Wisdom from past

Dear Editor,

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay starred in a hit Broadway play in 1787-88. Nope, not true. But they did write 85 essays to encourage adoption of a new Constitution for the young U.S.A. These became known as the Federalist Papers. A few quotes from these essays will illustrate their wise understanding of human nature and politics. They would not be surprised by current happenings.

¯ “All extremes are pernicious in various ways,” Hamilton, Fed paper 35. Maybe such as extreme taxing or incessant tweeting?

¯ “In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason.” Madison, 55. As when a peaceful protest becomes a mob riot.

¯ “Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society.” Madison, 52. End probably means purpose in this context. Unfortunately, it seems this idea still needs work.

¯ “Often the great interests of society are sacrificed to the vanity ,to the conceit, and to the obstinacy of individuals.” Hamilton, 70. Mask or no mask?

¯ “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.” Madison sure got that right in 10.

Hopefully the Founders put enough checks and balances in the Constitution for the Republic to survive whoever is president for the next term.

Gary Finger,



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