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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2007, 10:45:38 AM »

"To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the
world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his
creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature,
may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law
and government, appears to a common understanding altogether
irreconcilable.  Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced
a very dissimilar theory.  They have supposed that the deity,
from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has
constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably
obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution
whatever.  This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this
law depend the natural rights of mankind."

-- Alexander Hamilton ()
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« Reply #51 on: November 22, 2007, 05:49:54 AM »

"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of
Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits,
and humbly to implore his protection and favors."

-- George Washington (Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (543)
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« Reply #52 on: November 23, 2007, 10:49:40 AM »

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334


"[T]he great security against a gradual concentration of the
several powers in the same department consists in giving to those
who administer each department the necessary constitutional means
and personal motives to resist encroachment of the others."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 10, 23 November 1787)
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« Reply #53 on: November 26, 2007, 08:48:12 AM »

"Give up money, give up fame, give up science, give the earth
itself and all it contains rather than do an immoral act. And never
suppose that in any possible situation, or under any circumstances,
it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however slightly so
it may appear to you... From the practice of the purest virtue,
you may be assured you will derive the most sublime comforts in
every moment of life, and in the moment of death."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 19 August 1785)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(814-815)
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« Reply #54 on: November 27, 2007, 05:16:31 AM »

"I am persuaded that a firm union is as necessary to perpetuate
our liberties as it is to make us respectable; and experience will
probably prove that the National Government will be as natural
a guardian of our freedom as the State Legislatures."

-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the New York Ratifying Convention,
June 1788)
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« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2007, 01:59:41 PM »

"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been...to comply strictly
with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the U
States free from political connections with every other Country.
To see that they may be independent of all, and under the
influence of none.  In a word, I want an American character,
that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves
and not for others; this,  in my judgment, is the only way to be
respected abroad and happy at home."

-- George Washington (letter to Partick Henry, 9 October 1775)

Reference: The Writings of George Washington, Fitzpatrick, ed.,
vol. 34 (335)
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« Reply #56 on: November 29, 2007, 08:39:10 AM »

"As on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing in particular
emergencies cannot be doubted, so on the other, it is equally
evident that to be able to borrow upon good terms, it is essential
that the credit of a nation should be well established."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Report on Public Credit, 9 January 1790)

Reference: The Reports of Alexander Hamilton, Cooke, ed. (2)
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« Reply #57 on: November 30, 2007, 05:16:51 AM »

"Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a
wretched situation. No theoretical checks-no form of government
can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will
secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is
a chimerical idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence
in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these
men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence
in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them."

-- James Madison (speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention,
20 June 1788)

Reference: The True Republican, French, ed. (28-29)
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« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2007, 09:19:06 AM »

"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his
constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass
of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate
in their burdens."

-- George Mason (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,
17 June 1788)

Reference: The Papers of George Mason, Rutland, ed., vol. 3 (1093)
[Sheehan (5:5)]
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« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2007, 01:22:13 PM »

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" --

Thomas Jefferson, 1 Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334
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« Reply #60 on: December 05, 2007, 07:43:17 AM »

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for;
but one in which the  powers of government should be so divided
and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no
one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually
checked and restrained by the others."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 58, 1788)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 48
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« Reply #61 on: December 07, 2007, 07:33:23 AM »

"The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men in
all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness both of
private Families and of Common-wealths. Almost all Governments
have therefore made it a principal Object of their Attention,
to establish and endow with proper Revenues, such Seminaries of
Learning, as might supply the succeeding Age with Men qualified to
serve the Publick with Honour to themselves, and to their Country."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Proposals Relating to the Education of
Youth in Pensilvania, 1749)

Reference: Franklin Collected Works, Lemay, ed., 324.
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« Reply #62 on: December 10, 2007, 04:02:22 PM »

"I give my signature to many Bills with which my Judgment is
at variance....  From the Nature of the Constitution, I must
approve all parts of a Bill, or reject it in total.  To do the
latter can only be Justified upon the clear and obvious grounds
of propriety; and I never had such confidence in my own faculty
of judging as to be over tenacious of the opinions I may have
imbibed in doubtful cases."

-- George Washington (letter to Edmund Pendleton, 23 September
1793)

Reference: The Writings of George Washinton, Fitzpatrick, ed.,
vol. 33 (96)
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« Reply #63 on: December 11, 2007, 11:05:41 AM »

"There exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble
union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage;
between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy,
and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we
ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven
can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal
rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."

