The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution by Clyde Wilson

The federal constitution ratified by the people of the States provided for a limited government to handle specified joint affairs of the States. The document describes itself not as “the U.S. Constitution” or the “Constitution of the United States,” but as a “Constitution FOR the United Statesof America.

Clyde N. Wilson

Clyde N. Wilson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” With this in mind, read what follows in the preamble as the purposes of this instrument: “forming a more perfect Union,” “common defense,” and “general welfare.”

Throughout the document “United States” is a plural (the States United) and treason against the United States consists of levying war against THEM.

As clear and simple as these facts are and have always been, grasping them seems to be beyond the abilities of presidents, congresspersons, supreme court justices, and professors of “Constitutional Law” at the most prestigious institutions.

In recent times the abuses of these people (what the Founders would have described as “usurpations” justifying rebellion) have run amuck, distorting an already wounded constitution beyond recognition. Ambition, rent-seeking, willful historical ignorance, deceit, ideology, and the lust for power (which the Founders hoped to guard against) have rendered the real constitution of our forefathers virtually null and void. This has prompted serious citizens to re-expound what the Constitution for the United States is supposed to be. There have been good books in this vein by Professors Thomas Woods, Walter K. Wood, and Kevin Gutzman, and by William J. Watkins and Judge Andrew Napolitano.


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The latest contribution to this field is The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution by Professor Brion McClanahan, just published by Regnery History. McClanahan’s treatment of the subject is in many ways the best, a concise, hard hitting constitutional handbook that goes right to the true source of understanding without being diverted by later commentaries and judicial opinions. What the drafters of the Constitution meant is revealed in the first place but not exclusively or even primarily by their discussions and votes, including the ideas that were voted down. (Many of those reappeared later touted as legitimate federal powers.)

James Madison is reputed by those who don’t know any better to be the “Father of the Constitution.” In fact, Madison lost more votes than he won at Philadelphia, although he did more maneuvering and scribbling than any other delegate. In his almost half-century of post-ratification life Madison was all over the place, contradicting himself numerous times on constitutional interpretation. But Madison himself in one of his more lucid moments tells us where we should look for the meaning of the Constitution. The meaning of the Constitution, he avowed, is to be found in the understanding of those who ratified it, who alone gave what was merely a proposal all the authority it possesses.

So we must look for understanding at the discussions that preceded the ratification conventions and at the conventions themselves. McClanahan knows this ground thoroughly and tells us in convincing chapter and verse on each article what those who ratified the Constitution intended and, perhaps more importantly, what they did not intend.

The opponents of the Constitution feared that the document would prove an instrument for the incremental establishment of a centralized dictatorship over the people. They were right. But……………..


via The Founding Fathers’ Guide to the Constitution by Clyde Wilson.


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About Gunny G

GnySgt USMC (Ret.) 1952--'72 PC: History, Poly-Tiks, Military, Stories, Controversial, Unusual, Humorous, etc.... "Simplify...y'know!"
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