Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Corona Constitution Class: Introduction to the Bill of Rights


Tonight's Class will be at 6:00 pm
CARSTAR/AllStar Collision
522 Railroad Street
Corona, CA

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs




Lesson 12
Bill of Rights: Introduction to, and Incorporation of

Introduction to the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights does not guarantee your rights, nor was it designed to allow the federal government to protect your rights.  The language used in the first ten amendments is clear.  The 1st Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law…”  The 2nd Amendment ends with the words, “…shall not be infringed.”  The 3rd Amendment begins, “No Soldier shall…”  The key phrase in the 4th Amendment is “shall not be violated.”  The entire Bill of Rights was designed to confirm what the first seven articles had already established.  The federal government was granted only certain authorities, and for the purpose of clarity, the Bill of Rights was written to reinforce the concept that the federal government has no business infringing upon the rights of the people.  The federal government is not charged with protecting those rights, or guaranteeing those rights, anywhere in the Bill of Rights.  The first ten amendments were written to tell the federal government, “Hands off, do not touch, thou shalt not.”

The concept that the federal government exists to guarantee our rights, or protect our rights, emerged after the ratification of the 14th Amendment.  The Civil War Amendment tasked the federal government with ensuring the newly emancipated slaves were treated fairly, and that their rights were protected – even at the State level.  In an effort to capitalize on that idea, the courts got involved to ensure that the former slave States behaved.  The southern States, the North was convinced, could not be trusted, and often the South confirmed the lack of confidence the Union States harbored with laws designed to get around the new restrictions placed upon them.

After the American Civil War, the three amendments proposed and ratified to protect the emancipated slaves were specifically designed for the purpose of ensuring the newly freed slaves were treated equally in the eyes of the law.  Statism, however, seized upon the ideas planted by Congressman John Bingham, and through the courts worked to weave an intricate tapestry that would change the culture of the United States from a union of voluntary members, to a nation of states joined in an unbreakable union.  The country no longer resembled the union of sovereign states it had once been, and instead became a nation held together by the statist consequences of the ravages of war.

The federal government telling States what they can and can’t do regarding our rights opens a Pandora’s Box the framers of the Constitution never intended to be breached.  By allowing the federal government to dictate to the States what they can and can’t do regarding rights, even with the best of intentions, the precedent is established allowing federal control.  A federal government that can force a State to behave in an acceptable manner can later dictate to a State to follow a federal mandate designed to reduce your access to your rights.

As President Gerald Ford once wisely said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

A significant segment of the Founding Fathers believed the Bill of Rights to be unnecessary.  The first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution were written in such a way that the concerns of the Anti-Federalists had been addressed, but they still feared that the federal government would compromise the natural rights of the citizens if a Bill of Rights was not included in the Constitution.

The Constitution was written in a manner that allowed the new federal government only the authorities granted to it by the Law of the Land.  Regarding arms, for example, the possession of guns was never an issue granted to the federal government in the first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution, therefore the federal government had no authority to restrict guns in any way, shape, or form.  The Anti-Federalists, however, did not believe the federal government would abide by the limitation of authorities placed on the United States Government, and demanded that a Bill of Rights be written.  Failure to provide a Bill of Rights, indicated the Anti-Federalists, would result in a failure of those States dominated by Anti-Federalists to ratify the new Constitution.

The Framers of the Constitution, understanding that without the critical approval of the Anti-Federalists, the new Constitution would never be ratified, agreed to include a Bill of Rights.  James Madison was asked to gather the amendments to be proposed and potentially ratified by the States, and use them to write a Bill of Rights.

Originally, there were a large number of amendments proposed, but the final proposal that went to the States for ratification was narrowed down to twelve amendments.  Only ten were ratified.  Of the remaining two, one regarding apportionment remains unratified, and the other became the Twenty-Seventh Amendment in 1992.

The debates over the adoption of the Constitution found the Anti-Federalists fearful that as drafted, the Constitution created a central government that may have the opportunity to become a tyranny.  These fears were based on the memory of the British violation of basic civil rights before and during the American Revolution.  With past British tyranny as a frame of reference, the Anti-Federalists demanded that a "bill of rights" be written that would clarify without question the immunities of individual citizens.  Though the amendments of the Bill of Rights were not proposed until 1789, several state conventions during their ratification conventions ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.

