The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favoured with an opportunity of deliberating upon, and choosing the forms of government under which they should live. All other constitutions have derived their existence from violence or accidental circumstances, and are therefore probably more distant from their perfection.
American Revolution(2) Inspired. We consider that the men in the Revolution were inspired, by the Almighty, to throw off the shackles of the mother government, with her established religion. For this cause were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, and a host of others inspired to deeds of resistance to the acts of the King of Great Britain, who might also have been led to those aggressive acts, for aught we know, to bring to pass the purposes of God, in thus establishing a new government upon a principle of greater freedom, a basis of self government allowing the free exercise of religious worship.
It was the voice of the Lord inspiring all those worthy men who bore influence in those trying times, not only to go forth in battle, but to exercise wisdom in council, fortitude, courage, and endurance in the tented field, as well as subsequently to form and adopt those wise and efficient measures which secured to themselves and succeeding generations, the blessing of a free and independent government.
This government, so formed, has been blessed by the Almighty until she spreads her sails in every sea, and her power is felt in every land. (President Brigham Young, 1855, JD-2:170)
Founders Not Political Tyros. Moses was no more prepared by the training and experience gained in the Court of Pharaoh for his great service of leading Israel from the bondage of Egypt, [p. 70] than were the framers of the Constitution prepared by training and experience for their work of providing a form of government that would secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, as they proclaimed to the world in the classic Preamble to the Constitution . . . .
This was a choice lot of men.(3) . . .
The framers were not political tyros flying a political kite to keep in order the henyard, that is, the colonists. They were men widely experienced in affairs of government . . . .
The Constitution was not the work of cloistered, fanatical theorists, but of sober, seasoned, distinguished men of affairs, drawn from various walks of life. They included students of wide reading and great learning in all matters of government . . . .
The Constitution was born, not only of the wisdom and experience of the generation that wrought it, but also out of the wisdom of the long generations that had gone before and which had been transmitted to them through tradition and the pages of history . . . .
These were the horse and buggy days as they have been called in derision; these were the men who travelled in the horsedrawn buggies and on horseback; but these were the men who carried under their hats, as they rode in the buggies and on their horses, a political wisdom garnered from the ages. As giants to pygmies are they when placed alongside our political emigres and their fellow travelers of today, who now traduce them with slighting word and contemptuous phrase.
Moses, the great Lawgiver, seemingly travelled on foot; so travelled the intellectual giants of Greece and Rome, or by horse or chariot; Christ, on foot or by donkey; and so Peter and Paul, though possibly by chariot sometimes; so with all the great ones of early modern timesNapoleon, Peter the Great, the Iron Duke, and scores of others. Intellectual power, wisdom, spiritual greatness, inspiration, vision, have never depended upon nor been proportionate to, speed in transportation . . . . [p. 71]
But I declare to you, for what it may be worth, that it [the Constitution] is what Gladstone said it was, the greatest document ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man, a document which, according to my belief, the Lord himself suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles, established by the hands of wise men whom the Lord raised up for that purpose; and as the Lord said, this land was redeemed by the shedding of blood. I say to you that the price of liberty is and always has been blood, human blood, and if our liberties are lost, we shall never regain them except at the price of blood. They must not be lost!
The proudest boast of a citizen of ancient Rome was, I am a Roman. The proudest boast of any patriotic citizen of this free country of ours should be, I am an American. God grant this boast may ever be ours. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-11/ 29/52)
The Constitutional Convention. The Constitutional Convention was in fact a revolutionary body composed of representatives of the people. Neither the Constitutional Convention nor its work had any legal and official political sanction until it was adopted by the representatives of the people . . . .
The record of their work gives early evidence that the leaders were consciously abandoning the idea of amending the articles of Confederation. They were striking out along new lines.
They also gave up following the British Government as a model. Randolph declared: . . . the fixt genius of the people of America required a different form of Government. (Farrand, The Records of the Federal Convention, Vol. I, p. 66)
Furthermore, they found no ancient or modern system that they might take as a blueprint for their work. Madison said: . . . as it was more than probable we were now divesting a plan which in its operation wd. decide forever the fate of Republican Govt. we ought not only to provide every guard to liberty that its preservation cd. require, but be equally careful to supply the defects which our own experience had particularly pointed out. (Documentary History of the Constitution of the United States of America, 1786- 1870, Vol. III, p. 216.)
In the same strain, Franklin called the attention of the Framers to their situation in these words: We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And [p. 72] we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances. (Farrand, Vol. I, p. 451.)
Nevertheless, it is clear that, learned as they were in political history and in matters of world-wide politics, they exhausted the lessons of history and of their own experience, which was of a considerable nature for they came, as it were, from twelve different countriesin an effort to find the best which their learning, experience, and wisdom could furnish . . . .
It will be recalled, as already pointed out, that the resolution of the Continental Congress in expressing its opinion of the expediency of the proposed Constitutional Convention to be held in Philadelphia, explicitly stated that it was for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union. (Farrand, Vol. III, pp. 13- 14)
As a matter of fact, the Convention fully and completely ignored these instructions, both in the preparation of the Constitution and in its suggestions as to the method of its submission to the people. The Articles of Confederation were completely abandoned. The Congress, upon receiving the document, did not agree to the Constitution as they had provided, indeed it completely abandoned the Articles of Confederation. It passed the Constitution to the States to be acted upon, not by the State Legislatures (as stipulated by the Continental Congress), but by conventions specially called for its consideration and adoption. Congress became a mere messenger boy to get the Constitution to the people. (The United States, Its Beginnings, Progress and Modern Development, Edwin Wiley and Irving E. Rines, ed. 1912, Vol. IV, pp. 1-30.)
Again we may state that in simple fact, and in legal concept and effect the Constitutional Convention was a revolutionary body, the outgrowth of a bloodless political revolution. The governmental system set up was a revolutionary government, completely dissimilar from that under the Articles of Confederation. We went through two revolutionsin the first, we won our political independence from Britain; in the second, we planned and established a system of government, a blueprint for which was not found in the entire history of the world. (J. Reuben Clark, 5/29/57) [p. 73]
An Inspired Instrument.(4) From my childhood days I have understood that we believe absolutely that the Constitution of our country is an inspired instrument, and that God directed those who created it and those who defended the independence of this nation. Concerning this matter it is my frequent pleasure to quote the statement by Joseph Smith, regarding the Constitution:
The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is, to all those who are privileged with the sweets of liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a weary and thirsty land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun. (DHC-3:304)
And such the Constitution of the United States must be to every faithful Latter-day Saint who lives under its protection.
We honor the man that God honors. We honor Abraham Lincoln because we believe absolutely that God honored him and raised him up to be the instrument in His hands of saving the Constitution and the Union. (President Heber J. Grant, 1940, E-43:127)
The laws and constitution of the people . . . I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (Revelation to Prophet Joseph Smith, 1833, D&C 101:77-80)
I want to raise my voice to you and say, our Heavenly Father raised up the very men that framed the Constitution of the United States. He said He did. He gave to us the greatest Palladian of human rights that the world knows anything about, the only system whereby people could worship God according [p. 74] to the dictates of their consciences without, in any way, being molested when the law, itself, was in effect . . . . Yet, we have people who would like to change that and bring some of those forms of government that have failed absolutely to make peace and happiness and comfort any other place in the world, and exchange what God has given to usthe fullness of the earth and the riches of liberty and happiness. Yet, there are those who go around whispering and talking and saying, Let us change this thing.
I am saying to you that to me the Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments. When that is my feeling, I am not going to go very far away from the Constitution, and I am going to try to keep it where the Lord started it,(5) and not let anti-Christs come into this country that began because people wanted to serve God. (President George Albert Smith, CR-4/ 48:182)
To me, that statement of the Lord, I have established the Constitution of this land, puts the Constitution of the United States in the position in which it would be if it were written in this book of Doctrine and Covenants itself. This makes the Constitution the word of the Lord to us. That it was given, not by oral utterance, but by the operation of his mind and spirit upon the minds of men, inspiring them to the working out of this great document of human government, does not alter its authority . . . . (J. Reuben Clark, CR- 4/35:93)
A God Inspired Foundation. The General Constitution of our country is good, and a wholesome government could be framed upon it, for it was dictated by the invisible operations of the Almighty . . . .
