Essential Liberty

Last Friday was James Madison’s birthday, so let us then remember his legacy as the father of our Constitution. Madison conceived the basic outline of the Constitution before the Constitutional Convention even met. He came to the Convention steeped in the histories of ancient republics, well-versed in the political theory of the ages, and prepared with a plan for the new government. … After the Constitution was drafted, Madison teamed up with Alexander Hamilton and [yours truly] to write the Federalist, which in Jefferson’s words was ‘the best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.’ The key phrases we associate with the Constitution — federalism, checks and balances, and the separation of powers — appear not in the document itself, but in the Federalist. … Once the new Constitution was implemented, Madison served in Congress. As chairman of the House conference committee on the Bill of Rights, he was the principle author. This position enabled him to look after a cause dear to him throughout his political career — religious liberty. … We don’t need a slab of marble to remember James Madison. Instead, we have the Constitution that created the framework for ordered liberty and more than 200 years of stable, peaceful republican government. We have the Bill of Rights that singles out specific individual liberties that all Americans possess, especially the right to religious liberty. And, most importantly, we have his legacy on how to defend this document.” 

Thank you to the Heritage Foundation’s Julia Shaw for this excellent reminder.  Happy belated birthday, James!

About John Jay

First Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; Author of several of the Federalist Papers
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