One of the fears regarding the proposal of the Bill of Rights was that by trying to protect specific rights, it might imply that any unmentioned rights would not be protected.  It was believed by many that as a result, the Bill of Rights was actually unnecessary, for in the British system of common law natural rights were not defined, nor quantified.  Adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution may actually limit the rights of the people to those listed in the Constitution.  As a result of this argument, included in the Bill of Rights is the Ninth Amendment, which indicates that rights not enumerated would also be protected.

Another argument against the Bill of Rights is that the ten amendments muddy the waters of the Constitution, because the first seven articles were designed to grant authorities to the federal government, and if an authority is not granted, the federal government does not have that power.  The Bill of Rights tells the federal government what it cannot do.  This enables those who oppose the Constitution to claim that the Constitution does not only grant express powers.  By focusing on the Bill of Rights, the opposition responds to constitutional challenges with the question, “Where in the Constitution does it say the federal government can’t do that?”  Considering the Bill of Rights was not even necessary, this provides unnecessary ammunition to those that oppose the Constitution.
Terms:
Anti-Federalists - Opposed to formation of a federal government, particularly by adoption of the Constitution of the United States.

Arms - Weapons, firearms; a gun that may be used for protection of property or as part of a militia.

Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution; a formal summary of those rights and liberties considered essential to a people or group of people.

Common Law - The part of English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes, able to be changed by the whims of the governed, or their representatives.

Enumerated - Counted or told, number by number; reckoned or mentioned by distinct particulars.

Questions for Discussion:
  1. Why does the Constitution offer the opportunity for both oaths, and affirmations?
2.                                                                                                               Why did some of the Founding Fathers consider the Bill of Rights unnecessary?
3.   What did the Anti-Federalists think of the creation of the federal government?  Why?
4.  Why were the Founding Fathers willing to add the Bill of Rights even though they believed the
      amendments to be unnecessary?
Resources:
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder’s Constitution –
Volume Five – Amendments 1-12; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)

The Charters of Freedom: The Bill of Rights, National Archives and
Records Administration: http://archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html

Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights was originally intended to be applied only to the federal government.  Even the most ardent opponent to the originalist view of the Constitution concedes that it is commonly understood that originally the Bill of Rights was not intended to apply to the States whatsoever.  The text of the U.S. Constitution does not necessarily clearly exhibit that the Bill of Rights was only intended to apply to the federal government, but a deep study of the text of the first ten amendments, and the various writings of the Founding Fathers on the topic, reveals without a doubt that the Bill of Rights was indeed originally intended to only apply to the federal government.

Though even the most ardent opponent of the United States Constitution will admit that the Bill of Rights was originally intended to only apply to the federal government, the rule of inapplicability to the States was abandoned by statists after 1868, when it became argued that the 14th Amendment changed this rule, and served to extend most of the Bill of Rights to the States.

The section of the 14th Amendment that has been interpreted to extend the Bill of Rights to the States comes from the second sentence of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which reads:

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.”

Through a series of court rulings, the Supreme Court has changed the Constitution by applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the States.  The process over the time period since the ratification of the 14th Amendment which works to apply the Bill of Rights to the States through court rulings and written opinions is called “The Incorporation of the Bill of Rights.”

The Bill of Rights was originally not meant to be a guarantee of individual freedoms at all, but a limitation of federal authority against our God given rights.  In other words, the Bill of Rights was not written for the people, but for the federal government as a means of telling the federal government what it cannot do in regards to our unalienable rights.

Why not apply these amendments to the States as well?

The States already had a Bill of Rights in their own State Constitutions (and those that did not have a constitution yet, did include a Bill of Rights later).  The Founding Fathers were confident that the people of the States could control their own State officials, and would be involved in their local governments.  The people did not fear their local governments acting in a tyrannical manner similar to the potential of a centralized government system.  Their fears were of the new and distant central government.

Originally, parts of the first amendments proposed by James Madison did in fact address the States, seeking to limit the State governments with provisions such as, "No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases."  The parts of the Bill of Rights that sought to be applied to the powers of the States, however, were not approved by Congress, and therefore were not a part of the proposed amendments to the States.

