If the Constitution Was the Solution, Why Hasn’t It Worked?- Part Three

In the few seconds that it took you to read this sentence, our government in 2011 spent on average nearly $250,000. Five years ago, the budget pace was about $7.2 million a minute which works out to a pace of about money burning$435 million per hour. The velocity of our national debt has continued to grow even faster in the past 5 years, so these levels are like even greater today.

Since our government is based on the Constitution, one has to wonder then, “What kind of people put together a document that could lead to this kind of debt?” So let’s take a look at the socioeconomic facts related to the persons who constructed the document which we base our government upon.

In becoming aware just who these framers of our Constitution were in terms of their general occupations and interests, we will have a better understanding of the nature of the document they produced and why they produced what they did.

Framers Not Founders

First, I must point out that these men were not the “founders” of our nation. This is simply an embellishment designed to elevate this group to an undeserved level of prestige. It qualifies as propaganda designed to produce the illusion that until the Constitution our nation was in a shambles that the Constitution corrected.

The fact is, the nation already existed before these conspirators (planners in secret) rewrote the agreement to reconstruct the form of government. They did not create a new nation. They “framed” a new government.

Illegally, if you want to accurate about it, but nevertheless it was the reframing of an existing governmental agreement, not the founding of a new nation. The actual “founders” were the people who sacrificed their time, ideas, and sometimes their lives to forge a nation out of what formerly a sparsely occupied wilderness.

What Did They Create?

The re-framed government took on the intended shape of a Constitutional Republic. (Article 4, Section 4- “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,) The term Republic comes from the Roman Latin words, res and publica together meaning “the people’s thing”.

This would be in line with the first words of the Preamble, “We the People…” It also is another pointer to the secular nature of the newly created form of government.

So Just Who Were These Framers?

In order to discover who these framers were, it is best to first take a collective approach. By looking at this group in this manner, we can better achieve a general sense of the kind of document theConstitutional Framers collective group would agreeably approve. Otherwise, we end up not seeing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

The Old Guard

First of all, something kept pretty much in the background about this group of invited delegates is the military emphasis in their backgrounds. Of course, in the presiding chair, we have the commander in chief of the Continental Army, George Washington. We will cover his background in more depth in another post.

Then, we have Generals Pinckney and Mifflin, major general and quartermaster general respectively of the Continental Army.

Next, James Wilson briefly the brigadier general of the Pennsylvania militia; James McClurg, surgeon general of Virginia troops; Pierce Butler, adjutant general of South Carolina troops; Gunning Bedford, lt. colonel and muster master general from Delaware; George Clymer, deputy commissary general of prisoners from Pa.; William Livingston, brigadier general of the New Jersey militia; John Dickinson, brigadier general of the Pa. militia, and Hugh Williamson, surgeon general of North Carolina forces.

Between the generals and colonels like Alexander Hamilton and others, to a large extent it was like a gathering of the old guard revolutionary army. That is, men used to wielding authority over the rank and file. Altogether, twenty seven or nearly half of the delegates (mostly men long known to Washington) had been officers in the revolutionary war.

Political Background

With few exceptions, the persons both invited and those who showed up in Philadelphia were continually active in politics, always at the highest levels. However, it was not a political dream team, so to speak.

Missing were the big names of the day like Jefferson, John and Sam Adams, John Jay, John Hancock, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, Patrick Henry (named but chose not to attend), Richard Henry Lee (who later eloquently opposed the Constitution during the ratification process) and a host of others.

With the exception of notables, namely Washington and Franklin, few of the men (even those who later achieved national status) were well known nationally when the convention met. Unlike today with our ever present media, these politicians were for the most part unknown to the general public and mainly only known locally.

However, forty four were either present or past members of congress. Forty six had held political offices in their home states including 7 who were present or former state governors and 5 who were high level state judges. The Constitution, in fact, was generated along defined lines by the government itself by a rather small number of self-selected elite.

Intellectual Capacities

While, there were 25 college graduates, using this as a measurement of a stellar intellectual capacity in the colonial period is distinctly misleading. The colleges of this period were rudimentary in nature and graduated students at much earlier ages than present, often as early as age 16.

Education consisted largely of a study of the classics, some history and some natural science. Harvard boasted a faculty consisting of professors of divinity, mathematics and Greek, four tutors and a steward.

Washington had a 5th grade education. Franklin and Hamilton were both pretty much self-taught. There were of course some good, if not superior, intellects in George Mason (a non-signer), John Dickinson, James Madison and James Wilson who acted as guiding forces.

There were only two professorships. William Houston of New Jersey (mathematics at the College of NJ) and George Wythe of the College of William and Mary. Both lasted very short times. Houston, got sick, left and died after a week of participation. Wythe left soon after the convention started, due to his wife’s fatal illness and never returned.

