I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say the U.S. Constitution is an antiquated document and doesn’t pertain to our times. These people couldn’t be more wrong. First of all, human nature doesn’t change. We haven’t evolved into angelic beings completely devoid of sin and ambition. I would say we’ve gotten worse.
Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries were God-fearing Christians. In today’s America, Christians are under attack for simply following their faith. I believe our Founders would be shocked to see we’ve devolve into a nation of degenerates.
A book entitled, A Child of Fortune: A Correspondent’s Report on the Ratification of the U.S. Constitution & the Battle for a Bill of Rights details the eleventh month odyssey of States ratification. Many will be shocked to discover that the debates between Anti-Federalists and Federalists mirror today’s politics. They’ll also find out liberals have bastardized our Constitution and turned our social compact against us.
While reading this correspondent’s report, many will recognize the rural/urban divide. It was the farmers, frontiersmen and sagacious intellectuals who demanded a bill of rights to protect them and future generations from an abusive central government.
However, urban dwellers such as merchants, bankers and men of ambition and low-character saw the benefits of a strong central government. These people would revert to all sorts of misdeeds to stifle and quash Anti-Federalists publications even to the point of destroying printing presses. Some dissenters were harassed into silence.
Thomas Jefferson knew of the corrosive nature of cities. He wrote the following:
“…I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries,” Minister Jefferson predicts to Congressman Madison, “as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe.”
There has been some debate about a “religious test” when allowing foreigners into the United States. Once again, this is a bastardization of the context on which it was wrought. The Constitution doesn’t allow a religious test when it comes to holding a federal office. However, this was an issue of contention in States ratification. Many delegates wanted to make sure that people in power were honorable Christians. Their main concern was Popery and the influence of the Catholic Church. Others were more broad and circumspect. Henry Abbot, a delegate in the North Carolina convention, said the following:
“…the exclusion of religious tests,” he said, “is by many thought dangerous and impolitic. They suppose that if there be no religious test required, pagans, deists, and Mahometans might obtain offices amongst us, and that the senators and representatives might all be pagans.”
The preamble might have cost delegates in the Connecticut convention by omitting, “a firm belief of the being and perfections of the one living and true god.”
Paper money and direct taxation was also a contentious issue as it is today along with a strong national defense. We are not so different from those who founded this country. The Constitution is just as relevant today as was back then. Liberals may declaim and defame our history but they can’t deny us our American heritage with living and breathing documents.