Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

To “…preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”
National Center for Constitutional Studies ^ | 02/2009 | Earl Taylor, Jr.

Posted on 03/27/2009 4:37:37 PM PDT by EBH

To “…preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”

On January 20th , the nation and world witnessed the peaceful transfer of the most powerful political office in the world from President Bush to President Obama. As we have watched every four years, it occurred peacefully, without force of arms or violent action. It represented the expressed will of a free people following the pattern laid down by America's Founders over two hundred years ago.

It is interesting that when the oath of office was administered there was some confusion and it had to be administered again. The thought, apparently, was that if one is committing to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” it had better be done as perfectly as man could do it, lest there be any one say the Constitution was not being meticulously followed.

But if we are making every attempt to be true to the Constitution, why stop with the oath? What else does the Constitution say about the duties, powers, responsibilities, and limitations of the office of President of the United States, which should be meticulously followed? In The Making of America , Pages 508-510, Dr. W. Cleon Skousen outlines the Founders intent concerning the power which devolves upon a person who takes the presidential oath.

The Most Powerful Political Office in the World It would be interesting to know how the Founding Fathers would have reacted if someone had disclosed to them at the Constitutional Convention that within 200 years the President and the executive branch of the United States government would become the power center of the world.

It was the original intent of the Founding Fathers to carefully limit the powers of the federal government, including those of the President.

James Madison pointed out that the Constitution was structured so that "the powers delegated ... to the federal government are few." He also pointed out that "the number of individuals employed under the Constitution of the United States will be much smaller than the number employed under the particular States."

If George Washington Were President today In Washington's day there were 350 civilian employees serving a population of 3 million. Today there are around 300 million or one hundred times more people, so if Washington were President today he would have to have at least 35,000 (350x100) civilian employees to provide the same level of service today that he maintained in the 1790s. But let's assume that our modern society is ten times more complicated, necessitating ten times the number of federal employees. That would be 350,000 employees today.

Since we have around 3.5 million federal employees, that makes the ratio of government workers over one hundred times greater in our day than in Washington's era. The question needs to be asked: Are we still just trying to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as the oath requires?

Six Areas of Constitutional Responsibility

The Founders contemplated heavy responsibilities for the President, but limited him to six areas. Here are those six areas of presidential responsibility as assigned by the people of the nation to the President in Article II of the Constitution. The President is:

Chief of state over 300 million Americans. This of course does not give him any arbitrary power to rule or make our laws through executive orders or decrees. It merely recognizes him as our leader. He speaks for and represents us.

Commander in chief over a military force of three million. The military is under his command, but the power to declare war, to finance a war, and to set policy for the military still lies under the control of the representatives of the people in Congress, not the President.

The chief executive officer of the whole executive branch of the government. He is the boss of those who work in the executive departments of the federal government. Executive orders are to be limited to the executive branch over which he has control.

The chief diplomat in handling foreign relations. Our nation speaks with one voice to foreign nations, through the President and those who assist him.

The chief architect for needed legislation. The President is the only one who has the scope and welfare of the whole nation in mind. He may recommend to Congress legislation for the general welfare of the nation, but nothing is to become binding law without congressional approval.

The conscience of the nation in granting pardons or reprieves when he feels justice requires them. The president has the power to let mercy and compassion appease the demands of justice. It is a special power to be used occasionally, but not abused.

Unconstitutional Burdens Thrust onto the President

The Founders would be amazed to learn that under the influence of a modern centralist philosophy, the President has been burdened with a host of other responsibilities never dreamed of by the Founders. Congress has asked the President to do many more things, but under our system Congress has not authority to add to the responsibilities of the President. Only “We the people” can change or add to the constitutional powers of the President.

Here are some of the things Congress has assigned to the President without proper constitutional authority from the people:

The responsibility of maintaining full employment for the work force of the entire nation.

The task of ensuring a high level of agricultural prosperity.

The task of developing a national housing program.

The task of supervising the exclusive distribution of atomic energy resources.

Underwriting hundreds of billions of dollars in private loans and private insurance programs.

Providing various kinds of federal relief for the victims of natural disasters throughout the country.

Administering a national welfare program.

Administering a national Medicare and Medicaid program.

Administering a national social security program.

Allocating billions of dollars for educating the young.

Settling major labor union-management disputes.

Administering a network of health agencies.

Administering the environmental protection of the entire nation.

Administering nearly 40 percent of the nation's land area and its resources.

Administering supervisory control over the discovery and development of all major energy resources.

Regulating all major United States industries such as steel, automobile manufacturing, coal mining, oil production, metal mining, and so forth.

Supervising all radio and television broadcasting in the United States as a prerequisite to issuing licenses.

