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'Glenn Beck': Founders' Fridays: James Madison

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," June 11, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Hello, America. It is Friday, "Founding Fathers Friday."

Do you recognize that guy? This guy is James Madison.

I can't relate to a guy who wrote to Thomas Jefferson this many letters. These are the — these are just the letters between James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. I — I can't imagine what this man had in his noggin.

I will tell you he is — I'm at a disadvantage because he's one of the Founders I know probably the least about and I'm actually ashamed of saying that because he's one of the most important Founding Fathers.

I do know this: he was about 5'4"; he weighed less than 100 pounds. It would be hard to take him seriously, but you did. He was — well, I mean, think Victoria Beckham after like a really long, month long fast.

(LAUGHTER)

BECK: George Washington called him a "withered little apple."

He was not imposing at all, but he was an intellectual force to be reckoned with. He's the father of the Constitution. A major player at the constitutional convention, referred to as the father of the Constitution.

He's the guy we have to go today, because I've — I have been — I have been trying to restore history, at least in my own mind. I've been trying to restore God, at least in my own life. And we have to restore our Constitution — and one very important part of our Constitution is the 17th Amendment.

We have a — we have a studio audience here.

How many people before we called you and say you want to come to the show, how of people here could say, oh, yes, the 17th Amendment, I know what that is?

Two, three. You guys don't count because you're doing a constitutional thing. Nobody.

How many really know what it is now, the 17th Amendment? OK.

This is amazing. Like all bad things it started in 1913, Woodrow Wilson yet again. He supported this. Immediately now, when I see Woodrow Wilson, I immediately know — bad thing! You can be quite certain that something is not going to have a good outcome if Woodrow Wilson was involved.

Before 1913, U.S. senators were appointed by the state legislature. Madison said that the House of Representatives would always be a national institution, because the people would be directly elected by the people. But the Senate — the Senate, he said, will derive its powers from the states.

Here is the idea: you have — you have the senators be representatives of the state interest, kind of like a lobbyist for the state. You think progressives would like that. The 17th Amendment changed that and instituted a direct — a direct popular election of United States senators. Two senators right there, two Senate — or the United States Senate shall be comprised of two senators from each state elected by the people. OK?

Why did they do this? Well, they wanted to take the direct representation out. They wanted to make sure that the states didn't have the direct representation.

This, Thomas Jefferson warned about. 1821, he said this — do we have it up here? "When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided by one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." Got it?

Progressive will tell you, well, we had to change this. We had to because the states were just becoming too corrupt.

Oh, well they fixed that, didn't they? It allowed special interest to lobby senators directly, cutting out the middleman of the state legislatures.

Has anyone noticed that senators routinely get large influxes of campaign cash from outside the state? Does anybody notice that?

I'm from Connecticut. Chris Dodd was my senator. Ugh! I was fascinated because I didn't know anybody who was ready to give money to Chris Dodd. No one.

Of course, not a lot of people talked to me in Connecticut, so that might have been a problem.

But I looked at where his money was coming from, it wasn't coming from Connecticut. It was coming nationally. Now, how can you be a representative of Connecticut?

Let me give you an example of the 17th Amendment coming into play right now, today. Obama's health care bill would have never seen the light of day. A lot of things that they do in Washington would never have seen the light of day. Why? Because it wouldn't in the interest of your state.

Why would we consider something — have you heard this phrase, "unfunded mandates"? How did they get that passed?

The Senate is not really looking out for your state.

Think of a state like Massachusetts. Why would they pay more in taxes for mandated health care when they already have that system? Why would they do it? It wouldn't have worked. It wouldn't have passed.

And James Madison, the little teeny, oh, you little cutie pie — he knew! The founders didn't intend for the federal government to ever have that much power. They put roadblocks.

Step-by-steps, it's taken them over 200 years to remove all those roadblocks, but they're almost done. Maybe it's time to put a few of them back.

What would they say about us if they could see America today?

