October 23, 2013
The problems Americans face today go way back to the founding of the United States. Yet, text-book pride in the Founding Fathers and the inviolate “sacredness” of the Constitution reinforce an impenetrable firewall behind which Americans are blinded. Quick-fixes are not cutting it. We need long-lasting solutions of substance; the root-cause of any problem must be uncovered and analyzed first.
1. The U.S. Constitution of 1787 was not the first American constitution. It is the second. The first constitution was the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union and was created in 1777 soon after the Declaration of Independence. It was the only American constitution until 1788 when the Constitution of the United States, the second constitution, was ratified.
2. The Framers of the second constitution needed permission from the Congress of the Confederation, “the powers that be” of that day in order to hold the 1787 Philadelphia constitutional convention. On February 21, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation delivered a resolution authorizing a Philadelphia constitutional convention but with an important limitation: “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures.”
3. There were many dissenting voices regarding the constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia. Free inhabitants of the several states, (as they were called) questioned the legality of such a convention because it was suspected that those in attendance might create an entirely new constitution, not simply revise the Articles of Confederation. And if a new constitution was created, would the Framers abide by the required unanimous consent of all thirteen states per article thirteen of the Articles?
These concerns seemed not to matter. George Washington was aware of the issue of illegality but believed the Philadelphia convention was worth the risk. He said,
“The legality of this Convention I do not mean to discuss, nor how problematical the issue of it may be. That powers are wanting, none can deny. Though what medium they are to be derived, will, like other matters, engage public attention. That which takes the shortest course to obtain them, will, in my opinion, under present circumstances, be found best. Otherwise, like a house on fire, whilst the most regular mode of extinguishing it is contended for, the building is reduced to ashes.” —George Washington, in a letter to Secretary of War Henry Knox on February 3, 1787 (reprinted in The Founders’ Constitution)
4. The Philadelphia constitutional convention was held May into September 1787. In the book, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, written in 1987, author Adrienne Koch describes the Philadelphia constitutional convention as being held in strictest secrecy and behind closed doors. She writes that the secrecy extended far beyond the convention itself. Up to the time of his death, Madison had been urged to publish his personal convention notes but remained constant in his reply; no notes would be released until after the death of all the Framers. More than fifty years later, around 1840, a handful of people began to find out what had actually taken place.
5. Over the course of the convention as the prospect for a new constitution became more certain, arguments ensued over its ratification. The Framers had exceeded the authority given them. At one point at the convention Gouverneur Morris denied the Framers had had any association with the Congress of the Confederation; a statement in utter defiance of the resolution granted them to hold the Philadelphia convention in the first place. Saying their constitutional convention was “unknown to the Confederation” became the justification for ratifying the second constitution by only nine states.
“Whereas, in case of an appeal to the people of the United States, the supreme authority, the Federal compact may be altered by a majority of them, in like manner as the Constitution of a particular State may be altered by a majority of the people of the State. The amendment moved by Mr. ELLSWORTH erroneously supposes that we are proceeding on the basis of the Confederation. This Convention is unknown to the Confederation.” —Gouverneur Morris, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Volume II
6. Soon after the Philadelphia constitutional convention, James Madison confirmed the effectiveness of appealing directly to the people, going over the heads of the state legislatures. In “Madison’s Notes: Federal Convention of 1787: Aug. 31,” he said. “The people were in fact, the fountain of all power, and by resorting to them, all difficulties were got over. They could alter constitutions as they pleased.”
7. Even though the new constitution was signed at the convention on September 17, 1787, the Framers realized they had an uphill battle in convincing the public to ratify it. On October 27, 1787, they released the first of 85 “Federalist Papers” which flooded the states in praise of this new constitution as the remedy to post-American Revolution economic woes. The hope was that the promotion of the new constitution would hasten ratification and a new federal system supreme over the several states could then be put in place.
8. Each Federalist Paper had been signed with the pseudonym “Publius,” meaning “friend of the people” (or public) and waxed elegant enumerating the reasons why the new constitution was critically needed. The identity of the authors, (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay), was not revealed until many years thereafter. Instead of going to the state legislatures to appeal for ratification of the second constitution as required, the Framers cleverly went over the heads of state authorities and appealed directly to the people for ratification.
9. The free inhabitants of the several states feared the worst despite the Federalist Papers waxing elegant to assure them that “all power of government was in the people.” In the minds of many early Americans, the accomplishment of Federalist goals was likely to unravel the freedoms and liberties they had gained under the Articles of Confederation and won by the American Revolution. In fact, according to the Articles of Confederation, the new constitution had not been created by “mutual consent” and therefore could not lawfully replace the Articles of Confederation. To date, the Articles of Confederation have never been lawfully repealed in writing.
“The continental convention in direct violation of the 13th article of confederation, have declared ‘that the ratification of nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution, between the states so ratifying the same.’—Thus has the plighted faith of the states been sported with! They had solemnly engaged that the confederation now subsisting should be inviolably preserved by each of them, and the union thereby formed. Should be perpetual, unless the same should be altered by mutual consent.” —“The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents,” December 12, 1787 (emphasis added)
10. The Constitution of the United States was finally deemed ratified June 21, 1788 by only nine states instead of the unanimous ratification of all 13 states required by the Articles of Confederation. Thereafter, a new, centralized U.S. Government was formed, disregarding the original, decentralized American jurisdiction of state legislatures established soon after the American Revolution.
11. Also in June of 1788 at the Virginia Conference, orator and Anti-Federalist, Patrick Henry, exposed the political tactics of propaganda he believed the Federalists had used to win over the public. The Framers had pandered to the people in order to get their way, he said, by convincing the people, that under a new constitution, democracy would mean the government belonged to them. Henry also exposed the deception when Framer’s used the phrase, “We, the people” in the preamble to the Constitution.
“Who authorized them to speak the language, ‘We, the people’, instead of ‘We, the states?’ . . . That they exceed their powers is perfectly clear . . . The Federal Convention ought to have amended the old system; for this purpose they were solely delegated; the object of their mission extended to no other consideration.” —Patrick Henry, June 4, 1788
As the saying goes, the rest is history. The Constitution of 1787 and the U.S. Government it formed was an illegitimate (unauthorized) takeover of the original American jurisdiction. One (of many) proofs is that at no time since has the Articles of Confederation been lawfully repealed in writing. The outcome? Americans who no longer suffer as indentured-servant subjects of the British monarchy now suffer as indentured-servant subjects of a United States beholden to an obscured corporate-banking cartel. It’s just a new-fangled monarchy centuries in the making and thanks to the Constitution con.
The good news is that the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, still stands. Now it’s up to everyone else to confirm if what I have said here is fact or fiction. Please, by all means, prove me wrong. If it is fact, what then might be the personal implications going forward? What might be the next steps for American free inhabitants to take? The prospects are encouraging.
Think outside the box. Live outside the cage.