Decertifying The Election, Articles of Confederation, And More — On Foundations Of Freedom: Why did the Articles of Confederation fall short of the wisdom in the Constitution? Is it possible to decertify an election? Tune in to hear the answers to these questions and more on Foundations of Freedom!
Air Date: 07/28/2022
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Welcome to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us today at the intersection of faith and the culture. We appreciate you being a part of the program.
My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I am here with David Barton and Tim Barton. The Barton family, of course, founded WallBuilders a many years ago in order to rebuild the walls.
That’s what the name means. It comes out of Nehemiah, arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. Our walls in this nation, our foundation, our principles need to be rebuilt. They’ve been lost. And the good news is they’re timeless. They work. But we have to work them.
We have to implement them. We have to fight for them, teach people about these things. And that’s what we do here at WallBuilders.
David Barton is America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And all three of us, appreciate you joining us today on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We call it Foundations of Freedom Thursday because we let you ask the question, so wherever you want to take the topics, but we use foundational principles to answer those questions and to educate all of us.
I mean, we’re always getting questions I don’t know the answer to and it gives me a chance to build a stronger foundation, to become a better student of freedom. And I hope you see it the exact same way. And I hope that you are learning those things and applying them and sharing them with the people in your life, which is what I’m going to ask you to do today.
When the program is over at the website there, make a donation, wallbuilderslive.com. Make that donation to help us reach more people, but also going to encourage you to take the links and share with your friends and family today’s program so that they can learn as well.
Send in Your Questions!
Alright, David and Tim, Foundations of Freedom, of course, is our chance to take questions from the audience and let them sort of drive the conversation as we dove into foundational principles. It’s a great time to be learning these principles and an application of those principles to what’s going on in the country. But of course, we have to know our history to be able to do that.
And this first question is about our history. It comes from over in Plano, Texas, asking about the Articles of Confederation. This is a good question. I do not have a clue on this one. I don’t know the answer to this one. So I’m looking forward to you guys answering this. Here’s what Oprah said. “You cover the history of the Constitution, but what about the Articles of Confederation?
Were they written without input from Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Jay, etc? And if these founders were involved, why did the articles fall so short of the divine inspiration that led to the Constitution?”
So great question, let’s see, time-wise context, the actual Constitution, not until 1787, so we’re talking about the Articles of Confederation that were written, I guess, what, 1776, right when we declared independence?
Yeah. And I think, Rick, to your point that they did begin the drafting of the Articles of Confederation in 1776, it wasn’t really until 1777. And they went through a lot of drafts. When they had edits, they were kind of like, just go write it again. And so as opposed to just making little that’s along the way. Nonetheless, Articles of Confederation…
No, they basically said start over, so they didn’t just modify it, right, there’s that, no good, throw it out, start over?
The Articles of Confederation
I mean, seemingly that would have made sense; let’s make edits along the way. But there were multiple drafts and the draft seemingly had some significant changes along the way. And again, to your point, they did start in 1776. It was really about 1777 when they kind of had more of a finalized version. It wasn’t until 1781 when it was ratified.
But really from 1777 going forward, they were using those principles as it were trying to function as a nation. And it was the way we functioned up until they write the new Constitution in 1787, which that’s not ratified till 1789.
So arguably from 1777 till 1789, the Articles of Confederation are the system we are using. There were some major flaws in it, maybe some things to be look back and go, I kind of like that idea. They did not allow for Congress to be able to have the power to tax. And so looking back on something were like, hey, I kind of like the idea, if the government didn’t have the ability to take all our money, that’d be awesome.
But in the midst of that, because Congress didn’t have the power to tax, it’s also where you see the problems that Congress wasn’t able to fully fund the military. That’s why many Founding Fathers were actually taking out loans on their own names, trying to fund the military along the way so that there’s a lot of challenges, a lot of problems under the Articles of Confederation: it required that all 13 colonies agree for any kind of edit or change. So it had to be a unanimous thing. And so there were many changes that would have made sense practically along the way.
But if you only got 10, 11 or even only 12 of the 13 colonies on board, they could not get the changes done. And so quickly, the Founding Fathers recognized some major flaws in this. But because it was a system they had established and ratified, even though they saw flaws, if they couldn’t get all 13 on board, it wasn’t going to work.
And part of this is even a head nod back to the Declaration, when John Hancock was the president of Congress and Thomas Jefferson presents the original draft, he was part of the Committee of five. And from that original committee that drafted the Declaration, there was Jefferson and Franklin and John Adams, and there was Sherman and Livingston. But Jefferson was the primary author of the original draft or the Declaration in general.
