Category Archives: Article 1

Mr. Madison’s War





President Trump has exercised his Executive authority to call forth the National Guard for the expressed purpose of “doing Military things” to guard the border with Mexico.

Whether or not you agree with his policy, we ask the question about why it is that he President is calling forth the militia of the several states, when Article I section 8 makes it clear that Congress is supposed to be doing that. 

It’s Constitution Thursday on Plausibly Live…


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The Saxbe Fix



No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time…….no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.  – Article 1 Section 6

After their experience in the American revolution and years of watching Kings buy their way to policy, the Framers believed that a simple and even elegant solution was to simply ban the ability of a single person to hold Office both civilly and in the government. Makes sense, right?

So how did we get to the place where the Article is routinely “ignored” and senators become Secretaries?


Safety in Numbers



As the debates rolled on, the nation considered many elements of the proposed Constitution. In Rhode Island there was grave concern over the idea that the State would not be able to print its own paper currency. In Virginia the Kentucky Counties worried about the navigational rights on the Mississippi River. But nearly everyone agreed on one issue – the idea that if the nation went to war, it would be stronger united than not.

On April 6, 1917, Congress gathered to vote on whether or not the United States should declare war on Imperial Germany. Four days earlier President Woodrow Wilson had made it clear that the United States was needed and ready for the fight against an evil and depraved monarchy that chose war over peace and threatened the entire world. But, he made he clear, that it would not be, it could not be, his decision alone to send the US into World War I.

Despite the changes in the world since 1787, one thing remained the same. It was that one thing that the Framers had in their prescience foreseen: that no one person should ever be allowed to take the US to war.

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