Monday, February 27, 2017

US Terrorism Fight: 19th versus 21st Centuries (Part II)

5. Before Jefferson, the United States piracy policy consisted of paying ransoms to free sailors in bondage and paying bribes for the passage of American merchant ships. This policy also failed to work because Tripoli would not hold up its end of the bargain. Tripoli pirates would respect bribes and treaties for only a short period of time before moving back to their criminal ways. Why? Because they knew America was being weak (diplomatically and militarily) and would pay more money. The same was true with most European nations during the reign of Barbary pirates – they did not want to fight them. Today, has Iran held up its end of the bargain in the new treaty they have with the US? We have paid them ransoms and relaxed sanctions but Iran may be more confrontational than ever. They are violating terms in the treaty with regards to their nuclear buildup and they continue to harass our ships in neutral waters. Why? Because we have shown ourselves to be too weak in both diplomacy (giving in to Iran demands) and warfare (we have taken military action off the table).

6. Both Muslim terrorists and pirates want/wanted to put enemies in bondage and or convert them to fight their battles. This is of course is a huge problem in the modern fight on terrorism. Terrorists use technology to reach out to people around the globe in an effort to convert them to join their cause. Extreme Muslims take every provision in the Koran literally – to hate other religions and their followers. Nothing has changed over the centuries.

7. The Barbary and present day fight against Islamic extremism is happening in the same area. In fact, one ISIS strong hold is in the old Barbary nation of Tripoli or present day Libya (thanks to a failed Obama and Clinton policy). Barbary countries (except Morocco) where part of the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey) which is in the heart of the Middle East.

8. Both Jefferson and Madison understood that Tripoli would only respond to military force both by land and sea after the blockade did not work. They were right, one show of American might and Tripoli and other Barbary nations were ready to surrender (after Americans and allied forces won a battle at Derna). This is something that Obama has failed to grasp. Obama has scaled back our nuclear arsenal in a time when Iran is trying to garner nuclear weapons. Obama never wants to commit enough troops on the ground to be successful to fight Muslim extremism in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Obama’s only strategy is to control the air space and to make strategic strikes using drones. That has proved to be ineffective as terrorism has expanded dramatically under his watch.

What can learn from the present day fight on terrorism and the Barbary Wars? The chief thing is that Muslim extremism has been going on for a long time and will persist to go on for a long time. Those people who tell us that the American presence on Muslim soil is the reason they are fighting us are wrong. This was not the case in the Barbary Wars and it is not the case today. Muslim extremists do not like anyone and do not need to be provoked to dislike Americans (that hatred has and always will exist). The Koran tells Muslims that American (Western) values and everything we stand for are not just wrong, but they are evil. Those people who tell us that Trump immigration rhetoric is a great recruiting tool and a reason to fight the United States are also wrong. Muslims want to fight all Americans, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and even moderate Muslims. Muslim attacks occur all around the globe. They do not discriminate and it has nothing to do with Trump statements. They have been attacking people long before Trump became a politician. Islam intolerance has to do with a truly profound hate of people regardless of ethnicity, gender, or nationality. Those who tell us that America mistreats enemy combatants are wrong. It is Muslim extremist’s persistence to want to put Christians and Jews into slavery and to keep women and minorities oppressed who are the civil rights violators. The only reason any terrorist is incarcerated at the Gitmo Hotel and Suites is because they chose to be war criminals.

History does not lie, unfortunately, we never learn our lessons from history and are repeating the same mistakes for one of two reasons: we do not care about history or we are just plain ignorant.

