How do we determine the meaning of the Constitution? Where do we ultimately find the authoritative source for original understanding? Do we look to the Supreme Court? To the Federalist Papers? To notes from the Philadelphia Convention?
Actually, we should look to the ratifiers. They were the ones who represented the people and agreed to approve the Constitution. Jefferson affirmed this idea.
“On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
This video, with narration from the audio version of Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty, explains this idea in more depth.
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