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General Articles

Constitution 101

 

The ‘Founding Fathers’ of the United States of America spent almost four months in 1787 writing our Constitution after realizing that the original framework, the Articles of Confederation, were not working and needed revision or replacement.  That is why the Preamble of the American Constitution reads:

 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

 

There is much, very much, in these few words.

It does not say, “We the know-it-all Ruling Class…” – even though the delegates at the Constitutional Convention were members of the intelligentsia, the wealthy and the ‘upper class’ – the Constitution is for all American citizens!  And ALL CITIZENS, including those in power, are to be bound by it!

 

It says, “establish Justice”– it does not say “establish Equality.”  We are not all ‘equal:’ you are smarter than I am; she is taller than her sister; he is more ambitious than his brother; she is more agile than he is; he is kinder than she is; he can throw a football way, way farther than I can.  “Justice” means we are all to be treated equally under the law, not that day-to-day outcomes are to be equal.  That’s impossible.  In fact there is NO mention of ‘equality’ in the main body of the Constitution! When equality IS mentioned it is much later in the Fourteenth Amendment, which in part reads, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall… deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.  Read that again:  it says, “equal protection of the laws.”  It does not say everyone shall have an equal outcome; they won’t have equal houses, equal income, equal number of children, equal transportation, equal wealth and other equal nonsense.

It says, “promote the general Welfare” – it does not say: “promote Welfare generally” nor does it say:  “promote the Welfare of everyone.”  Nor does it say:  “provide Welfare for the lower classes – OR the upper classes.”  It means: “promote what’s best for the country as a whole.” 

 

John Locke wrote in his Second Treatise on Government:

“To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”

 

These words may seem familiar.  The idea was expressed a little differently here:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  You should know these words from the American Declaration of Independence.

The American Constitution was written to protect these ‘unalienable’, ‘natural state’ rights of citizens from the government!

 

Much of the philosophy and principles behind the American Constitution are found in the writings of John Locke and Charles-Louis de Secondat de Montesquieu.  The Federalist Papers and many letters, articles, essays and other documents available to us elucidate the logic, rationale, arguments and processes of arriving at the final document we call the American Constitution.  The first ten amendments of that document we call the Bill of Rights of the United States of America were added when it was realized that many important ‘inalienable rights’ of humans were specifically addressed in the main body of the Constitution.  The wording of most critical phrases, clauses and sentences was carefully and specifically selected.  While many would have you believe otherwise, it is not a document of obfuscation and hyperbole.  It is not ‘dead’ and its function and principles are very much applicable to modern society.  A constitution is effectively the By-Laws of a nation.  Theoretically and actually, all laws, codes and regulations of a country that subsequently follow and derive from the contents of its constitution must be fully consistent with and not contradict those fundamental principles laid out in that document.

 

By the way, the United States of America is NOT, never was, and was never intended to be, a ‘democracy’!  It is a republic with a representative form of government!  What’s the difference? A democracy is “government by the people; especially:  rule of the majority”; and a republic is “a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law.”  I.e., the people select representatives to the various levels of government (federal, state, county/parish and town/city) to make rules for EVERYONE to obey.

The key here is the USA is a nation governed by LAWS, not people.

People can be swayed by the latest fad, charismatic person or emotional crisis.  (Think of how Adolf Hitler convinced most Germans to follow his insane policies!)  People are very susceptible to ‘herd mentality.’  Do you REALLY want a rule of the majority?  Rule by the majority gave us the Jim Crow South.  That worked well for a particular minority portion of the population, didn’t it?  (The common joke is ‘democracy’ is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.)  And rule of a minority does not work well either:  the Bolsheviks of Russia and the Marxists following Mao Zedong of China ruled over devastating purges in their countries.

 

These are the bases for our discussions in this blog:

1) The people are the ultimate power and authority in any nation or other geopolitical entity.  Without their consent their government has no legitimacy.

2) The greatest fear of the architects of our republic was that they would exchange one tyrant, the British monarchy, for another – even a popularly elected one.  The Constitution was constructed to prevent that tyranny.

3) Therefore, the most important principle running throughout the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is the fundamental belief that government should be limited:  the People – the Citizens of the country – have certain inherent, inalienable rights alluded to in the Declaration of Independence that no government can abrogate or abridge.  The American Constitution has much wording that specifically permits or prohibits certain authorities and responsibilities to the central national (federal) government.  Let me repeat:  the Constitution of the USA was designed and intended to protect the American people FROM their government.

4) The word ‘shall’ when used in a legal or regulatory sense specifically, intentionally and explicitly means ‘MUST.’  Conversely, ‘shall not’ means the permission or authority to do a thing is specifically, intentionally and explicitly denied – a thing MUST NOT be done. 

5) The Legislative branch of the government of the USA MAKES laws, the Executive branch MUST EXECUTE and administer those laws and the Judicial branch mediates conflicts and disputes between states; between the people or the states and the federal government; and determines the constitutionality of the laws of all levels of government.

 

 

The American Constitution is organized thusly:

Article 1 describes the composition, responsibilities and authorities of the Legislative branch of the national government, the Congress (Senate and House of Representatives).

Article 2 describes the qualifications and duties of the President and Vice-President, the Executive branch of the federal government.

Article 3 describes the Judicial branch of the federal government:  the courts, but not the Executive branch Department of Justice.

Article 4 lays out the relationships of the various states to the federal government and to each other.

Article 5 provides for methods of amendment of the Constitution.

Article 6 deals with debts of the prior American Confederation, a statement that the Constitution and subsequent laws “shall be the supreme Law of the Land” and includes a clause that says all government officials (including state!) “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.”

Article 7 states how the Constitution may be ratified.

 

Primarily we will be concerned with the first four Articles and the various Amendments of the Constitution.

