Fedralist Paper 47 and the Importance of the Separation of Powers Within the Government

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed47.asp In this Federalist Paper, Madison not only qualifies his reasoning for the importance of the separation of powers within government but compares the differences of this phenomenon within the thirteen original states, in the post revolution era. Madison contemplates the “particular structure of government and the distribution of this mass of power amoung its constituent parts.” Madison writes:
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
He goes on to state that: In Delaware, the chief executive magistrate is annually elected by the legislative department. The speakers of the two legislative branches are vice-presidents in the executive department. The executive chief, with six others, appointed, three by each of the legislative branches constitutes the Supreme Court of Appeals; he is joined with the legislative department in the appointment of the other judges. Throughout the States, it appears that the members of the legislature may at the same time be justices of the peace; in this State, the members of one branch of it are EX-OFFICIO justices of the peace; as are also the members of the executive council. The principal officers of the executive department are appointed by the legislative; and one branch of the latter forms a court of impeachments. All officers may be removed on address of the legislature. Of course Delaware’s Constitution has gone through four changes with some improvements. Madison is correct to be concerned and write this in the Federalist Papers because he foresaw that ambitious powerful men seeking power would use their position to control all branches of government both at the US and state levels. Even now we see misuse of power at the US level by the executive branch of government, by way of executive orders to override congress’ authority. The power of the presidency is so great that none dare complain or file suit least they be ostracized and receive retaliation for their efforts. Madison continues to describe the constitutions of Rhode Island,New York,New Jersey Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina. South Carolina and Georgia on the issue of separation of powers within the government and commented:
In citing these cases, in which the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments have not been kept totally separate and distinct, I wish not to be regarded as an advocate for the particular organizations of the several State governments. I am fully aware that among the many excellent principles which they exemplify, they carry strong marks of the haste, and still stronger of the inexperience, under which they were framed. It is but too obvious that in some instances the fundamental principle under consideration has been violated by too great a mixture, and even an actual consolidation, of the different powers; and that in no instance has a competent provision been made for maintaining in practice the separation delineated on paper. What I have wished to evince is, that the charge brought against the proposed Constitution, of violating the sacred maxim of free government, is warranted neither by the real meaning annexed to that maxim by its author, nor by the sense in which it has hitherto been understood in America. This interesting subject will be resumed in the ensuing paper.
I have seen, through the Federalist Paper and biographies of the Founding Fathers that, except for technology, they were dealing with many of the same problems in government. However, they were able to allow the constitution to be the law of the land. Can we step up to the plate and once again make the United States’ Constitution, the supreme law of the land or will we allow our civil rights to be regulated away one by one by unconstitutional legislation?

5 thoughts on “Fedralist Paper 47 and the Importance of the Separation of Powers Within the Government”

  1. Can we step up to the plate and once again make the United States’ Constitution, the supreme law of the land or will we allow our civil rights to be regulated away one by one by unconstitutional legislation

    Unconstitutionality has already been codified. For example, i. The California medical marijuana case, where Raich, et. al. were prosecuted under federal drug laws created, in part, under the “Commerce clause.”

    Justice Thomas’ dissent:

    Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

    The hard left intends to gradually destroy America’s institutions, including the US Constitution. The primary means of achieving this nefarious end is through the mass media and academia, which the left generally controls.

    Politics is a product of culture, and the winner of the culture war will prevail in politics; and slowly, the left is winning. To me, the schism is irreconcilable. Hence, secession of several states seems to be the most effective course.

  2. Rick
    Your example is a great indication of what Madison had the foresight to write in his Federal Papers has come home to roost.
    Madison not only had great wisdom and foresight but also possessed a keen sense of human frailties and nature.

  3. Can we step up to the plate and once again make the United States’ Constitution, the supreme law of the land….

    You can try. But it has been deteriorating for a while now.

    Including in the supposed “Great Wars” that took place soon after the Federal Reserve was established to launder worthless ponzi through wars in order to make it valuable:

    If you would run your own government properly. If you would think out a clean code of ethics. If you would make use of the machinery our respectable forebears bequeathed us, you wouldn’t need to be bothered with Jewry, and the peculiar story of Jewry and its peculiar, oh VERY, organization.
    But you have not used the machinery set up by our forebears. You have betrayed the national founders.
    You have NOT kept the Constitution in force. You have not developed it according to its own internal laws. You have not made use of the machinery provided IN the Constitution itself, to keep the American government modern. The main protection of the WHOLE people is in the clause about Congress issuing money. But that is not the whole of the Constitution.
    There is nothing in it to prevent an adjustment of, or progress from, LOCAL articulation; administration divided by geographic division, toward articulation by trade and professional organization. BUT you have NOT wanted to maintain the Constitution. You have NOT wanted, that is, you have not had a WILL, to maintain the Constitution or to maintain honest just government.
    And now I hear New York meat is slaughtered by chewisch butchers, or was a decade ago. Mebbe now there is of it to slaughter. Mebbe all American meat is slaughtered by Jewish butchers. ….
    Yes, Yes, and LINKS between the societies. Sir Moses Montefiore, D.I. Lowe, Rabbi Cohn, Strahun, Magnus, und Silberman, that was in 1864, and [?] lowitz, Times correspondent and Reuter. Brotherhood for enlightenment. Lernestein, Ginzberg, Lalischer: there is a lot to the story. And the worst of it is that, if you spend your time looking into it, it will prevent you from filling your mind with the light of the classics, and may tend to distract you from inheriting our cultural heritage.
    #95 (June 5, 1943) U.S.(C48)
    DEBT
    Will you folks back in America NEVER realize that you are fightin’ this war IN ORDER to get into debt? I mean just that, you have been dumped into the war IN ORDER to get into debt. To get in further, to get in up to the chin, the throat. To get into the morass up to your eyebrows and no man living can see WHEN you will get out of it. Ezra Pound

    Well, the answer to when seems to be… not yet.

    At this point, people would have to give up some of their cherished beliefs about WWII and their Greatest Generation grandparents for that to happen. And such things are probably priceless to them. The owners of the wealth of nations refer to such things as the “national myth”… and mythologies are usually priceless relative to the national debt.

  4. Is it time for another “fiscal cliff” or “Constitutional crisis” yet?

    There again, how can you have a “Constitutional crisis” when you’re not abiding by it in the first place?

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