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Registered: 01/27/04
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Jefferson's 11th Ammendment
    #2355118 - 02/19/04 04:25 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Jefferson Was Right


By: Dr. Michael P. Byron - 05/24/03

Most Americans don?t know it but Thomas Jefferson, along with James Madison worked assiduously to have an 11th Amendment included into our nation?s original Bill of Rights. This proposed Amendment would have prohibited ?monopolies in commerce.? The amendment would have made it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, or to give money to politicians, or to otherwise try to influence elections. Corporations would be chartered by the states for the primary purpose of ?serving the public good.? Corporations would possess the legal status not of natural persons but rather of ?artificial persons.? This means that they would have only those legal attributes which the state saw fit to grant to them. They would NOT; and indeed could NOT possess the same bundle of rights which actual flesh and blood persons enjoy. Under this proposed amendment neither the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, nor any provision of that document would protect the artificial entities known of as corporations.

Jefferson and Madison were so insistent upon this amendment because the American Revolution was in substantial degree a revolt against the domination of colonial economic and political life by the greatest multinational corporation of its age: the British East India Company. After all who do you think owned the tea which Sam Adams and friends dumped overboard in Boston Harbor? Who was responsible for the taxes on commodities and restrictions on trade by the American colonists? It was the British East India Company, of course. In the end the amendment was not adopted because a majority in the first Congress believed that already existing state laws governing corporations were adequate for constraining corporate power. Jefferson worried about the growing influence of corporate power until his dying day in 1826. Even the more conservative founder John Adams came to harbor deep misgivings about unchecked corporate power.

A few years after Jefferson?s unsuccessful attempt to incorporate this amendment into the Bill of Rights, the fourth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Marshall, unilaterally asserted the Court?s right to judicial review in the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803. In practice this meant that the Supreme Court would have sole and unchecked power to determine what the Constitution meant. Jefferson was aghast. His fear lay in the knowledge that an unelected branch of government, one which is not subject to the will of the citizens, and is effectively immune from check by the two elected branches of government (Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached?none have ever been convicted and removed) was now solely responsible for determining the meaning of the Constitution. The meaning of the Constitution, and hence the very nature of our political system, was now in the hands of an un-elected and effectively uncontrollable body. ?The Constitution has become a thing of wax to be molded as the Court sees fit? Jefferson lamented.

In 1886 Jefferson?s twin Constitutional nightmares collided in a train wreck which has effectively derailed true democracy in this nation and indeed across the globe as other nations have either copied our unfortunate example, or have fallen under the dominion of our multinational corporations?or both.. The precipitating event was the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad. This case is cited to the present day as having conferred the status of ?natural? as opposed to ?artificial? personhood upon American corporations. In fact the Supreme Court declined to rule on the issue. J.C. Bancroft Davis, the Clerk of the Court, an attorney, who curiously was also a former railroad company PRESIDENT, used his position to simply write this conclusion into the head notes which summarized the case. Ever since this fateful event; this sleight-of-hand rewriting of the Constitution, corporations have had the status of ?actual? persons whose rights are fully protected by the Constitution. It was a coup against democracy which succeeded because there were no real external checks and balances on the Court, and because the Court itself chose not to act to repudiate Davis? rewriting of the Constitution. The thing stood. Precedent was established. Jefferson?s ?thing of wax? nightmare had come to pass.

Consider the implications: Actual flesh and blood persons are indeed all roughly equal in overall attributes. But a corporation can possess MILLIONS of times greater resources than does any ?natural? person, or even a group of such persons. Neither labor unions, nor any other category of ?special interest? group possesses this attribute of personhood and so they too are fundamentally and intrinsically unable to compete against corporate ?persons.?

