Politics & U.S. Constitution: Introduction

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“Those that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

-Benjamin Franklin
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Political science is a unique stream of knowledge that encompasses several fields of study within the branch of social sciences.  It incorporates the history of politics as well as the formation of the U.S. government and how political systems have evolved into the present day.  The founding fathers created a government with specific checks and balances to keep the Presidency, the Congress and Senate, and the Judiciary branch on an equal playing field each serving a defined purpose.  There was an open discourse and numerous debates on issues like the economy and a central bank, slavery, trade and commerce, voting rights, and the necessity for state militias and a standing army.  The truth behind the statement “united we stand, divided we fall” is a sentiment that goes back to both the Revolutionary War for independence and the Civil War between the north and south.  

The following quotes from the founding fathers give you a flavor of their language, ideas and thoughts, virtue and patriotism:

“Political freedom includes in it every other blessing. All the pleasures of riches, science, virtue, and even religion itself derive their value from liberty alone. No wonder therefore wise and prudent legislators have in all ages been held in such great veneration; and no wonder too those illustrious souls who have employed their pens and sacrificed their lives in defense of liberty have met with such universal applause. Their reputations, like some majestic river which enlarges and widens as it approaches its parent ocean, shall become greater and greater through every age and outlive the ruins of the world itself.”

– Benjamin Rush to Catherine Macaulay, January 18th, 1769

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power.”

– James Madison, The Federalist Papers, 1788

“I am opposed of any form of tyranny over the mind of men.”

– Thomas Jefferson

“I consider knowledge to be the soul of a republic, and as the weak and the wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of the latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people the means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.”

– John Jay to Benjamin Rush, March 21st, 1785

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”

– Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.”

– James Madison

“The Constitution which at any time exists, ’till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People is sacredly obligatory upon all.”

– George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

– Abraham Lincoln
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