The Modern Federalist Papers (2010)

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MODERN FEDERALIST. No. 1

General Introduction
For the Independent Thinker.
Robert Briscoe

To the People of the Unites States of America:

AFTER the unmistakable experiences of the hubris hanta of the existing congress against the will of the people, you are called upon to deliberate on the restoration of the Constitution for the United States of America and applicability of its intent to our times as expressed by its founding fathers. The subject speaks its own importance; grasping its consequences is nothing less than the existence of this REPUBLIC, the safety and welfare of the STATES of which it is composed, and the fate of a free land. It has been frequently remarked that this land seems to have been reserved for a free people, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether our society is really capable or not of establishing self governance and responsibility by their own choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political “elite” for subsistence and controlled by force (Federal Regulation). If there is any truth in this remark, the crisis at which we are now in may properly be regarded as the time in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong choice in election of the political may in the future be considered the greatest mistake of mankind.

This idea will induce free loving people to patriotism, and heighten the concerns which all considerate and good men must feel for the events of our day. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a well thought-out assessment of our true interests, undistracted and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good. But this is a thing more wholeheartedly to be wished for than seriously to be expected. The plan offered in this debate, RESTORING THE INTENT OF THE CONSTITUTION and MINIMAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, affects too many special interest groups, and affects too many local institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of subjects foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices which add little to the truth of our situation.

Among the most formidable of the obstacles that the restoring our Constitution will have to encounter will be the obvious interest of a certain class of men to resist all changes which may diminish their power, entitlements, and importance which they feel they hold; and the perverted goals of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by deluding their fellow citizens, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of controlling authority in a different form of government (communism, socialism or world government) by the disillusion of the United States from its current union under one government.

I am well aware that it would be disingenuous to indiscriminately decide that the opposition by any set of men (merely because their situations might subject them to suspicion) be personal greed for ambitious power or wealth. Honesty will require us to admit that even such men may be motivated by upright intentions; and it cannot be doubted that much of the opposition which has made its appearance, or may hereafter make its appearance, will spring from sources, blameless at least, if not respectable--the honest errors of minds led astray by preconceived rights, notions, outcomes and fears. So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions. This circumstance, if thought through carefully, would illustrate a lesson of moderation to those who are persuaded that they are in the right in any controversy because of a particular set of circumstances. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, greed, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more worthy than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these reasons to have self-control, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making converts by fire and sword. Opposition in either can rarely be cured by harassment, maltreatment or persecution.

And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to prove the justness of their opinions and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declarations and the bitterness of their criticism and attacks. An enlightened enthusiasm for the appropriateness and efficiency of government will be stifled as the result of tempers and despotic powers, which are hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-jealous language, a danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice and bait for popularity at the expense of the public good.

It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual attendant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the strength of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the false mask of passion for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of eagerness for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

In the course of the preceding observations, I have had an eye, my fellow-citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth. You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them, that they precede from a source friendly to restoring the Constitution. Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to restore its principles. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I will not say that which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The awareness of good intentions rejects ambiguity. My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.

I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars:

  • THE PREAMBLE
  • THE HOUSE
  • THE SENATE
  • THE PRESIDENT
  • THE JUDICARY
  • CHECKS AND BALANCES
  • LIMITED GOVERNMENT
  • SPECIFIC FEDERAL AUTHORITY
  • THE BILL OF RIGHTS
  • SPECIAL INTERESTS
  • and lastly, THE AMENDMENTS

In the progress of this discussion I shall endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention.

It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the intent of the CONSTITUTION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the Constitution, that the United States Constitution should be changed or ignored and that the Federal Government should be the general system of government for all states, and that we must of necessity resort to socialism. This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has volunteers enough to tolerate an open avowal of its disposal. Nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than that the alternative is of a restoration of the Constitution or a dismemberment of the United States. It will therefore be of use to begin by examining the advantages and intent of that Constitution, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution or disposal.

I welcome others to submit papers which offer arguments in support of preserving our Constitution.

PUBLIUS.

 

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