For the most part, they were sensible and practical thinkers but certainly not a group of extraordinarily learned or exceptional intellectual giants.

Religion

This was not an assemblage of Christians. Most were Deists, Unitarians or simply rationalists. Only one stood out as Christian enthusiast, Richard Bassett, a devout Methodist from Delaware. Washington gave pro forma (for the sake of form) support to religion but was certainly not a devout Christian (more on that in another post).

Both Deists and Unitarians believe in a Creator but are far from Christians. They do not accept the divinity of Christ, nor the Trinitarian concept. Both emphasize reason as much if not more than faith. Both believe in a secular society in which government is kept separate from religious affairs.

Economic Status

Aside from being persistent office-holders and lawyers, a third general characteristic of the delegates was that most of them were men of substance. That is, through inheritance or marriage (thirteen had married heiresses) or gained by their own successful strategies, most of them would have been considered wealthy.

No fewer than 21 were rated to be rich or very rich. Washington and Robert Morris being the richest. Washington mainly through land holdings. Morris through commercial banking.

Another 13 were considered affluent to very affluent. The four from South Carolina had been very rich until the Brits confiscated their slaves and plantations during the war. They were however, well on their way back to financial health by the time of the convention.

All were considered highly solvent at the time of the convention. Thirty one were owners of personal property (merchants, attorneys, holders of continental securities and specie.) Twenty four including Washington had more wealth concentrated in land holdings than personal property.

This was certainly no meeting of the economically ordinary.

Other Characteristics

In an agrarian society largely of farmers, there were no actual farmers at the convention. (Broom and Few were claimed as “small farmers” but their backgrounds hardly substantiate that claim.) There were planters like Washington but he was primarily a military man who also ran a plantation when on the home front.

Directly or indirectly, the delegates consisted of lawyers (33 total bearing in mind that unlike today one could become a lawyer through self-study in a matter of weeks, as Hamilton did), bankers, merchants, ship-owners, slave-traders, slave owners, privateers, money-lenders, investors and speculators in land and securities. In general, not exactly representative of “We the People”.

Anticipated Results

With this kind of background one would not be surprised in the production of a document with the nature of the Constitution that came out of these meetings.

Religion

With essentially no Christians in the group we can expect that a secular, perhaps even anti-Christian sentiment would prevail in the nature of the document. That is, in fact what surfaced which I will cover in a future post.

War

Washington_Crossing_quipWith the military backgrounds, one would also anticipate an authoritarian approach which we find.

The decision to go to war would be the responsibility of our representatives rather than the people who would fight the wars. It’s also no surprise the President, or their leader, would be determined to become the Commander in Chief.

Not only was the power to declare war granted but also to raise money for both the army and the navy.

It follows then that “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

That is, they (Congress) could declare war but the people who would ultimately fight it would also have to pay for it through taxation. Is it any surprise then that we are continually embroiled in war these days and generating debt at the velocity and level noted in the beginning of this post?

The Courts and Law

With all those lawyers, lifelong politicians and the military bearing, one would anticipate that the Court would be deemed a “supreme” court and that the document would also be deemed the “supreme Law of the Land”

One could also anticipate that the court being supreme would become the ultimate determinant of the meaning of the Constitution, not “We the People.” A characteristic that patriots like Patrick Henry feared and railed against. A characteristic that Hamilton promised in Federalist No. 78 would be the weakest branch of government because it had “no influence over either the sword or the purse”.

Unfortunately, the anti-Federalists turned out to be correct as we more recently saw with the approval of Obamacare on an obscure reference to Congress’ power of taxation by the Supreme Court. No influence on purse? I think not.

Economic Influence

Do the rich ever create legislation that limits them? I think we all know the answer to that one. As expected, this group of wealthy men had little to say about the limits of wealth. I have no complaint about that, not because I am wealthy, but rather because as Jefferson once stated “that government is best which governs least”.

However, as time has passed, the rich are being given more and more advantages while the middle class is shrinking and the number of poor are growing. Corporate monopolies are growing as small businesses struggle mightily to stay afloat under the heavy regulatory and taxation climate of continually expanding government encroachment.

Perhaps the clandestine convention in Philadelphia could have used a few more commoners with a say in the proceedings?

Up Next

Hopefully, the above demographics can help you to have a better understanding of why the Constitution developed as it did and how it helped plant and germinate the seeds for what we have today. There are some other factors we still have not covered.

We can also understand how the secular, man dominant emphasis tends to support an authoritarian control over the people. Perhaps, the little acknowledged military background of the Washington Posedparticipants can help also explain why the seeds of war planted in the Constitution has become as much a part of our lives these days as driving a car.