(MUSIC)

BECK: How are you? How are you, sir? Good to see you.

Let me — let me introduce our guests. Colleen Sheehan, she is professor of political science at Villanova University, the author of "James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government."

And James Best is also here. He is the author of "Tempest at Dawn."

OK, if it wasn't for James Madison, we wouldn't have — we probably wouldn't have this. We certainly wouldn't have "The New York Post." I wouldn't probably be able to hold up the Bible today, would I? I wouldn't be able to have my show today, would I? If it wasn't for James Madison, would I have freedom of speech? Would we have freedom of press?

COLLEEN SHEEHAN, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY: Well, we may have those things, but it was the Madison who introduced the Bill of Rights in the first Congress of the United States. And he did so at the urging of a number of people, including his best friend Thomas Jefferson, who thought that a Bill of Rights was really essentially to a free government. Madison was a little concerned because he didn't want it to be interpreted that those were the only rights we have, and thus, the importance of 9th Amendment.

BECK: Now, we have — we have the hat problem but we now we have a problem from the president. And this is the second time that it's been tried by a president. FDR, I believe, was the first, that said it's a negative, a charter of negative liberties. And it should say all the things that the government should do for you.

That is exactly the opposite, right? We are 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

JAMES D. BEST, AUTHOR, "TEMPEST AT DAWN": Absolutely.

BECK: What did they say? Because you wrote — I love this, I haven't read it yet. I love this theory. This is a novel, but it's about the constitutional convention and all the facts are in here so you get everything. But you can read it in novel form. What were they — what were they really — what were they dead set for and against?

BEST: Well, they were dead set against any centralized power. I mean, they had just come from underneath the British. And they feared concentration of power.

And we talk about checks and balances today. But we use it as one word. And they wanted balance to also go into checks.

So if you didn't have enough power, that check wasn't any good. So, that's one of the reasons senators were appointed by the legislature because it gave power to the states.

BECK: Do you think the 17th Amendment if it was — if it was repealed, do you think that would change things in America?

SHEEHAN: Sure. It would — it would add again another check on the national government. I served — I served a small bit of time in the Pennsylvania state legislature.

BECK: Oh, I'm sorry for that.

SHEEHAN: Yes. My condolences.

But our U.S. senators would come pay a visit every once in a while. And at the time, it was Senator Specter and Senator Santorum.

BECK: Oh. Well —

SHEEHAN: And they would come to the Republican Caucus, and it was more like a social visit.

BECK: Yes.

SHEEHAN: If their feet were held to the fire by the representatives of the people of Pennsylvania, it would have been much more than a social visit. They would have had to have been much more responsible and responsive to the people had there been the extra layer of checking and guarding against national power.

BECK: Where did — where did his drive come from? Where — I mean, where — you know, Washington seemed to just want to get back to the farm and to be an honorable man. Jefferson was just an explorer I think, an explorer on everything. Who is he?

BEST: Well, the first thing he wanted to do is a lot of people came to the convention wanting to fix a broken government system. He wanted to do something epic, historic. He wanted to build a republic that would last for generations and decades.

He had studied every republic that had ever existed in the history of the world and he believed that he had figured out a formula. Part of the formula was enumerated powers, not general powers, and decentralizing power.

BECK: Do you guys, does it bother you — if this is — when people used to say, "Oh, we're a democracy." I roll my eyes because somebody would inevitably say, no, we're a republic. OK, I get it. Shut up.

But now, it really drives me crazy, because we're not a democracy. And there is a concerted effort by the progressives to make us a democracy. These guys believe — when he studied all the other republics, he and Jefferson were very, very clear: democracies never work. Republic always had fatal flaws, right?

BEST: Right.

BECK: And so, when he came to the constitutional convention, describe the scene a little bit. What was it like? They nailed the shutters closed, right?

BEST: It was a secret meeting because they were afraid if it was public, if somebody made a speech and took a position, then they couldn't be — they couldn't change their mind.

