Immigrants Coming To America Today VS The Founding Fathers: It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Tune in today as we answer your questions about the difference between our Founding Fathers migrating and the refugees coming to America today, and more!
Air Date: 01/24/2018
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is Wallbuilders Live! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday; we’re diving into those foundations and we’re taking your questions, so you can guide the conversation on which particular area of those foundations we’re going to discuss. But, we’re always talking about hot topics in the culture from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re having that conversation today with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders. And, my name is Rick Green; I’m a former Texas legislator.
You can find out more about us and the program and you can also listen to some of the past programs from over the last few months at WallBuildersLive.com, that’s our website for the radio program. You’ll get a list of our station and a lot of other great information there.
And, then over at WallBuilders.com you can get some great tools for your family: whether it’s a DVD or watching videos online or getting some of the books or just reading some of the articles right there on the website. All of it is designed to equip and inspire you to be a part of the solution to be a good citizen and live out your freedom in a way that will preserve it for future generations.
A Great Investment Opportunity
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David, Tim, we’ve got a lot of questions. You guys ready to dive in?
You bet. Let’s go for it.
The Founding Fathers and Immigration
All right, here we go. First one is about immigration. “When talking about illegal immigration or the caravan of refugees coming to America illegally or for asylum but going through checkpoints, there’s always someone who will inject a comment about how our Founding Fathers came to this country. I’m not sure if they mean they came here illegally; or, since they came here from other countries without any restrictions, why can’t these people come here without any restrictions?
“Would you talk about the differences concerning our Founding Fathers and the differences they have with the refugees and-or the refugees when coming to America.”
All right David, Tim, I have heard people raise that before. What are your thoughts on the difference between the Founding Fathers and how they came to America and the caravan of refugees coming to America?
So, for those who came to America, they still had immigration requirements placed on them in general. If you were coming from Europe to America, you were part of a company that was coming or—
This is the time of the Founding Fathers.
Immigration and the Pilgrims
This is the time even going back to the Pilgrims. Going back to the Pilgrims and the Puritans, those who came had sponsoring companies that sent them. So, whether it was the Plymouth Plantation Company, whether it’s Virginia Company, or whatever it was, they chose the people that came. So, though those who came were those that were in agreement.
And, that’s why even with the Mayflower Compact, you had some people onboard the ship that seemed to voice dissension with the rest of them and said, “Okay, we’re not getting off the ship until we all have a common view of what we’re doing here.” So, there were some requirements. And, then as time went along and you had the colonies that were there, it’s interesting that the colonies controlled immigration into each of the colonies.
We actually have on the WallBuilders website, for example, at the time of the Founding Fathers, one of the Founding Fathers who was also the chief judge of Maryland and a signer of the Declaration, Samuel Chase. George Washington made him a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and he is doing immigration acts; because, each of the colonies had their own immigration laws to come into. You did not come to the United States; you went to the Massachusetts colony or you went to Maryland or Georgia or wherever.
From the States to the Federal Government
And so, there were immigration laws for you to come in. And that’s why, at the time, the federal government, they deferred immigration and immigration enforcement to the States. It was not until 1876, that the U.S. Supreme Court said, “Oh the states don’t get to have the voice on immigration; the federal government does.”
So, that’s essentially a century after the time of the Founding Fathers; they still left it with the states. So, there definitely were requirements coming in. And, by the way, the logic of the Founders, I think, was really good on that: when you come to the United States, you don’t live in the United States, you live in Texas or Mississippi or Montana or wherever. Why should not those states have a voice in the citizens of that state?
They do for everybody else, for all their other citizens. Why would an immigrant have less restrictions on them than normal citizen would? And so, that’s why the states had such a role in it, because they understood that.
So, yes, a number of the Founding Fathers were immigrants; but, they came under requirements. They came under citizenship requirements for the state or for the nation. And actually, if you look at the immigration debates in the federal Constitutional Convention, most of the stress that we need to maintain requirements came from the immigrants, not from the native-born Americans.
