Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Debates in the Several State Conventions, Connecticut, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution....

"Mr. President, I do not expect to throw any new light on a subject which has been so fully discussed. Yet I cannot content myself without giving my opinion more explicitly than by a silent vote. It is generally agreed that the present Confederation is inadequate to the exigencies of our national affairs. We must therefore adopt this plan of government, or some other, or risk the consequences of disunion. As the present Articles of Confederation are inadequate, we ought to consider whether this Constitution be as good as can be agreed on by so many different states, or whether it be a dangerous system; whether it secures the liberties of the people, or whether its tendency be unfavorable to the rights of a free people. I have given it all the consideration in my power, and I have, a considerable time since, made up my mind on the subject, and think it my duty to give my voice in favor of adopting it. It is founded upon the election of the people. If it varies kern the former system, or if it is to be altered hereafter, it must be with the consent of the people. This is all the security in favor of liberty that can be expected. Mankind may become corrupt, and give up the cause of freedom; but I believe that love of liberty which prevails among the people of this country will prevent such a direful calamity.
"The Constitution effectually secures the states in their several rights. It must secure them for its own sake; for they are the pillars which uphold the general system. The Senate, a constituent branch of the general legislature, without whose assent no public act can be made, are appointed by the states, and will secure the rights of the several states. The other branch of the legislature, the Representatives, are to be elected by the people at large. They will therefore be the guardians of the rights of the great body of the citizens. So well guarded is this Constitution throughout, that it seems impossible that the rights either of the states or of the people should be destroyed.
"I do not see the necessity of such a test as some gentlemen wish for. The Constitution enjoins an oath upon all the officers of the United States. This is a direct appeal to that God who is the avenger of perjury. Such an appeal to him is a full acknowledgment of his being and providence. An acknowledgment of these great truths is all that the gentleman contends for. For myself, I should be content either with or without that clause in the Constitution which excludes test laws. Knowledge and liberty are so prevalent in this country, that I do not believe that the United States would ever be disposed to establish one religious sect, and lay all others under legal disabilities. But as we know not what may take place hereafter, and any such test would be exceedingly injurious to the rights of free citizens, I cannot think it altogether superfluous to have added a clause, which secures us from the possibility of such oppression. I shall only add, that I give my assent to this Constitution, and am happy to see the states in a fair way to adopt a Constitution which will protect their rights and promote their welfare."
- Hon. Oliver Wolcott, Jan. 9, 1788, [Elliot's Debates, Volume 2]
Well, what do you think? Are our Rights secure? Have our 'representatives' been good guardians
of our rights? Bet you can guess what my answer is to those questions......


Jay said...

The Constitution is nice and all, but isn't the ultimate guardian of our rights the United Nations?

Oh, it isn't? Then why are members of are Supreme Court deferring to International Law in our Constitutional cases?

Why do members of our Congress call on the UN to punish President Bush as a war criminal?

Jay said...

And isn't your clip from the Hon. Oliver Wolcott unconstitutional simply because it mentions God, and not as part of a swear word?

Will this country ever wake up?

E. David Quammen said...

Tell me about it bud.

It is amazing how We The People have let the foul ones take away so much truth out of our governmental system.