“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 8) (1835)

Chapter 8: What Tempers the Tyranny of the Majority in the United States

  • I – Absence of Administrative Centralization
    • 2 types of centralization – government & administrative
      • Only government centralization in the US
      • If directing power had both, there’s be no freedom because it have the right to command, & the faculty & habit to perform everything
      • US lacks the tools of tyrants
    • Central government only occupied with small number of matters & doesn’t regulate secondary concerns, nor has the desire to do so
      • wouldn’t expand absolute authority of central government
      • majority can’t make all citizens obey in everything & at anytime
    • Central government’s commands carried out by agents but retarded by city & county governments, who divide the popular will so that even with oppressive laws, enforcement is difficult because of decentralization
  • II – The Temper of the American Legal Profession and How it Serves to Counterbalance Democracy
    • Prestige & influence of lawyers are strongest barriers against the faults of Democracy
      • European political movements are led by lawyers either against authorities or on behalf of authorities
        • Extends power of the king or aristocracy
      • Lawyers have habits & tastes for formality, not the revolutionary spirit, & have privilege of intellectual class with aristocratic tastes
    • In free governments, lawyers are in the leading ranks of the parties, along with aristocracy
      • All democratic movements are led by lawyers
      • Aristocracy & lawyers make natural allies but lawyers have the ability to overthrow governments
        • Love ordered life -> authority is the guarantor of order
        • Less afraid of tyranny than arbitrariness
    • Democracy favors political power for lawyers because when the rich, noble & prince are excluded from government, lawyers take over
    • If they gravitate toward aristocracy & prince, the people can bring them back with the promise of powers
      • Lawyers don’t want to overthrow Democracies but to try to guide it with familiar methods
      • One with the people but aristocratic in habits – make natural liaison between the two
        • Aristocratic nature of the legal mind is largest in the UK & US due to common law & legal procedures
      • UK & US lawyers look at what’s been done while French lawyers look at what’s wished to be done.
      • French lawyers more interested in their own opinions than US & UK lawyers who defer to ancestors, tradition & precedents
        • French laws are opaque but clearly available for all to read.
        • US & UK laws require reading precedents & interpreting them like Egyptian priests
    • In UK, lawyers are the cadet branch of aristocracy. They value laws not because they’re good but because they are old, & don’t want to innovate
    • In the US, people distrust the rich but lawyers effectively make up the political & intellectual upper class & only stand to lose from innovation – making them fairly conservative
      • US’s form of aristocracy
    • Lawyers apply a brake to public passions & ideas
      • Judges are lawyers who like the stability of their office, where their knowledge gives them high standing among peers & political power gives him privilege
        • Judges can be removed by the legislature & some are even elected
          • May lead to bad results someday
    • Americans are reluctant to change civil laws
    • Hardly a political question that doesn’t turn into a judicial one
      • Legal language has been introduced into common speech because it infiltrates society
  • III – The Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution
    • Judicial Aspect – English started juries when they were barbarians & have grown attached to it, especially with Enlightenment & have spread it all around the world
    • Political institution – a jury is made of citizens selected by chance & given the right to judge. May have aristocratic members but juries have a republican element – real control is in people’s hands, not the rulers’.
      • True sanction of political law is penal sanction & when that’s missing, law loses power.
      • Man who’s judge in a criminal trial is true master of society
        • Jury puts control into people’s hands
        • UK uses aristocratic juries making it an aristocratic society
        • US – any citizen who votes can be a jury member -> sovereignty of the people as universal suffrage.
          • Responsible for execution of laws along with legislature who has the duty of making laws
    • Laws unsteady if unsupported by mores, which are the only tough & durable power in a nation.
      • Criminal & civil juries -> System infiltrates into business of life & has influence on national character by instilling habits of judicial on everyone’s minds & are the best way to prepare a people to be free
      • Spreads respect for court decisions & idea of right throughout all classes, teaching equity in practice & invests each citizen with magisterial office & a duty toward society & share in government
    • Greatest Advantage – effective in shaping a nation’s judgment & increasing its natural rights
      • it is a free school, always open, where the juror learns his own rights & comes in contact with the best educated & most enlightened members with practical lessons in laws
      • Judges & lawyers only aristocratic body to check people’s movements but without physical power & only influence on people’s mind
      • Civil suits – judge acts a disinterested arbiter but the jury is mostly incompetent & useless.

