Skip to comments.The Material of Our Constitution
Posted on 12/23/2012 6:36:30 AM PST by Jacquerie
Key ideas, calculated to produce the best of all possible republican governments:
Government must be plain, simple and intelligible. The common sense of reasonably educated men should be able to comprehend its structure and functioning.
Government must be limited - in purpose, reach, methods, and duration.
Government must be kept as near to the people as possible through frequent elections and provisions for rotation in office.
Government must be constitutional, an empire of laws and not of men in which the discretion of all those in power is reduced to the lowest level consistent with effective operation of the political machinery, and in which the majority, in order to have its way in matters both great and small, must prove itself persistent, undoubted, knowledgeable and sober.
Constitutionalism calls for a written constitution, a known law superior to the acts or decrees of any officer or organ of government.
It also calls for inclusion in the constitution of a specific declaration of natural and civil rights.
The best of all possible constitutions will have three claims to obedience and even veneration: it will be the command of the people, an original contract based on their sovereign will; it will be the handiwork of the wisest men in the community; and it will be an earthly rendering, imperfect but well-intentioned, of the enduring principles of the law of nature.
The one agency essential to republican government is a representative legislature. Its basic function is to act as an instrument of consent through which the people tax and restrict themselves.
The fact of legislative primacy does not mean, however, that all authority should be lodged in the representative assembly. In those governments that are stable as well as republican, the total sum of permissible power is divided among three branches; a legislature, preferably bicameral; an executive, preferably single, and a judiciary, necessarily independent.
. . . this form, which encourages rule by the sober majority, is most likely to strike the right balance between the urges of liberty and the needs of authority.
Finally, government in a republic is properly the concern of all those who have an enduring attachment to the community. The right to vote, as well as to hold office, should be limited to men who have a tangible stake in society because only such men can make competent and uncorrupted judgments and because only they have the right to consent to laws that regulate the use of property.
The Venus, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 253 253 (1814)
Vattel, who, though not very full to this point, is more explicit and more satisfactory on it than any other whose work has fallen into my hands, says: The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives or indigenes are those born in the country of parents who are citizens. Society not being able to subsist and to perpetuate itself but by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights.
Shanks v. Dupont, 28 U.S. 3 Pet. 242 242 (1830)
Ann Scott was born in South Carolina before the American revolution, and her father adhered to the American cause and remained and was at his death a citizen of South Carolina. There is no dispute that his daughter Ann, at the time of the Revolution and afterwards, remained in South Carolina until December, 1782. Whether she was of age during this time does not appear. If she was, then her birth and residence might be deemed to constitute her by election a citizen of South Carolina. If she was not of age, then she might well be deemed under the circumstances of this case to hold the citizenship of her father, for children born in a country, continuing while under age in the family of the father, partake of his national character as a citizen of that country. Her citizenship, then, being prima facie established, and indeed this is admitted in the pleadings, has it ever been lost, or was it lost before the death of her father, so that the estate in question was, upon the descent cast, incapable of vesting in her? Upon the facts stated, it appears to us that it was not lost and that she was capable of taking it at the time of the descent cast.
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857)
The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As society cannot perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their parents, and succeed to all their rights.' Again: 'I say, to be of the country, it is necessary to be born of a person who is a citizen; for if he be born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country. . . .
Minor v. Happersett , 88 U.S. 162 (1875)
The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.
United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)
At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children, born in a country of parents who were its citizens, became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.
Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325 (1939),
Was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that a child born in the United States to naturalized parents on U.S. soil is a natural born citizen and that the child's natural born citizenship is not lost if the child is taken to and raised in the country of the parents' origin, provided that upon attaining the age of majority, the child elects to retain U.S. citizenship "and to return to the United States to assume its duties." Not only did the court rule that she did not lose her native born Citizenship but it upheld the lower courts decision that she is a "natural born Citizen of the United States" because she was born in the USA to two naturalized U.S. Citizens.
But the Secretary of State, according to the allegation of the bill of complaint, had refused to issue a passport to Miss Elg 'solely on the ground that she had lost her native born American citizenship.' The court below, properly recognizing the existence of an actual controversy with the defendants [307 U.S. 325, 350] (Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227 , 57 S.Ct. 461, 108 A.L.R. 1000), declared Miss Elg 'to be a natural born citizen of the United States' (99 F.2d 414) and we think that the decree should include the Secretary of State as well as the other defendants. The decree in that sense would in no way interfere with the exercise of the Secretary's discretion with respect to the issue of a passport but would simply preclude the denial of a passport on the sole ground that Miss Elg had lost her American citizenship."
The Supreme Court of the United States has never applied the term natural born citizen to any other category than those born in the country of parents who are citizens thereof.
Thanks for the compilation/history/education. Very interesting. BTTT!
The quality of our government will not exceed the quality of the press. Our government is now too big for the press to competently cover. With a huge government and a corrupt press, our days are numbered.
Good point. Drop the facades and declare the tyranny we are headed for.
Another thread today highlights the abyssmal state of leadership in Washington, D. C., in December 2012, by quoting recent statements by the Speaker of the House and the President.
You are correct that, beginning in elementary school, the youth of America need to be taught the ideas upon which their liberty relies. That is no small task as long as the education process is controlled by those who wish to accumulate power to themselves. This past year, however, some states have passed legislation requiring the teaching of those ideas in the high schools.
If it is to be done appropriately though, it seems, it must be done in the homes, home schools, churches, and private schools, or through privately-funded media efforts, such as movies, videos, etc.
But the real control is controlling schools—the formation of thinking in the young-—the education of the next generation—as Lenin and Marxists like Bill Ayers understood—it will determine the future.
With internet we can get around the press—at least for now.
If all true conservatives took back the minds of their children and grandchildren we could change history-—but that takes sacrifice and hard work and elimination of most TV and public schools and MSM. Popularity is too important to people, though, plus it is so easy to “entertain” children and keep them out of our “hair” by sending them to free schools and putting them in front of an indoctrination machine.
Popularity with children trumps Christian Ethics with that element of hard work and self-sacrifice. People now-adays shun hard work for the most part. They have been conditioned by TV and public schools to moral relativism and taking the easy way in life-—feel good, do it....and never persevere. They have no concept of Right and Wrong-—of Truth—so they can’t teach it to their children. Even conservatives are confused on how to raise ethical, rational children because of intense brainwashing from popular culture and immoral parenting magazines.
While it is not unusual for politicians to privately despise one another, Hussein's open disrespect continues to shock. The other day, his kid spokes-clown used words to characterize the hapless Boehner that openly assumed the purpose of Congress was to rubber stamp whatever his boss wanted.
Outside of conservative circles, most people do not understand how susceptible republics are to tyranny. We are well down that path and there are so few us screaming, “STOP!”