Howdy from Washington, D.C. and Mt. Vernon! Cathy, Juliette and I had another busy day Constituting America. We meet with some grassroots groups to get the word out about our Constitution and then we traveled to Fox News to tape a segment for Fox News Sunday! So be sure to set your Tivo to Fox News Sunday. It will air on local Fox and the Fox News Channel this Sunday!
I know that Federalist Papers N0. 35 and 36 are primarily dealing with taxes but I am rather intrigued with some other statements that are made by Alexander Hamilton about the prerequisites of a Congressional representative. I am struck by the lack of bias in his predetermination of the qualities of a representative.
“But even if we could suppose a distinction of interest between the opulent landowner, and the middling farmer, what reason is there to conclude, that the first would stand a better chance of being deputed to the national legislature than the last.”
“Where the qualifications of the electors are the same, whether they have to choose a small or large number,
their votes will fall upon those in whom they have the most confidence; whether these happen to be men of large fortunes or of moderate property or of no property at all.”
“There are strong minds in every walk of life, that will rise superior to the disadvantages of situation, and will command the tribute due to their merit, not only from the classes to which they particularly belong, but from the society in general. The door ought to be equally open to all.”
This paragraphs, and especially the last, best represents the greatness of America – that in America any person of a strong mind may rise superior to the disadvantages of situation, and command the tribute due to their merit.
This, of course, was the personal journey of Alexander Hamilton. (I wrote about his mother in my book, “Holding Her Head High.) This was, also, the promise for the American people from a new nation in its embryonic stage. This was the promise that had germinated in the minds of our forefathers, men who, in their own right, deserve merit and study. They were men who had the brilliant insights, the reverence for Divine Providence and the fortitude to bring both the awareness of inalienable rights and the freedom to dream to fruition.
It is hard for us, who experience our freedoms daily with an ease that parallels the involuntary rhythm of breathing, to fathom the journey our ancestors bridged into the age of enlightenment. We have to stand back and really absorb their air to truly comprehend the magnitude and genius of their visions.
It is an honor to read our United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers. It is a door equally open to all, as are opportunities of every genre.
Let’s keep it that way.
June 16, 2010