Ben Carson has said some odd things. His Pyramid claim does not fit with the text of Scripture, but it’s not a unique belief. It has some history behind it.
His latest historical faux pas (or not) concerns the Constitution and the role Thomas Jefferson did or didn’t play in its conception and development.
Anyone familiar with history knows that Thomas Jefferson was not at the constitutional convention. He was in Paris at the time possibly playing footsie with Sally Hemmings. Hollywood even made a movie about it. It’s called Jefferson in Paris (1995).
While being interviewed on C-Span, Dr. Carson said that Thomas Jefferson “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s natural tendencies.”
This was a common belief among the founders. The Constitution was designed to limit the power of government not empower elected officials to do what they believe is right. “In questions of power,” Jefferson wrote in the 1798 Kentucky Resolutions, “let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”
Here’s where it gets interesting and Carson is coming out as someone who is smarter than his 5th-grade media elites. “As Politico put it: Jefferson crafted the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.”
Read related article: “Ben Carson, Pyramids, Grain Storage, and the Bible.”
Keep in mind that that Politico.com admits that, “Carson noted Jefferson’s absence in his book, ‘A More Perfect Union,’ writing that he was ‘missing in action’ during the birth of the Constitution as he served abroad as ambassador to France.”
It seems that Jefferson was exchanging letters with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson about the Constitution.
David Mastio, writing for USA Today, points out the following:
“After the Constitution Convention was over, Jefferson had this other idea called a ‘Bill of Rights,’ which you might have heard is a part of the Constitution. Jefferson sorta played a key role in all that First Amendment, Second Amendment stuff. If you don’t believe me, go ask the American Civil Liberties Union, which is big on rights like free speech and freedom of religion.
“Saith the ACLU: ‘The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first 10 amendments became the law of the land.”
“The ACLU even quotes Jefferson’s argument: ‘A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.'”
We don’t know if this is the history that Dr. Carson had in mind when he said what he did about the Constitution (in a later interview with Megyn Kelly he said he did),1, but we don’t find his critics giving him the benefit of the doubt like they would a Democrat.
- “No, he didn’t craft it,” he told Fox News host Megyn Kelly. “But he was certainly in communication with the people and had a lot of input and a lot of say about it. So no, he didn’t craft it, of course not.” [↩]