United States federal authorities have used the Great Seal to authenticate documents since 1782.
The obverse of the Seal is the national coat of arms of the United States. The Seal shows the bald eagle holding 13 arrows in its left talon and an olive branch with 13 leaves and 13 olives in its right talon.
The arrows symbolize the American preparedness for war. The eagle turns its head to the olive branch, expressing the American propensity for peace.
Number 13 as well as the motto, E pluribus unum, “Out of Many, One”, refer to the 13 states to have formed the original Union.
The reverse of the Great Seal shows an unfinished pyramid with an eye, and two Latin phrases. The pyramid has 13 layers and the date MDCCLXXVI (1776) in Latin notation.
The eye has been a symbol for mindfulness and forethought, worldwide. Some interpretations tell the pyramid is to mean or denote might and endurance.
The author of the design wrote the pyramid was to signify might and endurance. The Founders did not intend the State to wield absolute power, and the pyramid in the Seal is purposed to remain unfinished:
“No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April 1775, but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE, can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul,”
Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, never provided a translation of the Latin phrases.
We can interpret the Latin as saying E pluribus unum
Out of many, one Annuit coeptis
Favor to the endeavor, Novus ordo seclorum
A new people come. READ ABOUT INTERPRETING THE SEAL LATIN
The Seal of the United States President derives directly from the obverse of the Great Seal. One-dollar bills have showed the Great Seal since 1935.
The use of arrow symbols in this grammar course does not correspond with the arrows of the Seal. It is to regard human orientative strategies and has no reference to weapons.
The name Haliaeetus leucocephalus, derives from Greek hali “sea”, aiētos “eagle”, leuco “white”, cephalos “head”.
Literally, the name is the white-haded sea eagle.
The name “bald eagle” correlates with classic Latin figurative reference for the word leucos, as in literary Latin descriptions of “barren, wintry lands”. Bald eagles do not migrate for winter, and US Alaska has the biggest population of them in the world.
We can view images of the white-haded sea eagle over Wikimedia Commons, and read about it in Wikipedia.
The bald eagle is a national symbol of the United States of America. The Continental Congress included the bird in the Great Seal in 1782.
Not everyone was happy with the choice. Benjamin Franklin wrote in one of his letters,
For my own part. I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly … besides, he is a rank coward: The little king bird not bigger than a sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district.
Bald eagles generally have been termed “opportunistic feeders” (see Wikipedia). The term means they adapt to habitats. Preying on fish is actually easy to the birds, but well, we hardly could expect whaling, not only of these animals.
If we are curious about American landscapes and habitats, we can go to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website www.photolib.noaa.gov.
As regards courage, we should not expect bald eagles to fight in extents or areas they do not recognize for own or important. However, it would be dangerous to approach a nest, when the parents are around.
All bald eagles and golden eagles are under the Protection Act. Federal laws forbid damaging, disturbing, possession, or trading of the American eagle. Bald eagles hatch reliant on temperatures. They may hatch in spring or fall, dependent on the geographical area.
The American bald eagle symbolizes good language skills, in our grammar course. If we are curious about the species, we can get more American bald eagle information at www.baldeagleinfo.com.
We also can support the species financially, with the American Eagle Foundation, www.eagles.org. We can read about the Foundation over Wikipedia: AEF.
USA national flag has thirteen stripes of red alternating with white. The red is at the top and the bottom.
In insignia, the white is on the left and right. The union is a blue rectangle with 50 white, five-pointed stars, one for each American state. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original states of the early Union.
The Flag has changed since the early times. The Betsy Ross and the 13 Star are historic American flags.
Alternative names for the American flag may be the Stars and Stripes, the Old Glory, and the Red, White, and Blue.
The “Star Spangled Banner” is the name of the USA ANTHEM, too.
The 13 Star
There is a code of conduct concerning the Flag.
The FEDERAL CODE offers guidelines.
The Flag is best to be displayed from sunrise to sunset, in the open. 24-hour display should involve proper illumination from dusk to dawn.
We should not modify the Flag, regardless of the form of presentation. Whether in fabric, print, or another material, the Flag should have the stars and the stripes as in the design presented on the top of this page.
We place the Stars on the Flag’s right, to display it horizontally or vertically. With other flags, the US flag should be on its own right side or in center front.
On the same halyard, the American flag takes the superior position, except with flags of other countries. Granting superiority to any country flag in a time of peace violates international regulations.
The Flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, state flags, and organization or institution flags may be dipped as a mark of honor.
The Flag should never touch anything beneath it, as the ground, floor, water, or merchandise. It should not be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
The Flag should not be used for embroidery, as on cushions or handkerchiefs, printing or otherwise impressing, on disposable articles.
The code advises not to use the Flag for apparel. However, we might “get away” with flag pattern hats, tops, and scarves, especially on American holidays.
The Code encourages wearing Flag patches or pins on uniform left-hand side, for military personnel, firefighters, police officers, and members of patriotic organizations.
There have been disputes in America over freedom of speech and Flag burning. Could burning the Flag, as it happens in times of protests and unrest, be a form of speech?
Feel welcome to read BURNING THE FLAG ― WHERE IS THE LANGUAGE?
The Code makes one exception. When the Flag is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, and this can be by burning. Naturally, we have to be careful with fire.
Title 4 of the US Code counsels on the behavior to salute the Flag.
During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the Flag or when the Flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute.
Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute.
All other persons present should face the Flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.
Citizens of other countries present should stand at attention. All such conduct toward the Flag in a moving column should be rendered at the moment the Flag passes.
On occasions to salute the Flag, it could be best to agree on behavior with the American party to be present.
If Flag regulations seem complicated, let us think people have risked own lives, fighting for freedom and the Flag. USA anthem tells about this.
Freedom and human rights are indispensable for intellectual and economic progress. Respect for the American flag means respect for own gray matter, especially if we learn American English.
Feel welcome to read about the CONTEXT OF THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS.