Friday, February 24, 2017

US Terrorism Fight: 19th versus 21st Century (Part I)

The United States has been fighting Islamic extremists for centuries (Since the United States won its independence from England) and little has changed and that is not good news. At the turn of the 19th century the US was fighting Muslim pirates in the Barbary Wars. The Barbary countries consisted of the African Mediterranean nations Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli (present day Libya). Thomas Jefferson went to war primarily against the Barbary nation Tripoli once he became President. Tripoli pirates had been capturing American merchant ships including its goods and sailors for decades. Captured sailors would be given a choice of slavery or to convert to Islam. Most became slaves while a few converted. Many that became slaves died in bondage. The first Barbary War ended with an American victory, but the British convinced the Barbary nations to restart their piracy efforts against America during the War of 1812. The Barbary Wars officially ended in 1815 under President James Madison with a convincing victory for the Americans. So how were the Barbary wars similar to the fight against Islamic extremism today?

1. Muslim extremism is at war with the World. Muslim pirates did not discriminate and would attack ships from any country from around the globe and today Islamic extremist do not discriminate against anyone either. Muslims will attack everyone including Muslims who have different beliefs (i.e. in Syria and Iraq). And like the Barbary Wars, the chief leader in the fight against extreme terrorists (piracy) is (was) the United States. Other nations would prefer to pay the Barbary nations a bribe to allow for the safe passage of their merchant ships than fight the pirates. Today, much has not changed. Other nations expect and rely on the United States to lead the effort to fight radical Muslim extremists through intelligence, cyberwarfare, and warfare. Unfortunately, Obama has not been leading the effort and that is why under his presidency terrorism has grown in numbers, attacks, victims, and area. The Barbary pirates also grew in size, victims, and attacks under complacent presidents with weak military policies: Washington and Adams.

2. Money is power. Pirates garnered money through bribes, ransoms, and the selling of stolen goods. Modern terrorists garner money through stolen oil fields. However, the Barbary nations and present day countries controlled by terrorists are some of the poorest nations in the world and are some of the most religiously intolerant nations. The riches only go to a few of the most powerful people while the general populous is neglected. However, it is that neglect which is leveraged by powerful terrorist (pirate) leaders to convince the populace to join their cause – blaming their troubles on Western theology.

3. Muslims are masters of unconventional and unpredictable warfare techniques which makes their attacks hard to defend – whether it be by piracy; or by hijacking planes; or by bombing soft targets; or by suicide bombers; or by driving a car over innocent civilians, or by “lone wolf’s” hacking up coworkers in their workplace. When it comes to Muslim terrorism, expect the unexpected. Barbary pirates would surrender only to attack again once Americans would put down their guard. Conventional warfare is a thing of the past as Barbary and present day terrorists both proved their cowardice by hiding behind innocent civilians.

4. Originally, America’s military plan to defeat Tripoli was to blockade the port of Tripoli. This strategy went on for years and failed to work. This is similar to our present day strategy to deal with rogue Muslim states such as Iran – Sanctions. Blockades and sanctions are strategies targeted to cripple the economies of terrorist (pirate) nations. However, these techniques have had limited success because only the poor and general populous feel the effects of these strategies, not the few rich and powerful leaders.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part V)

There are lots of Hamilton writings in the federalist papers that have been violated because of his and John Marshall’s interpretation of the “necessary and proper” clause. Federalist 69 and 70 are perfect examples of how our Federal government expanded to include departments for agriculture, education, energy, health, housing, labor, and so forth. There is no power enumerated in the constitution for the federal government to handle these items, so they should be issues handled by the states. If there was such a strong need for these departments, then why did it take so long to add them? If they are so important and necessary than surely two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the States would be willing to add an amendment to the constitution to include them in the list of enumerated powers of the federal government? Besides, the functions of these departments are convoluted and confusing at best. For example, the agriculture department is in charge of things such as food stamps. There are fifteen different groups among the cluster of all these departments chartered with helping teen pregnancies. This type of disorganization and redundancy of operations leads to waste and fraud. The education department is a good example of how government interference works to make things worse. Education in the United States was one of the best in world when the federal government took over in 1953. Now, the United States is one of the worst educated nations in the world in terms of reading, writing, math, and science (this is why we need to expand H1 B Visas to import engineers, mathematicians, and scientists). So why do we persist to have education controlled nationally instead of it being a local issue?

