One of the more profoundly stupid things said about this election is that it would have shocked the Framers of our Constitution. Horsefeathers! Our Framers had far greater experience with the vagaries of human conduct than they’re given credit for, and could see it face to face in the “father” of the Constitution.
I am referring, of course, to Gouverneur Morris, who more than anyone may be credited with the fact that the Framers walked away from Philadelphia with a deal. He was, like Donald Trump, a New Yorker and a deal-maker, one who like Trump had an eye for the ladies. While the story that he owed his peg-leg to a jump from a window to escape a jealous husband is probably apocryphal, we do know something of his many affairs, thanks to his candid diary. When he visited Paris in 1784 on banking business, he quickly adapted to its customs, and shared a mistress — the comtesse de Flahaut — with Talleyrand, the Bishop of Autun. With a touch of envy, a French diplomat described him as “sans moeurs, et, si l’on en croit ses ennemis, sans principes.”
As for Franklin, as much an indispensable man as Washington, his long stay in Paris had done nothing to improve his morals, in the eyes of prim John Adams. His life at the French Court had been one long train of dissipation, complained our second President.
Of course, the Framers had also encountered people with the character of a corrupt Hillary Clinton. They did know Aaron Burr, after all.
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