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Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Real Constitution: Second Amendment (Right to Keep and Bear Arms)

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Does the Second Amendment protect private gun ownership by just about anyone, or does it only protect the existence of "a well regulated Militia"?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Real Constitution: First Amendment (Freedom of Religion, Speech, the Press, Assembly, and Petition)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Real Constitution: Bill of Rights: Prelude

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Yes, the Bill of Rights has its own preamble.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Real Constitution: Article VII (Ratification)

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Articles of Confederation had required unanimous consent between all the states for any amendment to be passed. The Constitution attempted to get around that, near as I could tell before checking my sources, by essentially saying "Well, if you don't want to party with us, we'll get started without you!"

Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan, which still saw itself as mere "amendments" to the Articles of Confederation, would, after being approved by the Congress of the Confederation, be submitted to "an assembly or assemblies of Representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people, to consider & decide thereon."