It was the immigrants; of the 39 signers of the Constitution, seven were themselves immigrants. They were the ones pushing so straw on why we needed strong requirement, because they, as immigrants, came here not understanding fully what they were getting into. And, it took–in the case of one guy from South Carolina, he said, “You shouldn’t let anyone vote for 14 years; because, it took me that long to learn the American system. If I’d voted before that, I would have voted like my old system and turn American and to my country rather than the other way around.”
Immigrant Founding Fathers
Alexander Hamilton said, “Five years.” So, that’s why the Constitution came up with the five years. You have to be here five years before you can even vote; because, you need to learn how the system works.
So, interestingly the immigrant Founding Fathers who were the most vociferous in explaining why you needed those kind of requirements. So, people who use the Founding Fathers, “they were all immigrants;” yeah, but don’t think that they came here without immigration laws or they came here without standards.
I mean, that goes back to the Virginia Company, back to the Plymouth Plantation Colony, back to the Puritans and the Great Puritan Exodus of 1630. From there all the way through to the present, we’ve had immigration laws that had to be followed by those who came here.
That is interesting that the ones, the Founders that were immigrants, were the ones that were toughest on immigration policy.
So, at the time of the Founding Fathers, they said, “You guys haven’t ever been in France; you’ve lived in America your whole life. You don’t understand how goofed up France is right now. We’re from France; and, man is it different.”
And so, those guys who had experienced the goodness of what America offered and, actually, the inferior product that was offered in so many other nations, they were the ones most ardent to say, “You’ve got to you’ve got to keep America different; because, you guys don’t understand what you have.” And so, they were the ones who really wanted those standards, because they had more at stake, because they had been on both sides.
So, I can’t help but think of a people that are Hispanic that maybe even have Mexican ancestry but they came here legally and they’re and they’re citizens, that they seem to be–at least the ones I know–seem to be the toughest on immigration today. So, it’s a little bit like the Founding Fathers: they were immigrants; but because they came legally, they’re saying, “Look, we did it the right way. Why can’t other people do it the right way?”
Yeah, it is amazing how high the polling is, for legal immigrants from other nations, on how strong they are on pro-immigration policy, as far as “extreme vetting,” as the media calls it, all these high standards. They don’t want open borders. And, you can imagine it.
Look at Mexico. Is anyone going to say that they are a first-world nation? Probably not.
Well, if all you’ve known is that lifestyle and you’re 45 years old and you’ve lived 45 years in Mexico and you come to the United States and you’re going to vote the week after you arrive here, what’s your experience?
Well, it’s only in Mexico; so, “I’ll vote like I voted Mexico.” That’s a good way of turning America into Mexico or into Cuba or into Guatemala or into Kenya or into Sudan or wherever you came from. And so, that’s what they understood.
And, they said, “When we got here, we didn’t understand how different it was.” But, if you’ve been in Mexico and you know their political parties: PRI and PAN and [PVEM and PRD] and the others, that’s so different from American political parties; even though they are political parties, there’s nothing to compare with that.
Legal Immigrants Support Strict Policies
And, all you all is where you came from. So, it takes you awhile to get over here and say, “Oh my; I didn’t realize that this is how you do it here. I’ve only known the country I came from.”
So, that I think, Rick, you’re spot on. That is why in polling, those who have come here legally are so supportive of strict immigration policies; because, they’ve experienced how bad it is in third-world nations, and they don’t want America to become a third-world nation.
And yet, it’s those who have been here their whole life who think we ought to have open borders, whether that be Pelosi or Schumer or whoever; they’ve been Americans their whole life and they haven’t been on that other side. And, I think that that’s a good way of understanding really where the Founding Fathers were and why the immigrant Founding Fathers were strong on pro-immigration policy.
Yes. Quick break, guys. We’ll be right back with more questions from our audience here on Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Front Sight Training Course – Join Us February 22nd-23rd!
Hey friends! Rick Green here, from WallBuilders Live. What do Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, Ben Shapiro, Rick Green, Tim Barton, David Barton – what do all these folks have in common other than the fact that they’re conservative commentators that defend the Constitution and educate America on the Constitution?