BECK: It was like the Bilderbergs.

(CROSSTALK)

BEST: And they were actually laid sod out in front of the street so that when the carriages went by it was quiet, and nailed the windows shut. And for the months, those 55 men just stayed in that room and deliberated unlike what we do today.

BECK: He — was he — because he had — I mean, 100 pounds, 5'4", I hear he had a mousy voice, right?

SHEEHAN: A Frenchman once called him "Mr. Mutterson."

BECK: Mr. Mutterson. Was he a pleasant fellow at all?

SHEEHAN: He was known to have a very sweet temperament. He's very quiet and very shy. And so, he often had to be asked to speak up when he was on the floor of the House or in the convention and so on. But among his family and his close friends, he was actually quite humorous. He loved his nephews and nieces.

BECK: Because the thing that I have seen is — and again, I know very little about him and I'm ashamed to say that. But what I do know is: when he came to the convention, if this history is right, he was absolutely convinced, no, no, no. I have the plan. This is the plan, no deviation — no deviation from it. And so, he seems like he was a royal pain in the ass because he was — am I wrong?

BEST: No, no, you're absolutely right.

BECK: Because he was like no! No, wait. I think we should — no. This is it. This is the plan, right?

BEST: Yes. He stuck with what he thought was a correct plan, long after many other people at the convention had changed their minds. For instance, Sherman came and convinced them to have two senators per state, which was another thing to improve state's authority and control over the federal government. And he fought long after everyone else, including Washington, had agreed to the two-state compromise. But he wanted it by population.

SHEEHAN: I'll disagree with you guys just a little bit.

BECK: All right.

SHEEHAN: I'm sure that's why you have a woman on the show.

(LAUGHTER)

SHEEHAN: I don't think he was a know-it-all. He did know a lot. And he was confidence in what he — he was confident in what he knew, but he wasn't like John Adams, where John Adams actually was a bit of a know-it- all and therefore offended people. Madison was very well-liked.

BECK: When I — when I say in this particular, I don't mean he was know-it-all, like, you just have to take mine. He had — I mean, did you see the letters he wrote back and forth? He had done his homework. He did know, if not all of it, most of it, where, you know, when you are put in a situation where you have done that much homework, you can kind of get a little testy with people are like, no, wait!

I don't know if anybody else has ever been in a meeting before where you worked really hard on something and there's some yahoo that you know has just been at the candy, you know, the candy machine for the last three weeks while you've been working. And they get in a meeting going, "I think that is a dumb idea." You're like, "Shut up, candy man, I've been working."

This guy really works. So, he did know, you know, what he was talking about with the republics.

What did he find in the — with the republics that was the fatal flaw?

BEST: He believed the fatal flaw was factions. He called them factions. We call them special interest. And everything that he did in design of the government was an attempt to diminish the ability of factions or alliances of factions to take over the leaders of government.

SHEEHAN: And the problem with factions, particularly majority faction, if you have a country based on the idea of majority rule is that any pleading passion can almost immediately become law. And so, Madison what he wanted to do was not take away the idea of liberty to make our own choices and to mistakes even and how like —

(CROSSTALK)

SHEEHAN: — think through things. But to develop a system of refining and enlarging the public views so that the people themselves ultimately are the rulers. And it doesn't have to be abdicated to the few who form the government.

BECK: These guys would be — he would be crazy with anybody who said, well, it's very complex and you won't understand it. That's why you hired me to do, wouldn't he? He'd be crazy on a politician saying that.

SHEEHAN: A true believer in the idea of self government. That's what he dedicated his entire life to.

BECK: These guys, because Jefferson said pretty much the same thing when he was talking about the constitutional amendment system. He said you can amend it.

And I think the amendment system is so brilliant because — for instance, prohibition. That amendment is still there, plus the repeal. So, when you look at the Constitution, you're like oh, really? We banned alcohol. That didn't work out well. The scars are left there.

