Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Want to receive the daily American Minute email?


 

NEW! View the American Minute for:

American Minute for June 28th:

Audio Player
Download MP3

View in Spanish

    The Constitutional Convention was in a deadlock over how large and small states could be represented equally.

Some delegates left.

Then, on JUNE 28, 1787, 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin spoke and shortly after, the U.S. Constitution became a reality.

Franklin stated:

"Groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us,

how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights...

In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.

Our prayers, Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending Providence in our favor...

And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?..."

Franklin concluded:

"We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it'...

I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed...no better than the Builders of Babel."

Ben Franklin had given another address at the Constitutional Convention several weeks earlier titled "Dangers of a Salaried Bureaucracy," June 2, 1787:

"Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men...ambition and avarice - the love of power and the love of money...

When united...they have...the most violent effects.

Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall, at the same time, be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it..."

Franklin added:

"What kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters?

It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust.

It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits.

These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers..."

Franklin explained further:

"There will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able, in return, to give more to them.

All history informs us, there has been...a kind of warfare between the governing and the governed; the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less...

Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries...and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more.

The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure."

Franklin concluded:

"There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh - get first all the people's money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever.

It will be said that we do not propose to establish kings...but there is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government...

They would rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among citizens; and that they like.

I am apprehensive, therefore - perhaps too apprehensive - that the government of the States may, in future times, end in a monarchy... and a king will the sooner be set over us."

A lover of money is described as having "avarice" or "covetousness"- defined having "an excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain."

The Law of Moses admonished the children of Israel in Exodus 18:12 to choose leaders:

"Thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness."

Plato wrote of this in The Republic, 380 BC, that government would transition from being ruled by lovers of virtue, to lovers of honor, to lovers of money:

"Now what man answers to this form of government... He is a...lover of honor; claiming to be a ruler... Busy-bodies are honored and applauded..."

"Is not the passionate element wholly set on ruling...and getting fame?"

"Not originally of a bad nature, but having kept bad company...becomes arrogant and ambitious..."

"...Such an one will despise riches only when he is young; but as he gets older he will be more and more attracted to them, because he has a piece of the avaricious nature in him, and is not single-minded towards virtue..."

"The love of honor turns to love of money; the conversion is instantaneous."

Plato continued:

"Because they have no means of openly acquiring the money which they prize; they will spend that which is another man's."

"They invent illegal modes of expenditure; for what do they or their wives care about the law?"

"And so they grow richer and richer...the less they think of virtue...and the virtuous are dishonored..."

"Insatiable avarice is the ruling passion of an oligarchy..."

Jefferson wrote of danger of the Executive branch bribing Congressmen and Senators:

"...as a machine for the corruption of the legislature; for he avowed the opinion that man could be governed by one of two motives only, force or interest...

the interests therefore of the members must be laid hold of, to keep the legislature in unison with the Executive.

...some members were found sordid enough to bend their duty to their interests, and to look after personal, rather than public good.

...Men thus enriched by the dexterity of a leader, would follow of course the chief who was leading them to fortune, and become the zealous instruments of all his enterprises."

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1796:

"Either force or corruption has been the principle of every modern government."

Plato added of this politician:

"He has...allowed the blind god of riches to lead the dance within him..."

"He will have many slavish desires, some beggarly, some knavish, breeding in his soul..."

"If he...has the power to defraud, he will soon prove that he is not without the will, and that his passions are only restrained by fear and not by reason."

Frederic Bastiat explained in The Law, 1850, how politicians are tempted toward 'legal plunder':

"Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain - and since labor is pain in itself - it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work..."

Frederic Bastiat continued:

"It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work...

But, generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men...

This fact, combined with the fatal tendency that exists in the heart of man to satisfy his wants with the least possible effort, explains the almost universal perversion of the law.

Thus it is easy to understand how law, instead of checking injustice, becomes the invincible weapon of injustice.

It is easy to understand why the law is used by the legislator to destroy in varying degrees among the rest of the people, their personal independence by slavery, their liberty by oppression, and their property by plunder.

This is done for the benefit of the person who makes the law, and in proportion to the power that he holds."

In The Spirit of the Laws, 1748, Montesquieu wrote:

"In a popular state, one spring more is necessary, namely, virtue...

