Hal Shurtleff

Director and Co-Founder of Camp Constitution.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789 and Donald Trump’s 2017 Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington



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On Thanksgiving Day, as we have for nearly four centuries, Americans give thanks to Almighty God for our abundant blessings.  We gather with the people we love to show gratitude for our freedom, for our friends and families, and for the prosperous Nation we call home.

In July 1620, more than 100 Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower, fleeing religious persecution and seeking freedom and opportunity in a new and unfamiliar place.  These dauntless souls arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the freezing cold of December 1620.  They were greeted by sickness and severe weather, and quickly lost 46 of their fellow travelers.  Those who endured the incredible hardship of their first year in America, however, had many reasons for gratitude.  They had survived.  They were free.  And, with the help of the Wampanoag tribe, and a bountiful harvest, they were regaining their health and strength.  In thanks to God for these blessings, the new governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and gathered with the Wampanoag tribe for three days of celebration.

For the next two centuries, many individual colonies and states, primarily in the Northeast, carried on the tradition of fall Thanksgiving festivities.  But each state celebrated it on a different day, and sometime on an occasional basis.  It was not until 1863 that the holiday was celebrated on one day, nationwide.  In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, of one of the bloodiest battles of our Nation’s Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the country would set aside one day to remember its many blessings.  “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity,” President Lincoln proclaimed, we recall the “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.”  As President Lincoln recognized: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Today, we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with a grateful and charitable spirit.  When we open our hearts and extend our hands to those in need, we show humility for the bountiful gifts we have received.  In the aftermath of a succession of tragedies that have stunned and shocked our Nation — Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; the wildfires that ravaged the West; and, the horrific acts of violence and terror in Las Vegas, New York City, and Sutherland Springs — we have witnessed the generous nature of the American people.  In the midst of heartache and turmoil, we are grateful for the swift action of the first responders, law enforcement personnel, military and medical professionals, volunteers, and everyday heroes who embodied our infinite capacity to extend compassion and humanity to our fellow man.  As we mourn these painful events, we are ever confident that the perseverance and optimism of the American people will prevail.

We can see, in the courageous Pilgrims who stood on Plymouth Rock in new land, the intrepidness that lies at the core of our American spirit.  Just as the Pilgrims did, today Americans stand strong, willing to fight for their families and their futures, to uphold our values, and to confront any challenge.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to rejoicing in precious time spent with loved ones, let us find ways to serve and encourage each other in both word and deed.  We also offer a special word of thanks for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, many of whom must celebrate this holiday separated from the ones for whom they are most thankful.  As one people, we seek God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom, as we stand humbled by the abundance of our great Nation and the blessings of freedom, family, and faith.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2017, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.



The Weekly Sam: Dyslexia: The Disease You Get in School

Sam Blumenfeld wrote and spoke about Dyslexia for many years.  He placed the blame on the look-say methos of reading.  Here is a link to a newsletter from 1988 on the subject:



The Weekly Sam: On Visiting Old GI Haunts

While I knew that Sam Blumenfeld was a WW II veteran, he spoke little of his military experience.  It wasn’t until he passed away, and had the opportunity to go through his library that I learned of his military service.  Sam was an artilleryman in the U.S. Army and send to Northern Italy in March of 1945.  Sam was involved in escorting German POWs and wrote a poem about taking pity on the German soldiers and how he offered his rations to one.  In this linked article, Sam writes about his return visit to Italy and the family he befriended:  http://blumenfeld.campconstitution.net/personal/On%20Revisiting%20Old%20GI%20Haunts.pdf   





United Nations Day of Shame: The House That Hiss Built

Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the “House that Hiss Built.”   The United Nations charter is dimetrically opossed the U.S. Constitution.  Thankfully, more and more Americans are learning the truth about this world-government, racist and anti-freedom organization.  There is currently a bill in the House of Representatives H.R. 193 sponsored by Congressman Rodgers of  Alabama calling for the U.S. to get out of the United Nations:    Alabama https://www.congress.gov/billngress/house-bill/193//115th-co  

Camp Constitution instructor John McManus conducted a class at this year’s on the subject:

U.N. “peacekeepers” torture a Somilian national





The Weekly Sam: How the Left Created the Neo-Nazi Movement

Sam Blumenfeld wrote a manuscript on how the Left in the United States created the Neo Nazi Movement.  He did this project in the early 1960s, but the book was never published.  During the hight of forced busing in Boston, I observed how the Neo Nazis and Communists came to Boston and worked hard to promote racial termoil.  As Alphonse Karr said “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

This copy below is from the introduction:

This book describes a conspiracy to destroy our country,
and demonstates the kind of men who are drawn into such
conspiracies. It portrays a particular man who spent day in
and day out feverishly working for the destruction of the
American nation. Many American have had experience, at least
during World War II, with the Nazi mentality. But until now, ..
the American Nazi movement, whose purpose it was to disrupt
and destroy conservative American tradition, and to forment
anti-Jewish and racist agitation, has been poorly and improperly
understood. This American Nazi movement was led by George
Lincoln Rockwell, a native, old-stock American.

