Letter: A different view of the purpose of the Constitution

After reading Pete Wood’s letter on Oct. 1, “Vote ‘no’ on Proposition 113,” I’m compelled to respond. Mr. Wood wrote, “A common fallacy about America is that we are a democracy. We are a constitutional republic, and America’s Foundering Fathers had no intention of creating a majority-rule democracy.”

The Preamble of the Constitution states, “We the People of the United States … do Ordain and Establish this Constitution of the United States of America.” Clearly, the power of the people is sovereign. The majority rules.

Following the Revolutionary War, the U.S. was failing under the Articles of Confederation when a highly unique group of men met in Philadelphia. To save the nation in the summer of 1787, they wrote the Constitution. Before assembling James Madison published a detailed study on the failures of earlier democracies. Madison published “Of Ancient and Modern Confederacies” and “Vices of Political Systems of the United States.” He believed the earlier democracies failed because they did not have a strong central government. In the Virginia Plan, on which the Constitution is based, he proposed a federalist form of government.

When debating limiting voting rights, Madison successfully argued, “vital (to the) principle of free government that those who are bound by laws ought to have a hand in making them. The violation would be more strikingly unjust as lawmakers become the minority.”

The various state ratification conventions, especially in Virginia and New York, attempted to replace the wording, “We the People” with “We the States.” However, the majority of the delegates favored “We the People.” Majority ruled. The Federalist Papers, written by Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, firmly state the object of the Constitution — to organize a federalist form of government in the U.S.

While debating the amendments in the summer of 1789, the anti-federalists made several attempts to either remove, replace, or limit the words, “We the People.” All attempts failed.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to, “provide for the common defense and the general welfare” and “to do what is necessary and proper.” (What powers are left after that?) Congress is directly elected by the majority vote of the people.

Currently, we have the electoral college, a minority president, and chaos. Perhaps, the majority vote was the wisest.

Paul Bonnifield

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