Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments: The Federalist I

As Mark Levin explained in Chapter One, he undertook his project not because he believed the “Constitution, as originally structured, is outdated and outmoded, thereby requiring modernization through amendments, but because of the opposite – that is, the necessity and urgency of restoring constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society . . . “

In this squib, we’ll examine the observations of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton as they apply to keeping, and if necessary, restoring constitutional republicanism.

Number 33. Laws Judged Against the Constitution. What if the new government overstepped its authority through the exercise of a power reserved to the states? Hamilton advised the people, the creators of the governing compact, to “appeal to the standard they have formed and correct the injury done to the Constitution as needs may suggest and prudence justify.” Through appropriate means, the sovereign people must correct errors, defects and especially breaches of the compact. As a young revolutionary himself, it can hardly be assumed that Hamilton dismissed raw force as a justifiable response when necessary. Since armed resistance can, on occasion, be justified, then less than violent responses are certainly appropriate for lesser violations.

Number 38. Establish a Republic. Madison described how the federal convention was an historic, peaceful response to a worsening national situation.

In this number he reviewed the establishment, through nonviolent means, of ancient republican governments. He wrote, “Of every government established with deliberation and consent reported by ancient history, none were framed by an assembly of men, but by some individual citizen of preeminent wisdom and proven integrity.” So dire was the situation in most, the people, being at their wits end, entrusted individuals to reform their governments. “Fear of discord and disunion,” wrote Madison, exceeded the danger of entrusting so much to one man.

In contrast, Americans should rejoice in that they did not take such risk. They sent delegates to peacefully craft a new governing form suitable to deal with the exigencies under the Articles of Confederation. Every precaution and available lesson from history visited their councils. Yet the Framers were not so conceited as to assume their Constitution of government was to be so static, so bound, as to be entirely acceptable to future generations. Only the passage of time would reveal errors and defects in need of correction.

Over the remainder of #38, Madison politely disagreed with opponents to the Constitution. Whatever the faults of the Constitution, they were overwhelmed tenfold by those under the Articles of Confederation. For example, the confederation congress had unlimited power to raise taxes, emit bills of credit, and raise troops. Separation of powers was non-existent. There was no bill of rights.

Critics contended that no such dangers arose from those defects because congress depended on the willingness of states to comply with tax requisitions. To this, in an indictment that applies to our governing form today, Madison responded, “Then, say I, the Confederation can be charged with the greater folly of declaring certain powers in the federal government to be absolutely necessary and, at the same time, render them absolutely worthless.”

Like the Articles of Confederation, today’s Constitution has been rendered an ineffective governing document. But this time, its ineffectiveness was not caused by the states, but purposely by the government itself.

Number 43. Other Powers and Article V. Because the civil society changes over time, allowance must be made for change to society’s governing compact. Madison wrote that Article V “seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that extreme difficulty which might perpetuate its discovered faults.” Article V is the means to arrive at a government hoped for by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist #1, one that is established by careful thought and choice, rather than by chance or violence.

Unfortunately, the 17th Amendment rendered our Constitution mutable, if not fluid, in the hands of a progressive and often tyrannical supreme court. Every scotus decision and executive branch regulation that has the force of law is a usurpation of our compact.

Number 48. Separation of Powers. A common refrain among Article V opponents is to “just enforce the Constitution we have,” as if words on paper alone are sufficient to secure free government. From lessons learned under the first state constitutions, Madison recognized that “parchment barriers” by themselves were not to be trusted to stop one branch of government from encroaching on another. To illustrate, he turned to Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Despite the admonition in the Virginia constitution that the several branches should remain distinct, the legislative power regularly encroached upon the executive and judiciary. Jefferson described Virginia’s situation as an “elective despotism” little different in practice from the couple hundred oligarchs that ruled Venice!

Madison determined that free government cannot be kept by merely sending good people to ill-designed institutions. The design of governing institutions must provide checks that secure the authority of each branch.

In my next squib, we’ll take a close look at Federalists 49 and 50. If Article V opponents can find within The Federalist any support for their reluctance to hold an Article V convention, they’ll find them in 49 and 50.

We are the many; our oppressors are the few. Be proactive. Be a Re-Founder. Join Convention of States. Sign our COS Petition.


