As one reads our founding documents, our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, it’s truly remarkable how elegant and inspiring these documents are. Our Declaration has shone like a beacon of Freedom and Liberty world wide and has inspired men in other nations to stand up and demand their own God Given Rights of Freedom, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It’s the most significant political document ever written.
Our Constitution is the envy of the world. Our Constitution is designed to allow Americans the chance to excel, to succeed in ways others can only dream of. It places maximum emphasis on Individual Rights and Freedoms, and seeks to restrain government, which by nature, seeks power.
I am really struck though by the elegance of our Constitution, the economy of the written word. This is in stark contrast of where we find ourselves now. We find ourselves living in an era where it takes two to three thousand pages for what should be simple legislation, legislation that is passed by Congress without a single elected (accountable) member of that august body reading a single word!
To add insult to injury we are assaulted by the maniacal words of the most corrupt Speaker of the House in history, Nancy Pelosi, who proudly shrieked to the nation that she’d have to pass the health care bill so America could see what was in it! Hubris…
In contrast, as one reads through the original Articles of Confederation, what was the original Constitution, it’s striking to see the rules and regulations to run the entire nation took only seven Articles, most taking up less than a page of printed text!
Even more striking are the Amendments to our Constitution, which we will be reading today. We’ll start with the first ten, what are known as the Bill of Rights. These were added as a further restraint on government. It was very important to our founders to do everything possible to guarantee our God Given Rights, and to restrain government in a way that would insure it could never gain enough power to threaten them.
Of course, Marxists, progressives, men like Barack Obama hate this and have steadily worked for over one hundred years to usurp the Constitution, and overstep the bounds of government. Big Government is their religion, their answer to all. Our founders knew better and understood that an all powerful government always leads to Tyranny, and evil. It is simply the nature of men who would campaign for Big Government. As Rush Limbaugh recently said, Big Government is just another “special interest group” and Obama is it’s chief lobbyist.
Men like Obama have a particular disdain for the United States Constitution. He has called it a document of “negative rights.” He feels this way because it tells government what it can’t do to the people, rather than what it can. And trust me, Obama and his minions want to do a lot to you. It is always the case when a Marxist-democrat is in power. Obama is simply the most egregious offender.
Back to the elegance of our Constitution. This is the absolute cornerstone for Liberty and Freedom. The Constitution absolutely guarantees that Americans will never have their God Given Rights infringed by the government. It also guarantees the several states their rights to govern their people in a manner they choose, so long as they don’t violate their citizen’s rights. In short, it establishes a system where the Individual has the Maximum Rights and Freedoms, followed by the states, leaving a somewhat weak, and definitely restrained federal government.
This is one of the most powerful and meaningful documents ever written, and yet, words are used sparingly. The entire Bill of Rights, and the other Amendments will have less words than my writing today, and yet, they are the most definitive articulation of Basic Human Freedoms, and the guarantees thereof:
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the “Bill of Rights.”
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There is a reason why these Rights were the first up on the list of those to be guaranteed. More telling is the fact freedom of religion is mentioned first. Progressives have sought to rewrite history for over a century. The progressive movement demands a people show their allegiance to Big Government, to see Big Government, and it’s officials, as the only true savior. They basically seek to replace God as the Supreme Being, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, with themselves.
To understand this, one has to know at least a little basic history. One of the reasons the original colonists left England for the new world was religious freedom. At home the Church of England was all powerful, and established as the official state religion. The only approved religion. In leaving England, the pilgrims sought to establish a land where men could worship God as they chose.
Knowing America’s history, from it’s earliest days, the framers of the Constitution sought to guarantee the new government would never follow England’s mold and establish an “official” religion. But that didn’t mean religion wasn’t at the center of all American life.
Many don’t realize this, but several early states had “official” state religions and these were not in violation of the Constitution. Remember, the Constitution seeks to restrain federal government, not the governments of the several states. Theses traditions were eventually dropped, not because of some early ACLU type group, but simply because, as people moved from state to state, and held other religious beliefs, it was not practical, and seen as unaccommodating. The people themselves, not government or some militant group brought about the change, or purely practical purposes.
One of the first official Acts of Congress, BTW, was to print bibles for distribution to the American people. Also regular church services were conducted in congressional chambers preached in many denominations.
People should really take time to explore this significant part of history to better understand that our founders wanted us to have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. That celebrated progressive straw man: “Separation of Church and State” has been used to hamper religious freedom and actually stigmatize the belief in God, in direct violation of the 1st Amendment. The progressive movement cannot succeed if Free People put their trust and faith in God over Big Government. So…God must go!
