Constitutional Myths by Ray Raphael

drawing of George Washington book coverConstitutional Myths:What We Get Wrong and How to get it Right (2013)

Update: this book is now on my BUY list. The content is superb. The author has also written several other books in this area of American History that I will get from the library soon.

In the preface, the author describes how the  Constitution, once revered as a uniting force, has now become divisive along ideological lines. “People see in our governing document only what they wish to see. It is not a unifying force, as its authors had intended, but a wedge that widens the partisan divide.” A little bit later he makes the point that history cannot “be understood by treating the past as if it were the present. Much has happened since the founders’ time: national expansion on a shrinking planet, nuclear and biological warfare, Internet and broadcast technologies, and so on — more than two centuries of subsequent history. He gives a rather amusing anecdote to illustrate the changes.

Compare then and now. On October 15, 1789, President Washington set out from New York with only two aides and six servants to tour New England. In his diary, he chronicled the first day of the journey:

‘The road for the greater part, indeed the whole way, was very rough and stoney [sic], but the land strong, well covered with grass and a luxuriant crop of Indian corn intermixed with popions [pumpkins] which were ungathered in the fields. We met four droves of beef cattle for the New York market (about 30 in a drove) some of which were very fine — also a flock of sheep for the same place. We scarcely passes a farm house that did not abd. in geese.’

Washington was traveling through what is now THE BRONX, traversed by interstate highways and expressways, not stony roads, and home to some 1.4 million people packed tightly within apartments. If the country Washington observed was very different back then, so too was the manner in which he observed it, close up and literally on the ground, experiencing every stone in the road. He could meet his constituency directly, without intervention from an advance team, a press corps , or a small army of secret service agents.  (p. xi, emphasis mine as anyone who has ever been to the Bronx will agree)

Especially today with the polarization of political parties who are more concerned about their repeated reelections and the winner-loser mentality that does not seek to govern but rather impost their beliefs on all of us with false “landslides” defined as 51% to 48% victories, some common sense and historical factual basis for decisions “based on the Constitution” is much needed. Generally this is used as an all-purpose general term encompassing the actual  original unamended Constitution,  the amended Constitution, The Bill of Rights, but may also refer to the original Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers or by examining the “penumbra” as one Justice has described ancillary documents such as the Framers letters, notes, and other even wider ranging supplemental material. Strict constructionists ignore anything that is not literally in the Amended Constitution (well mostly) but do a lot of cherry picking and twists of phrases to try to force the 21st century reality into the 1700s. Scalia and Cruz and mostly other Republicans seem to cry most loudly over the Framers “intent” and a lost less time thinking about reality and the social changes beyond even the Enlightenment that shaped the Founding Fathers scope of knowledge of their day.

Women were chattel. Slaves were subhuman. Corporations did not exist. The circumstances that implemented a concern for states rights related to their opposition to a monarchy and are no longer relevant in these UNITED STATES! We fought a war and millions died to become UNITED and became the most powerful country in the world, united. Citizens are United States Citizens, not Texas citizens — people living in the various states are RESIDENTS of the states, not citizens. Federal Law is supreme because CITIZEN’S RIGHTS ARE BASED ON THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION and should not vary by geography or imaginary borders designed just to make this now geographically massive country manageable based on the representation model of the House and Senate.

I recently saw a brilliant idea a mathematician came up with (he was interviewed on The Young Turk online (TYT) for an app that let’s voters directly let Congress know how they want a vote to go on a particular bill. The bills are all presented completely (they are working on crowdsourcing potential for written summaries since some of the bills are so ridiculously long and still end up fraught with inconsistencies and errors (4 blind men and an elephant). Hence the very real possibility that without adequate oversight and version control, partisan (corrupt) politicians can please their corporate masters by slipping in, literally, little details that may have been missed by others on the version they read. Like Monsanto recently got a line prohibiting IN ADVANCE any consumer right to sue them for anything they do. And on the ACA (Obamacare) among the 50 or 60 issues that were denounced, and the few that were brought to the court, several were clearly technical mistakes that in normal times would have been fixed by unanimous resolution. It would be interesting to search the Congressional Record to see what, if anything, was passed by unanimous resolution in the last 8 years. So this app lets you register, verifies your voter eligibility, and you can read the bills, and say what you want. The Congressional members who are willing to participate get it easy then, to be able to seen graphically online exactly what people want on a particular bill. No more weighing poundages of letters (as I heard they do rather than actually read details of letters, they just do a pro and con pile). Or a count of emails similarly pro and con, with no nuance or consideration of what might be very good alterations or errors of facts a careful and concerned person on an issue might take the time to find, rather than an overworked staffer who doesn’t really give a shit, they just want to be there for the power trip and potential political aspirations.

