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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Patrick Henry may be right about the Constitution

Patrick Henry's influence on the American Revolution was enormous. A gifted, young and dynamic leader in Virginia, he rose the day after his 29th birthday to deliver his second most famous speech, "If this be treason, make the most of it!"

That speech on May 30, 1765, in Virginia's House of Burgess, opposed the Stamp Act, which was more than just a tax but a way of controlling what is written and therefore what is thought.



HENRY: “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell and George the Third — ."

(Crowd gasped, and someone yelled, "Treason!")

HENRY: “may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it."

Now we have corporations sponsoring renditions of "Julius Caesar" with President Trump in the title role.

Patrick Henry's most famous speech came a decade later on March 20, 1775.

HENRY: "Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

And he would, a dozen years later oppose the Constitution, which was signed and sent to the states to ratify on this date 230 years ago.

He refused to attend the constitutional convention fearing it would create a central government that would override the states. He also feared that the precious liberty he risked his life for would be consumed by this super state.

He spoke to the Virginia ratification convention on June 5, 1788:
I have thought, and still think, that a full investigation of the actual situation of America ought to precede any decision of this great and important question.
That Government is no more than a choice among evils, is acknowledged by the most intelligent among mankind, and has been a standing maxim for ages. If it be demonstrated that the adoption of the new plan is a little or a trifling evil, then, Sir, I acknowledge that adoption ought to follow.
But, Sir, if this be a truth that its adoption may entail misery on the free people of this country, I then insist that rejection ought to follow. 
Gentlemen strongly urge its adoption will be a mighty benefit to us.
But, Sir, I am made of such incredulous materials that assertions and declarations, do not satisfy me. I must be convinced, Sir. I shall retain my infidelity on that subject, till I see our liberties secured in a manner perfectly satisfactory to my understanding.
He wanted the Bill of Rights embedded in the document itself, and not added as an afterthought as amendments. Oh by the way, Congress cannot abridge the right to free speech.
Will the great rights of the people be secured by this Government? Suppose it should prove oppressive, how can it be altered? 
Our Bill of Rights declares, "That a majority of the community hath an undubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal." 
I have just proved that one tenth, or less, of the people of America, a most despicable minority may prevent this reform or alteration. Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their Government; can a majority of them do it? 
No, because they are connected with other men; or, in other words, consolidated with other States.
When the people of Virginia at a future day shall wish to alter their Government, though they should be unanimous in this desire, yet they may be prevented therefrom by a despicable minority at the extremity of the United States.
The founders of your own Constitution made your Government changeable. But the power of changing it is gone from you! Whither is it gone? It is placed in the same hands that hold the rights of twelve other States; and those who hold those rights have right and power to keep them.
It is not the particular Government of Virginia.
One of the leading features of that Government is, that a majority can alter it, when necessary for the public good. This Government is not a Virginian but an American government. Is it not therefore, a Consolidated Government?
This was his alternative.

His main objection was that he did not trust men to be altruistic.
This, Sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility --- and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves. 
He feared an imperial presidency, and Congress as well.
This Constitution is said to have beautiful features; but when I come to examine these features, Sir, they appear to me horribly frightful. Among other deformities, it has an awful squinting; it squints towards monarchy.
And does not this raise indignation in the breast of every American? Your President may easily become King: Your Senate is so imperfectly constructed that your dearest rights may be sacrificed by what may be a small minority; and a very small minority may continue forever unchangeably this Government, although horridly defective.
Where are your checks in this Government? Your strong holds will be in the hands of your enemies.
It is on a supposition that our American Governors shall be honest, that all the good qualities of this Government are founded.
But its defective, and imperfect construction, puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs, should they be bad men.
And, Sir, would not all the world, from the Eastern to the Western hemisphere, blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad. Shew me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty?
You now have a swamp in Washington.

Tell me Patrick Henry was wrong.

