Defending the Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & the American Constitution
Friday July 25th 2014

Self-Educated Man

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Federalist 58 by James Madison. 1. Under the proposed Constitution whose interests were represented by the U.S. Senate? Is it so today? If not, how might it be remedied & by what means? 2. How did the Constitution provide for updating representation in Congress? 3. Madison credits the U.S Constitution with assigning the greatest power, that of the “purse strings” to the U.S. House. In your opinion, how might the House assert that power to reduce the size & cost of government today? 4. Explain in your own words Madison’s warning against too many men serving in the House. How might his warning be applied today as calls abound for a more direct democracy & for scrapping the electoral college system? 5. Is democracy the form of government our Founders gave us or was it a republican form? Explain the difference.


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Democratic Thinker: “An Axe to Grind”

Weekly Story


Charles Miner, a pioneer Pennsylvania editor, relates an often reprinted story from his youth.


Who’ll Turn the Grindstone?

Essay from the Desk of Poor Robert the Scribe.

—————

WHEN I was a little boy, Messrs. Printers, I remember one cold winter’s morning, I was accosted by a smiling man, with an ax on his shoulder,—“My pretty boy,” said he, “has your father a grindstone?” “Yes, sir,” said I. “You are a fine little fellow,” said he, “will you let me grind my ax on it?” Pleased with his compliment of “fine little fellow”—“O, yes, sir,”—I answered, “it is down in the shop.” “And will you my man,” said he, patting me on the head, “get a little hot water?” How could I refuse? I ran and soon brought a kettle full. “How old are you, and what’s your name,” continued he without waiting for a reply. “I am sure you are one of the finest lads that I have ever seen, will you just turn a few minutes for me?” Tickled with the flattery like a little fool I went to work, and bitterly did I rue the day. It was a new ax—and I toiled and tugged, till I was almost tired to death. The school bell rung, and I could not get away,—my hands were blistered, and it was not half ground. At length, however, the ax was sharpened, and the man turned to me, with “Now, you little rascal, you’ve played the truant,—scud to school, or you’ll rue it.” Alas, thought I, it was hard enough to turn grindstone this cold day, but now to be called “little rascal” was too much. It sunk deep in my mind, and often have I thought of it since.

When I see a Merchant, over polite to his customers, begging them to taste a little brandy, and throwing half his goods on the counter—thinks I, that man has an ax to grind.

When I have seen a man of doubtful character, patting a girl on the cheek, praising her sparkling eye and ruby lip, and giving her a sly squeeze,—Beware my girl, tho’t I, or you will find to your sorrow, that you have been turning a grindstone for a villain.

When I see a man flattering the people, making great professions of attachment to liberty, who is in private life a tyrant, Methinks, look out good people, that fellow would set you to turning grindstones.

When I see a man hoisted in office by party spirit—without a single qualification to render him either respectable or useful—Alas! methinks, deluded people, you are doomed for a season to turn the grindstone for a booby.

Charles Miner (1810).


As always, a Tip of the Hat from The Moral Liberal to Democratic Thinker for contributing another Americanist Gem.