California Congressman and 2020 Democratic hopeful Eric Swalwell took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Here’s the oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
How does a person swear to something that he doesn’t know what it says? Who would sign a contract without first reading it?
I suspect that many members of Congress either don’t know what the Constitution says or they don’t care, otherwise, we wouldn’t have so many unconstitutional programs. Do you know that the word “education” is not found in the Constitution? This means governing education is not one of the enumerated powers of the Federal government. The same can be said for healthcare and Social Security.
Most members of Congress don’t broadcast their ignorance of the Constitution, but Swalwell did. Here’s what he tweeted:
“Do you know how many times the word ‘Woman’ is mentioned in the Constitution? Zero. That is unacceptable. Women must be equally represented and equally protected. #ERANow,” Rep. Swalwell tweeted Tuesday night.
Notice the number of retweets and likes. These people, including Swalwell, should not be permitted to vote.
Why is what Swalwell wrote so wrong? Because the words “man” and “men” don’t appear in the Constitution. Even the 19th Amendment, that gave women the right to vote, doesn’t use the words men or women:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Swalwell should have known this. In 2003, he completed his bachelor’s degree in government and politics at Maryland. He enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor in 2006. How was this possible? Don’t lawyers study the Constitution?
Notice that it says “sex” and not “gender.”
You may have seen this:
If we put women in the Constitution, we would also have to put men in the Constitution.
The Constitution and its amendments mention “person” or “persons” 28 times and refer to “citizen” or “citizens” 11 times.
Did you know that the text of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) doesn’t include the words woman or “women”?
In addition, the Constitution does not use the word “race,” “slavery,” “slave,” “white,” “black.” Such omissions are curious since there are many who view the Constitution as a racist and sexist document.
Actually, the word “slavery” did not enter the Constitution until after the Civil War in the 13th Amendment.
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The so-called racist intent of the Constitution is seen in the “three-fifths clause” found in Article I, section 2, clause 3. Contrary to what some historians claim, the “three-fifths clause” is a clear indication that a number of our constitutional founders wanted to end slavery. The three-fifths clause is not about personhood, that is, describing blacks as three-fifths of a white person.
The Northern states did not want to count slaves in determining how many representatives a state would have. The Southern states hoped to include slaves in the population statistics so as to acquire additional representation in Congress. The compromise was to count slaves (although the word is never used) as “three-fifths” of a person for representation purposes. The fewer slaves counted, the fewer number of representatives.
The goal of the Northern delegates was to dilute Southern voting strength so as to outlaw slavery by constitutional means. “The struggle that took place in the convention was between the Southern delegates trying to strengthen the constitutional supports for slavery and the Northern delegates trying to weaken them.”1
Even Wikipedia gets it right:
The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise reached among state delegates during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. Whether, and if so, how, slaves would be counted when determining a state’s total population for legislative representation and taxing purposes was important, as this population number would then be used to determine the number of seats that the state would have in the United States House of Representatives for the next ten years. The compromise solution was to count three out of every five slaves as a person for this purpose. Its effect was to give the southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free people had been counted equally. The compromise was proposed by delegate James Wilson and seconded by Charles Pinckney on June 11, 1787.
If none of the slaves had been included in the population count for representation, as Northern delegates wanted, the slave states would have had only 41 percent of the seats in the House. If all the slaves had been included, as the pro-slave states wanted, the slave states would have had 50 percent of the seats. By agreeing to count slaves as three-fifths of a person for representation purposes, the slaveholding states ended up with a minority voting position—47 percent. Robert L. Goldwin concludes:
[T]he point is that the “three-fifths clause” had nothing at all to do with measuring the human worth of blacks. Northern delegates did not want black slaves included, not because they thought them unworthy of being counted, but because they wanted to weaken the slaveholding power in Congress. Southern delegates wanted every slave to count “equally with the Whites,” not because they wanted to proclaim that black slaves were human beings on an equal footing with free white persons, but because they wanted to increase the pro-slavery voting power in Congress. The humanity of blacks was not the subject of the three-fifths clause; voting power in Congress was the subject.2
Was it right for the Northern delegates to agree to this compromise? We will never know. Second guessing the actions of men who lived two-hundred years ago is a waste of time and energy. Distorting the facts of history to gain political points is reprehensible.
- Robert A. Goldwin, “Why Blacks, Women & Jews Are Not Mentioned in the Constitution,” Commentary (May 1987), 29. [↩]
- “Why Blacks, Women & Jews Are Not Mentioned in the Constitution,” 30. [↩]
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