A few weeks ago, I was doing some research and needed to look up a quote in James Madison’s Report of 1800. That led me down a bunny trail that dropped me into a rabbit hole that I am still working my way out of. This is a good thing by the way!
I hadn’t read through the Report of 1800 in several years. it was a lengthy defense of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798. As you probably know, Madison drafted these resolutions in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts. They asserted states “have the right, and are in duty bound to interpose” when the federal government engages in a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of undelegated powers. They also laid out a case condemning the Alien and Sedition Acts as unconstitutional.
As I read through the entire Report of 1800, I realized it is a treasure-trove of Madisonian thought on numerous constitutional issues. These includes the general welfare and common defense clause, the purpose of the preamble, the necessary and proper clause, immigration and more. I’ve already written several articles based on the Report. Here’s one on the preamble that published last month. Another on the necessary and proper clause will publish on the main TAC page soon.
Well, I started thinking, ‘you know, this would make a great e-book.’ So, I’m going to put that together – the Constitution through the lens of the Report of 1800. Hopefully, it will be available later this summer.
On a side-note, this reinforces in my mind what an amazing time we live in. We don’t have to guess what the founders thought about the Constitution. We don’t have to rely on biased professors and so-called legal experts. We can look up things like the Report of 1800 and read it for ourselves. We don’t need no stinkin’ gatekeepers!
Photo by ForestWander