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The Right Stuff: The rise and fall of the republic: Part 2

By Earl Heal

The Right Stuff on Oct. 10 reviewed the strength of the Constitution that encouraged the amazing growth of America into a world power.

Other than the Bill of Rights and three amendments related to the slavery issue, no amendments violated the human nature concepts in the Constitution until 1913. For 150 years the Founders’ wisdom had produced the greatest growth in freedom and economy of any nation in history.

The 17th Amendment, passed in 1913, required senators to be elected by the people instead of appointment by their respective state legislatures. It was promoted on the concept of improving voter rights that were already protected by the so-called peoples’ house. The amendment’s unintended consequence weakened the strength of state’s rights and weakened the defense against “the emotion of the masses,” bringing America closer to being a democracy and impairing the republic. French scholar Alexis de Tocqueville predicted during America’s formation that “a democracy can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.”

Far greater deviation from the clearly stated intent of the Founders occurred in 1937 during the Great Depression. Mass unemployment was a new experience in the 1930s resulting from the stock market’s decline and the national economy’s collapse and the Industrial Revolution’s introduction of concentrated employment.

Need for wage insurance was never previously experienced, but the country was suffering on a biblical scale. Thirty states under constitutional authority had already commenced welfare programs to address unemployment when President Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced the authorized state programs in 1935. He promoted through Congress a Social Security bill that violated Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution – implied powers, which authorizes powers only for “the foregoing (enumerated) powers and all other powers vested.”[ more]

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