The United States Constitution


The United States Constitution was written in 1787 and placed into effect upon adoption by 9 states in 1789. The last of the 13 original states, Rhode Island ratified it and joined the United States in May of 1790. The first 10 amendments were ratified and became effective 15 December 1791. The eleventh amendment was adopted in 1795 and the next 16 spread out over the next 197 years until the 27th was ratified on 07 May 1992 (it had been proposed as part of the original bill of rights on 25 September 1789).

Donald N. Anderson

Reading 2011
The owner of this website may be most closely described as a constitutional conservative, who has become convinced that the constitution should be primarily interpreted according to the plain English text with the words defined as they were by people at the time of its origin. When a provision is still unclear one should rely on original intent of the authors and the dominant customs at that time for clarification.
When the constitution fails to speak on an issue and construction is necessary, I would prefer that deference be given to the liberty of the individual rather than legislative enactments or intent.

I write in Part 2 - Proposing Amendments and Part 1: Reviving Article 5 below about the 4 methods of amending the Constitution. I am convinced that we have employed the informal methods far too often and badly need to return to employing the formal methods. These methods allow full discussion by the population and require consent from 3/4 of the states for adoption. Therefore the resulting amendments are much less likely to be misconstrued or to be changed according to ill-considered temporary whims.

I believe the formal amendment process has been used less frequently than it should. Interpretation to change the meaning of a constitutional provision or construction from legislative debate is no substitute for engaging our whole nation in extended debate over important constitutional understandings. The briefly stated articles, paragraphs and clauses of the Constitution have weathered the last 220 years very well, but it has become evident that some of their provisions did not work out as intended. I will revisit some of these in the columns I have written below.  I will also add some suggestions that might alleviate past errors in interpretation and emphasize the Constitution's protection of individual liberty.

We have been in an era often intellectually dominated by so-called "Progressives" (moderate socialists) for the last 110 years. That era may be coming to an end. If it is, a general review of what worked and what didn't work, with regard to our Constitution, may be discussed without directive ideological blinders limiting the discussion.

(Run cursor slowly across titles to see descriptions)


Our Constitution and Amendments (text copies)

Ratified
The United States Constitution 1789  
Amendments to the Constitution 1791-1994
    If you want a very convenient shirt pocket copy of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the 27 Amendments

 


2013 - 2014 series of columns titled Taking Back the Constitution by Donald N Anderson (click on title to download .pdf)
    Title   Written
1 Part 1 - Reclaiming Liberty 12 Sep 2013
2 Part 2 - Proposing Amendments 13 Sep 2013
3 Part 3 - Age and Experience Requirements for Federal Office 18 Oct 2013
4 Part 4 - Court Terms? 20 Oct 2013
5 Part 5 - Congressional term limits 01 Nov 2013
6 Part 6 - By the people 10 Nov 2013
7 Part 7 - Repeal the 16th 15 Nov 2013
8 Part 8 - What is natural law? 23 Nov 2013
9 Part 9 - Repeal the 17th 05 Dec 2013
10 Part 10 - Appropriation transparency 18 Dec 2013
11 Part 11 - Lame ducks and electronics 20 Dec 2013
12 Part 12 - Balancing the budget 31 Dec 2013
13 Part 13 - Promises for the future 07 Jan 2014
14 Part 14 - Why does divided sovereignty matter? 14 Jan 2014
15 Part 15 - Which laws constitutional? 21 Jan 2014
16 Part 16 - What property rights? 28 Jan 2014
17 Part 17 - Constitution or Revolution? 04 Feb 2014
18 Part 18 - Consent of the governed 09 Mar 2014
19 Part 19 - Electing the President 19 Mar 2014
 
 

2010 - 2011 columns by Donald N. Anderson proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution (replaced by the above series)
Title

