Sound the Alarm to the People: James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and the Principles of 1798

thomas-jefferson-james-madison

In the pages of The Federalist, Publius reassured not only his contemporaries but future generations of Americans, that if there be times in the life of our republic in which one or more branches of the national government should shamelessly exercise power beyond that prescribed by the Constitution, the state legislatures will be ever ready to mark the violation and “sound the alarm to the people.”[1]

Nine years after the institution of the new government under the Constitution, in response to the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts, the state legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia did precisely this.  Thomas Jefferson drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and James Madison penned the Virginia Resolutions.  In some of the toughest, most exacting political language of America’s political tradition, Jefferson and Madison threw down the gauntlet: the national government had broken trust with the sovereign authority, and they were put on notice that such violations of the people’s fundamental rights and liberties would not be tolerated by a free and self-respecting people.

Would any of the current state legislatures sponsor such resolutions today if the national government were to engage in a “deliberate, palpable, and dangerous” exercise of power not granted by the Constitution?[2]  If not, is it because the state legislatures don’t dare to challenge the national government, the way that Jefferson and Madison did?  Or is it because they know such efforts would be futile?  Do they accept the tremendous growth of national governmental power in the twentieth century and view the states are merely subordinate administrative units that must obey the powers in Washington?  Or, like the Federalist-controlled state legislatures in the other states in 1798, do they reject the Jeffersonian and Madisonian view that the states have a role in checking abuses of power by the national government, supposing that this role is the sole province of the national judiciary?

In 1798, Vice President Jefferson viewed the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts as the declaration of political war on the principles of republican government.  However, he did not think it was appropriate for him to register a protest against the legislation in his official capacity.  So, as he had done previously, he turned to the state legislatures to establish a strategic bulkhead to fight against what he perceived as decidedly anti-republican measures.   Accordingly, he drafted the Kentucky-sponsored resolutions and he called upon his good friend and political ally James Madison to compose Resolutions for Virginia and to solicit the backing of that state’s legislature.

Jefferson did not pull punches.  In the Kentucky Resolutions he declared the Alien and Seditions Acts to be “unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”  Each state acceded to the constitutional compact as “an integral party.”  He argued that in such a compact there is no common judge, and so “each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”[3]

In these resolutions Jefferson assured his countrymen that Kentucky remained sincerely anxious for the preservation of the union of the states, but that it would not submit to the exercise of undelegated and unlimited power by the national government.  Since the members of the national government are chosen by the people, “a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy,” Jefferson wrote.  But when unauthorized powers are assumed, “a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy,” for “every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact.”  Nonetheless, out of respect for the other states, Kentucky wished to communicate with the other parties to the compact, who are “solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it.”  Taking aim at the Federalist mantra calling for public confidence in government, Jefferson proclaimed, “free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence.”  It is jealousy, not confidence, that sets constitutional limitations on the exercise of power.  In the United States, the Constitution has prescribed “the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go.”

Unlike Jefferson, Madison deliberately refrained from declaring acts of the national government null and void.  In contrast, to Jefferson’s hard-hitting and somewhat shrill communication, which included a not-so-veiled threat to dissolve the American Union, Madison forcefully but carefully set forth his arguments in the Virginia Resolutions, charging the national government with violating the most fundamental principles of liberty, but simultaneously declaring Virginia’s membership in and sincere attachment to the Union of the American states.  Years later, Madison vehemently protested against John C. Calhoun’s appeal to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions as prototypes for the South Carolinian’s arguments for state sovereignty and the right of nullification.  He had never claimed sovereign authority for a state or for the states.