One thing more, last time I checked, Muslim is a religion, not a race. It’s telling that no one is challenging Barack Obama’s attempt to hold a “Muslim Economic Conference” later this year, and many municipalities spend millions in an effort to accommodate the customs of those of the Muslim faith. It seems there is no “Separation of Mosque and State.”
The freedom of speech and thought is one of the most basic of all Human Rights. It’s as basic as breathing. It is civil society’s life blood. If a man’s thought and speech can be controlled, he cannot be free. Again, our founders knew this. They also knew a person should be able to openly criticize the government and it’s leaders without repercussion.
Throughout the centuries tyrants have silenced free speech, either by laws forbidding it, or through more nefarious means. The progressives have perfected this method of tyranny, for sure, but the Obama regime and it’s followers have elevated this to an art form. They don’t make laws that can be challenged, no…they use more evil methods.
In order to intimidate those who would take a stance different than their own, they use ridicule, hoping to embarrass people into silence. As Alinsky wrote “ridicule is a powerful weapon.” It can be as childish as calling your opponent “stupid” to more elaborate means of ridicule, but in the end, the goal is to make someone who disagrees with them think twice before making those thoughts known.
With the election of Barack Obama, the ½ white, partially Black Arab, many Americans thought we had finally moved past race. That’s what Obama and his people wanted America to think, and more than a few people voted for Obama strictly on the promise of never having to listen to the souring discourse and race baiting from the left again. They were tricked.
With the rise of the Tea Party movement and the power it wields, the Obama regime, and it’s media partners have sought to paint all of this through the prism of race, proclaiming the only reason Obama is opposed is because he happens to be Black, to which we proudly proclaim we don’t care much for his white half either!
This is a powerful tool in the Marxist’s répertoire. Being called a racist is one of the worst labels a person can carry these days and the left throws out the race card in almost every argument nowadays. It’s a truly vile form of tyranny, and it cheapens the word. It also does a real disservice to all of those who really are the victims of racism. Of course, the Marxist doesn’t care about them, shouting “racism” at the top of their lungs is simply another way to terrorize and control those who disagree with them.
Never mind the fact that many of the strongest voices in the Tea Party movement are coming from Black members of the Party, who are constantly harassed by the true racists, the progressives who are angry at all who disagree.
The latest trick is to label Tea Party Patriots as terrorists, again this is a strong method of both terrorism and tyranny. It’s designed to make the Patriots feel intimidated to exercise their God Given Rights lest they be labeled “evil.”
It’s a far cry from the 8 years when George W. Bush was President and the radical Marxists lectured us daily that “dissent was the highest form of patriotism!” Now, according to Joe Biden, paying your taxes is!
Free speech is THE most basic right, for sure. But there is more to it. In order for this to work, you can’t just defend popular speech. Hell, popular speech generally doesn’t need defending. (Unless it’s popular speech against the Obama regime!) The thing about true freedom of speech is the realization that you must be ready to defend, to the very end, speech that disgusts you, that you vehemently disagree with. Not because the speech is right, or wrong, but because the person speaking it has the absolute right to do so. As Americans we must be willing to defend all speech, period.
Now are there limits to absolute free speech, of course. You can’t shout “fire” in a crowed theater. That’s an obvious one, because the ensuing panic would harm other people. And I’m talking physical harm. And that’s where the limit is. Speech that simply hurts your feelings is protected, but speech that would physically harm others, or their reputations has restrictions. You can’t libel someone, for example.
With that said, the government must take care not to attempt to control free speech, through laws that declare distasteful speech :”hate speech” or through more tyrannical methods such as labeling all comers “racists” or “dangerous.” If you personally find someone’s speech, or writings, objectionable, hateful, or otherwise, call them out on it! Force them to compete in the marketplace of ideas, but respect,…no…rejoice in the fact we live in a nation where we are free to speak our minds, and don’t let evil men, such as those in the Obama regime stand in your way.
Freedom of the press is one of those simple, common sense deals. Remember, our founders had just left a tyrannical government that controlled the press, and he who controls the press, controls the narrative. For America to survive, we need a fee, vibrant, and independent press. A press free to criticize our leaders and to report the truth.
Of course, with the guarantees of a free press, that press has responsibilities. It has the responsibility to remain independent and truthful. It has an obligation to give the people truthful reporting on events. It has the obligation to hold those in power accountable.
