Introduction 

 

The Case Presentation of the United States 1787   builds on the understanding of the biologic process and current treatment approaches to medical conditions as a framework to address the political disease that had led to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. It is our goal to to a more deliberative, respectable solutions oriented process inspired by hope and built on compromise that serves the public.

 

Our treatment plan focuses on citizens as crucial contributors to the healing process. The series includes resources such as an examination of the similarities of the biology of cancer and the current US political system.  Offering “clinical examples” from our politics (including the challenges that led to the establishment of the United States), this series describes the symptoms of the American political system and the solution offered throughthe constitution. We highlight the similarities in the pathology of our current political situation and various diseases.

 

 

 

 

The Case of the United States 1787

Presented by: Edmund Randolph,  James Madison and   (Publius)      Federalist 10 & 51

 

Presenting complaint:

"The present system (Confederation Congress) neither has nor deserves advocates, and if some very strong props are not applied will quickly fall to the ground".          

 

Symptoms:

 

  • That the confederation produced no security agaInst foreign invasion; congress not being permitted to prevent a war nor to support it by their own authority. Of this he cited many examples; most of which tended to show, that they could not cause infractions of treaties or of the law of nations, to be punished: that particular states might by their conduct provoke war without control; and that neither militia nor draughts being fit for defence on such occasions, inlistments only could be successful, and these could not be executed without money.

     

  • That the federal government could not check the quarrels beteen states, nor a rebellion in any, not having constitutional power nor means to mterpose according to the exigency.

     

  • That there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation such as a productive impost counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations pushing of com merce ad libitu etc. etc.

     

  • That the federal government could not defend itself against the incroachments from the states.

     

  • That it was not even paramount to the state constitutions, ratified, as it was in many of the states.

Mr. Hughes explains the basics of the Articles of Confederation including the reasons for its eventual demise. Topics include the NW Ordinance of 1787, Shay's Rebellion and the Annapolis Convention.

Larry Kramer : Compromise as the Core Constitutional Value

Larry Kramer is the president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park.

The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.

Progress Report: 2020

Symptoms:

 

The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations.

 

History of Present Condition:

 

“violence of faction” leading to  our governments [being]  too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.

 

Data:

 

States:  13

Population:  3,000,000

Size: 

Federal Budget: 

Federal Debt: 

Confederation Congress: 

 

However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence, of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. It will be found, indeed, on a candid review of our situation, that some of the distresses under which we labor have been erroneously charged on the operation of our governments; but it will be found, at the same time, that other causes will not alone account for many of our heaviest misfortunes; and, particularly, for that prevailing and increasing distrust of public engagements, and alarm for private rights, which are echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.

 

Differential Diagnosis:

 

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

 

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time; yet what are many of the most important acts of legislation, but so many judicial determinations, not indeed concerning the rights of single persons, but concerning the rights of large bodies of citizens? And what are the different classes of legislators but advocates and parties to the causes which they determine? Is a law proposed concerning private debts? It is a question to which the creditors are parties on one side and the debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet the parties are, and must be, themselves the judges; and the most numerous party, or, in other words, the most powerful faction must be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufactures be encouraged, and in what degree, by restrictions on foreign manufactures? are questions which would be differently decided by the landed and the manufacturing classes, and probably by neither with a sole regard to justice and the public good. The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

 

Assessment:

 

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

 

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

 

Treatment Plan:

 

The Call for a Grand Convention

On May 15, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, issued “A Resolve” to the thirteen colonies: “Adopt such a government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the safety and happiness of their constituents in particular and America in general.” Between 1776 and 1780 each of the thirteen colonies adopted a republican form of government. What emerged was the most extensive documentation of the powers of government and the rights of the people that the world had ever witnessed.

 

These state constitutions displayed a remarkable uniformity. Seven attached a prefatory Declaration of Rights, and all contained the same civil and criminal rights. Four states decided not to “prefix” a Bill of Rights to their constitutions, but, instead, incorporated the very same natural and traditional rights found in the prefatory declarations. New York incorporated the entire Declaration of Independence into its constitution.

 

The primary purpose of these declarations and bills was to outline the objectives of government: to secure the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. The government that was chosen to secure these rights was declared universally to be “a republican form of government.” All of the states, except Pennsylvania, embraced a two-chamber legislature, and all, except Massachusetts, installed a weak executive and denied the Governor the power to veto bills of the legislature. All accepted the notion that the legislative branch should be preeminent, but, at the very same time, endorsed the concept that the liberty of the people was in danger from the corruption of the representatives. And this despite the fact that the representatives were installed by the election of the people. Thus, each state constitution embraced the notion of short terms of office for elected representatives along with recall, rotation, and term limits.

 

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

 

The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive republics are more favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations:

 

In the first place, it is to be remarked that, however small the republic may be, the representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that, however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence, the number of representatives in the two cases not being in proportion to that of the two constituents, and being proportionally greater in the small republic, it follows that, if the proportion of fit characters be not less in the large than in the small republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.

 

 

Resources:

* By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.