View Poll Results: What should be done with the Founders' ideas?

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  • We should build upon them, but not completely transform them.

    50 70.42%
  • They need to be fundamentally transformed.

    6 8.45%
  • They're dead. Who cares what they thought?

    7 9.86%
  • Other (please elaborate)

    8 11.27%
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Thread: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

  1. #141
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    So your definition of "elite" differs from mine, big deal. The Founding Fathers wanted to expand political power from the British aristocracy (maybe 5% of the population) to white male land-owners (maybe 15% of the population). How principled of them.
    It's better than populism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Please tell me you didn't just argue that disenfranchising women and blacks is a good thing.
    I did not, there were on the right track, that puts a check on voters.
    They, however, wrongly excluded people for arbitrary reasons like race and gender.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Well, it depends if we're going to follow an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, or a living document approach. If we follow a living document approach, we needn't change very much at all in the text of the Constitution.

    If, on the other hand, we're going to follow an originalist interpretation, then the Constitution is horrendously outdated and needs a major overhaul. 1) We need to change the amendment process to make it easier to change the document in the future. 2) We need to expand Congress' powers to include environmental protection, financial regulation, maintaining an interstate highway system, health care regulation, and telecommunications regulation. There are probably others, but those are the ones I can think of offhand. 3) We need to clarify what powers the president actually holds during war time, and we need to update what a "war" is and who declares it. 4) We need to add the Federal Reserve as an entirely new branch of government, with checks and balances on/from the other branches. 5) We need to explicitly add a right to privacy to the Constitution...and the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens from invasions of privacy, whether they come from other citizens, corporations, or governments.
    The Feds already have the authority to regulate pollution between the states through the interstate commerce clause.
    Pollution with in a state in that state's area of law.
    Highways can be managed by states and negotiations between states can be handled through the Feds.
    Telecommunications can be handled the same way.

    You still hold that nonsensical belief in government managed medical care though.
    Tisk tisk.

    You already have a right to privacy, it's listed as unreasonable search and seizure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Whether or not "people are the same" (whatever that means) is irrelevant. The WORLD is vastly different than it was in 1789, and it is absurd to think that there is some ideal form of government that is best for all people in all eras of history.
    How is the world different aside from technological development?
    Practically all of that can be managed well without changing a thing in The Constitution.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Because we no longer live in an agrarian autarky, where being left alone is sufficient to let people prosper.
    It is sufficient, can you prove otherwise?
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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  2. #142
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Actually that's a perfect example of how their ideas are outdated. Let's consider the economics of vote-buying for a second. In the modern world, it makes no sense. How much do you think the average person would be willing to sell their vote for? I would guess somewhere between $20 and $100. Putting aside ethical questions and just considering the cold, hard economics, that's a huge amount to pay for a vote. You'd be able to get many more votes for the same cost if you ran a television advertisement or radio spot.

    Obviously those options were not available to people in 1789, so vote-buying may have been a serious threat. But it's a great example of how technology completely changes it. Any candidate who engaged in vote-buying today would not only be unethical, but an economic illiterate.
    I'm guessing you don't count all those promised programs that tax one group and benefit another as bribery.
    Or how about campaign funding from corporations for better representation.

    So many forms of bribery everywhere, it happens regularly.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
    —Adam Shepard

  3. #143
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by 1069 View Post
    Did the Founding Fathers ever fight in combat? Did they send their children to do so?
    I don't think they did. Did they need to to pass some sort of qualifying test that legitimizes their other works?

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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by reefedjib View Post
    I don't think they did. Did they need to to pass some sort of qualifying test that legitimizes their other works?
    I was told that to compare my "sacrifices"- or those of anyone else alive today- to the "sacrifices" of the Founding Fathers was "pathetic".
    There is no greater sacrifice one can make for one's country than to give one's life for it- or one's child's life. Or even to allow oneself or one's child to be put at risk, for the noble cause of freedom.

    What the hell did the Founding Fathers ever sacrifice beside which such sacrifices as people make today look "pathetic"?
    What did they sacrifice? A slave? Their wooden teeth? Their stupid-looking grandma wigs?
    I can't think of a single sacrifice they ever made, frankly. They seemed to deny themselves little.
    Last edited by 1069; 05-16-10 at 05:21 AM.