It may come as a surprise, but media bias has been with us for some time. It’s always been an issue, but at no time in our nation’s history has the so-called “mainstream media” actually partnered up with government and served as a propaganda arm of a movement as it is now. Oh, it came very close under FDR, but for some different reasons. Most in media have the same radical Marxist-progressive ideology as those in the majority government. They have treated democrats and Republicans different from each other for a long time, but with the election of Obama not only have they continued their biased reporting, they have stepped it up a notch by basically becoming a stenography pool for the White House, as well as serving as an attack dog for those who disagree with the Obama regime. See: Palin, Sarah.
This is very dangerous to Freedom and Liberty. It’s unhealthy for the nation as a whole. In order to make informed decisions, the people need truthful information to base these decisions on. As with computers, garbage in, garbage out.
We are blessed though, as there has never been more information out there for those who seek it. Today we have the internet which has unrestricted and seemingly unlimited information. Of course, you have to have some basic knowledge of facts to separate the truth from the BS, but…
For the last 20 years or so, Conservative talk radio has grown into a true alternative, and Fox News has become THE news powerhouse simply because they report the news straight and report on events the others attempt to cover up.
Of course, the Obama regime actively seeks to de-legitimize talk radio, the internet, and of course, Fox News. Obama and his minions have been carrying out quite the jihad against Fax since day one. They also seek to regulate the open internet, as well as talk radio and the news in general. All sorts of schemes exist from the laughingly labeled “Fairness Doctrine” for radio to “net neutrality” the tyrannical Obama regime seeks to infringe on the freedom of the press. And for good measure, they continually spew their rhetoric to their zombie followers that Talk radio and Fox News aren’t “legitimate” new sources.
We must be forever vigilant and never allow the Obama regime, or any government, to get away with this nonsense.
Lastly, the 1st Amendment guarantees the right of all citizens to petition the government for redress of grievances. Quite simply, if you are somehow wronged by government, you have the right to not only speak up, but demand government remedy the situation. To make you whole again.
All of these rights go hand and hand and are the most basic of civil society.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
This one gets a whole lot of folks in trouble! Some through ignorance and some through wilful manipulation. By the third word of this Amendment, the wheels start coming off the wagon. The word “regulated” at least in this context, had a different meaning in the 18th century than it does in the 21st. Substitute the words “equipped and trained“for the word “regulated” and you get the original intent. Back in the day, “regulated,” in this context, meant “equipped and trained”
Again, this is where history comes in. And this one has been true since the beginning of time. The first thing a tyrannical government does is confiscate all weapons in the hands of it’s people.
In the last century alone we have seen dictators from Hitler, Stalin and Mao, to Castro and Chavez confiscate the guns. As the America Revolution was brewing, the British attempted the same. Santa Anna, the Mexican ruler, attempted this before the Texas Revolution, with mixed results.
Now of course, our founders knew that for practical purposes, all able bodied men should own a gun or guns. America was still a frontier, and people had to survive. To quote Sarah Palin: “I eat, therefore I hunt.” That’s the life of modern day Alaska and was the life of America as a whole in her earliest days.
Able bodied men we expected to be a part of local militias. Being a new frontier, America and Americans, were still in peril from invasions and insurrections. It was necessary that all men be well equipped and well trained for these occasions. National security depended on it.
With that said, never discount this quote from Thomas Jefferson:
When people fear their government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is Liberty.
One of the reasons the Tea Party was started, and has resonated with the American people is the fact that for years Government has grown so large it has absolutely no fear of the people. No way the citizenry would take on the government outright, and gerrymandering has made most congressional districts jobs for life for even the most corrupt politician.
There’s another Jefferson quote, this one comes from a letter Jefferson wrote to William Smith:
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty….
And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?
Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
That’s pretty radical, huh! Now was Jefferson really calling for a revolution every 20 years or so to shake things up? No. What he meant was the government should be well reminded that the people had the power of revolution and inclination to take on a tyrannical government. That people love Freedom so much, they were willing to die rather than see it slip away.
This of course has to be taken in context. These people actually fought a bloody revolution to secure Freedom and Liberty for all. Jefferson was a practical man though and knew, that a government that understood the power of the people, would never attempt action against it. Instead the people would be able to petition the government for satisfaction, as guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. It is the responsibility of the people to continually put this pressure on government and instil this fear.