Federalist 83 is a classic example of how our government worked originally, and how it is the antithesis of that today. In the essay Hamilton discuses why “trial by jury” is not included in the constitution. He explains how laws for trial by jury are vastly different in the many states. For instance, some states allow for trial by jury for all crimes while others only allow trial by jury for criminal cases and not civil cases and some states do not allow it at all. The only way to truly add trial by jury to the constitution would be to have the states compromise and add it by amendment to the bill of rights – which was done. At the constitutional convention Hamilton and others did not want to do away with hundreds of state laws and statutes dealing with trial by jury. Today, because of the increased power of the Supreme Court to legislate, the court rules on things that should require an amendment: abortion, gay marriage, Miranda rights, one person one vote, privacy, healthcare, and so forth and so on. The Supreme Court has wiped out thousands of state laws and statutes by expanding enumerated powers in the constitution to allow the federal government to make these intrusions. Abortion and gay marriage are civil rights issues. Consider the fact that landmark civil rights issues in the past had been handled by amendment: women’s suffrage, abolish slavery, etc. So why aren’t amendments used anymore? Because the Supreme Court has the power to legislate from the bench. This is far cry from what Hamilton said in federalist papers 78 and 81. The reason for this is because the Supreme Court is no longer a panel of neutral justices wanting to interpret the law, but instead the justices are politicians with political agendas.

In 1832, South Carolina wanted to succeed from the union. They felt tariffs on imports affected its citizens unequally especially compared to northern states. President Jackson (born in South Carolina) issued a proclamation saying that South Carolina had no legal right to succeed. The legal question was whether South Carolina was/is a sovereign state equal to the sovereignty possessed by the United States. This question would be brought up again by Lincoln during the Civil War. Lincoln like Jackson argued that the Southern States had no legal right to succeed. In both cases Jackson and Lincoln argued that states were not a sovereign equal to the union. States, for instance, could not do the things sovereign countries could: create treaties, regulate foreign commerce, coin money, and create an army or navy, and other powers enumerated to the federal government in the constitution. Southern states would use statements made in the Declaration of Independence, England’s Revolutionary War surrender statement, and the Articles of Confederation to make their case they had a right to be a sovereign nation. There was and is nothing in the constitution that says the state governments are equal to the federal government in terms of sovereignty. In 1869, in Texas v. White the Supreme Court ruled that state succession from the union was illegal. Hamilton was a smart man and it would not surprise me if he understood this when the constitution was drafted. But this does not sound like the intent of Hamilton or other framers as written in federalist papers 28 or 45 or the tenth amendment. Of course Hamilton did not draft those federalist papers and by the sound of federalist paper 84 he did not want that amendment added to the constitution. In any event, Hamilton and his Federalist views have won out in America history. He paved the way for the progressive movement that has a strangle hold on the modern political landscape of America. Hamilton may be the one founding father who would not be disappointed as to how our country has evolved.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part IV)

Hamilton would also argue that the “general welfare” clause in the constitution’s preamble also gives the federal government the power to erect a national bank – citing the bank was necessary for the “general welfare” of the citizens of the United States. Hamilton says as long as the national bank is “general” and not “local” in that it will help every citizen equally, it is constitutional under the “general welfare” clause. Jefferson argued that a national bank is good for the “general welfare” of the federal government, but not good for the United States citizens as a whole (except for those businessmen holding stock in the bank – federalist paper 62). See federalist paper 40 for Madison’s view of the “general welfare” clause and how it has expanded in Hamilton’s view.