The Bill of Rights was understood, at its ratification, to be a bar on the actions of the federal government.  Prior to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States by the courts as based on their interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the States, and was never intended to be fully applied to the States.
The argument used, despite original intent, that the Bill of Rights must also apply to the States is based more on philosophy, than historical evidence.  One of the philosophical standpoints used is that if the specific rights given in the Bill of Rights are based on the more general rights to life, liberty, and property which in turn are considered to be God-given and unalienable, then State governments do not have the authority to infringe on those rights any more than can the federal government.

The argument, however, simply suggests that the Bill of Rights ought to apply at the State level, not that it originally did.

If the Bill of Rights originally only applied to the Federal Government, and over time has changed to be something that was applicable on the State level through court decisions, the reality is that the Constitution itself has never allowed the Bill of Rights to be applied to the States.  The change was done by judicial means, meaning that the Constitution has been changed by judicial activism.  The problem, however, is that according to the Constitution, the only way to change the Constitution is through an amendment process.  Therefore, the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States occurred unconstitutionally.

This returns us to the argument that the 14th Amendment is the source and authority of the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States.  The Supreme Court's first ruling regarding the scope of the 14th Amendment, and if the amendment enables the Bill of Rights to be applied to the States, was rendered in the Slaughterhouse Cases just five years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868.  A five to four vote by the high court interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause to be the authority they needed to enforce The Bill of Rights against the States.  Subsequent cases also used the 14th Amendment as an authority for incorporation.  During the early twentieth century a number of court cases, using the arguments referencing the 14th Amendment, began selectively incorporating some of the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights while rejecting the incorporation of others.

The courts, through this process of incorporating The Bill of Rights to the States, have changed the Constitution through unconstitutional means, and against original intent.  As originally intended, all provisions in the U.S. Constitution apply to the federal government, unless otherwise noted.  The Bill of Rights was originally intended to apply only to the federal government, and if we are to remain in line with the original intent of the Founding Fathers, State sovereignty must remain protected by that original intent.

Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio was the primary author of the first section of the 14th amendment, and it was his personal intention the Bill of Rights be applied to the States as well.  His argument was that it was necessary in order to secure the civil rights of the newly appointed slaves.  However, most of the representatives during the five months of debate on the floor of Congress argued against incorporating the Bill of Rights to the States, and so when the amendment was agreed upon for proposal, the majority of those involved intended for the 14th Amendment to not influence how the Bill of Rights was applied.  In the beginning, the courts ruled that the Amendment did not extend the Bill of Rights to the States.  It was after the realization that Black Codes were emerging in the South that the courts decided for the purpose of protecting the civil rights of the emancipated slaves, they would begin to apply parts of the Bill of Rights to the States.
Terms:
Black Codes - Laws put in place in the United States after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks.

Incorporation of the Bill of Rights - The process through court rulings based on the interpretation of the 14th Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to the States.

Judicial Activism - When judges violate the Separation of Powers through their rulings; when a judge rules legislatively by modifying or striking down a law using the unconstitutional authority of judicial review.

Original Intent - Original meaning of the United States Constitution as intended by the framers during the Federal Convention of 1787, and the subsequent State Ratification Conventions.

Originalist view of the Constitution - View that the Constitution as written should be interpreted in a manner consistent with what was meant by those who drafted and         ratified it.

Questions for Discussion:

1.   Why is the originalist view of the Constitution so important?

2.   How have Statists changed the Constitution through the courts over the last two hundred years?

3.   What is the only legal way to change the Constitution?

4.   Why is the Bill of Rights not a guarantee of individual freedoms?

5.   From where do our rights come from?

6.   How did the Black Codes play a part in the incorporation of the Bill of Rights?

Resources:

14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Civil Rights (1868), Our
Documents dot gov: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=43

Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was to Protect All Rights (argument
supporting incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States), Constitution dot org (2000): http://www.constitution.org/col/intent_14th.htm

Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder’s Constitution –
Volume Five – Amendments 1-12; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)

Richard L. Aynes, On Misreading John Bingham and the Fourteenth
Amendment (1993): http://www.constitution.org/lrev/aynes_14th.htm

The Fourteenth Amendment and Incorporation, The Tenth Amendment
Center (2010): http://newyork.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/05/the-14th-amendment-and-incorporation/

To Whom Does The Bill Of Rights Apply?, Lew Rockwell dot com
(2005): http://www.lewrockwell.com/browne/browne27.html

What is the Bill of Rights?, About dot com Civil Liberties (argument
supporting incorporation of Bill of Rights to the States: http://civilliberty.about.com/od/historyprofiles/f/what_is_bill.htm
Copyright 2015 Douglas V. Gibbs

Breakfast in Beaumont

Okay, technically it's in Banning. I should be arriving at about 8:30 am to attend the Banning-Beaumont-Cherry Valley Tea Party weekly breakfast meeting.  Join us.