They’re all raving about Front Sight Firearms Training Institute. In fact, if you go to my website right now at RickGreen.com, you can watch the video of Dennis Prager training at Front Sight, or Larry Elder, or Tim Barton and myself out there. It’s an opportunity for you to learn how to defend yourself and your family to make sure that you are ready and able to do that. It is a fantastic place to train. They train 30 to 40,000 people a year, and they’re just wonderful to work with.
And you can go with us! We’re headed back out. We’re going to have a great time out there as the WallBuilders family and if you’re a supporter of WallBuilders, we have an amazing deal for you. It’s actually going to cost you 1/10th the normal price to attend this two day handgun training because you’re going with us. And you’ll also get the Constitution crash course. I’ll be teaching on the Constitution, you’ll get the intellectual ammunition that you need to defend the Second Amendment and our Constitution. As well as getting the physical training on how to defend yourself and your family.
And this is for everyone – guys, gals, everyone should take this class. No matter how much you’ve shot your whole life or if you’ve never touched a gun, learn how to defend your family. We’re going February 22nd-23rd. We would love to have you with us. We’ve only got a few spots left. Check it out at RickGreen.com today and join us February 22nd-23rd.
Be At All Times Armed
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
The 18 Enumerated Powers
Next one comes from Joe. He says, “David, Rick, and Tim, you often speak of the 18 enumerated powers. Could you please say what they are with a brief description of what it is?
“Also, you often say you put a link on your web page; however, I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, because I can never find them. Please help.”
It’s because we don’t use bulbs in chandeliers; they use candles. So, that’s your first problem.
You know, that’s a good point. I don’t know how easy that is on our website to find. We’ve–the nature of trying to keep things updated and changing over systems and servers, periodically stuff does disappear, even for us. And, we’re like, “I know it’s there; I just can’t find it.”
So, we have to go to our IT people. So, certainly I can understand that. But, we often do refer to the enumerated powers that are explicitly stated in the Constitution; although, I don’t know that we normally say “18,” nonetheless.
I was gonna ask you guys about that; because, everybody’s got a little bit of a different list, because they combine one or two here or there. And, I’ve always used the number 17; and, I think sometimes we’ve thrown out 18 as we broke down one of those into two different ones. But, it’s roughly a couple dozen, right?
WallBuilders List 17 Enumerated Powers
Yes. What we list is 17. And, here’s how we explain it.
There are seven articles in the Constitution. There are 27 amendments to the Constitution. Article 1 is what–it gives you a list of 15 things that the government can do. Article 1 is Congress.
Article 2 is the president, and it tells the president what he can do to help enforce those first 15 things. Article 3 is the courts, and it tells them what they can do; but, it all goes back to the first 15.
Then, in the 27th Amendment– there are no new powers and articles 2 through 7 in the Constitution; there are all in Article 1. Then when you get to the amendments, there are no new powers in the Bill of Rights. It says what the government has to protect in the way of individual rights.
But, when you get to the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments, there are new powers there. One is the government will not allow slavery. And, number two: it will make sure that all former slaves have the rights of a citizen in the state in which they live. So, those are two added powers to the government; but, other than that, everything else is in support of the powers that are there.
So, let me let me just give an example.
“We the People” Have the Key
David, really quick before you do that example, just so people can think about why those other two had to be added in the amendments. I mean, this is that whole concept of jurisdiction that we teach in Constitution Alive! But, there’s a bucket with a bunch of powers listed in there, 15 of them as you were saying, in the original Constitution. It’s got a lid on it.
That bucket’s got a lock on that lid, and the key belongs to the American people. So, the only way that the federal government can add to its power and do something new is through an amendment to the Constitution. We the people have to take that key, open the bucket, and add something to the list of powers for the federal government.
That’s why that word “enumerated” is so important; that means they’re literally numbered; they’re literally listed. And, if you want a new one, you may think that the federal government needs to do something, needs to solve some new problem. OK great; but, you’ve got to get the American people to agree with you enough to open the bucket, put an amendment in there, and add a power to the federal government. That’s what those two additional ones were.
So now, back to what you were going to say. Let’s talk about some of those basic things that the Founders said, “Hey, these are things that the federal government should do.” So, they are some of the original powers in Article 1, Section 8.