Hamilton argues that a national bank will help regulate interstate commerce. Jefferson refutes that argument by claiming the creation of the national bank would create the interstate commerce it was designed to regulate. Jefferson also says the national commerce created by the national bank would be void because it would create as much interstate commerce as intrastate commerce. Hamilton would of course refute these points as well as contend that a national bank would also protect the “property” of United States citizens. By helping to collect taxes, those monies can be used to provide for the general defense of the United States. Jefferson says that the United States has been collecting taxes for centuries without a national bank.

In 1819, the Supreme Court case between Maryland v. McCulloch, the Court ruled unanimously that the national bank was constitutional and that States could not levy a tax against the national bank. The court ruled that the federal government had “implied” powers not outlined or expressed in the constitution citing both the “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clauses. Hamilton and his arguments were vindicated, but at what cost? This ruling set the stage for using the “necessary and proper” clause by the federal government for everything it sees fit. This has led to the main problem we see today: the federal government is too big because of the never ending expansion of the federal government (see federalist papers 69 and 70 as examples). For instance, Maryland v. McCulloch has been cited over 50 times in cases involving issues such as legal tender. This ruling obliterated the views held in federalist papers 32, 36, 47, 48, 78, and 81.

Hamilton’s whiskey tax stirred up a whiskey rebellion in western Pennsylvania. President George Washington himself led an army to squash the rebellion. Federalist papers 9 and 10 support this type of view (suppressing what Hamilton perceives are “radical” factions), but it violates everything that is written in the bill of rights such freedom of speech. Maybe this is why Hamilton was opposed to a bill of rights in federalist paper 84. After all, Washington’s actions would be less controversial if there was no bill of rights.

In 1798 then President, John Adams, passed through Congress the “Aliens and Seditions” act. The law enabled the federal government to convict anyone who had opposing views to the President. The laws also allowed the government to deport immigrants and made it harder for immigrants to vote. Hundreds upon thousands were deported (no due process) or put in prison including those working for newspapers (a violation of most amendments in the bill of rights). Hamilton, who was no longer working in the government, had sent letters to friends indicating that he felt these laws were constitutional probably based on his anti-France / pro-England views as well as his opinion held in federalist paper 9 allowing the suppression of what he perceives are “radical” factions (it is obvious what Hamilton views as “radical” is very much different than what Jefferson would consider “radical” based on his war monger beliefs). Of course Jefferson and James Madison wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions condemning these laws as well as citing all amendments and provisions of the constitution that the law violates. Jefferson would rightly denounce how liberally the “necessary and proper” clause (federalist paper 33 and 44) is being applied making the power of the federal government infinite. Again, this may explain why Hamilton did not want a bill of rights (federalist paper 84) but probably insisted upon a “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clause.

In 1832, then President Andrew Jackson started a war on the 2nd National Bank created in 1816 (established after Hamilton’s 1st National Bank charter expired after 20 years). Jackson distrusted banks and worried about the influence of money in politics. He moved all deposits from the national bank to “pet banks” and vetoed the bill to charter the 3rd National Bank and its charter expired in 1936. Jackson won the battle. During the battle, President of the National Bank, Nicolas Biddle, showed the dangers of the national bank by disrupting the economy in an attempt to prove the necessity of the bank. Jefferson was vindicated: Jackson’s victory proved that a national bank was powerful and could disrupt the economy, but at the same time it was not necessary to carry out any of the enumerated powers of the constitution. However, the damage had been done: Hamilton and the Supreme Court changed the meaning of the constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause and the interpretation of the federalist papers to mean anything a corrupt politician wants. The constitution was moved from a rigid document to one that is elastic in meaning. Hamilton deceived the people of New York and the people at the constitutional convention.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part III)

Can the federal government erect corporations (a national bank)? That was the big constitutional question in the Washington administration. Hamilton says yes and Thomas Jefferson says no. Jefferson argues there is no expressed or written power in the constitution for the government to erect a corporation. Hamilton concurs but argues that building a federal corporation is not forbidden by the constitution and it does not abate state rights. Hamilton argues further that any act is constitutional if it is a “means to attain the ends”. Powers enumerated in the constitution for the federal government include laying and collecting taxes, coining money, and borrowing money. And a national bank is the means to attain those ends. Hamilton even uses the “supremacy” clause to justify that a sovereign nation has the right to create laws that are the supreme laws of the land (federalist papers 33 and 44 illustrate how the interpretation of the “supremacy” clause has changed – especially Hamilton’s view).

