Monday, February 1, 2010


"America has set the example and France has followed it of charters of power granted by liberty. This revolution in the practice of the world may, with an honest praise, be pronounced the most triumphant epoch of its history, and the most consoling presage of its happiness" -- James Madison; 'Charters' (1792)

Although Mr. Madison there refers to the construction of governmental powers--and well every true constitutionalism ought to agree--it seems the logic ought to be extended to all charters as well. As his collegue Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to William Plumer regarding the usurpation of the high court in favor of the corporate sovereignty of Dartmouth College:

"The idea that institutions, established for the use of the nation, cannot be touched nor modified, even to make them answer their end, because of the rights gratuitously supposed in those employed to manage them in trust for the public, may, perhaps be a salutary provision against the abuses of a monarch, but it is most absurd against the nation itself"

If only such practicality were acknowleged by those who claim the constructionist ideology today!