Gods purpose, in raising up these men and inspiring them with daring sufficient to surmount every opposing power, was to prepare the way for the formation of a true Republican government. They laid its foundation; but when others came to build upon it, they reared a superstructure far short of their privileges, if they had walked uprightly as they should have done . . . .
The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution were inspired from on high to do [p. 75] that work. But was that which was given to them perfect, not admitting of any addition whatever? No; for if men know anything, they must know that the Almighty has never yet found a man in mortality that was capable, at the first intimation, at the first impulse, to receive anything in a state of entire perfection.(6) They laid the foundation, and it was for after generations to rear the superstructure upon it. It is a progressivea gradual work. If the framers of the Constitution and the inhabitants of the United States had walked humbly before God, who defended them and fought their battles when Washington was on the stage of action, the nation would now have been free from a multitude of place- hunters who live upon its vitals . . . . (President Brigham Young, 1854, JD-7:13-15)
The Basic Law of Zion. The Constitution of the United States is the basic law for all of the Americas, of Zion, as it has been defined by the Lord.
You brethren from Canada know that your great British North America Act, in its fundamental principles, is based upon our Constitution, and you know that in the courts of Canada, the reports of our Supreme Court, and our Federal courts generally, are just as persuasive as the decisions of the courts of England, and even more so, where questions of constitutional law and constitutional interpretation are involved.
You brethren also know that from the Rio Grande down to the Horn there is no constitutional government except those that are founded primarily upon our Constitution. In Mexico the revolutionary party which more than a century and a quarter ago rebelled against the king of Spain and established a republic, copied almost verbatim, and practically overnight, our Constitution, and made it their own. Neither Mexico nor the others of the South interpret their Constitutions as we interpret ours. They have different standards and different canons of interpretation, for their fundamental system is the civil law, while ours is the common law. But the great essentials of that document, the Constitution of the United States, which God Himself inspired, is the law of Zion, the Americas.
So, Brethren, I wish you to understand that when we begin to tamper with the Constitution we begin to tamper with [p. 76] the law of Zion which God Himself set up, and no one may trifle with the word of God with impunity. (J. Reuben Clark, CR-10/42:58-59)
Inspired Constitution Can Be Maladministered. We have no fault to find with our government. We deem it the best in the world. But we have reason to deplore its maladministration, and I call upon our legislators, our governors and president to pause in their career and not to tamper with the rights and liberties of American citizens, nor wantonly tear down the bulwarks of American and human liberty.(7) (President John Taylor, 1882, JD-23:53, 65)
Constitution Properly Administered Blesses All. The longer I live, and the more acquainted I am with men and things, the more I realize that these movements, and particularly that instrument called the Constitution of American Liberty, was certainly dictated by the spirit of wisdom, by a spirit of unparalleled liberality, and by a spirit of political utility. And if that Constitution be carried out by a just and wise administration, it is calculated to benefit not only all the people that are born under its particular jurisdiction, but all the people of the earth, of whatever nation, kindred, tongue, religion, or tradition, that may seek to take a shelter under its banner. (Parley P. Pratt, 1853, JD-I: 138)
Civil Law and Common Law Systems. As of the time of the writing of the Constitution, there were two great systems of law in the worldthe Civil Law (the law of continental Europe) and the Common Law (the law of England and her colonies, including the 13 American Colonies).
Briefly, and stated in general terms, the basic concept of these two systems was as opposite as the polesin the Civil Law the source of all law is the personal ruler; whether prince, king, or emperorhe is sovereign. In the Common Law, certainly as finally developed in America, the source of all law is the people; they, as a whole, are sovereign.
During the centuries, these two systems have had an almost deadly rivalry for the control of society, the Civil Law, and its fundamental concepts being the instrument through which ambitious men of genius and selfishness have set up and maintained despotisms; the Common Law, with its basic principles, being [p. 77] the instrument through which men of equal genius, but with the love of mankind burning in their souls, have established and preserved liberty and free institutions. The Constitution of the United States embodies the loftiest concepts yet framed of this exalted concept. Because of these different concepts and the presence and reaction amongst us today of the Civil Law concepts, I wish in very general terms, to contrast some of the characteristics of these two systems.
The Civil Law was developed by Rome, with a high genius not since excelled. Its provisions reached deep into the elemental factors that weld men into nations. Rome was called the Mistress of the World, and in the realm of law she retains, today, among the bulk of civilized peoples, that proud position . . . .
We should understand that everything connected with the Emperor was divine or sacredthere was the sacred imperial palace, the sacred imperial bedchamber, the sacred imperial wardrobe, the sacred laws, etc. The government was an absolute autocracy, the state was thoroughly militarized, the Emperor in supreme command. The Emperor was the sole source of law . . . .
It is interesting to note that these laws, proclaimed over 1,500 years ago, had provisions covering such so-called modern concepts, which our emigres and fellow travellers would have us believe are new inventions, price fixing, black markets, excessive taxation, socialized medicine, conscription of labor, anti-Semitism, inflation, corruption in government bureaus, the relationship between Church and Stateall phrases familiar to our ears. Under these laws, The entire population was organized as in one vast army. All, including the highest officials, were strictly classified, and even the least had a station. In substance this meant that everyone did what he was told, and did not act without permission. There was a great body of secret police to report disobedience; there was a special secret police appointed to watch the ordinary secret police. These laws were framed to provide security.
We of today have heard that same kind of security talk. But, in fact, all this bred not security, but scarcity of grain, of materials, of men. The mere making of laws, even in an absolute despotism, does not change the great laws of nature and economicsneither then nor now, for there can be no permanent stability where men are not free. In fewer than 40 years from the issuance of the Theodosian Code (i.e., 476 A.D.) the Empire of the West fell, notwithstanding the operation, under complete autocratic powers, of economic devices enacted to promote the welfare of the people and to preserve the empire; some of these devices were the same ones that we have been told will rebuild [p. 78] our economic structure and preserve our free institutions. These devices failed with Rome; they will ultimately fail with us . . . .
The people under this system have those rights, powers, and privileges, and those only which the sovereign considers are for their good or for his advantage. He adds or takes away as suits his royal pleasure. All the residuum of power is in the Emperor. Under this system, the people look into the law to see what they may do. They may only do what the Emperor has declared they may do. It may be noted in passing, that under our common law system, we look into the law to see what we may not do, for we may do everything we are not forbidden to do.
This civil law concept explains why, over the centuries, it has been possible for the head of a state, operating under this concept, to establish with comparative ease a dictatorship.
We must always remember that despotism and tyranny, with all their attendant tragedies to the people, as in Russia today, come to nations because one man, or a small group of men, seize and exercise by themselves the three great divisions of government,the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. For now a score of centuries, the nations and peoples of Western and Southern Europethe bulk of the civilized world until less than two centuries agohave lived under this concept (sometimes more, sometimes less) and, when the concept has been operative, have suffered the resulting tragediesloss of liberty, oppression, great poverty among the masses, insecurity, wanton disregard of human life, and a host of the relatives of these evil broods.
The framers of our Constitution knew this history, and planned to make sure that these enemies to human welfare, freedom, and happiness did not come to America. They were trained and experienced in the Common Law. They remembered the Barons and King John at Runnymede. They were thoroughly indoctrinated in the principle that the true sovereignty rested in the people.
Near the beginning of our Revolution, the representatives of the people met in Philadelphia and issued their great proclamation, the Declaration of Independence. They solemnly announced: [See P. 519 for full text.]
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty [p. 79] and the pursuit of Happiness.(8) That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed . . . . And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
They made good the pledge to the last great sacrifice, and independence was won. The representatives of the people were then speaking, and they spoke the things that were in their hearts, for which they were ready to die, and did die. No Emperor ever spoke in these terms. To have done so, would have been his suicide.
Twelve years after the Declaration, spurred by dissensions among the colonies which threatened civil disturbances that would have invited reconquest, the representatives of the people again met in Philadelphia in the same hall and framed the Constitution. The preamble to that inspired document laid down the great purposes to accomplish which the new government was set up. It declared:
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America. [See P. 524 for full text of Constitution.]
Here the people were speaking as sovereign, not an Emperor, nor a small, self- appointed group assuming to be sovereign. The people declared they were so acting and did so act by adopting the Constitution. They formally declared: We the people . . . do ordain and establish. This is the difference between liberty and despotism.
