An Overview Of The Constitution – Constitution Alive Part Three: Our Constitution is still alive and applicable today! As citizens, we all have a duty to study the Constitution, to understand where our rights and our freedoms are laid out in that document, and how our government structure should work. The reason our government continues to overstep its boundaries is because “we the people” don’t know what those boundaries are! Tune in now for the third part of our three-part series!
Air Date: 07/31/2020
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we”re talking about today”s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
Today we’re getting to the conclusion of a three part series from Constitution Alive. So, if you missed yesterday, that’s OK. You should still stay in today, it’s still great material, you’re still going to enjoy it, but you should also go to our website at WallBuildersLive.com.
Don”t Forget to Tune in to Parts 1 and 2 at Our Website!
Click on that archive section and grab those other two programs, and listen to the full segment. It’s just one segment out of our entire Constitution Alive program. You can listen in your car, or you can watch the DVD and get all the slides—we actually take you into Independence Hall, the very room where the Constitution was framed and the Declaration was done—so you get to walk in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers. We also take you into David Barton’s library, and he pulls all these documents off the shelf, and we share with you those original sources to get inside the minds of the Founding Fathers and really understand what the Constitution actually was intended to do.
It’s called Constitution Alive, and we’re sharing segment three of that with you this week. So today is actually the conclusion, we wanted to put this in context and catch you up in case you missed the last two days” segment, it”s a 30,000 foot overview, so it’s just a quick overview of the whole thing, the entire Constitution. The rest of Constitution Alive dives into those specific segments and specific issues within the Constitution. Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday, we’ll get to the conclusion of Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green.
Becoming a More Perfect Union
There are four amendments that protect your right to vote. The 15th Amendment guarantees that we can, no matter what the color of our skin. The 26th Amendment said you must be at least 18 years old though. That means I”ve still got six more years to go. Then the 24th protects your right to vote whether you”re rich or poor. Last is my personal favorite, the 19th, and that makes sure that we ladies had the same rights as the guys when choosing our leaders. Our right to vote is protected throughout the Constitution, so don’t waste it. Every chance you get to vote, let your voice be heard and values counted.
Good job, baby. All right.
Can’t imagine why the 19th is her favorite one. We always, always call that women’s suffrage.
Let you in on a little secret: The men were not letting the women vote, and the women were making the men suffer for it. I promise you, that’s the real reason it’s called suffrage.
So fortunately we got it right.
I find it interesting that those amendments are a good example of how this American system of government has allowed for us to become a more perfect union. When we get something wrong, America tends to figure out a way to get it right. Think about it, even when it comes to the right of women to vote.
Well, the men were the ones that had to vote on that amendment. So the majority ended up giving the minority the opportunity to participate. Same thing with ending slavery, and civil rights, it’s the majority that, after often a long battle, comes around and says, “You know what? Let’s get this thing right and make sure that everybody gets to enjoy these same freedoms.”
Income Tax is Not Optional
I think that’s a unique experience in America. You don’t usually see that in other countries. If a majority has power, they continue to oppress and they don’t share that power and those freedoms with the others.
So there’s your bucket of amendments that had to do with voting. Just a few more here. We’ve got everybody’s favorite amendment to the Constitution, the 16th Amendment!
No laughter? Nobody likes the 16th Amendment, the Income Tax. We’re not gonna spend any time debating whether or not it was properly ratified. I hear all these arguments, and people say, “It wasn’t ratified right!” “It’s a red herring!”
You gotta pick your battles. You’ve got to fight the battles you can win. That’s not one we’re gonna be able to win. I don’t like income tax, I’ll just be honest with you. I’m a fair tax guy. I think the only fair tax is, when you’re spending your money, you pay a sales tax. I don’t like getting punished for making money, and I don’t like getting punished for investing in my home. So as my property value increases I get punished for that. I think those are bad taxes.
