“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.”
— C. L. De Montesquieu
[Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat] (1689-1755) Baron de Montesquieu
Source: The Spirit of the Laws, VIII, 1752
This quote while a good one also raised a couple of questions with me. What if the “deterioration” of a government was with it from its inception? Were we doomed from the start? Our first issue is the obvious one, we codified slavery. Therefore it would seem that with attitude and with practical application we had a slice of evil in our formation, and have been paying for it ever since.
Number two, we did not engrave in stone certain key principles, we left them open to the amendment process, further rotting our foundation. Certain items were too important to leave to the vagaries of succeeding generations. The income tax, the Federal Reserve. Federal ownership of 3/4 of the land west of the Missouri river, government involvement in education, retirement, any possible question of gun ownership.
Certain things should have been written in stone. The founders never would have guessed that the majority of people could become so impossibly stupid so quickly. Our decay was with us from the start. The founders exceeded their mandate the summer of 1787. They weren’t supposed to replace the Articles of Confederation. But they did. And we have been paying for it ever since.