Rather, Madison had always insisted that in a republic the people are sovereign.  In the American federal republic the people had, by their sovereign authority, divided power between the national and the state governments, thereby establishing a central government of constitutionally enumerated and limited powers.  In Madison’s view, the importance of the state governments and the preservation of the federal character of the United States were not tied to any notion of state sovereignty.  Rather, his commitment to the principle of federalism was grounded in a conception of state governments as essential to the formation and expression of public opinion in a large and populous nation.  “[W]ere the state governments abol­ished,” he wrote in the National Gazette in 1791, “neither the voice nor the sense of ten or twenty millions of people, spread through so many latitudes as are comprehended within the United States, could ever be combined or called into effect, if deprived of those local organs.”[4] Without the state governments, in the extended republic of the United States the people would not be able to communicate effectively and unite to control the abuses of government.  Conversely, “the most arbitrary government is controuled where the public opinion is fixed.”[5]  In the case of an overt and dangerous unconstitutional grab for power by the national government, Madison had argued in Federalists 44 and 46 that the state legislatures may “sound the alarm to the people, and…exert their local influence in effecting a change of federal representatives,” thereby “annul[ing] the acts of the usurpers.”[6]

In The Federalist and the National Gazette essays Madison developed the theory of the importance of the states in marshalling public opinion; in 1798 he applied this theory to practice in his battle to overturn the Alien and Sedition Acts.  Both acts, he declared, constitute clear violations of the United States Constitution.  In the one case the national government assumed a power not granted by the Constitution, and in the other it exercised a power expressly forbidden by the First Amendment.  In the Virginia Report of 1800 Madison set forth a lengthy defense of the Virginia Resolutions; in addition to the charge of unconstitutionality, he argued that the practical effect of the Sedition Act would be to squelch the expression and formation of public opinion. In free governments, he claimed, “it is the duty as well as right of intelligent and faithful citizens, to discuss and promulgate [the proceeding of government] freely, as well to control them by the censorship of the public opinion, as to promote a remedy according to the rules of the constitution.”[7]  In an extensive republic in which the central government possesses a magnitude of powers and where the great body of the people is far removed from the seat of government, the state governments serve as “intermediate” bodies.  The purpose of the Virginia Resolutions, he explained, was to utilize the states as vehicles to excite public reflection and mobilize public opinion.[8]

Furthermore, Madison argued, the difficulty of circulating knowledge about governmental proceedings throughout the large nation and of maintaining responsibility to the people by public officials requires a particularly high degree of liberty of the press.[9]  The Federalist measure restricting the freedom of the press was based on the non-republican British practice.  Driven by a desire to “extend the ground of public confidence,” the Federalists would place a censorial power in the government over the people.[10]  However, Madison’s concern, like Jefferson’s, was to hold the government responsible to the people.  In “republican government,” Madison declared, “the censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people.”[11]  A free press “alone can give efficacy to [the national government’s] responsibility to its constituents.”  It is the means for freely examining public characters and public measures, and for the free communication of opinions, which is “the only effectual guardian of every other right” in a free society.[12]  

Ten state legislatures, all of them controlled by the Federalist Party, responded to the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions; not one of them supported the resolutions.  Instead, they censured them, with several states arguing that the issue of constitutionality was properly within the purview of the judicial branch of government, not the state legislatures.  In the Virginia Report Madison answered these charges, denying that the judiciary is the sole or ultimate expositor of the Constitution.  However true it might be that the Judicial department is the tribunal of last resort in deciding the meaning of the Constitution, Madison argued, it is only the final resort in respect to the other governmental departments.  It is not the last resort vis a vis the parties to the constitutional compact, from whom it, like the other branches of government, derives its delegated and legitimate authority.[13]

Accordingly, the Constitution delegates certain powers to the government of the United States, apportioning these powers among the several branches of the national government.  But neither the Constitution nor the Court that interprets it has the final political say, for there is an authority that is even greater than the Constitution – that created the Constitution and gave it legitimacy.  “The authority of constitutions over governments, and of the sovereignty of the people over constitutions,” Madison said, are constitutive republican truths.[14]  In this, Madison was simply restating the fundamental maxim his friend Jefferson had so eloquently expressed in 1776, that the just powers of government are derived from, and only from, the people.  As such, it is the people who are the final judges of the legitimacy of governmental actions.          