Fair Taxes is a sales tax, but it is the law of the land. As long as it’s the law of the land, I gotta obey the law while I fight to change the law. I’d love to amend the Constitution to get rid of the income tax, but trust me on this, don’t join these groups and say, “Don’t pay! You don’t have to pay! Your income tax is optional!”
The Worst Amendment
Trust me on that. It is much easier to fight City Hall from outside the prison walls. So don’t. If you doubt me on that one, I’ll get you Wesley Snipes phone number, you can call Wesley and ask him how he enjoyed those days in jail for not paying his income tax. Pay your income tax, and then let’s work to change it.
And the 16th actually didn’t give the Federal Government the right to tax income, what it did was it changed it from having to be apportioned evenly among the states. It made it easier.
In fact, you might recall people saying, “Well, originally they were going to cap it at 1 percent, or 2 percent, or 3 percent.” They talk in session. “It’ll never get that high.”
That we know obviously it’s a lot higher than that. I wish they had put some sort of cap on it, but it is what it is.
If you remember earlier when I said the 17th Amendment was the second worst amendment to the Constitution. Can anybody guess what I think the worst is?
Yes. 16th Amendment. So imagine this, it was done in 1913 as well. What were those people in 1913 smoking, man? They really messed up our Constitution, but it is what it is.
Maybe over time we can get it changed and get rid of the income tax and go to sales tax. I think it would work a lot better. I certainly think it would be much more fair.
Why was the 18th Amendment Adopted?
I used to just run right through these. Run over them and not even talk about the 18th and 21st, to drink or not to drink. The 18th Amendment, of course, is prohibition, the 21st repealing that. I used to fly through it, and then the guy that we’re working with tonight, Mike Holler, he gives me a stop. I was flying through it on a radio program with him, interviewing him on WallBuilders Live, and I flew through the 18th and the 21st.
He says, “Rick, wait. Stop. You’re missing a great lesson here.”
I said, “What? They cancel each other out.”
I just blew by, and he said, “No, no, look. Why did the 18th Amendment have to be adopted?”
Moment From America”s History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Federal courts have made several amazing rulings recently. Ordering the removal of a cross from a cemetery, banning religious holiday displays, removing the Ten Commandments from public view, prohibiting student prayers whether verbal or silent, and numerous other similar restrictive rulings.
As one current justices noted, “The Supreme Court has now become quote, a national board of theology.” Our Founding Fathers would be astounded. They designed the first amendment to keep the Federal courts completely out of this issue.
As Thomas Jefferson forcefully declared, “I consider the Federal Government as prohibited by the Constitution from meddling with religious exercises. The first amendment was designed to keep decisions on religious expression out of the Federal courts and in the hands of the local communities.” For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.
Why the 18th Amendment is Still Important
We had a national epidemic. Everybody said, “You know, alcohol’s become a real problem. It’s something we haven’t been able to deal with in the States. We want the Federal Government involved to help us with this problem.”
Why didn’t the Feds just do it? Why did you need an amendment to the Constitution for the Feds to go help with this problem? Because they didn’t have the power to do it.
We understood—that’s what Mike was trying to get me to see—we understood that the only time you could add a power to the Federal Government and let them do something new, is if we the people amended the Constitution.
The 18th and the 21st stand as glaring examples, wonderful precedent that if we want the Federal Government to do something new, that’s not authorized as we’ll see in Article 1, Section 8, then we the people have to add it to their powers.
He said, We did that with the 18th Amendment. We said, “You know what? We want you to help with this.””
Congress knew as well. That’s the other part of that story. Not only do we the people know that they’re not supposed to do that without our permission, but Congress knew they couldn’t do it. They adopted the amendment and sent it home to the states to be ratified. We ratified it.
We said, “We want you to do this.”
Taking Back Power
Then we said, “This ain’t working out so well.”
We went back with the twenty first amendment.
And if you think about it, when we talked about earlier how we loan power to the government, we can take it back at any time. We loan the power of the Federal Government to ban alcohol. When we took that power back, we didn’t take all of it back. We left them the power to regulate it.
