Every Business Leader Should Be Familiar With the Federalist Papers

economics, politics, small businessIn his Notes on the State of Viriginia in 1878, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.
Jefferson's point was that people should educate themselves in politics and government because they are the only hope of a free and prosperous society. By educating themselves a democratic society can guard itself from the "degeneration" that takes place when political leaders have no accountability. Later, writing to William C. Jarvis in 1820, Jefferson wrote:
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
In recent years I've heard business leaders lament about how so many of the decisions and policies of our American government have moved us away from free-market principles and practices. However, the solution is for business leaders to educate themselves (and others) on the principles and practices of the Constitution and our founding fathers. One of the best tools at our fingertips is the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the first Supreme Court Justice John Jay. They were written to educate the common people on the contents and intent of the Constitution at the time of ratification. Thus the Federalist Papers are the most authoritative commentary on the Constitution. One example of the rich information available in the Federalist Papers has to do with the role of the Supreme Court. This court was originally designed to protect the people from the political leaders who might want to rewrite the constitution. It was never designed to "direct" or legislate. The Federalist Papers state:
[T]he judiciary is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power...  [T]he general liberty of the people can never be endangered from that quarter.
They go on to state that the judiciary:

[H]as no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of society, and can take no active resolution whatever.  It may truly be said to have neither force nor will... [T]here is not a syllable in the plan [the Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution... [W]herever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the constitution.

My point is simply this.  Business leaders, along with all people, MUST be political leaders who hold the politicians accountable to abide by the Constitution. Period. Read the Federalist Papers and you will discover the amazing forethough and reasoning behind the brilliant document known as The Constitution of the United States of America. It is key to future economic growth and prosperity. Just a perspective I hope you will consider.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply