Saturday, December 26, 2015

Jefferson Was Right

 Thomas Jefferson Peale

I am writing in response to the recently posted piece at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, entitled “History proves Thomas Jefferson was wrong (whew).

The author of this article drastically overstates Madison’s role in the finalized Constitution. Madison desired a highly nationalistic government, with a national legislature that had general legislative authority, two houses of Congress both of which were apportioned by population, a supreme judiciary that had the right to rule on basically every case it desired, a president that was elected by Congress, and a federal veto of state law. Truthfully, Madison did not like the final Constitution because his nationalistic aims lost out in Philadelphia, but he did respect the Constitution as ratified over his own personal proclivities. He was hardly the “inventor of the Constitution,” and even maintained in old age that the Constitution was the product of “many minds and many hands.” Madison is often called the “Father of the Constitution,” but this title is unwarranted considering that most substantive aspects of the plan he desired (The Virginia Plan) were replaced by more agreeable alternatives at the Philadelphia Convention.


  1. Proud as I am of my Burke County red dirt farmer Great-great-grandfather being named James Madison Smith in 1805, I am well aware that he had not the advantages I have had, none greater than getting the Anti-Federalist Papers from the Internet in my old age. I seriously doubt that any member of the families of this poor Tar Heel boy or his Virginia Belle wife ever heard of them. Nonetheless, on first reading Richard Henry Lee and the others, I recognized wisdom greater by far than the average man's. They were the Founder's B Team. The A Team won out and gave us the government the B Team warned them of.