-- George Washington (First Inaugural Address, 1789)

Reference: Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the U.S.
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« Reply #64 on: December 12, 2007, 08:27:56 AM »


"This country and this people seem to have been made for each
other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence that
an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren,
united to each other by the strongest of ties, should never be
split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties."

-- John Jay (Federalist No. 2)

Reference: Jay, Federalist No. 2 (38)
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« Reply #65 on: December 13, 2007, 10:28:17 AM »

"In observations on this subject, we hear the legislature
mentioned as the people's representatives.  The distinction,
intimated by concealed implication, through probably, not avowed
upon reflection, is, that the executive and judicial powers are not
connected with the people by a relation so strong or near or dear.
But is high time that we should chastise our prejudices; and that
we should look upon the different parts of government with a just
and impartial eye."

-- James Wilson (Lectures on Law, 1791)

Reference: The Works of James Wilson, McCloskey, ed., vol. 1
(292-293); original Lectures on Law, Wilson,
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« Reply #66 on: December 14, 2007, 10:20:26 AM »

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” —Alexander Hamilton

----------------------------------------------------------------
"Tis well."

-- George Washington (Last Words, 14 December 1799)

Reference: The First of Men, Ferling (507)

-------------------------------------------------------------------

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE
“To secure these rights...”
By Mark Alexander

Saturday, 15 December, is the 216th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to our Constitution, as ratified in 1791.

The Bill of Rights was inspired by three remarkable documents: John Locke’s 1689 thesis, Two Treatises of Government, regarding the protection of “property” (in the Latin context, proprius, or one’s own “life, liberty and estate”); in part from the Virginia Declaration of Rights authored by George Mason in 1776 as part of that state’s Constitution; and, of course, in part from our Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson.

James Madison proposed the Bill of Rights as amendments to our Constitution in 1789, but many of our Founders objected to listing the Bill of Rights at all, much less as “amendments.” Their rationale was that such rights might then be construed as malleable rather than unalienable, as amendable rather than “endowed by our Creator” as noted in the Constitution’s supreme guidance, the Declaration of Independence.

Alexander Hamilton argued this point in The Federalist Papers, the most comprehensive explication of our Constitution: “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous... For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” (Federalist No. 84)

George Mason was one of 55 who authored the U.S. Constitution, but one of 16 who refused to sign it because it did not adequately address limitations on what the central government had “no power to do.” He worked with Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams against the Constitution’s ratification for that reason.

As a result of Mason’s insistence, ten limitations were put on the Federal Government by the first session of Congress, for the reasons outlined by the Bill of Rights Preamble: “The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution...”

Read in context, the Bill of Rights is both an affirmation of innate individual rights (as noted by Thomas Jefferson: “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time...”), and a clear delineation on constraints upon the central government.

However, as Jefferson warned repeatedly, the greatest threat to such limitations on the central government was an unbridled judiciary: “Over the Judiciary department, the Constitution [has] deprived [the people] of their control... The original error [was in] establishing a judiciary independent of the nation, and which, from the citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those they were meant to defend, and control and fashion their proceedings to its own will... It is a misnomer to call a government republican in which a branch of the supreme power [the judiciary] is independent of the nation... The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

In Federalist No. 81 Alexander Hamilton wrote, “[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every State.”

That admonition notwithstanding, the federal judiciary has become “a despotic branch.”

Indeed, since the middle of the last century, judicial despots have grossly devitalized the Bill of Rights, asserting errantly that our Founders created a “Living Constitution” amendable by judicial diktat.

For example, the Leftjudiciary has “interpreted” the First Amendment as placing all manner of constraint upon the exercise of religion by way of the so-called “establishment clause” and based on the phony “Wall of Separation” argument. At the same time, the courts have asserted that all manner of expression constitutes “speech.”

The judiciary and legislatures have undermined the strength of the Second Amendment, a right of which James Madison’s appointee, Justice Joseph Story, referred to as “...the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers...”

Equally derelict is the manner in which the Tenth Amendment has been eroded by judicial interpretation.

In Federalist No. 45, Madison outlines the clear limits on central government power established in the Constitution: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Alexander Hamilton added in Federalist No. 81 “...the plan of the [Constitutional] convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States.”

There was a very bloody War Between the States fought over offense to the Constitution’s assurance of States’ Rights.

All is not lost, however.

