- Published: 08 January 2012
The historical records are replete with expressions of The Founders' profound concern for the enduring safety of the God-given, unalien-able rights of future generations in America--time without end, for the preservation of Posterity's just heritage of Individual Liberty: Freedom of Man from Government-over-Man, under a securely functioning system of constitutionally limited government to be in practice inviolate in its full integrity. This concern of all of The Founders, indeed of all their fellow leaders and of their fellow Americans in general, was soundly reflected in 1774 in "Resolutions of Committee for the Province of Pennsylvania" which constituted "Instructions from the Committee to the Representatives in Assembly" of Pennsylvania as drafted by John Dickinson, a signer of the Constitution and distinguished in other respects as a leader in the period 1774-1787. These resolutions contained the following stirring appeal, to be always solicitous of moral obligation stemming from the fact that, in any period, the living generation is only temporary trustee of the just heritage of Posterity (emphasis per original):
"Honour, justice and humanity call upon us to hold, and to transmit to our posterity, that liberty, which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children: but it is our duty, to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty, can exceed our own, if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, intitled to its blessings, and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned to us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness, from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them; the experience of all states mournfully demonstrating to us, that when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations, that ever flourished, have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals."
It was in this sense, in part, that Washington referred to the American people--meaning those of each and every generationt in his previously-noted statement in his First Inaugural Address (referring to the form of a Republic as "the Republican model of Government"):
". . . the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." (Emphasis Washington's.)
This indicates the double burden of responsibility of each generation of Americans, according to the thinking of The Founders, as the trustee of "the republican model of government" not only for American Posterity but for all other peoples of future generations--for whom The Founders intended the American "experiment" to be a model: to serve as the Light of Liberty which could inspire other peoples as an ideal and goal and to which they could turn for sound guidance whenever any people, of any country, might feel so inclined in the course of their own self-development governmentally; without any attempt by America, of course, to impel--to "pressure" any people in this connection.