Placeavote by Luke Davis (interviewd by Cenk Uygur) is on YouTube (“Can a Revolutionary New App Restore American Democracy. He points out in the 25 minute interview that representatives used to represent about 12,000, but now they represent 1 in 700,000 people. Pretty hard to know what they all want. So Squeaky Wheel gets the attention because people are working too hard and too long of hours just to survive and therefore have trouble paying attention and simply hope for the best. Unfortunately, we can no longer hope for the best based on the Republicans obstructionist in Congress, especially since they lost their swing vote by the evil Scalia and are now in a panic over losing to an objective and compassionate court that might come if Democrats with the election. Obama has already let the liberals, much less the progressives, by caving on moderate white man. I agree with Ruth Bader Ginsberg when asked, how many women on the court is enough? She replied nine! After all, the men have had all 9 for 200 years or so, it is our turn! Of course, being a woman doesn’t actually equal a sane, liberal, or progressive woman. For example, Phyllis Schlafly would not be an acceptable choice since she is a WINO (woman in name only).

In the preface the author addresses the critical point about the fact that “Some changes [over time] directly affect the Constitution.

In the founding era, when nations went to war, they declared war,  but the United States, despite extensive military engagements in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq [?!], and Afghanistan, has not declared war since World War II, two-thirds of a century in the past. In today’s world, in which military conflicts no longer feature armies of belligerent nations lining up and firing weapons at each other, declaring war can appear as anachronistic as fighting a duel. So how do we treat Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution, which stipulates that only Congress has the power to declare war? Is that provision simply obsolete, or if not, how can it be adapted to changing circumstances?

Historical changes include the evolution of language, the medium of the Constitution. When the founders used the word “Republican,” they were not referring to a political party but to a governmental philosophy that most of them championed: people elect their own leaders at reasonably frequent intervals, and those leaders decide what’s best for THE COUNTRY. “Democracy,” meanwhile, had a somewhat negative connotation. While all the founders believed good government must be rooted in the people, most viewed direct popular control of the government warily. Yet now we call ourselves Democratic or Republicans, and in the name of “the people” we try to influence every public act. In fact, the framers of the Constitution had hoped to keep ANY POLITICAL PARTY from manipulating or CAPTURING the government.”

I find it interesting that the wonderful FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) was able to get such social safety programs passed (Social Security) and was so popular he was reelected 4 times! The corporatists and their ilk so disliked the programs that helped the PEOPLE that they managed to get a fucking amendment to the Constitution passed to prevent ANY FUTURE PRESIDENT from serving more than two terms. Talk about thwarting the will of the People! We no longer had to fear a monarchy or dictator, no matter how long they served as long as the people retained the vote. But, on the lame excuse that it gave too much power to the Executive branch (I think that’s the line they took to justify it), Congress implemented term limits BUT ONLY FOR THE PRESIDENT. Congress itself has not become what the founders intended, public servants who do some time for the good of the country, then return to their farms or jobs and let other people have a turn. No, our Congressmen developing gerrymandering so they could remain in office in perpetuity, for life really. By hook and crook, and party machinations, propaganda, lies and fear and domestic terrorism (police beating to death union activists, jailing and force feeding women protesting for the vote, Jim Crow laws, and more.  Example #1 – Strom Thurmond, who lived to 100 and I think was still serving when he finally died. A vicious segregationist who was fucking his 16 year old black servant at the same time (who bore one child; one wonders if he had her abort others, or had some remarkable effective other form of birth control before the rest of the country) as he was screaming against desegregation in Congress, he represents the personification of Republican hypocrisy.

