Author Topic: The American Creed: Our Founding Fathers:  (Read 646581 times)


Crafty_Dog

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Madison on rent seekers 1788
« Reply #1701 on: July 02, 2019, 09:45:41 AM »
second post of the day

"Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the FEW, not for the MANY." —James Madison (1788)


Crafty_Dog

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Jefferson: The artillery of the press
« Reply #1703 on: July 10, 2019, 04:22:59 PM »
"During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety." —Thomas Jefferson (1805)

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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George Washington
« Reply #1705 on: July 16, 2019, 12:57:22 PM »


"No Wall of words ... can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other." —George Washington (1789)

Crafty_Dog

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Patrick Henry
« Reply #1706 on: July 29, 2019, 10:20:49 AM »


"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth — and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts." —Patrick Henry (1775)

Crafty_Dog

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Jefferson 1823 Constitutional construction
« Reply #1707 on: July 31, 2019, 11:56:14 AM »


"On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." —Thomas Jefferson (1823)

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: John Locke breaks his silence
« Reply #1708 on: August 30, 2019, 08:45:49 PM »
 

John Locke Breaks His Silence
A new manuscript is located in Maryland. But do Americans care what the philosopher has to say?
By Jason Willick
Aug. 30, 2019 5:44 pm ET

John Locke has a new article out, although he died in 1704. When England’s King Charles II discovered a failed 1683 assassination plot against himself and his brother, he beheaded the plotters and started arresting opponents. Among the targets was Locke, who knew some of the conspirators but likely wasn’t involved. Fearing for his life, Locke fled to the Netherlands. Before leaving, he deposited several manuscripts with Edward Clarke, a member of Parliament and trusted friend.

One of those manuscripts has only now been discovered—in the Annapolis, Md., library of St. John’s College. This month it was published for the first time, in the Cambridge Historical Journal, by independent scholar J.C. Walmsley and Cambridge University fellow Felix Waldmann.

The title of the work, written in 1667 or 1668, is “Reasons for Tolerateing Papists Equally with Others.” Mr. Walmsley tells me that when he came across the title in a 1928 book catalog, it seemed “very unlikely that this was actually a real thing that Locke had actually written.” In one of Locke’s most famous works—the 1689 “Letter Concerning Toleration,” which helped shape the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—he had taken a liberal view of religious tolerance for Protestant sects persecuted by the Anglican Church, but excluded Catholics and atheists.

Mr. Walmsley’s research revealed that there was a single manuscript with the title “Reasons for Tolerateing Papists Equally With Others” in the St. John’s collection. Librarians there sent him an electronic copy, and he immediately recognized Locke’s handwriting. He plugged the text into search engines and found that no one had ever quoted or printed it before. He flew to Maryland to examine it in person.

John Locke (1632-1704). Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Messrs. Walmsley and Waldmann found that the manuscript likely remained in the hands of Edward Clarke’s descendants until 1922, when it “was consigned to Sotheby’s . ” It changed hands several times, they report, before a New Yorker named Henry MacDonald presented it to St. John’s “at a time we cannot determine.”

Why St. John’s? The scholars can only speculate. Mr. Waldmann thinks it may have to do with Maryland’s founding by Lord Baltimore as a haven for persecuted Catholics. The manuscript shows Locke weighing the question of toleration for Catholics with more solicitude than in any of his other writings. He considers whether “Papists can be supposd to be as good subjects as others” and wrote that “If abilitys alone ought to prefer men to imployment”—that is, under a meritocracy—“Papists are to be tolerated.” This was a radical sentiment in England at the time.

In the piece’s lengthier second part, Locke arrives at his well-known position that toleration of Catholics is impossible. The reason, he suggests, isn’t religious but political: It “is not the difference of their opinion in religion, or of their ceremonys in worship,” that justifies persecution of Catholics, Locke writes, “but their dangerous & factious tenents in reference to the state.” Locke feared that Catholics’ “subjection to a forraigne infallible power”—the pope—meant they could not be loyal to the British government.

Locke was not an “abstracted philosopher contemplating at a distance from political events,” Mr. Waldmann says. He was an active player in the religious and political controversies of the British Restoration. His philosophy evolved against the backdrop of religious wars in Britain and across Europe after the Protestant Reformation. He had seen the bloodshed that followed when the state concerned itself not only with protecting citizens’ life, liberty and property but also with the salvation of their souls.

The American Founders took Locke’s views to heart. They banned the establishment of a national church, though that was the norm in Europe. They drew even more heavily on Locke’s “Second Treatise of Government,” which Thomas Jefferson paraphrased at length in the Declaration of Independence. Yet today Locke seems to be falling out of fashion. Progressives have lost much of their interest in the Western canon; for some of them, the most significant thing about Locke is that he had a financial interest in the slave trade.

Conservatives are also turning against Locke. Two acclaimed 2018 books—“Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen and “The Virtue of Nationalism” by Yoram Hazony —assail Locke at length for being too disconnected from tradition and too focused on individual autonomy.

Claire Arcenas, a historian at the University of Montana, tells me Locke’s American interpreters have appealed to him for different purposes in different contexts. Locke wrote before the rise of modern capitalism, but some in the early 20th century presented Locke “as a kind of proto-socialist” because of his writings on labor. In the Cold War, conservatives emphasized Locke’s “commitments to private property” as evidence of his “proto-capitalist” views. In 2014, historian Michael Lind argued that 21st century Western populists are drawing without knowing it on Locke’s idea of popular sovereignty. Ms. Arcenas says “to think about who Locke is right now is probably different than who Locke was five years ago and who he will be in five years.”

It’s an indicator of how far Locke has faded from view that the discovery of an original Locke manuscript has so far gone without mention in the major press. “Imagine if you had the standard edition of Shakespeare ’s ‘Hamlet,’ ” Mr. Waldmann says, “and then Craig [Walmsley] goes out and finds a lost act to the play.” One reason for the quiet reception is that the free-market right that embraced Locke in the 20th century is beleaguered, and the leftward drift of mainstream culture has made critiques of Western society more prestigious than efforts to understand its foundations.

The manuscript’s journey from England to the U.S. 250 years after its composition, Mr. Waldmann says, is “symbolic of Locke’s reception in that era in the 20th century.” He was a giant of American liberal democracy standing against totalitarian rivals. Today he is metaphorically in exile. His literal exile from England lasted only six years—in 1689, after the Glorious Revolution, he returned to England on the same boat as Queen Mary. Perhaps this discovery of a piece of his thought heralds a similarly swift return in the American imagination.

Mr. Willick is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal.

Crafty_Dog

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Webster, 1787: Armed People
« Reply #1709 on: September 03, 2019, 09:40:45 AM »
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe." —Noah Webster (1787)

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Thomas Paine
« Reply #1710 on: September 12, 2019, 09:11:39 PM »
"When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary." —Thomas Paine (1776)

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Mason on British thought to disarm Americans
« Reply #1712 on: September 25, 2019, 12:10:57 PM »
"When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised ... to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually." —George Mason (1788)