What significance does the Constitution really hold in our system of government? What did the Framers really intend when drafting it? How much power does the Constitution give the federal government, and what limits on power does it impose? These are all very difficult questions that even Supreme Justices hesitate to answer, but there are some who claim to know the answer.
Last night, American University’s Young Americans for Liberty was thrilled to have award-winning author, historian, and podcaster Dr. Thomas E. Woods come to campus and explain the real meaning of the Constitution!
Dr. Woods, an esteemed political scholar and libertarian guru, walked a crowd of OVER 100 ATTENDEES through the history of the Constitution, from the gatherings of figures like James Madison and Alexander Hamilton in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention, to the expansion of federal power granted in controversial Supreme Court cases, to the contemporary habit of the federal government to disregard constitutional constraints altogether.
Legal scholars from both the Right and Left have often claimed that we cannot understand the true intentions of the Framers. However, as a historian, Dr. Woods affirmed that their intentions can be made clear so long as we look in the right place. While most scholars look to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 for clues about how to interpret the Constitution, Dr. Woods told us to look elsewhere.
Namely, he emphasized the importance of the state ratifying conventions that came afterwards; in addition to adhering to the ideas of Federalism, the state ratifying conventions helped shape what would ultimately become the Constitution we know and love. According to Dr. Woods, the libertarian idea of small government is not an idealistic fantasy; on the contrary, it is exactly how the Framers intended our nation to be structured.
After his speech, Dr. Woods answered questions from the audience on a wide range of issues. Perhaps the most interesting question answered was what were all dying to hear: What does Dr. Woods think of Senator Rand Paul and his presidential campaign? Although Dr. Woods is known for being a long-time supporter of Ron Paul, he assured us that his involvement in politics has come to an end, but wished Senator Paul the best of luck.
At the end of the event, AU YAL President John Nagle raffled off Dr. Woods’s book, Who Killed the Constitution?. Needless to say, one lucky liberty lover walked away very happy that night.
This has been an extraordinary year for AU YAL. Already, in its first year, AU YAL has been able to bring an incredible speaker to campus to talk about an issue essential to the ideas of individual liberty. We are so grateful to both Dr. Woods and the incredible crowd that came to learn about liberty and how the Framers intended our government to function. As made apparent by the large and engaged audience, it is abundantly clear that the liberty movement is spreading, and spreading very fast.