The minimum wage is a violation of the United States Constitution. According to Judge Andrew Napolitano,
Collective bargaining has increased the economic means of the great majority of working people in the United State by securing decent wages and benefits for union members and driving wages higher even for the unorganized. But business owners are forced to spend more of their money, which is their property, on labor. Paying minimum wage is involuntary: the government forces it upon business owners, thereby violating the Natural Law as well as the Constitution by compelling the owner of the business to negotiate with all of his employees as if they were one. Also, with minimum wage not only requiring higher wages, but prompting higher cots (benefits, pensions, vacation pay) and higher prices as well, the law clearly legislates the government’s theft of property from the businessperson. [Page 87 of “The Freedom Answer Book” by Judge Andrew Napolitano]
Contrary to what some believe, the minimum wage does not help the people it was intended to help. As Judge Napolitano has said,
Since the poorest members of society also tend to be the least-skilled members, if the minimum wage is set above the level of production that a poor person can achieve with his current skill set, then he will never get a job; and the higher the minimum wage, the higher the barrier poor people have to jump in order to gain employment.” He goes on to explain that “If a person’s skill set is valued at $5 an hour by an employer, this valuation will not change just because the government implements an $8 minimum wage. Instead, this person simply will not get the job. What employer will hire a worker who will actually generate a negative return? So, instead of a poor person having the opportunity to hone his skill set and learn the valuable lessons of hard work that would make him more employable, raise his value, grant him a feeling of accomplishment, and increase the wage he can command in the future, this poor person is rendered unemployable and forced to live a substandard life on the welfare dole because of – Yes! – government-mandated minimum wages.” And, let us “Consider…how the minimum wage impacts poor teenagers who aren’t able to present themselves well in an interview. The main weapon an inner-city teenager would have in this situation would be the willingness to work for a lower wage than his middle-class counterparts would. By giving prospective employers this cost-saving incentive, an inner-city youth could increase his chances of one day successfully competing against the middle- and upper-class teens for employment. Once he gain employment, he could learn useful skills, demonstrate his true value to the employer, learn how a certain business works, build a resume, and command a higher wage in the future. However, since government restricts the ability of an individual to choose how much his own labor is worth, this teenager is forced to remain unemployed, never getting an opportunity to learn very important working skills. This is all, of course, supposedly in the greatest interest of the general welfare of the American people. [Pages 88-89 of “The Freedom Answer Book” by Judge Andrew Napolitano]
In their book, “Free to Choose,” Milton and Rose Friedman echo the previous quote by Judge Napolitano in their own words in the two following paragraphs:
The minimum wage law requires employers to discriminate against persons with low skills. No one describes it that way, but that is in fact what it is. Take a poorly educated teenager with little skill whose services are worth, say, only $2.00 an hour. He or she might be eager to work for that wage in order to acquire greater skills that would permit a better job. The law says that such a person may be hired only if the employer is willing to pay him or her (in 1979) $2.90 an hour. Unless an employer is willing to add 90 cents in charity to the $2.00 that the person’s services are worth, the teenager will not be employed. It has always been a mystery to us why a young person is better off unemployed from a job that would pay $2.90 an hour than employed at a job that does pay $2.00 an hour.
The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws. At the end of World War II the minimum wage was 40 cents an hour. Wartime inflation had made that so low in real terms as to be unimportant. The minimum wage was raised sharply to 75 cents in 1950, to $1.00 in 1956. In the early fifties the unemployment rate for teenagers averaged 10 percent compared with about 4 percent for all workers – moderately higher, as one would expect for a group just entering the labor force. The unemployment rates for white and black teenagers were roughly equal. After minimum wage rates were raised sharply, the unemployment rate shot up for both white and black teenagers. Even more significant, an unemployment gap opened between the rates for white and black teenagers. Currently [in 1979], the unemployment rate runs around 15 to 20 percent for white teenagers; 35 to 45 percent for black teenagers. We regard the minimum wage rate as one of the most, if not the most antiblack laws on the statute books. The government first provides schools in which many young people, disproportionately black, are educated so poorly that they do not have the skills that would enable them to get good wages. It then penalizes them a second time by preventing them from offering to work for low wages as a means of inducing employers to give them on-the-job training. All this is in the name of helping the poor. [Pages 237-238 of “Free to Choose: A Personal Statement”]
Here is a quote from Thomas Sowell’s “Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy” (from which the title of this post was borrowed):
Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force. Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed.
Know any other wise quotes on this subject you’d like to add? If so, please include them in your comments below.
