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It was 229 years ago today the Constitutional Convention began

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This is from Constitution Daily. 

It was 229 years ago the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia started in earnest and the first votes were taken at what is now called Independence Hall.

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The delegates who gathered in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787 knew they were there for an important reason – the system of federal and state government under the Articles of Confederation just didn’t work.

It was a financial disaster and barred the United States of America from having a global presence as a nation or trade partner.

 

But it’s doubtful  the most farsighted of delegates, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, could have predicted how long the Constitution would last and how far-reaching it would become as a global blueprint for government.

The first day began when a quorum of seven state delegations was reached. (The original start date for the convention was May 14, but travel and other problems delayed the convention’s start.)

There were actually delegates from nine states in the room, but Massachusetts and Georgia only had one delegate a piece, and couldn’t form official delegations.

In addition to establishing a quorum, three other measures were taken. First, George Washington was picked to preside over the convention.

Then, William Jackson defeated William Temple Franklin, the grandson of Ben Franklin, in the first contested vote of the convention, to be named as its secretary. (Ben Franklin was ill and not at the session on May 25th.)

And finally, a three-man group was picked to draw up the rules for the convention: Charles Pinckney, Alexander Hamilton and George Wythe.

According to James Madison’s notes, among the other delegates in the room were James Wilson, Rufus King, Robert Morris, Gouverneur Morris, George Read, George Mason and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The debate over the rules would start on May 28th, and it was the first day that Ben Franklin arrived at the convention.

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It was 239 years ago today: The name “United States of America” becomes official

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This is from the National Constitutional Center.

On September 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted a new name for what had been called “the United Colonies.” The moniker United States of America has remained since then as a symbol of freedom and independence.

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Benjamin Franklin popularized the concept of a political union in his famous “Join, Or Die” cartoon in 1754. A generation later, the concept of unity became a reality.

Thomas Jefferson is credited as being the first person to come up with the name, as he was drafting the Declaration of Independence. In June 1776, Jefferson’s draft version of the Declaration started with the following sentence:

“A Declaration of the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress assembled.”

The final version of the Declaration starts with the date July 4, 1776 and the following statement: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.”

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia had used the name “United Colonies” in a June resolution to Congress: “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved,” Lee wrote.

These thoughts are included in the Declaration’s final paragraph.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States,” it reads.

On Monday, September 9, 1776, the Congress moved to approve some important resolutions, including payments for the army. The fifth resolution read as follows: “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States.”

John C. Fitzpatrick from the Library of Congress, back in 1920, explained the origin of “United Colonies” and the abbreviation “U.S.A.” in an article for the Daughters of the American Revolution magazine.

Fitzpatrick said the words United Colonies were used by the Congress when it appointed George Washington as commander in chief in June 1775. The abbreviation U.S.A. had its origins as a way that government inspectors approved official gunpowder. Fitzpatrick said the army needed to have inspectors verify that gunpowder met certain standards, and it stamped “U.S.A.” on the casks as a mark, starting in August 1776,

Also, the words “United States of America” appeared in the first draft of the Articles of Confederation on July 8, 1776, as it was submitted to Congress. The Articles weren’t ratified by the states until March 1781.

10 fascinating facts on the Postal Service’s birthday

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This is from the National Constitution Center.

 After being appointed as Postmaster Ben Franklin hired clerks to help at the post office. Thirty seconds after being hired the clerks went on break.   

 

On July 26, 1775, the Continental Congress created the Post Office, naming Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. Here’s a look at 10 fascinating facts about a unique American institution.

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1. The Founding Fathers were all for a postal system, especially Franklin.  It was Franklin who modified and improved the postal delivery system as Joint Postmaster General for the Crown, greatly expanding its services in the Colonies. He was fired by the British in 1774 for sympathizing with rebellious forces. When the new nation needed a postmaster, it turned to Franklin in 1775 and Congress paid him a salary of $1,000 a year.

2. The post office was in the Articles of Confederation, too. Article IX said that the government “shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of … establishing or regulating post offices from one State to another, throughout all the United States, and exacting such postage on the papers passing through the same as may be requisite to defray the expenses of the said office.”