And I think it goes to what Jefferson said and I'm hearing the same thing from Madison, that the people — trust the people. They're going to make mistakes. But they'll eventually get it and they will correct it.

Right now, we live in a situation where everything was with the last president, with this president, been with presidents in the past — it becomes an emergency. Got to go it, got to do it. And you don't even read it. And so, it just goes through.

Wasn't everything that he did basically a roadblock or a speed bump?

SHEEHAN: He wanted to slow things down. And allow for communication between the representatives and their constituents. In the newspapers, circulating, he said throughout the entire nation, so that we take time to think about these things, to have second thoughts so that the judgments we might come to are more reasonable.

Jefferson once said the world of majority is in all cases to prevail, but that will to be rightful must be reasonable because the minority have their equal rights, which government must protect. So, it's the idea of deliberation, as Jim put it.

What we don't want to do is what happened in ancient Greece, Madison says in "The Federalist Papers," which is to make the philosopher drink hemlock on one day and erect statues to him on the next.

BECK: Back in just a second.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BECK: Back with Colleen Sheehan. She is a professor of political science at Villanova University and author of "James Madison and the Spirit of Republican Self-Government."

James best is also here, and he is the author of "Tempest at Dawn."

Jim, we were talking about checks and balances that everything — everything had a counterpart to make sure it was always balanced. And really the failsafe here was the press, the First Amendment, freedom of the press.

Did they foresee a time the press wouldn't do their job?

BEST: No, I don't think they ever foresaw a time like that. I mean, the whole ratification process, "The Federalist Papers," "The Anti- Federalist Papers," there was open debate on both sides in press. And everybody in America was talking about this for over a year, I mean, as a sole subject of discussion. Maybe they talked about the weather occasionally.

But if they got together in a tavern, they had been reading about it in the papers, both sides of any issue. I don't think they would have foresaw a situation where they only wouldn't got one side of the story unless they went out and searched for the other side.

BECK: We have a situation now, and I'm so sick of hearing it, that there's too much information out there. And it could be confusing at times. And — you think so? Dummy! I mean, can we stop treating people like imbeciles?

Yes, there is — the Internet is out there, and, you know, they couldn't have foreseen the Internet. But isn't the Internet — aren't bloggers the pamphleteers of their day?

BEST: Yes.

SHEEHAN: Sure.

BECK: They dealt with the same thing only on a smaller scale. But the scale — you're smarter than I am — as a husky man, I know the pants when I go in to have, you know, my pants hemmed or buy a pair of pants, no matter if they were this size when I was a kid or this size as a husky male, they're still pants. The scale has changed.

But you don't change the principles of the Constitution for scale, do you?

SHEEHAN: But the size of the country has changed, too. You know, we were originally 13 states and now obviously, 50; and the population now, over 300 million. And Madison believed that the process of communication was key to refining and building reasonable public opinion. So, the kinds of things that had to go along with the growth of the country both in terms of territorial size and population has improved means of communication.

BECK: Right. What I don't know understand is, turn of the century, 1900s. They said — and this is taught in our universities now. I mean, it's crazy what — I just — do we have the disclaimer for the Constitution?

They're selling the Constitution now with a disclaimer that these are kind of outdated ideas. They're not outdated ideas. They still work, don't they?

BEST: The Constitution is, as they were trying to put it together, was a system of government. And as a system of government, assuming power in the hands of people would be misused, that human nature has not changed in 200 years, and that system of government is still valid.

BECK: But that system of government as they lined it out.

BEST: Right.

BECK: How much of it — if they came back today — if James Madison came back today, I contend he would do two things. He would say: how long did the Constitution last? And then we'd say, oh, no, we're still using the Constitution. And he'd probably slap you across the face, because really, does this resemble what they were doing?

SHEEHAN: Well, one of the biggest problems today is this idea of the, quote, "Living Constitution."

BECK: Oh, yes.