After enduring the Navigation Acts, the Molasses Act of 1733, the Currency Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, the Quartering Act of 1765, the Declaratory Act of 1766, the Revenue Act of 1767, the Townsend Acts, and many other cruel and oppressive actions by King George, which ravaged individual liberty and “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” the Colonists’ desire for freedom ignited into a blazing revolution. Of course, as John Adams said, “The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”
Nevertheless, the Crown trampled the people who became increasingly intolerant of England’s whip. So, when the Tea Act of 1773 was ratified, the people had had enough. So, on December 16, 1773, seven thousand Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, converged on Boston Harbor and dumped 342 chests of tea overboard in civil protest of big government, overregulation, and taxation without representation. Then, nine days later, in Delaware, another hundred chests of tea were thrown overboard for the same cause.
These two events – the Boston Tea Party and the Delaware Tea Party – riled the Crown. Yet, “We the People” kept fighting (even having a Tea Party in Edenton, NC in 1774) and eventually became free, but at a great cost. As John Adams once wrote, “Oh, Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
Friends, in many ways, we have not made a good use of our freedom. Our lack of eternal vigilance over the last one hundred years has left us with a Country that is headed for a cliff. Today, the Tea Party movement is setting “brushfires of freedom in the minds of men” (Samuel Adams), educating our neighbors, friends, and family in the ideals of our founding documents, and preserving our freedoms and our “certain unalienable,” God-given rights. As a movement comprised of principled people from every political party, every race, every age, every educational background, every employment status, etc., we stand for constitutionally limited government.
America is being fundamentally transformed, and we all must work together to be informed and active in halting and reversing the decline of our Land of Liberty. Otherwise, we will wake up, someday soon, to find our Republic dead and buried. We can no longer ride the fence. The day of reckoning is upon us.
Want to get involved? Come to our next event.
The Constitution of the United States, which includes the Bill of Rights, is one of the most abused documents in American history. It was designed to provide a solid foundation for liberty by limiting the size and scope of the federal government in a way that has never been seen in the history of mankind, but it is the Bill of Rights which makes it especially unique. Contrary to what many may think, the Bill of Rights “is not a declaration of rights at all. It is a declaration of prohibitions against the federal government,” setting clear boundaries that were not to be crossed (Skousen 674). However, as you will see, these delineations have been sullied. The following essay presents each amendment in the Bill of Rights, provides a summary of each amendment, and shows how they have been violated by the federal government.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Summary of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”: Congress cannot legally show favoritism toward one religion over another and cannot prohibit anyone or any group of people from freely practicing their faith.
Examples of how the Founders’ original intention of this provision has been violated by the federal government:
Summary of “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”: The federal government cannot limit the freedom of speech.
Examples of how the Founders’ original intention of this provision has been violated by the federal government:
Summary of “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom…of the press…”: The federal government cannot limit the freedom of the press.
Examples of how the Founders’ original intention of this provision has been violated by the federal government:
Summary of “Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble…”: The federal government cannot keep the American people from peaceful assembly.
Summary of “Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”: The federal government cannot prevent the American people from complaining to the government regarding their grievances.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Summary: Since freedom cannot be maintained unless the American people remain armed, the federal government cannot prevent the people from keeping and using guns.
“No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Summary: Soldiers cannot force a home-owner to harbor them in their homes, in wartime or peacetime, without the owner’s consent.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Summary: This amendment “…guarantees the American people the right to the privacy of their homes, their businesses, and all their private papers and effects…the right of the people to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures…[and] the right to be free from arrest except on the basis of a warrant which has been properly issued” (Skousen 701-703).
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Summary: This amendment grants Americans the “…right to trial by Grand Jury for certain crimes, the right not to be tried or punished more than once for the same crime, the right to be tried only with due process of law and the right to be paid fair compensation for any property taken by the government for public use” (“The 5th…”).
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
Summary: Americans have a right to a speedy trial, to a public trial, to be judged by an impartial jury, to be notified of the nature and circumstances of the alleged crime, to confront witnesses who will testify against them, to find witnesses who will testify in their favor, and to have a lawyer.
“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”
Summary: Americans, in a civil case, possess “…the right to have a jury just as in criminal cases (provided, of course, that the suit involves a sum of $20 of more)” and “…the right to have its facts ‘as found’ remain unmolested during the appeal process” (Skousen 710)
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Summary: This amendment protects Americans from excessive bail and fines and from cruel and unusual punishment.
