As colonists, we were proud to be English subjects, the freest people in the world. Our revolution was against Crown corruption of a wonderful system that was seeping from England into her North American colonies which threatened our rights as Englishmen.
As American patriots shake their heads in disbelief at the possible return of a thoroughly corrupt, felonious, treasonous Hillary Clinton to the White House, I recently happened upon a 1787 piece which extolled the anti-corruption features of the Constitution.
Just four days after the close of the Federal Convention, and over a month before Alexander Hamilton published the first number of The Federalist, the newspaper Independent Gazetteer printed a letter from a Nicholas Collin.
Whereas today, we immediately associate rights and liberty with the Bill of Rights, Collin viewed the Constitution’s enumerated powers and design of government as supportive of liberty and hostile to executive branch corruption. As opposed to our recent experience under Great Britain in which George III used every contrivance to sway colonial legislatures through his “multitude of new offices,” and “swarms of officers,” the very paucity of offices in the Constitution’s expected treasury, foreign, and civil departments would serve to minimize the opportunity for employment of men who could always be counted on to support the president’s policies.
A perhaps unavoidable defect in the English constitution, which many regarded as a strength, was the Crown’s power to appoint elected members of the House of Commons to offices in the government. The power was not unlimited, but there were typically enough of these placeholders to influence the content of Parliamentary statutes. Collin lauded not only the prohibition of employment in executive branch agencies by sitting congressmen and senators, (Article I § 6) the Constitution prohibited post-congressional employment of men to offices that congress created while these men sat in congress. As a further precaution, (and one which is ignored today) no previous member of congress could be appointed to an executive branch position for which the salary had increased while the member served in congress! By this, congressmen would not be inclined to collude with the president to secure favorable votes in exchange for post-congressional employment.
Outside of sensitive matters requiring secrecy, Article I § 5 promoted open government in the form of a public journal which recorded congressional proceedings and members’ votes. Sunshine is always the best antidote to legislative corruption.
The design of America’s upper house, the senate, sought to avoid anything resembling the English Crown’s corruption of the House of Lords and executive councils of her recent colonies. Through rotation of a third of its members every two years, Collin could not foresee any significant and dangerous collusion between the senate and president.
Electoral College. No other matter, how to come up with a chief executive, occupied more time in debate at the Federal Convention. The overriding concern was to eliminate the possibility of electing a demagogue, an agent of a foreign country, or a man pre-bought through collusion with congress. No presidential elector may be a member of congress or one who holds a federal office. Congress was to determine the nationwide day in which the states chose electors, and the day in which the electors voted. The noble intent of this method was to select a man unencumbered with political debts, a true statesman of nationwide standing for president.
While many of our Framers shared the traits of the statesmen they hoped to find in the presidential office, most were also experienced politicians well-versed in the self-serving shenanigans and corruption of republican government. Some 230 years later, most of their safeguards to minimize corruption and secure free government have been either dissolved by scotus, ignored through disuse, or overcome by imaginative forms of corruption they could not foresee.
From the Framers’ Constitution, it is clear they knew that avarice and ambition, man’s tendency to abuse power for personal enrichment is active in all governments at all times. By comparison, lady liberty is somnolent. If never awakened, she will eventually die in her sleep. If the despicable corruption of our ruling institutions, a corruption personified in Hillary Clinton, is to be reversed, it must come from us, the sovereign people.
Through Article V, the sovereign American people can regularly nudge lady liberty awake, and together they can take stock of the health and condition of free government.
There is little time.
Please join the Convention of States. Sign our COS Petition