 

A common sense reading and interpretation of the Constitution of the United States of America should lead the reader to the same conclusion I come to that 80 to 90 percent (or more?) of what the federal government currently does is unconstitutional and many of the laws and regulations currently in effect directly repeal the rights protected (NOT ‘granted’!) by the Constitution.  Some have conjectured that every resident of the USA commits at least three federal crimes every day.  Is this how any country should function?

It is the purpose of this website to explore this common sense interpretation of the Constitution of the United States of America.  It is my hope that the readers of this blog will come to agree with this common sense perspective and work to regain and restore the proper balance between the power of the American people and the SUBORDINATE power of their government.  It is my hope that the readers of this blog will fully understand and take the Tenth Amendment to heart knowing that THEY are the ultimate power in this country.

Amendment Ten of the Constitution of the United States of America reads:  The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In further support of the concept that the people are the true grantors of authority, most American state constitutions contain these specific words or something very like them: “All political power is vested in and derived from the people. All government of right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.  This is from the Constitution of the State of Montana.   Check out your own State constitution.  It very likely will explicitly, literally agree with this principle.

Governments are legitimate only by the consent of the governed.  This is an absolute truth and VERY important concept to keep in mind.  It is a concept that our elected (and unelected) officials at every level must keep ever present in their minds as they represent their constituents and fulfill their appointed duties.

 

 

 

American Presidents are required by the Constitution to swear that they “will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  All members of Congress of the USA are required to swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.  Federal judges must swear they “will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me … under the Constitution and laws of the United States.”  State and local officials are also required to swear an oath in which they promise they ”will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of …”  Members of the military of the USA must pledge to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same”.

 

After reading some of the articles on this website, you should begin to see that most members of the first three examples above do NOT in fact abide by and adhere to their sacred oaths.

I would like for you to indulge me in a little redundancy.  The following are the Preambles to several State constitutions.  See if you can pick out a repeating pattern.

“We, the people of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, economic, and religious liberties we enjoy, and desiring to protect individual rights to life, liberty, and property; afford opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; assure equality of rights; promote the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and justice to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.”

 

“We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.”

 

“We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution.”

 

“WE, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.”

 

“We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.”

 

We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, form a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this constitution.”

 

Thank you for reading through them.  Did you determine the not-so-cleverly hidden similarity?

Yes.  They all express gratitude to God.  That gratitude is primarily for liberty.

Which brings us to two points.  Those who wrote and ratified these various constitutions all believed in a god.  [We’ll definitely discuss this at a later time!]  And they all very highly valued liberty.  Liberty is a lack of oppression and restriction.  Liberty for the citizens of the United States of America was purchased dearly through two catastrophic wars. What have American citizens done with that so very precious gift?

 

Currently, Americans seem to be eagerly disposing of their liberty as quickly as they can.  Political correctness prevents them from speaking their true thoughts, abrogating the First Amendment of the Constitution and preventing a dialog that would yield genuine community and solutions.  Political correctness is preventing them from displaying symbols of their religions, again annulling the First Amendment.  Political correctness is preventing the USA from identifying and eliminating the root cause of much poverty and violence in American society.  Americans allow police to search their vehicles and seize their possessions without warrant or probable cause, rescinding the Fourth Amendment.  Americans allow strangers in uniforms to touch them without warrant in ways that would incite outrage and violence were anyone else to do so, again nullifying the Fourth Amendment.  Americans allow the government to listen to and see their private conversations without warrant, yet again gutting the Fourth Amendment.  Americans have allowed their representatives to restrict their political speech in ‘free speech zones’, still again trampling the First Amendment.  Americans have allowed their government to monitor their financial transactions, again and again ignoring the Fourth Amendment.  American vehicle operators and passengers allow the government to require they use certain safety equipment.  Americans have permitted their government to debase their money.  Americans have allowed government to restrict what they can eat.  Americans have allowed government to dumb down their children.  Americans have let government dictate what they can do with their private property.  Americans have allowed government to mandate their medical options.  Americans have allowed their governments to shackle them to outrageous debt that they, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond may never repay.

 I could go on and on and on filling your day and the server where this website resides with examples of the degradation of American liberty.

The answer to Francis Scott Key’s question, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave / O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” is: the flag is still flying (for how much longer?) but the free and brave have departed.

I believe they can return.

 

It is my hope that the readers of the contents of this site will become aware of these points:  how far the United States of America, both as a system of laws and as a society, has diverted from the original dream of a people living without fear of their government; the failings of the American governing and political systems as currently operated; the divisiveness of party politics, special interest accommodation, political correctness and shortsighted symptom-patching instead of holistic causal repair that has made the original unofficial motto of the USA, “E Pluribus Unum” (“From Many, One”), all but a joke; the loss of the sense of independence that allows and encourages citizens to care for themselves, their families and their neighbors and the loss of local control of their communities and neighborhoods.

My wish is for readers to be inspired to return the republic to its founding principles, to hold their elected and appointed officials to their oaths of office and expunge self-serving corruption from government.  Citizens must stay informed and engaged.  They must be willing to frequently and often communicate with their governmental representatives informing them of how they wish to be governed.  They must be willing to ignore party affiliations and remove their civil servants who do not act in the best long-term interest of the entire country, State or municipality.  I intend for the reader to be inspired to reclaim their true citizen’s power and authority in the United States of America.

Thank you for your time and attention.  This article has run long, but the points herein need to be made.  Find a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America, either online or printed.  Read it.  Study it.  Think about what it says and what it intends.

 

James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 51:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

Look around you, Humans are still quite far from Angels.  The American federal government has failed miserably in controlling itself.  Therefore, American citizens must take back the control that is rightfully theirs.

Reclaim your Power as a citizen.

 

 

 

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