Founding Fathers

Meet the Constitution: The 17th Amendment

Posted on October 29, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, Government, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , |

It’s been awhile since I worked on my Constitution page, but I have added a new article to it on the 17th Amendment to the Constitution; the amendment that changes how Senators are elected.

As I was doing research on this piece, I ran across a liberal article where the subject was reform of the US Senate. It was not my intention to rebut this article, but I had to in order to highlight how some people perceive that the government should work versus how the Constitution outlined it. In the end, I had to rebut the entire article, because the author did little in the way of research, and it also shows how our educational institutions have failed people by teaching them how the government is supposed to work under the Constitution.

You can read the entire article here.

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Dick Durbin Wants Federal Government to Decide Who Are “Real” Reporters

Posted on July 3, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, Government, History, Politics | Tags: , , |

English: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) meets with...

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) meets with Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever a government grows too large, it tends to encroach on the rights of the people. Benjamin Franklin said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

It seems that these days, whenever the government wishes to curtail our rights, they claim public safety, national security, or the war on terror.

Our Founding Fathers had experience with a government that curtailed their rights.Their belief was that governments are founded to secure those rights, not take them away.

However, they were also aware that people would not want to abolish a government that they had grown accustomed to:

…and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.- The Declaration of Independence

Let’s look at some of the grievances our Founders had with King George:

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Some of those may sound very familiar, as our government is acting in much the same way. There are those who like to say that the Revolution occurred because of taxation without representation, but it went deeper than that.

Have we been deprived of Trial by Jury? The NDAA 2012, sections 1021 and 1022 provide for that.

Have they imposed taxes without our consent? They keep trying, by raising taxes and constantly creating new taxes and fees.

Have they suspended our Legislatures? No, but with the adoption of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth amendments, the Federal government has effectively neutered the State legislatures, and are always passing laws to tell the States what they can and can’t do.

Have they created new offices and sent officers to harass our people? Have you been paying attention to the IRS intimidation and NSA wiretapping scandals?

What began under the previous administration has carried forward to this administration, and been expanded.

The Federal government is trying to pass laws to deprive citizens of weapons, despite our Second Amendment guarantees.

The government is trying to strangle freedom of religion by forcing companies that are owned by religious people to pay for acts they find intolerable, like abortion and birth control.

They have circumvented the Fourth Amendment by watching us. Constantly.

They have circumvented the Fifth and Sixth Amendments with the NDAA 2012, sections 1021 and 1022.

They have circumvented the Constitution by suspending Habeas Corpus during a time when there is no rebellion.

Now, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, wants to restrict the First amendment, specifically, the freedom of the press by declaring who are “legitimate” journalists. Of course, this would mean that only newspaper companies could write anything.

I would probably be classified as an “illegitimate” journalist.

So, while I still have the ability to say what I want on this internet medium, I am going to take the opportunity to exercise my First Amendment rights.

Fuck.

You.

Dick.

Durbin.

Essentially, Durbin wants to create a “privileged” class that has rights the rest of us don’t.

It all comes down to laws that protect journalists from having to reveal their sources, unless there is a compelling public interest reason to do so.

Okay, fine, but it seems to go further than that.

I write commentary. I don’t chase stories, or go undercover, or interview people. I comment on stories that I read from various sources.

But there are bloggers out there who do journalistic work. The folks over at hotair.com, for example, or Powerline. Even the Daily Kos falls into the category of a blogger who does work as a journalist. Does this mean that if they interview someone who doesn’t want to be identified, that the government can compel them to reveal that source, because they aren’t “legitimate” journalists?

People may think I am overreacting, but whenever the government tries to take your rights away, they always try to frame it to look like it is for your own good, for your safety, that they aren’t doing it to take your rights away.

Give up your guns. It is in the public interest. We can’t have the occasional nut job killing innocent people.

No, I can’t see anything going wrong with that.

