A Republic, If You Can Keep It (Part 1)

27 Oct

I found this statement of Ron Paul’s, given in January and February, 2000, in the Speeches and Statements section of the U.S. House website. It is about 20 printed pages and was worth every bit of reading. I have decided to share excerpts of this speech over the course of the next few days. Since there are seven sections, one section each day ought to suffice and not be too much of an overload. Today, we begin with Section One: Introduction.

…Our nation, divinely blessed, has much to be thankful for. The blessings of liberty resulting from the republic our forefathers designed have far surpassed the wildest dreams of all previous generations.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic if you can keep it” responded Franklin.

The American Republic required strict limitation of government power. Those powers permitted would be precisely defined and delegated by the people, with all public officials being bound by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The democratic process would be limited to the election of our leaders and not used for granting special privileges to any group or individual nor defining rights.

Federalism, the binding together loosely of the several states, would serve to prevent the concentration of power in a central government and was a crucial element in the new Republic. The authors of the Constitution wrote strict limits on the national government and strove to protect the rights and powers of the states and the people.

…The authors of the Constitution clearly understood that man has free will to make personal choices and be responsible for the consequences of his own actions…. If God could permit spiritual freedom, government certainly ought to permit the political freedom that allows one to pursue life’s dreams and assume one’s responsibilities….

Minimizing government authority over the people was critical to this endeavor. Just as the individual was key to salvation, individual effort was the key to worldly endeavors. Little doubt existed that material abundance and sustenance came from work and effort, family, friends, church and voluntary community action, as long as government did not obstruct.

…Our constitutional Republic, according to our Founders, should above all else protect the rights of the minority against he abuses of an authoritarian majority. They feared democracy as much as monarchy and demanded a weak executive, a restrained court, and a handicapped legislature.

It was clearly recognized that equal justice and protection of the minority was not egalitarianism. Socialism and welfarism were never considered.

The Constitution made it clear that the government was not to interfere with productive non-violent human energy. This is the key element that has permitted America’s great achievements. It was a great plan; we should all be thankful for the bravery and wisdom of those who established this nation and secured the Constitution for us. We have been the political and economic envy of the world. We have truly been blessed. The Founders often spoke of “divine providence” and that God willed this great nation. It has been a grand experiment, but is is important that the fundamental moral premises that underpin this nation are understood and maintained. We as Members of Congress have that responsibility.

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Posted by on October 27, 2008 in History, Politics, Religion


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