• A More or Less Perfect Union: Balances of Power
    Articles,  Blog

    A More or Less Perfect Union: Balances of Power

    Think of the Congress as the giant. You cut the giant in half that gives you bicameralism. Two chambers of Congress. The House of Representatives and the Senate. One of the major reasons why we have two is to create an additional hurdle for passing a law. This was a finely wrought and deliberately difficult process because we wanted to make it hard for government to pass laws. As Madison said, “It is true that certain good laws will never get through. On the other hand, it is more important to stop bad laws.” Clearly, we ought to bring our attention to the issue of representation, and equality between the…

  • Can the Constitution Adapt to Future Circumstances? [No. 86]
    Articles,  Blog

    Can the Constitution Adapt to Future Circumstances? [No. 86]

    Even though the Constitution should be interpreted as other laws are interpreted with their original public meaning, this does not mean that the Constitution can’t adapt to future circumstances. In fact, the Framers did at least three things in the Constitution that allowed it to be flexible and adaptable into the future. First the Framers wrote a lot of the constitutional provisions in broad terms. They said Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. They didn’t say Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom to write with quill and parchment thus the First Amendment applies to the Internet. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and…

  • A More or Less Perfect Union: Madison, Jefferson & Books
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    A More or Less Perfect Union: Madison, Jefferson & Books

    Here we are in Philadelphia, in the summer of 1787. The states are disunited. The economy is in depression. And other nations walk all over us. And no one has a solution. Except this man. Five-foot four, 36, and hyper prepared: James Madison. He’d already helped write the constitution of Virginia when he was all of twenty-five. He had spent his life in training for this, whether he knew it or not. He was small in stature and lawyerly, legalistic, not very quotable. People tended to kind of zone out when he started to speak. He preferred to work in the background, quietly, he didn’t mind if others took credit…

  • A More or Less Perfect Union – Trailer
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    A More or Less Perfect Union – Trailer

    The Constitution protects us from an overreaching government. It’s the set of rules that our, that our country ideally adheres to. It’s a collective we. For more than two centuries, Americans have fought to establish liberty, expand liberty. And preserve liberty. Government has to explain itself to individuals, not the other way around. That’s the presumption of liberty. I’m Doug Ginsburg, and I’m a Federal Judge. As Americans, we have a strong belief, that no government should be able to tell us what we must say or must not say. That idea has always been under siege, and always will be. The original sin of the Constitution was its treatment…

  • Articles

    Episode 148: Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government (with Gary Gerstle)

    Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute. I’m Trevor Burrus. Joining me today is Gary Gerstle, the Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge and the author of the new book, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present. Welcome to Free Thoughts, Gary. Gary Gerstle: Thank you very much. Trevor Burrus: So, I would start with the interesting and provocative title of your book, Liberty and Coercion. Why did you choose those two concepts, which I guess are somewhat antithetical concepts, as your—for your overview of American history? Gary Gerstle: Well, for me, those…

  • Free Thoughts, Ep. 204: Lessons from the Anti-Federalists (with William J. Watkins, Jr.)
    Articles,  Blog

    Free Thoughts, Ep. 204: Lessons from the Anti-Federalists (with William J. Watkins, Jr.)

    Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts. I’m Trevor Burrus. Aaron Powell: And I’m Aaron Powell. Trevor Burrus: Joining us today is William J. Watkins, Jr., Research Fellow at Independent Institute in California and Former Prosecutor and Defense Attorney who has practiced in various state and federal courts. He is the author of Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. Welcome to Free Thoughts, Bill. William J. Watkins, Jr.: Guys, thank you for having [00:00:30] me. Great to be here. Trevor Burrus: The subtitle of your book says America’s First Constitution. I assume you’re referring to the Articles of Confederation? William J. Watkins, Jr.: That would be…