“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 7)

Chapter 7: The Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects

  • Democratic government’s essence is absolute sovereignty of the will of the majority
    • Legislature is chose to represent the majority directly for short terms – almost all government power is here
    • Laws weaken the executive to the point where it has no stability
    • Moral authority of majority rule is the number of representations is more important than how they’re chosen & there’s more wisdom in an elected body than in one man
      • power seems more legitimate it by majority
    • vs. ancien régime France – king could do no wrong & any blame was put on advisers, making obedience easier by exonerating the king of responsibility for outcome
    • Parties affect respect for majority because if nation is divided by irreconcilable differences, majority is disregarded as unpleasant to submit to
      • Aristocracy would have to give up its privileges to rule like a majority
  • I – How in America the Omnipotence of the Majority Increases the Legislative and Administrative Instability Natural to Democracies
    • Instability comes from turnover of representatives & Democracy is only applied to most important matters
      • laws & constitutions change, but activity never slows down which causes instability
      • omnipotence of majority & quick execution of laws make laws unstable because improvements are being made all the time
        • e.g. Prison reform was brought up, public got excited, prisoners & prisons were reformed due to the majority wanting it. Penitentiaries compared to old prisons & it became obvious new system was better.
  • II – Tyranny of the Majority
    • Majority shouldn’t have complete control
      • Justice forms boundary to people’s rights & majority is merely a representation of society – can’t go beyond justice & reason
      • Juxtapose majority to minority – no difference in character, only number
    • No such thing as a “mixed government” – society has some principle of action which dominates others
      • When contrary principles occur, revolutions happen & society crumbles
    • Necessary to place one social power over others but freedom is in trouble if that power can’t be restrained & moderated
    • When omnipotence in an authority, seeds of tyranny planted
      • in US, there’s a shortage of guarantees against tyranny
    • If you suffer injustice in US, where do you turn to?
      • All institutions are represented by majority
  • III – Effect of the Omnipotence of the Majority on the Arbitrary Power of the American Public Officials
    • Tyranny can use law as an instrument – no longer arbitrary but usually makes use of arbitrariness, can do without it
    • Arbitrary power can be non-tyrannical if used in public interest
    • Omnipotence of majority favors legal despotism of legislators & arbitrary power & magistrate
      • public functionaries passive agents – freer but rarely abuse power
  • IV – The Power Exercised by the Majority in America over Thought
    • Absolute monarchy can’t completely control thoughts hostile to it from circulating in courts & public
    • King’s power is physical, controlling actions not desires
    • People in US talk when majority is in doubt & then shut up when it’s clear, & act accordingly
      • Less independence of mind & freedom of discussion in the US
      • Only one authority & source of strength/success – nothing outside of it
    • Democracy restrains the intellectual area, threatening those outside of what’s acceptable it with ostracism & persecution
      • Bruyère & Molière criticized government of Louis XIV. As dangerous as this was in France, it would never happen in the US
      • Majority in US lives in perpetual state of self-adoration
    • No literary geniuses because there’s no freedom of spirit – absolutely necessary for them to arise
      • Even Spain under the Inquisition had opposition in public arena
  • V – Effects of the Majority’s Tyranny on American National Character; the Courtier Spirit in the United States
    • Outstanding politicians are rare due to despotism of majority in the US
      • A ton of them during the Revolution to guide men without tyrannizing them
      • Intellectual movement & their greatness brought honor to the nation
    • Courtiers flattered absolute monarchs but majority don’t, & only submitted out of weakness, rather than to abase themselves in bootlicking
      • In democracy, all opinions are given, & public & private life is mingled
        • As in the spirit of the court, put within the reach of all classes to participate
    • Majority having absolute & irresistible sway causes many to renounce their rights if they diverge from it
    • Not many willing to stray from public opinion – which is completely different to the generation of the Revolution
    • Despotism corrupts a man who submits to it than the man who imposes it. The absolute monarch may have virtues but courtiers are always vile.
    • American moralists excuse this by appealing to the majority’s vanity
  • VI – The Greatest Danger to the American Republics Comes from the Omnipotence of the Majority
    • governments collapse from impotence or tyranny – either power slips from its grasp or is taken from it
    • Anarchy in Democracy seen as nature of a democratic state to be weak but really, government influence stops during a war between 2 factions
      • Always abuse of strength & ill use of resources brings the government down
      • Usually from tyranny or inability – not impotence
    • Governments of US more energetic than absolute monarchs of Europe
    • If freedom is lost in America, it’ll be due to omnipotence of the majority making minorities resort to desperation & physical force
      • Madison – justice is the purpose of government & civil society. When a majority can oppress the weaker, anarchy reigns & we go back to a state of nature
      • Jefferson – tyranny exists in the executive but mostly in the legislative. Keep an eye on both