Written

1 Part 1: Reviving Article 5 11 Jul 2010
2 Part 2: Requirements for Federal Office 18 Jul 2010
3 Part 3: Supreme Court terms? 25 Jul 2010
4 Part 4: Congressional Term Limits 01 Aug 2010
5 Part 5: By The People? 08 Aug 2010
6 Part 6: Promises, Promises, Promises! 15 Aug 2010
7 Part 7: Which laws are constitutional? 22 Aug 2010
8 Part 8: Constitution or Revolution? 29 Aug 2010
9 Part 9: Citizenship - Consent of the governed 10 March 2011
         
 
Books (click on title to access Amazon entry)
Author Title

Published

1 Barnett, Randy E.
Restoring the Lost Constitution: The presumption of liberty
2004
2 Bernstein, David E.
Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform
2011
3 Bolick, Clint
David\'s Hammer: The Case for an Activist Judiciary
2007
4 Bonner, William, ed. & Pierre Lemieux, ed
The Idea of America: What it Was and How It Was Lost
2011
5 Brookhiser, Richard
George Washington on Leadership
2008
6 Buchanan, James M.
& Gordon Tullock

the calculus of consent
1962
7 Carson, Ben, M.D.
America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great
2012
8 Carson, Ben, M.D.
One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America\'s Future
2014
9 Chodorov, Frank
The Income Tax: Root of All Evil
1954
10 Eliot, Charles W, ed.
American Historical Documents, 1000 - 1904
1910
11 Ellis, Joseph J.
Founding Brothers
2000
12 Farah, Joseph
The Tea Party Manifesto: A Vision for an American Rebirth
2010
13 Green, Harry Clinton & Mary Wolcott Green
Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence
1997
14 Grigg, William Norman
Liberty in Eclipse:The War on Terror and the Rise of the Homeland Security State
2007
15 Gutzman, Kevin R.C
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution
2007
16 Gutzman, Kevin R.C.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution
2007
17 Hannan, Daniel
Inventing Freedom:How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World
2013
18 Harris, Lee
Civilization and its Enemies: The Next Stage of History
2004
19 Hannity, Sean
Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism
2002
20 Inabinette, Robert "Bobeye"
Totally Pissed Off:At Our Corrupt Progressive Unconstitutional Government
2012
21 Ketcham, Ralph, ed.
The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates
1986
22 Kinsella, Stephen
Against Intellectual Property
2008
23 Lane, Rose Wilder
The Discovery of Freedom: Man\'s Struggle Against Authority
2012
24 Levin, Mark R.
The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic
2013
25 Levin, Mark R.
Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America
2012
26 Lossing, Benson John
Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
1848
27 Maybury, Richard J.
Whatever Happened to Justice?
2004
28 Mayer, David N.
Liberty of Contract: Rediscovering a Lost Constitutional Right
2011
29 McClanahan, Brion
The Politically Incorrect Guide to
The Founding Fathers

1981
30 Meese III, Edwin, et. al.
The Heritage Guide to the Constitution
2005
31 Muller, James W. (ed.)
The Revival of Constitutionalism
1988
32 Murray, Charles
American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History
2013
33 Prager, Dennis
Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph
2012
34 Romney, Mitt
No Apology: The Case for American Greatness
2010
35 Samples, John
The Struggle to Limit Government
2010
36 Shapiro, Ilya, ed.
Cato Supreme Court Review, 2010-2011
2011
37 Shapiro, Ilya, ed.
Cato Supreme Court Review, 2012-2013
2013
38 Simmons, Randy T.
Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure
2011
39 Skousen, W. Cleon
The 5,000 Year Leap
1981
40 Stevens, John Paul
Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution
2014
41 West, Thomas G.
Vindicating the Founders
1997
42 Whitehead, John W.
The Second American Revolution
1982
43 Woods Jr., Thomas E.
Nullification
2010
44 Woods Jr., Thomas E.
& Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Who Killed the Constitution
2008

Essays (click on title to download)
Author Title

Published

1 Machin, Tibor R.
Backing the Founders:
The Case for Unalienable Individual Rights
2004

 

Revised 09 June 2015