The politic Greeks, who lived under a popular government, knew no other support than virtue...

When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community...

When, in a popular government, there is a suspension of the laws, as this can proceed only from the corruption of the republic, the state is certainly undone."

Harvard President Samuel Langdon stated in his address "Government Corrupted by Vice," May 31, 1775:

"They were a sinful nation...who had forsaken the Lord; and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger...

Everyone loved gifts, and followed after rewards...more than the duties of their office; the general aim was at profitable places and pensions; they were influenced in everything by bribery;

and their avarice and luxury were never satisfied, but hurried them on to all kinds of oppression and violence, so that they even justified and encouraged the murder of innocent persons to support their lawless power, and increase their wealth."

Noah Webster wrote in his History of the United States, 1832:

"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers 'just men who will rule in the fear of God'...

If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for the selfish or local purposes;

corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded.

If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws."

Lord Acton wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1881:

"All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

President William Henry Harrison stated in his Inaugural Address, 1841:

"The tendency of power to increase itself, particularly when exercised by a single individual...would terminate in virtual monarchy."

President Andrew Jackson stated in his Veto of the Bank Renewal Bill, July 10, 1832:

"It is easy to conceive that great evils to our country and its institutions might flow from such a concentration of power in the hands of a few men irresponsible to the people."

George Washington stated in his Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

"Of fatal tendency...to put, in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party - often a small but artful and enterprising minority....

They are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to SUBVERT the Power of the People and to USURP for themselves the reins of Government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

Colonial leader John Cotton stated:

"For whatever transcendent power is given, will certainly over-run those that give it... It is necessary therefore, that all power that is on earth be limited."

James Madison stated at the Constitutional Convention, July 11, 1787:

"All men having POWER ought to be distrusted."

John Adams wrote in his Notes from an oration at Braintree, Massachusetts, Spring 1772:

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with the power to endanger the public liberty."

President Andrew Jackson warned December 5, 1836:

"There is no such provision as would authorize Congress to collect together the property of the country, under the name of revenue, for the purpose of dividing it equally or unequally among the States or the people...

The practical effect of such an attempt must ever be to burden the people with taxes, not for the purposes beneficial to them, but to...support a band of useless public officers...

All would be merged in a practical consolidation, cemented by widespread corruption, which could only be eradicated by one of those bloody revolutions which occasionally overthrow the despotic systems of the Old World."

Gouverneur Morris spoke 173 times during the Constitutional Convention, more than any other delegate. He was the head of the Committee on Style, and penned the final draft of the U.S. Constitution, where he originated the phrase "We the People of the United States of America.

Gouverneur Morris pioneered the Erie Canal, was a U.S. Senator and helped write New York's Constitution. In 1785,

Gouverneur Morris addressed the Pennsylvania Assembly regarding the Bank of North America:

"How can we hope for public peace and national prosperity, if the faith of governments so solemnly pledged can be so lightly infringed?...

This hour of distress will come.

It comes to all, and the moment of affliction is known to Him alone, whose Divine Providence exalts or depresses states and kingdoms...in proportion to their obedience or disobedience of His just and holy laws."

Who is the King in America?