Hamilton would also argue for the national bank using the “necessary and proper” clause of the constitution. He said this clause provides the federal government the right to build a national bank of the United States. He argues that it is “necessary and proper” to have a national bank so the federal government could sufficiently do its job to lay and collect taxes, coin money, and borrow money (that the means justify the ends). Jefferson would again argue that the power to erect companies is not expressed in the constitution. Hamilton would rebut by saying that the States do not have the expressed powers in their constitutions to build state banks, yet all states have them. Hamilton also gave an example that the constitution does not have the expressed power to build lighthouses, piers, or beacons, but it is “necessary and proper” for the federal government to do so in order to conduct trade. Many federalists, those wanting a stronger national government, felt the constitution as drafted was weak. The constitution in their view was rigid and too specific. In other words it was not “elastic” enough. Hamilton’s arguments and the 1819 Supreme Court decision in Maryland v. McCulloch would turn the “necessary and proper” clause into the “elastic” clause. This was especially true in times of war (federalist papers 33 and 44 to illustrate how the interpretation of the “necessary and proper” clause has changed in Hamilton’s view). James Madison was always a state rights advocate who saw the need for a stronger federal government. At the constitutional convention Madison lobbied hard for the federal power to nullify any bad state laws. It was widely opposed, but the 14th amendment following the civil war would essentially create this power further strengthening the federal government’s hold over state governments. Madison was wrong that the constitution did not have enough power after the “elastic” clause was created by the Supreme Court contrary to federalist papers 78 and 81.

Jefferson also cites the tenth amendment as to why the national bank is unconstitutional. The tenth amendment says (paraphrase): those rights (powers) not given to the federal government in the constitution belong to the states. Hence, the act of creating banks solely rests with the states. Hamilton argues that there are implied or resulting powers from the powers vested in the national government. For instance, the federal government has a right to tax, so a tax on rum would be an implied or a resultant power. Federalist papers 28, 45 and 62 show how Hamilton’s view has changed.

One proposed amendment for the constitution bill of rights that was submitted by several states reads: “That Congress erect no company of merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce.” This one became part of the argument against the national bank proposed by Alexander Hamilton. Thomas Jefferson opposed the national bank using that statement by contending it would create a monopoly or that with its special powers and privileges, the national bank would hinder the development of state banks. Jefferson also argued that the national bank would be far more helpful to wealthy businessmen in cities than farmers in rural areas. The national bank would be run by wealthy stockholders and would help this privileged class become more rich and powerful (See federalist paper 62). Hamilton argued that the national bank is not a monopoly because the law does not stop states and localities from creating new banks. However, Hamilton admits that Congress has the right to alter state laws if it is deemed necessary for the federal government to conduct its business. Hamilton also argues that many of the same states that wrote the proposed amendment did not have any issue with the federal government erecting trade companies. Hamilton would also suggest that the federal government created new governments (companies) in the northwest and southwest territories. Hamilton therefore insists that the federal government has the right and power to erect governments as well as corporations on government lands such as the District of Columbia or western territories.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part II)

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison authored a series of 85 essays called the federalist papers. Hamilton authored over 50 of the essays. The federalist papers are over 500 pages of documentation that explain the intent of the framers of the constitution. The federalist papers were cited in over 100 Supreme Court cases throughout history. The essays were published in newspapers trying to calm fears of those who opposed the federal government under the new constitution. Many feared the new government would be much more powerful than the state governments and certainly more so then the previous articles of confederation (as it was intended). The end goal of the essays was to help persuade New York to ratify the new constitution (and it worked). Below is a summary of conclusions drawn by a number of the federalist papers that will be referred to later in this paper:

Federalist 9 and 10: The federal government can use armies to thwart factions of radicals creating disturbance within the borders of the United States. Armies were not just for defending the United States from foreign countries but also internal enemies.