Sunday, 16 December, is the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party (1773). The “radicals” from Marlborough, Massachusetts, who threw 342 chests of tea from a British East India Company ship into the Boston Harbor in protest of tyrannical rule, did so noting, “Death is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Christ to submit to tyranny, but may make use of such power as God has given them to recover and support their... liberties.”

Three years later, this rebellion had grown to such extent that our Founders were willing to give up their fortunes and lives, attaching their signatures to a document that declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the 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.”

Judicial and political despots, take note.
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« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2007, 07:37:05 AM »

"No government ought to be without censors & where the press is
free, no one ever will."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to George Washington, 9 September 1792)
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« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2007, 11:50:31 AM »

"As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails
in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as
only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things
will be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real
disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable
member nor myself can correct. It is a common misfortunate that
awaits our State constitution, as well as all others."

-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the New York Ratifying Convention,
June 1788)

Reference: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Cabot Lodge,
ed., II, 26.

===============

This one by John Adams I think particularly profound:

"We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." John Adams
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« Reply #69 on: December 19, 2007, 08:10:35 AM »

"Strangers are welcome because there is room enough for them
all, and therefore the old Inhabitants are not jealous of them;
the Laws protect them sufficiently so that they have no need of
the Patronage of great Men; and every one will enjoy securely the
Profits of his Industry. But if he does not bring a Fortune with
him, he must work and be industrious to live."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Those Who Would Remove to America,
February 1784)

Reference: Franklin Collected Works, Lemay, ed., 977.
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« Reply #70 on: December 20, 2007, 11:57:59 PM »

"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort;
as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as
that which the term particularly expresses.  This being the end
of government, that alone is a just government which impartially
secures to every man whatever is his own."

-- James Madison (Essay on Property, 29 March 1792)

Reference: Madison: Writings, Rakove, ed., Library of America (515)
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« Reply #71 on: December 21, 2007, 10:33:28 AM »

"The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Richard Rush, 20 October 1820)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Edition),
Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., 15:283.
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« Reply #72 on: December 24, 2007, 04:22:33 PM »

"The deliberate union of so great and various a people in such a
place, is without all partiality or prejudice, if not the greatest
exertion of human understanding, the greatest single effort of
national deliberation that the world has ever seen."

-- John Adams (quoted in a letter from Rufus King to Theophilus
Parsons, 20 February 1788)

Reference: The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, King, vol. 1
(321)
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« Reply #73 on: December 26, 2007, 06:58:47 AM »

"More permanent and genuine happiness is to be found in the
sequestered walks of connubial life than in the giddy rounds of
promiscuous pleasure."

-- George Washington (letter to the Marquis de la Rourie, 10
August 1786)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (300); original The Writings
of George Washington, Sparks, ed., vol. 9 (190)
======================================
Washington's Gift
Our revolution could have ended in despotism, like so many others.

BY THOMAS FLEMING
Tuesday, December 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

There is a Christmas story at the birth of this country that very few Americans know. It involves a single act by George Washington--his refusal to take absolute power--that affirms our own deepest beliefs about self-government, and still has profound meaning in today's world. To appreciate its significance, however, we must revisit a dark period at the end of America's eight-year struggle for independence.

The story begins with Gen. Washington's arrival in Annapolis, Md., on Dec. 19, 1783. The country was finally at peace--just a few weeks earlier the last British army on American soil had sailed out of New York harbor. But the previous eight months had been a time of terrible turmoil and anguish for Gen. Washington, outwardly always so composed. His army had been discharged and sent home, unpaid, by a bankrupt Congress--without a victory parade or even a statement of thanks for their years of sacrifices and sufferings.

Instead, not a few congressmen and their allies in the press had waged a vitriolic smear campaign against the soldiers--especially the officers, because they supposedly demanded too much money for back pay and pensions. Washington had done his utmost to persuade Congress to pay them, yet failed, in this failure losing the admiration of many of the younger officers. Some sneeringly called him "The Great Illustrissimo"--a mocking reference to his world-wide fame. When he said farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York early in December, he had wept at the sight of anger and resentment on many faces.

Congressman Alexander Hamilton, once Washington's most gifted aide, had told him in a morose letter that there was a "principle of hostility to an army" loose in the country and too many congressmen shared it. Bitterly, Hamilton added that he had "an indifferent opinion of the honesty" of the United States of America.

Soon Hamilton was spreading an even lower opinion of Congress. Its members had fled Philadelphia when a few hundred unpaid soldiers in the city's garrison surrounded the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), demanding back pay. Congressman Hamilton called the affair "weak and disgusting to the last degree" and soon resigned his seat.