Someone once told me that if our Founding Fathers were alive today, they would be surprised that the Constitution still stands and we are using it today.

I disagree.

If our Founding Fathers were alive today, they would be surprised, dare I say, shocked, that we haven’t overthrown this government yet.

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Are We Truly Free?

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, Government | Tags: , , |

Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Ca...

Washington DC – Capitol Hill: United States Capitol – East front (Photo credit: wallyg)

A facebook friend posted this last night:

I wish our lives could be lived super simply and spending each moment making memories with the ones we love most. If only it was legal for me to find a plot of land and build a home and grow what I need. How are we free again?

In fact…I am free to work any job i can and or want to in order to pay my government. Free to follow its laws. Free to live anywhere legally deemed. Free to get an education that is illegal for me to refuse up till college which is free only to those who illegally exist here. I am free to raise my food under restrictions. I am free to hunt my food with a permit…again how am I free?

It’s a very good question, one often posited by anarchists (I’m not saying this person is an anarchist).

Anarchists say the reason we have government is because we fear that people will misbehave if left to their own devices.

Well, history is replete with examples of people being left to their own devices.

Look to Seattle where the anarchists destroy private property simply because they don’t believe that anyone should own property. Look to Afghanistan where most regions are run by local warlords. Look at Africa which has pretty much the same problem. Look to Somalia, to be more specific.

If there is a power vacuum, some warlord will step in and fill it.

Since around 1900, maybe a little before, this country has moved steadily to the left. By left I mean more towards totalitarian government. We have moved from a constitutionally limited government to a governmentally limited society.

I’ve argued before that anyone who wants more government, in any form, is a leftist. Those who want less government are the ones to the right.

Don’t get me wrong. Government is a necessary evil, but big government is not. Our ancestors threw off the chains of oppression because they were tired of a government that meddled in their lives, raised their taxes, and if they asked the government to repeal a law, or not pass a law, it only got worse.

The constitution was designed to limit the Federal government, to give it certain powers and responsibilities. One of the most common misconceptions is that the Federal government has rights. Well, it doesn’t. It has powers, and there is a big difference.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have.

While the Federal government was given the power of creating laws that would supersede State laws, the idea was that the States would decide for themselves. The Federal government was to take care of the common defense, and diplomatic issues with foreign nations. If States had disputes between them, the Federal government was to settle it. The Federal government was to prevent the states from warring with each other.

The States, while not being completely sovereign, were left autonomous, to decide what laws worked best for them, and what issues they needed to address. After all, who would know better what the State of West Virginia needs, for example; West Virginia or the Federal government?

There are certain things we need the Federal government for. There must be a certain amount of regulation for food safety, making sure that there isn’t lead in our paints, or that corporations aren’t dumping chemicals into our rivers.

Of course, why can’t the States make those decisions themselves?

The FBI, Homeland Security, the National Security Administration, and agencies such as the US Forest Service are not Constitutional. Nowhere is the Federal government allowed to have its own police forces. Nowhere is the Federal government allowed to own forests. The National Parks and National Forests are unconstitutional. The Feds are allowed, according to the Constitution, allowed to purchase land from the States for the following purposes:

for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;

Is a National Forest a needful building? No.

Unfortunately, there are parts of the Constitution that were left vague, and we suffer for it.

Welfare, food stamps, section 8 housing, Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Education, all unconstitutional.

I realize that the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare legal under the taxing authority of the constitution, but that doesn’t make them right.

The Declaration of Independence says we have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are no guarantees to happiness, but we have the right to pursue it.

Article One of the Constitution states that Congress must

…pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;

Strictly speaking, the Constitution does not say that Congress is to provide for the general welfare of the people, just the States. The Constitution was not written with the idea that the people are subservient to the Federal government. Just the opposite.

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.

The Tenth Amendment does not mean that we can do as we please, but that the people retain ultimate power. The idea was that the States know their business and needs better than a central government, so whatever power the Federal government has not been granted has been retained by the States. The States, being the smaller, more local government is in touch more with the people than the Federal government, so they should be allowed to make their own decisions.

