Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Madison and Jefferson on the Traditionalist View of the U.S. Constitution Versus the 'Living Breathing' Constitution

The very first debate about the "living" nature of our constitution versus interpretation from a traditional standpoint began immediately after its drafting between fellow Virginians and friends, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Madison was probably the single most influential person in the crafting of our constitution.  He was the first to arrive in Philadelphia, worked to set up alliances before the convention began, took the most robust notes of the four months of of proceedings and continued to argue his federalist (stronger central government) vision after the fact in the Federalist Papers.   

Jefferson spent that summer in Europe and did not attend the proceedings but stayed in communication with Madison and others via mail as best he could.   

The below summary appears on pages 421 and 422 of Plain Honest Men by Richard Beeman in the 2010 Random House paperback edition.  (More on this book in the prior post).