Deeply read in history, steeped in the lore of the past in human government, and experienced in the approaches of despotism which they had, themselves, suffered at the hands of George the Third, these patriots, assembled in solemn convention, planned for the establishment of a government that would ensure to them the blessings they described in the Preamble. [p. 80] The people were setting up the government. They were bestowing power. They gave to the government the powers they wished to give; they retained what they did not wish to give. The residuum of power was in them . . . .
Separation of Powers. The Framers, in the Government they provided for, separated the three functions of government, and set each of them up as a separate branchthe legislative, the executive and the judicial. Each was wholly independent of the other. No one of them might encroach upon the other.(9) No one of them might delegate its power to another.(10)
Yet by the Constitution, the different branches were bound together, unified into an efficient, operating whole. These branches stood together, supported one another. While severally independent, they were at the same time, mutually dependent. It is this union of independence and dependence of these brancheslegislative, executive and judicialand of the governmental functions possessed by each of them, that constitutes the marvelous genius of this unrivalled document. The Framers had no direct guide in this work, no historical governmental precedent upon which to rely. As I see it, it was here that the divine inspiration came. It was truly a miracle.
The people, not an Emperor or a small group, were to make the laws through their representatives chosen by them. To make sure the representatives did not get out of hand,(11) they were elected for short terms of office. The people could, at short [p. 81] intervals, displace unsatisfactory representatives and elect others to take their places. The will of the people, not the will of an Emperor, was to control.
Furthermore, the people specified in the great document, the matters about which their representatives could make laws. The sovereign power was in the people, and the legislative branch could go only so far as they authorized.(12) They lodged in the Congress the sole power to make laws about the matters they entrusted to them, and none others. This is basic, elemental. There is a tendency to overlook it. [See Article I, Sec. 1, of Constitution on P. 524.]
As already stated, the whole residuum of legislative power rested in the sovereign people, and the Congress could not enter that reserved domain without express authorization from the people. This is the principle that operates to declare a law un constitutional. We, the people, have all this power in our hands, if we but exercise it . . . .
The Convention (Washington was its president) provided for the election by the people of their chief executivea Presidentfor a limited term. Under the influence of Washingtons lofty patriotism, they failed to think it necessary to provide limitations upon re-election. But, mindful of the lessons of history, the Convention, representing the people, bestowed upon their President certain specific powers, only. He had none they did not bestow. They bestowed upon the chief executive all the executive powers they gave to anybody. Here, also, all the residuum executive powers were retained by the sovereign people. If the executive is lawfully to exercise any further powers, these powers must be bestowed by the people. The President is not a sovereign emperor, yet in the executive department is lodged all the executive power, which, by the Constitution, the people gave up to government.
As a check upon the legislative branch, the people, under the Constitution, gave the chief executive certain limited legislative functions; he reports the needs of the country to Congress, he can recommend legislation, he can veto bills of Congress, but Congress can pass these bills over his veto.
That the President might not acquire too much power in his executing of the laws, the people imposed certain limitations upon his powers of appointment to office by providing that [p. 82] the Senate must advise and consent to certain of the more important appointments.
To the same point of further checking the executive power, in legislative matters, the people provided, through their representatives at the Convention, certain restrictions to his conduct of foreign affairs, by providing that treaties must be ratified by the Senate. Moreover, our diplomatic representatives can be properly appointed only by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Thus, while the President is given certain powers with respect to the enactment of legislation, the Congress is given certain powers with respect to the administration of the government. These arrangements are sometimes spoken of as checks and balances, and if they are observed, they prevent any encroachment by one branch of the government against another,(13) or upon the rights and privileges which the people reserve to themselves.
The people, through their representatives at the Convention, provided for a judiciary which was to judge the laws, to determine, first, whether the laws were in agreement with or in derogation of the powers conferred upon the federal government, and, second, to determine the respective rights of litigants under the law. All the judicial powers of the government were to be exercised by the courts.
Here, also, safeguards were provided. The President nominates the various judicial officers, but the Senate must advise and consent to their appointment. The legislative branch and the executive branch cooperate in the setting up of the judiciary, which, however, once created, acts independently of either of the others.
There is no provision in the Constitution giving general authority to either branch to function in the field of the other, except as specifically provided; nor is either branch (except as specifically provided otherwise) to delegate any of its powers to the other. These two principles are elemental. So long as these principles are observed, our liberties and our free institutions are secure, and no despotism can be set up amongst us. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-11/29/52) [p. 83]
Officers Bound By Constitution. In our government, whether in a National, State or Territorial form, all officers, of every grade, are requested to take a solemn oath to sustain and maintain the constitution of the United States, and of the State . . . as the case may be. If these things are not a fiction all these officers and authorities throughout the land in every department . . . are as much bound by their obligations and oaths as the people are bound to be subject to all constitutional laws, and the people are not one whit more bound to the observance of the law than these men are bound to the observance of the sacred and solemn covenants which they have entered into.(14)
And if the people have given up to governors, legislatures, the judiciary and to the officers of the law certain powers, rights and privileges, this authority coming of or from the people, it is expected that they shall act for and in the interests of the people; and furthermore, that while they possess those rights ceded to them by the people, whatever is not thus ceded and placed in the hands of their rulers is emphatically stated to be reserved to the several States or to the people . . . . (15) (16)
It must be understood here in matters pertaining to our government, that no charters or grants of any kind can be given by any parties, in excess of the rights which they themselves possess, and that the same obligations which vest in regard to [p. 84] constitutional rights and guarantees must be observed in all those municipal regulations by the recipients as of the grantees of those charters. (President John Taylor, 1884, JD-26:348-9)
Sovereignty Rests in People. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments in words declared: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. That is to say, the rights enumerated in the Constitution and the first ten Amendments were not the sum of the rights possessed by the people. The total residuum of power, the sovereignty, rested in the people, not in the government nor in its officers. This marked the fundamental difference between this Anglo-Saxon Constitution and the government set up under it, and the Justinian and Napoleonic codes and the governments set up under them.
With us, the government possesses only those powers we specifically give to it; we the people, the sovereign, possess all else. With them, the people have only the rights given by the Emperor and specified in the codes,the Emperor, the sovereign, retaining all the residuum of power.
I have often put the situation thus: we look into our laws to see what we may not do, for we may do anything we have not given away, for the whole residuum is ours. They look into their laws to see what they may do, for they may do only the things the Emperor has said they may do, for all the residuum of power is in him. This makes us free men; it makes them subjects. Statism is the principle behind the Justinian and Napoleonic codes, carried to the nth power.
But to make this principle doubly secure under our Constitution, the Fathers added a further stipulation: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.(17)
To reiterate,for it cannot be too often said: This provision makes clear that the powers of our government are not inherent therein, but are delegated, which means, in other words, that the government has such powers and such powers only as [p. 85] the people have given them in and by the Constitution, and this means all the residuum of power is in the people.(18)
Congress can legislate about those things only which we the people have authorized them to deal with. That Senators and Congressmen are our representatives to legislate about these specified things does not authorize them to legislate about things not covered by the Constitution. For them to do so is for them to usurp power and, in effect, to change and amend the Constitution, and we the people have given them no authority to do this; indeed, we have specifically provided other means and methods for amendment. This is not true of the laws of Justinian and Napoleon, for there the residuum of power being in the Emperor, his government may invoke powers as it may wish, the residuum of power resting there . . . .
Moreover, these powers being powers delegated by the people, it follows they may not be enlarged, contracted, or transferred to any other agency or from one to either of the others without the constitutional mandate of the people.(19) Yet, beginning with the NRA under General Hugh Johnson and since, Congress, under the domination of those who in turn were under the influence and direction of European political emigres and their political satellites of this country, has passed law after law that provided for the exercise, by the very same tribunal, of legislative, executive, and judicial powersa tribunal that made the law, judged the law, and prescribed the penalty, and then executed itin many cases, it would appear, without provision for an appeal to the courts. All this was presumably in harmony with the constitutional law of the European emigres, [p. 86] but wholly violative and destructive of our American constitutional system. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-9/25/49)
Preamble Not A Grant of Power. May I emphasize that the mere fact that a matter might be of concern everywhere in the States was not sufficient in the wisdom of the Fathers to bring the matter within Federal jurisdiction. To place it there the matter must be one falling within the purposes or functions of the Federal government as declared in the Preamble of the Constitution, which ran:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.
