Monday, March 22, 2010

Is the US Constitution Viable in the 21st Century


Today, it seems many people question the viability of our Constitution in a world that has dramatically changed since 1787. People ask if 18th century men could anticipate the complex issues of the 21st century. In other words, can something written over two hundred years ago direct a government in our modern world? 

The short answer is yes, but let me explain.

When James Madison brought the Virginia Plan to Philadelphia, it was not a list of laws, but a system of government. A system that forthrightly recognized the weaknesses of man, and delineated a set of checks and balances to distribute power; not just between the three branches of government, but also between the federal government and the states.

Although the delegates debated endlessly over the elements of the design, and made major revisions to Madison's plan, they always kept the debates focused on limiting centers of powers. They were serious men designing a system of government for the ages to protect liberty for themselves and their posterity. Although not a common phrase at the time, every one of the fifty-five men at the Federal Convention would agree with the maxim that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, defines powers and, more importantly, limitations on powers. It is a brilliant system to govern people in an imperfect world. This was the original intent of the Founders. Since the nature of man has not changed, the Constitution is as valid today as it was in 1787.

When I started writing Tempest at Dawn over twelve years ago, there was no Constitutional crisis. I was drawn to the story because it was filled with giant personalities, and it was a unique event in the history of man. At no other time was a standing government changed with thoughtful reason, instead of the sword. The United States Constitution is a living document, not because it can be wrenched to fit politicians' whims, but because it bequeath to us an eternal system that inhibits the natural tendency of man to dictate the habits and liberty of fellow citizens. This is a truly astounding story, and I can only hope I did it justice.

From the Publisher

The United States is on the brink of total collapse. The military has been reduced to near extinction, economic turmoil saps hope, and anarchy threatens as world powers hover like vultures, eager to devour the remains. In a desperate move, a few powerful men call a secret meeting to plot the overthrow of the government.

Fifty-five men came to Philadelphia May of 1787 with a congressional charter to revise the Articles of Confederation. Instead they founded the longest lasting republic in world history.

Tempest at Dawn tells their story.

Tempest at Dawn at Amazon

1 comment:

  1. Excellent study and topic. How important to study? Today, of paramount importance, and just as relevant as it was in 1787. If you re-read the first of the 85 Anti-Federalist papers, and simply substitute Obama Administration and ObamaCare in about 14 places, the 1787 document reads as if it were written yesterday, in defense of the common man/woman and against big government.

    Thanks to you and others, we are keeping our constitution alive and at the forefront of our thinking as we approach this crucial mid-term election in November.

    Good luck and it was a pleasure to visit and read your blog.

    H.F. Dean

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