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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by 1069 View Post
    I was told that to compare my "sacrifices"- or those of anyone else alive today- to the "sacrifices" of the Founding Fathers was "pathetic".
    There is no greater sacrifice one can make for one's country than to give one's life for it- or one's child's life. Or even to allow oneself or one's child to be put at risk, for the noble cause of "freedom".

    What the hell did the Founding Fathers ever sacrifice beside which such sacrifices as people make today look "pathetic"?
    What did they sacrifice? A slave? Their wooden teeth? Their stupid-looking grandma wigs?
    I can't think of a single sacrifice they ever made, frankly. They seemed to deny themselves little.
    Oh sorry, I am jumping in here, since I cannot sleep.

    I think they were deeply involved in organizing the government and the army. I do know that John Quincy Adams missed the constitutional convention as he was in Holland, I believe, trying to secure funding for the country to wage war. He spent many years away from home doing so. He was successful. But he was not under threat of arms. I don't know about their children.

    I think the original point is silly to compare sacrifices. It is sufficient that the FF were able to create the union in a way that could be representative and change over time, which it has. They were immensely successful.

    I like those wigs and I am looking for one myself!

  6. #146
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    The Feds already have the authority to regulate pollution between the states through the interstate commerce clause.
    Pollution with in a state in that state's area of law.
    It is generally impossible to have separate inter- and intrastate regulations. Suppose there's a California factory near the Arizona border that blows some of its smog across the border. Either the federal government regulates the pollution or it doesn't. The feds can't tell them to stop belching out the portion of their smog that crosses the border, while leaving the domestic smog untouched.

    Our Founding Fathers never anticipated these kind of problems. The Industrial Revolution was in its infancy in England when the Constitution was written, and hadn't arrived in the United States at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Highways can be managed by states and negotiations between states can be handled through the Feds.
    The purpose of an interstate highway system is to be interstate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Telecommunications can be handled the same way.
    No they can't. It is virtually impossible to regulate telecommunications within a state in a way that doesn't interfere with any other state. This is especially true with the internet, as VOIP replaces traditional telephone service. Our Founding Fathers could not possibly have envisioned this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    You still hold that nonsensical belief in government managed medical care though.
    Tisk tisk.
    If government imposes no regulations at all on health care, the costs will spiral out of control under a patchwork of mutually incompatible insurance plans. And the system will be grossly inefficient as ER doctors fish around a patient's pockets for an insurance card before treating them. Again, not something our Founding Fathers could possibly have envisioned. To them, a doctor was someone who came to your house to deliver a baby, and a hospital was somewhere that people went to die. "Health insurance" didn't exist and had no reason for existing, because the quality of medical care was so bad that people didn't live long enough to run up a huge bill anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    You already have a right to privacy, it's listed as unreasonable search and seizure.
    No, that's YOUR interpretation of where you can find the right to privacy. I'm not saying I disagree, but if we're going to venerate the Founding Fathers and cling to an original intent interpretation of the Constitution, let's spell out the right to privacy while we're changing things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    How is the world different aside from technological development?
    "Aside" from technological development? It's hardly some minor change that can easily be brushed off with an "aside from..." Our technological development has permeated virtually every layer of the fabric of our culture. Our demographics, economics, communication, transportation, health care, working conditions, warfare, and trade have been profoundly impacted by it. These things ALL impact our government.

    Technology has allowed us to increase the average life expectancy from 37 to nearly 80. Technology has allowed us to travel from Maine to Florida in a couple hours instead of a couple weeks...and for information to travel from Maine to Florida in a couple thousandths of a second. Technology has allowed us to devote our resources to things other than farming. Technology has allowed families to choose how many children to have and has freed women from the burden of raising 10 kids. Technology has allowed us to destroy our environment, and the environment of our neighbors. Technology has enabled people from all over the world to see what life is like in the United States and has encouraged them to immigrate here.

    So what has changed "aside from technology"? What changed from colonial America to revolutionary America, "aside from" representative democracy, checks and balances, federalism, and a Bill of Rights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Practically all of that can be managed well without changing a thing in The Constitution.
    Sure, if you're willing to accept a living document interpretation of the Constitution. But you can't call for an originalist interpretation while ascribing your own values onto the Founding Fathers. You sound like a Christian fundamentalist, who is certain that everything in the Bible somehow applies to his modern lifestyle, and that he alone knows what God wants. Similarly, you aren't objectively interpreting the text of the Constitution (because doing so is impossible); really what you're doing is taking your OWN beliefs and claiming that the Founding Fathers would agree with you.

