posted on Feb, 5 2013 @ 10:46 PM
Originally posted by rnaa
reply to post by Ex_CT2
Those are known as "comma faults" in grammatic circles. All the documents relating to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are
absolutely chock-a-block with them. There are many documents and writings of the Founding Fathers available, including the Federalist Papers, that
clarify their intent.
That is correct. I believe that it is also true that there was no fixed rules about comma usage at the time, or even consistent spelling of words.
Dictionaries barely existed, let alone "Harbrace College Handbook". Writers put in commas where they felt like it.
Another place where a "comma fault" causes great distress in the Constitution is in the 2nd Amendment.
There are those who say that Jefferson stuck that particular clause in there to disallow his nemesis Hamilton (who was from the West Indies) from
running for president....
Jefferson was in Paris when the Constitution was written; he had no input into it what-so-ever. Madison wrote much of the draft that was then heavily
modified during the debates. The correct meaning of the clause is to specifically to benefit (not disallow) those of the Patriot Generation
who, like Hamilton (born in the West Indies, naturalized in New York), were naturalized citizens.
You are correct in every respect. There were no rules about comma placement, and many of the writers of the time, the Founding Fathers included,
sprinkled commas around as if there were an inexhaustible supply of them. I do believe there were stylebooks available, but I don't know what they
said about dependent and independent clauses. (I'll have to check on that.)
You are correct also about Jefferson. Hamilton in fact wrote the original "citizenship clause," and I was thinking that Jefferson knew of it and
insisted that it be changed. Actually it was John Jay who suggested the addition of "natural born." A quick search finds no attribution to Jefferson;
I guess it's just something I heard somewhere and it stuck.
As to whether Hamilton could have been President: You can still find plenty of animated arguments in books, blogs, and magazine and newspaper articles
concerning the meaning and interpretation of that little clause. I still don't know which way I lean....
edit on 2/5/2013 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)
edit on 2/6/2013 by Ex_CT2 because: (no reason given)