“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 6) (1835)

Chapter 6: The Real Advantages Derived by American Society From Democratic Government

  • I – The General Tendency of Laws Under the Sway of American Democracy and the Instincts of Those Who Apply Them
    • defects of Democracy are obvious but the benefits are only seen in the long run
      • laws can be defective & incomplete
      • most of them violate rights or sanction dangerous ones
    • If a legislator wants to favor one at the expense of many he has to propose it quickly & without much attention to it
      • efficiency of passage makes it dangerous
    • Aristocracy is more skillful in legislating then Democracy, not subject to transitory impulses, & moves with intelligence & efficiency
    • Democracy’s laws are defective or untimely but often unintentionally works against itself
      • If a society organized by nature or Constitution, can tolerate passing effect of bad laws & the general tendency of laws without disaster
        • In America, great privilege is to be able to make retrievable mistakes
    • American democracy often makes mistakes in choice of men it entrusts power
    • Democracy’s rulers are less honest & capable but the governed are more enlightened & more alert
      • People more occupied with own affairs, jealous of their rights & prevent representatives from deviating from public’s interests
      • Democratic magistrates may abuse power but only have it for a short time
    • Rulers should have virtues & talents but shouldn’t have interests contrary to the governed
    • Political structure equally favors growth & prosperity for all classes
      • Classes like distinct nations within a nation
      • It’s dangerous to entrust the fate of all to one class just as it is to entrust one nation’s fate to another
    • When rich alone rule, poor’s interests are in danger
      • When poor alone rule, rich’s interests are in danger
    • Advantage to Democracy to serve the well-being for the greatest number
      • Those entrusted are often inferior in capacity & morality
      • interest is mingled & identified with the majority
      • Power is untrustworthy & mistake-prone but will never systematically follow a tendency hostile to the majority
    • Bad administration’s effect small due to terms of office being short
      • corruption & incapacity not in common interests of men
      • Won’t work in concert – vices of magistrates are personal & hardly shared
    • Aristocracy is distinct from majority’s interest
      • Aristocratic magistrates think in the long term, sees class spirit & unconsciously shapes society to convenience of their descendants
    • Only England has a liberal aristocracy with Enlightenment but the welfare of the poor has been sacrificed for that of the rich
    • US officials have no class interest to promote
      • government is beneficial even if rulers are inept & contemptible
      • tends to promote general prosperity in spite of vices & mistakes
      • aristocratic institutions have secret bias to contribute to afflictions of the country
        • Good men do evil without intending it
      • US – brings good results without thinking
  • II – Public Spirit in the United States
    • Older form of Patriotism from feeling tying a man to where he was born
      • habits, ancestors, memories, tradition
      • similar to religious zeal – doesn’t reason – feels & acts
      • Can be personified in a monarch & people are proud of his power
      • decays in peace & grows in a crisis
      • When mores are simple, society rests & legitimacy is not contested
    • New for of Patriotism – more rational, less generous, more creative, less ardent, longer lasting, enlightened, grows with help from laws, rights are mingled with personal interest
    • Man understands the country’s well-being influences his own & laws allow him to contribute to it.
      • Gives him an interest in its prosperity
      • At first, it just seems useful, then he thinks he’s created it
    • Maybe the best way to interest people in the fate of their country is to give them a stake in it
    • The newly arrived take such an interest in new country because they are actively taking part in it
