"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." -- George Washington
"I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man." -- George Washington
"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light." -- George Washington
The Great American Republic was shaped by individual events which are now part of American legend. The Battle of Bunker Hill, The Winter at Valley Forge, Washington Crossing the Delaware, the Constitutional Convention, and George Washington stepping aside after his 2nd term as President, evoke pride and honor in the hearts of many Americans, if their public schools still teach about these historic events. The politically correct "history" books today are more likely to concentrate on the impact of Marilyn Monroe on the culture of America. The Founding Fathers, including James Madison, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington, risked their lives to create a republic. These revolutionaries declared their independence from an overbearing oppressive regime. The British Empire had been taxing the colonies to pay for their foreign adventures. The Founding Fathers were willing to risk being hung rather than live under tyranny, when they made the following declaration:
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 and the pursuit of Happiness.
After risking their lives and fighting an eight year War for Independence against the most powerful military on earth, they came together and drafted the greatest governing document ever conceived. The U.S. Constitution and its Amendments struck the perfect balance, as it constrained the Federal government and allowed its citizens maximum freedom. It was designed to prevent the concentration of power by the Executive branch. Power was balanced between the three branches of government and jurisdiction was delegated to the States. Governance was placed in the hands of the people. This sublime document has served as our guide for over two centuries. Since the early 20th Century, America has gradually allowed this document to become tarnished and trivialized.
James Madison was the architect of this brilliant inspirational document in 1787. It is a remarkably concise document. The Constitution consisted of a preamble, seven original articles and the Bill of Rights. The beauty of this document is its clarity and brevity. An 81 year old Benjamin Franklin, whose health was rapidly failing but whose mind was as luminous as ever, on the last day of the Constitutional Convention urged passage of the Constitution with the following words of wisdom:
" In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution.
Much of the strength & efficiency of any Government in procuring and securing happiness to the people depends, on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of the Government, as well as of the wisdom and integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own sakes as a part of the people, and for the sake of posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution (if approved by Congress & confirmed by the Conventions) wherever our influence may extend, and turn our future thoughts & endeavors to the means of having it well administered.
On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument."
Mr. Franklin in his plea to those attending the Convention also issued a warning which we have not heeded. A Constitution is only as good as the people who administer it. If the people become corrupted, the government will become corrupted, and the Constitution will become a worthless piece of paper. The wisdom and integrity of the governors of the Constitution are the strength that makes the document so powerful. The American people have failed to take note of Benjamin Franklin's warning. We have allowed our desire for material goods, acceptance of easy wrong solutions to complicated problems, putting our selfish short term desires ahead of the long-term needs of the country, and meddling in foreign lands, to corrupt our government and its leaders. Wisdom and integrity are rare traits in government officials today. They were plentiful during the American Revolution. These traits defined George Washington, the father of our country. These traits also define the U.S. Representative from Texas, Ron Paul.