The rest of the country agreed. There were hoots of derision and contempt for Congress in newspapers from Boston to Savannah. The politicians took refuge in the village of Princeton, N.J., where they rejected Washington's advice to fund a small postwar regular army, then wandered to Annapolis.

In Amsterdam, where brokers were trying to sell shares in an American loan negotiated by John Adams, sales plummeted. Even America's best friend in Europe, the Marquis de Lafayette, wondered aloud if the United States was about to collapse. A deeply discouraged Washington admitted he saw "one head turning into thirteen."





Was there anyone who could rescue the situation? Many people thought only George Washington could work this miracle.
Earlier in the year he had been urged to summarily dismiss Congress and rule as an uncrowned king, under the title of president. He emphatically refused to consider the idea. Now many people wondered if he might have changed his mind. At the very least he might appear before Congress and issue a scathing denunciation of their cowardly flight from Philadelphia and their ingratitude to his soldiers. That act would destroy whatever shreds of legitimacy the politicians had left.

At noon on Dec. 23, Washington and two aides walked from their hotel to the Annapolis State House, where Congress was sitting. Barely 20 delegates had bothered to show up.

The general and his aides took designated seats in the assembly chamber. The president of Congress, Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania, began the proceedings: "Sir, the United States in Congress assembled are prepared to receive your communications."

Mifflin had been one of the generals who attempted to humiliate Washington into resigning during the grim winter at Valley Forge. He had smeared Washington as a puffed-up egotist, denigrated his military ability, and used his wealth to persuade not a few congressmen to agree with him. A few months later, Mifflin was forced to quit the army after being accused of stealing millions as quartermaster general.

Addressing this scandal-tarred enemy, Washington drew a speech from his coat pocket and unfolded it with trembling hands. "Mr. President," he began in a low, strained voice. "The great events on which my resignation depended having at length taken place; I now have the honor of offering my sincere congratulations to Congress and of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country."

Washington went on to express his gratitude for the support of "my countrymen" and the "army in general." This reference to his soldiers ignited feelings so intense, he had to grip the speech with both hands to keep it steady. He continued: "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them \[Congress\] to his holy keeping."

For a long moment, Washington could not say another word. Tears streamed down his cheeks. The words touched a vein of religious faith in his inmost soul, born of battlefield experiences that had convinced him of the existence of a caring God who had protected him and his country again and again during the war. Without this faith he might never have been able to endure the frustrations and rage he had experienced in the previous eight months.





Washington then drew from his coat a parchment copy of his appointment as commander in chief. "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theater of action and bidding farewell to this august body under whom I have long acted, I here offer my commission and take leave of all the employments of public life." Stepping forward, he handed the document to Mifflin.
This was--is--the most important moment in American history.

The man who could have dispersed this feckless Congress and obtained for himself and his soldiers rewards worthy of their courage was renouncing absolute power. By this visible, incontrovertible act, Washington did more to affirm America's government of the people than a thousand declarations by legislatures and treatises by philosophers.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the greatest of these declarations, witnessed this drama as a delegate from Virginia. Intuitively, he understood its historic dimension. "The moderation. . . . of a single character," he later wrote, "probably prevented this revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish."

In Europe, Washington's resignation restored America's battered prestige. It was reported with awe and amazement in newspapers from London to Vienna. The Connecticut painter John Trumbull, studying in England, wrote that it had earned the "astonishment and admiration of this part of the world."

Washington shook hands with each member of Congress and not a few of the spectators. Meanwhile, his aides were bringing their horses and baggage wagons from their hotel. They had left orders for everything to be packed and ready for an immediate departure.

The next day, after an overnight stop at a tavern, they rode at a steady pace toward Mount Vernon. Finally, as twilight shrouded the winter sky, the house came into view beside the Potomac River. Past bare trees and wintry fields the three horsemen trotted toward the white-pillared porch and the green shuttered windows, aglow with candlelight. Waiting for them at the door was Martha Washington and two grandchildren. It was Christmas eve. Ex-Gen. Washington--and the United States of America--had survived the perils of both war and peace.

Mr. Fleming is the author, most recently, of "The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival After Yorktown" (Collins, 2007).
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« Reply #74 on: December 27, 2007, 08:22:22 AM »

At the close of the Revolutionary War in America, a perilous moment in the life of the fledgling American democracy occurred as officers of the Continental Army met in Newburgh, New York, to discuss grievances and consider a possible insurrection against the rule of Congress.