    • Common man understands influence of general prosperity because it’s his responsibility
    • Americans feel duty to defend what’s criticized
      • But sometimes Patriotism turns into national pride, childishness & vanity
  • III – The Idea of Rights in the United States
    • Virtues & rights are mingled
      • Rights have defined the nature of license & tyranny
      • with them we can be independent without arrogance & obedient without servility
    • Submission to force debases a man because he knows a fellow mortal has the right to give him orders
    • No man can be great without virtue & no nation can be great without respect for rights
    • Children grab what they can & must be taught to respect property & that it can be taken from them too
      • Eventually learns to respect others’ property
    • America has no proletarians – everybody’s got some possession to defend
      • High idea of political rights because they all have some & don’t want to be violated themselves
    • Democracy – political rights to benefit the least of the citizens & property is within the reach of all
    • New form of Patriotism
      • beliefs giving way to arguments & feelings giving way to calculations
    • Links idea of rights to personal interest
    • Despotism presents itself as repairer of all ills, support of just rights, defender of oppressed & founder of order
      • People are lulled to sleep by its temporary prosperity & when they wake up, they are wretched
      • Liberty is born in stormy weather, growing with difficulty in civil discord & only when it’s old do we see its blessings
  • IV – Respect for Laws in the United States
    • Parties are aware expression of the will of the whole can’t easily be smothered
      • Often cast doubts on majority’s validity
      • Without majority, they claim it from those who abstained from voting or that the majority have no right to vote.
      • Those who want to attack laws must either
        • 1 – Change the nation’s opinion, or
        • 2 – Trample its wishes underfoot
    • Americans feel a person interest in obeying laws – majority may one day become minority, minority may one day become majority & will demand laws of its own
      • Americans will submit as the work of the majority is of his own choosing
    • No numerous or perpetually turbulent crowd regarding the law as a natural enemy to fear or suspect
  • V – Activity Prevailing in All Parts of the Political Body in the United States; the Influence Thereby Exerted on Society
    • In free countries, lots of activity
      • In unfree countries, not much activity
    • Democracies are in a rush to attain happiness
      • the state of society is the concern of the whole nation – including all classes
    • As soon as you show up in America, things are happening
      • noises, voices, movement, plans being made & carried out
      • choosing representatives & talking about morals, values & laws
    • With legislatures, agitation comes from all classes
      • to take hand in the government & talk about it is important
      • even women get involved
    • In some countries, political rights are seen as burdensome – worrying about communal interest is annoying
      • If an American did this, he’d lose all reason for living
    • Renews agitation goes into civil society
      • People manage public affairs badly but concern keeps the government going
      • A man of the people gets his self-esteem from listening to proposals & acting on them
    • Enemies of Democracy claim that a single man can do a better job than a government for all.
      • Correct, BUT
      • It provides a social & civic energy never seen before
    • WHAT DEMOCRACY WON’T DO
      • raise mankind
      • cause scorn for material goods
      • engender devotion & conviction
      • refine manners
    • WHAT DEMOCRACY WILL DO
      • turn man’s intellect & moral activity toward the necessities of physical life & use the to produce well-being for all
      • create tranquil habits
      • fewer crimes, vices & greater deeds
      • prosperous society
      • not build glory for the nation but the well-being of individuals