Farm's House Restaurant
6261 Joshua Palmer Way
Banning, California

I will be wearing my Trump on a Tank shirt.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Constitution Radio with Douglas V. Gibbs: Leftist Insanity

Constitution Radio    
with Douglas V. Gibbs 


Special Guest: Arkady Faktorovich

KMET 1490-AM 
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  • California Democrat Proposes Bill Calling for Compulsory Voting
    • Should Voting be a Legal Obligation?
    • Assemblyman Marc Levine introduced a bill last week that would essentially require every registered voter to cast a ballot -- even if it's an empty one.
    • Levine wrote in a news release addressing the proposal, known as AB 2070, that other nations such as Belgium and Australia already have rules about compulsory ballot casting, and the United States -- or at least California -- should join them.
    • "Democracy is not a spectator sport -- it requires the active participation of all its citizens," said Levine, a Democrat representing parts of Marin and Sonoma counties, in a statement.
  • Trump Campaign Reacts To Report Bloomberg Could Tap Crooked Hillary To Be His VP: ‘Hillary Apparently Can’t Resist Trying to Steal the Nomination From Bernie Sanders a Second Time’
  • Author Lee Smith: ‘We Knew the Clinton Campaign was Giving Information to FBI – It Now Appears FBI was Giving Information to Clinton Campaign as Well’
  • Could Coronavirus in China lead to an increase in manufacturing in the United States?
  • Roger Stone Calls for Retrial 
  • Trump Budget Cuts aim at ending deficit by 2035
    • 2021 proposal would reduce size and reach of the federal bureaucracy by shifting government responsibilities back to constitutional priorities and empowering state and local governments.
    • 2021 proposal includes cutting spending by $4.4 trillion
    • Individual tax cuts extended, automatic tax in crease in 2026 cancelled
  • Attorney General William Barr: Department of Justice will take significant actions against efforts by so-called progressive local and state governments that obstruct immigration federal law enforcement activities
    • Trump administration announces lawsuits against sanctuary cities
  • After releasing Sondberg and Vindman, Trump fires 70 positions inherited from former President Barack Obama.
  • Conservative lawmakers in at least nine states introduce legislation to ban medical providers from helping boys and girls undergo a medical transition via surgery and/or hormone replacement therapy before they turn 18
    • Some of the bills would make it a felony to prescribe hormones or perform related surgeries for minors.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Roger Stone Complaint Holds No Water

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

Roger Stone was arrested and convicted for process crimes.  In short, he was trapped while in questioning under oath into seeming like he contradicted himself.  Bad trial.  Bad accusation.  Entrapment, essentially.

After being sentenced to 7-9 years in prison, President Trump complained, and immediately afterward Department of Justice's Bill Barr acted recommending a reduction in Stone's sentence.

Barr says his decision had nothing to do with Trump's Tweets calling for Stone's reduction in time in jail.  The Democrats say otherwise.

In the end, none of this matters.  We must ask ourselves, "Why would Trump demand Barr reduce Stone's sentence, and why would Barr do so under pressure by the President, when in reality all the President has to do if it is really that important is pardon Roger Stone?"

That's like trying to find someone with matches to light your smoke while you are holding a lighter in your hand.

The accusation makes no sense.  President Trump doesn't need Barr if he thinks Stone should go free.

The problem is, the liberal left Democrats are still in impeachment mode, and they are looking for the next thing to attack, and at the moment, this is all they've got.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Temecula Constitution Class: Amendments 18-21

Temecula Constitution Class
Wednesdays 6:00 pm
GOP HQ
28120 Jefferson Ave.
Temecula, CA  

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
 
 
 
Lesson 20
 
Prohibition, Women's Voting Rights, Election Rules
Prohibition
Amendment 18 was ratified January 16, 1919, bringing the prohibition of alcohol to America. The amendment was repealed by Amendment 21, December 5, 1933.
 