Less transparent but clearly there is the anti-Christian nature of the document which explains the rise of non-Christian influences and the rejection of the Christian values that our nations real founders relied upon. I will probably address this issue further in a later post because it is more influential than acknowledged. It will also explain why the claim that the Constitution is a Christian inspired, practically sacred document is patently false and absurd.

Next, let’s take a closer look at quite possibly the most revered character in American history and guiding force of the Constitutional convention- George Washington. Without his presence and influence, it can probably be safely said that the Constitution would never have been ratified.

Read more in Part Four.

Tags: , , , ,
Previous Post

Obama Tramples Upon the Constitution, Yet Again

Next Post

If the Constitution Was the Solution- Why Hasn’t It Worked- Part Two

Comments

  1. Reply

    Hello, hello!

    This is Jon-Paul (The Contemplative Thinker) remarking on your creation here. I absolutely love what you are doing here! Please don’t misunderstand my statement; I do disagree with a lot of what you proffered during the “Constitution” series. That will surely come to you by email; I do like the position’s we hold. One side is “If” only humankind would leave it alone!! And like it or not, it is a miracle. A miracle insofar as for some 230 years “the experiment” has worked; unlike the Commies, (USSR), (China) (etc., etc.) or the Authoritarians, failed Monarchies, or the Totalitarians, seems to me that the Constitution is still hanging around.

    I do believe that your premise, and what the Document guarantees are not aligned. Seems to me that there is some idle chat, or social media influence on your premise. BTW, your statement vis-a-vie your article series about George Mason is quite accurate. I attended Graduate School at GMU!

    Anyway sorry it took me so long to get back to you. It won’t happen again! About the Founders v. Framers bit, totally — in my book – needs to be rewritten insofar as for the 160 or so years prior to the outline for government that is supposed to guarantee our rights, aka The US Constitution, is only an Agreement between the People and that Government. No there was not a United States of America before 1790. It is also not so much as if whomever was a Christian or not, inasmuch as it was acquiring the tenants of a Judeo-Christian belief system aka values, morals, ethics, and so on.

    JPS

      • terryf
      • January 4, 2016
      Reply

      I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I must respectfully disagree however. The Constitution has been a complete and utter failure. As a result of placing our controls in the hands of a central government who has taken it upon themselves to place God given rights under their legislative control, we have been transformed into a society that more closely resembles Communism than it does a limited government that we are led to believe was the intent of the Constitution. Please continue to follow along as I hope to continue to turn over stones here and some of them may reveal some things you may not like. Keep an open mind for as the old saying goes, the mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open. (Not too open though. We do need the anchors of humility etc. to keep us grounded.)

  2. Reply

    Okay now it is in perspective; after reading four installments on your blog titled, “If the Constitution Was the Solution, Why Hasn’t It Worked?” I think that it is time now, heading for your email if I can locate it. I did appreciate your written message to me vis-a-vie an article I wrote, and you replied, “I’ll help you out but it may not be in the way you think. See my post on the Constitution on my blog, I am not a liberal as you will see and I am a Christian as well.” Well indeed I have – however, I felt it was important to wait until your fourth installment was completed before I said anything.

    “This is simply an ’embellishment’ designed to elevate this group to an undeserved level of prestige. It qualifies as propaganda designed to produce the illusion that until the Constitution our nation was in a shambles that the Constitution corrected.” The entire argument of “Founders v. Framers” (Part III) to me has very little to do with what is trying to be justified, that is, “If the Constitution Was the Solution, Why Hasn’t It Worked?”

    Please allow me a word or two. Most individuals in America now have no clue that the settlers of what was to become the grandparent’s of the Framers actually landed here during the 1600s. Now if we took the time that the Constitution was ratified in 1790 whilst comparing that to the original ancestor’s that settled in say 1620 there then becomes a true void with what law did these people live by? Well you as an educated person realize that that’s approximately 170 years before the fact. Therefore with all due respect for your efforts – I believe it is overwhelming true that the British Colonies were in fact governed by the medium which was used in England commonly referred to as (1st) Magna Charta, (2nd) The Rights of Englishmen, then on to (3rd) British Colonial Rule, and (4th) The colonist’s own fabrication of The Articles of Confederation which were in large part unacceptable by the Governor General, furthermore the King of England.

    So with the various and sundry ways that the King and Parliament settled on ways to punish the “British Colonist’s” was through the various Acts, Taxes, and of course stockading the harbors. Most, if not all of the men who voluntarily attended the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, were in public office; however, it is a much different reason that the one you used. It was quite natural for those who attended college and hailed from prominently wealthy families to pursue politics or go into law. (Btw, the story of Alexander Hamilton’s paid for college education is a lovely read.)

