On January 10, 1776 a pamphlet called "Common Sense" was anonymously published in Philadelphia. Written by Thomas Paine, it argued the reasons why the American colonists should govern themselves.
The time has arrived for "Common Sense II" and it has been written. For copies, write www.idaho-observer.com P.O. Box 457, Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869. Or call (208) 255-2307.
"The power under the Constitution will always be in the people." -George Washington
"If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself." -The Federalist, Essays by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
"I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance [as the framing of the Constitution] ...should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that beneficent Ruler in whom all inferior spirits live and move and have their being. -Benjamin Franklin
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." -Thomas Jefferson
America is based upon the world’s greatest success formula.
In 120 years, this formula allowed 6% of the human family to become the richest industrial nation on earth. They created more than half the world’s production and enjoyed the highest standard of living in history.
Americans became a generous people. No nation ever shared so much. Even when money was loaned to other countries, they often forgave the debt.
The Founders found no government giving its people freedom, prosperity and peace. So they invented one.
The American formula was restoration of what Jefferson called the “ancient principles”. Even so, it was difficult to fit into a constitution. They swept away centuries of bad government to formulate a new structure based upon principles of human freedom.
After several thousand years, the American charter of liberty, became the first successful attempt to build a whole civilization on the principles of freedom.
Many of the Founders described the result a “miracle”. They agreed it required a number of coinciding circumstances. A homogenous population, a common language, a common set of basic beliefs, a number of remarkable leaders. All of these together produced the miracle which became America.
Americans became the first free people in modern times.
After the first 120 years (1896) things began to change. Government became larger and freedom smaller. Perhaps life was too easy.
After the second 120 years (2016), the country is about to fail. And freedom to be lost.
At the moment of this writing, Donald Trump claims to understand the problem and insists he can fix it. What do you think? Can he do it? Quickly enough?
Government has 22 million employees, a budget of 3.8 trillion and owes 19.3 trillion.
People need a license to own a dog, drive a car, work, fish or hunt. Freedom?
Back to the Making
The Founders expected the Constitution to be strictly interpreted. They knew it would adapt itself to changing times.
It dispersed power among the people and put chains on the excessive ambition and frailties of human nature. The Founding Fathers were committed to building a civilization that could become a model for the rest of mankind.
Thomas Jefferson said, “ . . . even when government shall tend to degeneracy, do not despair, . . . the watchfulness of its sounder parts will reform its aberrations, recall it to original principles, and restrain it within the rightful limits of self government”.
America breathed hope into the restless and oppressed in Europe.
As the new country was beginning, people of all classes and nationalities were beginning to anticipate great possibilities in the new and exciting future of America.
One such person was the French judge and political writer, Alexis de Tocqueville. He had spent two years in America. In 1848, he said, “For 60 years, they have increased in opulence. It is found to have been, not only the most prosperous, but the most stable of all the nations on the earth.”
“ . . . the principles on which American constitutions rest, principles of order, of the balance of powers, of true liberty, of deep and sincere respect for right, are indispensable to all republics.”
William E. Gladstone, Prime Minster of England said, “It is the greatest piece of work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man”.
Responsibility of the People Under the American System.
Since the government was to be of the People, by the People and for the People, it will be up to the People to preserve it. It will be essential to be an “informed electorate.”
Nothing is more remarkable about the early leaders than the breadth of reading and depth of knowledge concerning the essential elements of sound nation building.
Why should we study the Founders’ success formula? Because our ship of state is far out to sea, being tossed about in stormy waters. They thought we had all the tools needed for success. They would be alarmed to see how many of those tools have been abandoned or seriously eroded.
The leap in modern technology is thrilling, but if humans get too far from basic cultural and spiritual moorings, our promising future could end badly.
We must regain our footing, and begin exporting our formula for freedom, prosperity and peace to the rest of the world. It is what the Founders expected of us.
Discovery of the Ancient Principles
Although Jefferson may have been the first to mention the Ancient Principles, many others were searching also. James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and others, were profound scholars and widely read. They all tried to put it together in the Constitution.
They all felt their challenge was to find some method of structuring government which could eliminate both anarchy and tyranny. Enough government to ensure order and justice, but not so much it would abuse the people.
They had to set up a system where there was enough government, but not too much.
The Founders knew they were pioneering new territory. In the past 99% of humans had lived under a Ruler’s Law.
More to come.