Does James Madison Think Gov't Should Change With the Times?

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  1. My Esoteric profile image82
    My Esotericposted 6 years ago

    During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison made the following point during debate on the length of Senator's terms:

    "In framing a system which we wish to last the ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which the ages will produce."

    The "system" he is talking about, of course, is the Constitution of the United States.  What do you think he meant by that?

    (The context was whether it was wise to have "a body of Government sufficiently respectable for its wisdom and virtue, to aid on such emergences, ...")

  2. jo miller profile image91
    jo millerposted 6 years ago

    The thing that surprises me when reading about the efforts to get the Constitution ratified were the compromises that were made on both sides.  They all seem to think it was imperfect at the time, not this sacred, untouchable doctrine some would like to think we got.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
      Kathryn L Hillposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      What is sacred are the principles it is founded on and the rights it guarantees. Changes must be kept in line with Individualism and avoid the influence of Collectivism which manifests as Marxism, Socialism and Communism. Keep taxes low, preserve at all costs freedom of speech, freedom of market and freedom of religion, (within boundaries of common sense and law/justice, of course.)

      1. My Esoteric profile image82
        My Esotericposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Read Kirk's 10 principles and you will see you need to put Conservatism on par with Socialism (the other two r just aberrant subsets) in terms of the State being more important than the individual.  What defined and separated liberalism (hence the term liberal) from feudalism and conservationism in the 18th century (and still in the 21st) is the focus of government needs to be on the individual.

        So far, in all of the reading I have done on the subject, the idea of "freedom of market" never came up.  The closest was no restrictions on interstate commerce.

        The ideas that flowed throughout the Convention were codified in the Preamble to wit: Tranquility, Justice, common Defense, general Welfare, and Liberty.  The challenge was to create a document the People of each state would accept.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
          Kathryn L Hillposted 6 years agoin reply to this


  3. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
    Kathryn L Hillposted 6 years ago

    "Adapted from The Politics of Prudence (ISI Books, 1993). Copyright © 1993 by Russell Kirk. Used by permission of the Estate of Russell Kirk."

    'Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far AS IT IS POSSIBLE to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what LEADING conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries ... '

    '… there exists NO Model Conservative ...'
    'The ATTITUDE we call conservatism is sustained by a body of SENTIMENTS, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who THINKS himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable DIVERSITY of views on a good many subjects, there being NO Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.'

    'It is NOT possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles …'

    Nevertheless, why BOTHER?

    1. My Esoteric profile image82
      My Esotericposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      And what Kirk said above is mostly true about any organized philosophy. (the part I somewhat disagree with is ... SENTIMENTS, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata..."  But then he goes on to lay out is 10 Principles.  The key ones for this discussion are:

      1. First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

      3. Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. (You get a sense of where he stands on individualism with "The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice,)

      5. Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. [The key phrase being] "For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. "  [how do you support individualism but deny egalitarianism and meritocracy at the same time?]

      Taken together, it is understandable why it has taken over 250 yrs to give individuals the right to live as such rather than slaves (before 1864), serfs between 1865 and 1964), without the right to pick ones own leaders (until the 1965 Voting Rights Act and a couple of Amendments before that), to be free from religious dogma (still trying to break free). 

      Liberals, and progressive conservatives, fought long and hard to obtain those individual freedoms from the white, male, propertied, Protestants conservatives who refused to give up their hold on power.

  4. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
    Kathryn L Hillposted 6 years ago

    "a person advocating or supporting republican government."
    " an advocate or supporter of democracy."
    So we live in a democratic-republic.
    The Constitution of the United States provides a common ground for both sides to rally around; and according to Benjamin Franklin it was as perfect as a constitution could be.

    Changes according to the changing needs/requirrements of the times,(amendments only) yes, but not adjustments to the original RIGHTS listed in the Constitution of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for ALL.

    1. My Esoteric profile image82
      My Esotericposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Sorry, not the Constitution, but the Declaration of Independence.  The Constitution, while using that as its guiding principle, expanded that some.  The framers saw the purpose of government under our Constitution is ensure the Nation remains Tranquil, is governed by just laws applicable to all, defended from enemies within and without, provide for the general Welfare of all citizens ... all with the goal of guaranteeing Liberty for each American, not just some.

      Also, it is always dangerous to ascribe to a political party a particular philosophy such as republicanism and democracy.  It has gone through many revision since 1784.

      Almost to a man, the writers of the Constitution hated "democracy" and argued hard to make sure its dangers do not destroy their handiwork.  Under the original construct, the only nod they gave to that idea was the House should be elected by the "People", but after that, republicanism takes over until the next election.

      Having said that, the first major American parties where the Federalists and the Jeffersonian then Republican then Democratic Republican and finally Democratic party.(which today, philosophically, is similar to the Lincoln Republicans, ... go figure)

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
        Kathryn L Hillposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        I was speaking of the RIGHTS based on the precepts of the Declaration.  picky picky … … transcript

        "All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,

        Pursuit of Happiness.

        --That to SECURE these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the CONSENT of the governed

        --That whenever any FORM of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to ALTER or to ABOLISH it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their SAFETY and HAPPINESS

        Prudence dictates that Governments long established should not be changed for LIGHT and TRANSIENT causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

        But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces (reveals) a design to REDUCE them under absolute DESPOTISM, it is their RIGHT and DUTY, to throw off such Government and to provide new GUARDS FOR FUTURE SECURITY.

        --Such has been the patient sufferance (suffering) of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains (forces) them to alter the former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and USURPATIONS, (positions of power or importance taken illegally or by force,) all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute TYRANNY over these States." … transcript

  5. Kathryn L Hill profile image77
    Kathryn L Hillposted 6 years ago

    Why do you advocate tampering with The Constitution of The United States? Does it not do the job for which it was constructed? Can we not add amendments where needed?

    It is best to be proactive in maintaining liberty by preventing tyranny.



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