His final argument was Virginia would pay the freight
The fact is, Sir, that the eight adopting States can hardly stand on their own legs. Public fame tells us that the adopting States have already heart-burnings and animosity, and repent their precipitate hurry. 
This, Sir, may occasion exceeding great mischief. When I reflect on these and many other circumstances, I must think those States will be fond to be in confederacy with us. If we pay our quota of money annually, and furnish our ratable number of men, when necessary, I can see no danger from a rejection.
But Virginia adopted -- ratified -- the Constitution.

People say we strayed from the original intent of the Constitution. Judging by the accuracy of Patrick Henry's dire forecast, some may say this was the intent all along.

Depends on if we drain this swamp.

***

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15 comments:

  1. It does not matter how carefully any constitution is written. Sooner or later evil men and women will take power, simply ignore what the law says, and do whatever they please.

    Beware any politician, religious leader, or business executive who wants power to "make the world a better place". All too often they are pushing a lunatic Utopian scheme that eventually sees the opposition as enemies to be liquidated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is what utopians do, as they are blind to themselves.

      Delete
  2. The Civil War destroyed more than the South. The 18th Amendment remived the main check on Federal power: the States. The entire Senate was intended to represent the state governments. Today, it's just the House of Representatives with the filibuster.

    The states are nowhere represented in our federal government. No wonder the Constitution failed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 17th Amendment that elected senators by the people instead of the legislatures was approved in 1913. And yes that needs to be revoked.

      Delete
    2. 17th Amendment that elected senators by the people instead of the legislatures was approved in 1913. And yes that needs to be revoked.

      Delete
    3. 1913 was a black year for the United States.

      The 17th Amendment removed the States from power in the Senate; the 16th Amendment was passed which established income taxes; and the Federal Reserve Bank was created in order to spin money out of nothing.

      The Federal Reserve Bank is of course not Federal, but private; it's not a reserve, nor is it a bank. It is certainly powerful though, and has never been fully audited by an outside agency since its creation.

      Our currency today has lost about 95% of its value since 1913, or you could say that today's dollar is worth less than a nickel compared to a pre-1913 dollar; thank the Federal Reserve Bank for this.

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    4. It's not too late to reverse course on all three of these travesties, but Congress either lacks the will, the desire, or the knowledge to see that it needs to be done. As far as I'm concerned, the gold standard worked pretty well, especially when backed up by silver. Real money with real value. Worldwide. - Elric

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    5. Amr, thank you. I suck at typing on glass.

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  3. Henry's second most famous speech, "If this be treason, make the most of it!"

    Not to be confused with Obama: "If this be treason, make me a sandwich."

    ReplyDelete
  4. If Trump is as at least one on this thread implies and if we are truly past all hope, then why fight Trump?

    So, the UniParty is the protector of the Constituon?

    Really?

    Why did Trump throw DACA back to Congress?

    This is not vectored towards Suber, but the replies since the post!

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  5. So, what is being said here is we really need a national (Federal) Government Department called the Bureau of Sabotage with Jorj X. McKie, or a guy just like him, as an agent, to keep the members of government 'honest'.

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  6. Certainly Henry was right. If, for example, marriage can be re-defined 150 years later based on the Reconstruction Amendments by 5 hacks on the Court, there really is no Constitution. Or a One-Man Treaty with our sworn enemy, a Pre-Emptive Unconditional Surrender at that. The Constitution are just words on paper to them. They only read it to figure out how to subvert it.

    Even Virginia has a Clinton Toady for a governor, only because all the Perma-Blob workers reside and vote there.

    That's why we gave 'em Trump--but that's only the beginning of our work. This is the fight of our lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump: our last best hope. If he falters, we're truly done for.

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  7. Henry was concerned about an imperialistic president or Congress but he over looked the problems we are experiencing from an imperialistic judiciary.
    We need to consider Richard III "The first thing we should do is kill all the" judges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you want to fix the REAL problem, the first thing we need to do is kill all the pigs. The "judges" and the rest of the One World Government crowd stand behind their Blue Wall and laugh, for they know full well their Only Ones will do WHATEVER they are told, as long as that paycheck keeps comin' in.

      Nothing will change for the better until enough dead pig corpses are stacked in the streets.

      Delete