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Summary: This amendment says that “…any right not enumerated, or listed, in the Constitution is still retained by the people” (“9th…”).
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Summary: This Amendment states that “…the federal government only has powers over the things that are specifically given to it in the Constitution. All other powers are reserved to the States” or to the people (“The 10th…”).
In conclusion, according to the preamble to the Bill of Rights, the Framers provided us with these ten amendments in order to insure public confidence in the government. Yet, as you have seen, all three branches of our national government have failed, on numerous occasions – certainly more numerous than the examples used above – to trample upon the rights of “We the People,” which the Declaration of Independence says are unalienable and God-endowed. Good government possesses only the power derived from the consent of the governed so that it can fulfill its purpose in securing the rights and liberties of the people. But, more and more have seen and are seeing good government replaced by that which is oppressive and tyrannical. Why? Because “We the People” have allowed it. We have failed to be students of history and of current events and have relinquished our sovereign control of these United States by casting unwise votes for greedy and corrupt politicians who do not regard our Constitution or our freedoms. However, if we will pray, become extreme in our defense of liberty, work hard to educate our neighbors, and vote for adamant constitutionalists, America will be restored.
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“The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its components are beautiful, as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order…” Justice Joseph Story
Justice Story’s words pay tribute to the United States Constitution and its Framers. Shortly before the 100th year of the Constitution, in his History of the United States of America, written in 1886 historian George Bancroft said:
“The Constitution is to the American people a possession for the ages.”
He went on to say:
“In America, a new people had risen up without king, or princes, or nobles….By calm meditation and friendly councils they had prepared a constitution which, in the union of freedom with strength and order, excelled every one known before; and which secured itself against violence and revolution by providing a peaceful method for every needed reform. In the happy morning of their existence as one of the powers of the world, they had chosen Justice as their guide.”
And two hundred years after the adoption of this singularly-important document, praised by justice Story in one century and Historian Bancroft in the next and said by Sir William Gladstone to be “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given moment by the brain and purpose of man,” the Constitution of 1787 – with its Bill of Rights – remains, yet another century later, a bulwark for liberty, an ageless formula for the government of a free people.
In what sense can any document prepared by human hands be said to be ageless? What are the qualities or attributes which give it permanence?
The Qualities of Agelessness
America’s Constitution had its roots in the nature, experience, and habits of humankind, in the experience of the American people themselves – their beliefs, customs, and traditions, and in the practical aspects of politics and government. It was based on the experience of the ages. Its provisions were designed in recognition of principles which do not change with time and circumstance, because they are inherent in human nature.
“The foundation of every government,” said John Adams, “is some principle or passion in the minds of the people.” The founding generation, aware of its unique place in the ongoing human struggle for liberty, were willing to risk everything for its attainment. Roger Sherman stated that as government is “instituted for those who live under it … it ought, therefore, to be so constituted as not to be dangerous to liberty.” And the American government was structured with that primary purpose in mind – the protection of the peoples liberty.
Of their historic role, in framing a government to secure liberty, the Framers believed that the degree of wisdom and foresight brought to the task at hand might well determine whether future generations would live in liberty or tyranny. As President Washington so aptly put it, “the sacred fire of liberty” might depend “on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people” That experiment, they hoped, would serve as a beacon of liberty throughout the world.
The Framers of America’s Constitution were guided by the wisdom of previous generations and the lessons of history for guidance in structuring a government to secure for untold millions in the future the unalienable rights of individuals. As Jefferson wisely observed:
“History, by apprising the people of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.”
The Constitution, it has been said, was “not formed upon abstraction,” but upon practicality. Its philosophy and principles, among others, incorporated these practical aspects:
The Constitution of the United States of America structured a government for what the Founders called a “virtuous people – that is, a people who would be able, as Burke put it, to “put chains on their own appetites” and, without the coercive hand of government, to live peaceably without violating the rights of others. Such a society would need no standing armies to insure internal order, for the moral beliefs, customs, and love for liberty motivating the actions of the people and their representatives in government – the “unwritten” constitution – would be in keeping with their written constitution.
George Washington, in a speech to the State Governors, shared his own sense of the deep roots and foundations of the new nation:
“The foundation of our empire was not laid in the gloomy age of ignorance and superstition; but at an epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period…. the treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labors of philosophers, sages, and legislators, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collective wisdom may be happily applied in the establishment of our forms of government.”