Both the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions invoke extraordinary measures to remedy dangerous and flagrant cases in which the national government deliberately oversteps its constitutional boundaries.  Both Jefferson and Madison used the states to go above the head of the national government and appeal directly to the people of the several states, the original parties to the American compact.  In the Kentucky Resolutions, however, Jefferson invoked the right of the citizens of a particular state to declare an act of the general government null, void, and of no force, thus setting forth a doctrine that in Madison’s mind that was contrary to the principles of the social compact and which could undermine the constitutional union he had worked for over a decade to establish and secure.  Like Jefferson’s radical notion of calling a constitutional convention every nineteen or so years to rewrite the fundamental law of the land, his invocation of the right of a single state to nullify the constitutional compact struck Madison as extreme, imprudent, and inconsistent with social compact theory.

In Madison’s mind, such measures ought to be reserved for extraordinary occasions in which the routine constitutional and political safeguards against the usurpation of power had proved inadequate.  Madison sought to establish an ongoing mode of governance for the nation by the deliberate, settled opinion of the public, and he sought, in the last resort, to correct constitutional abuses by the general government by an extraordinary appeal to the people, facilitated by the state legislatures.

It is as critical to see that Madison reserved the path of direct appeal to the people (as in the Virginia Resolutions) for certain great and extraordinary occasions, as it is to understand that Jefferson saw nothing extraordinary or unduly risky about such public appeals.  In essence, in Madison’s conception of the ordinary course of American political activity, he envisioned a dynamic but stable democratic process to realize the ends Jefferson sought but chose to achieve by potentially politically hazardous means.  Whereas Jefferson sought to implement modes outside of the ordinary processes of law, in the form of constitutional conventions or negations of contractual/compact agreements, Madison sought to establish a political practice in which, whenever possible, the settled decisions of the people would control and direct government.  Madison’s cure was not to pit the extraordinary authority of the people against the ordinary deliberative processes of majority decision-making, but to hold the government dependent on and answerable to the deliberate, sovereign public.

While Madison did try to show Jefferson the weaknesses of his theory, he always did so with the utmost civility and respect for his dear friend and elder statesman.  Years later, in the 1830s, when the idea of perpetual union was under attack from John C. Calhoun, Madison explained in no uncertain terms what he did not say quite as bluntly when his good friend Jefferson was living.  There is no reversion to the parties of the compact to decide constitutional questions, he declared, there is only the constitutional processes or, barring the success of these processes, the right of revolution.  Once ratified, the Constitution represents the supreme authority of the sovereign people – whether that be the people of the nation or the several states, it does not matter, since either constitutes a legitimate authority in accordance with the principle of consent of the governed.

In the conclusion of the Virginia Report of 1800, after defending the substance and mode of appeal of the Virginia Resolutions, Madison reminded his readers – members of the Founding generation of Americans – that during the debates over the ratification of the Constitution, there were many who feared that liberty was at risk in establishing a general government over such a large extent of territory.  At that time, the supporters of the new Constitution claimed that the state governments would serve as intermediate bodies between the central government and the people, that they would manifest vigilance and be on guard to “descry the first symptoms of [national] usurpation,” and with a “promptitude[,]…they would sound the alarm to the public.”[15]

According to James Madison, the sovereign people of America did not create a confederacy of sovereign states nor did they create a unitary national government.  Instead, they thoughtfully and very deliberately created a compound federal republican polity.[16]  Those who would deny the compound nature of our partly federal, partly national political system would necessarily convert it into one wholly federal or wholly consolidated.  All who are friends of free government, Madison pleaded, must see that this is tantamount to aiming “a deadly blow at the last hope of true liberty on the face of the Earth.”[17]


*This essay relies in part on the author’s study of Madison in James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government (Cambridge University Press, 2009).  http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item1165234/James-Madison-and-the-Spirit-of-Republican-Self-Government/?site_locale=en_US

[1]The Federalist # 44, written by James Madison, in Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, Clinton Rossiter, ed; Charles R. Kesler, notes and intro. (New York: Mentor Books, [1788] 1999).  Hereafter cited FP.   In FP #26, Alexander Hamilton used exactly the same language.  See also FP #46 and the role of the state legislatures in counteracting usurpations of power for the central government.

[2] James Madison, “The Virginia Report,” in The Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, Marvin Meyers, Ed. (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University Press, 1973), 232.

