The Case for the Constitution and Republicanism


#1

There is a lot to say about what is and what is not Constitutional. While it should be cut and dry people inject their own beliefs into it all of the time. Our Constitution was written with the goal of creating a central government that would allow a union of states to exist. This is a short look at the world when the Constitution was written, the way it came to be written and why state and local government’s sovereignty need to be restored.

First lets start at the beginning. The Constitution was written because there were several issues between the states. Ironically, the Constitution was the first overreach of federal power. The states had sent representatives to amend the Articles of Confederation, not to write a new Constitution. Madison organized the convention and designed a plan to draw up a new Constitution. There were four main events/issues that led to the convention in the first place.

First was the printing of money. Many of the former colonies had begun paying debt off by printing money using (to borrow a phrase from recent policy) quantitative easing. This led to worthless money in many states. It also created a problem for veterans. Veterans of the revolution in Mass. had had enough. Shays rebellion, often hailed as evidence that the states needed a stronger central government, was the culmination of this issue. Governor James Bowdoin raised taxes to the point that many of the revolutionary war veterans could not pay. The war notes they had received as payment were worthless other than to prospectors who were buying them at 1/4 to 1/3 of the face value. Daniel Shays incited a revolt, organized a militia and attempted to take over the Springfield armory. This is important because they failed. Shays rebellion would be hailed as evidence that the states needed intervention from a more powerful federal government which actually wasn’t the case. The state government had put down the insurrection. This event however, would be used to court the one person, who’s support was likely to be required to call and ratify the Constitution, that would change the events of history; George Washington. General Knox (after whom fort knox was named) pleaded with Washington to attend the Convention. Washington was retired though and would not have anything to do with it until Knox, in a letter to Washington, presented the case of Daniel Shays and greatly exaggerated the number of his former troops that were involved in the result. Without that deception it is likely that the Convention never happens without the endorsement of General Washington.

Second was the issue of trade between the states. States with waterways passing through them were claiming the authority to place tarrifs on goods passing along the rivers and through the states themselves. (See the REAL meaning of the commerce clause)

Thirdly was concerns about a military. Having just come out of a war with the most powerful country on the planet, the states largely defunded the military.

Lastly was the trade with other nations. States were establishing treaties with countries back in Europe in order to pay off war debts. This combined with the inflationary printing and lack of hard currency was shovelng all of the debt onto some of the states. Because the Articles of Confederation did not authorize the central government to tax and therefore left the debts to individual states.

Ok. Have to get back to work, will come back and edit this post to complete it. Might have to correct a few things I have no notes with me and this is all from memory. Up to this point most of it (with the exception of Madison/Knox) is most likely a refresher from your history class. It is about to get interesting and I don’t want to get the next part wrong. I will try to provide links to letters/works and document the assertions I make because a lot of them are not taught anymore.

Mike


#2

Howard Roark! Must be a million years. Nice to ‘see your face’!