Title of Course: White History 101 Mba Mbulu, Instructor

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Textbook: Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America. Click here for purchase information.

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White History 101 Class #15

Click Here and read the extract from Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America for this class. Also read the concluding chapter (beginning on page 186) of the textbook, Mba Mbulu's An Introduction to White History. Think about what you read and be able to respond to the following questions.

(1) The official reason for the meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 was to amend the Articles of Confederation. What was the actual reason?
(2) Why can it be stated that the new constitution illegally became the law of the land?
(3) Did the new constitution represent a coup d'etat, an overthrow of the national government?
(4) What did the effective differences between the new constitution and the Articles of Confederation revolve around?
(5) What can you point to to prove that the new constitution was a business-centric constitution, not a politically centric one?
(6) What does the failure of the new constitution to include a citizens bill of rights say about its objective?
(7) Was the primary concern of the new constitution "We, the people," or "We, the business people."?

Lesson #15: A Constitutional Coup d'Etat (1787)

America's young elites had already concluded that amending the Articles was not in the best interest of business. An undesirable buggy, even when repaired and made to look more appealing, was still an undesirable buggy. It was not likely to function as efficiently as one made to order. In addition, America's young elites realized that the amendment ratification process would be divisive and time consuming, and would probably end in defeat. It could open old wounds and generate new ones that could put the nation at risk. That, they concluded, was definitely not the road to take.
America's young elites had also given previous consideration to actually dissolving the Union. That, needless to say, was out of the question. The Union had to remain intact because it was the combination of states that made the country so promising. Therefore, when the delegates met, enough of them understood that their mission was not to improve the Articles, but to replace it with a new constitution. The decision to keep the proceedings of the meeting secret should have signalled that intent. They didn't want anything made public until they had worked out a solution that was acceptable to enough of the delegates.

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That solution was unveiled in September, 1787. It consisted of a preamble and seven articles, and should have been submitted to Congress for review. Instead, it declared that ratification of the new constitution by nine of the thirteen states would make it the new law of the land. It further declared that the ratification process would not be carried out by state legislatures (those who were most likely to vote against the document) but by popularly elected state conventions. Thus, in a stroke, the Philadelphia delegates, without the authority to do so, had written a new constitution, changed the ratification procedure and submitted it to state "conventions" for approval! The existing federal government, the government that had called for the meeting to amend the Articles, was ignored, undermined and supplanted. A coup d'etat, an overthrow of the national government, was taking place. But instead of putting up a fight and standing up for the integrity of the existing constitution, the existing Congress meekly acceded, formally submitted the new proposal to the states, and faded into the sunset. Less than 10 months later, 721 men in nine states had voted in favor of the new document. That made it the new law of the land. On the first Wednesday in March, 1789, it went into effect. The coup d'etat had succeeded.
The structural differences between the new constitution and the Articles of Confederation were not fundamental in nature. If political adjustments had been all that was needed, the buggy could have been repaired to satisfactorily serve the purpose. But the new constitution was about commerce, not politics. America's new elites wanted the federal government to have the power to determine how business would be conducted in the United States of America. Congress had to have the authority to protect private property, issue money, assess taxes and regulate interstate commerce. This had not been possible under the Articles of Confederation, and the entire process of generating a new constitution was to insure that that shortcoming be corrected.
The opponents of the new constitution did not have to be told that a coup d'etat had taken place. They might not have used that term, but they loudly complained that it had been secretly fashioned and the delegates had exceeded their powers. Additionally, opponents recognized that the new constitution was essentially a business oriented document. Not only had it been secretly drawn, they pointed out, but it had been secretly drawn by representatives of a "propertied aristocracy" and, after publication, promoted by businessmen, financial interests, professionals, influential members of the media and other moneyed elements. Added to that, opponents continued, was the fact that the rights of property were emphasized, but the rights of man were held in such low esteem that there was not a single provision ("bill of rights") that would protect people from the excesses of the federal government or businesses.

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The omission of a bill of rights was a deliberate omission. At the time the new constitution was written, every state constitution contained a bill of rights in one or another manner. That is because the state constitutions were somewhat political in nature. The new, federal constitution was business centric; it strictly observed the young elite's interpretation of Adam Smith. They did not want to codify or lend the law's backing to any concept that might interfere with the free flow of business. Human beings who could point to the law of the land to substantiate their rights could legally fight against the excesses of business and be an impediment to commercial progress. No impediment to business was desirable.
The framers of the new constitution had no intention of including a bill of rights when they met, vehemently opposed the idea after its absence was pointed out by opponents, and still had not included a bill of rights when the new constitution went into effect. Their primary concern was not "We, the people," it was, "We, the business people."

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Copyright 2000,2001 ASET, M. Mbulu All rights to everything on this web site are reserved. No duplication permitted.

 

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