James Madison said, in a speech on the House floor,

If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, every thing, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare. – James Madison in remarks on the House floor, 1792

It’s been said that once the people discover that they could vote themselves money from the public treasury, that would be the end of this Republic. That’s usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but I’m not sure if that’s a spurious quote or not. Assuming that Franklin did say it, he was slightly off.

Since the late 1800’s and into the early 20th century, people discovered that they could use the government to make laws to force people to live their lives as others thought they should. They use various disguises: “public safety”, “public health”, “national security”, and more recently, “terrorism”.

For the public safety, we need to require that people wrap themselves in bubble wrap before leaving the house, getting into a car or riding a bicycle.

Second hand smoke is deadly, so we must ban it everywhere, including the outdoors. 

Just because you can smell cigarette smoke doesn’t mean you are getting second hand smoke.

We need to require everyone to wear a seatbelt, every motorcycle rider to wear a helmet, every bicycle rider must also wear a helmet. 

We have to spy on you, because national security demands it. We will watch your phone records, your internet postings, your financial transactions and your private emails. We will watch you with cameras, fly drones over your house, because there are terrorists who want to kill you.

In the meantime, you should not insult Islam and accept Sharia into your life, and we’ll grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, because there are terrorists out there who want to kill you, so it’s a national security issue, you see? We have Congressional oversight and a transparent secret court that has all of its proceedings classified Top Secret. Trust us, and reject those voices that would say that government can become tyrannical.

Give us your guns, because you really don’t need them, and public safety demands that we no longer allow people to have semi-automatic weapons because someone might shoot up a school or a mall. If you don’t, we’ll just create background checks and have gun owners declared mentally ill and we will deny your right to weapons based on that.

For the public safety.

The Constitution spelled out exactly how Congress could lay taxes, but in the early 1900’s, progressive Republicans put forth the 16th Amendment which changed all that. It allowed them to collect an income tax on the people. Why? What happened that the Federal government suddenly needed all this money? To pay for World War I? No, the war started a year after the amendment was ratified, and the US was only involved for 8 months; five years later.

Congress has, at various times, tried to impose income taxes, but they were found to be unconstitutional, except in the case of the Civil War income taxes, only because Congress rescinded them before they could go before the Supreme Court.

As the 20th Century approached, the parties began to demand an income tax. Why?

To stick it to the rich, who they felt had too much economic power.

1913. The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments were passed giving Congress the power to tax incomes, and stripping away the representation of the States in the Senate (because of the “fear” of corruption, rather than actual corruption) and giving it to a vote of the people. What the Seventeenth Amendment did was allow the political parties to get their hooks into the US Senate as well as the House of Representatives.

Of course, these people went on to amend the Constitution to prohibit alcohol, which is a silly thing to add to the Constitution. It was later repealed in 1933. In the meantime, it created a black market for alcohol, and a violent gangster subculture, which in turn led to the first Federal gun control laws. For the public safety.

The 1930’s and 40’s saw the rise of the welfare state in the wake of the Great Depression. Social Security food stamps, and section 8 housing were created under FDR.

The 1960’s saw an increase in the welfare state with the creation of welfare, Medicare and Medicaid under LBJ, who declared war on poverty. Nixon declared a war on drugs shortly after.

As a society, we have an obligation to take care of the poor and those who aren’t as well off, right? Yes, and no.

Thomas Jefferson believed that the States should take care of their own poor. In fact, he felt that each state should be subdivided into wards of about 24 square miles, and each ward should take care of its own poor. Not the Federal government.

Like Madison above, some of the Founders believed that the Federal government should keep its nose out of the States business.

Again from James Madison:

Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. – James Madison speech to the House of Representatives, 1794

The key word in providing for the general welfare, is general. Health, happiness and prosperity. That does not mean providing healthcare for the masses. That means things like regulating paint to make sure it doesn’t have lead in it, to make sure drinking water is clean. General welfare does not mean the massive spending of taxpayer money.

