Monday, June 17, 2013
The value of Madison's Memorial & Remonstrance
Eva Brann posts a very insightful and beautifully written reflection on that topic over at The Imaginative Conservative: Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance": A Jewel of Republican Rhetoric. As she rightly notes, Madison's work deserves to be ranked as one of the greatest examples of American argument and reasoning, with a rhetorical punch that puts in the same league as the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence. Worth studying not only for its argument and phrasing but for its constitutional importance (as she observes it has been used in part by the Supreme Court as a guide to what the principle of non-establishment of religion means), Brann demonstrates that the rhetorical structure of Madison's argument is linked to his substantive presentation of the argument for religious liberty. One point that Brann makes, and that bears repeating, is that Madison's argument is an essentially religious one, grounded not only in republican principle but also in Christian thought. A wonderful discussion of rhetoric, good writing and the principles of freedom and republican virtue.