Article One, Section Eight
I’m just going to read individual clauses out of Article, 1 Section 8. It says: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” So, you have enumerated power. You can pay off debt and protect the nation and fulfill the obligations in the enumerated powers and raise taxes for national debt and general welfare.
Next clause says you can—“The Congress shall have power to borrow money on the credit of the United States.” Next it says that, “Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states and with Indian tribes.” In other words, Congress has the responsibility to protect the free enterprise system and make sure there’s a free flow of commerce.
Congress shall have the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. So, that’s that immigration-type aspect. I mean, it goes through.
They have the power to coin money. Here’s one, “Congress shall have the power to establish post offices and post roads;” and probably ‘post roads” is best understood as interstate highways right now.
Article Two and Article Three
So, you go through, and there are only 15 things that Congress has power to do. Now, in Article 2, the president has the ability to enforce some of these things, and the same in Article 3 with judiciary. But, the 15 powers are there.
And then, Rick, as you said, the people unlocked the lockbox and they said, “Here are two more powers: you will not allow slavery and you will make sure that all former slaves have the rights of citizens in the states in which they live.”
That’s a great, great question. Those are the types of things we love to hear people thinking through and asking. We really want encourage folks to go dive deeper and get that Constitution Alive class and walk through.
We take you into Independence Hall and the WallBuilder’s library, bringing all of that to life. And we give you sort of a 30000-feet view and a crash course; but, then we dive into specific areas that you can make a difference in right now. And, in fact, we’ve got people now hosting constitution classes across the country.
If you’d like to take Constitution Alive and use it at your church or in your home or wherever, and host a class, we’ll even coach you on how to do that. You go to ConstitutionCoach.com to find out more about how to do that. It is a great way for you to plug in with other folks that are teaching the Constitution across the country through Constitutional Alive!
And, I really would encourage you. There are a lot of people now who are starting to get interested in this, and there are and courses floating around out there. Make sure that they’re going back to the original intent.
Go Back to Original Sources
Take the advice that I took from David Barton years ago and make sure that when you use a source or a book or a DVD, that those folks are quoting all the way back to original documents, not just quoting some professor that wrote a book last year.
And by the way, Rick, let me add to that. Don’t get the Constitution courses that quote the Supreme Court to explain the Constitution.
There are so many of those where it says, “Well, the court has told us that what this means is.” No, the Constitution has told us what this means. It’s a simple document.
As we pointed out before, Stansbury’s Catechism on the Constitution was an elementary book that we studied in elementary school. There’s nothing in the Constitution that can’t be learned by elementary kids; because, that’s what we did for generations in America.
So, if you get a Constitution course that lets the U.S. Supreme Court explain it, we’ve got the problem that was articulated by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes when he said, “We are under a Constitution; but, the Constitution is what the judges say that it is.”
So, Rick, your point is well taken. You don’t have to go to a law professor to get the answer to the Supreme Court decisions. Read the document; it was written for “We the people.”
Quick break, guys. We’ll be back with time for probably one more question. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, and you can send your questions into [email protected] Stay with us.
Greatest Political Privilege
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.”
This Precarious Moment Book
This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.
Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
Questions of Power
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
The Electoral College
We’re back at WallBuilders Live! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today; so, we’re taking your questions. You can send a man to [email protected] Here we go.
This one comes from Joe; he said, “Wouldn’t it be true to say that our founders set it up so that the states, not the people, elect the president. And, would you repeal the 17th Amendment?”
So, guys, throwing two questions at you here at once. The first one is dealing with the Electoral College. And, then we’ll jump on the 17th Amendment after that, which is how we used to elect or determines how we elect our U.S. senators.
Let’s talk president first. Do the states or the people elect a president?
Yes, it is the states and the people who elect the president.
Third option, right?
Yes. So, where do the states get their votes and their voice from? Isn’t it the people of the states?
That’s right. So, therefore, it is the states, but it’s the people of the states that choose for the states. So, not to make it convoluted; but, it really is.
It’s the states that are choosing. However, it is the majority of the people from the states that chose for the states.
National Popular Vote Movement
And see, that’s contrasted to the National Popular Vote movement. Let me see if I ca explain it this way. You have in the four largest states the United States, you have sufficient population to elect the president of the United States in every single election.
