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Monday, July 4, 2016

Exerpts from The Federalist Papers

Alexander Hamilton's reputation has been resurrected, ironically by another immigrant son, Lin Manuel Miranda.  They share Caribbean roots and flashes of brilliance.  On this anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, I am reflecting on things that Hamilton said in The Federalist Papers about democracy that I really need to reflect about this election season.  I bristle at the notion of "originalisnm" as framed by Anton Scalia, a man who had a conclusion in search of the data to support it, but I do think those smart and daring men of the American Revolution saw a lot of tyranny both at home and abroad.  They learned a lot and we can still learn from them,

“It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.”

“When occasions present themselves in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of those interests to withstand the temporary delusion in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection. Instances might be cited in which a conduct of this kind has saved the people from very fatal consequences of their own mistakes, and has procured lasting monuments of their gratitude to the men who had courage and magnanimity enough to serve them at the peril of their displeasure.”

“On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor 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 specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal 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."

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