Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:45

The Constitution: Beacon of Hope for Restoring the Republic

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Signed on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles...."

The foundation for that new government was originally the Articles of Confederation, which created a "perpetual Union between the states" known as the "United States of America." Under this confederacy, each state retained "its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States...." Also, "the Articles of this confederation shall be inviolably observed by every state, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a congress of the united states, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state."

Although the basic principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence have endured, that original constitution, the Articles of Confederation, did not. It was short-lived because it failed to create sufficient order for the new union of states. The Articles were not inviolably observed by the states, nor was the union under their confederation perpetual.

When the states under this confederation began deliberations to remedy the defects in the Articles, they were at first primarily concerned with problems in the areas of trade and commerce. One such problem was a dispute between Maryland and Virginia over navigation rights on the Potomac River. In March 1785, George Washington hosted a meeting of delegates from Maryland and Virginia at his home. Gathering at this Mount Vernon Conference, the delegates recommended that the two states meet annually "for keeping up harmony in the commercial relations" between them. Maryland's delegates in approving this also decided to invite to the annual meetings delegates from two other neighboring states, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Virginia, however, recommended a meeting of all the states "to take into consideration the trade of the United States...." This led to the Annapolis Convention, which in turn set the stage for the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution.

Held in September 1786, the Annapolis Convention was attended by delegates representing only five of the states. Because of the poor representation, the delegates decided not to proceed on what they called "the business of their mission." Instead, they suggested that "the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and will enter so far into the general System of the federal government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other parts of the Federal System." They therefore recommended a meeting of the states that could consider not only trade, but "such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union.....

After evaluating the Annapolis Convention, the Continental Congress proposed that "a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation...." Although the scope of this meeting was to be broader than that of Annapolis, it was still limited to proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation.

The Philadelphia Convention opened on May 25, 1787, when a quorum of delegates representing a majority of the states had arrived. Eventually, a total of 55 delegates representing all of the states except Rhode Island participated.

On June 19th, after debating various proposals, the delegates decided not to amend the Articles of Confederation, but to devise a new national government. From that point on, the assembly worked in violation of its own mandate. On September 17th, 39 of the 42 delegates who were present signed the new Constitution. After the Continental Congress received the proposed Constitution, some representatives sought to censure the constitutional convention for failing to abide by its mandate that allowed merely for revisions of the Articles of Confederation. Those favoring censure, however, were not in the majority. On September 28th, Congress resolved to submit the Constitution to special state conventions for ratification. All 13 of the original states ratified it, the last to do so being Rhode Island on May 29, 1790. But the Continental Congress, on September 13, 1788, had already proclaimed the Constitution ratified by the required nine states and ordered the new government to convene on March 4, 1789.

The Constitution provided for a stronger federal government than had existed under the Articles of Confederation. But under the Constitution, as under the Articles, the federal government was still strictly limited to specified powers that were delegated to it. To assure that the federal government would not overstep carefully crafted boundaries, the Founders methodically interwove into the Constitution a system of checks and balances that included:

• Dividing governmental powers between the national government and the autonomous state governments. This arrangement was unique in history and became known as Federalism.

• Granting only certain powers to the national government, while protecting the individual rights from infringement by any force, whether it be by government — foreign or domestic — or by the people themselves using the dictates of a collective majority. This system of government is known as a Constitutional Republic. It is not a democracy, a system in which majority rule is unrestrained.

• Separating the limited powers of the national government into three branches — Executive, Legislative, and Judicial — and further dividing the legislature into two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Constitution that the Founders so carefully crafted gave us something extraordinary: a government of law and not of men. Under such law, the God-given rights of the individual are sovereign and immutable. They may not be violated by government, no matter how compelling the reasons to do so may seem. Neither may the majority do so, acting through government for some supposed "greater good."

Such principles were not embodied in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution by accident. But the outcome could have been very different. The War for Independence could have ended in repudiation of rights, as was the case with the French Revolution. America's experience was different, however, because it was blessed with the rarest of leaders who had faith, wisdom, and character: the faith to recognize that rights come from God; the wisdom to understand that the proper role of government is simply to protect God-given rights; and the character to fashion a government based upon such principles.