10 thoughts on “Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments: The Federalist I

  1. Gary Rosenbaum

    Thank you Rodney for your work… Very informative and interesting history. Let’s get this do me!!! Visit conventionofstates.comu

  2. Brandon Benson

    Thanks for going through each segment here so well. The time is right to use Article 5, and we have the history to back us up on utilizing this part of the Constitution to address issues with government.

  3. Don Sutton

    “What was to be a relatively innocuous federal government, operating from a defined enumeration of specific grants of power, has become an ever-present and unaccountable force. It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. Moreover, with aggrandized police powers, what it does not control directly it bans or mandates by regulation.”
    ― Mark R. Levin, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic

    Why a ?

    “…small government gives you big freedoms–and Big Government leaves you with very little freedom. The opposite of Big Government is not small government, but Big Liberty. The bailout and the stimulus and the budget and the trillion-dollar deficits are not merely massive transfers from the most dynamic and productive sector to the least dynamic and productive. When governments annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk of individual liberty. You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher–and you make it very difficult ever to change back.”
    ― Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon

    Why not work with the Government to change direction?

    “It is folly to believe that Congress and the president, on their own, will make the necessary and difficult decisions to address the impending financial debacle. After all, they and their predecessors engineered the approaching tsunami. As the situation becomes direr, the federal government’s actions will grow more oppressive.”
    ― Mark R. Levin, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic

    Why NOW ?

    “President Ronald Reagan cautioned that Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
    ― Mark R. Levin, Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America

    “To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will”

    Ronald Reagan

    Wait for the Tyrannical Federal Government to devour the Civil Society or join us.

  4. T.E. Sumner

    Thanks, Rodney.
    I would ask if you believe, as I do, that in that time of the Federalist papers gentlemen were that. A matter of honor held the bonds of civilization. Maybe duels still occurred, and men still committed sins and crimes against one another, but when the Constitution said X, gentlemen had honor and tried to respect that.
    Maybe I’m wrong.
    Maybe the clause in the enumerated powers that grants the House the sole power to originate revenue bills was meant to allow Senator Schumer to remove every single word of HR 3590 and replace it in its entirety with Obamacare. Maybe germaneness wasn’t explicit, so Schumer’s actions were justified.
    Or, maybe the Framers thought a Senator was a man of honor and would infer that the Senate could not “Amend” the revenue bills by replacing every single word.
    I have come to believe that modern day Senators and Representatives and other political figures are no longer men of honor, and hence the problems we have.
    Unfortunately, we can’t legislate honor.

    1. Carol Menges

      In the day of taking care of the exigencies of the Articles of Confederation, leaders of the states were often *not* men of honor or else the Confederation should have been able to pay its bills. Therefore, the need to reframe the nation. Then as now, there were good men of honor in leadership positions; there were also those who were not.

  5. TOBY L SHORT, US ARMY (ret)

    In addition to my 20 years of active duty in the military, I did another 20 years between civil service and military contracting. So, on the face of it – I am one of the faceless bureaucrats acting as a plague on the people. I have found that most mid-level managers (GS-12 to GS-15) do the best to work problems. Higher up the food chain, -on the policy level- politics (most cases liberal politics) dominates, so the authors of the federalist article above are pretty spot on. At the expense of biting the hand that fed me for my entire ifetime, I have to agree with them, ….the system is broken.

    I believe that the solution is a structural change, returning more power to the local, county, and state governments. Our government over the years has morphed into something unintended by the founders – a central, national government vs. a Republic consisting of separate sovereign states. With the passage of the 16th & 17th Amendments, and a few very bad court decisions, we are evolving into something like a centralized socialist government – that’s not a good thing – if you believe that the States should remain a melting pot of ideas for citizens to experiment with different approaches to govern themselves.

    The solution is really not elusive at all – just hard to do. Repeal the bad amendments and reverse the direction of the Courts;however, that seems bloody unlikely. So, an Article V Convention of States does offer an organized path toward repairing the errors of our past. I think it is!!

    1. Rodney Dodsworth Post author

      A thoughtful post, thanks. After these WikiLeaks and Project Veritas revelations, I hope the people realize just how close we are to tyranny. The democrat party is criminal and little different from the mafia.

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