Out of Control Policy Blog

Wise Words from James Madison

Earlier this week Don Boudreaux posted a portion of Federalist Paper #44 on Cafe Hayek. Madison's words are so well designed for politics in our current age that I think that at least some of them are fit to reprint here as well:

"Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. The two former are expressly prohibited by the declarations prefixed to some of the State constitutions, and all of them are prohibited by the spirit and scope of these fundamental charters. Our own experience has taught us, nevertheless, that additional fences against these dangers ought not to be omitted. Very properly, therefore, have the convention added this constitutional bulwark in favor of personal security and private rights; and I am much deceived if they have not, in so doing, as faithfully consulted the genuine sentiments as the undoubted interests of their constituents. 

Anthony Randazzo is Director of Economic Research


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