Flying the Flag
American legislation mandates flying the Flag day and night in a few locations. The national tradition holds the Flag half-staff until noon, on the Memorial Day.
Fort McHenry National Monument, Baltimore, Maryland;
Flag House Square, Baltimore, Maryland;
The United States Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Virginia;
The White House;
The Washington Monument;
United States Customs ports of entry;
Valley Forge State Park, Pennsylvania.
Many locations fly the Flag 24 hours without specific legal resolves.
One of such places is the United States Capitol.
Mount Rushmore has had its Avenue of Flags since 1976, the United States bicentennial. Visitors can view the Memorial 24 hours, year round.
The Memorial is located in the Pennington County, near Keystone, South Dakota. The four faces, from left to right, are those of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Sculptors Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln carried out the project. The construction ended in 1941.
Worldwide, flying the Flag every day and according to the Code, does not violate regulations. Please mind that displaying the Flag in parental advisory contexts may be considered non-complimentary. Removal of the Flag from an improper display might be advisable.
There are a few special days on which to fly the Flag.
We put the month before the day, to read the date in American English.
New Year’s Day, January 1
Inauguration Day, January 20
Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12
Washington’s Birthday (the President’s Day), third Monday in February
Easter Sunday, (variable)
Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May
Flag Day, June 14
Independence Day, July 4
Labor Day, first Monday in September
Constitution Day, September 17
Columbus Day, second Monday in October
Navy Day, October 27
Veterans Day, November 11
Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day, December 25
State birthdays (days of admission) and holidays: each state individually.
There are a few drafts of the Address. We can compare them online, with the Library of Congress website. The transcript below comes from “Lincoln’s first draft”, known also as “the Nicolay copy”. John George Nicolay was president Lincoln’s private secretary.
The Gettysburg address is one of the most famous speeches in American history. President Lincoln delivered it on Thursday afternoon, November 19, year 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. About four months earlier, Union troops won over the Confederacy, in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal”.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so concerned, and so dedicated, can long endure.
We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live.
This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow, this ground—The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The form can not, as in the Gettysburg Address, gives more emphasis to the Negative Modal form. Naturally, the strength of the Address remains related to its context. The form “can not” is hardly ever used today, and we may make a better-learned impression, if we write or say cannot, in contemporary American.
We also do not have to follow the punctuation of historic documents. For example, we can space our dashes — clarity in writing may help communicate. History is worth learning and remembering—but not necessarily repeating.
The context of the Gettysburg Address
We may know the American Civil War as “the War Between the States”, “the War of Secession”, “the War for Southern Independence”, “the War of Rebellion” or ― mostly in tongues other than American English ― “the North versus the South”.
In the United States, people mostly say “the Civil War”. This does not mean the war did not involve violence and hostility.
The word “civil” comes from the Latin “civis”, a word to connote citizenry and matters as well as businesses of citizens.
The Civil War was a war waged by American citizens on other American citizens. It was not a war declared by foreign powers or military forces.
The Civil War remains the only instance of an armed rebellion against the Constitution, on the domestic scale.
Abraham Lincoln was President during the American Civil War, years 1861-1865. Seven Southern states declared secession from the U.S.A., in order to become the Confederate States of America.
The Confederate States of America flag
Article 4 Section 3 of the Constitution forbids forming new states within the USA without Congressional approval. The Confederate states declared independence from the USA in 1861, without Congressional vote. The Congress decided it was illegal.
The rebel states had trade ties with England. A British author and Conservative politician, Alex Beresford-Howe, chaired and housed the London branch of the Southern Independence Association, which supported the secession. The Confederate Cotton Bond sold in the London market and raised money for the Confederacy.
President Lincoln, as many Americans, opposed another war against England. His diplomatic manner proved effective only to an extent that embraced the Trent Affair.
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that”,
said the president.
He signed Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
Civil rights were literally a capital concern to the American economy. Civil rights never are just some ideology.
Slavery brings the price of labor down. Low pay rates limit the buying potential of the people. Production becomes impeded with market shrinking: slave workers have very little purchasing power. If not prevented, inflation follows.
An aerial view of the Wall Street area.
Wall Street is the “financial capital” of the USA.
The USA is not a gold parity economy ― no gold standard alone could make it work. Part the NEW DEAL REFORM was by giving up on the gold exchange.
An economy like the American requires effective civil rights, to motivate and protect the people and, in turn, to bring out the market as well as the currency.
The time around the Civil War, southern cotton sold well in Europe, especially in England. The trade connections were mutual. Southerners bought low-cost European commodities, exporting own harvest.
The MORRILL TARIFF of 1861 was to enhance the potential by northern workforce against the cheap labor from Europe and US South. Southern cotton planters and slave owners rejected the tariff and abandoned the Congress.
The jack below is a Southern battle flag to correspond in pattern with royalist maritime and Commonwealth flags.
Though there would be reports of a Wall Street boom during the War, there have not been economy data for the time to exclude the effects of the Tariff.
Another well-known fact in history is that war economies are not sustainable economies, and the Civil War brought much damage to both sides.
Finally, America was not founded on imperialist capitalism:
“Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested”,
wrote Thomas Paine in his COMMON SENSE.
Feel welcome to my PUBLIC DOMAIN TRANSLATION TO POLISH.
We also cannot exclude human affect, from among the War causes. There were many people in the North as well as the South to state that slavery was not acceptable on human grounds.
Human affect is the person’s general emotional predilection to involve memory, thinking, and personal autonomy.
US Federal authorities as well had concerns over slave high mortality and human trafficking, that is, organized crime.
It is worth the while to realize that the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and further Amendments are not just works of idealism or ― whatsoever ― any “political naïveté”.
They are works of conscious minds to have formulated substantial provisions for human dignity and thus economic prosperity, in a country to thrive.
In the perspective history now gives, it is hope to make a country by exploitation to look naive.
