Our Founders Hated “Direct Democracy”

(Originally posted in April of 2015)

Take note of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution reads:

  • “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government

I tell my kids that we do not have a democracy, but a Democratic REPUBLIC; and I am basing these on the Constitution and the authors (and signers) understanding of it (commonly referred to as “original intent”).  Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America but chose not to.  In fact, they made very clear that we were not – and never to become – a democracy:

James Madison (fourth President, co-author of the Federalist Papers and the “father” of the Constitution) – “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general; been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

John Adams (American political philosopher, first vice President and second President) – “Remember, democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration) – “A simple democracy is one of the greatest of evils.”

Fisher Ames (American political thinker and leader of the federalists [he entered Harvard at twelve and graduated by sixteen], author of the House language for the First Amendment) – “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction.  These will provide an eruption and carry desolation in their way.´ /  “The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be liberty.”

Governor Morris (signer and penman of the Constitution) – “We have seen the tumult of democracy terminate… as [it has]  everywhere terminated, in despotism….  Democracy!  Savage and wild.  Thou who wouldst bring down the virtous and wise to thy level of folly and guilt.”

John Quincy Adams (sixth President, son of John Adams [see above]) – “The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.”

Noah Webster (American educator and journalist as well as publishing the first dictionary) – “In democracy… there are commonly tumults and disorders…..  therefore a pure democracy is generally a very bad government.  It is often the most tyrannical government on earth.”

John Witherspoon (signer of the Declaration of Independence) – “Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state – it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage.”

Zephaniah Swift (author of America’s first legal text) – “It may generally be remarked that the more a government [or state] resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion.”

CATO Article:

Critics have long derided the Electoral College as a fusty relic of a bygone era, an unnecessary institution that one day might undermine democracy by electing a minority president. That day has arrived, assuming Gov. Bush wins the Florida recount as seems likely.

The fact that Bush is poised to become president without a plurality of the vote contravenes neither the letter nor the spirit of the Constitution. The wording of our basic law is clear: The winner in the Electoral College takes office as president. But what of the spirit of our institutions? Are we not a democracy that honors the will of the people? The very question indicates a misunderstanding of our Constitution.

James Madison’s famous Federalist No. 10 makes clear that the Founders fashioned a republic, not a pure democracy. To be sure, they knew that the consent of the governed was the ultimate basis of government, but the Founders denied that such consent could be reduced to simple majority or plurality rule. In fact, nothing could be more alien to the spirit of American constitutionalism than equating democracy will the direct, unrefined will of the people.

Recall the ways our constitution puts limits on any unchecked power, including the arbitrary will of the people. Power at the national level is divided among the three branches, each reflecting a different constituency. Power is divided yet again between the national government and the states. Madison noted that these two-fold divisions — the separation of powers and federalism — provided a “double security” for the rights of the people.

What about the democratic principle of one person, one vote? Isn’t that principle essential to our form of government? The Founders’ handiwork says otherwise. Neither the Senate, nor the Supreme Court, nor the president is elected on the basis of one person, one vote. That’s why a state like Montana, with 883,000 residents, gets the same number of Senators as California, with 33 million people. Consistency would require that if we abolish the Electoral College, we rid ourselves of the Senate as well. Are we ready to do that?

The filtering of the popular will through the Electoral College is an affirmation, rather than a betrayal, of the American republic. Doing away with the Electoral College would breach our fidelity to the spirit of the Constitution, a document expressly written to thwart the excesses of majoritarianism. Nonetheless, such fidelity will strike some as blind adherence to the past. For those skeptics, I would point out two other advantages the Electoral College offers.

First, we must keep in mind the likely effects of direct popular election of the president. We would probably see elections dominated by the most populous regions of the country or by several large metropolitan areas. In the 2000 election, for example, Vice President Gore could have put together a plurality or majority in the Northeast, parts of the Midwest, and California.

The victims in such elections would be those regions too sparsely populated to merit the attention of presidential candidates. Pure democrats would hardly regret that diminished status, but I wonder if a large and diverse nation should write off whole parts of its territory. We should keep in mind the regional conflicts that have plagued large and diverse nations like India, China, and Russia. The Electoral College is a good antidote to the poison of regionalism because it forces presidential candidates to seek support throughout the nation. By making sure no state will be left behind, it provides a measure of coherence to our nation.

Second, the Electoral College makes sure that the states count in presidential elections. As such, it is an important part of our federalist system — a system worth preserving. Historically, federalism is central to our grand constitutional effort to restrain power, but even in our own time we have found that devolving power to the states leads to important policy innovations (welfare reform).

If the Founders had wished to create a pure democracy, they would have done so. Those who now wish to do away with the Electoral College are welcome to amend the Constitution, but if they succeed, they will be taking America further away from its roots as a constitutional republic.

