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History selectors, pages, etc.
Problems With The Standard Story Of The Revolutionary War And The Constitution
By islander
April 17, 2023 8:44 am
Category: History

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We've always had problems understanding what the words in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution mean and whether or not we have ever lived up to what they actually say.

The Constitution, as it was written was imperfect and has built in provisions to fix it as we go along. An awful lot of people I know however, look at the Constitution in a manner similar to the way they see the Bible, and and they see the founders in a similar light as the apostles.

The people who call themselves strict Constitutionalists resemble in many ways the people who take the Bible literally and can settle any arguments by pointing out the words as written in the Bible and claim the Bible plainly states this or that just as they do with the Constitution.

Despite what the Declaration and Constitution plainly states, all men have never been created equal under the law for inastance. We have, however, been fixing the Constitution along the way by amending it. Ya can't do that with the Bible of course but we can interpret it differently (as we can with the Constitution so saying the Bible plainly say's doesn't work any better than it does with the Constitution.

As Ed Walker say's, "The standard story of the origin of our nation tells us that the Declaration of Independence asserts that all men are created equal and naturally endowed with certain rights including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that the Revolutionary War was fought to uphold these principles; and that the principles are instantiated in the Constitution. We didn’t always live up to those principles but we’ve always worked towards them, and we [hopefully] get closer all the time." *

We can't deny that the Declaration doesn’t fit well with the standard story, so how well does the Constitution fit?

* Empty Wheel

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Comments on "Problems With The Standard Story Of The Revolutionary War And The Constitution ":

  1. by HatetheSwamp on April 17, 2023 9:00 am

    Inaccurate. Hyperbolic.

    Offensively sanctimonious.

    Hateful.

    Typical.


  2. by Curt_Anderson on April 17, 2023 10:15 am
    In the link below, look for the sub headline “Milestones”. It lists the incremental steps in a long and slow process of allowing Americans the right to vote. Native Americans in Maine, for example, did not have the right to vote until 1955. We are not there yet.
    en.wikipedia.org


  3. by islander on April 17, 2023 11:33 am
    Good article Curt, this is why I get a chuckle out of the right wing originalists and federalists when they try to argue their interpretation by claiming that they adhere to the Constitution as it was written by our founding fathers, they see it as if it were an unchanging black and white document.

    Juatice William Brennan made the originalist's error perfectly clear:

    “Faith in democracy is one thing, blind faith quite another. Those who drafted our Constitution understood the difference.”

    

I think what Brennan said can be a difficult concept for rule based black and white thinkers to fully grasp or accept. Brennan goes on to say:

    “To remain faithful to the content of the Constitution, therefore, an approach to interpreting the text must account for the existence of these substantive value choices, and must accept the ambiguity inherent in the effort to apply them to modern circumstances. The Framers discerned fundamental principles through struggles against particular malefactions of the Crown; the struggle shapes the particular contours of the articulated principles. But our acceptance of the fundamental principles has not and should not bind us to those precise, at times anachronistic, contours. Successive generations of Americans have continued to respect these fundamental choices and adopt them as their own guide to evaluating quite different historical practices. Each generation has the choice to overrule or add to the fundamental principles enunciated by the Framers; the Constitution can be amended or it can be ignored. Yet with respect to its fundamental principles, the text has suffered neither fate. Thus, if I may borrow the words of an esteemed predecessor, Justice Robert Jackson, the burden of judicial interpretation is to translate "the majestic generalities of the Bill of Rights, conceived as part of the pattern of liberal government in the eighteenth century, into concrete restraints on officials dealing with the problems of the twentieth century." Board of Education v. Barnette, [319 U.S. 624, 639 (1943),] We current Justices read the Constitution in the only way that we can: as Twentieth Century Americans. We look to the history of the time of framing and to the intervening history of interpretation. But the ultimate question must be, what do the words of the text mean in our time. For the genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems” and current needs. What the constitutional fundamentals meant to the wisdom of other times cannot be their measure to the vision of our time. Similarly, what those fundamentals mean for us, our descendants will learn, cannot be the measure to the vision of their time.“


  4. by Curt_Anderson on April 17, 2023 11:45 am
    Islander,
    Our Founders realized that they were not carving the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. The Constitution is dynamic not static. It's right there in the first line of the Preamble to the Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..." It's a work in progress that we perfect over time.




  5. by islander on April 17, 2023 12:06 pm
    Curt,
    I sometimes wonder if the Republican right-wing originalists remember why the Articles of Confederation failed and had to be replaced with our Constitution?