So the language still gives them the ability to regulate it, they just couldn’t ban it anymore.
But what a great reminder for us, that the things that they do have to come from us first. We have to give them permission. But today what happens when the people say, or Congress just decides, they want to do something new? They just pass a law and do it. They don’t even look in Article 1, Section 8, and see if they actually have the power to do it.
That’s what we have to change. That’s why we have to know what it is that they can do. What is the Federal Government supposed to do? What are those enumerated powers? Today we get a pretty broad picture there of the entire Constitution. Where do we go next?
How the 16th Amendment Divides America
Well, as you were going through the amendments there, I thought I agreed on several things that you said. I thought, “Yeah, everybody is to note that the 16th Amendment is the worst amendment out there.”
The 16th Amendment, it changed the way that we do taxation.
The Founding Fathers established in the Constitution for capitation taxation, which means every state is split up with every citizen. So our bodies pay an equal tax here. But what we did with with 16th Amendment, and trying to allow a one to two percent tax in addition on certain people at certain income levels, we had an unintended consequence there.
The 16th Amendment, what it did was it started forcing us to think of people in terms of the group they”re in, rather than individually. God causes everybody to have the same shot at stuff. What we did on the 16th Amendment is say, “What group are you in? We”ve got to treat your group different from their group.”
We started with progressive taxes saying, “Well, you’re in this group, so we’re gonna penalize you fifty five percent. You’re in this group, so you’re forty two percent, you’re in this group”¦”
They started separating us too. We started separating into classes, and class warfare, and that’s where we are, and that’s where, when you were in the legislature, everything was group oriented. You get the representatives for the unions, representatives to the farmers, and representatives for the women, the representatives for the seniors, etc.
A Recipe for Class Warfare
That’s why we have hate crime laws as a result instead of saying every American is to be treated the same under the law.
Murder is murder, no matter what classification or group, if it’s murder of this person, then it”s murder.
But now it”s, “If it”s murder of this person, it”s more important than this person.”
That was part of the 16th Amendment.
The way the Founding Fathers had done it, we recognized there was a Creator, that He made us all equal, and therefore each of us get a certain set of inalienable rights. Now, government comes in and says, “Well, we don’t think you need this set of rights. We think you need that set of rights.”
I was thinking worst amendment ever just because it created this horrible tax system that we have. But it’s even worse, because it segregates us into these different groups and creates that warfare.
Well, even in my case, I’m appointed to a number of states by state boards of education Â to check history and government standards, and so they get in this thing of saying, “Oh, we want to make sure all the groups are represented.”
This one particular state, I said, “No way. If somebody did something significant, we’re going to talk about them regardless of the group.”
Their thing was, “If we can just do groups, we”ll get all the minorities represented!”
So, out of about 250 heroes that they had over the course of this 12 years, 9 percent of all are minority.
I said, “We’re not looking at what group they come from. We’re looking at what they did.”
The 17th Amendment: Breaking Congress
By doing that, we went to about 450 heroes, and it turned out about 25 percent were minority. We tripled the result by looking at what individuals did.
And I just thought the 16th Amendment says we get tax records. I thought that was the worst of it, and now you made it worse. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
The second worst amendment was the 17th Amendment, because what that really did was it took a shot at undermining Bicameralism and Federalism. It used to be that the House would stand up for the people, and the Senate would stand up for the states.
The House might say, “Hey, we need a whole series of schools across the United States,” and the Senate would say, “No way. Schools? That’s education. That’s the tenth amendment. We’re defending the tenth. You guys can work on this stuff, but we stand up for the 10th Amendment and the States.”
When we changed the way we elected senators, then they became a super House of Representatives, and now they’re represented, but they’re elected by the whole state. They’re not protecting the state.
Now you’ve got the Feds on every single level. Feds only have 17 categories that they can operate in, according to the Constitution. After the 17th Amendment, I think there are about 477 now—if you can even count them all—and that’s to say that this is not going to be fixed by removing the 17th Amendment.