Major developments in the Civil War
We may learn more online and in libraries. The present-day US Flag is to symbolize the Union as the sustained US national form. READ ABOUT THE FLAG.
April 12-14, 1861
Confederate attack on Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina; fort taken;
April 19, 1861
The Union “Anaconda” blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts; Confederate trade and mobility limited;
March 9, 1862
The battle of the Hampton Roads to begin the ironclad warfare;
The “Four Axes” strategy; Gen. Ulysses Grant to capture Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, opening the Western Theater;
The Eastern Theater: Gen. Robert Lee to progress in his Northern Virginia and Maryland campaigns;
September 17, 1862
Union Gen. George McClellan stops Gen. Lee in the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg);
January 1, 1863
President Abraham Lincoln’s announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation;
July 1-3, 1863
Gen. Gordon Meade wins over Gen. Lee in the battle of Gettysburg;
November 19, 1863
President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address;
April 9, 1865
Gen. Grant receives the official surrender from Gen. Lee at the Appomattox Court House;
December 18, 1865
The 13th Amendment affirms that slavery is outlawed in the USA.
The War ended in year 1865. The USA united again. In the same year, John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate spy, assassinated president Lincoln.
1. “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.”
1a. Does the Declaration of Independence concern only males? [Idea]
1b. Does the Declaration require religious adherence for human rights? [Idea]
1c. Is the Pursuit of Happiness a term of legal systematics? [Idea]
2. “The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.”
2b. How can we sum up the causes for the Declaration? [Idea]
3. WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.
3a. Does the Declaration solicit a divine intervention? [Idea]
3b. Do we say the United Statesis, or the United Statesare? [Idea]
10. How can we compare the guidelines for legal practice, in Amendment 6 and Magna Carta? [Idea]
(Amendment 6) “In all Criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district …”
(Magna Carta) “No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land …”
11. How could we paraphrase Amendment 4 with the Infinitive? [Idea]
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
12. How could we paraphrase the verb shall in Amendment 6? [Idea]
“In all Criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
13. How can we comprehend the word enumeration in Amendment 9? [Idea]
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
1a. Obviously, the Declaration did not introduce a separate or unequal status for women. The word man alone denotes human kind. The plural, men, means human beings, not human kinds. The use comes from classic Latin translations. To refer to a male, the noun man requires an article or a determiner as a,the, or this. Examples: Man belongs with the Homo sapiens. The man can read. [Back]
1b. No, it absolutely does not. The Declaration states that all people are equal in human rights and monarchy is not a work of deity (saying also, “the separateandequal Station). The document addresses the royalist belief, into a divine right to rule. [Back]
1c. No, the Declaration never was meant to set out legislation. The document also says, “Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable”, and it never was meant to make laws for suffering. The Declaration remains the most famous document to invoke human happiness, within the law, among the incentives to form a country. [Back]
2a. The monarch was George III of the house of Hanover. Often remembered as “Mad King George”, reported by some British resources as ill with porphyria, the king personally decided on policies for America. [Back]
2b. George III disabled administration and justice in America. People were forced to give up on political representation, to obtain civilian status. The royalist military took local residents captive, exploited the land and the people, and were not held responsible. [Back]
3a. No, it does not. The definite article in the phrase “appealing for the Rectitude of our Intentions” says the Causes are righteous. A phrase as appealing for _ rectitude might have such implications. It does not occur. [Back]
3b. The phrase the United States isexpresses a unitary concept for a country, as for Germany or France, for example. The phrase the United States are summons up the idea of the country by the people and for the people. USA constituent states have considerable autonomy. Both phrases are grammatically correct. [Back]
4a. Word sense changes over time and the word people may help show it. The noun is derived from the Latin populus. It did not connote nationality in ancient times and often referred to laying waste or degrading: perpopulor, to devastate, pillage; populabilis, destructible. Ancient Rome was a militarist culture oriented to status.
Nowadays, the noun people means a group of human beings, or a nationality. As a group, it takes a plural verb: The people here all speak English. As a nationality or ethnicity, the noun may take on the plural itself: The peoples of Europe have formed a Union.
The word order also comes from Latin. It could mean a rank, group, or a class of people. Cicero’s Philippics have many examples. We use the phrase in order to when we want to tell why or for what purpose something or someone is. In the sense of a group or type, the word ordo did not have to bring associations with an arrangement, as in a line or queue.
The language of the Constitution is modern American English. The document opens with the phrase We, the people, meaning the people of the United States of America. The language of the Great Seal mottos is ancient Latin. It has the phrase Novus Ordo Seclorum, which can be comprehended as A New People Come, that is, a new nation has come into existence. Feel welcome to read A new people come. [Back]
4b. The Constitution addresses the issues named in the Declaration: establishes the legislative (Article 1), the executive (Article 2), as well as the judiciary (Article 3). It provides against absolutism, instituting impeachment from office. It limits potential by royalist or foreign influence, requiring of the Head of State to be a born American citizen, elected President in free elections. The maximum of two terms of four years in office discourages attempts at hereditary government. Article 4 guarantees a republican form of government, and Article 6 declares the Constitution the binding law of the land, denying the idea of a divine right to govern: no religious tests are allowed as qualifications for an office. Article 7 predicts ratification for adopting constitutional legislation. [Back]
5a. The phrase derives from a larger fragment, habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, dated on the English king Edward I. The writ ordered detainee cases to be evaluated in courts of law, with the persons present, to prevent indeterminate incarceration. The fragment is a Latin subjunctive and can be interpreted as (so) that you have the person in court. Similar phrases: habeas corpus ad respondendum, for the detainee to answer in proceedings; habeas corpus ad testificandum, for the detainee to testify. Nowadays, these are the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to guide administration of justice. [Back]
5b. The Habeas Corpus Parliament passed The Habeas Corpus Act in 1679, during the reign of Charles II. Habeas corpus is effective in the USA, England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Most countries have equivalent legislation, such as the Criminal Procedure Act in Scotland, or article 40.4 of the 1937 Irish Constitution. The European Convention on Human Rights, Article 5, says, “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.” [Back]
6. The word attainder comes from the French atteindre, to reach, hit. The bills allowed punishment without trial. They were banned as violating the principle of separation of powers. We may compare Montesquieu on the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary.
