Learn The Constitution

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why it was necessary to separate the powers in our Republican form of government and how the Founding Fathers did it.

Different forms of governments

Through studying the different forms of governments, the Founding Fathers understood the three most common types of governments and their strengths and weaknesses as follows:
1.      Monarchy - A single powerful ruler.
Strengths – had the executive strength needed to direct the administration of the government, particularly in time of war.
Weakness – where there is a wicked ruler, the people morn.  Rulers more than not will make laws for their own interests and not for the interest of the people.  Because of the tyrannical power of a ruler, the people end up losing their rights.
2.     Aristocracy – The best families of the nation were allowed to rule.
Strengths – represents the interest of the wealthy.
Weakness – favor the wealthy at the expense of the common people.
3.      Democracy – decisions were to be made by the whole people.
Strengths – represents the interests of the whole people.
Weakness – can abuse the rights of the few or minority.

Polybius, the greatest of all Greek historians recognized that unless there were checks and balances on all of these types of governments, they would all degenerate.

What the Founding Fathers did:
The Founding Fathers formed a Republican form of government that had all three types of governments as follows:
1. The U.S. President acting as the Monarchy (the ruler).  He is the first branch of government and considered the executive branch or the one who is to see that the laws are followed and is commander-in- chief of the military.
2.  The Senate acting as the Aristocracy (the wealthy).  They are the second branch of government and considered the legislative or the ones who passes the laws in the interest of the States.  (Changed with the 17th amendment, which did away with the protection of the States and instead of the Senate being appointed by the State Legislators is now voted in by the people and is more like the House of Representatives.  This did away with one of the checks and should be repealed.)
3.  The House of Representatives acting as the Democracy (the People).  They are also the second branch of government and considered as the legislative or the ones who makes the laws.  All money bills has to originate in the House of Representatives as they are the ones who appropriate the money.
The Founding Fathers also included the third branch of government being the Supreme Court, considered to be the judicial or the ones who makes judgments on the constitutionality of the laws being passed.
The Founding Fathers felt that by combining all three types of governments, they could have the strengths of all three.  To stop the weaknesses in these types of governments, the Founding Fathers formed a Republican type of government, by making the government leaders accountable to the people.  They accomplished this by doing the following:
1.       Established frequent elections, so if the people did not like what their leaders were doing they could remove them by vote in a new person to represent them.
2.      Gave the people the right to voice their grievances.  You can do this through meeting with your representatives in person, by phone calls, letters or emails, through petitions, peaceful demonstrations and hired lobbyists. 
3.      Made a Constitution that listed the powers of each division of government.
4.      Created a Bill of Right as part of the Constitution, listing what government could not make laws against.
5.      Created a system of checks and balances
6.      Required all government officials to take an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.
7.      Required a journal to be kept of all the proceedings of Congress and have it open to public view.

Why Separation of Powers is Necessary:
The Founding Fathers read the works of Montesquieu, who was one of the best educated scholars in France.  Montesquieu said the following about separation of powers:
“When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.” (The Spirit of Laws.  Great Books of the Western World. Vol. 38 (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 1952. P 70; emphasis added.)
In other words, if the power to make laws and execute them were in the hands of the same person then they would become tyrannical.
Montesquieu also said,
“Again, there is not liberty, if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive.  Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator.  Were it joined to the executive, the judge might behave with violence and oppression.”  Montesquieu
In other words, if the judge had his power plus the power of the legislative and executive, he would become a tyrannical leader.
John Adams said, “In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the legislative, executive and judicial powers, shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men.”
John Adams was indicating that the powers of the legislative, executive and judicial had to be separated so that laws governed men and not the whims of men.  The whims of men usually are for the benefit of the rulers at the expense of the people and whatever they happened to decide, no matter what the people wanted.
James Madison said, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. (Federalist Papers, No 47, p 301.)
We learn that separating the legislative, executive and judiciary powers was necessary to stop government abuse of the people. 