But Republican hypocrisy is so fully manifest that there are almost too many examples to choose from, I posted elsewhere the Wikipedia entry on all the indicted and consequences of numerous politicians and office holders, some who even got sent to prison. Usually the ones screaming the loudest anti-LGBT sentiments ends up getting caught doing a reach around in an airport bathroom or some such, soliciting homosexual prostitute, and so on. They kite checks from their own personal Congressional bank with impunity, they spend money on inappropriate things under the pretense that it is job-related, bribery, extortion, selling influence, abuse of authority, and more. I haven’t yet a done a direct comparison, but my preliminary review seems to indicate this is predominantly a Republican male proclivity, and about 99% male. Of course, women are not often given the opportunity to be in positions of power enough to become corrupted so that must be taken into account.

The basic organization of the book is excellent. The prose is a good read. Many of the documents are included in the back matter for ease of reference, so that is fun. Preface is titled “The Historical Constitution” where the quotes above come from (emphasis added by me mostly). The there are eight chapters with the issue and then the myth, followed by a dissection of why the myth is false. Excellent dissections I might add, starting with “Kernel of Truth” descriptions so you can kind of interpret where the derivations began from the original.

  1. A Revolution in Favor of Government: 
    Myth: The framers of the Constitution opposed a strong Federal Government.
    “The Constitution is the fundamental law of the nation that limits government and guarantees the rights and liberties of every American.” – website of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, an independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government”The Founders designed the federal government to be weak and inefficient to secure the sovereignty of the states and the people. The framers knew all too well the abuse rendered by a large, centralized government”. – Letter to the Redwood Times, a community paper in California
  2. Taxes
    Myth:
    The Framers hated taxes.
    I just wondered that if our founders thought taxation without representation was bad, what would they think of representations with taxation. – Representative Michele Bachmann, presidential candidate [choke] speaking to Conservative Political Action Conference, February 26, 2009The Founders, who framed a Constitution to protect us from government, did not dare consider an income tax. – Thomas Del Beccaro, chairman, California Republican Party
  3. Politics
    Myth: The framers were impartial statesmen, above interest-driven politics [ha ha ha]
    “It is really an assembly of demigods”. – Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, referring to the men appointed to the Federal Convention”This convention, composed of men who possessed the confidence of the people, and many of whom had become highly distinguished  by their patriotism, virtue, and wisdom, in times which tried the minds and hearts of men, undertook the arduous task. In the mild season of peace, with minds unoccupied by other subjects, they passed many months in cool, uninterrupted, and daily consultation; and finally, without having been awed by power, or influenced by any passions except love for their country, they presented and recommended to the people the plan produced by their joint and very unanimous councils.” – John Jay, The Federalist No. 2″[The framers [were] a race of statesmen — patriots, with the good of the whole country at the bottom of every act — not politicians merely, not men representing and fighting for State, local, or party, or individual interests.” – John Robert Irelan, The Republic, or, A History of the United States of America, an 18-volume text from 1888″They [the well-known founders] were America’s first and, in many respects, its only natural aristocracy.” – Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (2000)
  4. Principles
    Myth: The framers were guided by clear principles of limited government.”Analyze how the U.S. Constitution reflects the principles of limited government, republicanism, checks and balances, federalism, separation of powers, popular sovereignty, and individual rights.” – Texas History Standards, grade 8 [!!!!]”The 7 principles of the US constitution are: Popular Sovereignty . . . Separation of powers . . . . Checks and Balances . . . Limited Government . . . Republicanism . . . Federalism . . . Individual Rights.” – Answers.com/WikiAnswers
  5. The Father
    Myth: James Madison sired the Constitution”James Madison . . . is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being the primary author of the United States Constitution.” – Wikipedia biography”Each time an assembly of citizens gathers to deliberate and make decisions concerning the good of the community, the thinking and dedication of James Madison — “Father of the Constitution,” Secretary of State, and President of the United States — live again.” – Website of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation, and independent agency of the executive branch of the federal government
  6. The Federalist Papers
    Myth: The Federalist Papers tell us what the Constitution really means.”Educate yourself on the Constitution and the Federalist Papers (which illustrate the original intent of teh Founders in drafting the Constitution).” – Save Our Country Now website”In deciding these cases, which I have found closer than I had anticipated, it is The Federalist that finally determines my position.” – Supreme Court Justice David Souter, dissenting opinion in Printz v. the United States (1997) [!!!!]
  7. “Bill of Rights”
    Myth: The Founding Fathers gave us the Bill of Rights.” God gave us the Bill of Rights” – 2 votes
    “The founding fathers gave us the Bill of Rights” – 59 votes – Internet poll from sodahead.com”Who was the author of the Bill of Rights?”
    “Answer: James Madison was the author of the Bill of Rights.” – WikiAnswers”The Bill of Rights . . . comes as close to a libertarian founding legal charter as any in the world . . . In an America with a full respect for the Bill of Rights, there would be . . . no Food and Drug Administration harassment of pharmaceutical and wine producers . . . no laws disarming American, prohibiting airlines from allowing pilots or passengers to carry guns on planes, or limiting how much ammo or what kind of firearms people can buy and own . . . no federal programs not authorized by the Constitution . . . no Departments of Energy or Education, no Medicare or Social Security.” – Anthony Gregory, writing for LewRockwell.com
  8. Originalism
    Myth: By discovering what the framers intended or how the founding generation understood the text, we can determine how each provision of the Constitution must be applied.”Unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores.” [!!!!] – Supreme Court [Joke, err] Justice Clarence Thomas”The originalists at least knows what he is looking for: the original meaning of the text. Often — indeed, I dare say usually — that is easy to discern and simple to apply.” – [!!!!] Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia [so easy a monkey can do it, eh? given enough bananas as reward]

