A Share in the Patria(Comments Off)
The people are the farmers. At the time of the War of Independence, 95 percent of Americans were engaged in farming. And as many as two thirds of the farming families owned their own land. The prospect of owning a farm was what had made the colonies attractive in the first place. The wealth they sought in America was not cash but crops. But this way of life had been threatened by a distant central government that was cash-strapped and weary from financing its own imperial adventures.
“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States . . . ” Thus run the first words of Article I, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, clearly laying out the Framers’ understanding of the nature and the role of Congress.
I cannot see the least possibility of recreating either an elite republican class (if, by “elite,” one means an untitled aristocracy) or the American Republic itself. The notion of a republic is a product of classical political thinking, which is now virtually dead in the Western world, and never appeared elsewhere. Not only has the classical political tradition become virtually extinct, the ability to think in classical terms seems to have been lost as well.
Alexander Hamilton said debt is a blessing: It oils the wheels of business and enhances national power. Jefferson said debt is a curse: It binds future generations without their consent, striking at the very heart of the Republic—the consent of the governed.