The Founding Fathers set up checks and balances.  Taken from Dr. W. Cleon Skousen’s book, The 5,000 Year Leap, p 111 – 113.
1.      The House of Representatives serves as a check on the Senate since no statue can become law without the approval of the House.
2.      At the same time the Senate (representing the legislatures of the states before the 17th Amendment) served as a check on the House of Representatives since no statue can become law without its approval.
3.       A President can retrain both the House and the Senate by using his veto to send back any bill not meeting with his approval.
4.      The Congress has, on the other hand, a check on the President by being able to pass a bill over the President’s veto with a two-thirds majority of each house.
5.      The legislature also has a further check on the President through its power of discriminating in appropriating funds for the operation of the executive branch.
6.      The President must have the approval of the Senate in filling important offices of the executive branch.
7.      The President must also have the approval of the Senate before any treaties with foreign nations can of into effect.
8.      The Congress has the authority to conduct investigations of the executive branch to determine whether or not funds are being properly expended and the laws enforced.
9.      The President has a certain amount of political influence on the Legislature by letting it be known that he will not support the reelection of those who oppose his program.
10.   The executive branch also has a further check on Congress by using its discretionary powers in establishing military bases, building dams, improving navigable rivers, and building interstate highways so as to favor those areas from which the President feels he is getting support by their representatives.
11.  The judiciary has a check on the legislature through its authority to review all laws and determine their constitutionality.
12.  The Congress, on the other hand, has a restraining power over the judiciary by having the constitutional authority to restrict the extent of its jurisdiction.
13.  The Congress also has the power to impeach any of the judges who are guilty of treason, high crimes, or misdemeanors…
14.  The President also has a check on the judiciary by having the power to nominate new judges subject to the approval of the Senate.
15.  The Congress has further restraining power over the judiciary by having the control of appropriations for the operation of the federal court system.
16.  The Congress is able to initiate amendments to the Constitution which, if approved by three-fourths of the states, could seriously affect the operation of both the executive and judicial branches.
17.  The Congress, by joint resolution, can terminate certain powers granted to the President (such as war powers) without his consent.
18.  The people have a check on their Congressmen every two years; on their President every four years; and on their Senators every six years.
The Founding Fathers did a tremendous job setting up our Republican Form of Government.  It was set up to include all the good parts of the three most common types of government and exclude all the bad.  It was set up with checks and balances to keep it in place and in the hands of the people.  However, in order for the people to keep this most valuable form of government in check, there has to be two things happen, first the people must be a righteous and moral and second they must be educated about their Republican form of government and how it was meant to function.

Dr. W. Cleon Skousen did an outstanding job writing his book entitled, The 5,000 Year Leap which list and explains the 28 principles of liberty that the Founding Fathers discovered and applied to our Republic form of government.  Under these principles of liberty the United States became the freest, most advanced and wealthiest nation in the history of the world.  I have just blogged a short version of two of those principles, which are:

Principle # 16.  The government should be separated into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. 
Principle #17.  A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power.

Learn more purchase the book, The 5,000 Year Leap from our website and learn what the other 26 principles are and how they work.  It will increase your ability to see whether or not legislation coming from the government is right or not by recognizing if it is in violation of any of these principles and if it does, call your representative and complain.
Let’s apply good common sense.
Linda N. Hackett

Monday, August 25, 2014

Does the U. S. Constitution really say “Separation of Church and State”?

NO where in the U. S. Constitution does it say “Separation of Church and State. In the First Amendment of the Constitution it reads, Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  

Because of the injustice the Founding Fathers saw in other countries who established a religious denomination as the state church, they did not want any particular denomination established in the United States over another, such as the Church of England in Britain.  

“ This provision in the Constitution guaranteed to all Americans the RIGHT to enjoy the free exercise of tht religion of their choice without the government giving any preference to one “establishment” or denomination over another.  

There was some concern among the Founders lest this prohibition give the impression that the government was hostile to religion. They wanted it clearly understood that the universal, self-evident truths of religion were fundamental to the whole structure of the American system. This is such an important aspect of the nation’s original culture that a comprehensive discussion of religion from the Founders’ perspective might prove helpful.  

Americans of the twentieth century often fail to realize the supreme importance which the Founding Fathers originally attached to the role of religion in the unique experiment which they hoped would emerge as the first civilization of a free people in modern times. Many Americans also fail to realize that the Founders felt the role of religion would be as important in our own day as it was in theirs.  