United States Constitution (1787-1789)

United States Constitution (1787-1789)

The people of the US set up a Constitution to form a union for justice, peace, defense, welfare and liberty.

Legislative Powers à US Congress

  • 2 houses – Senate and House of Representatives
    • House of Representatives
      • Chosen every 2 years by each state
      • Must be at least 25 and a citizen for at least 7 years
      • Number of members for each state based on number of people (3/5 for slaves) to be determined by a census every 10 years
      • Vacancies will be filled by governor’s appointment until the next election
      • Can choose speaks, offices and have power of impeachment
    • Senate
      • Each state has 2 and terms are 6 years
      • 3 classes for election.
        • 1st class ends on end of 2nd year
        • 2nd class ends on end of 4th year
        • 3rd class ends on end of 6th year
      • Vacancies appointed by governor until next election.
      • Must be at least 30 years old
      • Chosen by state legislatures (CHANGED LATER)
      • Vice President is the president of the Senate, only votes in case of a tie
      • Will choose a president pro tempore
      • His power to try impeachments but can only remove someone from office but he can be tried criminally
    • Elections
      • Set up by state legislatures but Congress on change them
      • Congress must meet at least once every year on 1st Monday of December (or another agreed upon date)
    • Voting
      • Each house will decide a quorum to do business but smaller number may call for attendance
      • Each house will set up its own rules and punishments for poor behavior. Need a 2/3 vote to expel a member
      • Each house will keep a record of proceedings and publish (except if needing to be kept secret) all votes
      • Neither house may adjourn without consent of the other for more than 3 days or meet in any place without other’s consent
    • Senators and Representatives will set their own pay and be paid by the treasury. Except for treason fraud and breach of peace, they’ll be protected from prison
    • Senators and Representatives may not also be appointed to another office while still holding office
    • All taxation bills start in the House but may be amended in the Senate
    • All bills passed by both houses must be presented to the president. If he approves, it is law. If he doesn’t, there will need to be a 2/3 majority to override it. If he doesn’t return it, it becomes null after 10 days
    • Powers of Congress
      • Levy and collect taxes, duties, imposts, excises, pay debts, provide for defense and welfare. All these must be uniform throughout the states.
      • Borrow money in the name of the US
      • Regulate foreign, interest and Indian trade
      • Establish laws for naturalization and bankruptcy
      • Coin money and regulate its value
      • Establish counterfeit laws
      • Establish post offices and post roads
      • Promote science and art through intellectual property rights
      • Set up tribunals under Supreme Court
      • Determine and punish piracy laws and acts
      • To declare war and commission warships
      • Raise and support short term armies
      • Maintain a navy
      • Establish rules for government and regulation of army and navy
      • Provide for and call up militias to put down insurrections and repel invasions
      • Organize, arm and discipline militias. States may appoint officers and have authority over training
      • Set up Washington DC with Congressional rule as national capital
      • Make laws need to set all of these up
    • No importation of slaves after 1808
    • No suspension of writ of habeas corpus, except in emergencies
    • No bills of attainder and no ex post facto laws
    • No head tax except in proportion to the census
    • No interstate taxes or duties
    • No preferences in regulation of commerce or binding vessels to particular ports
    • Only spend money if it’s on a bill and published.
    • No titles of nobility given out.
    • States are not allowed to enter into treaties, alliances, commission privateers, coin money, issue bills of credit, make non-gold or silver money to pay debts, bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, hindering contracts or granting nobility
    • No imposts or duties on imports and exports without Congress’s consent
    • No duties on tonnage, keeping troops or warships in peace or sign treaties by States

 

Executive Power à President and Vice President of the United States

  • President and Vice President have 4 year terms
  • Both chosen by electors of number of Representatives and Senators but not allowed to be those Senators and Representatives
  • Votes will be counted and certified
  • If a majority is reached, then President is the one with the largest and the Vice President is the one with the second largest (CHANGED LATER)
  • If no majority is reached, then House will choose through a vote
  • If still no majority is reached, then House will choose from top 5 candidates
  • If still no majority is reached, then go to 1 state – 1 vote
  • Congress decides when Election Day is
  • Must be at least 35 and a natural born citizen and resident for 14 years.
  • If the President is removed, dead, resign or unable to serve à Vice President becomes President. Congress will decide if he’s unable.
  • President doesn’t get a raise in the middle of a term and can’t have another government position
  • Must take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the US Constitution
  • He is Commander in Chief of Army, Navy and militias and decides the heads of government departments, issues pardons and reprieves except impeachment
  • May establish treaties but must be ratified by 2/3 of Senate
  • May nominate Supreme Court judges and other offices with advice and consent of Senate
  • Power to fill vacancies during recess but need to be voted on in the next session
  • Must keep Congress abreast of the State of the Union
  • May call special sessions of Congress
  • May receive foreign ambassadors
  • Must execute the law faithfully
  • President and Vice President may be impeached and convicted of treason, bribery, etc.

