Welcome to Read The Constitution, Stupid and, no, the title of the website isn't aimed at you personally. The original idea was to orient the site to members of the federal government as a sort of put-on. However, over the recent past it has become clear that the problem is not simply one of poorly educated politicians, but rather includes the general body politic. This seems to be a result of an educational system that ignores the role of the Founders and the documents and discussion associated with the establishment of the Republic. Accordingly, Aristotle's fourth century BC admonition that the least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold is precisely what Jefferson was warning against. In order to understand our Founding documents, we must understand their meaning as originally intended and not what we, with a considerably different grammar and dictionary, believe them to mean. And the only way to attain that end is to familiarize oneself with their arguments, in their words, and with the meanings intended at the time. Absent such an understanding we will have lost our government of laws and replaced it with a government of wants and desires.
The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity—unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.... This danger ought to be wisely guarded against.
James Madison quoted in Elliot's Debates in the State Conventions, 3:87
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1825), a signer of the Constitution from South Carolina, served as the United States Minister to France during the administration of George Washington and was part of the mission to France during the so-called “XYZ Affair.” It was Pinckney who said at the time, “Millions for defense, sir, but not one cent for tribute!,” and upon his return to the United States he began to prepare for a war with France with former President Washington and Alexander Hamilton. However, the situation was resolved before it could come to that. He ran unsuccessfully for the vice presidency as the Federalist candidate along with John Adams in 1800. Pinckney also lost his bid for the presidency against Thomas Jefferson in 1804 and James Madison in 1808.
Article V - Amendment Process - United States Constitution
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.