Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Proper Sphere of the Rich?
If anyone has any suggestions, on that, or the definition of an edile, please comment or e-mail.

Montesquieu says the only requirement for the office of edile is being rich, but I don't know what job it was . Hopefully it means "guy on the main float at the parade."

This is a link to the source of this quote, Gouveneur Morris, "Penman of the Constitution" on someone else's concerns at the Constitutional Convention, July 2, 1787:

He fears the influence of the rich. They will have the same effect here as elsewhere if we do not by such a Gov't keep them within their proper sphere. We should remember that the people never act from reason alone. The rich will take advantage of their passions and make these the instruments for oppressing them. The Result of the Contest will be a violent aristocracy, or a more violent despotism. The schemes of the Rich will be favored by the extent of the Country. The people in such distant parts can not communicate & act in concert. They will be the dupes of those who have more Knowledge & intercourse. The only security agst. encroachments will be a select & sagacious body of men, instituted to watch agst. them on all sides.
[Coloring and bold mine, punctuation and capitalization in original]

Imagine the gall! Trying to put limits on money! One might be led to believe that the Founders didn't believe in the doctrine that money equalled speech. This, from whom it was said by Madison "the finish given to the style and arrangement of he Constitution fairly belongs to the pen of Mr. Morris." In the above, Morris was, in case you didn't guess, talking about what became the U.S. House of Representatives.

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