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.
Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people in order to betray them.
Joseph Story – Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 2d ed. (1851)
The Constitution does not set forth requirements for the right to vote. As a result, at the outset of the Union, only male property-owners could vote. African Americans were not considered citizens, and women were excluded from the electoral process. Native Americans were not given the right to vote until 1924.
In the government of this Commonwealth, the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them; the executive shall never exercise the legislative or judicial powers, or either of them; the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them; to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men.
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A.D. 1780