They were angry over the failure of Congress to honor its promises to the army regarding salary, bounties and life pensions. The officers had heard from Philadelphia that the American government was going broke and that they might not be compensated at all.

On March 10, 1783, an anonymous letter was circulated among the officers of General Washington's main camp at Newburgh. It addressed those complaints and called for an unauthorized meeting of officers to be held the next day to consider possible military solutions to the problems of the civilian government and its financial woes.

General Washington stopped that meeting from happening by forbidding the officers to meet at the unauthorized meeting. Instead, he suggested they meet a few days later, on March 15th, at the regular meeting of his officers.

Meanwhile, another anonymous letter was circulated, this time suggesting Washington himself was sympathetic to the claims of the malcontent officers.

And so on March 15, 1783, Washington's officers gathered in a church building in Newburgh, effectively holding the fate of democracy in America in their hands.
Unexpectedly, General Washington himself showed up. He was not entirely welcomed by his men, but nevertheless, personally addressed them...

Gentlemen:
By an anonymous summons, an attempt has been made to convene you together; how inconsistent with the rules of propriety, how unmilitary, and how subversive of all order and discipline, let the good sense of the army decide...

Thus much, gentlemen,
I have thought it incumbent on me to observe to you, to show upon what principles I opposed the irregular and hasty meeting which was proposed to have been held on Tuesday last - and not because I wanted a disposition to give you every opportunity consistent with your own honor, and the dignity of the army, to make known your grievances. If my conduct heretofore has not evinced to you that I have been a faithful friend to the army, my declaration of it at this time would be equally unavailing and improper. But as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country. As I have never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty. As I have been the constant companion and witness of your distresses, and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits. As I have ever considered my own military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the army. As my heart has ever expanded with joy, when I have heard its praises, and my indignation has arisen, when the mouth of detraction has been opened against it, it can scarcely be supposed, at this late stage of the war, that I am indifferent to its interests.

But how are they to be promoted? The way is plain, says the anonymous addresser. If war continues, remove into the unsettled country, there establish yourselves, and leave an ungrateful country to defend itself. But who are they to defend? Our wives, our children, our farms, and other property which we leave behind us. Or, in this state of hostile separation, are we to take the two first (the latter cannot be removed) to perish in a wilderness, with hunger, cold, and nakedness? If peace takes place, never sheathe your swords, says he, until you have obtained full and ample justice; this dreadful alternative, of either deserting our country in the extremest hour of her distress or turning our arms against it (which is the apparent object, unless Congress can be compelled into instant compliance), has something so shocking in it that humanity revolts at the idea. My God! What can this writer have in view, by recommending such measures? Can he be a friend to the army? Can he be a friend to this country? Rather, is he not an insidious foe? Some emissary, perhaps, from New York, plotting the ruin of both, by sowing the seeds of discord and separation between the civil and military powers of the continent? And what a compliment does he pay to our understandings when he recommends measures in either alternative, impracticable in their nature?

I cannot, in justice to my own belief, and what I have great reason to conceive is the intention of Congress, conclude this address, without giving it as my decided opinion, that that honorable body entertain exalted sentiments of the services of the army; and, from a full conviction of its merits and sufferings, will do it complete justice. That their endeavors to discover and establish funds for this purpose have been unwearied, and will not cease till they have succeeded, I have not a doubt. But, like all other large bodies, where there is a variety of different interests to reconcile, their deliberations are slow. Why, then, should we distrust them? And, in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures which may cast a shade over that glory which has been so justly acquired; and tarnish the reputation of an army which is celebrated through all Europe, for its fortitude and patriotism? And for what is this done? To bring the object we seek nearer? No! most certainly, in my opinion, it will cast it at a greater distance.

For myself (and I take no merit in giving the assurance, being induced to it from principles of gratitude, veracity, and justice), a grateful sense of the confidence you have ever placed in me, a recollection of the cheerful assistance and prompt obedience I have experienced from you, under every vicissitude of fortune, and the sincere affection I feel for an army I have so long had the honor to command will oblige me to declare, in this public and solemn manner, that, in the attainment of complete justice for all your toils and dangers, and in the gratification of every wish, so far as may be done consistently with the great duty I owe my country and those powers we are bound to respect, you may freely command my services to the utmost of my abilities.