And Hancock says to the entire Continental Congress when they come back to present it, they’re only going to include in the final draft of the Declaration what was unanimously agreed to. Well, they like the idea of making sure every colony was on board and that’s what they carried on with the Articles of Confederation. The problem is making every colony have to agree first.
Again, having 13 colonies have to be in total unison for any change along the way would be crazy. That’s why one of the big changes under the actual Constitution for the ratification was it only had to be 9 of the 13 that ratified it because they knew like this is crazy that we’re making everybody always agree on everything we do before we make a change. But the Article of Confederation, it gave Congress the power to say a lot of things, but not the power to really do anything.
And this is where we can head not back and go you know, I kind of like the idea of Congress not having the power to do everything they want to do. But this is part of where going back in 1776 from the Declaration, that was a unanimously agreed to document. Going forward, Article of Confederation, they wanted to be unanimous, they wanted to limit the power of what a federal or centralized government could do, they wanted to make sure that every single colony agree with any changes that were made before they were made.
And so, starting in 1777, that’s when they start kind of operating under those articles and significant flaws in it along the way. But reasons why you might not have guys like Washington or Madison or Hamilton, well, it’s because they were part of the military, largely speaking, or part of state militias, they were not part of the Continental Congress at that point. And every colonies got to choose their specific leaders. There were 13 colonies, there were 13 leaders chosen for the drafting of the Article of Confederation.
And so for some of these situations, like Jefferson just wasn’t the guy chosen from Virginia, Washington and Madison weren’t options for Virginia because they weren’t at the Continental Congress, and this is why you see a lot of the limitations from some of the more famous names recognized from the Declaration or the Constitution.
Part of that, too, goes back to at that point in American history, the colonies didn’t trust each other. I mean, one of the reasons that did not work, they required unanimous because they didn’t trust the majority. So this actually goes back a lot early. You really have to take this thing back. The origins of what became the Articles of Confederation started in 1754.
At that point in time, we’re engaged in the French and Indian war and it’s Great Britain and it’s 13 nations in America. It’s not 13 colonies, per se in the way we think of it as the 13 colonies against the British and the American war for Independence, it’s 13 nations. This is like France and Spain and Poland and Czechoslovakia trying to get them all to agree on something. They’re just not going to do it.
Where Were the Founders?
So it was Franklin in 1754, said, guys, let’s all get together, we’ve got a common enemy here. It’s the French and Indian war, we’re taking on the French, we can be united and they wouldn’t even ratify it back then. So Franklin is really the one who kind of came up with the first draft of the Articles of Confederation.
Now, Tim mentioned there were like six editions they went through. So the first one, Franklin takes those articles from back in 1754 takes that open plan union, and that’s kind of the first draft. And then he and Silas Dean get together on a second draft.
And then, when you get to the third draft, they’re still working on in the fourth draft, comes from a guy named John Dickinson. John Dickinson is really kind of guy who pulled it mostly together. And the fourth, fifth and sixth draft weren’t as radical as the first, second and third.
But John Dickinson goes on to be there in Continental Congress when we vote for independence. Now, he did not vote for independence because he just didn’t think we were quite ready yet. But he said, if you guys vote for it, I’m going to go fight for it. And so when they voted for independence, he went and became a general and then became a governor of Pennsylvania and governor of Delaware. He goes on to sign the U.S. Constitution.
But these are the guys that did it and the reason it didn’t work, and you got really bright guys here, when you talking Franklin, Silas Dean and John Dickerson, truly bright guys but they don’t trust each other yet. By the time you get to 1787, we’ve been through a war together, we’ve been shoulder to shoulder, one states helped another state, we’ve sent troops to help in states on our own.
It’s kind of like the difference in getting married after the first date versus getting married after a long courtship. Once you’re familiar with someone and kind of know their habits and know what to expect, you’re a lot more willing to make a lifetime engagement.
And that’s really kind of what happened in the article. This was the test case to show that, alright, we’ve got real doubts and real questions about each other, not sure we can trust each other. I mean, my gosh, you guys from Virginia, bunch of farmers, up here in Massachusetts, I mean, we’re guys that really have it together in commerce and industry. You guys are backwards.
A General Distrust
Or, you’ve got New Hampshire saying, well, we’re a bunch of Congregationalist, and down there in South Carolina, you guys are a bunch of Anglicans. We don’t know that we can trust you. And so it was that kind of division. It was the kind of stuff that George Whitfield helped break down in the First Great Awakening.
