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2) the relationship between the representatives and the people/the public voice/public opinion?Does Madison’s conception of republican government meet the standard of a genuinely popular government?And government’s violation of property rights isn’t limited to the economic realm.
But like the victim of a terrible accident, the government that was formed that historic day in Philadelphia is hardly recognizable today, and the heart that propelled it—the principle of individual rights—is on life support.
Ironically, what started as a government of radically limited powers now that the nation’s schools “hold an educational program on the United States Constitution” on the holiday of its signing.
What were the essential elements of Madison’s political thought in the (or Party Press) Essays?
What importance does Madison give to the separation of powers and checks and balances in government?
In fact, he views the concept of property as fundamental, pertaining to much more than merely our material possessions. As famously remarked: “Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”It’s as if Madison looked into the future as he observed: “When an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected.” That is precisely our current situation.
In the narrow sense, Madison says, “a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.” But in a wider sense, “a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them . Today, the huge onslaught of regulations such as Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, and the EPA’s controls on energy production has brought us almost to the point of economic .
Consider the onslaught against property in recent years: The city of New London, Connecticut can seize Susette Kelo’s to sell to a shopping mall developer. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life.”Government, according to Madison, is “instituted to protect property of every sort,” and is judged solely by this yardstick: “If the United States mean to obtain or deserve the full praise due to wise and just governments, they will equally respect the rights of property, and the property in rights.”But what does our current government do?
Congress appropriates billions of our dollars and redistributes them to the companies of its choice, including failing banks, auto manufacturers, and solar panels producers. He explains that our right to property is as untouchable as our freedom of speech, press, religion, and conscience. Instead of respecting our material property at least as well as it does our other rights, its redistribution of wealth, strangling regulations on business, and deeply ingrained entitlement mentality are blatant assaults on our right to property.
Colleen Sheehan is Professor of Political Science at Villanova University, Director of the Ryan Center for Free Institutions and the Public Good, and has served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
She is author of is considered the encapsulation of his political thought and, to a large extent, of the theory of republican government that undergirds the Constitution.