[3] “Resolution Adopted by the Kentucky General Assembly,” November 10, 1798, in. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Boyd, Julian P. et al., eds., 30:550 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950 -) . Hereafter cited as PTJ. Cf. “Jefferson’s Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798,” [before October 4, 1798], PTJ 30:536.  “Jefferson’s Fair Copy of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798,” [before October 4, 1798], PTJ  30:544.

[4] “Consolidation,” in The Papers of James Madison, William T. Hutchinson, et al., eds., 14:192 (Chicago and Charlottesville: University of Chicago Press and University Press of Virginia,) 1962 – .  Hereafter cited PJM. 

[5] PJM 14:192.

[6] FP #44:254; Cf. FP 46:266.

[7] PJM 17:342.

[8] PJM 17:348.

[9] PJM 17:341.

[10] PJM 17:346.

[11] PJM 15:391; cf. 11:163.

[12] PJM 17:189-90, 345.  Cf. Robert W. T. Martin, The Free and Open Press: The Founding of American Democratic Press Liberty, 1640-1800 (New York: New York University Press, 2001).

[13] “The Virginia Report,” Meyers, 237.

[14] “The Virginia Report,” Meyers, 237.

[15] “The Virginia Report,” Meyers, 272.

[16] In “Notes on the Social Compact,” Madison  refers to his model of government as a “compound of Fed[era]l & Repub[lican] polity” (LOC, Series 1: February 10, 1833 to undated, Image 1188).   Cf. Gaillard Hunt, ed. The Writings of James Madison, 9 vols. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900-1910, 9:216-17, 290, 431, n.  See also Madison’s discussion of the importance of combining republicanism and federalism in Federalist 51: 293.

[17] “Notes on Nullification,” (1836), Meyers, Mind of the Founder, 441. Cf.

 

Colleen Sheehan is a professor of political science at Villanova University and is the author of James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government, 2009.

About the Author

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Comments

  1. Eric Hodgdon says

    No, the States are not up to addressing the already “”deliberate, palpable, and dangerous” exercise of power not granted by the Constitution” by our current and past Federal governments.

    The country is broken. It’s as broken as Article V is broken, so some have said.
    Few people willing to work together, or even agree to discuss commonalties.
    Some of us think an ArtVcon may hold promise, but I’m not sure it can address such outrages occurring today.

    • says

      Furthermore, Galen, it is NOT the place of the state under our form of government to dciede what is legal OUTSIDE what is the written law. Things are not assumed to be illegal unless allowed (as you seem to suggest) by the state. It’s the other way around.They were not doing anything illegal and therefore the police are the ones that had no right to interfere with _them_. It’s the age old I’m the authority and I’m telling you to not do something, even though it’s legal. You question me and therefore I arrest you for resisting arrest, which I had no right to be doing in the first place. The circular excuse for illegally arresting people.

  2. Patrick Ryan says

    I think that 25 states suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act is an appropriately Constitutional response to an unrestrained attempt by the Fed to regulate the intimate details of the American citizenry. However, the states should continue to sound the alarm over Medicare, food stamps, and other imbalanced public policies.

  3. Graham says

    Although I’m tempted to be cynical on this point, as so many politicians from all sides have generally subscribed to some version of a national or consolidated government, I nevertheless have to suspect that our contemporary problems would not be a shock to Madison and Jefferson. As we see encroachments by the federal government, we do see people associating with one another in opposition to these encroachments. Moreover, as Dr. Sheehan describes in great detail, we have avenues and mechanisms at our disposal to counter these problems. The question seems to me to be whether or not we will use them. However, we certainly will not use them if public opinion is unsettled or opposed to them. So my suggestion to anyone feeling cynical (I’m referring to myself as much as Mr. Hodgdon) is that you have an obligation to try to persuade your fellow citizen of the justice of the founding principles in as civil and tireless a manner as is possible. If we can succeed in that, sounding the alarm at the state level would be one of many options available to us.

    • says

      With all due respect, Galen, it was his coiunibttnors to the republic, and not merely his status as a historical figure, that they were celebrating, it seems. It certainly wouldn’t have been just a celebration of a historical figure if they’d been neo-nazis at a Hitler memorial. Just because the object, Thomas Jefferson, seems relatively benign to you and me doesn’t make the celebration any less political in nature. They weren’t at the Lincoln Memorial because as libertarians, they probably don’t like Lincoln all that much. It was indeed political speech and very much a consultation on public affairs.

