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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Constitution Party Glorifies an Illegal Document?
Lately I've been writing more about the Constitution Party than I've been writing about Krystal Fernandez.

Well, while the Party may talk about "personhood" and "kindness...and compassion" in government, there are some things about the Constitution Party that are more troubling. Here is one of them:

The Constitution Party Glorifies an Illegally-Produced Document.

There are two ways to look at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. One way is to admire the bold, courageous men who founded a wonderful government. Another way is to remember the fact that these men had to overthrow an existing government - and I'm not talking about the British government - to create the system that we know and love today.

From Dr. Curtis E. Grassman at americanrevolution.org (emphasis mine):

By 1950 the [Charles A.] Beardian conspiracy thesis had become elaborated well beyond what Beard himself had originally said, and research by other scholars had filled in some of the gaps in his original study. A full statement of the conspiracy thesis by 1950 would contain the following points....

2) When the convention was held at Philadelphia in 1787 it was under strict instructions from the Continental Congress only to prepare a list of amendments to the Articles of Confederation; the convention was not authorized to draw up a whole new Constitution, but only to advise the Continental Congress about what it should do to meet the needs of the Union. Therefore the delegates had exceeded their instructions and were acting illegally....

6) The ratification procedure was patently illegal: According to the Articles of Confederation, which was the fundamental law of the land at the Constitutional convention, any change in the powers of the central government had to have the unanimous approval of all thirteen states as represented in the Continental Congress. The founding fathers changed this because they knew they could not get ratification under this procedure, so they said that the new Constitution would take effect for all the states when nine of them had registered their approval. The Continental Congress was completely sidestepped, it being asked to send the proposed Constitution along to the states immediately and without any debate or discussion....

From a Gary North article:

Without the participation of George Washington at the Constitutional Convention, there would not have been a Constitution. The nationalists who were preparing to overturn the country's legal order were convinced of this. So are most historians of the Constitutional Convention. Washington had resisted offers from Madison and others to attend the Convention. He wanted to stay out of public life. Shays' Rebellion provided the motivational hook for the nationalists to persuade him to reverse his position and attend....

[Henry] Knox's letter of October 23, 1786, was as persuasive to Washington as it was misleading....He immediately launched into a critique of the present political structure under the Articles of Confederation....

It is clear that Knox was a nationalist. He was offering a general critique of the Confederation. He then offered what seems to be substantiating specific evidence. But his account was neither accurate nor relevant. The state of Massachusetts was in a position to suppress the rebellion, assuming that the militia would respond to the call. The fact was, the handful of speculators close to the governor could not persuade the legislature to fund the counter-attack, nor could local officers persuade militia members to respond to the call to arms. This was a grass-roots rebellion, as surely as the American war for independence had been, and with far better cause. None of this impressed Knox....

He had a political agenda, and Washington's presence at the Convention was the linchpin, the sine qua non, of the nationalists' political agenda. Knox proceeded with the grand deception of the grand old man....

Knox was writing what turned out to be the most influential direct-response sales letter in the history of the United States, and perhaps in modern history. Every direct-response letter needs a powerful close, what is called the "act now" offer. He called Washington to join with the besieged men of property in Massachusetts – speculators in government bonds – to turn back these rural communists of the lower sort. The leaders are ready to defend the true interests of society. What about you, George? Will you wimp out at this crucial juncture?...

In a series of letters to Washington, the nationalists put pressure on him to attend. In his replies, he made it clear that he was on the side of law and order, and that he was becoming pessimistic regarding the future of the country. He resisted making a commitment to attend, but eventually he consented. He was already a nationalist, as letters reveal from 1783 on....He attended the Convention and even agreed to keep Madison's secret notes of the debates, which were not made public until every participant had died.

Shays' Rebellion was used effectively by the nationalists to scare voters into accepting both the legitimacy of the Convention and the legality of the Constitution. Richards writes: "Within months, Shays's Rebellion gave the nationalists the edge they needed. It provided the spark on which to advance the nationalist cause and play on the fears of others." In the post-Convention debates over ratification, anti-federalists were labeled "Shaysites." With respect to Massachusetts, the accusation was inaccurate. Two-thirds of the towns opposed ratification. Yet only one-third had joined the rebellion....

The Constitutional Convention did not take place because of a democratic movement of the people. The people were generally uninterested in national politics and jealous of a transfer of sovereignty to the central government. This outlook was not shared by the men who became the Constitution's Framers and then, retroactively, the Founders. Yet what they did was illegal. It was far more illegal than what Daniel Shays did. What is more, they knew they were acting illegally.

Shays' Rebellion provided an opportunity for a majority of a group of 55 men, more than half of whom were lawyers, to break the law of the land and get away with it. This is not how historians of the Constitution have treated the Convention in Philadelphia. This fact provides additional support for the ancient rule of historiography, indeed, its only known rule: the victors write the textbooks.