Of course, Jefferson also knew what sane people understand instinctively today:
Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man
Or as we say today, when guns are outlawed, outlaws will have guns. Pick a country, any country that has banned it’s citizens from gun ownership. Crimes against persons have sky rocketed. Criminals have become emboldened. Now compare that with places like Texas, where guns rights are respected and citizens are allowed to defend themselves and their property.
This is not to say government doesn’t have the right to draft reasonable restrictions on who may own a gun, and even what sort of gun may be owned, as long as the government is restrained from draconian rules that effectively stop law abiding citizens from ownership.
With all of this said, the bottom line is this, when you hear the Marxist-democrats talk about “gun control” they aren’t concerned with crime. They understand better than most what the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was all about and they also know that the sort of government they admire (and desire) can only truly work if the people are under complete government control and have no ability to take the government on. That’s why they want the guns, all of the guns.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Hitler had the Gestapo, the Soviets had their secret police. King George had the British Army. In a time before mass communication, a technique commonly used to oppress and intimidate was to station troops in a village, and garrison them in private homes. Had a real chilling effect on free speech and other God Given Rights!
This Amendment cures that.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
One of the Intolerable Acts committed by King George was the violation of these long standing codes of conduct. British law had long established rights somewhat similar to this. The 4th Amendment guarantees these rights will not be taken away.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The right to life, Freedom, and private property is basic. The 5th Amendment makes sure you don’t loose any of these without just cause. It guarantees you can’t be forced to testify or give evidence against yourself. Simply it guarantees that you can’t be punished, or lose property without just cause and due process, and in the case of property, without just compensation.
The seizure of property by government has usually been for the common good, for things like roads, right of way, and possibly land for schools. Usually this is unnecessary, as land owners will simply sell, but in the case of holdouts, eminent domain can be used, so long as the land owner is given what is considered “fair market value.”
With Kelo, the Supreme Court really harmed this basic right though, allowing land to be taken from one private person and given to another under eminent domain. Basically it allowed a city government to take land from a home owner and give it to a corporation for development. The city looking to bring in more taxes from the development than from the land’s rightful owner. This has caused many states to draft laws prohibiting this sort of thing.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The 6th, 7th , and 8th Amendments further guarantee the rights of the accused in both a civil and criminal trial. It puts the burden of proof on the accuser. While frustrating at times, it truly is better to let a hundred guilty go free than punish an innocent man.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
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 9th and10th Amendments have been getting a whole lot of attention lately, especially the 10th. In fact, so strong is the States’ Rights movement the radical left is now seeking to demonize people by calling the “tenthers” much like they call those unsure of Barack Obama’s eligibility “birthers” or the strange people who think 9/11 was an inside job “truthers.”
Only in the minds of the radical left can people who stand up for the Constitution and the Rule of Law be lumped in with conspiracy theorists and moonbats!
These two Amendments really say it all. Any right, duty, or responsibility not specifically spelled out in the Constitution, or prohibited by it, is retained by the people and the states.
We are called the United States for a reason. The concept is simple. We are 50 individual sovereign states who have agreed to grant the federal government some limited rights to do things for the mutual aid and benefit of all. And that’s the key point to remember about our government, how it was formed, and it’s true role. America didn’t form the United States. It was quite the opposite, the people of the several states came together to form a confederation of states for the mutual benefit of all. All of the rights of the federal government come from the people, not the other way around. This is what makes America unique.
The government works for us. From the President on down, these people are in our employ. We hire them, through elections, to go represent us. We entrust them, with our vote, to work in our best interest.
Obviously, this concept has slowly been sidelined in favor of lifetime politicians, and the effective creation of a ruling class. This is completely contrary to our founders blueprint for America and it has had predictable results: Namely the most tyrannical government in our nations history, one that still hasn’t been tamed and is still growing and still destroying Freedom and Liberty and breakneck speed.
Here’s the real problem. The states, in exchange for perceived security, or other benefits, have slowly ceded their constitutional rights, as have, to a great extent, the people.
Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety. –Benjamin Franklin
The reassertion of States’ Rights over the federal government is key if we are to defeat the growing tyranny we face. Things like ObamaCare and it’s unconstitutional mandates, as well as the draconian cap and tax legislation that is pending, and even the federal government’s inability to control the massive and destructive illegal immigration problem are all signs that the federal government has grown too big to effectively serve the people’s interests. The business of government nowadays is to stay in business.
While the above ten Amendments are basic to Freedom and Liberty, and are absolute, our Constitution has been amended a total of twenty-seven times in our nation’s history. That speaks to the strength of the original document as well as a certain restraint by the people. The bar is set quite high, making Amending the Constitution something that is only done with some care, usually.