That full list with the entertaining quotes should give you a real sense of the misinformation to even — or especially — SCOTUS members succumb to, but really only when it suits the result they choose to find. Apparently, Clarence Thomas would reinstate slavery and be happy to have no right to go to school, marry his white woman wife, or have the vote, much less a seat on SCOTUS (where Scalia was 3/4 to 100% of his votes anyway. [Too much even for sarcasm? Sometimes the truth hurts.]

I might add some more detail later but it’s really worth a read and is probably in your library. I plan to buy it. Even the notes are like little mini history lessons, extensive discussion of nuance and consequential points.

I especially liked the whupping he gives the Originalists (Scalia et al).

Constitutional disputes have three causes. First, not all provisions within the Constitution are designed to cover narrowly defined sets of circumstances, as routine statues do. Many, like the length of terms for officeholders, are cut and dried; but others, like grants of powers to Congress or the president, are not. Precisely because these clauses are phrased in broad, sweeping terms, their applications will be subject to interpretation. The framers claimed only to be SETTING OUTLINES, and by including words like “necessary and proper”  in the grants of power to Congress (see Chapter 4), they ensured that the exact borders would NEVER be determined in a manner acceptable to all.

Second, circumstances change with time, and meanings change as well. In 1787, when nations went to war, they “declared war,” [note some redundancy with preface quoted] yet for two-thirds of a century we have ignored this convention, as have other nations. Wars are still being waged, yet the Constitution, stuck forever in its old ways, does not comment on prolonged, undeclared military conflicts. How we deal with changes in the waging of war, and the accompanying breakdown of traditional nomenclature, presents a puzzle we have not yet solved.

Altered circumstances and meaning challenge originalism in any form. [yes yes yes!] The founders lived in their world, we live in ours, and the two are very different. [hence gun control issues are nuts] The founders were very smart, but soothsayers they were not. The future was a closed book to them, as it is to us. Lacking knowledge of today’s world, and with no appropriate experience to guide them, they are not the BEST AUTHORITIES on regulating the Internet or securing airports from terrorists, matters wholly unknown to their experience [e.g. assault rifles, high capacity guns, and armor piercing bullets]. We can look to them for general principles, but principles must be applied, and the devil is in the details. More than we wish to admit, we are on our own. (p. 155)

I would argue the point about wishing to admit. I have NO PROBLEM with us being “on our own” if you can really call it that with hundreds of years of (sometimes wrong) precedent, common sense, and a less worshipful attitude towards the literal interpretation of the Constitution on par with the freaking religious mythology of the Bible. With both documents, WOMEN DO NOT EXIST except as property of fathers or husbands or widows. Slavery was NORMAL. Compromises were made to the founding documents that SPECIFICALLY ACCEPTED SLAVERY. Actually, one of the early states petitioned the first continental congress (i.e. when they met, not as in Congress) to eliminate slavery, but was ignored! Oh what a chance was missed to change the world then and there! He continues over to the next page with the following:

Finally, the Constitution did not provide a methodology for resolving interpretive differences, nor did it even state clearly who should resolve them. In the absence of such instructions, originalism can never be a panacea. Since the framers, as a body, said nothing on the one matter upon which all else depends, we cannot rely exclusively on their guidance.