  4. Eric Hodgdon says

    My original reply became lengthy, so I decided to develop it later, however, it has disappeared. But, the main point was, although the Americans won the war of revolution, the loyalists took over the country during Adams presidency, and have managed to keep control over the centuries.

    While I do not propose a ‘conspiracy’ of any sort, what we have now is not what was fought for then. This means that this nation is not what should have been, but instead the Federalists managed to morph into Whigs and then Republicans. It matters not if this is a rough thought of mine, but facts are facts – We do not have what the Constitution should have produced. We are not a Republic with a limited central government.

    What can I do other than point this out and try to educate others, but currently there is not much interest in this subject. The people of the country do not care for the founding principles.

    There is no core of constitutional thinkers which hold those founding principles alive today. There is no political party expounding the founding principles.

    • says

      And the next sentence: The very idea of a geonrnmevt, republican in form, implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for a redress of grievances. If it had been alleged in these counts that the object of the defendants was to prevent a meeting for such a purpose, the case would have been within the statute, and within the scope of the sovereignty of the United States. I’d say that gathering at the Jefferson Memorial to peacefully honor the contributions of the author of the Declaration of Independence to our republic to celebrate his ideas and by extension to demonstrate objections to our geonrnmevt’s departure from them pretty well fits the bill, wouldn’t you?

  5. Eric Hodgdon says

    Despite the inference that Madison was calmer and maybe saner than Jefferson * in their efforts regarding the Alien and Sedition Acts, both are of equal value today.

    While Jefferson sounded more direct than Madison, actions count more than occasional ways of expressing oneself. While some may sound one way, what they do is another matter. Advocates use different techniques. One such way, because it may not seem proper to one person, may in fact produce results, when a more preferred method, to the same person, may not. While Madison did spell out his reasoning and was less forceful than Jefferson, he was not able to alter the situation, nor the course the country was going. He could not reason enough to make a lasting difference by way of his writings and actions. Jefferson, while less reserved, did write “The Declaration,” which is still regarded as a radical and dangerous document today, although most Americans revere it each year. But, this does not imply Jefferson made the Revolution by himself. When each became President, what did they do to make a difference for future generations regarding the notion that there was still a viable Republic? What great statements or actions led to strengthen the American Republic during their terms in office? What legacy did each leave? For Madison, writer of parts of the Federalist, who pushed for a stronger union and stronger federal government, he got what he wanted and more. It is somewhat ironic he did those things and then came to oppose Hamilton and the Federalist party. Madison’s words still command respect today, as Jefferson’s command a focus, not otherwise put. But a contest between Madison and Jefferson is irrelevant for us today. What is relevant is what we do today.

    We have a system of government forced upon us, not of our creation. We choose to follow it out of habit and ignorance. Habit from our parents and ignorance of alternatives. While I don’t dislike our country, or our theory of government, we have not been afforded the “Liberty” to choose and create either, nor can we consent to either. It has been noted Madison preferred to use the system as designed, however, it’s the very system that has been abused, torn, and twisted into the diabolical nightmare of today. (I describe what I see) The Constitution, while a fine instrument in theory, is not so in practice. The transmogrification is an inescapable truth. The distance between theory and practice is proportional to the amount of corruption of our most favored document. Jefferson may have had ideas which some don’t see value in, and have even said would be destabilizing to the nation. However, it seems we have followed Madison’s ways far too long, based on the results we have today. Any destabilization is from not being able to make the “proper and necessary corrections” using the specified design elements. Why even Professor Rappaport says Article V is broken. Congress and the people have disrupted the design. The natural way for us to proceed in a calm and reserved manner has been removed, along with our voice and our designed presence, by way of representation in government.