3. The Constitution gave the Post Office (and Congress) even more power. The Constitution gives Congress the ability “To establish Post Offices and post Roads” in Article I, Section 8. That means it not only does Congress have the power to create a postal system, it had the ability to acquire and control the land for the “post roads” to carry the mail and the buildings needed to maintain the system. In 1789, that meant 75 Post Offices and about 2,400 miles of post roads!

4. Today, the Postal Service is slightly larger. It has more than 31,000 Postal Service-managed offices and 511,000 employees. Carriers and drivers travel more than 1.3 billion miles (yes, that is billion) a year transporting and delivering the mail.

5. Abraham Lincoln was a local postmaster. As a postmaster in New Salem, Illinois from 1833 until 1836, Lincoln would occasionally deliver the mail by stashing it inside his hat.

6. According to the Postal Service’s web site, here are some other famous people who delivered the mail or worked as clerks, or postmasters: Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, William Faulkner, Charles Lindbergh, Richard Wright and Adlai Stevenson.

7. The Postal Service as high-tech innovators. The quest to deliver the mail faster and more consistently led to the pioneering uses of steamboats, trains, boats, cars, planes and horses.

8. The Pony Express was a financial failure. Like all great technological innovations, the privately operated Pony Express than ran in 1860 and 1861 had a lot of risks. The use of relay horses cut mail-delivery times in half, but another technology, the telegraph, grounded a Pony Express that was deeply in debt.

9. The Post Office had a dog as a mascot, until …. Yes, Owney the dog was befriended by workers in Albany in 1888 and soon became a sensation as he rode on the rail cars along with the mail to New York. For the next decade, he was an international postal ambassador until he committed a cardinal sin: Owney bit a mail worker. Although a postmaster put Owney down, his co-workers paid to have him stuffed and he’s at the National Postal Museum today on display.

10. The price of stamps has gone up slightly in the past few years. Until 1968, it cost 5 cents to mail a one-ounce piece of mail, and it only cost 3 cents in the 1930s. Times have changed as has the cost structure of the mail business. The current cost of a first class stamp is 49 cents for the first ounce.

Mark Levin: A Modern-Day Constitutional Prophet

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This is by David Limbaugh in Town Hall.

We need to wake up and read Mark Levin‘s new book  

“The Liberty Amendments”.

Then we need to put the suggestions into action.

 

 

When Mark Levin decided to write his book “The Liberty Amendments” to advocate a convention to propose a series of amendments to the U.S. Constitution, he may not have realized how quickly and deeply his profound idea would resonate. But throughout the nation, people are inclining their ears.

The first obstacle Levin faced was the widespread misconception that he is calling for a constitutional convention that could be hijacked by enemies of our founding principles and converted into a forum to hammer the final nails into our constitutional republic by fundamentally and radically changing our founding document.

In fact, Levin’s proposal couldn’t be more at odds with that misperception. He is, first and foremost, a constitutionalist. His goal is neither to eradicate nor to substantially change the Framers‘ blueprint for government. It’s to restore it with specific, defined amendments intended to re-establish the proper balance between the power of the government and the liberty of its citizens, with due emphasis on the latter.

Levin is not arrogantly presuming to improve on the ineffable work of the Framers in crafting “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man” but humbly calling on his fellow patriots to recognize that we have strayed from the principles they enshrined in the Constitution and join him in his effort to advance the necessary correctives.

The Framers didn’t meet in Philadelphia in the 18th century with the burning desire to pass super-legislation to codify an ideological political agenda to establish fundamental rights in health care or education, and they certainly didn’t want to guarantee, by law, certain economic outcomes.

They met ostensibly to amend the Articles of Confederation and ended up scrapping it entirely and replacing it with our Constitution.

They were determined to design a system of government that would maximize individual liberties. That would require establishing a government strong enough to protect citizens from domestic and foreign threats but no stronger than that, for they knew that historically, unchecked, tyrannical governments had been the enemies of freedom.