SHEEHAN: Because that doesn't mean that the Constitution is alive in our minds and hearts. What it means is the Constitution means anything the judges on the Supreme Court want it to mean, which is — which absolutely undermines the whole idea of popular sovereignty and free government.

Jack Rakove, a historian at Stanford, once called Madison the original originalist. And I think he captured Madison perfectly there, because the reason the original intent of the Constitution is critically important is because the people have spoken. And only the people can change that through the amendment process, which is constitutionally prescribed. If nine people on the Supreme Court can change it, you no longer have free government. You have some kind of oligarchy or despotism.

BECK: You — we changed studying the original intent. We stopped studying "The Federalist Papers." And here, the notes on the federal convention. We stopped studying those in law schools around 1920.

And now, the same law school that started that, Harvard, now is — we don't even study American law. We're now studying international law.

So, slowly by surely, they couldn't beat the Constitution, they had to make it irrelevant, right?

BEST: Whittle away at it.

BECK: Piece by piece over 100 years.

BEST: Piece by piece over — in the last 100 years has probably been the most, the 16th and the 17th Amendment. I mean, I don't know what Madison would say if he's alive today about the 17th Amendment, but in 1913, he would have fought against it.

BECK: Yes. I think he'd probably — right now, if he were alive today, he'd go — man, I thought I was short back then. Look how tall you are now!

Back in just a second.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: This is the copy of the Constitution that I totally — this is — I mean, look at this. This is from Wilder Publications, "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today."

Man, a truer word has never been spoken. "Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and interpersonal relations has changed since this book was written, before allowing them to read this classic work."

In your wildest dreams, anybody here in their wildest dreams, did you ever think the United States Constitution would be sold with a disclaimer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never.

BECK: I mean, that's —

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a sign of the times.

BECK: What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a sign of the times. Nobody thinks the Constitution is relevant anymore and it is relevant. And it is relevant.

BECK: It is — I'll introduce her in a second. First, let me introduce guests here on stage. It's Colleen Sheehan. She's a professor of political science at Villanova University and author of "James Madison: Spirit of Republican Self-Government."

James Best is also here. He is the author of "Tempest at Dawn." Before I get to Janine, let me come to you with this. Set the scene of the Constitutional convention, because we don't even know the constitutional convention was so important. And at the brink, everything would have been for nothing, the revolutionary war for nothing, if this didn't come together.

BEST: Right. The nation was disintegrating and this was do-or-die. They were going to get something out of here to fix this, or the country would probably go into anarchy.

So they had this meeting and they wanted it to be secret. They closed themselves up. And the wind was hot. It was a hot summer, big black flies flying around.

BECK: No deodorant.

BEST: No deodorant and heavy wool clothing.

BECK: Benjamin Franklin.

BEST: And — right. Yes. And now, you brought him up — he used to say that three men could keep a secret if two were dead. Historians have not found anything that ever leaked from the convention with 55 men over four months.

BECK: But you had George Washington and you didn't screw with him.

BEST: Right. One day, the session was over and they were about to leave and he made everyone sit back down. And he held up notes and said these notes were left by somebody at the convention and they could be picked up by somebody who is not part of our group.

They had been left in a tavern. And he slapped them on the table and said whoever they are, come and claim them and he just marched out. After that, there were no leaks or anything.

BECK: Nobody claimed them either.

BEST: Nobody claimed them, no.

BECK: Did the public have a problem with the secret meeting in trying to decide what our government was going to be?

SHEEHAN: Oh, some did, sure, especially some of the anti-federalists. You know, Patrick Henry said, "I smell a rat." But generally, people understood the deliberative process required people to be able to change their minds if they were wrong.

BECK: Right.

SHEEHAN: And not just be on C-Span grandstanding.

BECK: They came and they didn't — they weren't expecting to draft a new Constitution. We were under the Articles of Confederation and didn't they — weren't they all called together? And didn't some say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! What do you mean we're going to change the government?"

BEST: Many of them did. And they had no authority to do what they were doing. It was a bloodless coup. And then, they literally — it was the first time that Madison thought that a standing government had been replaced without the sword.