Christian churches worked to bring about prohibition as far back as the early 1800s, largely through the campaigning by women and young adults who had been adversely affected by husbands and fathers who were heavy alcohol consumers. Alcohol was considered to be one of the most prevalent social problems in America. The concerns over the dangers of alcohol brought about the Temperance Movement. The American Temperance Society was founded in 1826, with the specific goal of outlawing alcohol in the United States.
 
Local organizations that encouraged abstinence from alcohol existed as early as 1808. It was not until 1826 that a nationwide temperance society was created. As the American Temperance Society gained steam, national and international temperance societies sprang up. Organizations like the Washington Temperance Society did not consider temperance to be a religious issue, while other groups felt compelled by God to proclaim temperance. Considering the involvement in the movement by a diverse menu of denominations, no one religion was able to claim to have been the originator of temperance ideals.
 
The most effective weapon of temperance was to advocate total abstinence from alcohol through personal pledges. The societies gave out pledge cards or medals with various types of pledges written on them. Not all of the pledges, however, demanded total abstinence, as indicated by the following pledge:
 
"We agree to abstain from all intoxicating liquors except for medicinal purposes and religious ordinances."
 
Concerned that being too strict may discourage many from joining their society, some organizations gave people the option to choose the extent of their pledge. One common practice was to have those who joined a society to sign a book indicating their commitment. If the person was willing to commit to total abstinence, they would place a capital "T" by their name. The "T" stood for Total or "Total Abstinence". Hence came the term "Tee Totaler" as one who has committed himself to total abstinence.
 
Through the use of pressure-politics the goal of nationwide prohibition was achieved during World War I with the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment in January of 1919.
 
Congress, in response to the new amendment, passed the Volstead Act on October 28, 1919, to enforce the law. Most large cities refused to enforce the legislation. As the federal government went after bootleggers, it became quickly apparent that the understaffed agencies were fighting a losing battle. Meanwhile, though there was a slight decline in alcohol consumption around the nation, organized crime increased in the larger cities. Alcohol became a high demand cash crop that the criminal element could not resist.
 
As Prohibition became increasingly unpopular, and the element of organized crime had reached its height, the perceived need for tax revenue during the Great Depression also encouraged a repeal movement. The hope for tax revenue from the legal sale of alcohol, and the need to weaken organized crime, led to the 21st Amendment, which repealed the amendment that had brought Prohibition to America. The repeal returned the legalities of alcohol to the States. Though Prohibition was over nationwide, some counties remained dry counties, forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages.
 
In our current society there are calls for the legalization of Marijuana, and other drugs. Existing federal drug laws enforce a prohibition of drugs. There is a movement in some parts of government pushing for the legalization of certain drugs, like marijuana. If at the federal level a number of politicians decided that the legalization of drugs is good for the nation, we could very well see such legislation pass through Congress. By studying the U.S. Constitution, and taking a lesson from the 18th Amendment, it is apparent that the federal government does not have the authority to ban, or legalize, drugs in America without receiving such an authority through the Amendment Process (as we saw with the 18th Amendment in regards to Alcohol). The regulation of drugs is a State issue, as per the Tenth Amendment. This means that all federal drug laws are unconstitutional, and laws in California legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, and in the States of Washington and Colorado for recreational use, are completely constitutional.
 
Terms:
Dry Counties - Counties in the United States whose government forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages within the county.
 
Great Depression - A severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II.
 
Organized Crime - Transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit.
 
Prohibition - Period in United States history during which the manufacture and sale of alcohol was prohibited. Drinking alcohol itself was never illegal, and there were always exceptions for medicinal and religious uses.
Temperance Movement - A social movement urging the reduced use of alcoholic beverages during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
 
Volstead Act - Officially The National Prohibition Act; the law that was the enabling legislation for the Eighteenth Amendment which established prohibition in the United States.
 
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. Why were women a major factor in the temperance movement?
 
2. What were some of the factors that contributed to the growing popularity of The Temperance Movement?
 
3. What challenges did The Temperance Movement encounter, and how did they adjust (i.e. through the style of pledges, exceptions to abstinence, etc.)
 
4. What was the reaction of many local governments to the Volstead Act?
 
5. What happened to the presence of organized crime when Prohibition was enacted? Why?
 
6. What were the reasons for repealing Prohibition?
 
7. What did Prohibition say about individualism and personal responsibility from the point of view of the federal government?
 
