It must be understood that
before the Constitution was adopted, there was much dissension and discussion,
There was a strong argument against a federal government as opposed to individual
state governments, and many, in fear of the loss of their civil rights, demanded
a Bill of Rights. The Federalist Papers, authored primarily by Hamilton and
Madison, sought to convince everyone that a central government, with safeguards
and opposing powers of its branches, would be the most effective and efficient.
The thrust of these papers were to explain the advantages, insure that civil
rights would be preserved and to appeal for the ratification of this new Constitution.
Authorship of some of the
Federalist Papers are listed as Hamilton or Madison and may indicate
that the exact author is unknown or possibly there was an unequal authorship
in that particular Federalist Paper.
We do know from newspaper
renderings, history and the Federalist Papers themselves, that the Constitution
framers believed positively that the civil rights enumerated in the Constitution
and Bill of rights were God-given and that those documents , therefore, only
memorialized those rights.
The Bill of Rights emphatically
defined individual and state rights and Amendment IX clearly limits the Federal
powers. This was imperative, not only because of the threat against individual
civil rights, but also to limit the power of those elected officials.
It seems lost in today's
translation that our forebears instinctively believed that they had all the
rights designated in the Bill of Rights, but to make sure the Federal government
understood that, it was a condition of accepting the Constitution that these
civil rights be put down on paper.
As you read these Federalist
Papers, you should keep in mind that our forefathers were extremely wary of
creating a government like the one they just escaped, wherein King George could,and
did, demand taxation without representation, subservience and the forfeiture
of arms. They also realized that the main perils of a centralized/federal power
over the states could result in unfair taxation and that a separation of powers
would be the only solution for protecting citizen's civil rights.
Also, it is imperative
in your study of these papers that you compare where government has seized power
that the Constitution has not granted. This is especially true with the current
Administration and Justice Department and most especially true of Clinton using
the courts to get what he wants when Congress won't oblige; when he declared
war without Congressional approval; when he encourages, aids and abets legal
actions in civil court to achieve his ends; and uses executive orders to bypass
the legislative process. This was considered as one of the most important aspects
of the Constitution and Bill of Rights -- the limiting of a central government
or an individual branch run amok.
From the foregoing, you
may now envision what the colonists feared most -- their own government acting
without their best interests in mind and setting the stage for a very real erosion
of civil rights and the integrity of the government itself.
Before we examine in some
detail the Federalist Papers, let's review what the original 10 rights of the
Bill of Rights granted American citizens. Keep in mind, however, that the Constitution
framers firmly believed that all of these rights already existed and that they
were granted by a Supreme Being; and that they were being put down on paper
to satisfy everyone that there could be no doubt in anyone's mind what was meant.
Amendment I: The free exercise
of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the right of the people to peaceably
assemble and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(Therefore this civil right allows free thinking, speech, worship, assembly
and a means to criticize government).
Amendment II: A well regulated
Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people
to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (This amendment was originally
to be designated as the first amendment, which indicates the importance of the
amendment. It guarantees a civil right that is imperative to preserving one's
self and family, the state and the entire country).
Amendment III: No Soldier
shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the
Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. (This civil
right protects ownership and occupation of one's home and property).
Amendment IV: The right
of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. (This civil right
protects against a Police State).
Amendment V: Please refer
to the Constitutional Times "Library" for a complete rendering. (This civil
right protects against 'double jeopardy', being a witness against oneself and
to be compensated should your private property be confiscated.
Amendment VI: Refer to
the "Library". (This civil right grants a speedy and fair trial, confrontation
by your accuser and Counsel for your defense).
Amendment VII: Refer to
"Library". (This civil right grants trial by jury).
Amendment VIII: Excessive
bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel an unusual
punishment inflicted. (This civil right is straight forward, except there is
controversy re punishment).
Amendment IX: The enumeration
in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage
others retained by the people. (This civil right ranks as one of the most important
because it is stating that just because a right is not enumerated, does not
mean it doesn't exist).
Amendment X: 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. (If
ever there was a civil right that is being violated on a daily basis, this is
the one. The Federal government violates this civil right under every guise
imaginable in complete defiance of the Constitution).
Now we will examine some
of the Federalist Papers in search of how our civil rights were incorporated
into the Constitution and why our government is a republic and not a democracy.
Federalist 29 - Hamilton:
Note that the National Guard was not founded until more than 100 years after
the Constitution was adopted, thus the militia referred to by Hamilton is composed
of ordinary citizens whose function, if called upon, would be to resist insurrection,
invasion and to repel its own government should that government "become formidable
to the liberties of the people and who stand ready to defend their own right
and those of fellow citizens." (This is in complete support of the civil right
guaranteed in Amendment II).
Federalist 45 - Madison:
A discussion touches on the subject, "That the people were made for kings, not
kings for the people." The United States Constitution was the first form of
government whereby those elected SERVED THE PEOPLE and not the reverse. Also,
Amendment X - "Ultimate authority resides in the people alone."
Federalist 47 - Madison:
"One of the principal objections inculcated by the more respectable adversaries
to the Constitution, is its supposed violation of the political maxim, that
the legislative, executive and judiciary departments ought to be separate and
distinct." "There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers
are united in the same person or body of magistratives," or, "if the power of
judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers." (Editor's
comment: Unless government authority is kept in check, there is no way for citizen's
civil rights to be protected).
Federalist 51 - Hamilton
or Madison: The discussion touches on the subject that men's ambitions must
be reined in so as to keep the branches of government independent of each other.
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of man must be connected
with the Constitutional rights of the place. If men were angels, no government
would be necessary." To enhance this republic form of government, legislators
are elected for different terms and at different times as you note congress
at two years, the president at four years and senators at six.
The Judiciary: "Whoever
attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that,
in a government in which they are separate from each other, the judiciary, from
the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political
rights of the Constitution, because it will be least in a capacity to annoy
or injure them. The Executive, not only dispenses the honors, but holds the
sword of the community. The Legislative , not only commands the purse, but prescribes
the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated.
The Judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the
purse, no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society,
and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither
FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment, and must ultimately depend upon the aid
of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgment. (Editor's comment:
Present day events question this statement and the direction of that office).