A little leaven leavens the whole lump is a Biblical phrase which might not make a lot of sense to modern Americans unless they’re chefs who do Hebrew bread (matzah/ matzo) or maybe are into cracker manufacturing, which most of us are not, though some of us are known as one…
Nevertheless, most of us have probably heard a sermon or two on this subject of leaven, enough to be at least moderately aware of the principle whereby a modicum of sinful conduct most probably will lead to ever-increasing unskilled living as time goes by; something like that.
The same principle can be applied to the America we thought we knew, but cannot understand how we arrived at our present dilemma. Here’s my take on the USA’s leaven habit which began way back when.
Our first national constitution, the Articles of Confederation, had a problem or two needing adjustment, so the colonies sent representatives to Philadelphia for to address those details, but the Constitutional Convention ended up throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, coming up with a whole new constitution, but a selling job would be required to talk enough of those states into adopting it for passage.
So, Alexander Hamilton (picture on the ten dollar bill), along with James Madison (was on the former $5,000 bill) set about with something called the Federalist Papers which was just that; a selling job for the new constitution.
Another set of articles or papers against the new constitution, or at least significant portions of it, was published and became known as the Anti-Federalist Papers.
Its authors used pen names in publishing their papers, history revealing some of the most recognizable as Richard Henry Lee and Robert Yates, among others. Speeches by Patrick Henry are often included as a part of these papers.
Some say anti-federalists were most concerned with the new constitution’s lack of a statement for individual rights, and this may be so, but I have to believe the major concern was about the leaven, in this case, perhaps an opening seen or perceived in the new constitution allowing more future national government than a "corrected" Articles of Confederation would have ever allowed or produced.
If this is so, just take a look at the mere 17 or 18 items originally placed in the hands of national government by the new constitution.
Do we see the possibility of some leaven getting in there someplace? Just the whole cake of yeast, that’s all!
So Richard Henry Lee, Robert Yates, George Clinton, Samuel Bryan, Melancton Smith, Mercy Otis Warren, Patrick Henry and the others of the Anti-Federalist Papers quite possibly saw the constitutional dangers back then that they thought might possibly lead to too much power in the central government at some future time. Well, have a big fat buttered up and leavened biscuit and take a look at today’s Washington, D.C.
Though Madison was apparently serious about the new constitution being what it was at its face value, new historical accounts have revealed that Alexander Hamilton wanted it adopted for other reasons.
Since he knew it so well, he also knew its weaknesses and how to circumvent them. Hamilton the Whig wanted a big powerful central government with power in the executive to select governors and to veto state legislatures.
We’re getting closer to Hamilton’s idea of government, if not already there. Read The Hamilton Curse by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.
Some of the big names through history concurring with Hamilton were Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln and just about every president since, so today, instead of the government envisioned by Thomas Jefferson and most others of the Founding Fathers, we have the government of Alexander Hamilton, with most current politicians in perfect accord, to their everlasting ignorance.
May God bless.