8. In what form does Prohibition continue to exist in the United States even today?
 
9. What lesson regarding the legalization of other drugs does the 18th Amendment teach us?
 
 
Resources:
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010)
 
Kobler, John, Ardent Spirits The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, New
York: G.P. Putnam's Sons (1973)
 
The Temperance Movement, US History.com;
http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1054.html
 
Steven Mintz, Moralists & Modernizers: America's Pre-Civil War
Reformers; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press (1995)
 
Women's Voting Rights
The 19th Amendment established uniform voting rights for women nationwide. It was ratified on August 18, 1920.
 
Women, despite popular opinion, did vote in elections prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. In 1869, women in the newly created territory of Wyoming became the first women in the United States to win the right to vote. Colorado gave voting rights to women in 1892, and both Utah and Idaho gave women the right to vote in 1896.
 
The Constitution gives the States the right to determine their own rules for elections. The women's suffrage movement worked to bring about an amendment that would give women voting rights nationwide. The amendment was first proposed in 1878, and it took forty-one years before it was submitted to the States for ratification. It took about a year to receive enough votes for ratification.
 
Susan B. Anthony, already known for her crusade for the abolition of slavery, and the prohibition of alcohol, added women's suffrage to her plate. By 1878 she was able to induce a Senator from California to introduce a resolution in Congress calling for an amendment to the Constitution which would give women throughout the United States the right to vote.
 
The drive for an amendment that would grant uniform voting rights for women was nothing new. Aaron Burr, the Vice President during Thomas Jefferson's presidency, was a fervent believer in women's rights, and took personal charge of his daughter's course of study, insisting she learn Greek, Latin, and French, along with literature, philosophy and sciences. His proposals for the uniform voting rights for women, however, never gained traction.
 
John Adams, the second President of the United States, also supported expanding women's freedoms. As a great admirer of his wife, Abigail, he often went to her for advice. In 1776, as the Founders put into full gear their drive for American independence, Abigail offered in a letter, "I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."
 
A challenge to the 19th Amendment (Leser v. Garnett, 1922) claimed that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted, and that the rules for elections were implicitly delegated to the individual States because of the need to preserve State Sovereignty. However, the very fact that the change in voting rules was through amendment made the argument against the 19th Amendment a moot point.
 
Once the 19th Amendment was ratified, with this new power, women were able to attempt to elect those who shared their beliefs, hoping that other measures that would push forward the fight for women's rights would also emerge.
 
After the 19th Amendment passed, the percentage of women in the workforce increased to about 25%. Though some discrimination continued, and women rarely held decision-making positions, it was definitely a step in the right direction for the purpose of encouraging the rights of women.
 
During World War II, women were needed in all areas since many of the men went overseas to fight. The percentage of women in the workforce increased to 36%. The boom for women was short-lived, however. When the war ended, and the soldiers returned home, two-million women were fired within fifteen months after the end of the war to make room for the men.
 
Despite such setbacks, by the 1980s, the percentage of women in the workforce exceeded 50%. However, the percentage of women voting has not equaled the original push shortly after the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
 
Advocates for family values, though supportive of equal opportunity, often view these advancements as promotion for the break-up of the family unit. With mothers participating in the workforce, advent of women's rights has also given rise to the emergence of latch-key kids.
 
The greatest right for women is choice, which includes the choice not to pursue the numerous opportunities available for the purpose of following a more traditional role, should they desire to make such a choice. Women in today's society have the choice to pursue a career, be a stay-at-home mom and wife, or attempt to juggle both. For the purpose of protecting the family unit, and the traditional nature of the American society, wife and mother remains the more popular choice.
 
Terms:
Women's Suffrage - The right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or marital status.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. Were women allowed to vote in national elections before the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment?
 
2. How did the abolition movement and temperance movement lead some to also support women's suffrage?
 
3. On what grounds was the Nineteenth Amendment Challenged?
 
4. How has the drive for the rights of women changed to an opposite extreme?
 
5. How has the Women's Rights Movement affected the concept of the traditional family unit?
 
Resources:
Aaron Burr Biography, Essortment; http://www.essortment.com/aaron-
burr-biography-20550.html
 
Abigail Adams urges husband to "remember the ladies", History.com;
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/abigail-adams-urges-husband-to-remember-the-ladies
 
Andrew M. Allison, K. DeLynn Cook, M. Richard Maxfield, and W.
Cleon Skousen, The Real Thomas Jefferson; New York: National Center for Constitutional Studies (2009)
 
David McCullough, John Adams; New York: Simon and Schuster (2001)
 
W. Cleon Skousen, The Role of Women in Healing America, Latter Day
Conservative and The Constitution magazine, November 1985; http://www.latterdayconservative.com/articles/the-role-of-women-in-healing-america/
 
Election Rules
Ratified in 1933, the 20th Amendment establishes the current rules regarding the beginning and end of the terms of elected federal offices.
 