And may I say here that over and over again this Preamble has been held by the Supreme Court of the United States to be a setting out of the purposes of the Federal Government and not a source of its jurisdiction and powers. (J. Reuben Clark, 2/22/35)
Constitution Not Perfect. It is one of the first principles of my life, and one that I have cultivated from my childhood, having been taught it by my father, to allow every one the liberty of conscience. I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth. In my feelings I am always ready to die for the protection of the weak and oppressed in their just rights. The only fault I find with the Constitution is, it is not broad enough to cover the whole ground.
Although it provides that all men shall enjoy religious freedom, yet it does not provide the manner by which that freedom can be preserved, nor for the punishment of Government officers who refuse to protect the people in their religious rights, or punish those mobs, states, or communities who interfere with the rights of the people on account of their religion. Its sentiments are good, but it provides no means of enforcing them. It has but this one fault. Under its provision, a man or a people who are able to protect themselves can get along well enough; but those who have the misfortune to be weak or unpopular are left to the merciless rage of popular fury.
The Constitution should contain a provision that every officer of the Government who should neglect or refuse to extend the protection guaranteed in the Constitution should be subject to capital punishment; and then the president of the United States would not say, Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you. . . . (Prophet Joseph Smith, 1844, DHC- 6:56-7) [p. 87]
AmendmentsPrinciple to Observe.(20) It is not my belief nor is it the doctrine of my Church that the Constitution is a fully grown document. On the contrary, we believe it must grow and develop to meet the changing needs of an advancing world. We know that greed and avarice and lust for power and dominion over men are always with us, and will be until the millennium shall come. We know that these curses of men never sleep nor die, that they alter their ways of vice to evade the control of law and order. We know that sometimes they reach such size and influence that their handling may require changes not only in legislation but on rare occasion, in the Constitution itself. But all changes must be made to protect and preserve our liberties, not to take them from us. Greater freedom, not slavery, must follow every constitutional change.
So we do hold that in all that relates to its great fundamentalsin the division of powers and their full independence one from the other, in the equal administration of the laws, in the even-handed dispensing of justice, in the absence of all class and casts, in the freedom of the press and of speech and of religionwe believe that in all such matters as these our Constitution must not be changed.(21) (J. Reuben Clark, 1938, Vital Speeches, 4:177)
AmendmentsConservative Progress Needed. Before you change the fundamental laws of this State or before you change the fundamental laws of this Nation, or of the Constitution upon which it is based,be sure that step is a necessary and beneficial one. True, changes may be necessary and they will come. I am only advising and counseling the greatest caution in matters of this kind which may come before you. I refer to it be cause I have heard men who advocate the thought that we are a progressive people, a progressive State, a progressive Nation, and that is very true. But we must progress along conservative, consistent [p. 88] lines, taking care not to break away from those moorings which God caused to be fixed by wise men whom he chose to give us the Constitution of this country, and the constitution and laws which govern this State. (Anthony W. Ivins, CR-10/16:65-6)
AmendmentsLord Prescribed Method. We sometimes hear: Well, the Lord can inspire rulers to change the Constitution. He inspired the first Constitution; he can inspire changes.
I should like to point out to you that in that inspired document, the Constitution, the Lord prescribed the way, the procedure by which the inspired framework of that Constitution could be changed. Whenever the Constitution is amended in that way, it will be an amendment that the Lord will approve; but whenever it is amended in any other way than He prescribed, we are not following the commandment of the Lord and must expect to lose our liberties and freedom.(22)
The Constitution was framed in order to protect minorities. This is the purpose of written constitutions. In order that minorities might be protected in the matter of amendments under our Constitution, the Lord required that the amendments should be made only through the operation of very large majoritiestwo thirds for action in the Senate and three-fourths as among the states. This is the inspired, prescribed order.(23) . . . [p. 89]
Brethren, let us think about that, because I say unto you with all the soberness I can, that we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this Church will, in order to keep the Church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions of the past have been. (J. Reuben Clark, CR-4/44:115-116)
No Inadequacy in Constitution.(24) Having in mind the loudness with which some few cry out against the inadequacy of our system, I may observe that the mere seeming existence of an exigency not apparently covered by our fundamental instrument, or the appearance of an inconvenience of mere administration under it, cannot justify any branch of government in a violation of the Constitution.(25) Nothing but such a necessity in extremis as the compelling force of a conquering foe could justify any branch of government in assuming that the people had willed a violation of their fundamental charter of government. Moreover, it is to be said of the past that no necessity has thus jar arisen in our history which could not have been ultimately and adequately met by constitutional methods. And history justifies the further statement that the cry sometimes raised for amendment of our great fundamental charter to meet transitory and pseudo- emergencies, the charge that we are governed by an antiquated instrument embodying obsolete principles unsuited and irresponsive to the needs of modern life, this cry and charge almost always come from those who, from want of individual or racial capacity, are incapable of understanding or appreciating the fundamentals of, or to think prac tically and creatively about, the problems of free self-government.
There is every reason to believe that those who understand the spirit as well as the word of the Constitution will be able in the future as in the past to find a way under it to meet all national emergencies and yet preserve its great principles and [p. 90] the republican form of government for which it provides. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-11/29/52)
Beware of Disloyalty. We owe at least the consideration to be loyal to this country and to spurn with all the soul that is within us the scheming disloyal citizens(27) who would undermine our Constitution, or who would deprive the individual of his liberty vouchsafed by that great document, and some of our men who have come up through the public schools are doing just that. Let every loyal member of the Church look down with scorn upon any man or woman who would undermine that Constitution. (President David O. McKay, CN-5/29/54)
I counsel you, I urge you, I plead with you, never, so far as you have voice or influence, permit any departure from the principles of governments on which this nation was founded, or any disregard of the freedoms which, by the inspiration of God our Father, were written into the Constitution of the United States. (President Heber J. Grant, CR-10/44:12)
Defamers of Constitution. It seems wise to remind ourselves of these matters because some people belittle that great document and its fundamental principles, sometimes to the point of derision. Sometimes we forget the Constitution.
These defamers say that the Constitution, and our government under it, are outmoded; not responsive to present-day conditions of life and living; not sufficient to meet and solve present-day problems; and that we need a modern up-to-date system of government.(28) They let us know what should be done to meet their ideas and plans, which seem always to run to despotism.(29) [p. 91]
I have observed that numbers of these defamers take advantage to the utmost of every liberty and freedom created and protected by the Constitution in order to destroy it and its guarantees, so to make easy the setting up of a tyranny that would deprive the common man of his freedom and liberties under it, so permitting these defamers to set up a government that would give place, power, and privilege to them in a despotism to be imposed upon the mass of mankind. We have witnessed this very despotism. There would be a Kremlin in every country on the globe, all under the super-Kremlin in Moscow.
One class of these defamers are the same persons who declare the Ten Commandments, the basic law of the civilized world to be outmoded . . . .
The same people declare the Sermon on the Mount to be outmoded, irresponsive to the needs of the people of today . . . .
If all that God and his Only Begotten taught that will lead us to the immortality and eternal life that is Gods declared glory, could be wiped out and forgotten, leaving only Satan and his work, the followers of Satan would, in their ignorance, have reached a Satanic heaven. (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR-4/57:44-5)
Executive Directives are Unconstitutional. In violation of the fundamental concept of the Constitution that there are three mutually independent branches of government m the legislative, judicial, and executiveneither of which may usurp or have granted to it the power to intrude upon the functions of the other, we have seen grow up, under this destructive influence I have named, the theory and practice that the executive branch may in fact legislate.(30) Many of these legislative-like enactments are dubbed directives, a new and meaningless term in our constitutional government. Unless they are legal Executive Orders, they have no legal force. However sound such enactments may be under the principles and practices of the Civil Lawwith which the leadership of the communistic [p. 92] publicists are familiar and in which they are probably trainedthey are outside our constitutional law and procedure. Behind them are no popular urgesindeed, they not infrequently fly in the face of the peoples desire; they are made without public notice or discussion, in violation of established law-making procedure; they are not made by the representatives of the people with a responsibility running back to the people; on the con trary, they are made by young, frequently alien, bureaucrats, with boyish outlooks and frequently with no practical experience,youths owing no loyalty or responsibility to anyone but their immediate petty official superior (unless there be here amongst us an inner secret State,(31) as some have charged) and hardly a one of whom has been or could be elected to any office, and almost surely not to the offices they hold, by the vote of the people.