But there was just way too much distrust of the other colonies as this went forward. And it took the American war for independence to get us finally to understand that we had a lot in common and we could do this.
So, I think you have to have the Articles of Confederation, otherwise you don’t get the Constitution. You had to stub your toe along the way. You had to make some mistakes. You had to find out, as Tim said, it can’t be unanimous. This is not going to work.
If that had been the case, we would not have the U.S. Constitution because by the time the Constitution went into effect, Rhode Island had still refused to ratify the Constitution. They did not want a federal Constitution. And so this is a year or two after it’s in effect. So it takes a while to get all this stuff done. And that is a great question. But this is part of us not understanding. It does take a while to get comfortable someone else and to learn whether you can trust them or not.
And even to figure out the procedures and the structures that you really do want. Because you created a new nation, I mean, you’re starting not quite from scratch because you’re really building it on an English law and experience. But still, I mean, you’re saying, hey, here’s some ideas were some new things we’re going to do.
That takes time. And I think even today, when people want to immediately win the culture wars and immediately restore liberty in the nation, they don’t realize, man, in the founding era, gosh, go from what, 1775 shot heard round the world and then 1787 the Constitutional Convention and then ratification and all that all the way to 89, what is that, that’s 14 years, that’s a decade and a half. It takes time to do these things.
And so that’s why we stay in the fight for decades and decades to restore liberty, because we know sometimes, like you said, stub your toe along the way and it gets better and better. That’s why we call it a more perfect union too.
And we got a lot more questions to get to. We’re going to take a quick break, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundation of Freedom Thursday.
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Thomas Jefferson said “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Our next question comes from Lori. She’s asking about decertifying the election and is that legal? Can it be done?
Decertifying the Election?
She said, “I live in Wisconsin and in the current race for governor, two of the Republican candidates are saying they will look into decertify in the 2020 presidential election. News on main line media are reporting that this is not a legal option. My question is, is it in fact, a legal option at this late date or at any time? Thanks.”
Alright, Lori, great question. And guys, I get this one a lot out on the out on the road, at the table in the back of the room after an event or call in on radio or whatever. I mean, a lot of people are asking this question because it’s not just Wisconsin. You got things still going in Arizona, in Georgia and other places where they are continuing to find problems with the 2020 election.
But the question is, what actually comes from that? Is it actually possible to decertify? And what does that even mean? Is it an asterisk like Barry Bonds in baseball? Or does it actually do anything in terms of changing the outcome of the election?
Yeah. The three of us have not sat down and had a conversation over this. We’ll have a conversation now. I’ll tell you what I think and you guys…
With a few thousand of our closest friends along with us, we’ll have the conversation. Yeah, go.
This is all secret. Nobody’s listening, which is just between us three. And you guys may disagree with me, but I think you can decertify results in an effort to set the record straight. Here’s what Wisconsin really found out.
We found out after it was over that there were these illegal votes that shouldn’t have been used. And the Supreme Court of Wisconsin has come down and said you shouldn’t have been using those ballot boxes that was not authorized by law.
So you can go back and say, we’re going to set the record straight. Wisconsin actually went the other way, they counted legal votes. But I don’t think it makes a bit of difference in what happens with who’s in office or the policy. You’re not going to get KJB off the court.
What Would the Impact Be?
–Not going to pull back every ambassador you’ve already sent to a foreign nation or get the “Build Back Better” bill undone. I mean, that’s done and that stuff is there. The people that have been appointed and confirmed, they’re still going to be there.
So I think it really is a matter of setting the record straight and going on record and saying, hey, we in Wisconsin, we just want all of history to know we didn’t vote for the one that won. We voted for the other one.
And that’s great if you want to do that. But I don’t think it has any impact at all on the legal aspect of whether Biden is president or not. I think he is. I think he’s there.
What’s been done is not going to be undone. You’re not going to roll back the stuff. You’re not going to get all the Judges off the court he’s appointed, and including KJB. That stuff is there. It’s done. You guys?
Yeah. I think you have the theory that people are trying to use on this is that fraud basically is the poison of a fraud, a fraud. And so anything from that tree is poison and therefore, you can back out of it. I don’t see a constitutional mechanism to do that. I just don’t think. I mean, even though and they point to that election in North Carolina a couple of years ago where there was some fraud in the primary and so the Judge ordered a new election. That is an example.
But the difference is with a presidential election, you have this lengthy constitutional process and the 12th Amendment and the whole approval of the electors, both at the state level and then at the federal level and the opportunity to do what should have been done has already passed.