There was no rebellion, no war. And they basically, with reason, designed a new government and then presented it. And they didn't go back to the states which they were directed to do for approval. They went to conventions with the people to ratify this convention.

BECK: I don't want any hyperbole here but I have whirled this around in my mind and I heard this before that, oh, you could never have these great minds. They've never come together like this before.

But I mean, today, I can't, in my own mind, put together 10 people of this character and this intellect and this fame and accomplishment and find them to assemble, let alone have them do anything, but to find them. I mean, am I wrong? Is that hyperbole? Is that just me looking and saying —

SHEEHAN: Well, if you can, they're probably not in politics.

BECK: Right.

SHEEHAN: Jefferson, who was in Paris at the time, so didn't attend the Constitutional convention, called it an assembly of demagogues. Now, he was exaggerating, obviously.

BECK: Yes.

SHEEHAN: But the level of respect given to these men at the convention. You know, it's not just Washington and Franklin and Madison and Hamilton.

There were lots of people most Americans haven't heard about who contributed greatly to the foundations of the nation. James Wolfson of Pennsylvania, one of unsung heroes of the founding, and many others. Roger Sherman —

BECK: Roger Sherman was amazing. Back in just a second.

(APPLAUSE)

BECK: All right. Now, I'm going to introduce the blonde who you might say gosh, she looks that — do you remember that woman on "Northern Exposure" except she had brown hair? Yes, Janine Turner is the actress and founder of the Web site — I love and couldn't recommend more — "ConstitutingAmerica.org." Janine, how are you?

JANINE TURNER, ACTRESS AND FOUNDER OF "CONSTITUTINGAMERICA.ORG": I'm fine. Thank you very much.

BECK: When did you read "The 5,000-Year Leap?" Was it after the 9/12 special?

TURNER: It was before then. It was on the tea party and when I was on your show at the tea party in San Antonio.

BECK: Right.

TURNER: And I read about — you mentioned about it a month beforehand, I believe. It was because of you.

BECK: There you go.

TURNER: There you go. I read "The 5,000-Year Leap."

BECK: If you have not read the book, America, this is the simplest book. I mean, it gives you the principles of America and you will get it. You'll be like, "Oh, my gosh. It's a great starting point."

BEST: It is.

BECK: So you read that. Something woke you up. And did you know that — did you read "The Federalist Papers" before this?

TURNER: No.

BECK: No, you'd never —

TURNER: Yes. No, I had never read "The Federalist Papers." But now it's fascinating what we're talking about, the fact that "The Federalist Papers" explain the Constitution, which the American people wanted to know.

BECK: Right.

TURNER: And that they gave this, all these essays to the American people.

BECK: So you started this Web site and you are making a challenge to read "The Federalists Papers" and the Constitution. I love this. Ninety and 90 equals 180, which means 180 degrees in the other direction.

TURNER: Right.

BECK: What is the Web site and what is the rate of people saying, "Yes, I want to read 'The Federalist Papers?'"

TURNER: Well, you know what? It's got a lot of hits. Cathy and I co-chair. Cathy and I did it together. This is Cathy. My daughter is the national youth director. Yes.

BECK: I quizzed her earlier. You make her read it, "The Federalist Papers," on the way to ballet.

TURNER: We did.

BECK: And she actually claims she likes it.

TURNER: She does.

BECK: Unbelievable.

TURNER: I had them all reading in tutus before the dance recital.

BECK: Unbelievable. OK —

TURNER: "ConstitutingAmerica.org" — and the goal is to — you know, it says in "The Federalist Paper" number 27, "Man is a creature of habit." Well, the Constitution is pretty much not even existent in our culture anymore.

So our goal is to educate and bring in awareness about the Constitution and "The Federalist Papers," which explain the Constitution to American citizens and students across America.

