Published On: October 6th, 2020

As part of his Americanus Papers, Alexander Hamilton had this to say about the French Revolution, 1794. “[We] resorted to Revolution as a refuge from encroachments on rights we [previously]enjoyed, not. . .a radical change. . . carried to an extreme. . . perverted by designing leaders. . . to the commission of outrages. . . to the practice of principles which shake the foundations of morality. . . to dissolve social bonds. . . to disturb the peace of mankind, to substitute confusion to order, anarchy to government.”

Miss Constitution fears that what Alexander Hamilton was talking about relative to the bloodshed and indiscriminate murder that took place during the French Revolution (1789-1799) has come to pass in our own country. It is so shocking to the average American that it has created a kind of passivity – a freezing in place – preventing well-meaning people from rising up and saying “no” to the chaos. In fact, the reaction, when not frozen and accepting, has taken on an “if I join them they won’t hurt me” or a “virtue signaling” aura manifested by signs and banners and t-shirts and gestures and graffiti and submissions uncharacteristic of the usually reasoning and empirical American. So eager are Americans for things not to be as they really are, commentators are talking about football season as if the game itself, with its disparate fan base, can somehow take us away from this nightmare and unite us in love of the sport. Even American male professional golf, the bastion of international players of all races and ethnicities, generally seen as outside the swells of societal passion of any country, are now wearing black armbands under their short-sleeve Polo shirts. One golfer is wearing one black and one white shoe as symbolic oneness with persons far removed from the necessity of Vokey sm8 wedges and certainly far removed from a professional golfer’s lifestyle.

Miss Constitution thinks we are experiencing what can happen when whole societies devolve into raw human impulse. This is what it looks like when human nature at its worst takes over the minds, the attitudes, and the behavior of human beings. We have seen this movie before. The French Revolution is but one example. David Hume (Scottish philosopher 1711-1776) and Thomas Hobbes (English philosopher 1588-1679) warned us about the true nature of human beings. The American system, represented by the United States Constitution was the answer to extremes; was the answer to mob rule; was the answer to anarchy; was the answer to bloodshed; was the answer to perversion; was the answer to designing leadership; was the answer cold-cocking a ninety-year-old woman walking peacefully on the street, was the answer to running over someone’s head with a car, and was the answer to every other beating and injury and killing that has taken place under the language of “justice” but the behavior of “wicked.”


How does the United States Constitution counter human nature?

If one digs down deeply into the human psyche, some of what we see in human behavior is driven by envy. Put simply, human beings tend to think that others who have more than they do got what they have unfairly. One is “born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth”; one has “white privilege”; one has cheated others to get where they are, and so forth. In Puritan times, the neat and tidy farms of the “chosen” were envied by the “non-chosen” who felt they were deprived even of heaven at the end of their difficult lives. President Obama summed it up with his statement, “You didn’t build that!” meaning you do not deserve what you think you have created. The answer to envy in the American system is the Liberty to pursue individual opportunity. That Liberty is protected by the God-given right to it in the Declaration of Independence and by the Constitution itself, including the 14th Amendment, that promises that no person in a state may be deprived of Life, Liberty or Property without due process of Law nor denied Equal Protection of the Law. The Law, that one has equal protection under, includes statutes that protect your business from arson; your home from invasion; peaceful enjoyment of your meal at a restaurant; and protection from assault and battery of your person. You are protected from unauthorized blockage of bridges and roads necessary for a medical emergency and paid for through taxes you pay. These are the Positive Laws you are protected under. You are also protected under Natural Law and the God-given right you have to free association with others, to life itself, and to pursue your own lawful happiness. In addition, Unwritten Law requires you be treated with courtesy and dignity. Envy, of course, is not the only quality in human nature, there is its opposite, greed. The thrust of our stable Constitutional system is to continue to open up as much opportunity as possible for those willing to prepare themselves to take advantage of what their talent merits, and the requirement when successful, to give back. This is Constitutional Social Justice. What the French Revolution represented and what many today are representing is not Constitutional Social Justice it is Revolutionary Social Justice and it always and forever has been characterized by the wholesale murder of those envied and by even less opportunity and charity for those who had hoped for a different outcome. One of the geniuses of our system is that it has been flexible enough to allow for constructive change over time without destroying the stable basis for that change. Real justice is not a verdict it is a process – a process that can improve over time.

Over 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton warned us what complacency might bring. The “designing leaders” he would be worried about today include a freshman House member calling on the young to radicalize. “We’re not going back to brunch!” – is her call to destroy normal American life. A retired professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard saying, “There are a lot of stupid things about the Constitution.” Really? A lot of stupid things? Individual rights against government power, stupid? The protection of Trademark and Patents, stupid? Division of power between state and federal government and separation of power between federal branches and checks and balances throughout all government, stupid? Wake up you who are frozen! Alexander Hamilton has some words he wants to say to you. He hopes you are listening 226 years after he first said them.

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    About the Author: Miss C

    M.E. Boyd, "Miss Constitution" is an attorney, author, and instructor in Business, Educational, and Constitutional Law. She has appeared on television and radio and speaks publicly on American history, the founding documents, and current political issues. Her mission is to help citizens understand the Founding philosophies behind the system so that we can-together-help preserve the blessings of liberty and prosperity. Read more about Miss C