Federalist 28: State governments would act as a natural check on the national government and vice versa.

Federalist 32: State governments have the power to tax anything except imports and exports. But with the consent of Congress states can tax imports and exports.

Federalist 33: Hamilton cites the “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clauses are only for carrying out tasks listed (enumerated or expressed) in the Constitution. Unjust laws can be resisted by the people.

Federalist 36: Since both state and federal governments have the right to tax, double taxes are possible but Hamilton felt governments would be prudent to avoid such things. Of course we know this is not true today: capital gains, income taxes, gas taxes, etc. (to name a few of many instances).

Federalist 40: Madison posts a narrow interpretation of the “general welfare” clause (mentioned in the preamble of the constitution) by claiming it applies only to listed or enumerated powers.

Federalist 44: Madison concurs with Hamilton’s narrow interpretation of the “necessary and proper” and “supremacy” clauses.

Federalist 45: Madison says “The powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.”

Federalist 47: Madison explains that the goal of the federal government is to provide checks and balances against each branch to prevent one branch from becoming too strong (Madison believes this would prevent tyranny).

Federalist 48: Madison explains the legislative branch has most of the power in order to restrict the power of the executive branch.

Federalist 62: Hamilton insists the goal of the federal government is to limit laws and regulations that would hurt business ventures. Government wants to avoid passing laws made for the few and not the many.

Federalist 69: The executive branch cannot create new offices (not expressed in the constitution). See Federalist 70 below for more detail.

Federalist 70: There will be no executive council (cabinet). It is best to leave the power of the executive branch in the hands of one person.

Of course Washington would set the precedent of creating cabinet positions consisting of Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton as the Secretary of the Treasury to name a few. There are six cabinets that can be argued as being constitutional (powers enumerated in the constitution): commerce, defense, treasury, state, justice and maybe even the transportation department (the constitution does provide a provision for maintaining Post Office roads. However, several presidents up to the Civil War vetoed internal improvement bills on roads, harbors, and canals questioning the constitutionality of the laws). Today, a majority of cabinet offices should be ruled unconstitutional including: interior (1849), agriculture (1862), labor (1903), energy (1977), education (1953), housing and urban development (1965), environmental protection agency (1972) and health and human services (1953). If these were needed, then why did it take so long to implement them and why haven’t there been any amendments made to the constitution to enumerate these powers?

Federalist 78: Hamilton argues that the judiciary branch of government (Supreme Court) is by far the weakest branch of the government since they can only hand down rulings and they do not have the power to enforce those decisions. In other words, the judiciary needs the executive branch to carry out their rulings. Hamilton explains the main purpose of the Supreme Court is to prevent the legislative branch from exceeding its power. The court would declare laws in violation to the constitution null and void (unconstitutional). Unfortunately, it was never discussed in these papers as to what happens when the Supreme Court says laws are constitutional which obviously fail to protect the liberties of the people.

Federalist 81: The Supreme Court does not have unlimited power to carry out laws as they see fit.

Federalist 83: There is no trial by jury in the constitution since each state has varying and unique interpretations on the subject such as some states allow trial by jury for criminal cases but not for civil ones and vice versa. This issued was settled by compromise and added by amendment to the bill of rights.

Federalist 84: A bill of rights is not needed for the constitution since many individual and state rights are built into the constitution such as not allowing a suspension of a writ of habeas corpus. Besides, Hamilton argues that by adding a bill of rights “they would contain various exceptions to powers not granted”. “Why declare that things shall not be done which is no power to do?”