The Latin word factum meant a deed, act, or exploit. Retroactivity,as ex post facto laws are also called, is forbidden in the USA. Legality of an act may not be disputed with use of regulations adopted after the fact. [Back]
7. There have been disputes in the US over the scope of presidential military command. Obviously, in case of a war, it would not honor the civilian authority to have the president the rank of a corporal. However, in the Constitution, the phrase “when called into the actual service of the United States” would be redundant, should the command belong with the President simply as In Office.
The Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story wrote, “The propriety of admitting the president to be commander in chief, so far as to give orders, and have a general superintendency, was admitted. But it was urged, that it would be dangerous to let him command in person, without any restraint, as he might make a bad use of it. The consent of both houses of Congress ought, therefore, to be required, before he should take the actual command.”
Justice Robert Cooper Grier stated: “The President is not only authorized but bound to resist force by force. He does not initiate the war, but is bound to accept the challenge without waiting for any special legislative authority.” [Back]
8. The personal pronoun he remains is legal use for both genders. Here, it is an anaphora to refer to the President. Anaphoras refer back in discourse: “When called into the actual service, the President becomes Commander-in-Chief. He may require the opinion …”
Let us compare Article 5 of the European Convention: “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty …”
Modern linguistics proposes the forms he or she as well as s/he for short, to avoid anaphoric ambiguity. [Back]
9. The President has the right to pardon even capital punishment convicts. The limitation on impeachment is to prevent royalist practices that appointed irremovable officials. [Back]
10. Magna Carta does not say that detention is justifiable in criminal cases only. It also has forms of punishment that American codes reject, such as exile or mutilation. The Carta does not state that judgment requires lawyers, and the laws of the land do not provide for a proper place of judgment.
The Declaration describes, among the Causes, “FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury: FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences. The Declaration adds, HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.” The Carta never gave the idea as well as ideal for the Amendments. Read about the Bill of Rights. [Back]
11. The people have the right to be inviolably secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, and no Warrants are to be issued, unless upon a probable cause to be supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly to describe the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. [Back]
12. In all Criminal prosecutions, the law warrants a speedy and public trial for the accused, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime occurs; the law requires that the judiciary is identified by the administrative, the accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have witnesses in his favor, and to have legal Counsel for his defense. [Back]
13. The word enumeration comes from Latin. Latin numerals were letters of the alphabet. For example, X meant 10, XX meant 20. Nowadays also, enumeration does not have to mean digits. It often means naming, presenting.
The Founders realized the Constitution did not name all possible rights and it was impracticable for it to make all regulations. The Amendment says the fact a matter is presented (enumerated) in the Constitution does not make it more important than other rights the people have; the fact a particular right is not in the Constitution does not mean it belongs under federal powers. [Back]
The New York Congress passed the Bill of Rights in 1789. It became ratified on December 15, 1791. It is the Fifth Article of the Constitution to permit amendments, for the legislation to meet varied circumstances in human lives.
In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced December 15 the Bill of Rights Day, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Bill adoption.
The Bill of Rights, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, are also called the Charters of Freedom. We can view the original documents online, also at the National Archives, archives.gov.
Feel welcome to the NOTES on the typescript below.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved; and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit, in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign State.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.
The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as President, as in the case of death or other constitutional disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.
Sect. 1. Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Sect. 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Sect. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of Electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the Members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of Representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Sect. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or Elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a Member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a Member of any State Legislature, or as an Executive or Judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Sect. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Sect. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The Electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the Representation of any State in the Senate, the Executive Authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided that the Legislature of any State may empower the Executive thereof to make temporary appointments, until the people fill the vacancies by election as the Legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
Sect. 1. After one year from the ratification of this article, the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof, for beverage purposes, is hereby prohibited.
Sect. 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Sect. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of sex.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Sect. 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Sect. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly, until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
Sect. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President, whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
Sect. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
Sect. 6. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.
Sect. 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Sect. 2. The transportation or importation into any State, territory, or possession of the United States, for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
Sect. 3. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by Conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
Sect. 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President, shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative, from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Sect. 2. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.
Sect. 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
A number of Electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be Electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for Electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or any State, by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Sect. 1. In the case of removal of the President from office, or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Sect. 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President, who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Sect. 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Sect. 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the Executive departments, or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office, unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the Executive department, or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose, if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote, of both Houses, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
Sect. 1. The right of citizens of the United States who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of age.
Sect. 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
Specifically for the amendments, we may want to note that American punctuation is more syntactic than prosodic, nowadays. Therefore, the typescript shows Amendment 13 as,
Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Without the comma to separate the phrases neither slavery and nor involuntary servitude, as the original phrasing happens to be presented, modern American English might render the legislation as allowing slavery for a form of legal punishment, which is not true: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Let us mind that legislation is put to writing in Congress, during discussion, and “slips of the pen” may happen, they yet do not decide the law. Let us compare Amendment XXVI. The original script tells, The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of age.
Eighteen years of age is not a condition for American citizenship, and we can interpret the script as saying, The right of citizens of the United States who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged, by the United States or by any State, on account of age.
Finally, we can get advice on the difference between which and that, in modern American English. As the conjunction which has not gone out of use, there is no need to “modernize” the Constitution or amendments, and we can have the thing for a matter of style. In simple words, we may fit in better with speakers of American, using the conjunction that when it adds to clarity. Feel welcome to compare forum discussions.
A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.
Thomas Paine, Common Sense JUMP TO INSPIRATION WITH THOMAS PAINE.