I think it’s politically impossible that the U.S. Supreme Court would say have another presidential election. And I also think the asterisk matters. So I’m not saying don’t do these things. I think put the asterisk in there and let’s make sure that we set the record straight and we prevent it from happening in the future.
But I agree with you, David, I think it’s false hope if we tell people there’s a chance of actually throwing Biden out of the White House. I just don’t see the constitutional mechanism for doing that. I’d love to have one.
I’m for an amendment of the 12th Amendment to make sure that next time this happens, we have a really clear process; if fraud is found after the fact, there’s some sort of appellate process, but it’s not there right now.
Well, an even saying appellate process, so, Rick, like at that point, you’re talking about a judicial process involved and so it could be depending on whose court it goes in front of. And so one of the things that we know constitutionally is the checks and balances put in place is Congress has the ability to have a check and balance over the president. And that’s where the House actually can bring articles of impeachment and the Senate hears that.
And obviously, right now we don’t have a House or Senate who would do the impeachment, who would carry out and actually remove the president from office. But if you were able to go back and show that not just the presidential election was fraudulent, but maybe if you could show that some of the congressional races or Senate races were fraudulent, you could do recall, you could do in the state, I don’t think you could do the recall of the Presidents, you couldn’t change that outcome.
But if you could change some of your congressmen, some of your senators, or maybe some of your state legislatures, it could impact how the process happened that you maybe then could change out some of the congressmen and senators. Now, I’m saying this, this is such a ‘Hail Mary’ kind of conversation. Because ultimately, if they’re able to find out that, let’s say, in some of these states where we think there was great amounts of fraud–
if they’re able to find out there’s a lot amount of fraud and maybe some of these people who are in Congress shouldn’t be there, by the time they figure that out we are already at the next election. And so the way you resolve it is you elect so many different the next time, you make sure you secure the election going forward.
And, I think by the time you have sifted through the weeds of this process, you’ve already moved on to the next election.So, it’s almost moot. You can, dad, as you mentioned, you put like an asterisk beside this one in history, right? This is like you’re Barry Bonds having a home run record.
On the Record
Well, yeah, you have a home run record because you cheated and took steroids to get the home run record. Like, yes, Biden was president asterisk, because there was a lot of fraud and cheating in some of these big swing states or some of these cities where it appears…
They juiced the vote, we’re going to coin that phrase, man, we’re going to trademark that. They juiced the vote, therefore, an asterisk.
Right. I mean, this is something that certainly we can look back and this can be an asterisk in the history of presidential politics or of politics in general. But ultimately, you’re not going to change who was president before you get to the next election. And so the best thing to do is make sure you secure the election process between now and the next election. So the next election, you can have more trust in the process, right, more transparency in the process.
And like they did in Florida when DeSantis became governor and they said, look, we’re going to change some of this system that you shouldn’t have to wait weeks before you find out who won the election, it should be that night, all the votes have to be turned in, all the votes to be counted by a certain time that night. That actually does make sense in the process that’s some of the things that Florida moved to.
And Florida now is a very well-run system on lots of levels. Not that there can’t be fraud that happened somewhere, but generally speaking, they changed the laws to bring in election security, to bring transparency and to make the process better.
And that’s what really needs to be done. You can look and see where there was corruption, where there was corruption, find out how it happened and fix it. But you’re not going to change who’s president before the next election gets here.
You raised a really important point there, Tim, that I have not thought about this. So with president, you’ve got the electoral votes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. So it’s a lot more complicated. So even if one state decertified, that’s not going to change the election necessarily.
And, there’s all this other dependance on it and that’s why there’s that rubber stamp, if you want, or actual approval process in Congress, that once that step constitutionally is taken, it’s really done? But what about a US senator, let’s say and I’m thinking back to those six states where there were the problems, and I don’t remember if Wisconsin had a US senator on the ballot, but if you had a US senator…
Oh, good point. Yeah. So that does seem like a race that if you prove fraud and you prove that you can’t trust the outcome of that, that’s a six year term. And it’s all contained in Georgia.
It’s not dependent upon these other states. I could see a court saying in that case, like they did in the North Carolina congressional district, there’s enough fraud here, we’re calling for a new election and that’s senators term is then cut short and then there has to be a new election to finish out the last four years or whatever it is. I could see an argument for that.
I mean, again, no real constitutional process for that because, you know, the election is held back in the state and the state is the one that certifies that. There’s a way to do that in Congress if you think that somebody needs to be removed, then they could do it in Congress. But I just don’t see any of those things happening and even the Georgia races where after the main election.