To make a long and sad story short: The concentrated power of corporate persons has overwhelmed our democratic system. The unsound decisions of our unchecked and unbalanced Supreme Court have handed the ?keys to the Kingdom? over to our corporate overlords. An analogy with an AIDS infection is instructive: After 1886, our democratic ?immune system? resisted Davis? corporate personhood infection of our national body politic by deploying the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Progressive Movement, the Labor Movement, and the New Deal. All of these bought time. But now, in the era of global mega-corporations, after a long struggle, our ?democratic immune system? is finally being overwhelmed. Democracy, rule of, by, and for the people, is dying in America.

Contemporary America is a nation almost wholly under the dominion of plutocratically wealthy, corporate quarterly-profit ?ber alles overlords. A seamless web of corporate power connects our multinational corporations with our mass media?now almost wholly owned by a handful of mega-corporations. This military-industrial-media complex largely determines which politicians will and will not get elected. Thus they control the government. They control access to money as well as determine how a candidate will be presented to the viewers. The very policies that our ?elected? officials are ?allowed? to espouse are rigorously circumscribed: Remember Clinton?s national healthcare proposals? Our media will never tell us that every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care for their citizens. Arguably, our corporate media has seen to it that the average American is as brainwashed as is say, the average citizen of North Korea. Our primary role in this atrocious system is simply to consume. We are consumers, corporate subjects, not citizens. Under this materialistic system our lives are devoid of deep meaning as we are conditioned to work ever harder and go ever deeper in debt to accumulate ever more useless junk as though if we just piled up enough of this crap we would somehow, magically, become happy.

What is to be done? Let?s open our eyes and admit that the emperor has no clothes. Let?s admit that our democratic, constitutional, system was derailed more than a century ago. Until we return power to the hands of flesh and blood citizens EXCLUSIVELY, until corporations are summarily striped of ?personhood?, until this legal obscenity is abolished, we can have no real freedom, democracy cannot flourish. Furthermore, to ensure that the will of the people is respected and reigns supreme, all members of our federal judiciary must face periodic reelection by the citizens?just as is the case for our judiciary here in California. Until and unless these things come to pass we cannot be a free people. Because we are fundamentally NOT a free people, because our ability to act and to build freely upon our inspirations is constrained by corporate forces beyond our present control, we cannot live up to our full potentials as human beings. Once these goals are accomplished there shall be such an explosion of innovation in economic and political and scientific entrepreneurship as to make Periclean Athens seem timid. It?s up to each of us to act NOW. Freedom itself hangs in the balance.

If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2355280 - 02/19/04 04:59 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

that was a good read. just sort of reinforces the suspicions and theories i already had...jefferson was the man.

i think i'll read it again.

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2355565 - 02/19/04 05:56 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Damn. If only that ammendment had been passed, we might not be stuck with this plutocracy we have today.


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire

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and fell

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: silversoul7]
    #2355616 - 02/19/04 06:08 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

When in doubt...


What Would Jefferson Do?


If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2356287 - 02/19/04 08:34 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Jefferson was the man, indeed! This country would be a much better place today if only that amendment had passed, I believe.

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2356529 - 02/19/04 09:26 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Our world would be a much better place just from that one little ammendment.....


"What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take into my body - as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?" - Bill Hicks

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2356661 - 02/19/04 09:49 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

usually when citing the words of one of the founding fathers, the letter, or essay, or debate or speech in which they appeared in is given. pardon my skepticism, but i don't think that this is legit. i searched the web for info on this and all i could find were a couple dozen instances of the same excerpt cut-and-pasted to different places. nowhere could i find a source for the quotations used. i don't feel that this is entirely credible.

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: FrankieJustTrypt]
    #2356662 - 02/19/04 09:49 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

5 shrooms to you frankie.

I thought i knew everything about Jefferson.

Deep in the heart of Central Texas
lurks a Doktor
SM tool
Native Dallas brick-chopper...

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: ]
    #2356895 - 02/19/04 10:44 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Try this search on Google:

"Thomas Jefferson" "monopolies in commerce" -" domination of colonial economic"


Edited by Baby_Hitler (02/19/04 10:54 PM)

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and fell

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Re: Jefferson's 11th Ammendment [Re: DoctorJ]
    #2356939 - 02/19/04 10:50 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

I found this at http://www.thomhartmann.com/restoredemocracy.shtml

has more detail into the original 12 point "bill of rights" before it was the bill of rights...

