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Presidents' Day Tribute to Madison -- Father of the Constitution

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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 09:21 PM
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Presidents' Day Tribute to Madison -- Father of the Constitution
Never forget our heritage and the great leaders of our nation. Of them all, Madison, although small in stature, was a giant. We owe him so much.

Madison was the Father of the Constitution, the shepherd of the Bill of Rights and the defender of the Nation in the War of 1812. He wrote:

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Memorial and Remonstrance

1. Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, "that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.
. . .
We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

. . .
The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor b y an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

3. Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entagled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it.

http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/memorial.htm

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