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Introducing “Letters from an Ohio Farmer”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article introduces us to “Letters from an Ohio Farmer.” It is excellent reading.

From Power Line:

One of the more interesting and neglected political writings of the American Founding era was John Dickinson’s “Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer,” which set out the grievances of the colonists against British rule in the decade before 1776. Dickinson was something of a moderate; although he collaborated with Thomas Jefferson in 1775 on the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, he abstained on voting for the Declaration of Independence the following year, hoping for reconciliation with Britain. He attended the Constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, and defended the new Constitution in his own series of essays under the pen name Fabius.

This is prologue for bringing to everyone’s attention a new initiative conceived in a spirit similar to Dickinson’s letters: “Letters from an Ohio Farmer.” These letters are formally addressed to members of the 112th Congress but are also written for the engaged citizen. Many of the large class of new House members came to office in an election marked by an unprecedented populist fervor for constitutionalism. For that is partly what the Tea Party movement is–a populist constitutional movement–something James Madison would have thought at first glance not merely improbable, but an oxymoron, though on second thought he might have celebrated that the Tea Party represents the fulfillment of one of the Constitution’s larger purposes, which was to create a reverence among citizens for the principles of the nation.

Read the rest at Power Line.


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As good government is an empire of laws, how shall your laws be made? In a large society, inhabiting an extensive country, it is impossible that the whole should assemble to make laws. The first necessary step, then, is to depute power from the many to a few of the most wise and good. — John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

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