Its excerpted from Thom Hartmann's book Unequal Protection, and so far I think I would have to order it (which I may) to see the bibliography.. http://www.thomhartmann.com/unequalprotection.shtml

received pretty good reviews on amazon...


Because of the unique frailties and depths of passion unique to humans, just after the United States Constitution was ratified Thomas Jefferson and James Madison began a campaign to amend it with a 12-point explicit statement that would clearly and unambiguously place humans - who had created government - above their creation. This was the birth of what would become the Bill of Rights, and it originally had twelve - not ten - protections for citizens? rights.

On December 20th, 1787, Jefferson wrote to James Madison about his concerns regarding the Constitution. He said, bluntly, that it was deficient in several areas. ?I will now tell you what I do not like,? he wrote. ?First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophism, for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land, and not by the laws of nations.?

Such a bill protecting natural persons from out-of-control governments or commercial monopolies shouldn?t just be limited to America, Jefferson believed. ?Let me add,? he summarized, ?that a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.?

The following year, Jefferson wrote about his concerns to several people. In a letter to Mr. A. Donald, on February 7th, 1788, he defined the items that should be in a bill of rights: ?By a declaration of rights, I mean one which shall stipulate freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce against monopolies, trial by juries in all cases, no suspensions of the habeas corpus, no standing armies. These are fetters against doing evil, which no honest government should decline.?

Jefferson kept pushing for a law, written into the constitution as an amendment, which would guarantee liberties for citizens, prevent companies from growing so large they could dominate entire industries or have the power to influence the people?s government, and reduce the possibility of the nation being taken over by a military coup.

On February 12th, 1788, he wrote to Mr. Dumas about his pleasure that the US Constitution was about to be ratified, but also expressed his concerns about what was missing from the Constitution. He was pushing hard for his own state to reject the Constitution if it didn?t protect people from the dangers he foresaw.

?With respect to the new Government,? he wrote, ?nine or ten States will probably have accepted by the end of this month. The others may oppose it. Virginia, I think, will be of this number. Besides other objections of less moment, she [Virginia] will insist on annexing a bill of rights to the new Constitution, i.e. a bill wherein the Government shall declare that, 1. Religion shall be free; 2. Printing presses free; 3. Trials by jury preserved in all cases; 4. No monopolies in commerce; 5. No standing army. Upon receiving this bill of rights, she will probably depart from her other objections; and this bill is so much to the interest of all the States, that I presume they will offer it, and thus our Constitution be amended, and our Union closed by the end of the present year.?

By mid-summer of 1788, things were moving along and Jefferson was helping his close friend James Madison to write the Bill of Rights. On the last day of July, he wrote to Madison: ?I sincerely rejoice at the acceptance of our new constitution by nine States. It is a good canvass, on which some strokes only want retouching. What these are, I think are sufficiently manifested by the general voice from north to south, which calls for a bill of rights. It seems pretty generally understood, that this should go to juries, habeas corpus, standing armies, printing, religion, and monopolies.?

But on the issues of banning a standing army and blocking corporations from gaining monopolistic control over industries, Jefferson was getting resistance. The nation had just fought a bloody war against England, and there was little sentiment for completely dismantling the army. And the Federalists who were in power - a party largely made up of what Jefferson called ?the rich and the well born? - were opposed to government constraints on business activities.

Thus only ten of his twelve visions for a Bill of Rights - all except ?freedom from monopolies in commerce? and his concern about a permanent army - were incorporated into the actual Bill of Rights, which James Madison shepherded through Congress and was ratified as the first ten amendments to the constitution on December 15, 1791.

There is quite a bit of stuff on yahoo searched as "corporate personhood jefferson"....

If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.

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