Their challenge was to find that optimal balance between the power of government and individual liberties, so they created a system that divides and diffuses power between the national and state governments (through a system of federalism) and between coequal, competing branches of the federal government (the separation of powers), which hold one another in check.

It was not the affirmative granting of rights that would establish liberties — many meaningless constitutions have paid lip service to that endeavor — but the imposition of defined, specific and enforceable limitations on the federal government.

We must not lose sight of the fact that their overarching concern was liberty, an idea that gets little attention today — apart from conservatives, constitutionalists and tea party patriots.

What constitutionalists understand is that upholding the integrity of the Constitution and its designed system of limited government is essential to preserving our liberties, and usurpations of power by all three branches of government and by an out-of-control, unaccountable administrative bureaucracy have imperiled them. Constitutionalists abhor abuses of power by any and all branches, irrespective of the substantive political agenda being served by such usurpations.

When King Josiah found a copy of the Jewish law in the Temple, which was being restored in 621 B.C., he was mortified by the extent to which the nation had departed from its teachings. He called for rededication to the law and a revival of its presence in the lives of the people.

Mark Levin is a modern-day constitutional prophet whose purpose is not to revamp the Constitution. It is to revive it and refurbish it — to restore the cracks in its foundation caused by lawless officials through the years who were more interested in guaranteeing outcomes than they were liberty.

The goal of every one of Mark’s proposed amendments is to restore the delicate balances the Framers originally designed; it is to restate and revivify the system of limited government they established by replacing bricks in specific places in our constitutional foundation — bricks that statists have forcibly dislodged over time.

The sagacious and prescient Framers knew that no matter how well they crafted the Constitution, no matter what kind of protections it included, it would always be vulnerable to the abuses of lawless men who simply refuse to honor its provisions. They also understood that experience would enlighten their successors as to possible pitfalls and weaknesses in the framework that could be breached by such scofflaws over time, so they provided specific methods for amending the Constitution to shore up those trouble spots — always keeping in mind that preserving liberty was the greatest imperative.

Today’s statists have no regard for the Constitution or rule of law and have severely weakened it in many places, and as a result, our liberty, our prosperity and our very nation are in decline and in grave jeopardy.

Mark Levin is calling on us to take corrective steps — through a process anticipated and expressly sanctioned by the Framers, no less — to restore our system and reinvigorate our liberties. Let’s pray his effort becomes an inexorable movement that sweeps the nation like the Great Awakening.

 

Georgetown Law professor: Scrap ‘archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil’ Constitution

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This is from The Daily Caller.

This I use the term loosely law professor is from the Obama mold.

After reading and rereading this article I did not read a solution begin offered.

Where is the solution that this so called Constitutional law professor has/

There is not a better solution to the Constitution.

 

With hours to go before nation heads off the fiscal cliff, Georgetown Law professor Louis Michael Seidman writes that the time has come to scrap the Constitution.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times Monday, Seidman, a constitutional law professor, claimed that the nation’s foundational document is the real impediment to progress and solutions to America’s troubles.

“As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken,” Seidman wrote. “But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”

According to Seidman, the country’s insistence that it maintain the will of a centuries-old document “has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public.”

Seidman, author of the forthcoming book “On Constitutional Disobedience,” explained that adherence to constitutional law, which he has taught for over 40 years, is just “bizarre.”

“Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country,” he wrote. “Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?”

The Georgetown Law professor argued that disobedience to the Constitution is older than the document itself — noting that in 1787 the framers abandoned their mandate to amend the Articles of Confederation and instead created an entirely new document, the Constitution.

Seidman cited examples in which monumental figures in American history have turned their backs on the document, including John Adams’ support for the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal expansion of federal powers.

“In the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text,” he added. “Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.”

Seidman concedes that his goal — to scrap the Constitution in favor of long standing institutions and good judgment — is likely not to happen anytime soon. Instead, he advocates beginning to “soften the habit.”

“If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by ‘We the people’ is impossibly utopian,” he concluded. “If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/12/31/georgetown-law-professor-scrap-archaic-idiosyncratic-and-downright-evil-constitution/#ixzz2Gsyzr21s

 

 

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