I decided to pause Part 1 of this essay with the finalized Constitution having been submitted to the Congress, who then voted to send it to the States without either a vote of approbation or reprobation. Before I pick up where I left off and discuss of how this new plan for a system of government would qualify as a revolution I need to backtrack just a bit to provide a quote from one of the opponents of the proposed document which outlines the underhanded deception committed by the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention.
In his first essay, Melancton Smith, writing as the Federal Farmer, states, “The conduct of several legislatures, touching paper money, and tender laws, has prepared many honest men for changes in government, which otherwise they would not have thought of — when by the evils, on the one hand, and by the secret instigations of artful men, on the other, the minds of men were become sufficiently uneasy, a bold step was taken, which is usually followed by a revolution, or a civil war. A general convention for mere commercial purposes was moved for — the authors of this measure saw that the people’s attention was turned solely to the amendment of the federal system; and that, had the idea of a total change been started, probably no state would have appointed members to the convention. The idea of destroying, ultimately, the state government, and forming one consolidated system, could not have been admitted — a convention, therefore, merely for vesting in congress power to regulate trade was proposed. This was pleasing to the commercial towns; and the landed people had little or no concern about it. September, 1786, a few men from the middle states met at Annapolis, and hastily proposed a convention to be held in May, 1787, for the purpose, generally, of amending the confederation — this was done before the delegates of Massachusetts, and of the other states arrived — still not a word was said about destroying the old constitution, and making a new one — The states still unsuspecting, and not aware that they were passing the Rubicon, appointed members to the new convention, for the sole and express purpose of revising and amending the confederation — and, probably, not one man in ten thousand in the United States, till within these ten or twelve days, had an idea that the old ship was to be destroyed, and he put to the alternative of embarking in the new ship presented, or of being left in danger of sinking — The States. I believe, universally supposed the convention would report alterations in the confederation, which would pass an examination in congress, and after being agreed to there, would be confirmed by all the legislatures, or be rejected.”
Whatever their reasons may have been, the States could very well have sent the Constitution back to Congress after reading through it, saying, “This is NOT what we sent delegates to Philadelphia to do, therefore we reject this plan and recommend that they try again; this time sticking to their explicit authority to ONLY come up with proposals for amending the Articles of Confederation.”
The point is, they did not do that, they instead forwarded the proposed constitution on to the States for their consideration – which leads us to the first point of discussion – did the proposed constitution establish a federal or a national form of government?
A federal form of government is one that pertains to a confederation of sovereign entities; one whose power extends only to the intercourse between the individual entities, while providing a few specific functions for the overall well being of the entire confederation – such as regulating trade and the common defense of all. On the other hand, a national form of government is one which is supreme over whatever component parts make up any union, and whose authority and jurisdiction extends directly to the individuals living within them.
In the opening week of the Philadelphia Convention James Madison himself declared that their intent was to abolish the federal government which then existed, to be replaced with a national form of government, “…that whatever reason might have existed for the equality of suffrage when the Union was a federal one among sovereign States, it must cease when a national Govermt. should be put into the place.”(Madison’s Notes on Constitutional Convention, May 30, 1787)
At that moment in time, when the constitution was merely a proposal and nothing more, the States were sovereign over the central government. It was the State Legislatures, acting as the voice of the people, who sent representatives to the Congress established by the Articles of Confederation. It was the State Legislatures that voted to either approve or disapprove of any measure submitted to them by said Congress.
This new plan, not only turned that on its head, it pretty much shut the States out of the governing process altogether – aside from their choosing members to the Senate – which was later taken away from them by the 17th Amendment. This new plan was to be either adopted or rejected by the people directly; making it a national charter for a new system of government, rather than a federal charter for a confederation of sovereign States.
The mere fact that the proposed constitution was being submitted directly to a vote by the people violated existing law, as the Articles of Confederation clearly stated that any alterations to them be adopted by the Congress, along with the consent of the legislatures of each and every State. I would be hard pressed to say that an entire abolishment of the Confederation WAS NOT a significant alteration. In fact, I would be inclined to say that it was a MAJOR alteration; yet it was not accomplished in the mode required by existing law; which makes the entire ratification process a criminal act by conspirators who overstepped their delegated authority.
Not only was the ratification of the constitution not done in the prescribed method found in Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation, a unanimous vote of the people was not required for it to be put into effect either. Instead, a mere 3/4 vote of approval was all that was required to abolish the Confederation and establish a union under a purely national form of government.
That alone meets the criteria for a revolution, as it is a fundamental change in the system of government within this country.
This drastic change was spoken of by almost all the opponents to the Constitution. Patrick Henry had this to say about it, “The fate of this question and of America may depend on this: Have they said, we, the States? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation: It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing-the expression, We, the people, instead of the States, of America.” In fact, Mr. Henry called them out on it, saying, “Here is a revolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain.” See, I’m not the only one calling it a revolution!