Monitoring the manufacturing and distribution of food and drugs and requiring special permission before any drug can be distributed.

Initiating various types of federal programs on a regional basis to replace many powers and activities originally reserved to the sovereign states.

It is rather astonishing that none of the above additions to the President's powers and responsibilities have been authorized by the people in a constitutional amendment. Furthermore, they are all outside the original intent of the Founders as set forth by Madison when he said:

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."

Even during the presidency of George Washington, he noticed the growing tendency of government officials to usurp more authority than the Constitution authorizes. For this reason, he included the following warning in his Farewell Address:

"If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpations; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed."

Concentrating of unconstitutional power creates a President more powerful than a king

The concentrating of all this power in the executive department may have been done with the best of intentions and with glowing promises. However, experience is demonstrating that this theory of "problem solving at the center" has turned out to be as counter-productive as the Founders warned it would be. Not only has it failed to fulfill its promises in the United States, but similar experiments have failed all over the world. It is what the Founders would call a "failure formula."

There is a gradual consensus developing on all fronts that this approach has four major drawbacks.

It is unbelievably expensive. Many things cost from double to a hundred times more when done by the federal government than they do when assigned to a competitive private contractor. The twenty-year old Grace Commission report demonstrated the destructive and destabilizing extent of the cost factor in government today.

By its very nature, the Founders warned, government is sluggish and inefficient. There are some things it must do, but the Founders said these chores should be kept to a minimum because of the inefficiency factor.

It places billions of dollars at the disposal of the President and his agencies which can be (and have been) used to intimidate both the members of Congress and the states.

It is impossible for one human being, no matter what political party he belongs to, to effectively administer all of the things we have assigned to the President of the United States.

Let's be True to the Constitution-Word for Word During February we celebrate Presidents Day. What greater tribute could we pay to all our presidents, especially our founding presidents, than to read the Constitution of the United States, understand its real meaning, and recommit ourselves, with our new president, to “…preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States?”


Earl Taylor, Jr.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-26 next last
Feedback and thoughts.
1 posted on 03/27/2009 4:37:37 PM PDT by EBH
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]



2 posted on 03/27/2009 4:40:24 PM PDT by Paladin2 (Big Ears + Big Spending --> BigEarMarx, the man behind TOTUS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


from enemies foreign and domestic ....

3 posted on 03/27/2009 4:41:29 PM PDT by Tarpon (It's a common fact, one can't be liberal and rational at the same time.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Paladin2

There are indeed more than just 0bama have sworn to ...

4 posted on 03/27/2009 4:44:36 PM PDT by EBH (The world is a balance between good & evil, your next choice will tip the scale.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]


(albeit somewhat understated../sarc)

5 posted on 03/27/2009 4:47:54 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tarpon
I never in my wildest imagination thought, conceived, or would have believed that I might depend, expect, and ...protect in many ways my Marine nephew.

That day at the Island when he earned his Eagle, Globe and Anchor...took this oath he may have been on the parade field saying, but I was too. He may not know it, he may never know my efforts. Not just those of support to him, but my willingness to face congress, face down the ‘niks,’ and all those who would destroy the Republic of the United States from within.

6 posted on 03/27/2009 4:50:05 PM PDT by EBH (The world is a balance between good & evil, your next choice will tip the scale.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]


7 posted on 03/27/2009 4:52:54 PM PDT by TheZMan ("I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


The federal government takes money from the citizens of each state, then demands each state bow to their commands in order to get a percentage of those taxes back. The income tax was the tool by which government grew to such bounds.

If we took the same number of dollars from every citizen and paid them into the state and let the state legislators solve the problems of the state, there would more solutions to problems. Were I governor I would decree that all business pay their federal taxes into the state and then I would pay the feds what they need to live up to their obligation under the constitution - 1/50th of the defense and state budgets (or the percentage based on my population). The other dollars would only be sent in if the people of my state (by a majority vote in the legislator) thought the feds could do something that we could not do ourselves.

Instead of nation-wide problems, we would have 50 states each with their own problems - but those tasked with solving the problem would be a few hundred miles away at most and within the grasp of the people on election day.

This is what the founders wanted - local people solving local problems. When you nationalize a problem, you make it bigger than it is and you make the solution 100x more expensive - because you have to fix it for 50 uniquely different states - even in states where it’s not a problem. And that takes money away from the real problems in those states.

Dry up the federal dollars and give the same amount to the states and we’d have way more success in solving problems.

8 posted on 03/27/2009 5:03:44 PM PDT by dannyboy72a (The President of the United States should not be selling me insurance)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


This is great. I have bookmarked it. While reading it, I was thinking we need to start a class action law suit about this. I keep trying to think of a way to stop this out of control congress, possibly through something like this.