[And I would argue that we SHOULD NOT have to: The framers probably assumed future humans would be as smart as they are, as interested in the common good, and educated enough to carry on. Boy, were they wrong. We shall not see their likes again. If you need evidence compare Thomas Jefferson with Clarence Thomas, or more accurately, Scalia’s opinions.]

That said, originalism as an attitude is here to stay. [boo hiss] The pervasive sense that the Constitution is fixed, not malleable, fosters continuity. For over two centuries, with one major exception, the nation has changed leaders without altering governmental structures, and the mystique of the Constitution — a set of allegedly clear ground rules that all must obey — is no small part of that success story. We debate current meanings by debating historical meanings, affirming allegiance to our founding document as we do so. We always have and we always will.

The above quotes were from his “kernel of truth” sections for the chapters where he describes how some of the truth that the myths suborn. Then he carries on with “The Full Story” and debunks the myths.

And it begins by pointing out how the framers did not think of everything, since to do so in the abstract, to form a new form of government nearly from whole cloth, obviously this was going to happen. And this is also why it is obvious that this only serves to prove how odious the Originalists are to insist the Constitution is the answer to every decision. We have brains. The Constitution does not proscribe using them.

In the full story on this issue there are many cases he mentions that are issues we grapple with today. “Advice and Consent of the Senate” – but I must note that THE SENATE of the founding fathers is NOT THE SAME as the Senate we have today, thankfully, but still may be an important distinction. This may be the “one exception” he cites on structural changes, though the 2 term limitation on the presidency is also a pretty major change; senators were originally APPOINTED by the states’ governors. The Constitution was amended to allow the people to vote for them instead. Good thing given the insidious right wing conservative takeover of state legislatures and governorships, or we’d be well and truly fucked.

So, for example, after about three months, the First Federal Congress, “while creating the job description for a secretary of foreign affairs, congressmen understood that the president would make the appointment “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” as stated in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution. But who could remove that officer? The president alone, or did he need the advice and consent of the Senate? Since the founding document was silent on that matter, congressmen went at it tooth and nail.”

Advise and consent is an  issue also speaks to another crucial issue we face again similar issues. Then it was about making treaties (consent is explicit 2/3 of the members PRESENT (though they are such slackards today, they probably phone their vote in by changing the rules or some such). I will have to look that up, kind of like the threat to filibuster stalls confirmation of appointments with the objector to actually perform the act.

So as far as advice, did that mean the president must consult before international negotiations or during, or gee, can the president IGNORE the Senate advice – but then it seems unlikely that the 2/3 consent will happen. The HUGE difference today, with the TPP in the offing, is that it has the support [boo hiss] of the current president, but on principle the senate majority is opposed, but the whole freaking thing was developed in secret with CORPORATIONS writing the damn thing, and Congress wasn’t even let in on the secret and had to go to a locked basement room with no notebooks or computers to read a copy of it. No online searchable version, no copies for staffers to review for important concerns, no recourse of THE PEOPLE if the puppet government installed by the corporations accepts a treaty that will, in fact, OVERRIDE our laws, such as environmental or human slave labor. And BEST OF ALL the corporations CAN SUE THE GOVERNMENT for any regulation that interferes in their PROFITS!!!! The founders are screaming in horror from their graves. Can’t you hear them? NAFTA killed the middle class, and if passed, the TPP will make corporate slaves of us all, without recourse. But hey, maybe I am too optimistic.

To this day, the constitutional role of the Senate in offering advice on treaties remains unclear.” (p. 157)

Congress was empowered to levy taxes [unlike the deniers out their choose to believe], borrow money, pay debts, regulate commerce, and coin and regulate the value of money — but could it charter a national bank, allegedly in service to its stipulated constitutional powers? [too bad that was privatized!] In 1791 Hamilton and Madison offered opposing answers (see chapters 4 and 6).