Members of the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Constitution became effective in year 1789. JUMP TO THE MAKING OF THE CONSTITUTION
Law is made also of language, and all natural languages change. It has been about 230 years, since the Constitution was written.
Today, most people interpret “chusing” as “choosing”, “controul” as “control”, and speakers of American English would think “honor” and “behavior”, rather than “honour” and “behaviour”. Prints of the Constitution also vary in their uses of big letters, or punctuation.
It does not mean the people or prints change the content. Our text as well, does not re-invent the Constitution. It combines the parchment and the print, and brings the form to the standard of today, yet takes all the language uses from the Constitution itself. JUMP TO THE NOTES
Part 3 of our grammar course invites work on the grammatical article, definite and indefinite. Feel welcome to the Constitution in modern American English.
The Constitution in modern American English
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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 choose 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.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided, as equally as may be, into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen, by resignation or otherwise, during the recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.
Judgment, in cases of impeachment, shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit, under the United States; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to law.
Section 4. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Section 5. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties, as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no person holding any office under the United States shall be a member of either House, during his continuance in office.
Section 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approves, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two-thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted), after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment), shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be re-passed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
Section 8. The Congress shall have power:
To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by the Congress;
To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of the Congress, become the seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings; — And,
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Section 9. The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight; but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.
No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State.
No preference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce or revenue, to ports of one State over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.
No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Section 10. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.
No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress.
No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
Section 1. The Executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.
The electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.
The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes, which day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No person, except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President; and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation, or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
Section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the Executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices; and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law. But the Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper, in the President alone, in courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
Section 3. He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.
Section 4. The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Section 1. The Judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. Judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Section 2. The Judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made under their authority; to all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more States; between a State and citizens of another State; between citizens of different States; between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States; and between a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens, or subjects.
In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the State where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.
Section 3. Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on the confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.
Section 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
Section 2. Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on demand of the Executive authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.
No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.
Section 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by a junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations, respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed, as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section 4. The United States shall guarantee, to every State in this Union, a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.
The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or, on the application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing amendments; which, in either case, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three-fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses, in the ninth section of the first article; and that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
All debts contracted, and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and members of the several State Legislatures, and all Executive and Judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, under the United States.
The ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.
Notes to the modern American text
We can relate the grammatical articles, definite and indefinite, to semantic categories and types. We may regard the definite article as akin to the Greek τώς, meaning “in this wise” (please see Perseus).
A semantic category might embrace a type: We,the people of the United States…
The type, the people of the United States, would belong with a wider notion, that of people generally. Our semantic category here can be the human being, homo sapiens.
Classic grammar guidance, as it was 230 years ago and still happens to be today, has tended to regard the articles structurally.
When we want to expand our phrases with the particle of, classic grammar would favor the definite article, unless we are clearly unspecific: those bound to service fora term ofyears…
Accordingly, the Constitution would have a clause as No preference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce or revenue, tothe ports ofone State over those of another;
Modern American English is becoming more and more generative, also in grammatical guidance.
A phrase as the portsof a State
might imply we select from portsof a State.
In other words, if we used identical phrasing, only without mention about the Constitution, we would most probably suggest there is a type of ports we choose from within a set.
The Constitution itself has a phrasing we can follow also today, nor shallvesselsbound to, or from one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.
The sense for both ports and vessels is that of a set, not type. The words are only in different syntactic structures.
The classic, phrasal idea — to use the definite article the in phrases with the possessive of — will fail in matters as everyday and usual as telling about a son/ daughter of, or the son/ daughter of.
Example: Ason ofasmith I hear you’re looking for someone good to take care of the horseshoes.
Meet John,atrue son ofasmith.
Our set here is open: a true son of a smith
would mean aperson with a talent for metalworking.
Example: Theson ofasmith All Tom’s boys have gone different walks,
only Mark isthetrue son ofa smith.
Our set here is closed:
Mark is a person we specify with a regard.
We can join our perceptions on the articles with those on big or small letters, that is, capitalization.
Let us think about our rationale for spellings as the House ofRepresentatives, theSenate, or theSupremeCourt.
If we said it is for a highlight or respect, we would be highlighting or respecting Nazis, or Adolf Hitler, for example.
If we said it is for the specific geographic locality, a phrase as the Congress is not in session would not make sense: the Capitol Hill itself cannot debate, anyway.
Let us compare.
The Congress shall have power to make rules for thegovernment and regulation of the land and naval forces.
When the talk is about a body of people at work, we use big letters. When it is the work itself we speak or write about, we can stay with the regular, small letter.
To close a set, we can have the form of government for our regard (Greek politeia), along with Montesquieu’s TRIPARTITE GOVERNMENTAL POWER, as the power to make laws, the power to put the laws to work, and the power to judge if the laws work well.
We can close our set with regard to politeia, and spell theLegislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary.
We can compare Amendment XI: TheJudicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit, in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign State.
Parchment and print, let us return to Article IV, Section 2. Thecitizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
Today, a phrase as the citizens of a State would be likely interpreted as “some citizens”.
We can compare the phrase, wethepeople, where people generally, or people in the world entire can be our category. A phrase as “citizens of the world” could be only a figure of speech, however.
Further, being a citizen of a State equals being a citizen of the United States, which always was the original idea, and has had further expression in Amendment XIV, Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
Importantly, American English was becoming more generative already at the time the Constitution was being written and printed.
Let us compare Article III, Section 2: The Judicial power shall extend (…) to controversies between a State andcitizensof another State; betweencitizensof different States; betweencitizensof the same State claiming lands under grants of different States; and between a State, orthe citizensthereof, and foreign States, citizens, or subjects.
For the only use of the definite article, in the phrase, orthecitizens thereof, we may compare the use of the definite article for the tripartite form of governmental power, theLegislative,theExecutive, and theJudiciary.