However, these directives involve more than the legislative usurpation. The units that frame them likewise enforce them,thus becoming both legislature and executive. Furthermore, in cases of dispute, they not infrequently try, condemn, and pronounce judgment for violations, thus acting as a court in judging their own enactments; and finally, having made the law, and judged the law, and imposed the penalty, they act as sheriff to carry out the sentence. This combines all the elements of government into one.(32) This is tyranny in its most complete form, however beneficient it may happen temporarily to be in fact. It was Thomas Jefferson who said: What has destroyed the liberty and rights of man in every government which has [p. 93] ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and consolidation of all cares in one body. (33) . . .
Thus, and speaking in general terms, the Federal Government has reached down and touched the individual lives of the citizens in a multitude of matters which for a century and a half were held to be untouchable by that Government under those constitutional provisions which declared that the Federal Government is a government of delegated powers, and that unless powers are expressly given they are reserved by the people who grant the powerseither to themselves or to their State Governments. Any proverbial school boy knows that the exercise by the Federal Government of a power not delegated to it by the people, is plain usurpation; so also he knows that any exercise by one department of the Federal Government of any power not expressly granted to it is a usurpation, whether that power be not granted at all or whether the people have in their Constitution granted that power to another department of the Government. These are merest commonplaces in constitutional law, but they are basic principles which are suffering daily violations.(34)
Unless these usurpations are stopped, social, economic, and governmental chaos will come.(35) There are those who believe that the destructive influences wish chaos because they believe [p. 94] that out of it they can most easily build their projected communistic state here in America. (J. Reuben Clark, 10/7/43)
Freedom to Criticize. The fathers were schooled in attempts to control what they wrote and spoke in criticism of government; they knew how tyranny and oppression smart, and even slough away under publicity; they understood how little men in office resent disapproving comment on their acts and how they try to punish those who make the comment. So they provided that Congress should make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. But the fathers never caught the picture of a regulatory power over means of communication and publicity that could forestall all but favorable expressions regarding government. The fathers felt that when they protected freedom of speech and of the press against governmental interference they had effectively guaranteed the citizens freedom to talk and write as they felt and thought about their own government?(36) (J. Reuben Clark, 1938, Vital Speeches 5:174)
Inroads Upon Constitution. I wish now briefly to call attention, in general terms, to some inroads that are making into our constitutional system.
In this connection, I ask you to keep in mind that the despotism made possible and often existing under the Roman Civil Law, resulted from the concept that the head of the state had all governmental powers, in their totality,legislative, executive, and judicial. This is the lex regia concept. I repeat, this makes despotism possible,then and now.
There is a growing tendency for our Congress to turn over to administrative commissions the power to make laws. This plan carries the innocent description of making regulations for enforcing the laws. But lawyers know that under the guise of issuing regulations, these administrative bodies really legislate, not only in procedural matters, but also in substantive matters. The emperor idea (always alluring to ambitious men) is taking root.
Again, these same administrative bodies that so legislate, also act as judges of their legislation. They are pro tanto the judiciary judging their own laws. This is some more Emperor, more lex regia concept.
Finally, I am told that in certain matters, these administrative bodies exercise executive powers to enforce their decisions. [p. 95] If this be trueI fear it is, this is the final Emperor step,the lex regia concept of the Roman system,in one place the legislative, the executive, and the judicial powers.
We the people have accepted all this. The courts have not condemned it. As to the matters affected, we are now a despotism. If it is established and accepted in one field, it is easily extended over others. It is only a matter of time and our complacency. It is not possible to condemn too strongly this growing perversion of our constitutional principles.
Again, and as another check upon the executive, in his conduct of international relations, the diplomatic representatives of the government must be, as we the people provided in the Constitution, nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. But the habit is growing of appointment by the President of personal, quasi-diplomatic representatives, ambassadors at large they call them, who going to and fro in the earth and walking up and downto use Jobs phrasebring their harvests to the President. President Wilson was the first to give this device considerable importance when he sent the ubiquitous Colonel House to Europe. Col. House (not approved by the Senate) with the Presidents approval, committed us to enter World War I on the side of the Allies more than a year before Congress declared War.
There is no such thing as a Presidential Ambassador under the Constitution. This is another Emperor insignia. Our Ambassadors are Ambassadors of the United States, not Ambassadors of the President. We the people have accepted that innovation, too.
We the people provided in our Constitution that the President should report the state of the Union to Congress and recommend legislation. But there is growing up the custom for the chief executive not only to recommend legislation, but actually to draft it, and submit it to his favorites in Congress to secure its passage. The administration support in Congress takes the bill and makes every effort to pass it. The Roman Senate receiving the Theodosian Code, without discussion, not dotting an i or crossing a t, and with shouts of It is right! So be it!, was hardly more subservient than are some presidential congressional supporters. While in Theodosian days men were executed as traitors for refusing to go along with the program, in our days, political vengeance is visited, either by denying patronage, or by social ostracism, or by active opposition at the polls against recalcitrant lawmakers. President Theodore Roosevelt was one of the early exponents of these measures of [p. 96] compulsion. This, in effect, is some more Emperor absorption of the legislative powers, the lex regia concept of Rome.
One item more, before I close
And I may as well here as anywhere, tell you that, in my opinion, built from observation over the years, when the true history of our detours from constitutional government, is written, it will be found that they were largely conceived and put in motion by European political emigres, who were trained in the Civil Law and thoroughly converted to the lex regia concept of the Institutes. They have been aided and abetted by certain fellow travelling liberals, among them being those who have been trying to destroy the right and tradition of the Supreme Court of the United States to declare laws unconstitutional. They are graduallynot too graduallytrying on us all the tricks the Roman Emperors used in order to hold their autocratic power, in an effort to build here alex regia concept either through a dictator or through a socialized, Sovietized government that will establish the same sort of society. [See P. 222, footnote 12, 13.]
War Powers of President. One of the most relied upon shibboleths of those augmenting the executive power is the war powers of the President. When, during a war, all else fails to justify some proposed unconstitutional course, the emigres and their fellow travellers fall back upon the war powers of the President.
But there is no magic in this phrase. As a matter of fact and of law, there are almost no Presidential war powers in the sense in which these political emigres and their fellow travellers use it, that is, a source of power inherent in the President as President and awakened by the fact of war. A short explanation will make this clear.
As a matter of fact and of law the President of the United States is a dual personality. He is the Chief Executive charged with executing the laws of the country and he is Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. The problem is simplified if you think of the presidential powers as lodged in two persons,one the Chief Executive, and the other the Commander in Chief.
As Chief Executive he enforces the laws of the land, passed by Congress or coming in by treaty, which latter, the making of treaties, seems to be the only law-making participation given to the Chief Executive by the Constitution, except the power of veto and the power to recommend legislation just mentioned. The war powers are in Congress which is given the exclusive power under the constitutional provision: [p. 97]
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.
These are the war powers prescribed by the Constitution and they are all in Congress. But when that body passes laws to implement these powers, then the execution of these laws becomes the duty and responsibility of the Chief Executive, and the powers granted by such laws, and only those so granted, constitute the war powers of the President as Chief Executive. But none of such powers are inherent in the office of the Chief Executive. Obviously, in addition to these war powers so granted by Congress, the Chief Executive has all the peace-time powers with which either the Constitution or the Congress endows him.
But as our laws show, such Chief Executive powers (conferred upon him by Congress in time of war) may be of the widest scope, including provisions derogatory and even largely destructive of the ordinary peacetime civil rights of individuals . . . .
So much for the war powers of the President as Chief Executive.
There is no imperial lex regia concept in all this. It is directly contrary thereto.
As to the duties of the President as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, without going into great detail it may be observed that a commander in chief is appointed (as history irrefutably shows) for the conduct of belligerent operations of armies in the field; and to this end the commanders in chief have been given by their sovereigns very large executive, judicial, and legislative powers over occupied enemy territory. But to assume from the existence of these powers in occupied enemy territory that a commanders [p. 98] commission also endows him with like powers in the matter of the local government of his own country, powers which to be operative must supplant the sovereignly established constitutional order, with a new and different concept, is to adopt a politically unsound theory and to ignore elemental historical facts of all civilized governments, autocratic or democratic, the world over. When the Commander in Chief assumes these latter powers, he becomes a usurper.