BECK: You know, I think and — I can't remember now. I think I got it from De Tocqueville — the first time I heard this was — and it took me by surprise and you said it just a little while ago.

You know, people were talking about this in the taverns. And I can't imagine watching in a bar now. I mean as a recovering alcoholic, I try to avoid imagining walking into a bar now.

And hearing people sitting at the bar and going, "You know, let me tell you something. You know, that 17th amendment —" you would be like, "What world am I in?" But that is really what they used to do.

BEST: They did.

BECK: And De Tocqueville talked about everywhere he would go, he would hear people talk — you're looking at me like I'm crazy. Was it De Tocqueville?

BEST: Yes.

SHEEHAN: Yes.

BECK: And everywhere he would go, he would hear people have deep discussions. That has stopped. If —

(CROSSTALK)

SHEEHAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like you're crazy. No.

BECK: If everybody was doing what she is recommending and you have like a tutor or some —

TURNER: Well, what we do is we're reading the — we read the Constitution in five days and "The Federalist Papers" in 85 days. And every day, we read one federalist paper a day. We're on day 30 now.

We have a constitutional scholar, a professor from around the country. They come on and explain it. And then, we have a national conversation where people blog and discuss it. You would be amazed. We have thousands of hits a day.

And we even have a contest for kids. Entries are due July 4, which is best short film, best song —

BECK: Way to make it cool —

TURNER: To make it cool, yes.

BECK: Yes. I know I have a hard time. These "Federalist Papers" are difficult. I mean, the language is just a little difficult.

Two questions. One, if we were doing this, would this change the fabric of America? Could we — would it be a 180 turn? If we all started to really read "The Federalist Papers" and the Constitution and went, "Wait, wait, wait," would that change us?

SHEEHAN: You know, the State of Louisiana actually requires by law that all students read "The Federalist Papers." And I believe they don't mean a couple. I think they mean the 85 essays.

BECK: Reading it though isn't the same as reading it, living it, discussing it. Reading it by law is not going to work. Reading it by choice — that's different.

BEST: I think it would change the whole discourse in the direction of the country, a lot because Madison among the other people was very much driven by reason. And reason depends having facts in front of you and different opinions in front of you and then arguing them out and coming to a conclusion.

BECK: Washington said battlefield of ideas, which we don't do anymore. Let me ask you this one question. You are using the regular "Federalist Papers," the original "Federalist Papers."

TURNER: Yes.

BECK: People told me, and I've never seen them before, that there is — that schools are using the — you know, in modern language. Do you guys recommend or recommend to stay away from that?

SHEEHAN: Absolutely not. It's like, you know — how can you read Shakespeare?

BECK: I know, but I don't really need to hear Shakespeare. I avoid reading Shakespeare.

SHEEHAN: Oh, that's too bad.

BECK: No, but I mean, it is difficult. Have you read the translated versions?

BEST: No.

BECK: OK. I wouldn't myself, because I do believe in the original documents. But I didn't know if you had an opinion on that. You say no.

SHEEHAN: Well, I think you should read the original "Federalists Papers." Take your time.

TURNER: And quotes are fantastic. You know, you can usually pull something out, and they're just so relevant.

BECK: Yes.

TURNER: And we live it every day and nobody in America realizes they live it every day.

BECK: I'm working on a book. I've been working on it for about a year now. And it comes out this fall and it's about how to fix things. And it's amazing to have about 25 people, this pool of about 25 people that I really think who are off-the-charts smart.

And we sat around in a room. This was about four months ago. And I just shut my mouth. I told everybody, you make suggestions. I want you to think about this for about a month. And then, you come back and make suggestions.

And I sat and I shut my mouth. And I just say, "You, what was your idea? What is your idea? What is your idea?" And I just made notes and just numbered them — one, two, three, four, five, six.

