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The Constitution and the Western U.S.

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posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 03:00 PM
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I have been lurking here for quite a bit (although I just registered today), and I have seen, both here and on various other sites, people calling for America to "return to the Constitution." Nearly all of these people call for the United States to end its welfare programs, withdraw from the United Nations, and basically turn over great amounts of power to the states. (Note that I personally oppose many of these positions.) To these people who call for such a restriction of government power, I ask this question: Was the westward expansion of the United States constitutional, and if not, what should be done about the states that rest on claimed land?

The following map shows all of the land in the United States, and when each of them were acquired (click it to see the full image):



Note that the Constitution does not make any provisions for the acquisition of any territory. Note also that the Tenth Amendment states that any power that is not explicitly granted to the federal government is reserved for the states. A case can be made that, according to the Constitution, the following states are being occupied illegally:

-Alaska
-Hawaii
-Washington State
-Oregon
-California
-Idaho
-Nevada
-Arizona
-Utah
-Montana
-Wyoming
-Colorado
-New Mexico
-North Dakota
-South Dakota
-Nebraska
-Kansas
-Oklahoma
-Texas
-Iowa
-Missouri
-Arkansas
-Louisiana
-Florida
-Most of Minnesota (barring the portions east of the Mississippi River, such as Duluth and St. Paul)
-The southern tips of Mississippi and Alabama

According to a strict interpretation of the Constitution, all of the areas listed, in addition to all U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.), are being illegally occupied, as the right to expand territory is reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment. I would like to see a "strict constructionist" make the case that these lands should all be granted independence in accordance with the Constitution, as it is technically correct (as are the arguments about the welfare system and the UN that I mentioned at the beginning), but infeasible.

Note: Sorry that the image is so big. Wish I could shrink it.

[edit on 12/11/2007 by KevinR1990]




posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 08:51 PM
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Eh, your a northerner. Well, Welfare is a big crock. It basically say's "If you have a kid, we'll give you money and a house", it say's "Communism is what we're all about, everyone has to pay for you to live and you don't have to work.". That's what it is in my town, bunch of lazy druggies and such that don't wanna work, but just do drugs and live for free. I believe if you wanna have something, then you need to work for it. I believe in helping people, but I don't believe that people should leach off of the community to support themselves and never give anything back.

Just my $0.02

-Jimmy



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 11:15 PM
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Very nice can-of-worms-opening, queasy-making post. I've flagged and starred the thread. Let's hope we see some meaningful responses soon.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by KevinR1990
 


Was the westward expansion of the United States constitutional, and if not, what should be done about the states that rest on claimed land?

Article IV, Section 3

For those who don't want to bother opening the link, I present the Constitution of the United States, Article IV, Section 3:


Section 3Clause 1:New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. Clause 2:The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.


Based on the above (and it's hard to get more 'strict constructionist' than a verbatim quote of Constitutional text), I'd have to say that, yes, the westward expansion of the United States was, indeed a constitutionally-sanctioned activity, since the provision is explicitly made for the creation of new states, but there is a prohibition on creating new states from the territory of existing states. By implication, any new states would require the acquisition (by whatever means) of new territory.

Since the expansion was constitutional, the question of what should be done with / about the occupied territory is moot.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:11 PM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Kinda crushed the OP here, didn't ya?


Way to do the homework that he didn't. Gold star for you.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 09:39 PM
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reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Yes, Article IV, Section 3 does state how to go about and create new states.....out of existing U.S. territory. However, it says nothing about the acquisition of new territories. In other words, once all of America's original land had been carved into states, the only way to make new ones was through the consent of existing state legislatures whose territory is being carved up/merged into these new states. I don't think that a passage of the Constitution that allows the United States to set the provisions for creating new states out of its territory gives it the power to acquire new territory to make states out of.

(On a similar note, the statehood of West Virginia may be called into question on the basis of this article, as its secession from Virginia during the Civil War was unilateral, and never approved by the Virginia legislature. A Supreme Court decision in 1870, however, did deflect just such an accusation from Virginia, and allowed West Virginia to stay independent in spite of this. Food for thought...)

If I recall, when Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, one of the big points of opposition was that there was no provision in the U.S. Constitution for acquiring new territory, be it through purchase, treaty or conquest. Jefferson himself believed that the purchase was unconstitutional, yet he made the purchase anyway in order to limit French and Spanish power in North America, particularly in New Orleans. This led to accusations of flip-flopping and hypocrisy by the big-government Federalists.

en.wikipedia.org...

I don't know about you, but I say that my original question still stands.



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 08:29 AM
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Originally posted by KevinR1990
reply to post by Brother Stormhammer
 


Yes, Article IV, Section 3 does state how to go about and create new states.....out of existing U.S. territory. However, it says nothing about the acquisition of new territories.

...

If I recall, when Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, one of the big points of opposition was that there was no provision in the U.S. Constitution for acquiring new territory, be it through purchase, treaty or conquest.

There may be no specific provision for acquisition of new territory, but there is no provision stating that there can be no acquisition of territory, so the argument of "omission" is moot. The Constitution does give the ability to admit new states, outside of those existing at the time, so in essence it the Constitution is saying: Don't break down the current states, adding new ones is ok. So if you can't break down existing states, the only way to add new ones is by geographic expansion, therefore, by extension, the A IV/S3 does in deed provide the clause you asked for, without spelling it out specifically.

Also, there is an obvious legal precedent, starting w/ the example you gave.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 11:07 AM
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What difference does it make? The Supreme Court and the Congress and Senate have allowed totally illegal laws and decisions to become the law of the land, and there is nothing we can do about it.

The Tenth Amedment is totally ignored these days: If it was followed, there could be NO federal drug laws, gun laws, etc. The Rights that were SUPPOSED to be exclusively the States have been TAKEN by the Feds, all illegally but when the SC agrees, nothing can be done. The Constitution actually gives the Feds very LITTLE power over normal affairs of life, and nowhere in the Constitution can be found many of the areas that the Feds are now into. By claiming the ' interstate commerce ' makes virtually everything a Federal matter opens the door to all the abuses we see today.

The States should be doing EVERYTHING, except for providing for an Army and making treaties with foreign nations, etc. The founders wanted a very limited role for the government, knowing how it always ruins things when it gets too big. Now it has happened. Even old twisted Uncle Tom Clarence Thomas knew that things had gone too far when the majority of the SC decided that Congress had the right to interfere with state medical cannabis laws: thomas said the founding fathers would ' roll over in their graves ' at the thought of the Feds amking hemp illegal nationwide. those were NOT the things that the founders had in mind.

The betrayal is almost complete: There is hardly an area of law where the Feds have not assumed authority over states in matters never envisioned by the elders of our creed: Read the Constitution carefully and then look at what the Feds are actually doing, and one sickens at the thought that we copuld stray so far from our roots.



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