If time permitted we might discuss other devices that were part and parcel of the imperial Roman technique used to maintain the lex regia concept of that government, and to keep the Emperor in power. I will merely name one more:
There was the buying of the support of the Roman people by giving them elaborate banquets, by the distribution of foodstuffs free, by providing the people with magnificent amusements, such as gladiatorial fights, fights between wild animals, and between savage beasts and humans (such as throwing Christians to hungry lions), by providing numerous and prolonged holidays, crowded with amusements of various kinds (we talk about recreation), by the triumphs of victorious generals in which the generals, ambitious and bidding for popular support looking towards power and lucrative office, provided all the foregoing. All this was done without cost to the people. Run over in your minds our own present situation, and figure how much government is giving the people, and the results of the policy. (J. Reuben Clark, CN-11/29/52)
Legal Profession Responsible. Why have we sat idly and endured these unconstitutional practices instead of taking them to the courts for correction? Well, there are several answers to the question:
In the first place, I think the legal profession must assume a great, if not indeed the major, part of the responsibility. The approach of the alien influence was gradual; the full meaning of the plan was not at first perceived. Accustomed to dealing with legislative and quasi-legislative enactments that, by design, were to fall within the Constitution, the lawyers so treated these new enactments and sought rather ways of constitutionally justifying the usurping enactments, than of attacking them as unconstitutional. Then the enactments began in the midst of a great depression, and the lawyers were inclined to wink at usurpations in the hope that somehow they would pull us out of our troubles. This feeling was encouraged by the easing up in enforcement procedures or the writing of a new prescription, whenever popular outcry became too threatening. Then as time [p. 99] went on, and the plan developed, the lawyers became fearful of governmental retaliation if the enactments were contested. Finally, they seem to have given up the fight, and to take as constitutional every law, every directive or other enactment that appears. They have advised their clients to bow their heads and bend their backs to every imposition that came.
This attitude of the lawyers was aided by the plans of the perverters of our institutions, who, so authentic reports say, aimed to keep these directives and other enactments out of the courts, because they thoroughly understood the principle of our jurisprudence that laws and their implementing regulations are enforced as constitutional until they are declared otherwise. Therefore, so long as these enactments could escape adverse judicial action, they could be enforced. In effect, the lawyers and the perverters worked together just as harmoniously and effectively as if they had reached an understanding thereto.
Another factor in the situation was this: From the time since our national emergency arose, the courts have let every intendment run in favor of the Government.(37) (J. Reuben Clark, 10/7/43)
Unconstitutional Laws Not Binding. It is said in the Doctrine and Covenants, that he that keepeth the laws of God, hath no need to break the laws of the land. It is further explained in section 98, what is meant in relation to this. That all laws which are constitutional must be obeyed, as follows:
And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.
And that the law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me;
Therefore I the Lord justify you and your brethren of the Church in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land. And as pertaining to laws of man, whatsoever is more or less than these cometh of evil.
That is, taking this nation as an example, all laws that are proper and correct, and all obligations entered into which are [p. 100] not violate of the constitution should be kept inviolate.(38) But if they are violative of the constitution, then the compact between the rulers and the ruled is broken and the obligation ceases to be binding.(39) Just as a person agreeing to purchase anything and to pay a certain amount for it, if he receives the article bargained for, and does not pay its price, he violates his contract; but if he does not receive the article he is not required to pay for it. (President John Taylor, 1884, JD-26:350)
A Priesthood Obligation. There are those who would destroy the Constitution of this land, and there are those who would rejoice if they could overthrow this nation. No loyal member of this great Church will raise his voice against the constitutional law of the land, but he will be found upholding it; he will be found praying for those who make the laws under the Constitution. He will petition his Father in heaven for all those who are chosen from time to time to administer the laws that are calculated to continue unto us our liberty, that they may be wise and just exemplars to the people . . . .
Upon you men of Israelto whom the priesthood of the Holy One has been giventhere rests an obligation. You must serve the Lord and keep his commandments. It matters not what others may do, but for you there is only one course, and that is to sustain the Constitution of this great land, and to sustain those influences and powers, whatever they may be, that are calculated to uplift the human family.
There should go forth from this great Church an influence intended to leaven the whole lump. (President George Albert Smith, 1950, E-53:869-70)
A Need for Unity in Upholding Constitution. Latter-day Saints should have nothing to do with secret combinations and groups antagonistic to the constitutional law of the land, which the Lord suffered to be established, and which should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; . . .
Of course there are errors in government which some would correct: certainly there are manifest injustices and inequalities, [p. 101] and there will always be such in any government in the management of which enter the frailties of human nature. If you want changes, go to the polls on election day, express yourself as an American citizen, and thank the Lord for the privilege that is yours to have a say as to who shall serve you in public office.
Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and de[ending the Constitution of the United States! (President David O. McKay, 1956, 1-91:34)
Sustain All Constitutional Law. There is also a wave of crime sweeping over the country. Perhaps there is nothing of greater importance, next to our spiritual growth, than a determination on the part of the Latter-day Saints to observe the laws of our country. I wish to quote from the immortal Lincoln:
Let every American, every lover of Liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of 76 did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property and his sacred honor. Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his childrens liberty. Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles in her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, in spelling books and almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, enforced in courts of justice. In short, let it become the political religion of the nation.(40)
One of the Articles of our Faith declares that we believe in sustaining the law and supporting the rulers. So that not only should Latter-day Saints follow the advice of the immortal Lincoln but they should follow the doctrines of the Church to which they belong . . . . (President Heber J. Grant, CR-4/26:4-5) [p. 102]
Constitution to Hang By Thread. Will the Constitution be destroyed? No; it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction. It will be so. (President Brigham Young, 1854, JD-7:13-15)
How long will it be before the words of the prophet Joseph will be fulfilled? He said if the Constitution of the United States were saved at all it must be done by this people. It will not be many years before these words come to pass. (President Brigham Young, 1868, JD-12:204)
We have got to establish a government upon the principle of righteousness, justice, truth and equality and not according to the many false notions that exist among men. And then the day is not far distant when this nation will be shaken from centre to circumference. And now, you may write it down, any of you, and I will prophesy it in the name of God. And then will be fulfilled that prediction to be found in one of the revelations given through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Those who will not take up their sword to fight against their neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety. And they will come, saying, we do not know anything of the principles of your religion, but we perceive that you are an honest community; you administer justice and righteousness, and we want to live with you and receive the protection of your laws, but as for your religion we will talk about that some other time. Will we protect such people? Yes, all honorable men.
When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations. This is part of the programme, and as long as we do what is right and fear God, he will help us and stand by us under all circumstances. (President John Taylor, 1879, JD-21:8)
The Prophet Joseph Smith said that The Constitution of the United States was given by the inspiration of God. But good, virtuous and holy principles may be perverted by corrupt and wicked men. The Lord was opposed by Satan, Jesus had his Judas, and this nation abounds with traitors who ignore that sacred palladium of liberty and seek to trample it under foot. Joseph Smith said they would do so, and that when deserted by all, the elders of Israel would rally around its shattered fragments [p. 103] and save and preserve it inviolate. (President John Taylor, 1880, JD-21:31-2)
We see many signs of weakness which we lament, and we would to God that our rulers would be men of righteousness,(41) and that those who aspire to position would be guided by honorable feelingsto maintain inviolate the Constitution and operate in the interest, happiness, well-being, and protection of the whole community. But we see signs of weakness and vacillation. We see a policy being introduced to listen to the clamor of mobs and of unprincipled men who know not of what they speak, nor whereof they affirm, and when men begin to tear away with impunity one plank after another from our Constitution, by and by we shall find that we are struggling with the wreck and ruin of the system which the forefathers of this nation sought to establish in the interests of humanity. (President John Taylor, 1881, JD-22:143)
By and by, you will find they will tear the Constitution to shreds, as they have begun now; they wont have to begin; they have started long ago to rend the Constitution of our country in pieces; and in doing so they are letting loose and encouraging a principle which will re-act upon themselves with terrible consequences; for if law-makers and administrators can afford to trample upon justice, equity, and the Constitution of this country, they will find thousands and tens of thousands who are willing to follow in their wake in the demolition of the rights of man, and the destruction of all principles of justice, and the safeguards of the nation but we will stand by and maintain its principles and the rights of all men of every color, and every clime; we will cleave to the truth, live our religion and keep the commandments of God, and God will bless us in time and throughout the eternities that are to come. (President John Taylor, 1884, JD-26:39)
The greatest care should be used by the Latter-day Saints to not allow themselves to be carried away by party zeal in any direction that will impair the soundness of their judgment or that will in any manner interfere with the freedom of action which may be necessary on their part to do their whole duty to themselves and the government. It is not at all probable that the encroachments which we have been led to expect will be made upon the Constitution will be of a very startling character to begin with. They may be of a very insidious character, and [p. 104] will require close scrutiny to discern their danger.(42) But we ought to be like people on the watchtower, scanning the horizon in every direction and watching [or dangers that may become threatening at any moment. (George Q. Cannon, 1896, JI-31:522-4)
We are today facing another critical period, one which evidently the majority of the citizens of this country fail to realize exists, but nevertheless that is the situation . . . .
