Constitution: source of ideas

The Constitution, which sets forth the principle of rule of law, defines what is unconstitutional, and guarantees freedom of speech and other liberties of a Constitutional republic, and also describes the impeachment power. (How many know of the Jewish roots of this document?) Hypocrisy threatens Constitutional government. Could Israel use a constitution like this? More to the point: would a Convention of States save it, or destroy it? (Example: civil asset forfeiture violates the Constitution.) Quick fixes like Regulation Freedom Amendments weaken it. Furthermore: the Constitution provides for removing, and punishing, a judge who commits treason in his rulings. Furthermore, opponents who engage in lawfare against an elected President risk breaking the Constitution.
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What, in fact, were the sources of the Founders’ ideas regarding the Constitution?

 

 

 

David Barton responds as follows:

Political science professors believed that this question could be answered by organizing a broad spectrum of writings from the Founding Era with the goals of identifying the sources cited in those writings. The researchers assembled 15,000 representative writings from that period and isolated 3,154 direct quotes back to their original sources, thereby identifying the most frequently cited sources of the Founding Era. (The results of that study may be found in Barton’s The Origin of the American Constitution.)

The individual cited most often in the writings of the Founding Era was the political philosopher Charles Montesquieu, with 8.3 percent of the quotes being taken from his writings. Legal scholar William Blackstone was next, with 7.9 percent of the quotes, and … John Locke was third, with 2.9 percent. These were the three most frequently cited individuals during the Founding Era, but the single most-cited was the Bible, with 34 percent of the quotes coming from the Scriptures.

Significantly, that percentage is even higher when the source of ideas used by individuals such as Montesquieu and Blackstone are identified and included… [for they themselves] had used the Bible to help arrive at their own conclusions.[1]

The Bible. Source for the Constitution?

Altar and Bible at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Released to the public domain.

American scholars, even of classical Greek orientation, have ignored this evidence, having read America’s Founding Fathers with Lockean glasses.◙


 

[1] Barton, 23.

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