Monday, February 6, 2017

Alexander Hamilton: Traitor to the Constitution (Part I)

Alexander Hamilton receives a lot of attention these days, especially for the hit Broadway play named after him. When the cast of the play, including Javier Munoz, who plays Hamilton, decides to lecture the vice president elect, Mike Pence, it certainly does not hurt in garnering more attention (even if it is bad) for Hamilton. But Hamilton is a highly overrated founding father for a number of reasons not highlighted in the play. Hamilton is portrayed as abolitionist, but he really did little to help slavery. Hamilton is correctly portrayed as controversial for his personal lifestyle choices (martial affairs and a duel that led to his death), but he was also politically controversial for being two faced (and that is not portrayed). Hamilton’s defense of the constitution in the federalist papers is vastly contradictory and hypocritical to how he governed.

Alexander Hamilton was a founding father and great American. He was a senior aide to George Washington during the Revolutionary War and won a key battle at Yorktown leading up to the surrender of England and General Cornwallis. He was regarded as an abolitionist especially for his lobbying efforts that helped to end slave trade in the port of New York City. However, what most people do not know is that Hamilton did purchase and sell servants. As President Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton wanted a strong federal government at the expense of state governments. For example, Hamilton supported issues such as establishing a national bank and the controversial whiskey tariff. Because of this, he was proclaimed as a hero by the first progressives in United States history including Republican Presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft. Hamilton was the founder and leader of the Federalist Party (It included founding fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, John Marshall, etc.). The Federalist Party main objective was for a strong federal government. All that said, Hamilton was controversial both in his private and political lives. He was the first politician involved in a sex scandal when he had an affair with a married women – Maria Reynolds. He was a war monger and desired a war against France following the XYZ affair. That is not surprising since over 10 of his federalist papers dealt with “providing for the general defense” of the United States. Hamilton was pro-Britain and a key contributor to the Jay Treaty that angered France further. Hamilton’s temperament was at times confrontational and as Adams and Jefferson said: he was “unprincipled”. Aaron Burr took the brunt of Hamilton political attacks. Hamilton attacked Aaron Burr viciously often using false statements. Burr felt these attacks cost him the Presidency in 1801 and the New York governorship in 1804. Because of this animosity between the two: Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and killed him.

Hamilton was instrumental in the drafting of the constitution of the United States. He was also a main cog in getting the state of New York to approve the constitution by drafting the federalist papers. However, Hamilton would quickly change his views on the constitution once he obtained power in the government when he was selected as Washington’s Secretary of Treasurer. Hamilton policies, in my view, turned out to be the enemy of the constitution by setting a bad precedent that allowed for a broad interpretation of the constitution’s enumerated powers allowed by the federal government.

The bill of rights (the first ten amendments to the constitution) was added to the constitution over the fear that the federal government would become too strong and powerful and therefore limit the rights of the people and the individual states. Individuals and states wanted assurances the new government proposed under the Constitution would not overstep its bounds. States collaborated and most submitted a list of proposed amendments to the constitution. The bill of rights consists of those ten amendments that were universal to all states that submitted requests. Not all requests were added as amendments though there was a universal tone in all the proposed amendments: prevent a powerful federal government. Of those amendments submitted by states but not added to the bill of rights consist of asking for term limits on the president and a cap on the number of House of Representatives are law today. Others like term limits on Congress are still being debated. Most had the tone of this one: “That all power is naturally vested in, and consequently derived from the people; that magistrates therefore are their trustees and agents, and at all times amenable to them.”- In other words, the government answered to the people and not vice versa.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Why Slavery Could Not Be Resolved Through Politics (Part II)