While I give you these assurances, and pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner to exert whatever ability I am possessed of in your favor, let me entreat you, gentlemen, on your part, not to take any measures which, viewed in the calm light of reason, will lessen the dignity and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained; let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country, and place a full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress; that, previous to your dissolution as an army, they will cause all your accounts to be fairly liquidated, as directed in their resolutions, which were published to you two days ago, and that they will adopt the most effectual measures in their power to render ample justice to you, for your faithful and meritorious services. And let me conjure you, in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man who wishes, under any specious pretenses, to overturn the liberties of our country, and who wickedly attempts to open the floodgates of civil discord and deluge our rising empire in blood.

By thus determining and thus acting, you will pursue the plain and direct road to the attainment of your wishes. You will defeat the insidious designs of our enemies, who are compelled to resort from open force to secret artifice. You will give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue, rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings. And you will, by the dignity of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind, "Had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining."
George Washington - March 15, 1783


This speech was not very well received by his men. Washington then took out a letter from a member of Congress explaining the financial difficulties of the government.

After reading a portion of the letter with his eyes squinting at the small writing, Washington suddenly stopped. His officers stared at him, wondering. Washington then reached into his coat pocket and took out a pair of reading glasses. Few of them knew he wore glasses, and were surprised.

"Gentlemen," said Washington, "you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country."

In that moment of utter vulnerability, Washington's men were deeply moved, even shamed, and many were quickly in tears, now looking with great affection at this aging man who had led them through so much. Washington read the remainder of the letter, then left without saying another word, realizing their sentiments.

His officers then cast a unanimous vote, essentially agreeing to the rule of Congress. Thus, the civilian government was preserved and the young experiment of democracy in America continued.
---------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not only did Washington refuse absolute power, but he made the officers in the Army take an oath to refuse it themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_the_Cincinnati

The concept of the Society of the Cincinnati probably originated with Major General Henry Knox. The first meeting of the Society was held at a dinner in Fishkill (now Beacon, New York near Newburgh), in May of 1783, before the British withdrew from New York City. The meeting was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton, and the participants agreed to stay in contact with each other after the war. Membership was generally limited to officers who had served at least three years in the Continental Army or Navy but included officers of the French Army and Navy above certain ranks. (Later, membership was passed down to the eldest son after the death of the original member; present-day hereditary members generally must be descended from an officer who served in the Continental Army or Navy for at least three years, from an officer who died or was killed in service, or from an officer serving at the close of the Revolution.)
The Society is named after Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who left his farm to accept a term as Roman Consul and then served as Magister Populi for a short time, thereby assuming lawful dictatorial control of Rome to meet a war emergency. When the battle was won, he returned power to the Senate and went back to plowing his fields. The Society's motto reflects that ethic of selfless service: Omnia relinquit servare rempublicam - He relinquished everything to serve the Republic. The Society has from the beginning had three objects, referred to as the "Immutable Principles":
To preserve the rights so dearly won;
To promote the continuing union of the states; and
To assist members in need, their widows, and their orphans.
Within twelve months of the founding, a constituent Society had been organized in each state and in France. Of about 5,500 men originally eligible for membership, 2,150 had joined within a year. King Louis XVI ordained the French Society of the Cincinnati, which was organized on July 4, 1784. Up to that time, the King of France had not allowed his officers to wear any foreign decorations; but he made an exception in favor of the badge of the Cincinnati, and membership in the Society was so eagerly sought that it soon became as coveted as membership of certain orders of knighthood in France.
George Washington was elected the first President General of the Society. He served from December, 1783, until his death in 1799. The second President General was Alexander Hamilton.
The Society of the Cincinnati is generally considered the premiere American hereditary society.[citation needed] Its members have included many of the most distinguished military leaders and civil servants in the history of the country, beginning with twenty-three of the fifty-four signers of the U.S. Constitution. The Cincinnati is the oldest military society in continuous existence in North America
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« Reply #75 on: December 29, 2007, 10:53:46 AM »

Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address in 1801 said, "Though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable;...the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression".
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« Reply #76 on: December 31, 2007, 06:25:07 AM »

"If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on
which different forms of government are established, we may
define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on,
a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly
from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons
holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period,
or during good behavior."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 39)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 39 (241)
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« Reply #77 on: January 02, 2008, 08:33:02 AM »

"He was certainly one of the most learned men of the age.  It may
be said of him as has been said of others that he was a "walking
Library," and what can be said of but few such prodigies, that
the Genius of Philosophy ever walked hand in hand with him."

