The Lonely Lives of Researchers
Open admission time.
I am not a lawyer. I don’t understand legalese.
I’m not a scholar. I don’t pretend to be.
I am, however, a thoughtful person. I am an armchair historian, having an undeniable love, for what ever reason, of history, especially the history of warfare.
I know how to read, and how to understand what I read. I am capable of doing research if I am having trouble understanding what I am reading.
I do a lot of research for my job.
Why am I telling you this?
I’ve been working on a project about the US Constitution, to understand where it came from and what it means. I do it because I feel that we have strayed far away from what the Founding Fathers intended, and I get frustrated with so-called scholars and talking heads telling us what the Founders meant, or that we should ditch the whole thing because it’s a big steaming pile of crap.
I wanted to find out what our Founding Fathers really thought, in their own words, rather than the words of a scholar or a lawyer. The end result, so far, is that I am constantly having to add to them and revise them as I discover new information.
I know I keep pimping those pages. I am hopeful that people out there will find it useful, or even one stop shopping for those who are doing research of their own.
It’s almost like doing a genealogy project. The more I dig, the further back in history I am drawn. I mention George Mason and James Madison a lot in my posts, and the Constitution project is no different. These two men probably had more influence on our system of government than any other men. Having been subjects of the Crown, it is not surprising that they were heavily influenced by the English system of government. Minus the king part, of course.
As one studies the documents, one can see easily see the influences of the English Parliament, if one is familiar with their system.
As I started writing, I started by writing about the Constitution (1787) itself, but that led me back to the Articles of Confederation (1776), which led back to the Declaration of Independence (1776), which in turn led back to George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776).
This is where I made a shocking discovery, to me anyway. There may be people out there who were aware of these, but I wasn’t. I never learned about them in school.
Prior to the Virginia Declaration of Rights, there were the Articles of Association (1774), the first time the States formally banded together to protest actions by the government in Great Britain.
Then the trail turned to England itself. The Virginia Declaration of Rights was influenced by a document written nearly 100 years prior: The English Declaration of Rights (1689), also known as the English Bill of Rights. I knew about the English Bill of Rights, but was unaware of their influence on our Founding Fathers.
It would not surprise me now, if the trail leads even further back, or elsewhere.
For me, this is fascinating, to go back this far and see where it all came from. The Parliament of Great Britain can trace its roots all the way back to 1066 and William the Conqueror. It started as a small group of King’s counselors, but grew from there over the years.
I am merely an armchair historian. I know there are those out there who would look down on me with disdain, because I don’t hold degrees in the field, and don’t work for a university.
I’ve worked with enough people with Ph.Ds to know that the only thing that really means is that they were willing to take the time and expense to gain it. They really don’t know any more than the rest of us, and are just as full of shit as I am.
So I continue to write. It is a never ending process, but in the end, I hope that someone, somewhere, will find this as useful as I do.