Being how it is election season and all, I thought it appropriate to explore the character requisite in our chosen national representatives, particularly as viewed by the founders of our republic, and specifically as illustrated in the Constitution and the Federalist, because that’s how I do it, generally. Discoveries herein may be equally applied to our sovereign States and the various localities.
(Note: The Constitution is the fundamental framework of American government; the Federalist is the foremost authority on the Constitution.)
I should say that this brief, and in no way inclusive search for truth was embarked upon with not only self-evidence, but preconceived notions alit by a smaller portion of these very texts. Other words, I obviously knew what I’d find, because I already found it.
My findings, revelations that they aren’t, as bits shared below, strangely make no mention of physical appearance, gender, religious sect, hair style, musical talent, cunning, oratory skill, philanthropic plunderability (giving you stuff taken from others aptness), charisma, or affinity for certain pets, as essential to the character of representative government.
No, it’s mostly a lot of old blather about honor, fealty to the Constitution and country (I like these two the most), conscience, confidence, etcetera. If none of this makes sense to you, it’s okay, as you are not required to vote, and maybe it’s best that you don’t in this case, for the sake of liberty and posterity and stuff.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. ~U.S. Constitution, art.VI, c.3
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” ~U.S. Constitution, art.II, §.1, c.8
…to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen, that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose. ~Madison, Federalist No. 10, par. 16
As there is a degree of depravity in mankind, which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: so there are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. Were the pictures which have been drawn by the political jealousy of some among us, faithful likenesses of the human character, the inference would be, that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another. ~Madison, Federalist No. 55, par. 10
… the president and senators so chosen, will always be of the number of those who best understand our national interests, whether considered in relation to the several states or to foreign nations, who are best able to promote those interests, and whose reputation for integrity inspires and merits confidence. ~Jay, Federalist No. 64, par. 04
This process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of president will seldom fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honours of a single state; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole union, or of so considerable a portion of it, as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States. It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters preeminent for ability and virtue. And this will be thought no inconsiderable recommendation of the constitution, by those who are able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration. Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet, who says:
“For forms of government, let fools contest– That which is best administered is best,”
yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is, its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration. ~Hamilton, Federalist No. 68, par. 08
With respect to their (the President and the Senate) responsibility, it is difficult to conceive how it could be increased. Every consideration that can influence the human mind, such as honour, oaths, reputation, conscience, the love of country, family affections and attachments, afford security for their fidelity. In short, as the constitution has taken the utmost care that they shall be men of talents and integrity, we have reason to be persuaded, that the treaties they make will be as advantageous as, all circumstances considered, could be made; and so far as the fear of punishment and disgrace can operate, that motive to good behaviour is amply afforded by the article on the subject of impeachments. ~Jay, Federalist No. 64, par. 15