A congressional birthday

Reposted from March 4, 2016 with minor edits.

“The local interests of a State ought in every case to give way to the interests of the Union; for when a sacrifice of one or the other is necessary, the former becomes only an apparent, partial interest, and should yield on the principle that the small good ought never to oppose the great one. When you assemble from your several counties in the Legislature, were every member to be guided only by the apparent interests of his county, government would be impracticable. There must be a perpetual accommodation and sacrifice of local advantages to general expediency; but the spirit of a mere popular assembly would rarely be actuated by this important principle. It is therefore absolutely necessary that the Senate should be so formed as to be unbiased by false conceptions of the real interests or undue attachment to the apparent good of their several States.”   — Alexander Hamilton, speech to the New York Convention after the ratification of the Constitution in 1788.

On March 4, 1789, the first session of the US Congress met and made it official that the US Constitution was in effect. Until 1937, March 4 also served as the inauguration date for US Presidents.

Given our current political climate, I find these milestones, and the expressed views of our founders, increasingly important.

 

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