Posted by: schmoffly | March 30, 2010

The Constitution

The blog is back!  These past few months I have just not been able to bring myself to write about anything- that is, until last night.  Caitlin and I read scripture and pray every night before we go to bed, and last night we decided to add a little something different to the mix- The Constitution of the United States of America.  There has been a lot of talk about The Constitution lately because of the Health Care Bill that Barak O-Donell signed and put into action.  There was a lot of talk about it being unConstitutional, but I had/have no idea why because, well, I am ashamed to admit, I have never read The Constitution before in it’s entirety.  So, that is exactly what we have decided to do: read The Constitution.

So, each day, I plan on posting the parts we read, and then interpreting what it means.  The language can be a little confusing since it is over 200 years old.  We covered the intro, and Article 1, Sections 1-2 last night.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

A nice intro here.  You can see a direct correlation here between the rights that the Colonists believed they should have and the rights that were being taken from them by the British.  Justice, domestic Tranquility, providing for the common defence [sic], promoting the general Welfare and securing the Blessings of Libery were all things that were intruded upon by things such as “The Stamp Act,” “Taxation without representation,” and the lack of what John Locke,  an English philosopher termed “social contract.”  Also, you can see the colonials idea of “republicanism,” or a form of government that stresses liberties and civil rights as values, and vilifies corruption.

 

Article. I.

Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Congress shall have all legislative powers and will consist of two seperate sub-branches, if you will: the Senate and The House of Representatives.   A legislature is a “deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws.”

Section. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

Each member of the House serves two year terms, and are elected by the members of the “Peopel of the several States,” or American citizens.  The last phrase means that the voters in each state shall know the qualificating requirements or “requisite[s]” in otder for someone to be eligible for the House.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

I found this to be very interesting.  You only have to be 25 years old to serve on the House of Representatives.  I looked up some facts, and the average age of a House Member is 56.  However, there is hope!  Aaron Shock, a Republican member from Illinois, was born in 1981, which makes him 29!

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. 

House Representatives and taxes will be in proportion to the number of people in the respective State.  All free people shall count as “1” and those bound to a “Service for a Term of Years” or those indentured servants (people who agreed to work for a number of years in America in return for “free” passage across the Atlantic) will count as “3/5” of a person.  Unfortunately, this also included slaves, whose “Term of Years” was their whole life.  Thankfully, America saw the error of it’s ways, and the 13th and 14th Amendments abolished slavery and counted everyone as a “whole” person.  I also read that there are no “untaxed Indians,” so every single person in a state counts towards the “Numbers.”

 The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

This part established the census.  The first was three years after the “First Meeting of the Congress of the United States” which was 1780.  Every 10 years after that, we have a census.

The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

In July 2009, the population of the US was estimated to be around 307,006,550 people.  According to the section above the minimum number of representatives was at least one for every state, but no more than 1 for every 30,000 people.  However, if we did 1 for every 30,000 people, there would be over 10,000 Representatives, so in 1911, the number of House members was set to 435.  This comes out to about 1 Representative for every 700,000 people.  The rest of the section sets the initial numbers for the First House of Representatives.

Man, I have already learned a ton!  I am really looking forward to this!

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Responses

  1. Very good! I am learning a lot too. It is sort of like reading the Bible…even if you have read a certain book or section it is good to read over it and study up on it from time to time especially with so much change going on in the world and in our country. Haven’t read today’s yet…I am a day behind. Do you have political aspirations?

  2. Actually, I think I do at some point. More on this later.


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