Monday, March 27, 2006

Madison speaks to us

Nice article from the History Network News site by Gary Hart and Joyce Appleby: The Founders Never Imagined a Bush Administration

'The great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department,' Madison wrote in Federalist 51, 'consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others.'

Warming to his subject, Madison continued, 'Ambition must be made to counteract ambition;' the interest of the office holders must 'be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.'

Recognizing that he was making an appeal to interest over ideals, he concluded that it 'may be a reflection of human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government.' 'But what,' Madison asked, 'is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.'
When will the public awaken to the constitutional crisis we're in?

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