How did the terms “Elector” and “Electoral College” come into usage?

The term “electoral college” does not appear in the Constitution. Article II of the Constitution and the 12th Amendment refer to “electors,” but not to the “electoral college.” In the Federalist Papers (No. 68), Alexander Hamilton refers to the process of selecting the Executive, and refers to “the people of each State (who) shall choose a number of persons as electors,” but he does not use the term “electoral college.”

The founders appropriated the concept of electors from the Holy Roman Empire (962 – 1806). An elector was one of a number of princes of the various German states within the Holy Roman Empire who had a right to participate in the election of the German king (who generally was crowned as emperor). The term “college” (from the Latin collegium), refers to a body of persons that act as a unit, as in the college of cardinals who advise the Pope and vote in papal elections. In the early 1800’s, the term “electoral college” came into general usage as the unofficial designation for the group of citizens selected to cast votes for President and Vice President. It was first written into Federal law in 1845, and today the term appears in 3 U.S.C. section 4, in the section heading and in the text as “college of electors.”

The Crusades vs. The Three Caliphates (Moral Equivalence)

Other posts on similar topics:

As an aside, a great post to include in these studies is over at WINTERY KNIGHT and responds to these four myths:

  • Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
  • Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
  • Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
  • Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

There was nothing wrong, in principle, with the Crusades. They were an appropriate (if belated and badly managed) response to the conquest of the Holy Land by Islam. Did marauding 11th century armies inevitably commit outrages? They certainly did. In fact, that still happens today. But the most unfortunate thing about the Crusades is that they failed. (Powerline)

CHRISTIANITY (Crusades)

  • 9 Total Crusades from 1095-1272 A.D;
  • The crusades lasted about 177 years;
  • About 1-million deaths – this includes: disease, the selling into slavery, and died en-route to the Holy land;
  • About 5,650 deaths a year.

ATHEISM (Stalin)

  • His rise to power in 1927 lasted until his death in 1953;
  • Stalin’s reign was 26-years;
  • Middle road estimates of deaths are 40-to-50-million;
  • That clocks in at about 1,923,076 deaths a year.

(Some put the death toll per-week by Stalin at 40,000 every week — even during “peacetime”)

ISLAM (killing Hindus)

  • 80-million killed;
  • 500-year war;
  • 160,000 a year.

(As an aside… about 5.714 [to be clear, that is 5-point-714 people] people were killed a year by the Spanish Inquisition if you take the highest number over its 350-year long stretch if you use the leading historian on the topic.)

I have some maps to help make my case… and we know that conversion in these days was due to duress, like it is today. This first map puts a time-table to the 3-caliphates:

Around this same time (and you mentioned this in the convo I viewed) this was going on:

▼ The Third Crusade (1188-1192). This crusade was proclaimed by Pope Gregory VIII in the wake of Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Crusader forces of Hattin in 1187. This venture failed to retake Jerusalem, but it did strengthen Outremer, the crusader state that stretched along the coast of the Levant. (The Politically incorrect guide to Islam-and the Crusades, by Robert Spencer, pp. 147-148.)

Defensive

…the Crusades were a defensive war, not an aggressive grab for land and loot. In fact, crusading was an expensive and costly endeavor. After the success of the First Crusade nearly all the Crusaders went home. Virtually none of them recovered the cost of crusading. If one wanted to get rich, crusading was definitely not the best route to make it happen. Many atrocities occurred in the Crusades.

Understandably, war can bring out the worst in people. Even during World War II some American soldiers committed atrocities, but this does not mean the war was conducted so soldiers could commit crimes. [me: nor does this mean the whole of the meta-good of the conflict is undone] (Sean McDowell)

[Like the video says: Islamic jihad was enslaving Kafirs, the Crusaders were freeing them — key distinction.]

The almost Political Correct myth is that the crusades were an unprovoked attack by Europe against the Islamic world are dealt with in part:

▼ The conquest of Jerusalem in 638 stood as the beginning of centuries of Muslim aggression, and Christians in the Holy Land faced an escalating spiral of persecution. A few examples: Early in the eighth century, sixty Christian pilgrims from Amorium were crucified; around the same time, the Muslim governor of Caesarea seized a group of pilgrims from Iconium and had them all executed as spies – except for a small number who converted to Islam; and Muslims demanded money from pilgrims, threatening to ransack the Church of the Resurrection if they didn’t pay. Later in the eighth century, a Muslim ruler banned displays of the cross in Jerusalem. He also increased the anti-religious tax (jizya) that Christians had to pay and forbade Christians to engage in religious instruction to others, even their own children. Brutal subordinations and violence became the rules of the day for Christians in the Holy Land. In 772, the caliph al-Mansur ordered the hands of Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be stamped with a distinctive symbol. Conversions to Christianity were dealt with particularly harshly. In 789, Muslims beheaded a monk who had converted from Islam and plundered the Bethlehem monastery of Saint Theodosius, killing many more monks. Other monasteries in the region suffered the same fate. Early in the ninth century, the persecutions grew so severe that large numbers of Christians fled to Constantinople and other Christians cities. More persecutions in 923 saw additional churches destroyed, and in 937, Muslims went on a Palm Sunday rampage in Jerusalem, plundering and destroying the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection. (The Politically incorrect guide to Islam-and the Crusades, by Robert Spencer, pp. 122-123.)