Article IV Section 2 does not imply varied recognition for member States, or actually invoke State political authorities at all, hence Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
Let us compare a syntactically identical context, in Article III, Section 1, where the classic and phrasal definite article before the noun judges also might suggest choice from within a set today, therefore: Judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior…
To paraphrase, we would say all judges ever to become Supreme Justices, not all the judges, just as we would say all citizens of a State, not all the citizens of a State, for Article IV Section 2.
We may refer to Article II, Section 3: The President shall commission allthe officersof the United States.
There are also non-commissioned officers, in the USA.
Let us compare Article II, Section 2. The President (…) shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls,Judges of the Supreme Court,and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law.
Following the classicist canon and saying, The President (…) shall nominate, and (…) appointthe Judges of the Supreme Court, might imply that Supreme Judges could be changed even every four years.
As the President is a President in office,the Judges would be those to work during the term.
This never has been and is not likely to become the understanding of the law. The need for the Judiciary independence is one of the issues named in the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
“HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.”
We may note that the definite grammatical article, for Article III Section 1, as well as Article IV Section 2, comes with the beginning of the sentence, both in the parchment and John Carter print. The Judges (…) shall hold their offices during good behavior… The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities…
The matter looks that of the grammatical canon of the time, if we compare the generative phrasing of Article II, Section 2, He shall (…) appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, or Article III Section 2, presented above.
For the Constitution generally, we can follow John Carter’s capitalization to quite an extent: Ambassadors and Consuls are members of the diplomatic corps, and Ministers are members of Executive bodies.
The Constitution does not name the army and navy as particular corps, but as two major designations for the armed Executive. However, the phrase “judges in every State” does not refer to a particular body, either.
Prediction on procedures would encourage the definite article.
Let us mind not to mistake this prediction with PROCEDURAL KNOWLEDGE, as defined in psychology today. Quite another way round, procedural knowledge is defined as that we form by doing, and declarative lore is the talk we know on problem solving.
The Congress shall have power to provide forthe punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States.
The Constitution has generative flexibility also with this regard, however. Article IV Section 4 says: The United States shall guarantee, to every State in this Union, a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and,on applicationof the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.
Article V says: The Congress, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or,on the applicationof the Legislatures of two-thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing amendments.
In Article V, the phrase the application refers to the specific context that precedes directly, that of proposing amendments.
Let us mind the cognitive regards, however. The First Amendment says, Congressshall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
If we said, the Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, we might hint at the other sets within US governmental powers, the Executive or Judiciary, to make such regulations.
The Amendment does not imply any such power.
We may recur to our idea for a semantic category: the notion people can be our semantic category for the people of the United States.
A category allows perception without redundancy. We do not need to refer to other objects of thought. We could say, People are not animals. Animals would be another, separate category.
We can think that categories allow making semantic heads. The use as Congressshall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, would have Congress for the semantic head, without reference to other governmental powers.
We may compare phrases as in Congress assembled, or during the session of Congress, where the context does not require reference to the Executive or Judiciary.
Our category might be legislation.
Finally, classic grammars may interpret the verb form “shall” for a “false imperative” or a word to express actually a resolve.
The Oxford Learners Dictionary says it is a Modal verb that shows we “are determined”, or we want “to give an order or instruction”.
We absolutely cannot believe that for American English.
The Constitution says, The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the State where the saidcrimes shall have been committed.
Let us think how the story began. In British English, the word form “shall” actually belonged with monarchy, for quite a proportion of time.
Early Anglo-Saxon poetry would tell about “a king who shall win a queen”. To use the verb with the first person singular, that is, to say I shall, one had to be a royal or in the service. Otherwise, they were the “mad Bedlam”.
British commoners and other people, if they used the verb form “shall”, it was mostly with the third person, he, she, or it. For own resolves, the verb form “will” prevailed.
With American liberty and freedom, human ability to say I will grew stronger; the verb form “will” became fit for the third person, he, she, or it, to tell about high probability as well.
The verb form “shall” has become suppositive. In the Constitution, it belongs with contexts we also can think “if”, or “when the circumstance is”, too.
“Shall” became used to prefigure on matters already at the time the Constitution was written. This kind of thinking involves a default premise.
To interpret “crimes shall have been committed”, we assume the premise: ifcrimes become committed. The Constitutional clause — also common sense — is not a recommendation to commit a felony or crime.
The subjunctive along the verb form “shall” has become purely a matter of style, in modern American English.
The verb form anyway renders a supposition, and there is no king or queen figure psychologically to bind the third person — the classic canon continues to be forwarded without a premise — hence, Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before itbecomesa law, be presented to the President of the United States; if heapproves, he shall sign it.
The President’s signature is necessary as well as sufficient, to pass a law.
It is the Constitution itself to offer the use: When the President of the United Statesistried, the Chief Justiceshall preside.
Part 4 of our Travel in Grammar may have more.
The style of noting on the date of the document, which included the phrase “year of our Lord”, is no longer in use for State legislation, and I keep it only in my replica of John Carter print.
John Carter printed the Constitution in 1787, following a resolve by the General Assembly for Rhode Island and Providence:
It is voted and resolved, that the report of the Convention, lately held at Philadelphia, proposing a new Constitution for the United States of America, be printed as soon as may be; that the following number of copies be sent to the several town clerks in the State, to be distributed among the inhabitants, that the freemen may have an opportunity of forming their sentiments of the said proposed Constitution.
His manner to divide words might have been purposed to help discussion and quoting: except people’s names (where letter characters are spaced equally and as the column allows), the right brim of each column can help find matters of competence by the several States.
We can read in Thomas Paine, the Constitution is a Continental Charter to draw the line of business and jurisdiction between them (the States).
Poster replicas of the United States Constitution print by John Carter, exclusive of characters ſ and ∫ (s); font Adobe Caslon Pro 14pt, character spacing +0.7pt on average, kerning 14pt and above, indentation 8pt LEX (Latin for law, please see Perseus); line height 1; poster size 1687×2795 pixels; content width-to-height ratio approx. 65%, as in the original layout.
