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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Making of a Nation

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify."(1)

"Probably the greatest exposition of the Constitution, The Federalist was written mainly to persuade New Yorkers of the desirability of supporting and ratifying the Constitution. It was published first as a series of newspaper articles and then as a book. The articles were unsigned, but Alexander Hamilton wrote many of them, James Madison several, and John Jay a few. Though the articles were written under the press of circumstances, they have remained as one of the highest achievements in political thinking ever composed."(2)

Note: Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was born illegitimately in the British West Indies (now the Virgin Islands) and arrived in the mainland colonies in 1772. He was a trusted aide to General George Washington for much of the Revolutionary War and became Treasury secretary under Washington. A New Yorker, he was one of the founders of the Federalist Party, with whose principles Washington was in sympathy.

James Madison (1751-1836) is sometimes called the "father of the Constitution." He was the fourth president of the U. S. (1809-1817), secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson, and served in the U. S. House of Representatives, 1789-1797. He was the leader in winning Virginia's ratification (89 to 79) of the Constitution and later pushed the Bill of Rights through Congress. Along with Jefferson, Madison shaped the Republican Party (forerunner of today's Democratic Party) and became an outstanding spokesman for strict construction of the Constitution. Five feet, four inches in height, he studied theology earlier and may have intended to become a clergyman.

John Jay (1745-1829) was a leader in getting the Constitution ratified in New York (30 to 27) and was named the first chief justice of the United States. He later served as governor of New York.


(1) Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 33, 3 January 1788)

(2) Clarence B. Carson, A Basic History of the United States, Volume 2 (Wadley, Alabama: American Textbook Committee, 1984), page 103.


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