reply to post by mnemeth1
1. The federal government made it a crime to speak badly about the federal government. The law was called the Alien and Sedition Act. Numerous
republican news reporters (like Fox News) were imprisoned for demanding government be limited.
The Alien and Sedition Acts expired in 1802 - 200 years ago - what Fox News reporter was arrested in relation to these sedition acts?
The Alien Friends Act and the Alien Enemies Act were rather close in concept to the Arizona anti-Mexican laws. The Naturalization Act required 14
years residence before an alien could become a citizen. The Sedition Act was in many ways analogous to today's (un)Patriotic Act.
The major political groupings at the time were the 'Federalists' and the 'Democratic-Republicans'. Federalists supported the acts, and
Democratic-Republicans were against. The Acts were never appealed to the SCOTUS which was anyway dominated by Federalists, they all expired by 1802,
and Marbury vs. Madison didn't establish the concept of Judicial Constitutional Review until 1803.
The acts were specifically in response to the undeclared "Franco-American War". The new Republic of France got pissed off at the US for cozying up
to Britain (the Jay Treaty) and refusing to repay its Revolutionary war debts on the grounds that they were owed to the French Monarchy, not the
In short, the Constitution was only 10 years old when these laws were enacted and many people could not yet reconcile the idea of fighting a war with
an open Government. There wasn't 220 years of interpretation and changed expectations.
2. The Dred Scott Decision was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent ... were not protected by the
Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.
is universally condemned as the worst mistake in the history of the SCOTUS, however it took place in the context that slavery was
legal (1857), and the Constitution protected property rights, thus Dred Scott
overturned the Missouri Compromise. It also seems to have found
in the Declaration of Independence some justification for its ruling that African descendants cannot be citizens of the United States (weird but
After the Civil War, it was recognized Dred Scott
showed that the Constitution was silent on very important concept of citizenship and
protection of civil rights. In response to the former slave states attempting to reintroduce slavery indirectly by restricting movement, denying them
access to the judicial system, and forcing them to engage in long-term labor contracts against their will, Congress proposed, and the States ratified
the 14th Amendment.
Section 1 of the 14th amendment is specifically designed to provide a definition of Citizenship and to overturn Dred Scott
. Other provisions
ensure that the "Civil Rights act of 1866" could not be overturned by the SCOTUS on lack of authority grounds or a future Congress from overriding
it with a simple vote.
3. Thomas Jefferson, the Ron Paul of the founding fathers, recommended to Congress an embargo which would prohibit all American ships from departing
for a foreign port. This measure, which became law, attempted to end American foreign trade. The law was called the Embargo Act of 1807.
Britain and France were at war. Britain declared that any ship bound for Europe must call at a British port first (to deny trade to France) and
blockaded the European ports. France responded with a blockade of her own, which she could not enforce, but did seize foreign ships, including
American, that obeyed the British blockade. The British also kidnapped American citizens and 'pressed' them into military duty. War fever started
building in the USA.
Jefferson tried to use sanctions against the British and French by imposing a trade embargo on the theory that both relied on American goods to
prosecute their war against each other. The embargo failed because American's were more dependent on the export trade than the British and French
were on American imports. Just as today, sanctions make the sanctioner feel good for about five minutes, but seldom accomplish anything of real merit.
In this case, the embargo led inevitably to the war of 1812, exactly the opposite of what Jefferson desired.
Comparing Thomas Jefferson to Ron Paul is, as nicely as one can put it, batcrap insane. Jefferson was a democrat: he believed in the government by
consent of the people. Libertarians are anarchists: their beliefs inevitably result in rule by a power elite. These are polar opposites. Libertarians
look to the founding fathers for 'inspiration', yet deny that those founding fathers recognized the need for government. They need to read the
"Preamble to the Constitution".
4. Roosevelt imposed a 100% - yes 100% - marginal tax rate on people making over 2,500 dollars a year - through the use of an executive order.
The figure is $25,000 not $2,500. You are off by a factor of ten. Mistakes of that magnitude play havoc with your credibility.
The correct figure of $25,000 doesn't sound like much today, but it is equivalent to about $2,200,000 today (by share of GDP).
Don't forget that there was a war that had to be paid for. The Republican controlled Congress shortly came up with alternate ways to fund the war and
that marginal rate was dropped - to 90%.
5. The government passed the Patriot Act which allows for warrantless wiretapping and rendition.
The un-American (un)Patriot Act is an abomination and has no precedent in the US since the above named Alien and Sedition Acts (though the WWII
Japanese concentration camps were close). Even the 'official' name is a slap at the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and embodied
in the Constitution.
What do all those criminal acts of the government have in common?
They have all (with the unfortunate exception of the (un)Patriot Act) been repudiated by 'We the People'.
They were all violations of constitutional powers.
1. Alien and Sedition Acts were not tested, so we have no way of knowing that for sure. Judging them by today's standards is pointless. If anything,
they should be judged as an object lesson for a fledgling nation exploring the limts of its new Constitution.
2. Dred Scott was absolutely constitutional. It did not, however, represent what 'We the People' thought the Constitution should
say. That is
why the 'We the People' saw to it that the 14th amendment corrected the problem.
3. There was nothing un-Constitutional about Jefferson's Embargo. Wrong-headed, even disastrous, sure, but Un-Constitutional? No. No more
Un-Constitutional than Kennedy's embargo against Cuba or Bush's embargo against Iraq.
4. Roosevelt's Presidential order was also not un-Constitutional. It was an emergency act to shore up access to credit as the US geared up for the
war (lenders wouldn't lend unless they could see that they could be paid back, after all). When Congress established a 'approved' method for
financing the war, the Executive order was no longer required.
5. No argument with you there. Much of the (un)Patriot Act is obviously un-Constitutional. A fifth grader could spot the violence that this act does
to the Constitution.
Liberty is not granted to you by government. Only a nut would think that. Your rights come from the fact you are human. They have nothing to do with
government granting them to you.
That is extremely simplistic. Most humans throughout history have not enjoyed anything approaching the rights provided by our form of government. It
isn't called 'the Great American Experiment' for nothing. It is precisely because those rights and liberties were recognised and codified as the
basis of a Government for the first time in human history. The concept that 'all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights'
could be used as the basis for a governing system is barely 300 years old.
You are right though, that 'Liberty is not granted to you by government' in the United States. This was demonstrably not true of other forms of
governments in vogue at the time of the founding, and such Liberty flowing from the creator (or more simply by the fact of your humanity) was
revolutionary in every sense of the word. Liberties can be taken away by Governments, but not granted.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.
So the authors of the Constitution recognizing that some form of Government was essential, sought to define a Government that would protect (not
grant) those liberties that had been newly identified as human right. It was clear that the Monarchy they had so recently revolted against would not
serve, and the Articles of Confederation had failed utterly. So the constitution goes on to define
the Government, what it is expected to do,
and what it is forbidden from doing.
You are obviously the product of a public educational system.
That is a pathetic attack on the most fundamentally important institution in the America. There is absolutely nothing more important in America than
educating the children of America. Attempting to deny or restrict access to an education to any child is an act of violence to the liberties of 'We
the People' much more fundamental than the (un)Patriot Act does to the Constitution.
You must be a product of a religious home school with woefully uninformed tutors.
[edit on 11/8/2010 by rnaa]