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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Monday, February 12, 2007

What's in A Name?

James Madison, 4th President of the US, is one of the inspirations for the name of this blog, Milton J. Madison.

He was known as the "Father of the Constitution", was responsible for the first 10 amendments and a contributor to the Federalist Papers, published as a discussion on how and why the new nation was framed as such.

Madison was a strong believer in state's right and a limited role for the central government, in opposition to Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton is the Milton in Milton J. Madison, not Milton Friedman, one of the most important economic thinkers of the 20th century) who was a proponent of a much stronger central government.
From his thorough study of governmental forms throughout history, Madison saw clearly that a governmental structure that would resist the tendencies toward tyranny demanded a structure and mechanisms to keep power distributed. Tyranny was the likely result of unchecked, concentrated power. To define a governmental structure that supported the values expressed in the preamble, and particularly to ensure against tyranny, he articulated two central principles, the separation of powers, and checks and balances. Distribute power, and keep it distributed.
He also believed that a properly founded nation could be immortal.

The separation of powers between the states and a stronger central government than existed earlier gave Washington the right to raise and army, tax and to veto the acts of states. So in so many words, the new more powerful central government has the following powers or rights:
1. National defense: Defend the nation with an army and Navy.
2. International diplomacy: Maintain relationships with foreign powers.
3. A monetary system: A system of money to allow for commerce.
4. A system of law: Laws for those issues that a central government is best designed to deal with.
5. A system of interstate commerce: Regulate and allow for free trade amongst the states without barriers between them.
The rest of the powers, rights and responsibilities fall towards the states.

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