Posts Tagged ‘Founders’

The Founders & Constitutional Restraint

September 19th, 2011 1 comment

Because our Founding Fathers shared a biblical understanding of human nature, they were well aware of the sinful tendencies resident in fallen human beings and made every effort to protect themselves from the tyranny and oppression which inevitably result. In The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton cautioned his readers to never forget that men are “ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious.” Because of this governments are instituted because “the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without restraint.” In fact, he observes that “momentary passions and immediate interest” often guide the decisions of our leaders rather than what is truly in the best interest of the people.

Thomas Jefferson added that “…it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights…”

Jefferson understood that even the best of men will not always do what is right when placed in a position of power. Therefore, he cautions us not to place our ultimate confidence in fallen, human beings.

This is why our Founding Fathers developed a written Constitution. Jefferson further explains:

“…it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited Constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which no further our confidence should go…In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

We must elect those who honor, respect and submit to our Constitution as a necessary “chain” on the selfish tendencies found in even the best of our leaders.