Thursday, July 29, 2010

Founding father quote of the day: why do we have government?

"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint."

-- Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804), Revolutionary War veteran, co-author of The Federalist Papers, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and an early leader of the Federalist Party.


King of Ireland said...

We had imago dei last time and now here balance is brought with fallen nature. Quite founding like.

Mark D. said...

Great work picking up on the thread between the two quotes! Hamilton's worldview was quite influenced by Christianity when it came to his understand of human nature (so was Madison's by the way -- as his famous "if men were angels" line in the Federalist). Hamilton believed both in the concept of human beings as rational creatures endowed with rights that came from God (the idea of natural justice), and in the idea that human beings were subject to passion that moved him to act contrary to reason and justice.

This is completely consistent, as you point out, with the idea that human beings are made in the image of God, while at the same time being fallen beings who act contrary to the divine order.

King of Ireland said...

The good job is yours in finding these quotes and making a point in a subtle way.