All you gotta do is start electing people to office who say, “I understand the 10th Amendment. I’m sent to Congress to stand up for my state.”
You don’t have to have an amendment to make them do that, you literally can have them do that on their own by saying, “I understand the Constitution.”
An Understanding of Jurisdiction
That comes back to an understanding of jurisdiction.
It does. How can we do that in our state? You’re a voter. Elect people who stand for that. If you’ll demand that, people run for office on that proposition.
We Want To Hear Your Vet Story
Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Â Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.
One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.
You have friends and family that also served. Â If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at Radio@WallBuilders.com. Â Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!
States Run Internal Affairs, Federal Runs Foreign Affairs
This is what Jefferson said.
“I believe the states can best govern our home concerns, and the general of the Federal Government our foreign ones.”
Notice that distinction, if it deals with outside of the country, that’s the Federal Government. If it deals with inside the country, that’s the states.
That’s what the 17th Amendment was designed to guarantee.
Again jurisdictional issues.
He said, “I wish, therefore, never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where they would further withdraw from the eyes of the people, they will be secretly bought and sold as though at market.”
This is what happened with our Cabinet level departments. When you look at Cabinet level departments, the Founding Fathers only had four Cabinet level departments.
You had the Secretary of War, and you had the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General. That’s four candidates. It’s all the Constitution allows you to deal with.
Well, now we have 16 Cabinet level departments, and we have seven additional Czars that we allow to sit in on the cabinet meeting. So we essentially have twenty three cabinet members. They include things like education, which is a state issue. Things like energy, which is a state issue. They include all these things, and it’s because we’ve got away with the 17th.
Federal Government Increased Five Times Over
Compare those two for me again. The Founding Fathers gave us the Constitution and this system of law. So we’ll get a lawyer to do the things that we’re authorized to do, then we have that jurisdiction that Jefferson was talking about.
Our guys today need how many?
They’ve got 16 official cabinets, and they have an additional seven official offices of management budget, all these other guys.
More than five times as much.
And yet we’ve not given the Federal Government more authority. The people have, in our Constitution, expanded those jurisdictions to be five times as many.
We have law professors who complain that the Bill of Rights is negative liberties. You bet it is. Tell the Federal Government to stay off my back. I’ve got a whole lot more liberty. The Constitution says what they can do, the Bill of Rights says what they can’t do.
Between those two, it’s pretty clear lines of where the government can and can’t go on what it can and can’t get into.
But we’ve ignored that, and as a result of ignoring that, now we have these 23 essentially cabinet level departments that are out there micromanaging everything.
To sort of roll that back then, you were saying voting. In order to get people in office that understand the things we’re talking about, we have to first understand these things.
I love the way Washington said this.
He says, “The power under the Constitution will always be in the people it’s entrusted for certain defined purposes and for certain limited period to represent it as their own choosing.”
And if we wait—
People Need to Not Reelect Bad Officials
I”ve got to back you up, because I just started thinking about that. That’s what you were saying earlier with the Declaration. Same thing. It”s going back to that frame of the Constitution, the principles in the Declaration, that it first comes to us and that’s a loan to the people.
We have all the power, and we give it how we want.
It says, “It’s entrusted for certain to find purposes of a certain limited period to represent their own choosing,” elections, “and whenever it is exercised contrary to their interests our interests are not agreeable to our wishes the people’s interests their servants can and undoubtedly will be recalled.”
Voting! We need a lot more people getting involved and saying, “I don’t like what’s happening. I’m going to reverse it.”
I don’t think he means recall election like we know today, he means in the next election, you’re not going to be re-elected. Kick him out.
You’ll be sent home. James A. Garfield had a great way of saying this. Garfield was the 20th president United States, in 1876, on the centennial celebration of America”s 100 anniversary of America. He gave a great statement about Congress.
People at that time were complaining that Congress was becoming too big, or corrupt, or whatever. He brought it home again.
This is what he said, “The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.”
Nobody gets there unless we put them there. If they are doing that, it”s because we tolerate it.