-- James Madison (on Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Samuel
Harrison Smith, 4 November 1826)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Hunt, ed., vol. 9
(260-61)
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« Reply #78 on: January 03, 2008, 06:51:06 AM »

"We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must
give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are
mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in
conscience."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the state of Virginia, 1782)
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« Reply #79 on: January 04, 2008, 07:26:55 AM »

"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the
minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and
animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual
contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and
an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If
we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will
grovel all their lives."

-- John Adams (Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756)

Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett (253)
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« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2008, 12:01:02 PM »

"In forming the Senate, the great anchor of the Government, the
questions as they came within the first object turned mostly on
the mode of appointment, and the duration of it."

-- James Madison (letter to Thomas Jefferson, 24 October 1787)

Reference: Madison: Writings, Rakove, ed., Library of America (145)
======================

“If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honor of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.” —Samuel Adams
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« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2008, 12:07:10 PM »

“Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity in an increasingly complex, centralized society. Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business... frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite. Our party must be based on the kind of leadership that grows and takes its strength from the people...
  • ur cause must be to rediscover, reassert and reapply America s spiritual heritage to our national affairs. Then with God s help we shall indeed be as a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon us.” —Ronald Reagan
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« Reply #82 on: January 08, 2008, 10:29:27 AM »

The Patriot Post
Founders' Quote Daily

"Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among
the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of
their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the
opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of
the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be
the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest
of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them."

-- John Adams (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 259.

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« Reply #83 on: January 09, 2008, 07:37:32 AM »

"To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the
world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his
creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature,
may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law
and government, appears to a common understanding altogether
irreconcilable.  Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced
a very dissimilar theory.  They have supposed that the deity,
from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has
constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably
obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution
whatever.  This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this
law depend the natural rights of mankind."

-- Alexander Hamilton (The Farmer Refuted, 1775)
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« Reply #84 on: January 09, 2008, 04:54:26 PM »

This is why we were supposed to have militias, instead of a standing army.
The armed populace was supposed to be the final check in our system of
checks and balances:

  The federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and
trustees of the people . . the adversaries of the Constitution seem to have
lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject; and
to have viewed these different establishments not only as mutual rivals and
enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to
usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded
of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the
derivative may be found, resides in the people alone . .


James Madison Federalist 46. According to Tench Coxe, another prominent
Federalist:
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« Reply #85 on: January 10, 2008, 07:57:59 AM »

"I will venture to assert that no combination of designing men
under heaven will be capable of making a government unpopular
which is in its principles a wise and good one, and vigorous in
its operations."

-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the New York Ratifying Convention,
June 1788)

Reference: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Cabot Lodge,
ed., II, 29.
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« Reply #86 on: January 11, 2008, 10:11:25 AM »

"War is not the best engine for us to resort to; nature has given
us one in our commerce, which if properly managed, will be a
better instrument for obliging the interested nations of Europe
to treat us with justice."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Thomas Pickney, 29 May 1797)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Ford, ed., vol. 8
(293)
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« Reply #87 on: January 14, 2008, 09:03:57 AM »

"The constitution of the United States is to receive a reasonable
interpretation of its language, and its powers, keeping in view the
objects and purposes, for which those powers were conferred. By
a reasonable interpretation, we mean, that in case the words are
susceptible of two different senses, the one strict, the other
more enlarged, that should be adopted, which is most consonant
with the apparent objects and intent of the Constitution."

-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 140.

--------

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« Reply #88 on: January 15, 2008, 09:50:04 AM »

"Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and
rather more personal abuse than there used to be... Our American
Chivalry is the worst in the world. It has no Laws, no bounds,
no definitions; it seems to be all a Caprice."

-- John Adams (letter to Thomas Jefferson, 17 April 1826)

Reference: The Adams-Jefferson Correspondence, Lester Cappon, ed.,
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« Reply #89 on: January 16, 2008, 08:31:02 AM »

"I am commonly opposed to those who modestly assume the rank
of champions of liberty, and make a very patriotic noise about
the people.  It is the stale artifice which has duped the world a
thousand times, and yet, though detected, it is still successful.
I love liberty as well as anybody.  I am proud of it, as the true
title of our people to distinction above others; but...I would
guard it by making the laws strong enough to protect it."

-- Fisher Ames (letter to George Richard Minot, 23 June 1789)

Reference: Works of Fisher Ames, W. B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (678)
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« Reply #90 on: January 17, 2008, 07:22:40 AM »

"The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift
of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of
society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation
to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided
virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.
May we not even say that that form of government is the best
which provides the most - for a pure selection of these natural
aristoi into the offices of government?"

