Reply To: A better Bill of Rights, Constitution 2.0


Like the Federalists of 1787, I do believe that the Articles of Confederation were imperfect. A government that cannot keep an army in the field or pay for embassies to the three main European countries is not fit to be. I also think it made sense to change the structure of the Congress to give population apportionment in one house. Article V makes sense to me, as do Article VI and Article VII.

With benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the Confederate Constitution’s provision that state legislatures could impeach and remove CSA officials within their territories was a good idea–a very good idea. In fact, it’s too bad that Madison’s promise that the Federal Government would be tried without inferior courts wasn’t actually implemented.

I think that the preamble Thomas Jefferson wrote for the Virginia Constitution of 1776 is far superior to Gouverneur Morris’s US version–and that’s no accident. Certainly it would have had better effects if used in the US Constitution than the US version has had, even if it had had no effect at all.

Virginia’s 1776 Constitution provided term limits for congressmen, which I think are sorely needed now. Virginia also didn’t give the Executive Branch veto power, and I think that would be a good idea in the US Constitution too.

I could go on, but you get the point: the US Constitution is highly imperfect, and better arrangements are available in the record of American history. It would be a waste of time to draft a better constitution, however, as nothing would come of the exercise. I am involved as a board of advisors member in the Compact for America effort to add a balanced budget amendment–and thus move toward Jefferson’s wish that government borrowing could be eliminated.