In 1793 President Washington proclaimed that American citizens were not to offer material support to either Britain or France, then at war with each other. [Kind of mean since without France there would be no United States.] Did he, or did he not, possess the constitutional authority to do so? Again, Hamilton and Madison offered opposing answers (see chapter 6).

Two years later, President Washington dispatched Chief Justice John Jay to Britain to negotiate a treaty. When Jay returned, treaty in hand, several representatives argued that because the treaty dealt with commercial matters constitutionally under the House, the treaty could not take effect unless the House approved it. Yet the Constitution states clearly that the Senate ratifies treaties, making no mention of the House. Who was right — or were they both right? Had the Constitution given mixed messages here? [given the circumstance, no computers, electricity, no copiers, no telephones, what they managed is nearly unbelievable and if I weren’t living here I would think the whole early American history was a fantasy novel.] And what was the head of the Judicial branch of government doing on a clearly executive mission? The Constitution neither authorized no prohibited such a move.

In 1798, when the Alien and Sedition Acts banned certain forms of dissent and authorized the president to DEPORT ENEMY ALIENS [must remember to look up how they made Emma Goldman go to Russia, was she not naturalized or native?], did those statues violate the Constitution” If so, did states possess the right to declare such federal laws “void and of no force” [no in my opinion] or to “interpose” between that law and the citizens (see chapter 5)? [No again. Roe v. Wade!]

And so it went. Even though the Constitution was indelibly set in print, its meaning were still in doubt.

Worse yet, the framers failed to stipulate who was to settle interpretive disputes. In Hylton v. United States (1796) the United States Supreme Court determined that a federal carriage tax was constitutional and in Marbury v. Madison (1803) it determined that a provision of the Federal Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional, but in neither case could justices point to a specific provision in the Constitution granting the High Court the authority to be the final arbiter on issues of constitutionality. [!!!!] THOUGH JUDICIAL REVIEW HAD ITS ADVOCATES, THE NOTION THAT JUDGES ALONE COULD SETTLE CONSTITUTIONAL DISPUTES WAS NOT WIDELY ACCEPTED IN THE FOUNDING ERA. Each of the early presents though he had the right of interpretation, at least in matters pertaining to the executive branch of government. Congress thought it was empowered to determine the constitutionality of the laws it passed. Meanwhile, “We the People,” as actual parties to the agreement that enshrined the Constitution as the law of the land, thought they had the ultimate say.

And more fascinating tidbits of what this all devolved to: “Effigies were burned” was an example.

Well, you can certainly see that reality definitely differs from myths and “known facts” about the sanctity of the Originalists’ beliefs. The author specifically mentions that since Scalia and Thomas (that travesty of justice, pun intended) “joined the Supreme Court in 1986 and 1991, respectively, originalism has been a formidable presence in American constitutional  constitutional jurisprudence.” (p. 170)

I could go on and on with great quotes and glory in his assessments, that of course equal my own for the most part. The parts describing the absurdity of Originalists Thomas and of course Scalia who cherry pick founders’ “intentions” as if they can be known and must be adhered to at all times. Especially since Scalia even went so far as to declare that the meaning must be “rooted in the MORAL PERCEPTIONS of the time” (italics his emphases, caps mine). This would mean that the infamous Brown v. Board of Education that desegregated schools most likely would not have happened. “Even the doctrine of coverture (a married woman has no legal existence beyond her husband, so she can possess no property of her own) could receive constitutional protection by a strict adherence to Scalia’s “moral perceptions of the time.”

Oh and fun to read the way Madison would have had edited the text of the Constitution to incorporate the Bill of Rights rather than having it be the separate Bill of Rights we ended up with, after considerable tweaking and discussion. I wish I could have all the documents and have them be online (even the correspondence and anything else) to search by computer for the word WOMAN OR WOMEN just to see if it ever came up for discussion beyond the famous Abigail Adams exhortation to “remember the ladies” the fuller quote, from history.com:

The future First Lady wrote in part, “I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” (my emphasis)

Okay, I am going to have to force myself to stop now. There are so many good rebuttals to the stupid Originalists (thankfully one is dead). And I didn’t even get to the brilliant taxes chapter or the principles one, etc. for more! Really, you will have to buy the book to fully appreciate it. Buy the book.

 

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