    While I have become more aware of Madison’s input these past few months, I’ll not play favorites between the two. Both have endearing and enduring qualities which we see when we choose to see. Today we need both their inputs, but more so we need our own and others too. We must not view the past as perfection. We must not keep ourselves below our potential. We are the ones who can and may make a difference using both Madison’s and Jefferson’s thoughts and ways. We are the ones who must live for today and for tomorrow. What can we do to make our supreme parchment work correctly? What will we leave for our future? What will we leave for the future? The work is not above our talents. We are the ones who need to act.

    * How else is one to conclude otherwise from the descriptions and inferences given by authors to Jefferson’s personality traits. And while I’ve favored Jefferson more so, it’s been from a lack of information on Madison.

    • says

      “What can we do to make our supreme parchment work correctly?”

      We can modify it so it has effective enforcement of its limits and obligations. What is a limit that is not effectively enforced? It is not a limit. It is a suggestion. What is an obligation that is not effectively enforced? It is not an obligation. It is a suggestion also. Without effective enforcement, a constitution is a set of suggestions, and government overreach is inevitable.

      The Framers intended to have a Supreme Court to enforce the limits and obligations in the Constitution. But the Legislature and Executive produce the makeup of the Supreme Court by appointing justices. In effect, the Framers put two gangs of thieves in charge of appointing their judges, as well as putting the gangs in charge of running the police and the primary prosecuting attorney. Oops.

      The solution to the problem of Federal overreach is straightforward: The negative, or enforcing, power must be removed as far as possible from the manipulations of those who exercise the positive powers of taxing and lawmaking; and it must be given sufficient authority to enforce effectively. It must be organized in such a way that it does not become abusive on its own or as a vehicle for a runaway democracy. It must not interfere with the proper duties of the Federal government. It must not be over-empowered so it becomes a second government.

      With that understanding, the original question can be answered in terms of a general solution. To make this kind of change, the majority of the people must accept a proposed solution as reasonable and necessary so they can require an application from their State; but this is only the second task. Before the people can act, the necessity and character of the change must be clearly stated, and the process for making the change must also be clearly stated. Reasonable people will not agree to an action if they are not clear about what the action will be. If the initial task is not done, the second task will never begin.

      Many, if not all, of the Framers considered the Constitution incomplete. George Mason believed that as it was constructed it would end inevitably in tyranny. That was why he championed the Constitutional Amendment Convention. That is why the Framers voted unanimously to include the Amendment Convention in the Constitution. The Framers anticipated that someday the citizens would find it prudent to fulfill their patriotic duty and complete their work. Today is that day. The excesses of our constitutional government have brought our nation to a tipping point. The size and rate of growth of our national debt and our Federal government’s ongoing inability to address its own excesses prove beyond a reasonable doubt that we can no longer continue this course without falling.

      To answer the initial question with another question: Who will take up the task of writing an initial draft of a proposed solution and the process through which it will be implemented?

      Folks like Michael Rappaport and Robert G. Natelson at the Goldwater Institute have laid much of the groundwork for the Amendment Convention. I believe that I have correctly characterized here in general terms what needs to be changed. To me, the problem is the problem of filling in sufficient details to a credible plan for a credible and necessary change, so it can be presented to the general public for feedback and revision. After that is done, if the final proposed solution is reasonable and proves itself necessary, reasonable minded politicians and commentators will take up the cause and see it through. But they cannot do so if a reasonable solution is not first constructed.

  6. Jim Russell says

    Woodrow Wilson rejected the view of the founders that “the ideal of government was for every man to be left alone and not interfered with, except when he interfered with somebody else; and that the best government was the government that did as little governing as possible.” A government of this kind is unjust because it leaves men at the mercy of predatory corporations. Without government management of those corporations, Wilson thought, the poor would be destined to indefinite victimization by the wealthy. Previous limits on government power must be abolished. That is the prevailing view of the Progressives that have taken control of most of the federal government today. However we are finding that the government with its interference with liberty and freedom for “the betterment of society” is as corrupt and corrosive and the “evil corporations” What the Progressives or liberals failed to add to their equation of Social Justus is human nature people are corruptible it does not matter if they are corporations or government officials from the IRS, EPA FEMA or any other regulatory agency. The founding fathers knew this and it is precisely why in their wisdom they created a limited government, that would protect people from each other and from the government itself.

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