The 1790 census (the first U.S. census) showed that there were nearly 3.9 million soles living in the United States and slave population was nearly 700,000 (18%)! About 60 thousand blacks lived as Free persons throughout the union. About 40% of the population in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia were slaves. This was disheartening information for many northern lawmakers because it showed that slavery was growing so fast that they believed the opportunity to fix the issue had passed because it would be too cost prohibitive (just as the South argued). If each slave was worth 150 dollars compensation, that would cost the government 105 million dollars. In 1790, the federal government budget was 7 million per year and the national debt was about 75 million. Freeing all slaves would be a huge economic impact on the young nation. And there would be the cost of colonizing African-Americans somewhere out west, or possibly sending them back to Africa. Most people at the time did not consider this point to be racist. It was unfortunately a reality back in 1790. This colonization policy was not much different than US federal policy towards Native Americans in the 1800’s when they were placed on reservations. It is also not much different than segregation policies that dominated the 100 years after the Civil War. And it is actually not much different than the segregation that takes place today. Think about it; most African-Americans live in big cities with the lone exception being many rural locations in the south. Not much has changed in terms of segregation in the U.S. in two centuries. The bottom line is that a political solution to resolve slavery had become cost prohibitive. Legislators again realized that the new nation could not compromise on the issue without it destroying the union.

The resolution created for the 1790 petition to end slavery ended with the following result: “That Congress have no authority to interfere in the emancipation of slaves, or in the treatment of them within any of the States; it remaining with the several State alone to provide any regulation therein, which humanity and true policy may require”. In other words, the slavery issue was over and Congress could NEVER act to end slavery or stop slave trade. In an effort to keep the Union whole and safe from succession, the House decided that our country, especially in its infancy, could not handle the issue of slavery. Slavery was no longer a political issue, but it would remain alive as a religious issue within the Churches of America – Catholics, Methodist, Protestants, and other Christian denominations kept the dream for the abolition of slavery alive until the Civil War.

The question of Virginia on slavery is an interesting story to say the least. Virginia leaders and former presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Madison were all slave owners. However, in public debate and in their writings their views were very much in line with northerners wanting to abolish slavery. Jefferson and Madison were in favor of moving freed-slaves into colonies whereas Washington’s views were much different and did not believe that segregation was necessary. Washington freed all of his slaves following the death of his wife. Jefferson and Madison were more reluctant to free their slaves because they felt they could treat them better than the discrimination they would face even in Free states. But Virginia and its lawmakers did nothing to end slavery because they feared it would mean the demise of the union. Jefferson did make it a federal law to end slave trade in the United States when the twenty-year moratorium placed in the Constitution ended. This did little to curb the growth of slavery and slave trade in the United States. Slave trade became a highly profitable “black market” as slaves were smuggled from Africa to Southern states.

Roger Taney is one of the most hatted men in history for his ruling as Chief Justice for the Dred Scott case in 1857. However, even if Taney and the court sided with Scott, this would not have ended slavery. In fact, had Taney acted differently it may have changed history for the worse. Would Lincoln have been elected president? Would the Civil War have happened? Would slavery ended within 7 years of the Taney decision? The Taney decision only further infuriated northern abolitionists to end slavery. When our founding fathers remained silent on the issue of slavery or worse yet protected the practice, there was no longer a political solution to end slavery. So, yes, Taney’s ruling was bad, especially his reasoning, but our anger towards Taney is misplaced because hundreds of great men before Taney also failed. Taney, ironically, freed all of his slaves in Maryland. Without Taney’s ruling, it is quite possible that slavery may not have ended until the industrial revolution when big farm equipment became available to eliminate the need for slaves.

Slavery, of course, remained an issue between the early 1800s and the Civil War. One such issue was the Missouri compromise which did the following: “In 1820, Missouri was admitted as a slave state and Maine as a free state. Furthermore, with the exception of Missouri, this law prohibited slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of the 36° 30´ latitude line. In 1854, the Missouri Compromise was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Three years later the Missouri Compromise was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision, which ruled that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories.” This was a political solution for US Territories, but Congress avoided the issue of slavery among any of the states already in the union. Unfortunately, the only way slavery would end while preserving the union was through a violent conflict.