Founding Fathers Feared Tyranny By The Majority

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. In other words, the Founding Fathers thought they had designed a Constitution that would have totally protected the country from Obama's socialist wealth redistribution, wacky enviro policies, bailouts, etc.


    WILLIAMS: Democracy and majority rule?
    Constitutional barriers to tyranny by another name
    By Walter E. Williams | Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Democracy and majority rule give an aura of legitimacy to acts that otherwise would be deemed tyranny. Think about it. How many decisions in our day-to-day lives would we like to have made through majority rule or the democratic process? How about the decision whether you should watch a football game on television or "Law & Order"?

    What about whether you drive a Chevrolet or a Ford, or whether your Easter dinner was turkey or ham? Were such decisions made in the political arena, most of us would deem it tyranny. Why isn't it also tyranny for the democratic process to mandate what type of light bulbs we use, how many gallons of water it takes to flush toilets or whether money should be taken out of our paychecks for retirement?

    The Founders of our nation held a deep abhorrence for democracy and majority rule. In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wrote, "Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority." John Adams predicted, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Our Founders intended for us to have a republican form of limited government in which the protection of individual God-given rights was the primary job of government.

    Alert to the dangers of majoritarian tyranny, the Constitution's Framers inserted several anti-majority rules. One such rule is that the election of the president is not decided by a majority vote but instead by the Electoral College. Nine states have more than 50 percent of the U.S. population. If a simple majority were the rule, these nine states conceivably could determine the presidency. Fortunately, they can't because they have just 225 Electoral College votes; 270 of the 538 total are needed. Were it not for the Electoral College, which some politicians say is antiquated and should be abolished, presidential candidates could safely ignore the less populous states.

    Part of the reason our Founders created two houses of Congress was to have another obstacle to majority rule. Fifty-one senators can block the designs of 435 representatives and 49 senators. The Constitution gives the president veto to weaken the power of 535 members of both houses of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses to override a presidential veto.

    To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses to propose an amendment, and to be enacted requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. The Constitution's Article V empowers two-thirds of state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention to propose amendments that become law when ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures.

    I used to favor this option as a way to enact a spending-limitation amendment to the Constitution but have since reconsidered.Unlike the men of high stature who attended the 1787 convention, including James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Adams, today's attendees would be moral midgets: the likes of Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    In addition to an abhorrence of democracy, and the recognition that government posed the gravest threat to liberty, our Founders harbored a deep distrust and suspicion of Congress. That suspicion and distrust is exemplified by the phraseology used throughout the Constitution, particularly our Bill of Rights, such as that Congress shall not: abridge, infringe, deny, disparage or violate. Today's Americans think Congress has the constitutional authority to do anything upon which it can get a majority vote.

    We think whether a particular measure is a good idea or bad idea should determine passage, as opposed to whether that measure lies within the enumerated powers granted to Congress by the Constitution. Unfortunately for the future of our nation, Congress has successfully exploited American constitutional ignorance or contempt.

    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University and is a nationally syndicated columnist.
  2. Don't embarass yourself. Men of "high stature"?

    Hamilton wanted "certain favors" from a MARRIED woman in exchange for financial support (that woman and her husband later blackmailed hamilton)

    Jefferson in his discussion of liberty helped himself to a slave girl and had a child by her

    Washington married a rich widow.

    That is just off the top of my head. I could conceivably find more dirt if necessary.

    Founding fathers were far from saints and their motives were in many cases dubious or perhaps self serving. It is claimed by some that part of the reason why they wanted to overthrow english rule was because england would not allow colonists to develop certain land (I think it was west of ohio river) because of problems with indians.
  3. Do yourself a favor and find out some of the sufferings the early founders went through to forge this country. Then compare them to the gutless wonders who direct this country today. I bet if you really knew what was going on behind the scenes the miscreants of today couldn't hold a candle to them.
  4. LoL. any specifics?

    Here is the low down:

    Jefferson wanted an agrarian powerhouse of independent farmers (a pipe dream)

    Hamilton wanted a "great power" (i.e an empire by other name)
  5. Specifics:

    Carter Braxton, Virginia

    Thomas McKean, Delaware

    Thomas Nelson Jr., Virginia

    Francis Lewis, New York

    John Hart, New Jersey
  6. If America is to tyrannical, why are so many people around the world trying to come to and live in America?
  7. dsq


    Oh yeah,the only redistribution of wealth in the last 30 yrs that has happened is from the poor to the wealthy.
    This redistribution of wealth argument from the rich to lesser people is the other deluded absurdity that joe-not-a-plumber and t baggers shill for wall st and against their own interests.
    Dumb as it gets but these are very dumb people.Protesting against a tax cut they will receive.

    Again not 1 right winger here has answered my question about why are these protestors screaming about increased taxes when they are getting a tax cut?Why?
  8. There are lots leaving too.
  9. More are coming in than leaving, and more want to come in than are leaving.

    Let those who are leaving find someplace they think is better...

  10. fhl


    A certain amount of people will go anywhere they can get free handouts.

    Let's ask the question a different way. What if the tyrannical majority, most of who won't give one damn dollar to charity, didn't require the oppressed minority to provide those handouts to people waltzing into the country?
    #10     Apr 18, 2009