I used his layout to present the Constitution in modern American English. Feel welcome to the entire portfolio. It has source HTML files, to allow editing before print: I do not claim my presentation has to be perfect. FREE, PUBLIC DOMAIN POSTERS — PORTFOLIO.
John Carter spelled “secrecy” as “ſecreſy”; “secresy” was a variant for “secrecy” at the time. “Controul” was a variant for “control”.
The print spelling “ensure” compares with “encrease”; the parchment spells “insure”. A document is more likely to insure than to ensure, in the sense of the word today, and this is my resolve for the content in modern American English.
However, the Latin word sensus never has been used for a census, spelled with a “c” in the parchment. I do not render the print error in my poster. Let us mind the print was done “soon as might be”.
Carter print also has spellings as “defence”, “behaviour”, or “honour”, nowadays associated with British English.
The change in American spellings was taking place already at the time of his print. We can compare The Declaration of Independence: it says “honor”. John Carter most probably did not want a dispute over spellings to distract people from the Constitutional matter at hand.
The parchment capitalizes nouns, that is, spells them with big initial letters, similarly to the Declaration of Independence. It does not capitalize adjectives.
Feel welcome to read about the Declaration of Independence, too. TYPESCRIPT DATA
I present both the Declaration and the Constitution parchment in typescripts. A typescript renders the document sense and structural design, but not always the details of form. A transcript copies the document letter-for-letter.
The purpose of making a typescript rather than a transcript is to skip the clerk’s “slips of the pen”. There are only a few in the Constitution parchment, and the document shows mastery in the notation style generally.
We can see a transcript at the National Archives. CONSTITUTION PARCHMENT TRANSCRIPT, US NATIONAL ARCHIVES
There is no need to keep the slips, to read and learn. The parchment has the common defence, enumeration, vacancies, the Executive Authority, removal from Office and disqualification, Office of honor, and a few more.
They might prove distracting, in language work.
We do not capitalize in phrases as from day to day or from time to time, as they are adverbials of time. We can compare the phrase in the mean time, in the Declaration.
The initial phrase, We, the People, does not have the comma in the calligraphic. John Cater print has it, and it would be everywhere in similar contexts, also in the times the Constitution was being written. I include it in the typescript.
Typescription is an up-to-date thing, therefore, the date format is adjusted. Source HTML allows change.
USA legal thought and inspiration with Thomas Paine
The Declaration of Independence
Declaring American independence was legal. It would have been without the Declaration that the War of Independence might be termed a rebellion.
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.
Were a manifest to be published, and despatched to foreign courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured, and the peaceable methods we have ineffectually used for redress; declaring, at the same time, that not being able, any longer, to live happily or safely under the cruel disposition of the British court, we had been driven to the necessity of breaking off all connections with her; at the same time, assuring all such courts of our peacable disposition towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade with them: Such a memorial would produce more good effects to this Continent, than if a ship were freighted with petitions to Britain.
Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance.
But there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is, the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. (…) As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of Scripture.
I offer the following extracts from that wise observer on governments, Dragonetti. “The science” says he “of the politician consists in fixing the true point of happiness and freedom. Those men would deserve the gratitude of ages, who should discover a mode of government that contained the greatest sum of individual happiness, with the least national expense.”
…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes. ‘Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it.
Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
But the most powerful of all arguments, is, that nothing but independance, i. e. a Continental form of government, can keep the peace of the Continent and preserve it inviolate from civil wars.
The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience to Continental government, as is sufficient to make every reasonable person easy and happy on that head.
Philadelphia Convention and Constitution
A government of our own is our natural right: And when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.
Let the assemblies be annual, with a President only. The representation more equal. Their business wholly domestic, and subject to the authority of a Continental Congress.
Let each colony be divided into six, eight, or ten, convenient districts, each district to send a proper number of delegates to Congress, so that each colony send at least thirty. The whole number in Congress will be least 390.
And in order that nothing may pass into a law but what is satisfactorily just, not less than three-fifths of the Congress to be called a majority (The argument overall being on the need for a large representation, TPelka).
But as there is a peculiar delicacy, from whom, or in what manner, this business must first arise, and as it seems most agreeable and consistent that it should come from some intermediate body between the governed and the governors, that is, between the Congress and the people, let a CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE be held, in the following manner, and for the following purpose.
A committee of twenty-six members of Congress, viz. two for each colony. Two members for each House of Assembly, or Provincial Convention; and five representatives of the people at large, to be chosen in the capital city or town of each province, for, and in behalf of the whole province, by as many qualified voters as shall think proper to attend from all parts of the province for that purpose; or, if more convenient, the representatives may be chosen in two or three of the most populous parts thereof. In this conference, thus assembled, will be united, the two grand principles of business, KNOWLEDGE and POWER. The members of Congress, Assemblies, or Conventions, by having had experience in national concerns, will be able and useful counsellors, and the whole, being impowered by the people, will have a truly legal authority.
The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a CONTINENTAL CHARTER, or Charter of the United Colonies; (answering to what is called the Magna Charta of England) fixing the number and manner of choosing members of Congress, members of Assembly, with their date of sitting, and drawing the line of business and jurisdiction between them: (Always remembering, that our strength is Continental, not provincial:) Securing freedom and property to all men, and above all things, the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; with such other matter as is necessary for a charter to contain. Immediately after which, the said Conference to dissolve, and the bodies which shall be chosen comformable to the said charter, to be the legislators and governors of this Continent for the time being: Whose peace and happiness, may God preserve, Amen.
George Washington’s letter to the Continental Congress
It is obviously impracticable, in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained.
For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. (The use here is to denote: in other cases, too; TPelka)
The object, contended for, ought always to bear some just proportion to the expense.
In all our deliberations on this subject, we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which are involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence.
