A majority of Americans take pride in their history and heritage. Those principles, stated in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, resonate to this day. However, I’m here to say Americans unwittingly rejected those principles a long time ago.
Whatever you may think of the American Civil War, the rejection of the Declaration of Independence was self-evident. The North invaded, defeated, and occupied the South. Southerners who participated in the rebellion were disenfranchised. They were not allowed to hold public office or vote; therefore, they were at the mercy of ravenous carpetbaggers and scalawags. Life, liberty and property were in peril.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
The 14th Amendment facilitated the disenfranchisement of the South, even though, it didn’t pass constitutional requirements through the ratification process; yet, was promulgated and enforced by radicals in Washington D.C.
Was the intent by the authors of the 14th Amendment a repudiation of a limited central government as was dictated by our founders? The Bill of Rights was meant to restrain the central government, and indeed was a prerequisite for ratification by the States; yet, those moorings have been turned on the States. They’ve become bound by the very tools they demanded as a means to protect themselves from an abusive central government that they instinctively knew would abrogate States’ sovereignty and self-determination.
Not only is the 14th’s legitimacy in question, so is its intent. Many unscrupulous politicians employ broad language to deceive the general population. Section One is a perfect example of ambiguity in a law. Statists argue that the 14th Amendment dictates that the Bill of Rights applies to all States and not just the federal government; therefore, states’ laws and constitutions will constantly be under the purview of the federal government. This is just the opposite of what our founding fathers intended.
I ask, did northern states willingly agree to abdicate self-governance and determination to a distant capitol? Did they want an unaccountable federal judiciary declare their laws and constitution, unconstitutional? I don’t think so.
So we are left with intent vs. construction of the First Section in the 14th Amendment of which the principle author is Congressman John Bingham of Ohio. Detractors state Bingham was a muddled thinker, a confused man, and Section One is a reflection of the man himself.
I contend Bingham was a typical politician who hid behind broad language to conceal his true intent, and that is a strong central government that would wield power over the states. If you read the rest of the 14th Amendment, there is no ambiguity. Here is the 14th Amendment:
There is no ambiguity in subsequent sections. Southerners who participated in the rebellion were not allowed to vote or hold public office. Southerners were forced to pay Northern war debt, including pensions for their soldiers, while at the same time having to pay their own without any recourse from the federal government. Yet, we are left with an ambiguous Section One and a continuous debate about intent vs. construction.
I believe we know the intent of its authors. It was to use broad, ambiguous language as a means to shield politicians from the wrath of their constituents. Their true intent was to unleash a central government that would use its arbitrary authority to exercise power over states and its citizens. Ultimately, it was a repudiation of our founding principles.