Below are the remaining seventeen Amendments. Some clarify other Amendments, some fix inequities, others create restrictions.
Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.
Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.
This basically separates the state courts from the federal courts.
Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.
Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. –]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
*Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.
We covered this before, basically changes how we elect a President and Vice President, this was later changed once again.
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Slavery was one of the real dark spots in the history of mankind, and the United States. This was contentious from the beginning of our nation with some for and some against. As expected, the more southern states, those with large plantations that survived and prospered on the backs of slave labor, were for it.
One of the most misunderstood provisions in the Constitution,… misunderstood “on purpose” by many race baiters,… is the fact that slaves were not counted as “whole persons.” While this in itself sounds evil, once you understand the thinking behind it, it makes some sense.
As we are reminded this year, one of the duties of Congress is to conduct a census periodically. The census is used to determine population in each state, thus determining how many Representatives (Congressmen) each state shall have. This number also represents the number of electors each state has.
Our founders weren’t perfect people, and were most certainly products of their time, but many of the founders wanted nothing to do with slavery and wanted to abolish it from the beginning. This however was not possible, at least not if the goals was to unite the several states. Knowing this, the founders saw a second problem, if the slaves were counted, the states with the big slave populations would always have total control of government, due to their number of Representatives and electors. Slavery would still be with us today.
Obviously, the slave states wanted their slaves to count, and the others did not. A compromise was met whereas the slaves were not counted as whole persons, in the hopes that someday somehow this could all be addressed.
The Republican Party was founded on abolishing slavery. Freedom and Liberty were it’s calling card from the beginning. It took a bloody Civil War and the assassination of a beloved President to make it happen, but it happened. An injustice corrected, at least as well as it could be corrected.
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.
Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude–
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The 15th Amendment is pretty straightforward. This was to make sure all races, and freed slaves could vote. Elements of the democrat party fought this for years, and instituted things such as poll taxes and literacy tests in order to suppress the black vote. These would eventually be stopped by the ratificatification of the 24th Amendment.
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.
Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
One of the most contentious acts ever. We all understand the need to fund government but this was sold as a “temporary tax” and went from a mere six percent marginal rate to seventy, then ninety percent in a little over a decade.
The Obama regime is now discussing a Value Added Tax (VAT) on top of the income tax. This has caused serious economic stagnation in Europe where it’s widely used. Any sort of VAT or national sales tax must only be tolerated in the event the 16th Amendment, and the ability to tax income, is repealed. If not, our federal government will itself be in violation of the 13th Amendment, as all Americans will be little more than indentured slaves.
Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.
Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
This changed the way we choose Senators. Before the 17th Amendment, the state legislatures chose them. This made them the choice of the people.
Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
The 18th Amendment was the Marxist-progressive movement’s first real at bat. You hear Conservatives constantly rail on the fact that Marxist-progressives are sociopaths who sincerely believe that only they know what it best for you. You also hear Conservatives constantly warn of not only the slippery slope, but the law of unintended consequences.
In their maniacal zeal to control their fellow man, Marxist-progressives declared alcohol “bad for you” and banned it. The consumption of alcohol, good or bad, dates back to ancient times. One of Christ’s great miracles was turning water into wine!
But these nanny staters knew best.
Of course, this law did little to curb alcohol consumption. It did however spawn a highly lucrative, and incredibly violent organized crime regime nationwide. Chicago is most known for it’s corruption that it maintains and is still famous for today. Prohibition played a huge role in this. If one took the unintended consequences argument out to perhaps the ludicrous, one could ponder if there had been no 18th Amendment, and thus the highly corrupt Chicago machine: Would there even be a Barack Obama, at least as we know him?
It should be noted that Congress gave the power of enforcement to the Treasury Department, rather than the FBI or other law enforcement. I mention this because Treasury is home to the IRS, and the new ObamaCare boondoggle calls for the hiring of 16,000 brand new IRS agents to make sure you comply.
Marxist-progressives haven’t had an original thought in a hundred years. They are using the same disastrous playbook today they used then. They are still egomaniacal sociopaths who think only they know what is best for you. Today they go after tobacco, fatty foods, salt, soft drinks, and who knows what’s next.
Marxist-progressives are their own best argument against Marxist-progressives! The psychotic compulsion to control other people’s lives, through draconian, and unconstitutional laws simply cannot be bred out of them. Best to never, ever let them in portions of power of any kind. It’s the only way to safeguard Liberty and Freedom.
