Reply To: A better Bill of Rights, Constitution 2.0


I’m not sure what part of this you intended as a response to me.

The reason the US Constitution does not include basic philosophical statements is that it was intended as a federal constitution–that is, as a means of establishing a government with a few, delegated powers. Since the government would have only the enumerated powers, there was no need for a philosophical statement. A state–Virginia, for example–might precede its constitution with a philosophical declaration of rights, on which the state constitution would be based, because the state constitution was creating a government whose only limitations were those listed in the declaration. Former Philadelphia Convention delegate James Wilson explained this in his famous Statehouse Speech of October 6, 1787 (19 days after he signed the Constitution):

Wilson was one of the handful of leading orators in the Philadelphia Convention, and this speech was more widely reprinted and cited than any other Federalist argument during the ratification campaign–certainly more influential at the time than The Federalist Papers. Soon after Wilson gave this speech, President Washington appointed him to be among the first members of the Supreme Court.