Robert Yates was one of the delegates to the convention who left when he felt they were overstepping the authority delegated to them by their State Legislatures. Writing under the pseudonym of Brutus, Yates writes, “The first question that presents itself on the subject is, whether a confederated government be the best for the United States or not? Or in other words, whether the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, governed by one legislature, and under the direction of one executive and judicial; or whether they should continue thirteen confederated republics, under the direction and controul of a supreme federal head for certain defined national purposes only?”
In his first Federal Farmer essay, Melancton Smith warns, “It appears to be a plan retaining some federal features; but to be the first important step, and to aim strongly to one consolidated government of the United States.”
Even some of the delegates to the convention itself spoke of doing away with the States as sovereign entities. Mr. George Read of Delaware made the following proclamation to the convention on June 6, 1787,” Too much attachment is betrayed to the State Governts. We must look beyond their continuance. A national Govt. must soon of necessity swallow all of them up. They will soon be reduced to the mere office of electing the National Senate.”
Madison himself spoke of reducing the States to a mere subordinate position to his proposed plan for a system of government to replace the Confederation Congress, “Conceiving that an individual independence of the States is utterly irreconcileable with their aggregate sovereignty; and that a consolidation of the whole into one simple republic would be as inexpedient as it is unattainable, I have sought for some middle ground, which may at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities wherever they can be subordinately useful.”(Letter to George Washington, April 17, 1787)
Melancton Smith felt that this had been the intended goal for quite some time among a group of men who felt that the States held too much power over the central government, “This consolidation of the states has been the object of several men in this country for some time past. Whether such a change can ever be effected in any manner; whether it can be effected without convulsions and civil wars; whether such a change will not totally destroy the liberties of this country — time only can determine.”
As I have already explained, under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress had very little, if any, true legislative authority; they could only make recommendations that would then have to be agreed to by all the States before they became binding upon any. That situation simply wouldn’t do for those who felt that the central government should have the power to decide what laws to enact, and the authority to use coercion and force to compel obedience to them. So they HAD to do away with the old system and replace it with one that gave them the power that they so desperately wanted. This new system gave them exactly what they wanted; the power to enact and enforce both laws and taxes upon the entire country – right down to the people themselves – which is the very definition of a national form of government.
This absolute power is found in the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which states, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby…”
By that simple clause the central government was elevated above, both the people, and the States; making it, and it alone, supreme. They would now have the authority to enact laws via the Congress without the requirement that all States accept them. They now would have an Executive that could implement and enforce the laws upon the people and the States; and they would have a federal judiciary whose authority to decide law was superior to the judiciary of the several States; and whose decisions were to be the final say in all things constitutional.
That is one hell of a lot of power to give an entity without any real constraints place upon how it would exercise it. We are told that there are limits found within the Constitution, placed there within it to keep government from overstepping its delegated authority. How have those limits worked out in keeping government within its specific powers; if I might be so bold to ask?
What power do we, or the States, have to impose those limits upon the central government, or punish those who overstep them? Patrick Henry was scathing in his condemnation for the lack of accountability and responsibility in the Constitution. For instance, on June 5, 1788 Mr. Henry stated, “But we are told that we need not fear; because those in power, being our Representatives, will not abuse the power we put in their hands: I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers? I imagine, sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny.”
Later, in the same speech, Henry went on to say, “The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”
We have no power at all to enforce the constitution upon those we elect; none whatsoever. Yet they have a standing army in the form of a multitude of federal agencies and local law enforcement would be all too willing to enforce whatever laws enacted by government without any consideration as to whether those laws were constitutional, or violated the rights of those government was instituted to serve.
Again, Patrick Henry railed against that as well, “A standing army we shall have also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny: And how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders? Will your Mace-bearer be a match for a disciplined regiment?”
I have been told that I am un-American and unpatriotic because of my position that the Constitution laid the groundwork for a tyrannical and oppressive system of government. I think the facts speak for themselves, and it is only people’s unwillingness to put aside their personal prejudices which does not allow them to see those facts as clearly as I do.
But, as the old saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun; the same way people react to what I say is the same way those who supported the ratification of the Constitution treated those who opposed its ratification; they were shunned, libeled, and even physically threatened for their opposition to it. They sought to rush their proposal through the States without giving the people the time to dissect and study it; find the weaknesses and flaws within it. The people were promised all manner of benefits if they would just adopt the proposed plan with little deliberation or examination; and isn’t that the method used by all tyrants to assume power, make promises about how the surrendering of your freedom will ultimately benefit you in the long run?
For instance, the Federal Farmer writes, “It is natural for men, who wish to hasten the adoption of a measure, to tell us, now is the crisis — now is the critical moment which must be seized, or all will be lost: and to shut the door against free enquiry, whenever conscious the thing presented has defects in it, which time and investigation will probably discover. … The fickle and ardent, in any community, are the proper tools for establishing despotic government.”