Joseph E. Fallon has written the following:

American exceptionalism...is a dangerous myth, because of its four false corollaries: First, the government of the United States is morally and politically superior to all other governments; second, the government of the United States is “indispensable” for the peace and prosperity of the world; third, other governments, as a matter of national self-interest, must conform to the policies of the government of the United States; and fourth, if any country’s government refuses to conform, then the government of the United States is morally entitled to impose economic sanctions or launch military attacks against that country....

In reality, American exceptionalism is “a lie agreed upon.” And the lie begins at the beginning. Contrary to the myth’s central tenet, the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was not a lawful assembly that produced an extraordinary political document, but an illegal cabal that staged a coup d’etat.

In 1789, just six years after independence, the first republic of the United States, established under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was overthrown. The justification for this treason was the conviction shared by many politicians—including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison—that the first republic was too weak to be effective and would remain so because of Article 1 of its constitution....

While the impetus for abolishing the first republic was undeniably political—the belief, however dubious, that the Confederation was unworkable and would soon collapse—there were economic motives as well. Those demanding the creation of a second republic included holders of government securities who had not received interest on their loans; landowners and speculators who had been unable to develop commercially the western lands, because the first republic allegedly could not adequately defend or administer the frontier; and merchants, manufacturers, traders, and shippers whose interstate commerce had been adversely affected by conflicting state laws. All these interest groups also shared a common concern: the financial losses they incurred due to confusion over state and “national” currencies and the introduction by farmers of depreciated paper money....

[I]n September 1786, the Annapolis Convention (meeting ostensibly to expand the Mount Vernon Compact to include additional states) conspired to draft a new federal structure. It was a failure. Five states—including the host state—refused to send delegates, while delegates from three other states arrived too late to participate. In desperation, the delegates of the five states present submitted a report to the Confederation Congress noting the failure of all states to attend, expressing the need for “reform” of the general government, and calling for a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia the following May.

The government of the first republic, the Confederation Congress, agreed to this proposal and, in 1787, authorized a Constitutional Convention. But it forbade the drafting of a new constitution. The instructions were explicit: Delegates were gathering “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.” Virtually every state government issued similar instructions to its delegates.

Equally explicit was Article 13 of the Articles of Confederation, which declared that no revision was legally permitted “unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterward confirmed by the Legislatures of every State.”

The delegates ignored their instructions and the constitution they had sworn to uphold. Instead, they plotted the overthrow of the first republic. Like good conspirators, they held their deliberations in secret. Armed sentries were posted around the State House where they met....

In such a setting of suspicion and isolation, the delegates...illegally drafted a new Constitution, which unconstitutionally declared ratification by only nine of the 13 states to be sufficient for its adoption.

Some delegates, however, raised fundamental questions of legality and logic. Luther Martin of Maryland challenged the majority:

"Will you tell us we ought to trust you because you now enter into a solemn compact with us? This you have done before, and now treat with the utmost contempt. Will you now make an appeal to the Supreme Being, and call on Him to guarantee your observance of this compact? The same you have formerly done for your observance of the Articles of Confederation, which you are now violating in the most wanton manner."...

By its actions, the Constitutional Convention proved itself to be a conclave of conspirators who betrayed their sacred oaths to the constitution of the first republic and usurped power. The subsequent adoption of the U.S. Constitution, and the establishment of the second republic, was achieved by extraconstitutional means. It was a bloodless coup d’etat. It was, in fact, a very civil coup d’etat. But it was a coup d’etat, nonetheless....

[T]he coup d’etat of 1789 set a suicidal precedent. On the same pretext of establishing “a more perfect union,” the second republic was overthrown by Abraham Lincoln when he launched his war against the South—a war the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in the “Prize Cases” of December 1862. Lincoln destroyed the federal principles of 1783 and 1789 and replaced them with the ideological foundation for today’s centralized, “welfare-warfare,” bureaucratic state.

To the degree that American exceptionalism ever existed, it was as an experiment in limited government based on the unique concept of dual sovereignties—state and federal—embodied in the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. But that political experiment lasted only six years, from 1783 to 1789. The Constitutional Convention did not create American exceptionalism; it destroyed it.

So in essence the Constitution Party is engaging in Soviet revisionism by claiming that the government established by the Constitution is the legitimate government. However, this argument can be made, since the Constitution Party champions both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence:

The Constitution Party strongly champions the principles of government laid down by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, principles which have been abandoned by our political establishment. Unlike other political organizations, we do not believe these principles are outdated. We recognize that the Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the land and must be enforced.

The proper and lawful apportionment of governmental authority between the Federal, State and local governments is the only one that the Founders rightly saw as necessary for freedom and justice. Only after that constitutional order is restored can we reverse America’s slide into lawlessness, corruption and tyranny.

This is interesting, because the Declaration and the Constitution are two very different documents. Note this quote from the Declaration:

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 new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In other words, the people have the power to disband their government at any time. The Constitution, however, puts some limits on this power:

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

So, can we overthrow the government, or can we not?

Krystal Fernandez picture links. Hope that helps. I assume that even Articles of Confederation fans like women in cutoff football jerseys.
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