It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world. The Continent hath, at this time, the largest body of armed and disciplined men of any power under Heaven; and is just arrived at that pitch of strength, in which, no single colony is able to support itself, and the whole, when united, can accomplish the matter.
The word CONSTITUTION comes from the Latin CONSTITUTO, I set out, establish. In ancient times, “constitutions” were edicts issued by mostly despotic rulers. The ancients happened to incise those notices in stone, as there was no print.
When a ruler or authority wanted to change an ordnance, he or she ordered another stone carved. Nowadays, only some researchers would use the word “constitution” for an ancient decree as the Roman Twelve Tables.
The Tables are speculated to have had rules for ancient plebeians to memorize. We are more dignified than mere memorization, in our language journey. Grammatical work with the text can help remember it really well.
Initially, the States had the ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION AND PERPETUAL UNION. They were adopted in 1777, yet became ratified by all thirteen states in 1781. The Articles failed to help manage the economy and other federal matters.
However, the Revolutionary War was not ended yet. It was after American freedom from England became affirmed in the TREATY OF PARIS, in 1783, there was more time to think about a government for the country.
The CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ― also known as the Philadelphia Convention, or the Federal Convention ― began in 1787. The Constitution came into power in 1789. Rhode Island ratified the Constitution in 1790, as the last of the initial 13 States.
(Part 3 of our grammar journey invites work on nouns.)
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776.
BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
IN GENERAL CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.
WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
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.— –That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
HE has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
HE has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
HE has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.
HE has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.
HE has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.
HE has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their Exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.
HE has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
HE has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.
HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.
HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the Consent of our Legislatures.
HE has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
HE has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation :
FOR quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us :
FOR protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States :
FOR cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World :
FOR imposing Taxes on us without our Consent :
FOR depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury :
FOR transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences :
FOR abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government, and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies :
FOR taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments :
FOR suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever :
HE has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
HE has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
HE is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
HE has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their Friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
HE has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.
IN every Stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every Act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.
NOR have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable Jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native Justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.
WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Signed by ORDER and in BEHALF of the CONGRESS,
JOHN HANCOCK, PRESIDENT.
CHARLES THOMSON, SECRETARY.
John Dunlap printed the Declaration on the day the Second Continental Congress adopted it.
There is a distinct change in wording from this original broadside printing of the Declaration and the final official engrossed copy. The word “unanimous” was inserted as a result of a Congressional resolution passed on July 19, 1776,
The heading, The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America, yet remains the only difference from the print:
It was the print the people received, preparing for the prospective warfare, and none of the states was taken hostage by the resolve of the 4th, anyway.
As the original ink was fading, printer William J. Stone was commissioned in 1820 to create an identical engraving. He used a wet-ink transfer process. His copy is used for most presentations of the Declaration today.
The Declaration came after attempts to conciliate with England. The Olive Branch Petition was one of those efforts. Thomas Jefferson wrote the “original rough draught” of the Declaration in June 1776. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were among the text co-editors.
The purpose of the typescript is not correction. No one might correct a historic document. The typescript is to show nominal structures consistently.
The Philadelphia printer, bookseller, and Revolutionary War soldier, John Dunlap made about 200 copies. He was evidently well capable of the print style, yet had very little time.
The style capitalized nominals, that is, printed nouns and forms to derive from nouns with big letters.
Italics show the original. … a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes …
Please compare the “light and transient Causes”.
… whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise …
Result of time limitations, as above.
… the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within …
We may compare the “mean time” and the adverbial “meanwhile”
Noun phrases as “Judiciary Powers”, “Standing Armies”, or “Civil Powers” embrace the adjective owing to denotation, that is, reference in reality.
HE has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.
We may compare the “Consent of the Governed”, as above in the original. “The Governed” means people, persons. The structure works in language as a noun, hence the capital letter.
FOR quartering … protecting … cutting off … imposing …
Gerundive forms are not capitalized, as they derive from verbs. We may compare the verb phrase “Petitioned for Redress”: it derives from the noun phrase “Petition for Redress”.
… already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy …
Please compare “Circumstances of our Emigration”.
… constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive …
The phrase refers to the condition of being hostage, prisoner. The word “captive” means “prisoner”, a noun.
… whose Character is thus marked by every act …
We may compare “Acts of pretended Legislation”, and “Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right”.
… the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled …
The adjective “assembled” belongs with the phrase “Assembled General Congress”.
… solemnly Publish and Declare …
Please compare the comment for the “Petiton for Redress”, above.
… That these United Colonies …
The Declaration style is oratorial, it relates to spoken language.
…And for the support of this Declaration …
Please mind the time limitations the circumstances imposed on the print.
The print uses the colon the way we mostly use the semi-colon nowadays.
The governing body of the American democracy is the Congress. It comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is located in the Capitol Hill, in the picture above.
The Capitol Hill is located in Washington, District Columbia, D. C. in short. The District is the seat of United States federal authority.
The Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the United States,
says the Constitution.
Some interpreters mistake the area for 10 square miles (screenshot, Polish PARLIAMENT WEBSITE, source: SEJM.GOV.PL). We set a square of 10 miles on each side, for a ten miles square. The area is 100 square miles then.
Many researchers derive democracy from ancient Greece. How could we compare ancient Greece and modern America?
Ancient Greeks actually developed a proto-democracy: they happened to have kings and queens, depended on military leaders and bequeathed elitism.
America is a democracy. There have been no kings or queens of the USA. The head of the state is the President. The President resides in the White House.
Washington D.C. is the capital of the USA. District Columbia is on the American East Coast.
The constitutional reallocation of powers created a new form of government, unprecedented under the sun. Every previous national authority either had been centralized or else had been a confederation of sovereign states. The new American system was neither one nor the other; it was a mixture of both,
wrote historian Forrest McDonald
on the FEDERALIST reflections by JAMES MADISON.
The new form of government is DEMOCRACY,
more advanced than Greek prototypes.