The essayist John De Witt questioned the integrity of those professing support for the proposed constitution, stating, “…for as a man is invariably known by his company, so is the tendency of principles known by their advocates—Nay, it ought to lead you to esquire who are its advocates? Whether ambitious men throughout America, waiting with impatience to make it a stepping stone to posts of honour and emolument, are not of this class? Whether men who openly profess to be tired of republican governments, and sick to the heart of republican measures; who daily ridicule a government of choice, and pray ardently for one of force, are not of the same class? And, whether there are not men among us, who disapprove of it only because it is not an absolute monarchy, but who, upon the whole, are among its advocates?”
De Witt also spoke of the milk and honey promises being made if people would just adopt the proposed plan, “We are told by some people, that upon the adopting this New Government, we are to become every thing in a moment: — Our foreign and domestic debts will be as a feather; our ports will be crowded with the ships of all the world, soliciting our commerce and our produce: Our manufactures will increase and multiply; and, in short, if we STAND STILL, our country, notwithstanding, will be like the blessed Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Yet did not Patrick Henry say, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
The fact that open discussion of the merits and flaws within the proposed plan was not encouraged does not sit well with one who questions the motives of those who seek to silence an open debate on the matter. Samuel Bryan, writing as Centinel, speaks of this in the harshest of terms, “A few citizens of Philadelphia (too few, for the honour of human nature) who had the wisdom to think consideration ought to precede appro’bation, and the fortitude to avow that they would take time to judge for themselves on so momentous an occasion, were stigmatized as enemies to their country; as monsters, whose existence ought not to be suffered, and the destruction of them and their houses recommended, as meritorious.’ The authors of the new plan, conscious that it would not stand the test of enlightened patriotism, tyrannically endeavoured to preclude all investigation.’ If their views were laudable; if they were honest,’ the contrary would have been their conduct, they would have invited the freest discussion. Whatever specious reasons may be assigned for secrecy during the framing of the plan, no good one can exist, for leading the people blindfolded into the implicit adoption of it. Such an attempt does not augur the public good’ It carries on the face of it an intention to juggle the people out of their liberties.”
Whatever you may feel about the Constitution, the fact remains that it was a bloodless coup that led to the overthrowing of the legitimate government of these States united in 1789; to be replaced with one with absolute authority over the lives and liberties of the people, and little to no means of constraint imposed upon its ability to usurp new powers at its own discretion.
That coup was sealed in the blood of over half a million people when the remnants of the Confederation sought to revoke their consent to a system that had been tyrannizing them and plundering them of their wealth for decades. Say what you will about it, the actions of the federal government after the Southern States seceded from the Union proved to all who will but open their eyes, that the nature of this system of government is force against all those who question its authority; and is that truly the kind of government a free people would establish for themselves?
The government we have today was born of fraud and deception, and whether or not you support it or not, it has exceeded the few specific powers delegated to it, and found in Article 1, Section 8, to become a behemoth that micromanages almost every aspect of our lives, and seeks to deny us our God-given liberty.
Those we call anti-Federalists tried to warn the people of the dangers posed by this proposed system of government, but the people had visions of grandeur and of a mighty American empire instead. Centinel begged the people to think long and hard before choosing to adopt the system being presented to them, “For the sake of my dear country, for the honor of human nature, I hope and am persuaded, that the good sense of the people will enable them to rise superior to the most formidable conspiracy against the liberties of a free and enlightened nation, that the world has ever witnessed. How glorious would be the triumph! How it would immortalize the present generation in the annals of freedom!”
And Brutus warned, “Momentous then is the question you have to determine, and you are called upon by every motive which should influence a noble and virtuous mind, to examine it well, and to make up a wise judgment. It is insisted, indeed, that this constitution must be received, be it ever so imperfect. If it has its defects, it is said, they can be best amended when they are experienced. But remember, when the people once part with power, they can seldom or never resume it again but by force.”
It is interesting to note that for nearly a century after its adoption, there was nary a word spoken about the opposition to the constitution spoken of in literature and in our public schools. Could that be so that they would have plenty of time to indoctrinate generation after generation into believing the Constitution was the best thing since sliced bread, and to create a society of mindless automatons who do not question the authority of their government, and bemoan the loss of their liberty?
I’ll leave that up to you to decide; my job is only to provide facts for you consider; and that fact is that in 1787 James Madison and his cronies effectively executed a coup d etat against the government of the United States and instituted one which would reduce the States to mere subsidiary appendages to the central government and deprive the people of their God-given rights.
And if that is true, then Lysander Spooner is 100% correct in saying, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
Now let the cries of treason begin. Just now this, as Patrick Henry was also accused of treason in 1775, I would also respond, “If this be treason…then make the most of it.”
Oh, and one more short note. If you think this was too long, too in depth, I struggled to refrain from including nearly 10 pages of other quotes to support my position. So instead of accusing me of being long winded you ought to instead compliment me on showin