In 1787, the very year the Constitution was written by the Convention and approved by Congress, that same body of Congress passed the famous Northwest Ordinance. In it they outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territory. They also enunciated the basic rights of citizens in language similar to that which was later incorporated in the Bill of Rights. And they emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools. Her is the way they said it: 
“Article 3: Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” (Making of America p 675-676).  

If the Founding Fathers believed there should be a separation of church and state or as the courts would have you to believe, religion (Christianity) and state, then why was nothing done about it until 1962? In 1962 the court cases of Engle v. Vitale, in 1963 Abington v. Schempp, in 1971 Commissioner of Ed. V. School Committee of Leyden, states that a verbal prayer offered in a school is unconstitutional, even if it is both voluntary and denominationally neutral.  

Don’t you find it strange that the Founders would want a separation of (church) religion and state and yet do nothing about removing such acts from the government in their time. Don’t you even find it stranger that they had “in God we trust” put on our money and they insisted on having prayer before they started a session in Congress? 
Benjamin Franklin’s Plea for Prayer
“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need (His) assistance?

“I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men, And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And, what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, or conquest.  

“I, therefore, beg leave to move: “That hereafter prayers, imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.( Making of America p 160).  

Where did the statement “Separation of Church and State” come from?  

On January 1, 1802, President Jefferson wrote a letter in response to a letter he had received from the Danbury Baptists , who had heard a rumor that a particular denomination was soon to be recognized as the national denomination and was concerned about it. To calm their fears, President Jefferson wrote:  

“I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.  

When Jefferson was talking about Church, he meant a particular denomination, in which the federal government has no right to establish.  

In 1808, Jefferson wrote the following in a letter to Samuel Miller: I consider that government of the United States as interdicted (prohibited) by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States (10th Amendment). Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States, as far as it can be in any human authority.  

Contrary to Jefferson’s explanation of the intent, such power no longer rests with the states. In 1947, in Everson v. Board of Education, the Court reversed 150 years of established legal practice under the Constitution and decided that it did have the right to rule on an individual state’s decisions regarding religious practice. Prior to that reversal, the Courts had left the decisions as Jefferson and all other Founders had planned it–“rest(ing) with the states.” State legislatures had been passing laws since the 1600's allowing the free exercise of religious practices in schools and public affairs: voluntary prayer, Bible reading, the use of the Ten Commandments, etc. These laws had been enacted “with the consent of the governed” and through representatives elected” of the people, by the people, and for the people.” (The Myth Of Separation p 41-) 

More information can be obtained by reading the book, “The 5,000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen.

This book explains 28 principles of Liberty and how the Founding Fathers incorporated them into our Republican form of government which changed the world dramatically.  More great information can also be obtained by reading the book, “The Making of America” by the same author.  Get your copy today.
Linda N. Hackett

Friday, August 22, 2014

Can there be restrictions put on our Freedom of Speech?

The First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution reads: The Congress shall make NO law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

This provision gave the American people the RIGHT to have the federal government prohibited from exercising any legal authority over the freedom of speech or the freedom of the press.

This provision does not in any way imply that the freedom of speech and the freedom of press are absolute rights. Both must necessarily operate under reasonable restrictions. However, the Founders wanted these regulations and standards of propriety to be established by the states, not the federal government.

On the state level it is necessary to prohibit freedom of speech in a number of ways. For example, it is not permissible to use freedom of speech to slander or libel another person. It is also unlawful to cry “Fire!” in a crowded auditorium or theater as a practical joke and thereby cause a panic. There are also restrictions on where free speech may be exercised if it will attract a crow and impede the use of a public thoroughfare or park without prior permission.
Freedom of the press has been a difficult right to protect and preserve.

Almost from the moment that the art of printing began to be a significant cultural influence, efforts were exerted to gain control of its use by the king or the central government. For example, Henry VIII (1509-1547) took absolute control of the press, both as to who could print and what could be printed. When Cromwell ruled during the period of the Lone Parliament, the same control continued. By 1758, however, freedom of the press had been established to the point where Blackstone could say, “Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public...But if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequence of his temerity.” (Making of America p 688 - 689)

The state can pass laws to protect the health, safety, and morals of its people. Moral problems include such matters as liquor, gambling, drugs, nudity and prostitution. There are those who feel that there should be no restrictions on the vices. They claim people should be allowed to indulge in vices if they wish.

