Cal Thomas: Federalist Papers are America’s DNA

07/03/2014 5:21 PM

07/03/2014 5:21 PM

The reach and cost of big government are growing before our eyes and eroding our liberty, largely because too many Americans are not familiar with the brilliant system of government our founders established.

“The Roots of Liberty: Unlocking the Federalist Papers,” edited by Scott D. Cosenza and Claire M. Griffin, attempts to remind us of the founders’ intent and why their vision, if not renewed by each generation, will quickly fade, and America along with it.

The book will remind those of a certain age of our high school civics classes. But as government continues to expand and President Obama increasingly ignores the boundaries placed on the executive branch, it will serve as a needed reminder of what makes America unique in the world and how it can be quickly destroyed if sufficient attention is not paid to our founding principles.

What should attract young people to “The Roots of Liberty” is that the editors have updated the 18th-century language, using instead paraphrases and modern words that will resonate in contemporary ears, without harming its original meaning.

Here’s one example: James “Madison supported dividing the national government in a way such that each branch in and of itself would be a type of safeguard against tyranny. Because each branch of government was simultaneously separate and interdependent, it had to work together with the other branches in order to achieve the goals of the national government.”

The book then succinctly lists the powers each branch of government is given in order that each branch might be a check on the others. The founders understood that human nature had to be controlled, lest the temptations of power destroy both leader and country.

Ruling by fiat, as Obama seems to be doing – such as by vowing to accomplish immigration reform on his own – even in the face of multiple setbacks by the “checking” Supreme Court, is in violation of the Constitution, as one can read in this analysis of the Federalist Papers, the philosophical foundation of our constitutional government. Call them America’s DNA.

In the chapter “The Powers Delegated to the Federal Government Are Few and Defined,” discussing “the doctrine of enumerated powers,” the writers say: “By virtue of the doctrine, the Constitution of the United States establishes a government of delegated, enumerated and thus limited powers.”

Does this resemble our present government?

“The Roots of Liberty” will remind Americans of where our country came from and where it is headed if we don’t embrace the brilliance of those who bequeathed it to us.

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