"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

American Voices from the Past - Samuel Bryan

Interesting paper published in Pennsylvania in October of 1787, while debates raged on whether or not individual States should ratify the Constitution (which did not yet contain the Bill of Rights). Samuel Bryan wrote "Centinel," Number 1 and argued that Pennsylvanians already enjoyed rights to a jury trial, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and were being asked to instead sign onto a Constitution that did not guarantee those rights and which gave great power to a federal government. Thankfully visionaries like him were able to get a Bill of Rights established to protect the People, prior to the Constitution being ratified. His paper has one particularly resonating section on just how important such liberty protections are:

If ever free and unbiased discussion was proper or necessary, it is on such an occassion.--All the blessings of liberty and the dearest privileges of freemen, are now at stake and dependent on your present conduct. Those who are competent to the task of developing the principles of government, ought to be encouraged to come forward, and thereby the better enable the people to make a proper judgment; for the science of government is so abstruse, that few are able to judge for themselves: without such assistance the people are too apt to yield an implicit assent to the opinions of those characters, whose abilities are held in the highest esteem, and to those in whose integrity and patriotism they can confide: not considering that the love of domination is generally in proportion to talents, abilities, and superior acquirements: and that the men of the greatest purity of intention may be made instruments of despotism in the hands of the artful and designing. If it were not for the stability and attachment which time and habit gives to forms of government, it would be in the power of the enlightened and aspiring few, if they should combine, at any time to destroy the best establishments, and even make the people the instruments of their own subjugation.

This work is part of the book, "The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates" by Ralph Ketcham.

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