The Government is Only as Corrupt as We the People Allow it to be
He says, “If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it”s because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.”
I like that, we’re demanding. It is, it’s demand.
And see, that’s what we’re saying: if you will demand that the people who run for Senate have to be a 10th Amendment person, you have to protect the states from the intrusion of the Federal Government.
Then they will step in. Because to be elected, you have to also recognize what you said earlier from Washington about duty.
Yeah. If we get corrupt people in Washington, that’s not their fault. We’re the ones who put them there.
That’s why he said, “If the next centennial,” which is where we are now, “Does not find us a great nation, it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, the morality of the nation did not aid in controlling political forces.”
Not doing our duty.
We talk in a previous session how only one out of five, one out of six Americans were electing the President right now. And one out of eight are electing governors and senators. If the other five out of six, or seven out of eight, would do something, we could control this thing.
But that goes back to us knowing what’s right, what’s wrong, how we should vote, what we should demand of these folks, and if we do that it makes a difference.
We Give the Power, We can Take it Back
If we want to be able to measure the people that are in office, we have to have a plumb line, if you will, we’ve got to know what those things are in the Constitution that they have the authority to do, like Jefferson drawing those jurisdictional lines. If we want to know what the Federal Government’s allowed to do, then we’ve got to know what the Constitution gave them jurisdiction to do.
One of the things that you hit that was really good was the 18th and 21st Amendments.
You always kind of glossed over them and just ran by them. Don’t you see? We gave power, we took power back. As you mentioned, the power has always been ours.
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. Â And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties Â and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling. Â If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor”s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
The Oldest Constitution
This is a significant document. This is the only constitution in the world that’s older than the U.S. Constitution. This is the Constitution of the State of Massachusetts.
It’s the original Constitution, it was done in 1780. It was done by Founding Fathers like Sam Adams, and John Hancock, and John Adams, and Robert Treat Paine, and a whole bunch of preachers also helped write this.
This is what Massachusetts still has—
They probably don”t use it.
But they still have this today.
Right up front, listen to what our Founding Fathers said—and again, this is the only constitution older than the U.S. Constitution still in use today.
“All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitution agents and are all times accountable to them.”
Wow! You mean in the Massachusetts Constitution, the judges are accountable to me? Me, a citizen? My governor, and everybody in office, is accountable to the people.
There are substitutes now.
Then how come the Massachusetts court does what it does? Because nobody studies the Massachusetts Constitution. This is the greatest constitution in the world for keeping judges under control, and nobody knows it.
That is what the Constitution does. It starts with, “We the people,” and we got control over everybody in government if we will exercise it. If they won’t exercise it right, we’ll call them home and will not elect them next time. We’ll send somebody in their place who will.
Constitution Alive Part 3, On WallBuilders Live
So if we’re going to do that, if we’re going to hold them accountable, we’ve got to know what to expect of them. They have got to know how to hold them accountable in a way that will preserve these principles and bring them back.
And that’s what this 30,000 foot view helps us do. We’ll get the battle plan. Now let’s start looking at specific tools and divisions, and is that the Air Force, is it the infantry. What are we going to use of our tools? But now we’ve seen the battle plan.
So next we’re going to dive into Article 1, Section 8, because it’s going to tell us what is it that Congress should be doing. What are the things you’re actually authorized to do? Where are those jurisdictional lines? Next time on Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green.
Well friends, that was the conclusion of Constitution Alive, with David Barton and Rick Green, segment three.
Anyway it’s just one segment out of the entire Constitution Alive program. You can get the whole thing at WallBuilders.com and invite your friends and family over, watch those segments, learn the Constitution, and teach them as well. Do it as a Sunday school class. We’ve got to get educated on our rights.
Like John Jay said, “So that we can know when our rights are being violated, and we know how to properly assert and defend those rights.”
So the last three days has been Constitution Alive segment. All three all are on WallBuilders Live this week. The rest is available at WallBuildersLive.com.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this, you’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.