Individual Ministerial Responsibility

Essay by maiba5University, Bachelor'sB-, February 2008

download word file, 7 pages 1.0

�PAGE � �PAGE �10� Individual Responsibility

Individual Ministerial Responsibility

[Name of the writer]

[Name of the institution]

Individual Ministerial Responsibility


The convention of individual ministerial responsibility is more concerned with accountability than with responsibility. This ambiguity demonstrates why constitutional conventions are an inappropriate attempt to limit State Power.


No piece of historical evidence looms larger in this ratifier-understanding variant of originalism than a speech that congressman James Madison gave in April 1796, when the House of Representatives was debating its constitutional role in the implementation of the controversial Jay Treaty. In this speech, Madison excluded evidence of the intentions of the framers at Philadelphia from the canon of acceptable sources, but at the same time he affirmed that evidence of what the Constitution meant to its legal ratifiers in the state conventions was pertinent. (Rakove, 2006, 159)

But, after all, whatever veneration might be entertained for the body of men who formed our constitution, the sense of that body could never be regarded as the oracular guide in the expounding the constitution.

As the instrument came from them, it was nothing more than the draught of a plan, nothing but a dead letter, until life and validity were breathed into it, by the voice of the people, speaking through the several state conventions. If we were to look therefore, for the meaning of the instrument, beyond the face of the instrument, we must look for it not in the general convention, which proposed, but in the state conventions, which accepted and ratified the constitution.

Later interpreters would naturally assume that their "ancestors," scrupulous in "their attachment to liberty," had incorporated every right they deemed worthy of protection.(10) Yet even in this effort to think of interpretation as a process of historical recovery - one generation reconstructing the purposes...