9 posted on 03/27/2009 5:03:52 PM PDT by YellowRoseofTx (Evil is not the opposite of God; it's the absence of God)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dannyboy72a

Would give a whole new meaning to “localism.”

10 posted on 03/27/2009 5:18:02 PM PDT by EBH (The world is a balance between good & evil, your next choice will tip the scale.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

I had a conversation similar to this last weekend. The person didn't care what the intent of the Constitution was. They said the only form of government that works in today's complicated world is socialism. They then had the gall to tell me that I was "uneducated". I believe that they could have used a history lesson.

This is an excellent piece. But hardcore socialists see the Founders as men who couldn't possibly understand the modern world. They believe that we have grown beyond them. I was also told that the Founders believed in survival of the fittest and were not charitable. So speaks the entitlement class.

Thank you for posting this.

11 posted on 03/27/2009 5:24:47 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you. Ben Franklin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

I am wondering if the Military, sworn to uphold the Constitution, if it perceives that the President is acting contrary to the Constitution, can simply enact a Military Coup....and remove him.

Yes, I know, the only Constitutional remedy is impeachment, to be implemented by Congress....but is there no mechanism where the Military could do this? By declaring that the Congress, by not implementing Articles of Impeachment, is derelict in duty?

12 posted on 03/27/2009 5:27:29 PM PDT by Victor (If an expert says it can't be done, get another expert." -David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Victor


Down that path lies ruin for our country. I was born into, and grew up under, a Latin American military dictatorship. Once the military is loosed from its bounds, it can no longer be controlled. Once the military sets its (rightful) civilian masters aside, there is no recourse should the institution decide that it knows best what is good for the country.

Don’t wish it; don’t advocate for it. If it should happen despite all my hopes and prayers, do not support it. Believe me.

If revolution it must be, then a full-fledged revolt by the People, as a body, is the only avenue worthy of the (small “r”) republicans we claim to be. All else de-evolves to tyranny.

13 posted on 03/27/2009 6:09:19 PM PDT by ForeignDude
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]


Congress critters don’t even read the legislation they sign. I very much doubt they will read the Constitution.

14 posted on 03/27/2009 6:22:39 PM PDT by Know et al (Everything I know I read in the newspaper and that's the reason for my ignorance: Will Rogers)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]



15 posted on 03/27/2009 6:24:18 PM PDT by Christian4Bush (Washington couldnt tell a lie. Clinton couldnt tell truth. Barney Frank cant tell the difference.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DJ MacWoW
I agree with you. That is very much how they think, but they have been ‘trained’ to believe that.

Being independent is not easy. It means you do not depend on the social structure and yet the social structure depends on the ones who choose to be independent. Being independent requires thought, effort, and skill. Maybe even a little luck.

I would say to your socialist acquaintance...if every person to on their own independent responsibility we would not be in this mess.

16 posted on 03/27/2009 6:56:33 PM PDT by EBH (The world is a balance between good & evil, your next choice will tip the scale.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Know et al

The Constitution belongs to US.

We must never forget that, even if those elected choose too.

17 posted on 03/27/2009 6:58:31 PM PDT by EBH (The world is a balance between good & evil, your next choice will tip the scale.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

She now refuses to speak to me in typical liberal fashion.I gave her these three quotes. It was the final straw. Or nail. lol

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." Thomas Jefferson

"The way to have safe government is not to trust it all to the one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is competent....To let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and it's foreign and federal relations..... The State Governments with the Civil Rights, Laws, Police and administration of what concerns the State generally. The Counties with the local concerns, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from the great national one down through all it's subordinations until it ends in the administration of everyman's farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best." Thomas Jefferson

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat in our drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labors and in our amusements, for our callings and our creeds...our people.. must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live.. We have not time to think, no means of calling the mis-managers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow suffers. Our landholders, too...retaining indeed the title and stewardship of estates called theirs, but held really in trust for the treasury, contented with penury, obscurity and exile.. private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance.

This is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering... And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in it's train wretchedness and oppression." Thomas Jefferson

18 posted on 03/27/2009 7:05:26 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you. Ben Franklin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: ForeignDude
If revolution it must be, then a full-fledged revolt by the People, as a body, is the only avenue worthy of the (small “r”) republicans we claim to be. All else de-evolves to tyranny.

Well stated, thank you.

19 posted on 03/27/2009 7:28:37 PM PDT by BARLF
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]


A great thread, thank you.

20 posted on 03/27/2009 7:31:03 PM PDT by BARLF
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-26 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson