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But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? Options
Daemon
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:00:00 AM
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But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

James Madison (1751-1836)
capitán
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:53:24 AM

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Just like religion.
Sue Dalziel
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 3:35:23 AM

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this quote merely makes me ask "What does this mean for America and Mr Trump?"
KSPavan
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:19:31 AM

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Quotation of the Day

But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

James Madison (1751-1836)
Bully_rus
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 8:01:42 AM
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Daemon wrote:
But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

James Madison (1751-1836)


Yeah. Just like rebellion, coup d'etat or revolution...
KenO
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 10:02:29 AM

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Sue Dalziel wrote:
this quote merely makes me ask "What does this mean for America and Mr Trump?"
.

Let's be optimistic for America and the world. We'll survive Trump, and in fact, he will serve as a wakeup call to get the citizens of the country with values not centered on greed, fear, and prejudice to take the country back and make it respectable again.
KenO
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 10:03:24 AM

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FounDit
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:36:10 PM

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Daemon wrote:
But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

James Madison (1751-1836)


Hmmm, I'm wondering about that preposition "on". Did he mean government is a reflection "of" human nature, or that the government he helped create was created as a result of refection on human nature?

Reading the Federalist Papers leads me to believe he meant the latter: that the government of the U.S. was created after reflection on human nature. The Founders studied history and were aware of the fact that governments tend to degenerate into tyrannies if given too much power. For that reason, the government of the U.S. was to be a limited form of government; the Constitution was a document that put forth the limits of the power of the government rather than the other way round.
It is We The People of the U.S. in whom power is vested, not the government. Too many today want to reverse that, and that is the social struggle that is now ongoing. And it is that struggle which will decide the fate of the Nation. With the election of Donald Trump, and the political trend he represents, I am encouraged and optimistic that the goal of a United States as set forth in our founding documents may still be seen in our future. I believe the Founders knew they could not set up a perfect country, but they tried to establish a form of government that would eventually lead to the best we might be able to create in time.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
zina antoaneta
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 1:13:26 PM

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Daemon wrote:
But what is Government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?

James Madison (1751-1836)


Now I realize that I misread the quote. Madison said that the Government is the greatest reflection ON human nature not OF human nature. And so it is! It has always been that way.
monamagda
Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 7:42:02 PM

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Context from : The Federalist No. 51

The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments
Independent Journal
Wednesday, February 6, 1788
[James Madison]

To the People of the State of New York:

That’s a famous line in Federalist No. 51, generally attributed to James Madison — but not quite. The line is actually, in context,

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.


http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm
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