Judicial Power à Supreme Court and inferior courts – hold offices with good behavior and receive a steady paycheck

  • Judicial power extends to all cases under the Constitution, laws of states, treaties and various cases abroad, and interstate cases
  • Cases with foreign ministers and ambassadors will be under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Congressional laws
  • All trials except impeachment will be by jury and held in the state where the crime was committed. If it’s not actually in a state, Congress will decide
  • Treason is defined as levying war against the US or helping or obeying enemies. The accused is only convicted with 2 witnesses or a court confession
  • Congress may declare something treason but there will be no bill of attainder. They cannot condemn a man’s blood and seize their property

 

Miscellaneous

 

  • States may not open a case settled in another state and Congress can regulate this
  • All citizens of one state are given all privileges and immunities of all the other states.
  • All those charged with treason, felony or high crimes will be extradited to jurisdiction of the alleged crime
  • Runaway slaves aren’t automatically freed by running away to states where slavery is illegal
  • New states can be admitted but can’t be created out of another state or by joining up 2 or more states without the consent of Congress and states’ legislatures
  • Congress will establish law in territories and other places without state status.
  • US guarantees each state protection from invasion and domestic violence

 

  • 2/3 of both Houses or 2/3 of state legislatures may call a convention to amend the Constitution. Must be ratified by ¾ of state legislatures. No state may be deprived of its vote.

 

  • US recognizes all debts prior to the ratification of the Constitution as valid

 

  • The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all executive, legislative and judicial officers must pledge to uphold it without any religious test.

 

  • The Constitution is considered ratified if 9/13 of the first states ratify it

 

Amendments

  1. Congress can’t establish a religion or prevent the practice of any religion. It can’t stop free speech, freedom of press, freedom of peaceable assembly or freedom of petition to redress grievances
  2. We need a militia to keep a free country. Government cannot prevent people from having arms.
  3. No soldiers can be quartered in peace time without owner’s consent. In war, they will be according to a law.
  4. No unreasonable searches and seizures of people’s houses, papers and effects without probable cause. If there is, it must be specific and have an oath or affirmation by an officer.
  5. Big crime trials require a trial by jury (except the military). No second trial for a man acquitted. A man can’t be forced to testify against himself. He can’t be denied his life, liberty or property without due process of the law. No confiscation of private property for public use without proper compensation
  6. The Accused has a right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury in the crime’s jurisdiction. He has the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. He may be allowed to call witnesses on his behalf and question those who testify against him. He may have assistance in his defense.
  7. If the value of a controversy is over $20, there will be a trial by jury
  8. No excessive bail or fines. No cruel and unusual punishment.
  9. Can’t construe the Constitution to deny rights of states and people
  10. Powers not delegated to the Federal government by Constitution are reserved for the states and the people.
  11. Federal courts aren’t allowed or are restricted in hearing cases from citizens in one state or foreigners against those in another state.
  12. Electors will vote for the Vice President directly by name explicitly – no longer the runner-up in the Presidential election.
  13. Slavery and involuntary servitude is banned except for cases of crime.
  14. All people born or naturalized in the US are citizens and states may not take away their privileges and immunities, or property without due process of the laws. They cannot deny equal protection of the law. No more 3/5 count in census. Male citizens over 21 may vote. No former Confederate officials allowed in elected positions
  15. The right of a citizen to vote can’t be denied to anyone on the basis of races, color or prior status as a slave.
  16. Congress may pass a federal income tax law without any input from the states.
  17. Senators are elected directly by the people not by state legislatures
  18. Ban on manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol
  19. Women citizens over 21 may vote.
  20. Elected federal positions terms end on January 20th at noon and the new term starts then. If the president dies before taking office, the Vice President will step in
  21. Repealing 18th Alcohol is legal again.
  22. President may only be elected twice to office.
  23. Washington DC residents may now vote for President and Vice President. They still have no senators and congressmen
  24. Poll taxes are banned
  25. If the President is removed from office à Vice President becomes President. If the Vice Presidency is vacant àPresident will nominate a Vice President and Congress will vote.
  26. Voting age is now 18 years and older
  27. One session of Congress can’t give itself a pay raise. Congress can give future sessions a pay raise.

Articles of Confederation (1777-1781)

What’s the over/under on this shizz lasting?

Articles of Confederation (1777-1781)

Preamble and Article 1

New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia are now a union called the United States of America

Article 2

Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, independence, power and jurisdiction if the case is not mentioned in this document.

Article 3

They are in a league for common defense, security of liberties and welfare against attacks on them based on religion, sovereignty, trade, etc.

Article 4

Free people have privileges and immunities of free citizens. There is no restriction on freedom of movement between states. No duties will be placed on goods crossing state lines – only taxes within states. People committing crimes will be extradited. States have powers of record, action and law.