    The Articles of Confederation embodied much of what today's Republicans want to bring back, that is, the sovereignty of the states and a weak and limited central government.


  6. by Curt_Anderson on April 17, 2023 12:13 pm
    "...today's Republicans want to bring back, that is, the sovereignty of the states and a weak and limited central government."

    Except in cases like when Jim Jordan wants to use federal might and subpoenas to investigate and intimidate the local DA in Manhattan. Interestingly Jim Jordan (R-OH) isn't interested in investigating closer-to-home Columbus, Ohio which has a much higher crime rate than Manhattan.



  7. by HatetheSwamp on April 17, 2023 12:20 pm

    "...today's Republicans want to bring back, that is, the sovereignty of the states and a weak and limited central government."

    That's bullfernerner.

    There's too much diversity among GOPs to make that sort of statement.

    If there's a similar statement that can be made about a significant number of GOPs it's that GOPs want what the Supreme Court gave us last year, i.e., a nation in which the Tenth Amendment means something.


  8. by islander on April 17, 2023 12:29 pm

    I suppose, Curt, that they could be speaking with a forked tongue when they claim they are originalists, And they only claim to want a weak central government and sovereign states when it is convenient for them. But they will not hesitate to use the power of the federal government when that is more convenient.


  9. by HatetheSwamp on April 17, 2023 12:45 pm

    They do call themselves originalists.

    They don't mean by it what you accuse. As I say,

    Inaccurate. Hyperbolic.

    Offensively sanctimonious.

    Hateful.


  10. by islander on April 17, 2023 1:28 pm

    The forked tongue definitely applies to them when they call themselves originalists:

    "Judge Barrett’s alleged originalism, like the faux originalism of her mentor Justice Scalia, has nothing to do with deferring to legislative majorities and everything to do with reaching conservative political results. Over the course of his career, Justice Scalia voted to overturn over 100 state and federal laws on such hot button issues as affirmative action, campaign finance reform, myriads of contested free speech issues, voting rights, and the proper balance between the state and federal governments almost always without any persuasive originalist justification. Although Scalia off the bench and in dissents talked the talk of originalism, when he voted, he walked the walk of aggressive living constitutionalism." *

    They'll use the power of the federal government when it's convenient, when it isn't, the federal government is called "Big Brother'.

    * Eric J. Segall Ashe Family Chair Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law


  11. by oldedude on April 17, 2023 1:37 pm
    I agree with lead. As a constitutionalist, I'm pretty even about my reading of the constitution and the laws.

    Oh. BTW, all liberals want a revolution and to murder conservatives. They are lovers of Mao and are just as racist as him and Hitler. Just look at the burniebros that want to put conservatives in "re-education" camps like Pol Pot and Himmler did.


  12. by oldedude on April 17, 2023 1:42 pm
    "Our Founders realized that they were not carving the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. The Constitution is dynamic not static. It's right there in the first line of the Preamble to the Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union..." It's a work in progress that we perfect over time."- Curt

    I'll agree with that. And there are given ways to make those changes.

    I wonder why isle actually lives in the US since he hates us so much. And I still don't know the specifics of what he hates about the constitution.


  13. by HatetheSwamp on April 17, 2023 2:12 pm

    I've been saying that about isle for years. It's one thing for him to hate GOPs even the things you and I post here. But, he really does seem to despise America.


  14. by oldedude on April 17, 2023 9:18 pm
    I suppose, Curt, that they could be speaking with a forked tongue when they claim they are originalists, And they only claim to want a weak central government and sovereign states when it is convenient for them. But they will not hesitate to use the power of the federal government when that is more convenient.

    Again, you are speaking through others without any voice of your own. This tells me you have no voice. Which is fine, but to back it up with opines of others doesn't make any case at all. If you are/were a monarchists, you would believe we have a weak central government. Looking at it through that lens, you'd be "correct." The central government isn't as over-reaching as a monarchy. Even a "Constitutional Monarchy." That isn't what a Republic is built on. Until you actually understand the words in that sentence, we'll never make sense. My suggestion is to live in the Congo. Their citizenships are pretty easy and they'll follow your political aims. Or maybe Venezuela. Germany, GB, France won't accept you because they're full right now. so there's that. Maybe Brazil? always an option.

    Or if you want a strong "central government" that you seem to want, go to Russia, or China. They need propaganda to lie to their people.

    So what I got is that you're a Marxist trapped in a Capitalist country. oh well. Welcome to reality.