From 1940 through the 1980’s, we have seen the greatest expansion of a standing army, than any other time in this nation’s history.

With the attacks of 9/11, we changed direction. The government declared war on terrorism, and established the Department of Homeland Security and the spying programs we are dealing with today.

War without end. War on poverty, drugs, terrorism. By any means necessary.

It’s ironic that those like Michael Moore and Bill Maher who decry the eroding of our civil liberties are among those at the front of the line saying we should abolish the Second Amendment.

So, what’s my point? What am I trying to say?

I have been trying to point out where and how the Federal government has been slicing off more power, and by doing so, eroding our freedoms, slowly over time.

Are we truly free?

Never trust a government that says “trust me”.

Since the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, we have seen a slow erosion of our freedoms. It started with the 16th and 17th Amendments, and the Federal government, over time, has effectively neutered the State governments and the people in turn. Taxes are used to coerce and “nudge” people in the direction the government wants them to go.

There seems to be a tax for everything today. A tax for hunting, a tax for fishing. A tax to drive, a tax to attend a concert or sporting event.

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

– George Harrison – “Taxman”

Through taxes, government manipulate us, nudge us, push us in this direction or that.

That was never the true purpose of government, but it is the nature of humans to grab for more power. They don’t do it all in one fell swoop, they do it slowly, just as you turn the heat up slowly to boil a frog. He doesn’t realize that the water has been heating up until it is too late.

Are we truly free, or is the government bringing the water to a boil so slowly that our grandchildren will be slaves to the government?

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It’s Finally Finished!

Posted on June 11, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, Government, Gun Control, Politics, United States Constitution | Tags: |

Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789

The Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789 (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

It has taken me awhile, but I finally finished my essay on the Second Amendment.

It is in five parts, looking into the thoughts of the State governments, the Founding Fathers, the First Congress, ordinary citizens and observers from the period.

The final part are the conclusions that I have drawn from my research.

I think a few people will be surprised at the outcome.

Check it out!

http://observationpostblog.com/meet-the-constitution/the-bill-of-rights-the-second-amendment/

I need a break, now.

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Has the Constitution Failed, or Have We?

Posted on April 26, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , |

Constitution of the United States of America

Constitution of the United States of America (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

I get upset, nay, I get pissed whenever someone comes along and proclaims that the Constitution has failed. Especially when they offer no evidence to support their claim.

Were the Founding Fathers infallible? No.

Is the Constitution perfect? No.

Does it need amended to address issues that have popped up over the years? Yes.

Those of use who believe that we need to go back to the original interpretation of the Constitution do not for one second believe that the Constitution is infallible. The Founders didn’t, either. That’s why they gave us the ability to amend it.

However, we do not believe that the Constitution is a “Living” Document. By declaring the Constitution a living document, politicians justify changing their “interpretations” of that document. It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

Alexander Hamilton is the one responsible for this trouble. He’s the one who started the whole “implied powers” business, and used it to justify a national bank to George Washington. Of course, Washington approved it, so he is partly to blame.

But the author of the piece is mostly complaining about having to pay taxes. Taxes are a necessary evil, No one likes to pay them, but the way they are being spent is ridiculous, especially when we have a government that refuses to acknowledge that they are misusing the public’s money.

The author says we are in denial about the “failure to achieve the ends proclaimed for it by the founding generation”.

Those aims would be, per the preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.

Which of these the Constitution has failed to deliver escapes me, and the author never elaborates on it. This is the closest hint that he gives:

Americans tend to idolatrize the Constitution as sacred and infallible rather than recognizing it for the stumbling, trial-and-error experiment in self-government that it is, created by flawed human beings who acknowledged their frailties and never expected their experiment in constitutionalism to succeed.

