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The US Constitution

Articles of Confederation

America declared independence in 1776, and the Constitution was ratified in 1788. In between, America was governed by the Articles of Confederation, and thus for all practical purposes, America had no central government, and yet we still managed to defeat the world’s dominant super power, but the founders felt that the national government needed some additional powers beyond those granted by the Articles of Confederation, and so they added just what they considered the minimum necessary powers beyond the American anarchy that led them to victory over the British monarchy.

That’s right. Anarchy defeated monarchy. No. A weak anarchy defeated the strongest monarchy. Get over it.

Now back to the Constitution.

The Constitution

The US Constitution derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, and the US government derives its legitimacy from the Constitution.

The extent of Constitutional violations is the extent of lost legitimacy for the US government, and the extent of constitutional violations is great indeed. The parts of the Constitution that are used to justify the accumulation of power are highlighted in red, and the parts that tend to refute those interpretations are in green.

Although the meaning of the Constitution is clear to any honest and independent thinking person, some parts are phrased in such a way that enable a shyster or ditto head to claim that it means the opposite and still feign gravitas. So proud were the Founders of their accomplishment, and so universal was the understanding of individual liberty after the American Revolution, that the Founders would not have foreseen a future where many Americans would turn government into the dominant religion.

The Preamble – Original Text

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.

The Preamble – Exposition

The preamble is not law, and its language grants no powers to the government. It is no more law than the Declaration of Independence, neither of which has ever been used by the Supreme Court to uphold any act of Congress. Nor was the preamble describing the Constitution. It was describing the Founders and their act of creating the Constitution.

The Founders had previously created the Articles of Confederation, which established a government tantamount to anarchy at the national level, and the Preamble describes what these men believed that they themselves were accomplishing by their act of adding a few more powers at the national level.

The Founders claimed their act of establishing the Constitution promoted the general welfare, and we know the act of establishing the Constitution was primarily an act of creating a very limited government. Therefore, the Constitution promotes the general welfare by limiting government.

The Founders believed that freedom and limited government are good for everybody.

Article 1, Section 8 (The powers of Congress) – Original Text

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;–And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Article 1, Section 8 – Exposition

Article I, Section 8 does not grant Congress the power to promote the general welfare – nor does it grant Congress the power to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper”; and the power to regulate interstate commerce most certainly does not confer infinite power over all portable objects and services. However, these extreme fascistic interpretations are how the Congress, and the Democrats in particular, see the Constitution today.

If the Constitution actually did grant any one of these three fascist powers to Congress, then the Congress would have more power over the people than any fascist or communist government in the history of the world.

It is impossible that the Founders intended for the US government to ever have more power than the King of England over the colonists.

Although the Democrats trumpet the imaginary power to promote the general welfare, the Supreme Court never used such an interpretation to uphold any law. It is the commerce clause, which has been used as the primary justification for constitutional violations. Sometimes the necessary powers clause is also abused in order to violate the Constitution.

Commerce Clause

The power to regulate commerce among the several states clearly refers to Congress directly regulating transactions between the states. There is no hint that it refers to the manufacture or possession of portable objects. There is no hint that it refers to transactions within a state. There is no hint that it can ban a transaction between two states where both permit such a transaction. There is no hint that Congress can regulate any facet of an interstate transaction except the interstate part.

Necessary Powers

Congress thinks it has the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper”, but what it actually says at the end of Article I, Section 8, is that the Congress shall have the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.”

The number of “foregoing powers” is 18.

Promoting the General Welfare

Promoting the general welfare is not itself a power. It is a limitation on the power to tax – so that taxes cannot be collected for the benefit of just one or several states. I’ll bet that now they would wish they had phrased it in the negative and said that the Congress may not collect any tax with the intent to benefit only one or several states. So, why did they phrase it in a positive form? Under the Articles of Confederation, the US government had no power to tax, and thus the Founders were trying to sell the idea that taxes were a necessary evil.

In February 1791, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph declared the creation of a national bank unconstitutional because at the very beginning of Article I, Section 8, the Constitution only granted Congress the power to tax, and limited that power to the purpose of promoting the general welfare (not the welfare of any one state), and only to carry into execution the following powers (in Article I, Section 8).

Whereas, Alexander Hamilton led the first major assault on the Constitution by claiming that the Congress could create a national bank because Congress had the power to “promote the general welfare”. To understand the full scope of Hamilton’s evil, consider that the Bill of Rights was not ratified until December 15th, 1791, and thus Hamilton was basically claiming that individuals had no rights because the Congress could violate any individual right in order to “promote the general welfare”.

The Bill of Rights – Original Text

Perhaps in response to the assault on the Constitution by Alexander Hamilton before the ink was dry, the Founders added a list of rights that had previously been considered so obvious that actually writing them was thought to somehow diminish them, which is probably why they included the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Amendment I

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.

Amendment II

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.

Amendment III

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.

Amendment IV

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.

Amendment V

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.

Amendment VI

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.

Amendment VII

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.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

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 Bill of Rights – Exposition

Amendment II

Just like the rest of the Constitution, what the second amendment is saying is pretty obvious to an honest man who tries to understand it. It is saying:

A well trained militia being necessary to the right of the states and the people to defend their freedom, the right of the people to form militias shall not be infringed, and the right of the people to keep and bear any and all armaments shall not be infringed.

Of course, the purpose of the people’s armaments is to be sufficient to defeat any military force that could pose a threat to their freedom.

Had they foreseen the development of nuclear weapons, they would have added:

The Congress shall have the power to regulate the use of any weapon that can kill everyone within a square mile and/or render the environment uninhabitable for more than 100 years in 10 square miles.

Note that even with nuclear weapons, the Founders so trusted the people and so cherished their freedom that they would not have entirely prohibited the possession of nuclear weapons.

Clearly, the Second Amendment is sufficient reason to conclude that the Founders could not have been a part of any long term conspiracy to rule the peoples of the Earth. In fact, the Second Amendment makes one suspect they may have been explicitly trying to combat such a conspiracy.

Jim
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 5 comments
stand4freedom - March 16, 2010

Bravo, Jim, well done! Keep the good fight going!

Reply
Dennis Gorelik - March 19, 2010

It seems you are making an assumption that constitution guarantees us something.
It's not.
All our guarantees are based on how society traditions and in particular on how society and government function (what people want, what kind of politicians they elect, what kind of decisions judges make etc.)

Soviet Constitution during Stalin era on paper was very fair and pro-freedom.
That did NOT prevent totalitarianism and did NOT stop Stalin from executing mass terror.

I think you put too much faith into constitution.

Reply
Jim - March 19, 2010

In America, politicians and the media claim that their actions are Constitutionally legitimate. They do this because the people really admire the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, whose creation severely restricts the power of the federal goverment. Therefore, given that you and I and most Americans want more freedom, lower taxes, and smaller government, then consider that one way to achieve that is to embarrass politicians by pointing out how they violate the Constitution.

Reply
Dennis Gorelik - March 19, 2010

Yes, pointing out that something does not uphold spirit of Constitution might somewhat work.
But I think it's more productive to point to actual problems.
E.g. demonstrate how higher taxes and big government make almost everyone poorer and how lack of freedom leads to significant problems in society.

Reply
Jim - March 19, 2010

Another reason to promote the Constitution is because most people have been mislead by government schools, and thus when they learn what the Constitution really means, they no longer feel like it is hopeless to resist big government. Nevertheless, I would agree that overall it is more important to make good arguments that stand on their own merit.

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