View Poll Results: Does the original intent still matter when discussing the Constitution?

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  • Yes. We should strictly follow both the letter and spirit of the original intent.

    28 35.90%
  • Yes. We should follow the original principles and then apply them as new issues arise.

    21 26.92%
  • Yes. The original intent of the Constition is important, but other factors must be considered.

    15 19.23%
  • No. The Constitution is a guiding set of principles that we can interrpret to fit our current needs.

    10 12.82%
  • Other

    4 5.13%
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Thread: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

  1. #1
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    The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    In another thread, I saw someone accuse libertarians of always holding up the oringial intent of the Constitution as something that should be followed, but we don't say why original intent is the proper way to view the Constitution. So I thought it would make a good poll and possibly a good discussion.

    So does the original intent of the founding father's matter anymore? Or has the world moved so far beyond the late 18th century that what the founding father's thought and meant when writing the Constitution is no longer worth considering? Or is it somewhere in the middle?
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoclown View Post
    In another thread, I saw someone accuse libertarians of always holding up the oringial intent of the Constitution as something that should be followed, but we don't say why original intent is the proper way to view the Constitution. So I thought it would make a good poll and possibly a good discussion.

    So does the original intent of the founding father's matter anymore? Or has the world moved so far beyond the late 18th century that what the founding father's thought and meant when writing the Constitution is no longer worth considering? Or is it somewhere in the middle?


    I think there is some merit to both ideas. It is absolutely worth discussing the original intents of the founders. It is just sometimes difficult to discern, as the founders were not a collection of entirely like minded individuals. Many had vast differences in their views for an ideal america. But we should still do our best to discern those intentions, and take them into account when applicable.

    With that said, the country has changed beyond all recognition from that time. The constitution was written to govern an 18th century agrarian society. Some of the ideas of the constitution are universal, but enough has changed that I do not think it is wise to govern this country using a strict originalist interpretation of the constitution.
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frodly View Post
    I think there is some merit to both ideas. It is absolutely worth discussing the original intents of the founders. It is just sometimes difficult to discern, as the founders were not a collection of entirely like minded individuals. Many had vast differences in their views for an ideal america. But we should still do our best to discern those intentions, and take them into account when applicable.

    With that said, the country has changed beyond all recognition from that time. The constitution was written to govern an 18th century agrarian society. Some of the ideas of the constitution are universal, but enough has changed that I do not think it is wise to govern this country using a strict originalist interpretation of the constitution.
    Very true the founding fathers were not a monolithic entity that held conforming views. Just look at the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers that were written during the ratification process as one example. That said though, I think in most cases its quite possible to discern what their intent and reasoning was for writing the Constitution as they did.

    I'm curious though how you determine which parts are universal and which parts or original intents can be disregarded because they only apply to 18th century agrarian society?
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    I personally would like to see the threshold for amendment lowered, maybe to 60 percent of the states or something.
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    The constitution should be made to work in a changing world to my mind. Think of it as a rough framework that we use as a guide.
    We became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers - Lindsey Graham

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    A flaccid constitution is not set of laws at all, it's just P.R. for a despotic regime.
    Quod scripsi, scripsi

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oftencold View Post
    A flaccid constitution is not set of laws at all, it's just P.R. for a despotic regime.
    Define Despotic, in your context here?
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by the makeout hobo View Post
    Define Despotic, in your context here?
    A despotic government is one that is not constrained by clearly defined laws and agreed limitations, such as those found in a binding constitution. A constitution in such a regime is a propaganda insturment to be displayed to a credulous world and little more.

    My, as always, insightful opinion is that this is how the current leadership in the House, Senate and Presidency sees the Constitution of the United States. I leave it to you to determine how this would define those worthies.
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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    Society has changed drastically since the 1700s, so I voted that other factors must also be considered. After all, the original intent was supportive of all sorts of practices (such as human slavery) that are now considered outrageous.

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    Re: The Constitution: Does Original Intent Still Matter?

    I voted "Yes. We should strictly follow both the letter and spirit of the original intent." This Oh the constitution was written in the 18th century is nothing more than a load of crap used to restrict constitutional rights. The right to bear arms, the right to privacy, the right to freedom of religion and other rights are just as applicable today as they were the 1700s.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

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