The statement has been made that the Prophet said the time would come when this Constitution would hang as by a thread, and this is true. There has been some confusion, however, as to just what he said following this. I think that Elder Orson Hyde has given us a correct interpretation wherein he says that the Prophet said the Constitution would be in danger. Said Orson Hyde, I believe he said something like thisthat the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he: If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church. I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it. (JD-6:152)
Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they dont save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government.(43) (Joseph Fielding Smith, CR-4/50:154, 159)
You and I have heard all our lives that the time may come when the Constitution may hang by a thread. I do not know [p. 105] whether it is a thread or a small rope by which it now hangs, but I do know that whether it shall live or die is now in the balance. (J. Reuben Clark, CR-10/42:58)
It was Joseph Smith who has been quoted as having said that the time would come when the Constitution would hang as by a thread, and at that time when it was thus in jeopardy, the elders of this Church would step forth and save it from destruction.
Why the elders of this Church? Would it be sacrilegious to paraphrase the words of the Apostle Peter, and say that the Constitution of the United States could be saved by the elders of this Church because this Church and this Church alone has the words of eternal life? We alone know by revelation as to how the Constitution came into being, and we, alone, know by revelation the destiny of this nation. The preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be guaranteed upon no other basis than upon a sincere faith and testimony of the divinity of these teachings. (Harold B. Lee, CR-10/52:18)
We have heard that the Prophet Joseph said something about the time when the Constitution would be in danger. We do not know just what turn that will take. He also said something about the Elders of Israel rising to the challenge and helping to save the Constitution of this land. It is entirely possible that that may come about in a rather natural way. Our young peopleas they mature and develop and take their positions in industry, in the professions, and in agriculture clear across this landmight represent the balance of power in a time of crisis, when they will stand up and defend those eternal principles upon which this Constitution has been established. (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU, 5/24/61)
I am not afraid of any foreign foe disturbing this nation. Our perils will all come from within. It is true the Prophet saw even the Constitution hanging as by a thread, but, thank the Lord, he never saw the thread break. He saw this people play a conspicuous part, to be a balance of power with others to preserve it. For after all, it is destined, according to the word of the Lord, to become the savior and blessing of all flesh, not only the peoples of the United States. And after the experiments with dictatorships and other methods, they will, at last, when they have learned their lesson and are prepared for it, be willing to receive the Lords offering, after much suffering. (Melvin J. Ballard, CR-10/38:106) [p. 106]
Patriotic Element Needed. Every day magnifies the importance of a saving, patriotic element which shall hold aloft the purity of American institutions. With each recurring campaign the opportunity for the labor of such an element becomes more apparent. Every year makes it a necessity nearer and more absolute. In various ways, and by almost imperceptible degrees, the Constitution is being assailed. Sometimes its plain provisions are distorted if not openly violated, as can be remembered by many who are still young. Sometimes it is evaded and undermined, and by gradual processes is made to cover proceedings at which the fathers of the country would have stared. Laws which are not in accord with its spirit are sometimes enacted, and very frequently proposed. Men are becoming strangers to patriotism, and are striving after position and pelf.
Every year, according to careful authorities on the subject, the evils and corrupt practices of politics are increasing, and each year the perils which menace the nation become more imminent. Of course, there are thousands and tens of thousands of brave men and women, who still love the institutions of our land, and would maintain them in purity with their lives. But the elements of an opposite character are increasing with great rapidity, and thoughtful men, in even their most sanguine moments, cannot but view the future with some dread. (George Q. Cannon, 1896, JI-31:544)
Every Citizen Should Understand and Support Constitution. With the knowledge of Gods declaration that the Constitution of this land is inspired of him, it behooves every citizen to analyze the meaning, importance, and significance of this profound document and give loyal support to its spirit and purpose. We cannot afford to become complacent, forsake vigilance, and thus lose the benefits of the Lords promise of blessings upon the people of this goodly land. Also, we must see to it that the principles, the standards, the ideals, the rights, the privileges, and the protection guaranteed by the Constitution are upheld by those who represent us in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. (Delbert L. Stapley, CR-10/63:113-4)
1. Quoted by F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, p. 473.
2. Contrary to what most of us have been taught in school, the American Revolution was not essentially an armed conflict with England. The American Revolution was a revolutionary idea, a revolt from the Old World form of the State as sovereign to the concept of God as Sovereign. This, I believe, is the only ideal revolution. The American experiment was the nearest approach to the ideal that humanity has as yet experienced. (Leonard Read, Why Not Try Freedom?, p. 50)
3. Whatever may be the judgment pronounced on the competency of the architects of the Constitution, or whatever may be the destiny of the edifice prepared by them, I feel it a duty to express my profound and solemn conviction, derived from my intimate opportunity of observing and appreciating the views of the Convention, collectively and individually, that there never was an assembly of men, charged with a great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them, than were the members of the Federal Convention of 1787 to the object of devising and proposing a constitutional system which should best supply the defects of that which it was to replace, and best secure the permanent liberty and happiness of their country. (James Madison, Elliots ,Debates 5:122)
4. The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of Pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution. (James Madison, Federalist No. 37)
5. In the Virginia Bill of Rights, drafted by George Mason and adopted on June 12, 1776, there appears this statement in Article 15: No free government or the blessings of liberty can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.
6. No advocate of the measure can be found, who will not declare as his sentiment, that the system, though it may not be perfect in every part, is, upon the whole, a good one; is the best that the present views and circumstances of the country will permit; and is such an one as promises every species of security which a reasonable people can desire . . . . I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 85)
7. Political writers have established it as a maxim, that, in contriving any system of government, and fixing the several checks and controls of the constitution, every man ought to be supposed a knave, and to have no other end, in all his actions, than private interest. (David Hume, quoted by F. A. Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty, p. 435)
8. This, quite obviously, is a political concept with tremendous spiritual overtones. Indeed, this concept is at once spiritual, political, and economic. It is spiritual in proclaiming the Creator as the endower of mens rights and, thus, as sovereign. It is political in the sense that such an acknowledgment implicitly denies the state as the endower of mens rights and, thus, the state is not sovereign. And this is an economic concept because it follows from a mans inherent right to life that he has a right to sustain his life, the sustenance of life being nothing more nor less than the fruits of ones own labor. (Leonard Read, Elements of Libertarian Leadership, p. 19)
9. It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. (George Washington, Farewell Address)
10. The way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to . . . . What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body . . . . And I do believe that if the Almighty has not decreed that man shall never be free, (and it is a blasphemy to believe it,) that the secret will be found to be in the making himself the depository of the powers respecting himself, so far as he is competent to them, and delegating only what is beyond his competence . . . . (Thomas Jefferson, Works 6:543)
11. Despotism comes on mankind in different shapessometimes in an executive, sometimes in a military one. Is there no danger of a legislative despotism? Theory and practice both proclaim it. If the legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it, within itself, into distinct and independent branches. In a single House there is no check but the inadequate one of the virtue and good sense of those who compose it. (James Wilson, Elliots Debates 5:196-7)
12. The plan of the convention declares that the power of Congress, or, in other words, of the national legislature, shall extend to certain enumerated cases. This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd, as well as useless, if a general authority was intended. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 83)
13. The powers properly belonging to one of the departments ought not to be directly and completely administered by either of the other departments. It is equally evident, that none of them ought to possess, directly or indirectly, an overruling influence over the others, in the administration of their respective powers. It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. (James Madison, Federalist No. 48)
14. The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust. (James Madison, Federalist No. 57)
15. As the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act exclusively delegated to the United States. This exclusive delegation, or rather this alienation, of State sovereignty, would only exist in three cases: where the Constitution in express terms granted an exclusive authority to the Union; where it granted in one instance an authority to the Union, and in another prohibited the States from exercising the like authority; and where it granted an authority to the Union, to which a similar authority in the States would be absolutely and totally contradictory and repugnant. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 32)
16. In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any. The subordinate governments, which can extend their care to all those other objects which can be separately provided for, will retain their due authority and activity. (James Madison, Federalist No. 14)
17. This balance between the national and state governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights, they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits, by a certain rivalship which will ever subsist between them. (Alexander Hamilton, quoted by Lord Ac-ton, Essays On Freedom and Power, p. 218)
18. The Tenth Amendment is not a general assumption, but a prohibitory rule of law. The Tenth Amendment recognizes the States jurisdiction in certain areas. States Rights means that the States have a right to act or not to act, as they see fit, in the areas reserved to them. The States may have duties corresponding to these rights, but the duties are owed to the people of the States, not to the federal government. Therefore, the recourse lies not with the federal government, which is not sovereign, but with the people who are, and who have full power to take disciplinary action . . . The Constitution, I repeat, draws a sharp and clear line between federal jurisdiction and state jurisdiction. (Senator Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of A Conservative, P. 28-29.)