The amendment moved the beginning of the Presidential, Vice Presidential and Congressional terms from March 4. Congress, under the new rules established by the 20th Amendment, convenes on the third day of January, reducing the amount of time a lame duck Congress would be in session. A lame duck Congress, no longer fearful of the effect their decisions may have on re-election, may be more apt to support otherwise unpopular legislation during a lame duck session.
 
The 20th Amendment moved the terms of the President and Vice President to begin on the 20th day of January.
 
Section 2 of the 20th Amendment begins, "The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year." The phrase is consistent with the language used in Article I, Section 4, though one wonders if the delegates debating the 20th Amendment viewed meeting one day a year as overburdensome as did the Framers of the Constitution, or if they considered themselves to be professional politicians who must be constantly legislating, as does today's legislators.
 
The 20th Amendment's Section 3 addresses vacancies to the presidency before the new President has the opportunity to take office. The clause assigns the presidency to the Vice President in the case of the death of the President, if the President dies before he can take office. Assigning the presidency to the Vice President was in line with Article II, Section 1, Clause 6, and the 12th Amendment assigning to the Vice President the Office of the President should the President die after he took office. In the case it turns out the President does not qualify for the office, this article grants to Congress the authority to declare who shall act as President. "Failing to qualify for office" refers to an occasion that the Electoral College fails to resolve who will be the President or Vice President. A key point of this provision, and a critical protection against an outgoing faction attempting to retain some semblance of power, in the case that the candidates fail to qualify for office, is that the decision still devolves to Congress, but to the newly elected Congress, as opposed to the outgoing one. As established in Article II, Section 1, the decision for President would continue to rest upon the House of Representatives, and the choice of Vice President would continue to be the choice of the United States Senate.
 
Section 4 of the 20th Amendment addresses succession, giving Congress the authority to establish a line of succession, in the case of death of the President, or of the Vice President. The more astute student may recall that today's constitutional protocols calls upon the President to appoint a new Vice President, should that seat be vacated, but that provision did not become law until the ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967.
 
The final two sections of the 20th Amendment address when the amendment would take effect should it be ratified, and a time limit of the proposal should the States not ratify it in a timely fashion. Section 5 states that the first two sections of the amendment, the parts of the amendment that alters the date the terms of President, Vice President, and members of Congress shall begin, "shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article." If ratification reached completion during an election year, that would put the new amendment into effect a couple weeks before the next election. The amendment was ratified January 23, 1933, not in time for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's victory in the 1932 Election. FDR had to wait until March of 1933 to take office.
 
In Section 6 of the 20th Amendment, for the first time in American History, a limitation was placed upon a proposed amendment, requiring that the amendment be ratified within seven years from the date of its submission. The same stipulation would be added at the end of the 21st and 22nd amendments, as well as a number of proposals that failed to be ratified within the allotted time period (like the Equal Rights Amendment). The 27th Amendment, ratified in 1992, reveals that without a limitation, proposed amendments remain in place and can stay on the active list indefinitely. The 27th Amendment was originally proposed as a part of the original Bill of Rights, submitted September 25, 1789.
 
 
Terms:
 
Lame Duck Congress - A lame duck session of Congress in the United States occurs whenever one Congress meets after its successor is elected, but before the successor's term begins.
 
Line of Succession - The order in which individuals are expected to succeed one another in some official position.
 
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1. Why did the framers of the Twentieth Amendment see a need to move forward the dates of Presidential and Congressional Terms?
 
2. In what way can Lame Duck Sessions be dangerous?
 
3. Why do you think the Amendment changed the duty of electing the President, should the Electoral College fail to do so, to the newly elected Congress from the outgoing one?
 
 
Resources:
 
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010)
 
United States Senate, Lame Duck Session Definition:
http://www.senate.gov/reference/glossary_term/lame_duck_session.htm
 
 
Copyright 2015 Douglas V. Gibbs