) will be ruined; for such rigid and premature regulations may be made, as will enable the merchants of the northern and eastern States not only to demand an exorbitant freight, but to monopolize the purchase of the commodities at their own price, for many years: To the great injury of the landed interest, and impoverishment of the people: And the danger is the greater, as the gain on one side will be in proportion to the loss on the other.”
Forty years later Senator Thomas Hart Benton would lament the pillaging of Southern wealth to fund the expansion of Northern business and industry. In a speech given to the Senate, Senator Benton stated, “I feel for the sad changes, which have taken place in the South, during the last fifty years. Before the Revolution, it was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality. Money, and all it commanded, abounded there. But how is it now? All this is reversed. Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of eight hundred millions, of dollars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing….Under Federal legislation, the exports of the South have been the basis of the Federal revenue….Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths, of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Government; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing is returned to them, in the shape of government expenditures. That expenditure flows in an opposite direction—it flows northwardly, in one uniform, uninterrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North…taking from the South, and returning nothing to it.”
This pillaging of Southern wealth led to a crisis two years later which saw the sitting Vice-President resign his position and run for Senate so that he could better defend his home state of South Carolina against the subjugation and oppression they were suffering under due to the tariffs imposed by the federal government.
Although this particular crisis subdued somewhat, it did not go away; and in 1860 it, as well as the North’s refusal to return escaped slaves and its continued attempts to interfere with slavery, (although it was perfectly legal in 1860) led 7 States to secede from the Union. When Abraham Lincoln called for all the remaining States in the Union to provide troops to suppress the rebellion in the South, 4 more States seceded and the Civil War began.
None of that would have happened had the people performed a careful and thorough examination of the Constitution before adopting it. None of that would have happened had the government created by the Constitution adhered to the Southern belief in States rights and very limited government.
But it did happen, and it is all due to the fact that the people chosen to either approve or reject the proposed Constitution were lied to about its intent. Men like Hamilton, Rufus King and Gouverneur Morris wanted a strong central government that could coerce the States into paying for internal improvements that would benefit business, industry, and most of all, the banks.
Political columnist George Will explained what happened accurately when he wrote, “There is an elegant memorial in Washington to Jefferson, but none to Hamilton. However, if you seek Hamilton’s monument, look around. You are living in it. We honor Jefferson, but live in Hamilton’s country, a mighty industrial nation with a strong central government.”
Like I said, none of this could have happened had they rejected the Constitution, or at the least, adhered to the Jeffersonian belief regarding the powers government should exercise. In either case, Lysander Spooner was 100% correct when he said, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
And that’s why voting is an exercise in futility; it is because regardless of who, or which party is chosen to run our government, government still serves the same business, industry and banking interests as it began to serve the moment it was implemented and Alexander Hamilton began exploiting the flaws and loopholes in your precious Constitution.
That’s why I don’t vote, and why I no longer worship in awe over a piece of parchment that was intentionally made flawed so that it would lead to exactly what we have today; a government that considers us as serfs to keep the economy running to benefit those it truly serves; business and banking interests.
Well I’m sorry I will not bow down and worship, let alone participate in choosing those who enslave me. I may not be able to free myself from their tyranny, but I’m damned sure not going to participate in choosing my own slave master.