So, what that means is a president could campaign for presidency by visiting no more than four states in the entire campaign, knowing that if he can win the four biggest states, he wins it. Because, if we just count popular vote, that is, we play like there are no state boundaries in America and like we’re all American citizens, if I go to the four biggest states and get them to vote for me, I don’t have to visit any other state.
Or, the 10 biggest cities, as the case might be.
That’s the next point. There are 35,000 cities in America. There is enough population in 20 cities to elect the president of the United States.
And yet, none of those cities would be big enough to carry the whole state. Now, New York City would be. So, let’s say you get New York City; well, you’ve carried New York state.
So, conceivably, you could get the 20 largest cities to vote for the president. He would have to go no—in 35000 cities, he would only have to visit 20 cities and get enough vote to be the president.
Now, that was a problem they had back in the day. They said, “If you let the four largest,” and they said, “The four largest states. If you let Pennsylvania and New York and Massachusetts Virginia get together, you can forget ever having a president from Connecticut or from Georgia or anywhere.”
The People Have a Voice in Their State
And so, that’s why they at that time said, “We want the people to have a voice, but only within their states do they have that voice.” And so, the states have to elect the president based on the voice of the people in the states.
Now, the way that works is, because of that right now, the least–under the current electoral system that we have–the least amount of states that would elect a president of the United States today, you would have to win at least 12 states to be the president. So, that means you do have to campaign across America and go see the American people.
Or, you could win with as many as 39 states. If you took the 39 smallest states, you could get them, counting Washington D.C. with three electoral votes. If you take the 39 smallest jurisdictions, you could have a president elected by 39 states, or a president elected by 12 states; but, it’s not going to be a president elected by four states or by 20 cities.
So, the way they set it up is: yes, the people; but, it’s the people within the states that have a voice; and then, the state has a voice. And then, that’s how you get a president.
The People and the States Have a Voice
So it is both. It’s not one or the other; it’s both. We actually get to–the people are voting, and the states get to have a voice as a result of the people in their state having a voice.
It’s not the collective vote. The people of Georgia don’t combine with the people of Montana and combine with the people of Oregon to elect the president. The people of each state elect the president that they want in their state.
And, it’s not much of “We the people” if South Dakota and Wyoming and Montana and some of these states don’t have a voice. So, the fact that there is an Electoral College, gives them a voice; because, they could be part of those that 39 electoral group, the 38 states and Washington D.C. But, they can be part of a group that that can have power to elect somebody, as opposed to if it was just national popular vote.
Nobody is going to feel more disenfranchised than North Dakota or South Dakota, than Nebraska, than Wyoming, than Montana. Places that don’t have great population–because all of a sudden, they become irrelevant and unnecessary. What matters will be Miami or New York City or Chicago or Houston.
You start picking places where there’s great population, and all of a sudden, you have so many more disenfranchised people, because they are insignificant. The Founding Fathers were so wise to create a system where every voice has a say and every voice matters on some level. At least it has the opportunity to make a difference.
Now, if they when the 13 or 14 largest states, well no, it really didn’t matter. However, it’s a system where that even that little guy has the opportunity to make a big difference.
Immigrants, the Founding Fathers, and the Amendments
So, it’s the people and the states. The 17th Amendment-part of question we’re going to do on an on another Foundations of Freedom Thursday program. That is something we cover quite a bit in Constitutional Alive!
And, it’s a very important topic to consider; because, it has to do with our special form of federalism and how the states should have a voice in keeping the federal government in check. The 17th Amendment really weakened that. So, short answer I would say is yes; I’d vote for the repeal. But, we really need to talk more about that one; so, we’ll come back to it on another Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Folks, we’ve got a lot more questions we didn’t get to, and we really appreciate you sending them in. So, we’re going to try to get to them next time around. And, please keep sending them.
[email protected] is the place to email your questions. And then, of course, visit WallBuilders.com today to get some of the materials that will help equip you and inspire you to be a better citizen and help restore America’s Constitution. We sure appreciate you listening today to WallBuilders Live!
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”