    Can't we just accept the fact that the Founding Fathers were NOT superhuman oracles who could look 200 years into the future and see how the world would change? Can't we just accept the fact that there are situations the Founding Fathers did NOT anticipate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    It is sufficient, can you prove otherwise?
    Sure. My factory belts smoke into the air which goes into your lungs. Next?
    Last edited by Kandahar; 05-16-10 at 05:56 AM.
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  7. #147
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    It is generally impossible to have separate inter- and intrastate regulations. Suppose there's a California factory near the Arizona border that blows some of its smog across the border. Either the federal government regulates the pollution or it doesn't. The feds can't tell them to stop belching out the portion of their smog that crosses the border, while leaving the domestic smog untouched.
    They were meant to be an equitable arbitrator between the states.
    They can certainly decide a fair compromise for this situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Our Founding Fathers never anticipated these kind of problems. The Industrial Revolution was in its infancy in England when the Constitution was written, and hadn't arrived in the United States at all.
    Of course they did, that's why they left many portions of The Constitution broad like the interstate commerce clause.

    It's not called the "Moving stuff with sailboats and horse & buggy clause" now is it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    The purpose of an interstate highway system is to be interstate.
    Yea and what prevents them acting as arbitrators between two states wanting to build such a system?

    What about how the interstate highway helped destroy more economical public transit systems?
    Ohh I know, the Feds always know best.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    No they can't. It is virtually impossible to regulate telecommunications within a state in a way that doesn't interfere with any other state. This is especially true with the internet, as VOIP replaces traditional telephone service. Our Founding Fathers could not possibly have envisioned this.
    And yet counties do it all the time.

    More to the point though, they can't suppress the free flow of information anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    If government imposes no regulations at all on health care, the costs will spiral out of control under a patchwork of mutually incompatible insurance plans. And the system will be grossly inefficient as ER doctors fish around a patient's pockets for an insurance card before treating them. Again, not something our Founding Fathers could possibly have envisioned. To them, a doctor was someone who came to your house to deliver a baby, and a hospital was somewhere that people went to die. "Health insurance" didn't exist and had no reason for existing, because the quality of medical care was so bad that people didn't live long enough to run up a huge bill anyway.
    Health insurance doesn't need to exist, for further study you can ask the Amish why they live the same average life span as regular Americans do, without insurance.

    On top of that though, insurance is already covered under contract law.
    Medical care costs spiral out of control when you remove up front pricing with regards to the consumer.
    Something that the government supports, go figure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    No, that's YOUR interpretation of where you can find the right to privacy. I'm not saying I disagree, but if we're going to venerate the Founding Fathers and cling to an original intent interpretation of the Constitution, let's spell out the right to privacy while we're changing things.
    That's an amendment I'd support I suppose, as long as it was limited to only adding that single amendment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    "Aside" from technological development? It's hardly some minor change that can easily be brushed off with an "aside from..." Our technological development has permeated virtually every layer of the fabric of our culture. Our demographics, economics, communication, transportation, health care, working conditions, warfare, and trade have been profoundly impacted by it. These things ALL impact our government.

    Technology has allowed us to increase the average life expectancy from 37 to nearly 80. Technology has allowed us to travel from Maine to Florida in a couple hours instead of a couple weeks...and for information to travel from Maine to Florida in a couple thousandths of a second. Technology has allowed us to devote our resources to things other than farming. Technology has allowed families to choose how many children to have and has freed women from the burden of raising 10 kids. Technology has allowed us to destroy our environment, and the environment of our neighbors. Technology has enabled people from all over the world to see what life is like in the United States and has encouraged them to immigrate here.

    So what has changed "aside from technology"? What changed from colonial America to revolutionary America, "aside from" representative democracy, checks and balances, federalism, and a Bill of Rights?
    Yea technology changed but human behavior hasn't.
    The construction of our government was based on how humans interact with each other and how they need to be limited from exploiting individuals through the use of government.

    That is why government is limited with it's powers, to prevent humans from using it to exploit other humans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Sure, if you're willing to accept a living document interpretation of the Constitution. But you can't call for an originalist interpretation while ascribing your own values onto the Founding Fathers. You sound like a Christian fundamentalist, who is certain that everything in the Bible somehow applies to his modern lifestyle, and that he alone knows what God wants. Similarly, you aren't objectively interpreting the text of the Constitution (because doing so is impossible); really what you're doing is taking your OWN beliefs and claiming that the Founding Fathers would agree with you.