I’ve seen this said by more than one person, that the Founders never expected this “experiment” to succeed. If they never expected it to succeed, then why bother? If it was doomed to failure, then it was a waste of everyone’s time. It’s easy enough to say that it failed, but what evidence is there in the historical record?

The only evidence that I have been able to find was this single quote from John Adams:

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.

That quote doesn’t mean Adams thought the experiment would fail, but I think we are dangerously close to that phase.

The major changes that we have experienced have been within the last century. More amendments to the Constitution were proposed and ratified in the early 1900’s than at any other time: the adoption of taxing authority by the Federal government, prohibition, the selection of senators taken from the states and given to the people, and women’s suffrage.

Of these four amendments passed in a flurry of seven years, only one was a good idea, and I’m not talking about the tax amendment.

The author believes that the government is tyrannical purely because it has the ability to enforce taxation. There are those who believe that all taxation is okay because the reason for the Revolution was “taxation without representation”, and we have representation today. Yes, we have representation, but that does not mean the government has carte blanche to tax us into the poorhouse. The ability to enforce taxation came about because under the Articles of Confederation, the states were not paying the taxes required to pay off the war debts, especially those owed to the French. Tensions were escalating, and something needed to be done.

Taxation is a necessary evil. We need to pay for fire departments and police. We need to pay for roads and bridges. We do not, however, need to pay foreign countries bribes.

The Constitution has not failed. Instead, we have had 200+ years of politicians, lawyers and judges twisting and perverting the words of the Constitution, each adding their own interpretations to the pile instead of learning what the Founders intended. That would be too much work.

Has the Constitution failed? No.

Does it need some amendments? Certainly.

Still, as the politicians, lawyers and judges pervert the meaning of the Constitution, we have done little to stop it.

Would our Founding Fathers be surprised that the Constitution still stands? Without question.

Especially considering that it is we, the People who have failed, not just the Constitution, but the Founders ideals as well.

It takes effort to do what they did. It requires that we learn, that we make an effort to be informed, that we do that which is hard.

That’s why we’ve failed, because doing what we need to do to support our rights, our way of life might get in the way of the latest episode of the Kardashians.

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The Second Amendment, Part One Has Been Added!

Posted on April 24, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , |

I finally finished the part one of my series of articles about the Second Amendment. In it I attempt to address how the amendment came into being and the links between the Second Amendment and slavery.

I hope you find it interesting and helpful. I will be posting part two as soon as I am able, covering the Congressional debates, and how Congress viewed the meaning of the Amendment.

The article is here:

The Bill Of Rights: The Second Amendment

Just follow the link on the page.

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The Bill of Rights: The Second Amendment Research Paper

Posted on April 19, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , , |

I can’t believe this.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1805. Is he wearing a fur coat?

I’ve said many, many, many times that I do a lot of reading in the course of my research.

Right now I’m researching the history and roots of the Second Amendment, based on the debates and records of the Founding Fathers, resources from universities and the Library of Congress. No garbage from a book written in 2003 that has material from Thomas Jefferson that no one else has ever heard of. Only verifiable sources for me.

In addition, I am trying to provide links to the resources I have used so readers and researchers can find them as well.

I’ve been in note taking mode for a few weeks, which is why there have been some other amendments that have appeared on the list before this one.

So far, I am close to 5000 words in notes alone, and I feel I have barely started. I still have to turn those notes into a coherent article.

It is getting so large because I am trying to definitively answer these questions:

  • What exactly did the Founders mean?
  • Did the Founders mean that all individuals could keep and bear arms, or only militias?
  • Was the Second Amendment a compromise meant to allow the states to quell slave rebellions?
  • Was it meant to hold blacks in slavery?
  • Was it meant to allow people to hunt, or shoot for sport?
  • Was it meant to give the people a means of defense against a tyrannical government?

I am surprised at some of the answers that I’ve been coming up with.