19. The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands, for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others. The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, nobody else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can they be bound by any laws but such as are enacted .by those whom they have chosen and authorised to make laws for them. (John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 141)
20. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government.But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all . . . . If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates.But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. (George Washington, Farewell Address)
21. . . . it is requisite . . . that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts.One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly over-thrown. (George Washington, Farewell Address)
22. I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution. And if that be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a consistent and stable, more than for a faithful, exercise of its powers. If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident that the shape and attributes of the government must partake of the changes to which the words and phrases of all living languages are constantly subject . . . . And that the language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders will, I believe, appear to all unbiased inquirers into the history of its origin and adoption. (James Madison, Works 3:442)
23. Next to correct morals a watchful guardianship over the Constitution is the proper means [or its support . . . . The fairest productions of man have in themselves or receive from accident a tendency to decay. Unless the Constitution be constantly fostered on the principles which created it, its excellency will fade; and it will feel, even in its infancy, the weakness and decrepitude of age.
Our form of government is superior to all others, inasmuch as it provides, in a fair and honorable manner for its own amendment. But it requires no gift of prophecy to foresee that this privilege may be seized on by demagogues, to introduce wild and destructive innovations. Under the gentle name of amendments changes may be proposed which, if unresisted, will undermine the national compact, mar its fairest features, and reduce it finally to a dead letter. It abates nothing of the danger to say that alterations may be trifling and inconsiderable. If the Constitution be picked away by piecemeal, it is goneand gone as effectually as if some military despot had grasped it at once, trampled it beneath his feet, and scattered its loose leaves in the wild winds. (Daniel Webster, July 5, 1802)
24. For it is not, perhaps, so much by the assumption of unlawful powers, as by the unwise or unwarrantable use of those which are most legal, that governments oppose their true end and object: for there is such a thing as tyranny, as well as usurpation . . . . So that, after all, it is a moral and virtuous discretion, and not any abstract theory of right, which keeps governments faithful to their ends. (Edmund Burke, Works 7:42)
25. . . . every breach of the fundamental laws, though dictated by necessity, impairs that sacred reverence which ought to be maintained in the breast of rulers towards the constitution of a country, and forms a precedent for other breaches where the same plea of necessity does not exist at all, or is less urgent and palpable. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25)
27. For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25)
28. For example, The President is hobbled in his task . . . by a constitutional system designed for an eighteenth century agrarian society . . . . (Senator J. William Fulbright, July 28, 1961, in a filmed speech to the Cubberly Conference at Stanford University)
29. For example, We have inherited from our forefathers a governmental structure which so divides power that effective dealing with economic problems is cumbersome . . . Of course inaction is what the Founding Fathers intendedinaction until such time as an overwhelming consensus was prepared for action . . . . They were right in their day. But they are wrong in ours . . . .
. . . I have no hesitation in stating my deep conviction that the legislatures of America, local, state, and national, are presently the greatest menace to the successful operation of the democratic process . . . . The executive should be strengthened at the expense of the legislature . . . .
Surely we have reached the point where we can say . . . that Jefferson was wrong: that government is not best which governs least . . . . (Senator Joseph S. Clark, The Elite and the Electorate, May, 1963, pp. 12-14)
30. There is, in the nature of sovereign power, an impatience of control, that disposes those who are invested with the exercise of it, to look with an evil eye upon all external attempts to restrain or direct its operations . . . .
This tendency is not difficult to be accounted for. It has its origin in the love of power. Power controlled or abridged is almost always the rival and enemy of that power by which it is controlled or abridged. This simple proposition will teach us, how little reason there is to expect, that the persons intrusted with the administration of the affairs of the particular members of a confederacy will at all times be ready, with perfect good-humor, and an unbiased regard to the public weal, to execute the resolutions or decrees of the general authority. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15)
31. We are rapidly coming to a point where a complete change of elected officials, including Congress and the White House, can mean little change in policy. You are governed more and more by people for whom you have never voted, for whom you never will vote, whom you have never seen, and whom you cannot recall by your vote. They are entrenched in the boards, bureaus and commissions, even at the policy level. For example, you may think that the Secretary of Labor sets the policy of his Department, but I know that much of the policy of that Department is set by civil service employees who have been with the Department for 20 years and they have no intention, now or ever, of recommending to the Secretary of Labor any policy which does not fit their personal philosophy of government, and you cannot remove them or replace them by your ballot. This is a form of invisible government and can lead to the most oppressive type of tyranny. (Congressman James Utt, quoted by Veritas Foundation in Keynes At Harvard, p. 78)
32. The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. (James Madison, Federalist No. 47)
33. The concentrating these in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation, that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one . . . . An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia)
34. The legislative . . . is not, nor can possibly be, absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people. For it being but the joint power of every member of the society given up to that person or assembly which is legislator, it can be no more than those persons had in a state of Nature before they entered into society, and gave it up to the community. For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life or property of another. (John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 135)
35. I do not dread these corporations [business] as instruments of power to destroy this country, because there are a thousand agencies which can regulate, restrain and control them; but there is a corporation we may all dread. That corporation is the federal government. From the aggression of this corporation there can be no safety, if it is allowed to go beyond the bounds, the well-defined limits of its power. I dread nothing so much as the exercise of ungranted and doubtful powers by this government. It is, in my opinion, the danger of dangers to the future of this country. (Senator Benjamin Hill, 1878, The Freeman, Jan., 1958, p. 11)
36. If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty II)
37. Our government is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to-wit: by consolidation first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence. The engine of consolidation will be the federal judiciary; the two other branches, the corrupting and corrupted instruments. (Thomas Jefferson, Works 7:223)
38. Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78)
39. . . . the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding. In the same manner the states have certain independent powers, in which their laws are supreme; for example, in making and executing laws concerning the punishment of certain crimes, such as murder, theft, etc., the states cannot be controlled. (Alexander Hamilton, Elliots Debates 2:362)
40. The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists. For who could be free, when every other mans humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own. (John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57)
41. Wherever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done, and not less readily by a powerful and interested party than by a powerful and interested prince. (James Madison, Works 1:425)
42. Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people, by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations . . . . This danger ought to be wisely guarded against. (James Madison, Elliots Debates 3:87)
43. Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder Capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well-proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with State rights, individual security, and public prosperity? No, if these columns fall, they will be raised not again. Like the Coliseum and the Parthenon, they will be destined to a mournful, a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them, than were ever shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art; for they will be the remnants of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw, the edifice of constitutional American liberty. (Daniel Webster, Feb. 22, 1832) [p. 107]
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