    Can't we just accept the fact that the Founding Fathers were NOT superhuman oracles who could look 200 years into the future and see how the world would change? Can't we just accept the fact that there are situations the Founding Fathers did NOT anticipate?
    You don't have to believe in a "living" constitution to see that many things were left purposefully broad, to cover unforeseen changes in technology.

    Right to bear arms, not flintlock muskets.
    Interstate commerce, not sailboat and horse & buggy travel between states.
    Freedom of speech, not freedom to only talk and write.

    See the trend that it follows?

    They weren't super human, no such thing exists.
    What they did was rare, they let people largely to themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Sure. My factory belts smoke into the air which goes into your lungs. Next?
    Your state has the right to regulate pollution to it's hearts content.
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  8. #148
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    They were meant to be an equitable arbitrator between the states.
    They can certainly decide a fair compromise for this situation.
    I'd rather just streamline the process and regulate the environment in the first place, instead of trying to micromanage every single incident of interstate environmental damage in the country and trying to assess a monetary value to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Of course they did, that's why they left many portions of The Constitution broad like the interstate commerce clause.

    It's not called the "Moving stuff with sailboats and horse & buggy clause" now is it.
    And yet if I were to suggest some equally plausible applications of the interstate commerce clause, would I be correct if I guessed that you'd criticize me for judicial activism or changing the meaning of the Constitution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Yea and what prevents them acting as arbitrators between two states wanting to build such a system?
    Nothing. Except our interstate highway system covers 48 states, not 2 states.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    What about how the interstate highway helped destroy more economical public transit systems?
    Ohh I know, the Feds always know best.
    In this case, they clearly do. We have the best highway system in the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    And yet counties do it all the time.
    If I own a radio station in Arlington, VA and someone in Bethesda, MD decides to broadcast on the same frequency (and we both have the approval of our respective states), the result is that no one hears anything other than noise.

    If I host a music piracy website in Delaware (where, suppose, it isn't illegal) can a record company in California sue me?

    We need the federal government, not the states, to set these kind of standards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Health insurance doesn't need to exist, for further study you can ask the Amish why they live the same average life span as regular Americans do, without insurance.
    Faulty comparison. Unless you think you can get most Americans on board with adopting an Amish lifestyle, the more accurate comparison would be Americans with health insurance versus Americans without health insurance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    On top of that though, insurance is already covered under contract law.
    I'm not talking about enforcing the contracts, I'm talking about the systemic market failure that occurs when you have a patchwork system of insurers and providers that are incompatible with one another and no one willing to coordinate anything among them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Yea technology changed but human behavior hasn't.
    Human behavior has changed as a result of technology. Most of us aren't farmers. Most of us don't have 10+ children. Most of us have at least finished high school, if not college. Most of us live well into our 70s. Most of us have ventured more than 20 miles from our home at some point in our lives. Etc, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    The construction of our government was based on how humans interact with each other and how they need to be limited from exploiting individuals through the use of government.
    And what makes you think that those human interactions are the same now as they were 200 years ago? People do NOT interact with each other in the same manner. 200 years ago it was considered dishonorable to have debt; now we can hardly live without it. 200 years ago dueling was the preferred method of settling a dispute; today lawsuits are. 200 years ago employers would have been horrified at "intruding" into their workers lives by making sure they earned a living wage; today companies are vilified for NOT doing this.

    Times change, technology changes, people change, human interactions change, and governments need to change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    You don't have to believe in a "living" constitution to see that many things were left purposefully broad, to cover unforeseen changes in technology.

    Right to bear arms, not flintlock muskets.
    Interstate commerce, not sailboat and horse & buggy travel between states.
    Freedom of speech, not freedom to only talk and write.

    See the trend that it follows?
    Where the Founding Fathers really fell short (as the Constitution applies today) are in the following areas:
    1. Human rights
    2. The scope of congressional power
    3. The scope of presidential power
    4. The constitutional amendment process itself

    #2 and #3 need to continually change as society changes and government must regulate new industries and/or solve crises in old ones, in order to keep up with the times. And #4 needs to change because the Founding Fathers grossly miscalculated how difficult it would be to amend the Constitution. I can't for one minute believe that any of them would have expected us to only amend their document 17 times in over 200 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla
    Your state has the right to regulate pollution to it's hearts content.
    That doesn't work so well anymore, since pollution has unintended consequences that are difficult to measure but reverberate across state lines.
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  9. #149
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Mellie View Post
    I saw someone on here the other day say that the Founders are dead so who cares what they thought.