    If you are still with me the title of your piece serves (at least to me) as a non-sequitur insofar as your title has very little or nothing to do with the Constitution being the solution of what exactly? Moreover, what in the document has not worked?

    Well insofar as the current administration is concerned in reality, I expected nothing less. Just to think about a politician from Chicago and who his associates were prior to the election as well as those things that have come to light primarily after his second election is astoundingly ridiculous! The Founders and the Framers knew the “human nature of man” which as I’m sure you know is quite true.

    They called it a “Great Experiment” for good reason. What they set up was a Republican-Democracy. In other words getting deep into Aristotle is one form of governance where the people own the natural rights of freedom; only to assign those rights [in good favor] to representatives so as to be heard with a naturally small amount of people, Congress.. There can be no doubt that this indeed was a grand experiment inasmuch as it had never been done before. Based on my reading, it was America who had a complete Constitution first, and then the rest of the countries of the world started to go along. Same with the National Anthem, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Oops sorry, where does it say in the document about a small central government? It really seems to me that you are writing [and quite dramatically, as well as good, and true to a point] on hearsay rather than what it is that is actually stated. Please don’t misunderstand me…this entire notion of what about the Constitution is quite compelling, but although the status has certainly gotten worse, it has been a battle of the human will. Cheers!

      • terryf
      • January 16, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you for your well expressed thoughts on the issue in this series. It is an important one that most people do not take the time to reflect upon with the correct background information and one that has been surrounded with much mythology and misrepresentation.

      Although, I may not agree with all of your conclusions, I do respect the fact that you have taken the time to read and reflect on the issue intelligently which is a refreshing change of pace over spam and knee jerk reactions.

      Yes, the colonies did rely upon the English system prior to the Revolutionary War. Hamilton, actually not a natural-born citizen as the product of an adulterous affair on the British West Indies Island of Nevis was actually a citizen of Britain by birth. I mention him as an example because he strongly advocated a system modeled more specifically after the British system and lobbied heavily for the Constitution writing the majority of the Federalist papers. (Many of his interpretations and predictions failed to come true, which in hindsight can be expected based on the document, but was noted by those who opposed the Constitution who later became known as the Anti-Federalists.) In fact, the Constitutional Republic that surfaced from the framers (Democracy was pointedly avoided for the reasons noted in Federalist #10 by Madison) borrowed heavily from the British system with “Americanizations” (if you will) of course.

      The attendees to the Constitution were in public office before the Convention and pursued public office afterwards. Few of them returned to a “civilian” life. Twenty seven of the 55 were future members of Congress. Two were future Presidents. One a future Vice President. One a Speaker of the House. Four were US District Court judges and four future Supreme Court judges. Virtually all of the rest who did not hold office after the Convention simply gave the ghost, so to speak, and died.

      Additionally, as noted there was a goodly amount of former military officers, lawyers and virtually all of them were considered very wealthy, wealthy or on their way back to wealth from having been formerly wealthy.

      With regards to religion, there was only one solid Christian, Richard Bassett of Maryland. The remainder were either Masons (non-Christian for reasons stated in my Washington post) Unitarians (like John Adams, our 2nd President), Deists (like Jefferson and Paine) or rationalists. In other words, pretty much a group of secularists and religious pluralists.

      All of these characteristics, i.e., committed politicians of wealth, legally oriented, non-Christian secularists and militarists had an impact on the document that emerged from these meetings held on the 2nd floor out of the public eye and without public input. Great Experiment or not, the document has been touted as one that was intended to limit government and called a miracle but has been twisted through the courts and elected representatives to become a Leviathan that intrudes into every part of our lives these days. So, if this document is the solution as Constitutionalists claim that it is, it has failed in its mission quite massively. Hence, I still hold to my title for this series.

      For example, take the phrase within a clause “General Welfare”. Welfare at the time meant well being. There was no “welfare” system as we have today at the time. Assistance to the poor often happened through the churches in the form of charity. There was no dispensations from government in the form of organized, socialist oriented welfare systems.

      The phrase in context reads: “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”. Understanding the word Welfare to mean “well being” as was the commonly understood definition at the time, and the connection to the phrase “common Defence” would naturally point to the intent of these words which was to provide for the protection of the United States, not promote the socialist system of government handouts of public funds that it has been twisted to become.

      This is just a quick example of how the Constitution has been twisted out of shape and made to fail its supposed intent, aided greatly by the Supreme Court that the Anti-Federalists warned about before the Constitution was ratified.

      I hope to get to part five soon. I have had other issues distracting me. I should have been using this time to collect my notes and work on the next post but I saw how much thought you put into your response and simply could not ignore your efforts. Thank you for your input and response.

Leave a Reply