Constitution Day 2019 

September 17, 2019

by John McClaughry

It has probably escaped most people’s attention, but today, September 17,  is Constitution Day.

The Founders strongly believed that of all the things that can corrupt man’s nature, the worst is the temptation to illicitly use political power. Keeping government free depends on the preservation of public and private virtue and morality. “Corruption” to the Framers meant not merely stealing and bribing, but anything that undermined the constitutional consensus.

A written constitution is the rulebook for the ordering of political society. It must set forth the powers of the government, and define the rights that government is called into being to secure.

It must be clear enough for all citizens to understand, limited in its reach and authority, and written to keep government as close and responsive to the people, acting through their elected representatives, as possible. It should maintain a balance of governmental power among legislative, executive and judicial branches, and between the national government and the constituent states.

And finally, once adopted by the people, the Constitution was never, never to be amended or undermined by “usurpation”. As President Washington said in his Farewell Address, “If in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way in which the Constitution designates; but let there be no change by usurpation… it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” Thank you for that, Mr. President.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

Latest News

OneCare – Scrap it Now

October 21, 2019 by Rob Roper After the epic failure of Peter Shumlin’s single payer healthcare scheme in 2014, the next big “reform” that took its place was...

PC Police Sucking the Joy Out of Childhood

October 18, 2019 by Rob Roper Edmunds Elementary School in Burlington, so reports WPTZ, has decided to cancel its annual Halloween parade. Sadly, I doubt anybody is surprised...

TCI and the Poor

October 15, 2019 by John McClaughry Over the years I have frequently sparred with John Greenberg, a stalwart of the campaign to shut down Vermont Yankee. He is...

Big Carbon Tax Back on the Table

October 14, 2019 by Rob Roper This past Friday (October 11) at the Renewable Energy Conference Burlington’s Democratic Mayor Miro Weinberger (D), flanked by VPIRG, announced support for...

What Hong Kong Can Teach Vermont

“You had the opportunity to show the world what civilized China can be. But you know what? You have failed badly. We want freedom, and freedom is what...