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posted: 10/22/2013 4:40 AM

Stop proof-texting our Constitution

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Enough already with bringing up the Founding Fathers in today's disputes. I suspect most who do have never even read the papers of the men who wrote, argued over, fought for and passed the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers number in the hundreds, not just Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison et al, from the Constitutional Convention to state and local conventions. And they were just as varied and extreme in their positions as Congress today. They were for the most part anti-Church of England, anti-Quaker, anti-Baptists and extremely anti-Catholic. Many were anti-immigration and none guaranteed any rights to poor white farmers, blacks (slave or free), Native Americans or women. Many had an extreme dislike for each other. (James Madison and Patrick Henry, for example) They fought over whether there should be freedom "of" religion, or freedom "from" religion. The Constitution itself is a tax document written because the Articles of Confederation did not allow the federal government to tax, limiting its ability to obtain credit and provide for the common defense.

Many did not want the Bill of Rights at all, let alone attached to the original Constitution. And if two men did not agree on a particular point, a duel was highly likely to settle the dispute. But because they were willing to compromise, the Constitution was passed. The Constitution was not perfect, as it did not allow for the ending of slavery (a compromise with the Southern states to get the Constitution passed), but it laid the groundwork for a more perfect Union at a heavy cost later.

Anyone can find a quote from one of the Founding Fathers to back up their position, right or left. We need to study the entire body of work to really understand them.

Bob Kurek


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