The answer to this problem is fairly simple. First of all, private debauchery happens to fall into the category of private morals, which must be controlled by the individual and his conscience. However, the issue of public morals is another matter. Private morality is a matter between a person and his conscience, but there was no margin of allowance for immorality between consenting adults or for personal misconduct affecting any member of the family or society. 

The moment a person’s behavior violates the legal standards established by the community, that behavior falls under the restrictions of public morality. “No matter how abandoned may be a man’s principles, or how vicious his practice, provided he keeps his wickedness to himself, and does not violate public decency, he is out of the reach of human laws. But if he makes his vices public, then they become by his bad example, of pernicious effect to society, and it is the business of human laws to correct them.” Sir William Blackstone. 

In a republican system, the majority of the people in a community have the right to protect the quality of life which they consider to be in the best public interest. This means that no individual has the right to sell, distribute, or promote any products or activities which are prohibited by the rule of the majority. Of course, government has no business snooping into the private morality of people, debauched though it may be, but the moment there is a complaint that someone is promoting debauchery or adversely affecting someone in the community, it is a matter of public morality. The community has the right to intervene. The vices are a great temptation to a certain type of adventurous Enterpriser because it nearly always brings in enormous profits. To protect itself, society outlaws these activities unless the majority of the community want to allow them. (Making of America p 207)

Linda N Hackett

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Who is the guardian of the U.S. Constitution?

In the book, Making of America, W. Cleon Skousen makes the following statement:  

“The gradual evolution of the Supreme Court into its role as “guardian of the Constitution” is known as the power of “judicial review”.  This means that the Court can review acts of Congress and acts of the state legislatures to make certain that they do not violate the provisions of the Constitution as designed by the Founding Fathers.”

Alexander Hamilton states the purpose of the Supreme Court:

“There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised is void.  No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution can be valid.  To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid”

“…The courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.  The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts.  A Constitution is in fact, and must be regarded by the judges as, a fundamental law.  It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body.  If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statue, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.”
Hamilton 78    The Federalist Papers

As indicated above, the Supreme Court was intended to be the guardian of the U.S. Constitution.  They were to see that the legislatures of both the Federal and State governments were not making laws that did not go along with the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution is a list of laws designed by the people to keep the Federal government within the limited powers assigned to it.  The Supreme Court was part of the check and balances that the Founding Fathers set in place to insure that the Federal Government did not overstep their assigned powers and become tyrannical to the people. 

The Judicial powers of the Supreme Court is listed in Article III of the U. S. Constitution.  Do you have your copy of the U.S.Constitution?

Can the Supreme Court also overstep the powers given to them in the Constitution?

Many of the Founding Fathers felt it could and gave the following warnings:

“…the Supreme Court under this Constitution would be exalted above all of the powers in the government, and subject to no control.”

“I question whether the world ever saw, in any period of it, a court of justice invested with such immense powers, and yet placed in a situation so little responsible.”

“But the judges under this Constitution will control the legislature, for the Supreme Court are authorized in the last resort, to determine what is the extent of the powers of the Congress, they are to give the Constitution an explanation, and there is no power above them to set aside their judgment.”

“There is no power above them, to control any of their decisions.  There is no authority that can remove them, and they cannot be controlled by the laws of the legislature.  In short, they are independent of the people, of the legislature, and of every power under heaven.  Men placed in this situation will generally soon feel themselves independent of heaven itself.”

“…if they determine contrary to the understanding of the people, an appeal will lie to the people at a period when the rulers are to be elected, and they will have it in their power to remedy the evil; but when this power is lodged in the hands of men independent of the people, and their representatives, and who are not, constitutionally, accountable for their opinions, no way is left to control them but with a high hand and an outstretched arm.”

“Brutus” (March 20th, 1788)    The Antifederalist Papers

The Supreme Court judges are appointed for life and can’t be removed except for so called bad behavior.

What is the responsibility of We, the People?