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 28 October 1813)

Reference: Jefferson Writings, Lemay, ed., 1306.
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« Reply #91 on: January 18, 2008, 05:58:40 AM »

"The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which
the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty."

-- Fisher Ames (speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention,
15 January 1788)

Reference: The Works of Fisher Ames, W.B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (546)
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« Reply #92 on: January 21, 2008, 09:07:21 AM »

"In such a performance you may lay the foundation of national
happiness only in religion, not by leaving it doubtful "whether
morals can exist without it," but by asserting that without
religion morals are the effects of causes as purely physical as
pleasant breezes and fruitful seasons."

-- Benjamin Rush (letter to John Adams, 20 August 1811)

Reference: Americanism, Gebhardt (12); original Letters, Rush,
Butterfield, ed., vol. 2 (1096-97)
================================

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’... I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character... And if America is to be a great nation this must become true.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.
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« Reply #93 on: January 22, 2008, 08:27:30 AM »

"And as to the Cares, they are chiefly what attend the bringing
up of Children; and I would ask any Man who has experienced it,
if they are not the most delightful Cares in the World; and if
from that Particular alone, he does not find the Bliss of a double
State much greater, instead of being less than he expected."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Reply to a Piece of Advice)

Reference: Franklin: Collected Works, Lemay, ed. (249)
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« Reply #94 on: January 28, 2008, 01:40:36 PM »


"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible
hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People
of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced
to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been
distinguished by some token of providential agency."

-- George Washington (First Inaugural Address, 30 April 1789)
============
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« Reply #95 on: January 31, 2008, 07:16:37 AM »

Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among
the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of
their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the
opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of
the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be
the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest
of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them."

-- John Adams (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 259.
============

“To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that... to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.” —Alexander Hamilton
==============
“In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.” —Alexander Hamilton
===============
"The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by
all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the
most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly
become a primary object of its political cares."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 12, 27 November 1787)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 12.
===============

Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands.” —Thomas Jefferson

===============

"The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of
all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form
of government, a real despotism.  A just estimate of that love of
power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human
heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position."

-- George Washington (Farewell Address, 19 September 1796)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (521)

================


"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time;
the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Summary View of the Rights of British America,
August 1774)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(122)
============

"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible
hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People
of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced
to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been
distinguished by some token of providential agency."

-- George Washington (First Inaugural Address, 30 April 1789)

Reference: resp. quoted

============

“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.” —George Washington

============

"It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have
refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the
object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as
murderous as the violence of the wolf."

-- Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)

Reference: Thomas Paine: Collected Writings , Foner ed., Library
of America (97)
================


"There is no part of the administration of government that requires
extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles
of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The
man who understands those principles best will be least likely
to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular
class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be
demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will
always be the least burdensome."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 35, 1788)

Reference: The Federalist

===============

  • ur Commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with Powers so disposed; in order to give trade a stable course.” —George Washington

===============


"It is the duty of every good citizen to use all the opportunities
which occur to him, for preserving documents relating to the
history of our country."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Hugh P. Taylor, 4 October 1823)

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« Reply #96 on: February 02, 2008, 07:57:55 AM »


"I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great
man that was not at the same time truly virtuous."

-- Benjamin Franklin (The Busy-body, No. 3, 18 February 1728)

Reference: The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Bigelow, ed., vol. 1
(350)

------------
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« Reply #97 on: February 04, 2008, 05:34:08 AM »

"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires
a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there are
other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion
of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the
existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other
form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political
jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human
character, the inference would be that there is not sufficient
virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than
the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and
devouring one another."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 55, 15 February 1788)

Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 55.
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« Reply #98 on: February 05, 2008, 10:47:25 AM »

"All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed
frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To
that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in
peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.
And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine
that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a
long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs
I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men.
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice,
is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?""

-- Benjamin Franklin (To Colleagues at the Constitutional
Convention)

Reference: Quoted by James Madison, Notes of Debates in the
Federal Convention of 1787. (New York: W.W. Norton and Company,
1987), pp. 209-
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« Reply #99 on: February 06, 2008, 06:38:44 AM »

"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible
I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity,
of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision.
He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good,
and a great man."

-- Thomas Jefferson (on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter
Jones, 2 January 1814)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(1318-19)
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