Democracy and the American Founders

This is an excerpt from N. Awakening

Chapter 65.

Our Constitution Trumps Democracy

“National democracy’s dead!” She grabbed her hair, “I can’t get that out of my head!”

“It needn’t be a burden…” Mitchell said. A fish jumped out of the water.

“But why? Why am I so attached to this idea?” Another fish jumped out of the water.

Mitchell lifted his face toward hers, “Do you love me?”

“Yes.” She was shocked that he had the audacity to ask such a question, “Of course.”

Mitchell moved his face towards Nasha, “Will you love me after I’ve moved on with my spirit and soul into eternity?”

“Of course, grandpa.” She wondered, “How does this relate to my question? Is he that sensitive? Is he dying?”

“Well I love our Founding Fathers too.”

“You what?” Nasha asked. At first she thought he was going to start crying on her shoulder. She imagined that thoughts of mortality overtook his senses and that he was going to say, “I love you, Nasha. I love you so much!” She repeated, “You what?”

“I love our Founding Fathers… the men who created our Constitution.”

“Please explain. Slowly,” she wanted to laugh.

“James Madison… remember him from our earlier discussions… a Founding Father of our Constitution?”

“Yes.”

“He said, ‘Democracy is the most vile form of government… democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property: and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.’”

“Wow.” She sat dumbfounded. Then she began to understand why he asked her, “Do you love me…?”

“Thomas Jefferson said, ‘A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.’”

“You don’t say….” She understood that he was standing up for the American Founding Fathers.

“Alexander Hamilton said, ‘Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy.’”

She began to smile. She thought to herself, “I will stand up for you after you die.” Her smile promptly faded. Would she become his paladin?

“Edmund Burke said of democracy, ‘The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.’”

“Stop already! I get it!”

He moved toward her, “Nasha, I love our Founding Fathers—the men who created our government—and I honor them. I honor my country and my countrymen!”

“Continue then…” She felt so close to him. She placed her left arm on his slumping shoulder.

“Fisher Ames gives us an easy understanding. He said, ‘…our government should be a republic which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism.’ Or simply read the Constitution, which says, ‘The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.’ Or say the Pledge of Allegiance…”

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Need I say more?”

She smiled, “Country first!” She put her fishing pole down. “Grandpa, Lincoln redefined democracy as for the people, by the people and of the people.” At this point, she realized, she wasn’t going to catch anything more.

*****************

My point here is to show that the Founders had a much different conception of democracy–and they lived in much different times. This is not unimportant. Understanding this allows us to hear “the founder’s intentions” as a pretext–to a certain degree–which is important.

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One thought on “Democracy and the American Founders

  1. Pingback: What are Ed Snowden’s Values? | Political Pipeline

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