The Gendering of American Politics: Founding Mothers, Founding Fathers, and Political Patriarchy

By Mark E. Kann | Go to book overview
dress future emergencies and take advantage of future opportunities. He searched the U.S. Constitution's words (for example, "necessary and proper") and concepts (for example, "implied powers") to support an interpretation of the Constitution that provided national political leaders with broad powers to address "necessities of society," which took precedence over "rules and maxims." These necessities included not only "existing exigencies" but also "probable exigencies of the ages." And because probable exigencies were "illimitable," governing officials' powers had to be illimitable too. 25 Hamilton was convinced that a small governing elite was needed to create a new nation and then guide that nation to become a powerful player in world politics.
CONCLUSION
Fearful of disorder among men, concerned with crises that threatened the republic, and optimistic about opportunities on the horizon, most founders affirmed the need for a small governing elite to lead the nation. They reasoned as follows.
1. Men had a natural passion for distinction manifested in a manly quest for fame that elevated a few heroic men into the elite ranks of the natural aristocracy.
2. These select few men were portrayed as political patriarchs and father figures who could be trusted to exercise great power and still win men's consent.
3. They adhered to a code of political manhood that enjoined and enabled them to ignore public opinion, disregard law, and exercise political prerogative for the public good.
4. A small governing elite with extralegal powers was desperately needed to address the crises and realize the opportunities of the nation at a crucial historical turning point.

While the founders were fearful that powerful leaders could abuse their powers and deny men's liberty, they felt compelled

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