I’m hoping that the answers won’t be too subjective. I don’t want people accusing me of “cherry picking” my Founding Fathers, and I don’t want to use spurious quotes (there’s a lot of them from Thomas Jefferson floating around, hence the picture of him).

I am working on it, but I have a feeling it is going to at least double, if not triple in size, so I may have to break it down into chapters and put it out in bite sized chunks.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I were a team of researchers, but I’m not. I’m just one person.

I’m sure I am going to be exhausted and need a break when I’m finally finished.

You can read the completed project by following this link.

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The Evolution of the Political Parties

Posted on April 11, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, Politics |

In the Beginning, there were two factions who worked together to write the United States Constitution. They toiled and compromised, creating the document that would be the foundational law of this nation’s government. These groups were known as the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.

The Federalists wanted a strong central government, while the anti-Federalists were suspicious of a strong central authority. The states had just concluded a successful overthrow of the British Crown, and were not keen on the idea of establishing another tyrant closer to home. The Federalists eventually got most of what they wanted, while some anti-Federalists, who didn’t get what they wanted, such as a Bill of Rights or a States’ Bill of Rights, refused to sign and left the convention.

George Washington was unanimously elected President. Washington was of no political party (but was considered a Federalist), but his Vice President, John Adams, was an ardent Federalist and believer in the power of a central government.

The Federalist Party was formed by Alexander Hamilton of the $20 bill and Aaron Burr fame. The Federalists believed in strong, central government, a national bank, good relations with Britain, nationalism and a fiscally sound government. Hamilton developed the concept of “implied powers”, that is, the concept that says that while the Constitution doesn’t say specifically that the government can perform certain actions, there are powers that are implied, as in the General Welfare clause: Congress shall have power … to pay the Debts and provide for the … general welfare of the United States; and the Necessary and Proper clause: The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.

The Federalists also favored trade over agrarianism, and set policies to trade heavily with Britain. They also believed that men were not equal, that the voice of the people was not the voice of God, and that sinister outside influences were out to destroy the American system from within.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peal...

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale in 1800. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Father of the Constitution did not agree with Hamilton’s assessment, and formed the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the programs of Hamilton. The Democrat Party was born.

Jefferson was an avid opponent of Hamilton, but Madison was a Federalist from the genesis of the Constitution. The actions of Adams and Hamilton, however, turned him away from Federalism to the side of Jefferson and the anti-Federalists.

The newly minted party stood for States’ Rights, Republicanism (the form of government that we enjoy today) and Jeffersonian Democracy. The party was known by several names, the Republican Party being the most common in the 1800’s.

Jeffersonian Democracy meant that the party was distrustful of merchants, aristocratic elitism of the Federalists, and in equality of political opportunity. Jefferson also believed that financiers, bankers and industrialists make cities the ‘cesspools of corruption’, and should be avoided.

After the “Revolution of 1800” as Jefferson called it, that swept him into the Presidency and broke the back of the Federalist Party, the D/R Party enjoyed much success, controlling Congress and the Presidency until March 4, 1829. John Quincy Adams, son of Federalist President John Adams, was the last Democratic-Republican President. Because of the Corrupt Bargain struck with Henry Clay, the party split, becoming the Democrat Party and, for a short time, the National Republican Party, the ancestor of the Whig Party.

The Whigs were unable to capture the Presidency until 1840, and held it for much of the next 20 years, but they began to disintegrate with the Compromise of 1850. Essentially, California became a state, the territories of Utah and New Mexico would be allowed to decide for themselves if they would be free or slave territories or states, and the slave trade was banned in Washington DC.

As the Whig party collapsed, the Republican Party rose to prominence. The party was formed on the idea of abolition.

If one looks to the Democrat Party’s website, they claim that they have fought for civil rights for over 200 years:

democrat

They are also the party of Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, thus creating the Trail of Tears. They are also the party of Woodrow Wilson, creator of the Federal Reserve.

And let’s not forget Jimmy Carter.