Article 5

Elected representatives will meet in Congress on the 1st Monday of November every year. The number of a state’s representatives will be between 2 and 7 depending on population. They will be appointed by state legislatures. Representatives may only be representatives for 3 years in a 6-year span. Freedom of speech in Congress and Court will not be impeached and members are protected from prison during their terms except for treason, felony or breach of peace.

Article 6

Only the central government can declare war and peace or have any foreign relations. No two states may form a treaty or alliance without consent of US government. States aren’t allowed to put imposts or duties on imports. States aren’t allowed standing armies or navies unless absolutely necessary. States must have prepared militias.

Article 7

States will appoint colonels and generals in armies.

Article 8

A common treasury will be established to defray the costs of war and will be paid into be state legislature based on property taxes.

Article 9

Only the US Congress can make war or peace, set up embassies, sign treaties and alliances, hire or deal with pirates, set up interstate courts, settle interstate disputes, set up post offices, regulate the military or appoint officers.

Article 10

A committee of states (any 9) is authorized to act on behalf of Congress during its recess.

Article 11

If Canada wants in, we’ll let them.

Article 12

The US government will honor the American debt from before the signing of this document.

Article 13

All States signing up are held to the document indefinitely. It can only be changed with the consent of Congress and each state legislature.

U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776)

All right… Who farted?

Declaration of Independence (7/4/1776)

  • 13 colonies state that the Laws of Nature give them the ability to dissolve their union with the British government with a list of reasons to explain this.
  • It’s self-evident that all men are created equal.
  • They have unalienable rights given by nature or the Creator – life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
  • A government must be consented to by those it governs and when it stops representing the people, they have a right to abolish it and put a better one that suits them.
  • This is not something you do on a whim but we feel like the government has been abusing us and we intend to establish our own government.
  • We’ve prepared a list of things that has pissed us off about the king:
    • He refuses to assent to or pass our laws for the public good.
    • He’s forbidden governors to pass our laws or just ignored them altogether.
    • He’s refused us to pass laws over here without relinquishing our right to any representation in Parliament.
    • He’s made it difficult for any legislature to convene just to get them to stop trying.
    • He’s dissolved Parliaments so many times that we’ve lost count.
    • After dissolving Parliament, he’s delayed any elections indefinitely leaving the people to take the law into their own hands making the country vulnerable from crime in the country and aggressive foreigners.
    • He’s prevented the naturalization of the non-British and prevented us from moving westward.
    • He’s blocked courts from working properly.
    • He’s made judges so nervous about their pay and safety that they can’t perform their duties anymore.
    • He’s created jobs for men just to eat us out of house and home through taxes.
    • He’s lodged soldiers with civilians in peace time.
    • The army has become completely independent and unanswerable to the people.
    • Soldiers have literally gotten away with murder.
    • We’ve been alienated from Parliament but are still subject to laws.
    • We’ve not allowed to trade with anyone but the British.
    • He’s imposed taxes on us against our will.
    • He’s deprived us of trial by jury.
    • When accused, we’re often carted off to England to be tried.
    • He’s applied an arbitrary government in Québec and we don’t know if you’ll do the same here.
    • He’s taken away colony charters and changed the nature of our governments against our will.
    • He’s suspended legislatures on a whim.
    • He’s declared us rebel and blocked our harbors – an act of war.
    • He’s used the army to wreak havoc in our lives.
    • He’s hired Germans to kill anyone labelled as a “rebel”.
    • He’s impressed unassuming men and forced them to fight them against their country.
    • He’s incited anti-American violence and invited Indians to wage war on us.
    • We’ve tried patch things up but he only punishes us more and we’ve decided we’ve had enough
  • We’ve warned the British not to ignore us and use its legislature as a weapon on us. We came here for a reason. We are the same people as the British and begged them for our rights and mercy and we’ve only gotten shit for it. We must break-off from them.
  • So, that’s it. We are a body of elected representatives appealing to God and reason that it is only right these 13 colonies claim complete independence and absolve ourselves of any loyalty to the crown.
  • We have the power to wage war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and do what independent state states need to do.
  • We’re relying on the goodwill of God or fate to support this declaration and pledge to each other our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.