Who is the King in America? BOOK Or DVD


Recent American Minutes

4/26 Virginia History 4/25 Senate Chaplain 4/24 Library of Congress 4/23 Shakespeare 4/22 Trail of Tears 4/21 Mark Twain 4/20 David Brainerd 4/19 Patriots Day 4/18 William Brewster 4/17 Ben Franklin 4/16 Resurrection Day 4/15 Income Tax 4/14 Noah Webster 4/13 Thomas Jefferson 4/12 Leading to Civil War 4/11 Apollo 13 4/10 Salvation Army 4/9 Robert E Lee 4/8 Omar Bradley 4/7 DL Moody 4/6 WWI 4/5 John Adams and sons 4/4 Booker T. and MLK, Jr. 4/3 Man Without a Country 4/2 Samuel Morse 4/1 Battle of Okinawa 3/31 Missionaries to Hawaii 3/30 Lincoln Day of Fasting 3/29 John Tyler 3/28 Justice David Brewer 3/27 Alexis de Tocquevile 3/26 Harry Hosier/Richard Allen 3/25 African American Missionaries 3/24 Fighting Slavery 3/23 Patrick Henry 3/22 Jonathan Edwards 3/21 Bach 3/20 Isaac Newton 3/19 Battle of Lepanto 3/18 Johnny Appleseed 3/17 Saint Patrick 3/16 Madison 3/15 Reagan on Prayer 3/14 Albert Einstein 3/13 Susan B Anthony 3/12 Girl Scouts High and Low 3/11 Charles Sumner 3/10 William Penn 3/09 Merrimac v Monitor 3/08 Oliver Wendell Holmes 3/07 Boston blockaded 3/06 Henry Knox 3/05 Boston Massacre 3/04 Presidents Warnings 3/03 In God We Trust 3/02 Islam led to Renaissance 3/01 Articles of Confederation 2/29 Leap Day 2/28 Posterity 2/27 Longfellow 2/26 Victor Hugo 2/25 John Foster Dulles 2/24 Alamo 2/23 Panama Canal 2/22 George Washington 2/21 JQA 2/20 William Prescott 2/19 Adoniram Judson 2/18 John Bunyan 2/17 Billy Sunday 2/16 Jefferson v Islam pirates 2/15 Slavery History, and Cuba 2/14 Saint Valentines Day 2/13 Ivan the Terrible 2/12 Lincoln and Darwin 2/11 Lincoln warning 2/10 Montesquieu 2/9 William Henry Harrison 2/8 Boy Scouts Long Journey 2/7 Frederick Douglass 2/6 Ronald Reagan 2/5 Roger Williams 2/4 Bonhoffer 2/3 Four Chaplains Day 2/2 Mexican History 2/1 Julia Ward Howe 1/31 Jacob Duche 1/30 FDR 1/29 Robert Frost 1/28 Explorers circle Earth 1/27 Jewish Immigration 1/26 Douglas MacArthur 1/25 James Madison 1/24 Robert Boyle 1/23 History of Healthcare 1/22 Sanctity of Life 1/21 Ten Commandments 1/20 God in Inaugurals 1/19 Prayer is Constitutional 1/18 Daniel Webster warning 1/17 Battle of Cowpens 1/16 Religious Freedom Day 1/15 Martin Luther King Jr 1/14 Albert Schweitzer 1/13 James Oglethorpe 1/12 Edmund Burke 1/11 French Revolution 1/10 Bleeding Kansas 1/9 Communism Failure 1/8 Battle of New Orleans 1/7 Millard Fillmore 1/6 12th Day of Christmas 1/5 George W Carver 1/4 Smallpox in the Revolution 1/3 Battle of Princeton 1/2 Betsy Ross 1/1 Jeffersons Wall 12/31 Captains Daughter 12/30 India 12/29 The American Crisis 12/28 Armenia 12/27 Johannes Kepler 12/26 Battle of Trenton 12/25 Christmas Day 12/24 Christmas Eve 12/23 Hanukkah 12/22 Battle of the Bulge 12/21 Amazing Grace 12/20 Christmas Truce of 1914 12/19 Valley Forge 12/18 Hark the Herald Angels 12/17 Composers and Carols 12/16 Boston Tea Party 12/15 Bill of Rights 12/14 Washington died 12/13 Christmas Carols 12/12 Pennsylvania 12/11 Russia 12/10 Cuba 12/09 Russian Jews 12/08 So Help Me God 12/07 Pearl Harbor 12/06 St. Nicholas Traditions 12/05 Hugh Williamson 12/04 Pere Marquette-Founding Chicago 12/03 Indian Policies 12/02 Cortes Conquest of Mexico 12/01 Division Prior to Civil War 11/30 Mark Twain in Middle East 11/29 C.S. Lewis 11/28 Anti-Federalists 11/27 Israel and the Middle East 11/26 Western Civ. 11/25 Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman 11/24 Thanksgiving