James Madison on “Parchment Barriers” and the defense of liberty

Although in the Federalist Papers James Madison urged ratification of the U.S. constitution, he was also concerned about things it left undone. He thought that many of his contemporaries were too focused on the threats posed by the executive branch, which he thought understandable given the fact that they had just fought a revolutionary war against…

Details

George Washington on Political vs Commercial Relations with Foreign Nations

As the military leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president, Washington is a highly revered figure. His Farewell Address from the office of the President is a timely reminder of a tradition of a non-interventionist American foreign policy which was potent in the early years of the new Republic. This passage comes…

Details

James Monroe writes to Thomas Jefferson on State vs Federal Governments

Written May 4, 1801 The Writings of James Monroe. Edited by Stanislaus Murray Hamilton. 7 vols. New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1898–1903. There is a subject to which I wish to engage yr. particular attention. Before I came into this office I was of opinion that the correspondence between the Executive of…

Details

Thomas Jefferson on the General Welfare Clause

NOTE: In this letter to Albert Gallatin dated June 16, 1817, Thomas Jefferson discussed the General Welfare Clause after President Monroe had vetoed a bill for the improvement of the Cumberland Road. Monroe did not believe the work fell within the scope of the Clause. 

Details

James Madison: Speaking on the Bill of Rights and the 9th Amendment

On June 8, 1789, James Madison made a statement regarding the introduction of a Bill of Rights, along with the 9th Amendment, which reads: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people Here’s Madison, in his own words: It has been objected also…

Details