 "The fabric of American Empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people. The streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority."
 Hamilton 22     The Federalist Papers

"If the people were not tainted with the spirit of their state representatives, they as the natural guardian of the Constitution, would throw their weight into the national scale and give it a decided preponderancy in the contest. Attempts of this kind would not often be made with levity or rashness, because they could seldom be made without danger to the authors, unless in cases of a tyrannical exercise of the federal government."
Hamilton 16     The Federalist Papers

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.  The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.  And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.  I consider the people who constitute a society or nation as the source of all authority in that nation.  All authority belongs to the people.”  Jefferson

As you can see the Supreme Court has a great responsibility to guard the U. S. Constitution from usurpation.  They are to make judgments according to the laws in the Constitution in the original intent of the Founding Fathers.  However they too can overstep the powers given to them in the Constitution and become tyrannical as well.  The people, who’s government this is are responsible to be a guardian to the U.S. Constitution as well.  Think about it.  If the laws in the Constitution are to protect the people from an abusive government, then who will protect the Constitution so it can do its job?  The Supreme Court and you the people should.  

Learn more about the U.S. Constitution so you can do your job of protecting it.  I highly recommend you purchase the book, Making of America by W. Cleon Skousen, if you have not already done so, then read it, it is a great book on the Constitution and its meaning.

Linda N. Hackett

Friday, August 1, 2014

What is the true purpose of the U.S. President?

What the Founding Fathers learned.

The Founding Fathers were determined to stop government tyranny that they had experienced from England.  Through their studies of past and present governments they came to the realization that there are really only two types of governments, those run by rulers and those run by the people.  They knew that those run by rulers were tyrannical, because the rules made laws for their own benefit and not for the happiness and benefit of the people.  

People’s type of governments, where the people had the most say in the law making process were the ones where the people benefited the most and were the happiest.  In these governments the people ruled through their representatives and the governments were called Republics.  Once we understand this concept we can take a look at what the Founding Fathers wanted the purpose of the U.S. President to be.

Qualifications of the U.S President.
1. Natural born citizen
2. 35 years old or older
3. A resident of the United for 14 years or more.

The Powers granted to the U.S. President by the Constitution.

The Constitution, Section 2 lists the following powers of the U.S. President:

1. Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States

2. May require opinion, in writing, of the principal officers in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.

3. Shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

4. Shall have power to make treaties, with the advice and consent of 2/3 of the Senators present.

5. Shall have power to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate.

6. He shall from time to time give Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommends to their consideration measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

7. He takes care that the laws are faithfully executed.

8. In Article I, section 7 of the Constitution the President is given veto power.  

When the House and the Senate pass a bill, the bill is presented to the President for him to sign.  If he signs it, the bill becomes law.  If he doesn’t sign it, but sends it back with his objections.  The House and Senate can then vote on it again and if 2/3 agree it becomes law.

The above are all the powers the U. S President is allowed to have except in times of war and then he may be given other war powers of Congress dealing with war, until the war is ended.

Basically the U.S. President is called “The Chief of State” or in other words, he is the chief executive who watches over the United States to see that all is going well.  You could say his main purpose is to be an overseer. 

·He oversees the different U.S. departments.  He nominates the chief executives of each department of the U.S., with approval of the Senate.  These executives are his cabinet members.  He oversees that the affairs of each department is running as it should because he calls for reports from the top executive in each department and gives a report to Congress on the State of the Union. 

·He oversees foreign affairs.  As head of state, he meets with foreign leaders and foreign visitors.

·He oversees war.  Congress declares war but the President is commander in chief of the military and directs them during war.  He can make treaties if 2/3 of Senate approves. 

·He oversees the bills Congress passes.  If he approves of a bill voted in by Congress he will sign it into law.  If he disapproves of a bill voted in by Congress, he will veto it and explain why he disapproves.  He sees that the laws of the land are executed.

·He oversees those who are imprisoned for offences against the United States.  He can give pardons to people who have been imprisoned for offences against the United States, if he feels they were wrongly convicted.

Learn more about the U.S. Constitution, purchase the book, Making of America by W. Cleon Skousen or a shorter version, The Constitution in a Nutshell.

Linda N. Hackett


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