And Abraham Lincoln, in the mid-1800’s, in celebrating the blessings of liberty, challenged Americans to transmit the “political edifice of liberty and equal rights” of their constitutional government to future generations:
“In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American people, find our account running … We find ourselves in the peaceful possession, of the fairest portion of the earth….We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them – They are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic…race of ancestors. Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights, ’tis ours only, to transmit these…to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know….”
Because it rests on sound philosophical foundations and is rooted in enduring principles, the United States Constitution can, indeed, properly be described as “ageless,” for it provides the formula for securing the blessings of liberty, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, and providing for the common defense of a free people who understand its philosophy and principles and who will, with dedication, see that its integrity and vigor are preserved.
Justice Joseph Story was quoted in the caption of this essay as attesting to the skill and fidelity of the architects of the Constitution, its solid foundations, the practical aspects of its features, and its wisdom and order. The closing words of his statement, however, were reserved for use here; for in his 1789 remarks, he recognized the “ageless” quality of the magnificent document, and at the same time, issued a grave warning for Americans of all centuries. He concluded his statement with these words:
“…And its defenses are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens.”
Our ageless constitution can be shared with the world and passed on to generations far distant if its formula is not altered in violation of principle through the neglect of its keepers – WE, THE PEOPLE.
Our Ageless Constitution, W. David Stedman & La Vaughn G. Lewis, Editors (Asheboro, NC, W. David Stedman Associates, 1987) Part VII: ISBN 0-937047-01-5
This article was taken from www.nccs.net/our-ageless-constitution.php.
There are limited, delegated, and discreet powers of Congress in Article 1, Section 8 of Constitution. Here they are:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
That’s it! These are the limited, delegated, and discreet powers that our Constitution gives to Congress; these eighteen (as listed above) specifically enumerated areas and responsibilities make up what the Founders called the Enumerated Powers Doctrine, which was designed to restrain and limit the power and reach of the Federal government. Where in this section of our Constitution does it say anything about health care? Our communist friends use the “general Welfare” clause mentioned in the Preamble and in Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of our Constitution as a basis for today’s welfare programs. However, they fail to understand the original intent of the Founders regarding this clause and instead interpret it through their own postmodern lens. Regarding the Preamble reference, the Supreme Court in Jacobsen v. Massachusetts (1905) ruled that the Preamble is a statement of goals and not an authorization to Congress (This is also confirmed on page 75 of the “The Constitution of the United States: Analysis and Interpretation” (1992), provided by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)). In relation to the Article 1 reference, the “general Welfare” clause, according to Thomas Jefferson, is “not a grant of power to ‘spend’ for the general welfare of the people, but was intended to ‘limit the power of taxation’ to matters which provided for the welfare of ‘the Union’ or the welfare of the whole nation. In other words, federal taxes could not be levied for states, counties, cities, or special interest groups” such as women, the poor, the middle class, the rich, etc. (Page 387 of “The Making of America” by the National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS)). As Jefferson saw it, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” James Madison affirmed this view in “that this clause restricted the taxing power to matters which provided support for the national government in carrying out its assigned responsibilities” (as listed in Article 1, Section 8)(Page 387 of “The Making of America”). Here is what some other Founders said regarding this clause:
Alexander Hamilton: “The welfare of the community is the only legitimate end for which money can be raised on the community. Congress can be considered as under only one restriction which does not apply to other governments, they cannot rightfully apply the money they raise to any purpose merely or purely local…The constitutional test of a right application must always be, whether it be for a purpose of general or local nature.”
Archibald MacLaine (of North Carolina): “Congress will not lay a single tax when it is not to the advantage of the people at large.”
Edmund Randolph (of Virginia): “the rhetoric of the gentleman has highly colored the dangers of giving the general government an indefinite power of providing for the general welfare. I contend that no such power is given.”
Hamilton: “The United States, in their united or collective capacity, are the objects to which all general
provisions in the Constitution must necessarily be construed to refer.”
Clearly, according to the Founders, Congress cannot grant things to individuals or preferred groups at the expense of another individual or preferred group, thereby harming the “general” populace. So, anyone who claims that the “general Welfare” clause allows the Congress to give away “welfare” has a profound misunderstanding of the history and of the Supreme Court interpretation of both clauses. Madison, who is known as the “Father of the Constitution” and who understands the original intent of the Founders regarding the true meaning of the “general Welfare” clause, delivered a severe warning to the first U.S. Congress regarding the unbridled power of the Federal government should Congress ever violate the original intent of this clause:
If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, everything from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare.
Here’s another great quote from Madison on this topic:
With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.