Because the American people have gradually lost sight of our nation's founding principles, the federal government has been able to assume vast powers beyond those specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. Gradually, America is becoming like the despotic Old World from which the Founders declared our independence. However, even during this decades-long backward slide toward despotism, the Constitution has remained intact, providing a powerful beacon of hope for those who still recall the faith, wisdom, and character of the Founders.

So long as that beacon shines brightly, America will have a safe port to return to — and return she will, just as soon as sufficient numbers of her citizens become reacquainted with our founding principles. But dim or extinguish that beacon, and America — unable to find safe passage in the darkness — will most likely wreck herself on the collectivist shoals. This is why the Constitution must be preserved, and this is why today's unconstitutional abuses of power must never be granted the legitimacy of constitutionality. This is why — in this age of little understanding — a new constitutional convention must be avoided at all costs.

 

This article appeared in the March 6, 1995 issue of The New American.

5 comments

  • Comment Link Keith Coltharp Sunday, 09 February 2014 14:46 posted by Keith Coltharp

    This is all fine, well and good. However, we can pontificate until the cows come home - These parasites will continue to trample upon all that is dear to us - without consequence. Only another revolution will remedy our awful situation. And we will be forced to suffer a tremendous loss.

  • Comment Link Nora Sunday, 09 February 2014 12:14 posted by Nora

    The important verbiage in the document must not be overlooked, and that is what cements the constitution; all statutes, codes, and would-be laws enacted by this illegitimate administration, previous administrations and the traitors in congress are INVALID. They have no force or authority because they have not been devised with the consent of the governed, and there is no provision for them in the constitution, which was based on common law. These lawyers, whose campaigns were funded by elitist interests, once elected to congress began rewriting our laws under the premise that the laws should be the same, or "universal" among the states to prevent disparity. However, what they did was convert everything to UCC or Maritime/Admiralty, which is the law of commerce, and that one factor is why this esoteric assault on our rights has gotten as far as it has.

    It's a con job.

    Where the problem lies however, is in congress. We have elected LAWYERS to congress, and they all swear a secret oath to the Crown as members of the American Bar Association, which is a franchise of the British Legal apparatus. Why do you think the queen sent her men here?

    The key to everything is the constitution. Simply refuse to comply with anything that is not specifically constitutional in nature. Engage in civil disobedience. Educate and encourage others to do so. And throw the lawyers out of congress. That is one thing that should be added as an amendment; NO LAWYERS, who swear their allegiance to the queen rather than the United States of America, should ever be permitted in our government branches.

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Saturday, 08 February 2014 18:08 posted by Michael Dalene

    PS:

    Diana: Please explain your comment. I interpret your comment as meaning the opposite of the Headline... I Hope I read it wrong!

  • Comment Link Michael Dalene Saturday, 08 February 2014 18:03 posted by Michael Dalene

    "What is UNALIENABLE? Incapable of being aliened, that is, sold and transferred. Law Dictionary: http://thelawdictionary.org/unalienable/#ixzz2smE5FxlL"

    No matter the source, the general meaning is the same: "Unalienable (rights)" means rights that cannot be given, taken, or surrendered... In other Words, by strict interpretation such inalienable rights among which are "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" cannot be taken by any Authority (save God?) nor surrendered by those possessing said Rights... Philosophical and moral arguments aside and applying ONLY the enumerated rights of the Bill of Rights, NO GOVERNMENT NOR PERSON MAY TAKE, DENY, OR SURRENDER, THE RIGHTS OF ANY OTHER, INCLUDING THEMSELF...

    We also have the Concise Orders and Duty as American's charged by the Declaration of Independence which states "...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.--"

    Personally, I NOT ONLY consider the prolonged and repeated government attacks against the Bill of Rights and Constitution "a long train of abuses and usurpations" but due to their very nature an Act of War (if such acts were committed by any other they would indeed- and Historically, be considered "Acts of War") which in accordance to Article III, Section 3, US Constitution, is TREASON...

    The governments of this nation- and by extension the Voters, have done more to destroy this nation and deprive Loyal and Patriotic Americans their rights than all this nations enemies and terrorists combined, exponentially!...

  • Comment Link Diana Friday, 07 February 2014 18:41 posted by Diana

    Right. And I'm Aunt Jamima.

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