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, much to the delight of some, and the chagrin of others. Women are the backbone of civil society. They remind us guys to act right. Currently some of the strongest voices for Liberty and Freedom are women. Strong transformational leaders like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are leading the way, but it is really the millions of strong women nationwide who are making the movement to regain control of our nation the success that it is.
It was a strong woman, actually a pair of strong women, Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie who started this very project, Constituting America!
Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.
Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
After untold deaths and the creation of a permanent criminal class, as well as institutionalized government corruption, common sense prevailed, and a lot of thirsty people took a drink!
Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
The closest America ever came to having a sitting dictator, instead of a President, was during the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was every bit the totalitarian Barack Obama is. He flirted with Communism, and like Obama had known communists in his administration. He bullied industry heads, intimidated the courts, and so on. He grew the Big Government-Union-Industrial Complex to almost unsustainable levels. His crack pot economic and nanny state schemes prolonged the Great Depression for almost a decade. Most feel that only WWII and the massive industrial production needed to win, is the only thing that saved the nation from slipping into the abyss.
Likethe Obama regime, which seeks to control the media, and does with some success, Roosevelt owned the media, and totally controlled the narrative. Of course, not having television, despite what Joe Biden thinks, it was easy to pull this off, but thanks to a very friendly media, many in the country had absolutely no idea FDR was in a wheelchair. Not that a man can’t be an effective leader and be in a wheelchair, but it was a little detail folks might would have liked to have known!
Roosevelt was elected to a third and then a fourth term. Only his death ended his rule.
Roosevelt broke with the long tradition of leaders serving and then going home. This started with George Washington, who set this example not once, but twice. Throughout most of history, when a great military leader conquered a land, that leader would then install himself as the Head of State. That is simply how it was done.
King George III reportedly asked American artist Benjamin West what Washington would do when Britain acknowledged the United States’ independence. Would he and his army create a government? “No“, West said, Washington would probably go back to his farm. The king scoffed. If Washington did that, the monarch said, he would be the greatest man in the world. Washington knew that ceding power would be the most dramatic, and unexpected, action he could take.
Washington did return to serve as President, and was re-elected. The man was much loved and the people wanted him to serve a third term, which he heartily declined. Washington understood the dangers of power to corrupt even the best of men. He started the long tradition of restraint by our leaders, until Roosevelt.
FDR was a wake up call, for sure, but should serve as the canary in the coal mine. Allowing Marxist-democrats to come to power is, in itself dangerous, but allowing them to get comfortable, and remain in power can be fatal to Liberty and Freedom.
Personally this feeling extends to Congress, for me. Our Representatives were supposed to be citizen legislators. The idea was they would go to Washington, serve a term or two, do what they came to do, then go home to live under the laws they created. When this was the case, government was quite constrained.
Of course, this has evolved into a full time, permanent position, effectively setting up a ruling class, with our elected leaders exempting themselves from the very laws they create to control us.
People ask me why Texas is so successful and our government is so tolerable. It’s because it is a part time job, and unless the Governor calls a special session, our legislature only meets once every two years. It’s not a full time job.
Not sure the federal government could work that way any more, but a Constitutional Amendment establishing strict term limits, as well as barring legislators from then working as lobbyists or otherwise benefitting from their service for a period of time, would go a long way toward fixing the problems we have. And I say this knowing that I actually like and admire my Congressman.
Term limits were needed to stop the Executive from gaining too much power. It only makes sense that we put the same limits on Congress.
Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This effectively gave those living in Washington, D.C., a federal city, the ability to help elect a President and Vice President.
Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The 24th Amendment was a further attempt to stop discrimination against Blacks and other minorities. Poll taxes were the brainchild of racist southern democrats who still smarted from the Civil War and refused to accept the results.
Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.
Note: Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.
Note: Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This is one of my favorites simply because it allowed me to cast my first vote in a presidential election for Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.
The 27th Amendment seeks to stop Congress for voting itself pay raises, in theory. In practice, Congress votes for a raise, and it doesn’t take effect until a new Congress is convened, which happens every two years. Again, with gerrymandering, so many seats are considered “safe” Congress is most certainly voting for it’s own pay raises. It’s telling that it took 203 years from the proposal of this Amendment to it’s ratification.
This is a long list, lots to think about and absorb.
Please take time to visit the Constituting America website and join in the conversation there.
Tomorrow we start reading The Federalist Papers.