And here is the link to the manuscript 






Runaway Article V Convention – Is there a threat? by Ben L. Tracey

 Should we have an Article V Convention of States in order to restore the original purpose of our government? According to some, such as constitutional lawyer and conservative radio personality Mark Levin, this is the only way to restore the original intent of our nation’s founding fathers. However, regardless of Levin’s good intentions, and I believe his willful disregard to the danger, the answer is no. Why? Because of exactly what happened during the last convention. These actions were never declared illegitimate and reversed and thus created a legal precedent. Regardless of anyone’s good intentions, no one, not even constitutional scholars, can predict what could happen if we had a new Convention of States.
 This author doesn’t take issue with Mark Levin for promoting a constitutional Convention of States. If one does eventually occur, everything he hopes to accomplish might also occur. That would be an ideal situation. The issue is with Mark Levin downplaying the dangers that a man of his credentials must know exists. Impeccable credentials don’t make you right all of the time. For every PhD or JD who makes an argument, I can find another PhD or JD that takes the opposite position. The highest goal of most constitutional lawyers is to argue a case before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). It should go without saying that when the stakes are the highest, half will lose their cases.
Understanding what happened in 1787 requires us to define what it is to have a constitutional government. You do not have to have a single document called The Constitution in order to be considered a constitutional government. If you do have a single document, it doesn’t have to be called The Constitution. Our parent nation, Great Britain, has no single document called a constitution, yet is still considered a Constitutional Monarchy. A constitutional government is simply a government that has a higher set of laws, principles, and conventions in which all members of that society are equally bound. This constitution is generally difficult to change. Great Britain’s constitution actually consists of many documents such as the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights (English), the Petition of Right, and many more.
 In the United States, we have had two codified constitutions. Our first constitution was called the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, and Providence plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.This was a law in which all original thirteen states and their citizens were bound. Our second constitution is simply called the Constitution of the United States of America. Under both constitutions there is a mechanism for amending, or changing the relevant constitution.
 Under the original Articles of Confederation, there is Article XIII:
“Every state shall abide by the determinations of the United States, in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every state, and the union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them, unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards, confirmed by the legislatures of every state.”
Under the current Constitution of the United States, there is Article V:
“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.”
Actually, there are many pros and cons to having a Convention of States as defined under Article V. The biggest reason to have a convention is to add amendments for such things as congressional term limits and the ability to recall our representatives. Both of these capabilities existed under the Articles of Confederation. These are amendments that Congress would unlikely propose under the common way of amending the Constitution. However, there is a sound reason not to have a Convention of States. Regardless of claims to the contrary by Mark Levin and others, there is a very real and undeniable possibility of a runaway convention. This is exactly what happened in 1787.
 Perhaps the best way of presenting both sides of the argument is to present the argument for having a Convention of States and then to present the counter argument that rebuts that argument.
1. Our government has gotten away from the original intent of our founding fathers and the only way to bring us back to the concept of limited government is to amend the Constitution.
Rebuttal: It is true that many of our founding fathers would be appalled by how far we have drifted away from this concept of limited government, at least at the federal level. Their first love was for the states in which they resided. However, to say they wanted limited government is a little misleading. The U.S. Constitution ceded only some of the many states sovereignty to the federal government. However, the many states reserved for themselves what is called police powers. Police powers consist of safety, morality, welfare, and health. To make absolutely sure they retained these powers; they embodied them in the 10th Amendment. A state’s police power is generally limited by two things. It is limited by its own constitution, which is typically modeled on the U.S. Constitution but is far more extensive. It is also limited when the courts have determined these laws are in violation of a personal right or a violation of other constitutional principles.
Another misleading perception enhanced by many in conservative talk radio is that of a power hungry congress usurping the authority of the many states. This is only partially true. Representatives represent their constituents. As a nation we began drifting away from our principles even before the days of Teddy Roosevelt, which can be seen in such acts as The Sherman Antitrust Act. However, during the Howard Taft, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson days, this trend accelerated. Socialism was sweeping the globe and progressivism, which I think of as socialism lite, took hold in both major parties in the United States. This is what caused the Republican Party to splinter, creating the upstart and short lived Bull Moose Party.
The fear was that individual states were susceptible to falling under the influence of large corporations that were growing in size, capabilities, and wealth. These corporations were getting rich off of the growing interstate commerce, which was spurred on by the Industrial Revolution and the improvement in communications and transportation. Many people wanted a more powerful national government which they believed would be more capable of resisting these influences. In short, they wanted a counterbalance to large corporations.
