Give a Special Gift for America's Birthday

At our weekday three-hour seminars, we use only one textbook - the Constitution of the United States . It is thrilling to see people young and old be able to learn the simple truths contained therein so they can, in turn, teach it to their friends. Here is a simple outline of what we teach.

Understanding the Foundational Principles

It took the Founders 180 years of trial and error and study to come up with the formula for freedom, prosperity, and peace. From Jamestown and Plymouth , where they experimented with communal and socialistic systems, to the writing of the Constitution in 1787, they recorded hundreds of volumes of their successes and failures. They carefully recorded and documented their feelings and observations so that when they came to Philadelphia in 1787, they pretty well knew the basic principles for liberty even though they disagreed on the methods.

For example, observing the near disasters in Jamestown and Plymouth years earlier with communal living, Samuel Adams wrote:

"The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of all the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional."

Under the new Constitution there would be no redistribution of the wealth.

Another example is the absolute feeling of the Founders that the national government should not tax the people directly based on their income. In fact, they felt so strongly about this that they put a prohibition of income tax right into the Constitution (Art. I.9.4)!

28 Principles of Liberty form the
Basis for our Founding Documents

The Founders principles, which are discussed in The 5000 Year Leap , led the Founders to formulate the concepts and ideas contained in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The Principles and their place in the documents may be summarized as follows:

No.

Principle

Category

Document, paragraph or section

1

The Genius of Natural Law

Foundations

Dec. of Ind. , 1

2

A Virtuous and Moral People

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 1, 2, concl.

3

Virtuous and Moral Leaders

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 1, 2, concl.

4

The Role of Religion

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 1, 2, concl.

5

The Role of the Creator

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 1, 2, concl.

6

All Men are Created Equal

Foundations

Dec. of Ind. , 2

7

Equal Rights, Not Equal Things

Foundations

Dec. of Ind. , 2

8

Man's Unalienable Rights

Foundations

Dec. of Ind. , 2

9

The Role of Revealed Law

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 1,2, concl.

10

Sovereignty of the People

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 1 concl.

11

Who Can Alter the Government?

Foundations

Dec. of Ind., 2, concl.

12

Advantages of a Republic

Foundations

Const., Art I

13

Protection Against Human Frailties

Foundations

Const., Preamble, Amd. 1

14

Property Rights Essential to Liberty

Foundations

Dec. of Ind. , 2;

Const. Art. IV, Amd. 5

15

Free-Market Economics

Foundations

Const. Art I.8, Amd. 10

16

The Separation of Powers

Structure

Const. Art I, II, III, Amd. 10

17

Checks and Balances

Structure

Const. Art I, II, III, IV, V, VI

18

Importance of a Written Constitution

Structure

Const., Preamble, Art I, II, III

19

Limiting and Defining the Powers of Government

Structure

Dec. of Ind. , 2;

Const., Art I, II, III, Amd. 1-10

20

Majority Rule, Minority Rights

Structure

Const., Art I.2.1, I.5.3

21

Strong Local Self-Government

Structure

Const., Art I.8, IV.4, Amd. 10

22

Government by Law, Not by Men

Structure

Dec. of Ind. , 2, List of Grievances; Const., Art I.8

23

Importance of an Educated Electorate

Working Policies

Dec. of Ind. , List of Grievances; Const., Amd 10

24

Peace Through Strength

Working Policies

Const. Art. I.8

25

Avoid Entangling Alliances

Working Policies

Const. Art II.2, Art VI.2

26

Protecting the Role of the family

Working Policies

Dec. of Ind., 1, 2, concl.

Const. Art I.10

27

Avoiding the Burden of Debt

Working Policies

Const. Art I.8, Art VI.1

28

The Founders' Sense of Manifest Destiny

Working Policies

Dec. of Ind., 1, 2, List of Grievances, concl., Const. Art IV. 3,4

In the Balanced Center of the True Political Spectrum

Today it is popular to hear of the "Left" and the "Right" and political science classes teach that on the Left is a hard-core Communistic form of government and a person far to the Right is a Fascist. That leaves one to wonder where the rest of us are, for it is not comfortable to be thought of as a "Centrist" or a "Moderate" which usually denotes a person who is going with the flow of the current political winds. Being on one side or the other of the Center means one is closer to Fascism or Communism. Under such examination, this whole spectrum proves to be faulty.

