The Founding Father We Never Remember and Should Thank Every Day

176

By Rep. Mark Green, a combat veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, represents the 7th Congressional District of Tennessee. He is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Original here.

Yesterday was the birthday of the most important Founding Father Americans may not even remember. He doesn’t have a musical written about him. He doesn’t have an HBO series. But he is one of the most significant Founders in the history of the United States.

Thursday is the 272nd anniversary of James Madison’s birth. More than any other Founder, Madison is to thank for the structure of our great government. It is because of his dedication and genius that we have the separation of powers, a bicameral legislature, and proportional representation.

But it is this very system of separated powers that is under threat today. The fact that the federal bureaucracy takes legislative, executive, and judicial power unto itself is a threat to representative government. It’s time to push back against this overreach and restore congressional authority in line with Madison’s system.

Why is this so important? 

It’s because of Madison’s foresight that our nation has been able to guard against centralized power for over 200 years. And today, as we face an ever-growing federal government seeking to control the lives of Americans from cradle to grave, the best thing we can do for our nation is go back to Madison’s original system—constitutional government.  

To figure out what that means, we can read what Madison wrote himself. He laid out a new “science of politics” in both the ninth and 10th Federalist Papers. Here we learn that we have his idea of an extended republic to thank for convincing skeptical Americans that republican government is possible. Most Americans in the 18th century looked down on republics as a failed form of government. Madison and the rest of the Founders sought to prove them wrong—and it worked! 

Madison discovered the solution to the ancient problem of tyranny of the majority. He devised a system whereby the diverse interests of our growing country would compete with each other, preventing a single group from dominating the others.

This is why our nation has been able to rise above even our own failures. Madison believed in our ability to improve upon the past. He managed to devise a constitutional system that would continually improve upon itself as time moved forward. 

Today, our system of government has created the most powerful and prosperous nation to ever exist. Our Founders constructed a nation that allows all Americans to achieve their dreams should they choose to work for them. Madison believed in self-government, not government control. This foundation of self-government spurred generations of Americans to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit that has ushered the world into the modern age. 

In the short span of less than three centuries, our nation has grown from a collection of disparate colonies to the most powerful nation in the history of the world, and it’s thanks to the system of government created by Madison. No other nation, kingdom, or empire has flourished like America has, and we have our Founding Fathers, led by the providence of God, to thank for it. That’s something worth defending.

We also have Madison to thank for the Bill of Rights—one of our most important tools today for preserving liberty.

Many Founders, including Madison himself, didn’t think listing out our rights was necessary. In a perfect world, perhaps they would have been right. Yet knowing that men are not angels, we should be abundantly thankful that we have this list of legal protections to fall back on when the federal government infringes on our God-given rights—which it is doing at an increasing and alarming rate. 

Having government recognize the fundamental principle that rights are inalienable and come from God was not only unique at the time, it was radical and had never been done before. Enshrining everything from the freedom of religious exercise to the right to keep and bear arms is what has given our nation its reputation as the “Land of the Free.” And we have spread these ideas of freedom around the world. 

Unfortunately, today, that freedom is under attack. Radical leftist ideologies seek to tear down the institutions and systems put in place by the Founding generation and replace them with a dystopian nightmare. We have based our current success on the superior efforts of our ancestors. We must not sacrifice this success on the altar of failed political ideologies like communism and socialism. 

Over the course of our history, the executive branch has usurped more and more power. Since the onset of the 20th century, presidents have increased their use of executive orders to bypass Congress. But the threat to our constitutional system goes beyond political agendas.

Take President Joe Biden’s recently signed executive order. Without consulting Congress, the president signed into law an order promoting the use of “red-flag laws” on firearm purchasers, which inherently violates the Second Amendment. This order gives the federal government greater determination over what constitutes a “red flag” and who it will be given to. This is especially concerning given that the president openly called conservatives a “threat to democracy” and his administration investigated parents protesting COVID-19 protocols at school board hearings as domestic terrorists

If that wasn’t enough, this same administration colluded with Big Tech to censor conservative voices on social media platforms, violating their First Amendment rights. These attacks directly infringe upon protections Madison laid out in the Bill of Rights. 

The checks and balances defined in the first articles of our founding document are being thrown to the wayside in favor of a bureaucracy controlled by the executive branch.

This is what I am fighting against in Congress. We must do all we can to preserve our Madisonian constitutional system. If the Constitution falls, so, too, does the protection of our fundamental rights and freedoms.