One person (my pastor at the time) said to paint a picture of the crusaders in a single year in history is like showing photo’s and video of Hitler hugging children and giving flowers to them and then showing photo’s and video of the Allies attacking the German army. It completely forgets what Hitler and Germany had done prior.

This second map show there were raids, violence, and rape that reached close to Paris itself:

So far from the Crusades being an “out-of-the-blue” event, it was people in the West stopping the Muslim horde. Literally! Here is a 35-minute interview with Professor Clay Jones on the Crusades:

As well as a 6-minute section where Michael Medved was interviewing Robert Spencer. About half way through a call is taken… your typical “party-line”

Below is a comparison I used for a class at church comparing Muhammad and Jesus:

Jesus Versus Muhammad by Papa Giorgio

Not only that, but to say that the Crusades were immoral IS to borrow from the Judeo-Christian ethic. I make this point in a recent question/challenge sent to me by an atheist which I posted on here.

There is nothing in the pantheist worldview (Buddhism, Hinduism, Janism, Taoism, etc) which can account for people saying, “you [or ‘the church’] ought not have done that.” In fact, when I updated my chapter to reflect a recent event, I said this:

It is laughable that some defend this doctrine tooth and nail. However, if really believed, they would come to realize there is no real good or evil! The Inquisitions, the Mumbai terror killings at the hands of Muslims, as examples, were merely the outgrowth of the victim’s previous karmic lives. Therefore, when those here defend karmic destiny in other posts speak of the horrible atrocities committed by religion, they are not consistently living out their philosophy of life and death, which are illusory. The innocent victims of the Inquisitions, terror attacks, tsunamis, or Crusades then are merely being paid back for something they themselves did in a previous life. It is the actions said people did prior that creates much of the evil upon them now. So in the future when people who are believers in reincarnation say that Christianity isn’t what it purports to be because of the evil it has committed in the past, you should remind them that evil is merely an illusion (maya – Hinduism; sunyata – Buddhism) to be overcome, as karmic reincarnation demands.

(Reincarnation vs. the Laws of Logic)

And there is nothing in evolutionary naturalism either to denote an action being immoral. As the first of the links above clearly show. Only if you have the Judeo-Christian God in play do you have such a case to make. In other words you have to assume that which you wish to show false.

One last note on this differing direction of the convo. The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name.

It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainly. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course.

Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law — materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law. (A condensing of Gregory Koukl’s, “The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?“)

In fact, A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be ‘most’ really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting to note that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not even exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare. Even the Seven Years’ War, widely recognized to be “religious” in motivation, noting that the warring factions were not necessarily split along confessional lines as much as along secular interests.


The above paragraph is an adaptation of sorts from these two sources:

  • Alan Axelrod & Charles Phillips, Encyclopedia of Wars, Facts on File, November 2004
  • John Entick, The General History of the Later War, Volume 3, 1763, p. 110.

John Quincy Adams is worth reading at greater length on the topic, as he provides some insight into what has been going on in Iraq now that Obama has prematurely removed our troops: 

▼ In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, […..] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST. – TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE…. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant … While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.

Winston Churchill deserves a longer hearing too:

▼ “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”

Islam has not changed over the centuries. All that has changed is that never before have we been ruled by people who take Islam’s side against us. That is why the Marines were created in fact… the Barbary Wars. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (ECC 1:9). While other religions has entered modernity and rejected claims by men to get closer to their founding doctrine. Like what Jesus ACTUALLY teaches versus the guy in the pulpit… which was why it was illegal to own a Bible in parts of Italy all the way to 1870. Those in charge didn’t want the words of their Founder to be read.

People like Luther and Calvin read it, and read it well.

A Small Tribute of Anti-Israel Propaganda for Roger Waters

This (the above and below) is with thanks to Moonbattery!

John Quincy Adams is worth reading at greater length on the topic, as he provides some insight into what has been going on in Iraq now that Obama has prematurely removed our troops:

In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, […..] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST. – TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE…. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant … While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.

Winston Churchill deserves a longer hearing too:

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

“Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”

Islam has not changed over the centuries. All that has changed is that never before have we been ruled by people who take Islam’s side against us.