Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2012
Restoring the Chains

Congress should:
  • restore the chains of the Constitution.

In his draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson declared, "Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power." After further noting that the Constitution had "fixed the limits" of political power, he concluded, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." As I have argued in my study of Jefferson's constitutional thought, this statement nicely sums up the essence of Jefferson's theory. As a radical Whig who considered government an inherent threat to liberty, Jefferson respected the safeguards provided by written constitutions to help keep government limited to its proper bounds--and "to bind down from mischief" the officers of government, especially the president of the United States.
David N. Mayer, "By the Chains of the Constitution: Separation of Powers Theory and Jefferson's Conception of the Presidency," Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 26, 1997. David N. Mayer is a professor of law and history at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.

Why Americans should not trust the government, according to America's Founders.

Jefferson was wrong.
Why we are not "obliged to trust" anyone "with power."
Government is "an inherent threat to liberty."
It has no "proper bounds."
Samuel Adams said, "Government is an ordinance of heaven, designed by the all benevolent Creator."
        He too was wrong.

How to Become a Christian Anarchist

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