Days 11/24 John Knox 11/23 White House Christmas Tree 11/22 JFK 11/21 Pilgrims, Const. v Islam 11/20 Prayer in Schools 11/19 Gettysburg Address 11/18 Republic and Character 11/17 Queen Elizabeth I 11/16 My Country tis of thee 11/15 John Witherspoon 11/14 Booker T. and the Bible 11/13 Vietnam War 11/12 Pilgrims v. Communism 11/11 Veterans Day 11/10 Dr. Livingstone 11/8 Lewis and Clark 11/7 YMCA, Goodwill Industries 11/6 Billy Graham 11/5 Mercy Otis Warren 11/4 Charles Carroll 11/3 Who is the King 11/2 Newburgh Conspiracy 11/1 Presidents Churches 10/31 Reformation 10/30 John Adams 10/29 Great Depression 10/28 Statue of Liberty 10/27 Theodore Roosevelt 10/26 Right to Bear Arms 10/25 Grover Cleveland-Armenia 10/24 U.N. 10/23 Foreign Policy 10/22 Sam Houston 10/21 Horatio Nelson 10/20 Hoover on Middle East 10/19 End of Revolution 10/18 Star Chamber 10/17 Saratoga 10/16 War of Jenkins Ear 10/15 Concentrated Power 10/14 Founding Pennsylvania 10/13 Margaret Thatcher 10/12 Columbus 10/11 Plato 10/10 Marco Polo 10/9 Lewis Cass 10/8 Eddie Rickenbacker 10/7 Moravian Missionaries 10/6 Lees Lost Order 191 10/5 Great Awakening Colleges 10/4 Bibles in Military 10/3 First Natl Thanksgiving 10/2 Armenian Massacres 10/1 John Peter Muhlenberg 9/30 Great Awakening 9/29 Squanto 9/28 Louis Pasteur 9/27 Sam Adams 9/26 Daniel Boone 9/25 George Mason 9/24 John Marshall 9/23 John Paul Jones 9/22 Nathan Hale 9/21 James Kent 9/20 Fisher Ames 9/19 Washington Farewell 9/18 John Langdon 9/17 Constitution Day 9/16 Pilgrims set sail 9/15 Taft 9/14 Harvard 9/13 Francis Scott Key 9/12 Thomas Cooley 9/11 911 9/10 Joseph Story 9/9 California Missions 9/8 Jerusalem destroyed 9/7 Albania: A Hero; A Saint 9/6 Assyria 9/5 Labor Day 9/4 Fall of Rome 9/3 Great Riot of Istanbul 9/2 Pearl Harbor to Calvary 9/1 First Prayer in Congress 8/31 Pilgrims Progress 8/30 Benedict Arnold 8/29 Indian Policy 8/28 MLK & Booker T. 8/27 Brooklyn Heights Battle 8/26 Women Vote 8/25 Astronomer Herschel 8/24 Printing Press 8/23 Lake Erie Battle 8/22 FDR-Christian Religion 8/21 Justice Wilson 8/20 Francis Asbury 8/19 Signer Def. of Marriage 8/18 Judge Learned Hand 8/17 God in U.S. Military 8/16 Blackstone & Finney 8/15 Napoleon 8/14 V-J Day 8/13 H.G. Wells 8/12 God-50 State Constitution 8/11 Communist banning God 8/10 Herbert Hoover 8/9 Missionaries to Northwest 8/8 Political Scandals 8/7 Second Great Awakening 8/6 Alfred Lord Tennyson 8/5 King Philips War 8/4 Navy & Coast Guard 8/3 Islam & Columbus voyage 8/2 JFK 8/1 Herman Melville 7/31 Booker T. Washington 7/30 William Penn 7/29 de Tocqueville 7/28 Politics of Race 7/27 Korean War & Communism 7/26 Ben Franklin 7/25 Ulysses S. Grant 7/24 Tennessee History 7/23 Roger Sherman 7/22 Carl Sandburg 7/21 Scopes Monkey Trial 7/20 Communion on Moon 7/19 Winston Churchill 7/18 Battle of Wilderness 7/17 Apostle of Indies 7/16 God in Space 7/15 Congress Printed Bibles 7/14 Gerald Ford 7/13 Reign of Terror 7/12 George W. Carver 7/11 Alexander Hamilton 7/10 Bank War 7/9 Cholera Epidemic 7/8 Liberty Bell


Past American Minutes

Click here to view


Watch Faith in History online

Click here to view


Faith of nations forefathers celebrated at Plymouth

Click here to view


Read More Articles ›

© 2017 AmeriSearch, Inc.   Unsubscribe

AMERICAN MINUTE© is written and copyrighted by William J. Federer. Permission is granted to reproduce with acknowledgement. AMERICAN MINUTE™ is a registered trademark.

Designed by:

Made by Diverge