The Bill of Rights

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Part 4

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

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Believe it or not, most people, even the studiers of the Constitution, do not realize there is a preamble to the Bill of Rights.  Sometimes, regardless of how smart you are, some things need to be pointed out to you; thus, providing you with an ah-HA moment.

Section 1:

States both when and where Congress convened for this Bill of Rights.

Section 2:

As I have mentioned prior to this, there were 5-6 states which would not sign on to the newly drafted Constitution until there was a promise to create a Bill of Rights.  This also being mentioned before, where the Bill of Rights is actually a Bill of Prohibitions that the Government has neither power nor standing to change, abridge, or nullify.  Unfortunately, if you have paid attention to the news, the so-called conspiracy theorists, and all of the other Americans who are screaming bloody murder over the fact that their rights are being trampled on.

Just consider, for a moment, that as Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Declaration of Independence the thought that man is “… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”   Meaning that GOD, Our Creator, or Nature’s God, has given us certain rights (which are innumerable).  The ability to possess the means to protect oneself and family from every possible form of harm is our right…I have the right to purchase any type of firearm to protect my life, my family and my property.  There are many who disagree with that statement, but if you understood that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to secure for the people the right to protect themselves from a rogue government – it is not to protect the right to hunt and be a gun sportsman! (…more on that later.)

The Rights that are listed in the first ten amendments are not all inclusive, but rather an abbreviated list of innumerable Rights we all have, dependent upon the circumstances and Prohibitions (or restrictive clauses) against government.  What I mean by that is, as we have discussed before, are you a federal citizen or a citizen of the several states?

It is an established matter of law that our representation, representatives, and government officials, know what they are doing AND they write and enact laws purposefully.  Back in time, during our founding, the laws were written in such a fashion that their intent was blatantly understood by all of the people.  On the other hand, the laws written today are so ambiguous that whenever there is a question concerning its meaning it must be taken before a court.

Section 3:

Stated that the Senate and House of Representatives met and by a 2/3 majority proposed these Amendment to the Constitution and were ratified by ¾ of the Legislatures (States) to be accepted as part of the amended Constitution.

Section 4:

This section accepted these newly ratified Articles to the Constitution.

The preamble is not very complicated, in and of itself, but you truly must (like all other things) keep it in the context of the purpose set forth by the writers of the Bill of Rights and with the US Constitution as a whole and it must be read in the light of the Declaration of Independence as was stated by the US Supreme Court in US Supreme Court, majority opinion; Gulf, Colorado & Sante Fe Railroad Co. v Ellis, 165 U.S. 150, 159-160 (1897), …the first official act of this nation declared the foundation of government in these words:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident***.”  While such declaration of principles may not have the force of organic law, or be made the basis of judicial decision as to the limits of right and duty, and while in all cases reference must be had to the organic law of the nation for such limits, yet the latter is but the body and the letter of which the former is the thought and the spirit, and it is always safe to read the letter of the constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence.” 

Each person must determine for themselves what they are, originalists or living document believers.  As an originalist the founding documents mean the same thing from one day to the next; however, as a believer of the living document ideology, the meaning changes from generation to generation, and perhaps even from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  Decide for yourself what you are.

Next we will delve in to the First Amendment, until then…

See also: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

The Bill of Rights

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As we continue on, Alexander Hamilton did not believe that it was necessary to create a Bill of Rights, because no one in their right mind would exceed their powers that are set in the Constitution.  However, by looking at our government and other officials today you can determine for yourself that is not the case.  As each day passes there is some bill submitted to limit, abridge, or take away one of your rights or the rights of someone else, or some corporation.  Now here is where I would disagree with the Supreme Court, I do not believe corporations have rights per se.  What I mean is that corporations are fictions of the state and federal governments and their rights are given by statute with certain rights protected under the Constitution as they are considered to be a legal “person”.

Let us see what the definition is…person (refer to Black’s Law Dictionary, 6 Ed) A person, for legal purposes, is generally more broadly defined to refer other than just a natural person. A person may also include a corporation, company, partnership, firm, association or society. For example, when a company incorporates, it has standing as a legal person to sue and be sued in courts of law. The precise definition of a person may vary by state and applicable laws.

This whole discussion on what a “person” is, or is not, was referenced in the discussion on the Fourteenth Amendment and within that the discussion on the Dredd Scott Case of 1856.  And let us not forget Dave Champion’s Treatise on The 14th Amendment Clarified.  If you pay close attention to the US Constitution you will notice that the Fourteenth Amendment is the first place where you see “citizen” with the small “c”.  Also, throughout the US Constitution the word “Person” is with a capital “P” and a small “p” person comes to light in the Fourteenth Amendment, again.  It is understood that our Founding Fathers, Representatives, Senators, Lawmakers, etc. know what they are doing and writing and therefore have written these words differently because they have created a different class of “person” in each of these cases.  I know there is a case from the US Supreme Court which has, essentially, stated such is the case but it eludes me right now – when I find it I will update this.

Without going too far off track, let us just agree that it was a good idea to place those Rights within a Bill of Rights as a means of protecting individual rights.  In fact, if there was not an agreement to create the Bill of Rights, the Constitution would not have been ratified because there were too few signatories.   There was a requirement of 9 states that had to ratify the Constitution; however, if it was not for the promise of the “Bill of Rights” there were five states not willing to sign the Constitution, Virginia and Massachusetts were at the top of that list.

One of the greatest misunderstandings concerning the Bill of Rights is that everyone, or most everyone, states their First or Second Amendment Rights are being violated.  That is completely incorrect, as you and I do not receive our Rights from the US Constitution, but rather from God, or from Nature’s God, or from Nature by virtue of the fact you are alive.  On the other hand, there are people who receive their Rights from statutes of Law or the Constitution.  Those people are discussed in the Fourteenth Amendment and the Dredd Scott case, because they are”persons”.  Regardless if they are fictitious persons, or natural persons, who are the prodigies of previously known slaves.  They are persons and are classified as “US citizens”, which is a federal citizen as opposed to a state Citizen.  The majority of the individual people within the United States are, in the words of our Founding Fathers “Citizens of each State”, “Citizens of the Several States” (US Constitution, Art IV, section 2), or “Citizens of the United States” (US Constitution, Art I, section 3)

Consider this, every ten years we have a US Census and they send out their forms, either the short or long form.  Both forms ask questions, some are unnecessary and personal.  They have no need for your Social Security Number, how much food you buy, how many bathrooms you have, etc, etc.  The purpose of the US Census is to determine the number of people who reside in each state for the purposes of tax apportionment and for the determination of how many representatives each state is to have in Washington D.C.  There is no need for a toilet count there!  On the last Census I gave them my name, how many people lived in this house, and then cited Article I, Section 2 of the US Constitution.  One of their people came to the house and I told him the same thing.  Of course, he tried to threaten me with the $5000 fine, etc., I reminded him of the purpose of the Census and the US Constitution, hmmmmmmm.  He tried to get some information from my neighbors and their reply was, “What did they say?” …”Well, I guess it is none of your business then!”

Sorry for getting off point, but I thought it fit…next time, unless I have anything else on the prelude to the Bill of Rights, I will start on the Preamble.  Until next time, have fun and I hope you enjoyed this segment.

See also: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Works Cited

Alexander Hamilton, J. J. (1788). THE FEDERALIST PAPERS.

Know Your Constitution – Carl Miller Parts 1 – 3 (abt. 1980). [Motion Picture].

West Publishing Co. (1990). Black’s Law Dictionary Centenial Edition 6th. St. Paul: West Publishing Co.