The Democrats were the conservatives of the day, while the Republicans were the liberals. There are more than a few Republicans who scoff at the notion that Lincoln was a liberal, though he was. The idea of abolition, though gaining steam, was considered a radical idea at the time. However, Lincoln never came out directly in opposition of slavery when the election was on the line. He specifically said he would not outlaw it where it already existed, but he would not allow it to expand.

This was one of the catalysts of the Democrat secession from the Union.

After the Civil War ended, and Lincoln was murdered, the Republican dominated Congress came down hard on the south, punishing them. They would not readmit Southern States until they ratified the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. They even went as far as impeaching Andrew Johnson, a Democrat president, because they felt he was being too soft on the south. Johnson was from Tennessee. He was acquitted by one vote.

The Democrats of the south formed the Ku Klux Klan. They created the Jim Crow laws. They created the first gun control laws in the United States, attempting to disarm the newly freed blacks and prevent them from forming their own militias. They created the Black Codes after the Civil War ended. They created the Poll Taxes to prevent blacks from voting. They also implemented literacy tests to disenfranchise blacks. They opposed the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 (vetoed twice by Andrew Johnson, once in 1865, and again in 1866, but overridden by Congress in 1866), 1871, 1875 (later overturned by the Supreme Court), and 1964.

FDR created the Japanese internment camps under the Enemy Alien Act of 1798.

It is also true that Harry Truman started the desegregation of the military after the Second World War, based on the actions of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Black Panthers of the 761st tank battalion. [I’m trying to be fair here, so I have to give them credit for the good that the Democrats did]

Even though LBJ was a Democrat president pushing for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Democrats in both chambers, especially Southern Democrats led by Strom Thurmond (a Democrat at the time) attempted to filibuster the legislation. On the strength of the Republican vote, the legislation was passed and signed into law by Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. LBJ was also able to get the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through, again on the strength of Republican support (House votes: Democrat Ayes: 78%, Republican Ayes: 82%; Senate Democrat Ayes: 73%, Republican Ayes: 94%).

Up to the time of the Civil Rights movement, blacks had voted overwhelmingly Republican, the Party of Lincoln, the party that had saved them from slavery. Despite the filibuster attempts by southern Democrats and the historical lack of support for civil rights legislation, blacks began to shift to the Democrat party.

Then the Republican party did that which has hurt them ever since.

They pursued the Southern Strategy starting in the late 1960’s in an attempt to bring the south to their side. In a nutshell, the party started recruiting Democrats to the Republican party based on racism against blacks. Thus Strom Thurmond became a Republican, and the south a Republican stronghold. [I should note that I am not suggesting that all southerners are racist rednecks. Many of them are good people. My wife is southern, and a registered Democrat. She just happens to think that the Democrats here in Oregon are nuts. But, just like many people in the south are not racist, there are many who are, just as in the northern cities like Philadelphia]

The Republican party has been trying to overcome this idea ever since.

It was at that point, just over 100 years after the end of the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves that the two parties switched roles.

The Party of Lincoln had become the Party of the KKK and aristocracy, and the Democrats the Champions of Civil Rights. This is not to suggest that Democrats are Paragons of Virtue while the Republicans are devoid of any virtue. I’m referring to perceptions.

As difficult as that may be for some Republicans to swallow, it’s the truth. That is the stigma they are trying to overcome.

However, the Democrat claim that they have fought for civil rights for over 200 years is extremely dubious and dishonest. It’s more like 40 or so years, or the last century at the most.

It’s ironic though, that the party started by an anti-Federalist, a man who distrusted government, and big government above all, has evolved into the party of Federalists.

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Are the States Sovereign? North Carolina and the Establishment Clause

Posted on April 5, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, Politics, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , |

The Articles of Conferderation, ratified in 17...

The Articles of Conferderation, ratified in 1781. This was the format for the United States government until the Constitution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had intended to get to this as part of my series on the United States Constitution.