    What are your opinions on the Founders' ideas and what we should be doing with them (if anything at all)?
    My question for you is this: Which ideas of which Founding Fathers? After all, they were hardly united in their ideas and opinions. For example, Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists wanted a weak national government, while Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong national government. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.

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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Two points here:
    1) Past performance is no guarantee of future success.
    2) What makes you think it's the best that's come so far even after all the centuries since? Personally I think the abolition of slavery and giving women the right to vote was an improvement.
    Exactly. Where is the right for women to vote and slaves to be free guaranteed? In the Constitution. Thus proving that if necessary, the Constitution can be changed to include more modern ideas. That sure was a good idea of theirs, huh?

    I said that the Constitution is the best that has come since. You mentioning things that are now guaranteed in the Constitution as proof that this is wrong is a bit odd.


    What's your point? Does it make it more relevant to today's world just because it received near-unanimity in Philadelphia in 1789?
    Yes, for the reasons I mentioned. And as it happens, our country was founded at such a setting; if we completely ditch any trace of respect for the founding fathers, we're no longer a country. We don't have the ethnic or historical similarity that defines most countries.


    Are you suggesting some of them accurately predicted what the world might be like in 2010, and felt such an affinity for their remote descendants that they factored that into the policies they wrote into the Constitution?
    No, they didn't need to know the future to create a document meant to last.


    Slavery? Counting people as 3/5 of a person?
    Again, many of them were abolitionists, but they couldn't put that in the document or it wouldn't go through. It was in fact mostly the abolitionists fighting for slaves not counting as people; the slave owners wanted to fully count slaves so that their state would have more representatives. Under the circumstances, the compromise made sense. It became irrelevant only after slavery was abolished, which in case you didn't notice, is in the Constitution.


    Just in case? Are you suggesting that some of the Founding Fathers believed their document was perfect for all-time and should never be amended?

    Aside from the human rights abuses, the amendment process itself was one of the grossest miscalculations our Founding Fathers made when writing the Constitution. It's not their fault; they couldn't possibly know that their country would grow to span a continent of 50 states. It is ridiculously difficult to amend the Constitution now. While I'm not suggesting it should be easy, I am suggesting that we've had more than 17 good governance ideas in the years since the Constitution was first ratified. The fact that the amendment process is so difficult is, in fact, the primary reason why a strict interpretation of the Constitution is impractical.
    It was supposed to be ridiculously hard to amend the Constitution. Only if almost everyone agrees that something is a good idea can it be put there now. For the same reasons, it was ridiculously hard to write the Constitution. Reasons which I mentioned in my post.

    We haven't had more than 17 good governance ideas that we could all agree on; the Constitution is supposed to be lasting, not added to on whim (this was done once, at it was later repealed, proving my point). And none of this has anything to do with a "strict" interpretation of the Constitution, since the Constitution was made to be vague anyways, thus interpreting it strictly still gives a lot of wiggle room. Hmmm, making a vague document sure was a good idea of the founding fathers, huh?


    There were plenty of ideas that were whimsically tossed into the Constitution. For example, the natural-born citizen requirement to be president. This was done for the sole purpose of excluding Alexander Hamilton from ever seeking the presidency, not for any deep philosophical reason.
    That's just plain not true.


    Then they proceeded to establish a government of their own which disenfranchised the majority of its people. Very principled.
    So what the hell is your point? Because they didn't solve every problem at once, therefore they were wrong? For God's sake, you're not making a point by responding to every comment with "oh yeah well slaves and women so HA!". You might as well say that Lincoln was wrong to want to give blacks the right to vote, because he didn't do it for women as well. Because some of them were wrong about some things, therefore they were all wrong about something else. Not sound logic.


    Almost every constitution in the world - democracy and dictatorship alike - has SOME kind of amendment process. That's hardly a sufficient justification for the fact that it was not included.
    The fact that it was 1789 was justification for it not being included. Those issues would be solved later. They were there to solve other problems.


    Yet somehow none of those things found their way into the original Constitution.
    Did you completely miss the entire post you just responded to, a huge part of which was dedicated to explaining this?

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