Every single person, when they said their idea, I wrote their idea down. And then I wrote after it, "Founders did that. Founders did that." And I got to the end and I realized you don't really have to — all you have to do is restore it, because it was all there. We've just ignored it. Back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: All right. We're back with Colleen Sheehan — she is a professor of political science at Villanova University. James Best is here. He is the author of "Tempest at Dawn." And I want to go to the audience because we have a couple of questions. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I'm reading "The Federalist Paper" number 10. And in it, he outlines — Madison outlines how it's important to put factions and insurrection at bay. The first thing he says is, "Well, it's easy if you get rid of the liberties that give them the life. But you absolutely can't do that." And I think that is something ironic today because we're losing certain liberties.

BECK: It is amazing. I was thinking if — because I think there is a lot of people in America on both sides of the aisle that are just not going to sit down. And God help us if they ever get violent and things could spiral.

It requires somebody like an Abraham Lincoln that would suspend liberties and then give them back. But that is a — that is a one-in-a- million find. You know, to have somebody to quash like that — you just don't do that.

That is really dangerous. How does the system work when you have people gaming the system, playing the system, in the system? Is there any kind of escape hatch or a way to — without violating liberties? Is there anything to do? Or is it just all public morality?

SHEEHAN: Well, I mean, I think public morality is not a gist, not a merely. It's everything.

BECK: Yes, it's everything.

SHEEHAN: Madison once said and Lincoln said something very similar later on. Public opinion, Lincoln said, is everything. Without it, nothing can succeed. With it, nothing can fail.

He who holds public opinion goes deeper than he who enacts statutes and legislation. He makes the statutes and legislation possible. It really is a government by the people.

And this movement we are seeing right now in the United States, for example, which has lots of different component parts to it and lots of different kinds of people. But this is truly a movement from the ground up.

This is something we saw in pre-revolutionary America. Who knows where it will end up? But the voices are being heard and they are influencing public opinion. You mentioned "Federalist" 10, which I am really glad that you're reading.

But Madison said there are two ways to deal with the problem of factions — remove causes and control the effects. To remove causes, you can destroy liberty. But that is the same way you get rid of the problem of fire. You destroy air, in which the cure is worse than the disease.

Is that going on in America today, diminishing the liberties of the people and people allowing it so? Unfortunately, yes. But there are a number of people now standing up and saying that's enough of that. We are taking back our government and I applaud them.

BECK: Let me go up to the top here. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, did faith ever play an important role in James Madison's life when he had to make a decision?

BEST: Yes. Faith was something very constant throughout his entire life. His teachers, when he was young, were both ministers and in college. And prior to putting together the Virginia plan, which he brought to Philadelphia, he was in constant communication with Reverend Dr. John —

SHEEHAN: Witherspoon.

BEST: Yes, Witherspoon. And he was given advice from them. He constantly was pushing for religious freedom. But to him, religious freedom wasn't separation of church and state. It was the government staying out of religion.

BECK: But let me — the government staying out of religion. And correct me if I'm wrong. We have so misinterpreted that.

BEST: Yes.

BECK: These guys — not all of them, but deeply religious. They served the Lord. They thought they were seeing the finger of the Lord involved in all of this. But they fought for other religions.

So in other words, what we have made is — our religions are bigoted. You just stay out of all religion, because you are going to — you know, you are too bigoted. Christians are too bigoted for this.

Some Christians even back then were bigoted. But all of these guys stood up for religions they — you know, they didn't attend, they didn't agree with. But they stood up and said, "You have a right, as long as you don't break my leg or pick my pocket." What difference does it make to me?

SHEEHAN: Freedom of conscience.

BEST: Freedom to worship any way you chose.

BECK: OK. Back in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BECK: OK, America, here is what I'd like you to do. I'd like you to get online. I'd like you to buy this book. This is "James Madison" by Colleen Sheehan and this one is "Tempest at Dawn" by James Best. Read them. Start reacquainting yourself with the Constitution.

And we will see you next week. Oh, by the way, don't forget "Faith, Hope and Charity," our "American Revival" in Salt Lake City. You can see it — get your tickets online at GlennBeck.com.

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