Intergenerational Justice in the United States Constitution,
The Stewardship Doctrine:

II. The Intergenerational Philosophy of the Founders and Their Contemporaries

D Generational Sovereignty and the Laws -- The Right of Re-Constitution - James Madison

James Madison, was less than fully receptive to Jefferson's suggestion that all constitutions and laws expire naturally every 19 years. He felt that formal recognition of such a doctrine might endanger the new and delicate framework of government which he had just played such a large role in designing. f191 While expressing concern, Madison nonetheless acknowledged the primacy of the need for consensual government: "[S]trict theory at all times presupposes the assent of every member to the establishment of the rule itself. . .." f192 In an attempt to reconcile his respect for consensual government with his concerns over instability, Madison turned to Locke's theory of implied consent, or, as he termed it:

"the received doctrine that a tacit assent may be given to established Constitutions and laws, and that this assent may be inferred, where no positive dissent appears." f193

Under this theory, neither laws nor constitutions would expire automatically. They would remain effective until the people organized themselves for the purpose of expressing their dissatisfaction - assuming the people could practically do so. f194

What is clear is that: 1) the founders believed that their descendants were endowed with the same right to "alter or abolish" governments that the founders themselves had recently exercised by seceding from England; 2) the founders were concerned that legislative and constitutional decisions not be so difficult to amend or revoke that they unduly impinged upon posterity's right of self-determination; and 3) the founders were especially interested in discouraging hereditary or otherwise perpetual privileges and honors which would advantage one set of citizens over other citizens without regard to merit.

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