Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Constituting America, Lesson Two: The Constitution; We Read The Preamble and Article I

An enlightened America, regarding her roots, her basis, and her thesis is the key to America’s pertinent survival. Americans have rights. Americans must have knowledge to understand them.

—Janine Turner

Welcome to the official start of Constituting America, our 90 day journey of discovery and rediscovery. As our readers learned yesterday, America was founded on the idea that man has Natural Rights, rights given to them by their Creator, and no government should be able to infringe these rights.

Our founders didn’t undertake their journey lightly, and as they declared their independence, they reminded their fellow Americans that no government should be changed for transient causes. I mention this, because that’s exactly what the radical Obama regime is attempting to do, in what amounts to a
coup d'état, fueled by the complete usurpation of our Constitution.

One of the reasons we most certainly must spend some quality time with our Constitution and
The Federalist Papers is we need to understand not only how radical the Obama regime is, and how they have created unconstitutional and unsustainable government, but how, for generations, progressives in both political parties have slowly, but methodically stolen our individual rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of the several states.

As you read the Constitution and
The Federalist you will come to understand that unlike any other government on earth, We The People, through the several states, created our Republic not as a ruler over us, but as a common bond and a mutually beneficial civil system.

Our founders knew it made sense for the several states to come together and create a small central government, with limited powers, that would be able to provide for the defense of all of the states, strength in numbers, as well as create a set of standards for commerce and trade.

In the beginning, the idea was for the states to have maximum freedom, and remain sovereign, with the federal government having very limited powers. The same idea applied to the people. The federal government was pretty weak,
by design.

And while there were certainly some growing pains, and some Amendments made, the basic concept of strong states and a weak central government remained until the late 19th Century, early 20th Century, when the progressive movement, fueled by the writings of communist Karl Marx, and others, became quite popular.

A socialist is someone who has read Lenin and Marx. An anti-socialist is someone who understands Lenin and Marx. —Ronald Reagan

Before we start our journey, here is a message from Janine Turner and Cathy Gillespie as well as our first week’s reading schedule:

April 20, 2010 –
Welcome to the Launch of 90 in 90 = 180: History Holds the Key to Our Future!

April 20, 2010

Welcome to day ONE of our
90 in 90 = 180 History Holds the Key to the Future, National Conversational Blog/Reading of the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Papers! We are so excited that you have joined us in our educational journey as American Patriots!!

Our first reading is Article I of the United States Constitution. By the time you wake up on April 21, a Constitutional scholar will have posted his or her perspective about how Article I is relevant to us today. Then let the conversation begin! Cathy and I will wrap up the day with our perspective on Article I and the day’s discussion.

This will be the format for every day’s reading. This week’s schedule is below our signature.

Let us begin shaping our country today as we find our voice, educating ourselves and our children on our country’s basis, thesis and founding principles. History holds the key to our future!

Your fellow patriots,

Janine & Cathy


Tuesday, April 20 – Read Article I

Day 1 – Wednesday, April 21 – Blog on Article I; Read Article II

Day 2 – Thursday, April 22 – Blog on Article II; Read Article III

Day 3 – Friday, April 23 – Blog on Article III; Read remaining Articles (IV, V, VI, and VII) of the United States Constitution

Day 4 – Monday, April 26 – Blog on Articles IV, V, VI and VII of the United States Constitution; Read the Amendments

Day 5 – Tuesday, April 27 – Blog on the Amendments to the United States Constitution; Read
Federalist Paper # 1

OK gang, let’s get started. All text, spelling, and punctuation is as it appeared in it’s original form:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.

Article. I.

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue
Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section. 3.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President
pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence 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 an 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 Offences 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, dock-Yards, 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.

Section. 9.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section. 10.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any
Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article I, as you see deals with Congress, it’s make up, it’s duties, and the requirements one must meet in order to become a member of either the upper or lower chamber. It also lays out what Congress may do in regards to the daily operation of government, the establishment of a currency, post offices, an army and a navy, and so on.

Article I lays out such things as declarations of war, grounds and procedures for impeachment, and the accompanying trials, as well as setting up restricions on Congress, and barring any member from receiving any title of nobility from a foreign government, ceremonial, or otherwise.

Article I also deals with both trade between the several states and foreign nations. It seeks to develop a fair an uniform system of trade, as well as tariffs and other taxes.

Article I also limits some of the activities that a state can engage in that could adversely effect the other states.

One section, as many remember, became part of a heated "
controversy" during the 2008 vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Palin was asked if she planned on having as high of a profile as Vice President Dick Cheney had under President Bush, and whether she would be as active with the Senate. Cheney, as is customary, kept an office in the Capitol, and had weekly meetings with the Senate Republicans.

Sarah Palin rightly noted that the Vice President has duties in the Senate and she would indeed fulfill them. Of course Joe Biden was quick to claim Cheney had over stepped his bounds, and that he had no plans to interfere with the Senate. He seemed genuinely distressed that Cheney had been
so assertive. Of course the democrat party and it’s media partners were quick to label Palin "wrong," "stupid," or worse.

As a reminder:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President
pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

Our founders saw the Vice President as someone independent of the President and a parliamentarian. Now obviously, in the event of a tie, the VP will cast the deciding vote, but as we learned during the final days of the unconstitutional ObamaCare
putsch, the Vice President indeed had the power to overrule the Senate parliamentarian in his role as President of the Senate. The Vice President could have literally change the Senate rules on the spot.

Joe Biden was more than ready to fulfill this role that he had claimed on national TV didn’t exist.

Of course, as time has passed, the role of the Vice President has changed. Until the 20th Century Presidents and Vice Presidents weren’t elected as a
team. They weren’t "running mates" and in fact, it was possible to have a President from one party and a Vice President from another.

In modern times, it’s become a "
package deal" and while many vice presidential choices are a political compromise, to bring the party together, other times it’s a real partnership with the President giving the Veep a solid portfolio of responsibilities. JFK put Johnson in charge of the space program, for example.

Most assumed, because of her expertise, John McCain would have given Sarah Palin the leading role on energy independence.

Today if you tune into C-span, and watch the Senate, you will hear Senators speaking and will hear them say "
Mr President" as they speak. They are not addressing the President of the United States. Instead they are addressing the President of the Senate, or in most cases the President pro tempore in his stead. On most days this is more of a parliamentary procedure, and in fact, often the job is given over to a junior Senator in order for them to learn the way the Senate functions. It's a rare occasion when the Vice President sits in his role as President of the Senate for any purpose other than to be the deciding vote on legislation.

Please be sure to check out Constituting America’s website for more commentary here.

Also, if you’d like to skip ahead, you can read more of the Constitution here.

One of the really great organizations to be involved with is the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is a non-profit, tax exempt organization committed to building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish.

One of the many services they make available is the distribution of very nice pocket sized copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This neatly sized edition should be with every patriot. You can go to AskHeritage.org and order yourself a copy.

You should also consider joining the Heritage Foundation, as all contributions are tax deductible.

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