And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see.
Constitutional democracy, you see, is no romantic notion. It's our defense against ourselves, the one foe who might defeat us.
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; – let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap – let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; – let it be written in Primmers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; – let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.
[I]n my own case at least I feel my professional need for freedom of speech and expression prejudices me toward a government whose constitution guarantees it.
If their social institutions were abhorrent, their unwritten constitution bordered upon the absurd. The absolutist monarchs of the ancient kingdoms of Amara looked with detestation at the Shazarian constitutional monarchy. Yet this was no time to demonstrate loathing of the upstart nation; condescension could wait until after Sixto had been defeated.
Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.
The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.
… I believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people … are the safeguard to the continuance of a free government … whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.
The social contract known as 'The Constitution' has been null and void since the last person who signed it, died. Even then, it was only ever applicable to the men who signed it. That's how contracts work.
To be an American is to be accosted by bigotry and enmity for the rights that you were told to appreciate.
We have rule of lawyers, not rule of law. The legal profession has a monopoly over one branch of government as it was never intended to. The American Bar Association owns an entire branch of our government. We should not be surprised that we are the most litigious society in the world. It is big business with a stranglehold on one of the three branches of government.
I do not believe in equality of results. I believe in equal opportunity and equality before the law.
One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens would pay nearly half of everything they earn to the government.
I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.
In the blood-heat of pursuing the enemy, many people are forgetting what we are fighting for. We are fighting for our hard-won liberty and freedom; for our Constitution and the due processes of our laws; and for the right to differ in ideas, religion and politics. I am convinced that in your zeal to fight against our enemies, you, too, have forgotten what you are fighting for.
A great deal of what many Americans hold dear is nowhere written on those four pages of parchment, or in any of the amendments. What has made the Constitution durable is the same as what makes it demanding: the fact that so much was left out.
The Constitution is ink on parchment. It is forty-four hundred words. And it is, too, the accreted set of meanings that have been made of those words, the amendments, the failed amendments, the struggles, the debates—the course of events—over more than two centuries. It is not easy, but it is everyone’s.
Revealingly, the central function of the Constitution as law--the supreme law--was to impose limitations not on the behavior of ordinary citizens but on the federal government. The government, and those who ran it, were not placed outside the law, but expressly targeted by it. Indeed, the Bill of Rights is little more than a description of the lines that the most powerful political officials are barred from crossing, even if they have the power to do so and even when the majority of citizens might wish them to do so.
Failing to indict a criminal sitting president sends the message that those in power are above the law.
For in the end laws are just words on a page - words that are sometimes malleable, opaque, as dependent on context and trust as they are in a story or poem or promise to someone, words whose meanings are subject to erosion, sometimes collapsing in the blink of an eye.
There are great virtues in a conservative attitude towards structural features of government. The sudden abandonment of institutions is an act that reverberates in ways no one can predict and many come to regret.
It is not only the unit vote for the Presidency we are talking about, but a whole solar system of governmental power. If it is proposed to change the balance of power of one of the elements of the solar system, it is necessary to consider the others.
The police can use violence to say, expel citizens from a public park because they are enforcing duly constituted laws. Laws gain their legitimacy from the Constitution. The Constitution gains its legitimacy from something called 'the people.' But how did 'the people' actually grant legitimacy to the Constitution? As the American and French revolutions make clear: basically, through acts of illegal violence. So what gives the police the right to use force to suppress the very thing–a popular uprising–that granted them their right to use force to begin with?
If the political left weren't so joyless, humorless, intrusive, taxing, over-taxing, anarchistic, controlling, rudderless, chaos-prone, pedantic, unrealistic, hypocritical, clueless, politically correct, angry, cruel, sanctimonious, retributive, redistributive, intolerant, and if the political left wasn't hell-bent on expansion of said unpleasantness into all aspects of my family's life the truth is: I would not be in your life. If the democratic party were run by Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh, if it had the slightest vestige of JFK and Henry Scoop Jackson I wouldn't be on the political map. If the American media were run by biased but not evil Tim Russert and David Brinkley types I wouldn't have joined the fight. You would not know who I am. The left made me do it, I swear, I am a reluctant cultural warrior.
Jefferson feared that Hamilton had plans radically at odds with the Constitution. As he saw it, Hamilton wanted to warp the federal government out of constitutional shape, converting it into a copy of the British government, built on debt, corruption, and influence. Hamilton's goal, Jefferson charged, was to ally the rich and well born with the government at the people's expense, creating a corrupt aristocracy leagued with the government against the people and destroying the virtue that was the basis of republican government. Only a republic could preserve liberty, Jefferson insisted, and only virtue among the people could preserve a republic.
The strength of America is not vested in the ability of the government to remain true to Christian principles. It rests in the strength of the people to stay true to the Christian virtue that provides an adequate base for electing virtuous representatives, thereby maintaining our Constitutional Republic.
To think that because those who wield power in society wield in the end that of government, therefore it is of no use to attempt to influence the constitution of the government by acting on opinion, is to forget that opinion is itself one of the greatest active social forces. One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.
There is coming a day, when freedom will just be a essence of the mind, an inner dwelling that was once physically attainable. They will tell you where you can live, and what you can wear and drive, what and how much you can eat and drink, and how to purchase those. They will strip you of your religion, race, gender, national origin, age, color, creed, views and power, and have control of the population. They will set in a new world order, and put you in the back of the line, marked and branded. Everything before will be erased, and the new will be manipulated. And what you believe most, can only be kept secret, for all must fall in line of their govern. Anything outside will be abolished. Even death, will be sought, but restrained. They will execute complete and total control over everything, and be sole owners of your soul. The light, that once guided will go dim, and liberty will be like an unwilled bird, suppressed in the cage of your ribs; wings cut off.