Here’s the can of worms with that. Let’s say you get one Georgia seat, not two, but let’s say that one is proven to be fraudulent and now the Senate, instead of being in the hands of Schumer, it’s in the hands of McConnell, and would you go back and change all of those votes were that Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote?
Are those all votes no longer any good? Does that change all the economic taxing and the economic incentive and all the things that they’ve done? You know, even if you change that, I don’t see any mechanism whereby you can go back and overturn all those laws and especially reverse everything that they did. I don’t see a mechanism.
I think, again, you can you say, alright, let’s change this dude out. And going forward right now, this guy is no longer senator. Here’s the new senator that should have won and we’ve now documented this and proven this. Of course, you’re going to have lawsuits from losing senator that go another two or three years probably, but it’s going to be fought all the way.
I just don’t know what the mechanism is to change the policies once they’ve been made, even if it was someone that should not have been there at the time, if it’s this far downstream. If you could have caught it a week afterwards, yeah, probably. But we’re looking at two years afterwards and I don’t know of a single thing you can do to change that.
Yeah, I agree, because again, they’re one of 100 in the Senate, so they’re part of this over overall body and you’re talking about change in the work of that entire body based on that one person in this case because it’s a 50/50 vote. And like to Tim’s point, the next election already occurs by the time you do it, so Raphael Warnock in Georgia, he’s already back up for reelection in just a few months.
So by the time they would decide something like this, that one will already be decided by the voters. I forget the other Senate race. It is a longer one. I can’t remember if it’s going to be four years left or another two.
But at any rate, it’s a very interesting conversation. And I do want to stress, I think and you guys may disagree with me, I do think it’s still appropriate for Mike Lindell to be doing the stuff he’s doing for our friend Finchem in Arizona and all these folks that have pushed really hard on the investigations and a push for decertification, because what you’re doing is you’re bringing awareness to people.
It actually proves that what we said back in November, December, January after the election, was true, that there were a lot of shenanigans and things that needed to be looked at. And that way next time around the other side knows that you’re watching and they know that you’re going to pursue these things and you’re going to push these things.
So I do think the efforts are important and I’m not discouraging them from doing it. I just don’t want people to be given false hope that, oh, if this happens and that happens, Joe Biden’s gone. I think all three of us agree that’s not going to happen.
And I think what’s happening with those that are pushing back right now, that’s one of the big reasons you have seen I think this is month ago, the numbers we had was a month ago, you’ve seen 3,331 election integrity laws introduced in the states. And a lot of those like 200, I think, have passed and they’ve tightened up a lot of stuff.
I don’t think any of that would have happened if there hadn’t been a ruckus raised by people saying, wait a minute, we’ve got this evidence. And you can try to dismiss the 2,000 mules or what you want. But there’s reasonable doubt there.
I mean, when you see people on film doing what they’re doing, the explanations for what they’re dropping off or why they appear 27 times or something, that doesn’t even make common sense. You know, you can have all these explanations. So I think the fact that they’re shedding sunlight on it, I go back to something Bill Bennett said under Ronald Reagan, is sunlight’s the best disinfectant.
And the more you get people to look at it, the more they’re going to be restrained from trying to repeat something again the second time if there is fraud, if there’s bad stuff there, and the more you’re going to have good laws passed that will help tighten up what they see as weaknesses that definitely there were weaknesses there.
Decertifying The Election, Articles of Confederation, And More
I mean, we’ve had lots of court cases on that. You would just mention the Wisconsin case where the Supreme Court said, hey, what happened two years ago was wrong, it shouldn’t have happened. So I think you’re exactly right, Rick. I think all the stuff what people said in sunlight on this is a healthy thing for the process going forward as much as the progressive media doesn’t like it, as much as they would like to dismiss it. But on the other side, I don’t think that this is a cure all for everything that’s happened. We’re going to have a different president as a result of what happens here. I think we’ve already talked through this, but interesting discussion, the three of us have not talked through this before, interesting stuff.
Well, let’s all be vigilant. Price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Let’s get better election laws throughout the country. And I’ll continue to shout it from the rooftops based on my experience in my recount in 1998, I’m telling you, if you have a verification process where you can put your hands on the ballot–
If you have transparency where both sides are always able to watch the counting of the ballots and participate in that process, and you have legal remedies, then we can trust the elections and know that we got the right winner in terms of the people that showed up. But we’ve got to fight for all three of those things in every single state.
Thanks so much for listening. Lori, thanks for that question. Great conversation today. We appreciate you listening on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live.