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A Hundred-Fifty-Year Hurt: The Congressional Family Caucus seeks to reverse a process of constitutional sliding that began after the Civil War.
(The American Conservative) – Many commentators have marveled to see the hand of God in the establishment of our Republic and our Constitution. One such was Orestes Brownson who frequently referred to our providential constitution. In one of his last essays, “The Democratic Principle,” he wrote, “The will of the people is the most direct and authentic expression of the divine will that can be had or desired.”
The American Constitution was the first to synthesize the individualistic and humanitarian social strains of democracy. History showed Brownson the dangers in each of these alone; the logical consequence of the former being anarchy and of the latter tyranny.
The genius, the providential element, of our Constitution was that it encompassed another, unwritten, factor respecting place, tradition, religion and family in the various states. For an ordered liberty, the rights of God, the order of creation, must be observed. Brownson was convinced that “no simply human wisdom, no adjustment of positive and negative forces, no organization of interests, or system of checks and balances, will do it.”
Writing at the conclusion of the Civil War, Brownson foresaw that the dialectic had been impaired and the humanitarian, egalitarian, and social strain of democracy represented by strong economic interests would prevail. The rights of God would be ignored and the pursuit of a virtuous citizenry would be abandoned in a headlong rush for wealth. He was particularly adamant that the influence of place, tradition, religion, and family would be crushed under…