The Founders had a much better way to measure government philosophy. They spoke of a spectrum having no government on one end or "Anarchy", and on the other end was total government or "Tyranny." It is really the only true spectrum, 0% to 100%, because any political philosophy can have a place on the spectrum, depending on how much control the government has over the people. What the Founders were looking for was a position on the spectrum that had just enough government to protect the rights of the people but not too much to oppress the people. Once they found that position they would nail it down so it couldn't shift. What they found has proven to be the Balanced Center of the true spectrum and anyone identifying with it can think of himself as a balanced political thinker. This is valuable to the student of Constitutional government inasmuch as the current faulty thinking is to identify a person who loves the Founders' principles as someone on the far-right wing.

Simple Constitutional Concepts all
Americans can Understand and Teach

Using a copy of the Constitution, such as the Pocket Constitution published by NCCS, here are a few simple principles and Constitutional explanations that will make anyone look like a constitutional expert in the tradition of the Founding Fathers:

  • The first sentence of the Constitution, after the Preamble, reads: "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." This is a very simple but meaningful sentence. Because the word "legislative" means law-making, what the people are saying here is that all federal laws must go through congress in order for the people to agree to obey them. It may come as a surprise to most Americans that there are more "laws" coming out of Washington that we are supposed to obey that do not go through congress than those that do go through congress! This is done through executive orders, administrative law, executive agreements, and judicial legislation.

  • James Madison said that the powers delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are "few and defined." That means they can actually be defined and listed. And so they are in the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 (page 6 in NCCS's Pocket Constitution) list about 20 powers of Congress--not some 20,000 that some congressmen think they have. Article II, Section 2, gives the six areas of executive responsibility-not 6000 as some presidents think they have. Article III, Section 2, lists the eleven kinds of cases assigned to the federal courts-not 11,000 that some judges think they have. Very simple! Only 20, 6, and 11 powers delegated to the federal government!

Some popular phrases need to be explained:

  • The General Welfare Clause (Art. I.8.1) : this clause meant that congress can only appropriate money for the 20 powers only if it benefits the entire nation. No money is to be spent for individuals, special groups, or specific geographical areas.

  • The Interstate Commerce Clause (Art. I.8.3) : the Founders specifically forbade the federal government to get involved in interstate commerce except to establish a monetary system and set standards for weights and measures. The only reason they gave power to congress dealing with interstate commerce is to prevent a state from interfering with the free flow of commerce between states. There was no intent of the Founders for federal intrusion into areas of production, distribution, or sale of goods within the United States.

  • The Monetary system (Art. I.8.5): "To coin money" meant that the United States must always be on a gold and silver standard. "To regulate the value thereof" meant that congress must define the value of each minted coin. No Constitutional amendment has ever changed this requirement. Executive orders of presidents have taken us off this required standard. Also, by this power, the people delegated to congress the power to establish and maintain a proper monetary system. Congress unconstitutionally flaunted the people's requirement and passed that power on to the privately-controlled Federal Reserve System.

  • The Necessary and Proper Clause (Art. I.8.18) : This clause was to give life to the 20 powers of congress, meaning that congress could pass laws to implement these powers. It was not to give unlimited power to congress. It is a popular misnomer when this clause is referred to as the "Elastic Clause" meaning that any law which does not seem to have authority anywhere else in the document can draw its authority from this clause.

  • The disaster of the Seventeenth Amendment : As the Founders contemplated a national government, the one big fear they constantly expressed was that it would get out of control, grow too powerful, and consume all local and state governments in its grasp. This is the main reason some actually opposed the Constitution to begin with. After all, the states were sovereign entities and the states were looked upon as the great protectors of the liberties of the people. To prevent this take-over from happening the Founders limited the federal government to the "few and defined" powers mentioned above. They also created the Senate to represent the states. The state's legislatures, who would be the first to know of any federal intrusion into state matters, would send their representatives as Senators to Congress. If any bill came out of the House that would erode the powers of the states, the Senate would refuse to pass it, thus protecting the sovereign states. Under extreme pressure from powerful anti-American forces, together with a lack of understanding of this powerful Constitutional concept, the states finally ratified the Seventeenth Amendment and gave away their trump card to control the federal government from intruding into state matters. Some of us feel this is the most disastrous change to the Founder's freedom formula ever made.

Give a special gift on America 's Birthday

Earlier this year we printed 2 million copies of our Pocket Constitution, which also includes the Declaration of Independence, as a special birth-day present to our nation. Between now and Constitution week in September, will you help us distribute all 2 million copies in honor of the birth of the United States of America ? It will also give you a chance to show your "Constitutional expertise" by explaining one or more of the above concepts with you friends and associates. Please fill out and return the enclosed order form, or order online at www.nccs.net.

Happy birthday, America!

Sincerely,

 

Earl Taylor, Jr.