It is Article V Day in America.
230 years ago, on September 15th, 1787, the Framers of the Constitution of this great nation were reviewing the result of their labors from the past few months of deliberations. As if by an act of Providence, Colonel George Mason rose up to point out a glaring deficiency in the document. Article V, the provision addressing the mode of amending the Constitution in the future, was woefully flawed. The article only provided the federal Congress with the legal means of amending the Constitution. As it was then written, Congress would either propose amendments itself or elect to call a convention of the states to propose amendments. Mason challenged his colleagues in Philadelphia, asking if, when in some future day Congress abused its power too much and grew too powerful, would it ever propose an amendment to limit itself? As students of history, the answer from the Framers was “no,” and a unanimous “no.” Madison then motioned to change the wording to a peremptory, compulsory shall call wording, meaning that upon the application of 2/3rds of the states of the union, Congress would be legally obligated to call a convention of the states for proposing amendments.
Madison’s motion on Article V was the only motion unanimously approved at the Philadelphia Convention. Thank on that a moment. The states amendments convention route was the only item that had no disagreement in the whole course of their work in Philadelphia. The Framers wanted us to use this tool.
Make no mistake. This is a mandate. The Framers are dead and gone. We remain. We are their heirs. It is our duty and responsibility to use Article V in the day the federal government grew out of control, as Mason was positive it would. Look around you. Congress has a 15% approval rating. Many are feeling without a political home or voice. We are made to feel we should be fighting our friends, family, and neighbors rather than realizing it is big government itself that is the problem.
Let us rally around the Framers, around the Constitution, around each other. It is imperative that the Convention of States Project and its resolution back Congress into a corner and enable the People, through their state legislatures, to defeat tyranny. This is not a Republican thing. This is not a Democratic thing. This is an American thing. Americans do not tolerate tyranny.
May these words ring out across our country today, on Article V Day:
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.
Two days later, on September 17th, 1787, Benjamin Franklin departed from the Convention as the new Constitution was finished. A woman approached him and asked what sort of government they had devised.
“A Republic, if you can keep it,” was his reply.
Keep it, America. Keep it.