Under the Articles of Confederation, Article II states:

Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

When the Constitution was written, it referred not to the “sovereign” states, but to the “several” states.

What happened?

After the revolution, the sovereignty of the states meant that they did all sorts of things they weren’t supposed to do under the Articles.

They refused to pay their taxes. They made alliances with one another, and even threatened war on their neighbors. They gave preference to local ships in their harbors to ships from other states.

They were, in short, acting like spoiled children.

And the Continental Congress was powerless to do anything about it.

Because of these issues, delegates got together to amend the Articles, but it became apparent that they could agree on nothing except scrapping the whole thing and starting over.

One of the major things that needed to be addressed was how to get the states to pay their taxes (so the Congress could pay the war debts). They did this in two ways: they stripped the sovereignty away from the states and mandated that Federal law trumps all state laws. They also set up a court system to arbitrate disputes between the states and the Federal government, all while ensuring they could use force on the states to collect taxes if necessary.

While the Constitution allows the states to take care of their own business, there are certain things forbidden to them, and they must have a Republican form of government.

Fast forward to North Carolina, 2013.

A bill (Defense of Religion Act) has been introduced on the State’s House floor.

Opponents of the bill have immediately knee jerked and said that North Carolina is attempting to establish a state religion. They aren’t. In reading the bill, nowhere does it say they are establishing a state religion. In order to do so, the bill would have to say something along the lines of “we are making the Baptist religion the official state religion of North Carolina”, or whatever the legalese would be.

It does, however, say that the Supreme Court does not have the power of Judicial Review (it doesn’t, it just sort of assumed that power).

It says the First Amendment does not apply to the states (it doesn’t. It specifically says Congress shall make no law). The North Carolina constitution, like the rest, guarantees free speech.

However, since the Federal government controls the schools, I do think it does apply to the schools.

In essence, they are making a case that they can establish a religion, and that the Supreme Court and the Federal government can’t stop them.

It is this same logic that is allowing the individual states to regulate weapons while not violating the Second Amendment. The Bill of Rights is a restriction of Federal power, not a restriction on the states.

However, Section 13 of the North Carolina constitution says:

All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority shall, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Christianity is a dogma, not a religion (in my opinion, anyway). Like Judaism and Islam, it is separated into differing sects. So which sect would North Carolina choose to support if they can?

Once again the left claims that the right is doing something that they aren’t. Is establishing a religion their end goal? That remains to be seen, but it could be their way of saying that they want to go back to the original interpretation of the Constitution.

If the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as a whole apply to both the Federal and State governments, what is the point of a State Constitution?

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Meet the Constitution Page Updates

Posted on March 26, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: |

Been hard at work trying to keep up with events and doing my research on the Constitution.

Here’s what’s currently available on the “Meet the Constitution” page:

The English Declaration of Rights (1689) (added March 14, 2013)

The Articles of Confederation (updated March 26, 2013)

The Articles of Confederation: Postwar Edition. What happened? (added March 8, 2013)

The Articles of Confederation: The Amendments (added March 26, 2013)

The Virginia Plan

The Preamble and Article I: The Legislative Branch

Article II: The Executive Branch

Article III: The Judicial Branch

Article IV: The Duties of the States and Federal Governments

Article V: The Amendment Process

Article VI: Federal Supremacy

Article VII: Ratification

The Bill of Rights: How did it come to be? (and the Preamble) (added March 12, 2013)

The Bill of Rights: The 1st Amendment (added March 12, 2013)

I am currently researching the Second Amendment, and the Constitution and how it related to slavery.

I am also going to have to break the Preamble of the Constitution away from Article I, as I have have realized some stuff about the preamble itself.

I do go through and update if I discover new information, or an area that I am wrong, or slightly mistaken about. I also have a page in which I include links to the sources I am using.

I put dates as I add or update items.

It’s not required reading, but I hope people find as useful as I do.

To visit the page, just click “Meet the Constitution” above!

 

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