  15. by HatetheSwamp on April 18, 2023 3:11 am

    OD,

    isle strikes me as something like a woke, progressive, white 1619 Project person. One of isle's great hates is the founding of our nation. 1776, 1789 make him hurl. He dislikes the Constitution, deplores the Bill of Rights but, most of all, is deranged about the Declaration of Independence.

    The first time I suggested that isle leave us to find another country was over an exchange concerning the Declaration and its most famous passage, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    isle's response was pure apoplexy. Total insanity...to which I responded by asking why he's American.

    My guess is that his irrational rant against originalism may be simply isle's inability to deal with the reality that ours is a nation that is founded on the conviction that citizens possess rights...BECAUSE OUR CREATOR GIFTED US WITH RIGHTS...and, that our first freedom, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, is to be religious, free from the intrusion of Big Brother.

    isle seems to center his existence around being a lapsed Catholic. What must it be like for him to be an American!!!!! Eh?


  16. by islander on April 18, 2023 6:41 am

    What were witnessing with the new breed of Republicans, and we can see it even with the ones here on this board, was a resurgence of the ideas and goals of the “Articles of the Confederation”. On this board we are used to hearing them calling our federal government “big brother” when they don’t like the federal government exercising it’s power to protect the rights of individuals against the state. However...The 14th Amendment was passed so that that a state could not deny any of its citizens their Constitutional rights. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

    The new breed of Republicans today have brought back the “old state’s rights” argument to try and suppress our Constitutionally guaranteed rights just as the state’s rights argument was was used by those states that tried to keep what they thought was their “right to own and sell people” (slavery). One can’t help but notice the proliferation of Confederate flags flown and waved at their rallies and protests. 

The “new breed of Republicans” has morphed into the “old Democratic party”. I’m old enough to remember when, how, and why this took place. 

I watched it happen.

    This is the battle we are fighting today. The new Republicans came very close to achieving their goal right up to the point of being able to elevate someone like Donald Trump to the highest office in our land...That however...Was their peak and the tide has turned. The American people have seen with their own eyes what almost took place and they will not let something like this happen again. The new Republicans are in disarray and are on their way out the door.



  17. by HatetheSwamp on April 18, 2023 7:13 am

    On this board we are used to hearing them calling our federal government “big brother”

    Yikes, buddy. If you pay attention, you know that you're far more likely to hear a local school board called Big Brother than the federal government. It's bureaucrats who are loathsome.

    And, isle, congrats, sincerely, on your 14th Amendment observation.

    From the time the Dobbs decision was published, with its, "the people and their representatives" principle, pb noted that this Court has rediscovered the 10th Amendment, and pb was startled by the radicalism.

    Progressives hijacked our jurisprudence nearly a century ago by using the 14th Amendment as the filter through which y'nes understood the Constitution. And, until last year, conservative Justices accepted that parameter.

    The Dobbs decision was radical, not because of the abortion part, but precisely because it re-elevated the Legislative branch of government and re-established the power of the 10th Amendment.

    So, for the moment, you can wax nostalgically all you want about the 14th Amendment. Thanks to Trump and his judges, the 14th Amendment don't mean a d@ng thing today.


  18. by islander on April 18, 2023 12:55 pm
    As we continue to move right along...What are witnessing with the new breed of Republicans, as I said, is a resurgence of the ideas and goals of the “Articles of the Confederation”.

    Although the new Republicans we have here on our board call themselves Libertarians in an effort to distance themselves from their party (Republican), I doubt anyone has any problem whatsoever recognizing that their views are those of the new Republicans which are consistent with those of the originalists, and many, including conservative judges on the Supreme Court, unabashedly call themselves “originalists”. Their beliefs are taken right from the “Articles of the Confederation” and the “Federalist Society” which is made up of new Republicans. And interestingly, many of those in the Federalist Society also prefer to be perceived as Libertarians.

    However they are textualist and originalist in their interpretation of the U.S.Constitution, and they favor federalism over democracy which is why we hear them arguing vehemently that we are NOT A DEMOCRACY we are a republic ! Of course the type of republic that we are is indeed a representative democracy. There is of course a reason why they abhor the concept of our country being a democracy...but more on that later.






  19. by HatetheSwamp on April 18, 2023 2:10 pm

    What we're seeing is a reaction to the evils of government by bureaucracy.

    But, wallow in hate. It's what you do. Attempting to encourage you to stop is spittin into the wind.


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