Klukowski: America’s Written Constitution in 1787 Was Revolutionary
“One of the most revolutionary aspects of the Revolution is that our Founders gave us a written Constitution,” Breitbart News Senior Legal Editor Ken Klukowski told SiriumXM host Stephen K. Bannon on the Sunday edition of Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125.
The purpose of a written Constitution was so that, “we would know what the role and powers of government are, and what the limits on that power are, and to declare certain rights that the people would possess against their government,” Klukowski added.
In addition to his work for Breitbart News, Klukowski is a constitutional scholar who has authored eight academic publications, worked on a law school faculty, and practices law both as senior counsel with First Liberty Institute and a fellow with the American Civil Rights Union.
Bannon brought Klukowski onto the program as part of Breitbart News’ collaboration with SiriusXM Radio to celebrate Independence Day by providing nine hours of programming over three days regarding the America
Klukowski recounted how after the Revolution the Founding Fathers, adopted the Articles of Confederation in 1777. He then discussed how after the Revolutionary War ended and the new American states were no longer united against a lethal enemy, it became clear that the Articles of Confederation were so deeply flawed that they could not be salvaged, and must be replaced if the new American nation was going to endure.
The Framers of the Constitution rejected modern romantic notions of human as inherently good, Klukowski explained, instead adhering to the classical view of humanity: the biblical belief that all people are sinners.
This led to the Madisonian Dilemma, of creating a government that was powerful enough to do what government is needed for, but not powerful enough to destroy personal liberty. Klukowski summarized James Madison’s argument in The Federalist Papers No. 51 that, “men need government because men are not angels,” yet “because those serve in government are not angels, either.”
The Framers’ solution, Klukowski explained, is “that they took governmental power and broke it.” The Constitutional Convention of 1787 divided government power between federal and state power, then within the federal government separated powers into the categories of legislative, executive, and judicial, each given to a branch that had checks and balances against the other two. And the Framers empowered the people to amend that Constitution when necessary.
They discussed the First Great Awakening, the massive resurgence in evangelical Christianity in the 1700s in which large numbers of Americans became born-again Christians who professed Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, and regarded the Bible as the infallible Word of God. Klukowski affirmed the formative effect that this revival of biblical Christianity had on the Framers’ concept that American self-government required a virtuous citizenry, and their belief that religious faith was an essential element of successful self-government.
Bannon asked Klukowski to respond to Mark Levin’s claim that America is in a postconstitutional era. Klukowski answered that he hoped not, but that ultimately whether the United States slides into a postconstitutional government will depend on the American people, because in a democratic republic, “we get the government we deserve because ultimately we get the government that we vote for.”