It should be noted that no constitutional amendment proposals that would have opposed these popular interests would have succeeded at the time. Thus a proposed constitutional amendment is not necessarily a cure-all as some might propose. Instead, a little education might go a long way.
 The courts resisted these political pressures for many years just as the Federalist Papers had envisioned. Their jurisprudence was based in our original Lockean principles right up until Franklin Delaware Roosevelt attempted to stack the court. In a democratic form of governance, the machinery for applying the brakes against the temporary passions of the masses (tyranny) can only hold out for so long. If the passions outlast the brakes, the masses eventually get their way.
It should also be noted that the Supreme Court is part of the federal government. As such there is a potential conflict of interest when it comes to the SCOTUS applying the brakes against an encroaching federal government. As federal laws become more pervasive, affecting more and more individuals, the decisions of the Supreme Court also affect more and more people.
However, not all brakes are created equal. The best brake against any encroachment from the powers that be, are from those with a vested counter interest to protect. This brake was supposed to come from the Senate which was originally elected by the many states congress. It is not the people, not the courts, not the President, and certainly not the U.S. Congress that has a vested interest in stopping the growing power of the federal government, it is the many states. When the 17th Amendment was enacted, the brakes were effectively removed. Some have argued that this was the beginning of mob rule.
The last point is, simply because there is a rule against a certain action doesn’t mean those at the top of the political spectrum will follow it. How many times has a president thumbed his nose at the Constitution when signing an executive order? How many times has a statute been thrown out by the courts for trampling on a constitutional right? I suspect some members of the congress and possibly at least one president have not even bothered to read the Constitution. The only real way to expect compliance with the rules is for an informed electorate to hold politicians accountable at the polls. Of course this doesn’t work if the politician breaks the rules in the way the electorate wants. This is not only true of our current constitution, it was also true of the Articles of Confederation. The Philadelphia Convention was only the last convention out of a series of conventions. At the time, conventions of the states were unconstitutional unless authorized by the Confederation Congress.
Articles of Confederation, Article VI, Section 2:
“No two or more states shall enter into any treaty, confederation, or alliance whatever, between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.”
Before the Philadelphia (constitutional) Convention, there was the Mt. Vernon Conference and the Annapolis Convention. These were convened for the purpose of working out issues between the states over trade outside of the deliberations of the Confederation Congress. This was another threat out of a plethora of threats to the prestige and authority of the Confederation Congress. If Rodney Dangerfield were a historical figure and an elected representative, he would have served in the Confederation Congress. These conventions, or states conferences were illegal under the Articles of Confederation unless approved by the Confederation Congress. Neither of them was. Even George Washington referred to them as “irregular,” which only goes to show that euphemisms have been used for a very long time. The Philadelphia Convention was reluctantly approved by the Confederation Congress on February 21, 1787, only after six states had already appointed their delegations. Then the Confederation Congress tightened the parameters on what could be negotiated.  It called for:
“Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union.”
The emphasis is mine. “Sole and Express,” means “only this.” Even as our current Congress and current courts find ways to get around the wording in our Constitution, how can we be sure they won’t find a way to pervert the intent of any new amendments in the future? This disregard has been going on ever since we have had a constitution as history illustrates. Simply adding more words to the Constitution does not guarantee that the intent of any such additions will be followed by a future congress, executive branch, or the courts.
2. There is no real danger. These are only proposals for new amendments. Any changes to the Constitution must be approved by three fourths of the states. If the Convention of States goes off the rails and recommends a bad amendment, they will not be able to get three fourths of the states to ratify it.
Rebuttal: Who says it will require three fourths of the states to ratify anything? Under our first constitution, it required one-hundred percent of the states to ratify any changes. It also said that all of “. . . the articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every state . . .” This is the constitution that was in effect during the entire Philadelphia Convention. With Rhode Island boycotting the conference, referred to as “Rogue Island” by some, it became apparent that at least Rhode Island wasn’t going to ratify anything. This is one of the reasons the convention tossed out the Articles of Confederation for a completely new constitution. The new constitution only required nine out of thirteen states to switch it on and three-fourths of the states to change anything thereafter. Notice, this ratification criteria came from Article V and Article VII of the new constitution, not from the Articles of Confederation.
This argument is the most popular argument used by those who want an Article V Convention of States. It is a good argument only if the convention does not toss out the Constitution altogether. This is what conservatives such as Mark Levin hope to achieve. However, this same argument also works against those wishing to amend the constitution regardless of which amendment process they use. If they are successful, then three-fourths of the states still need to ratify the proposed amendments at some future date. In other words, their proposed amendments may or may not ultimately get ratified. There are no guarantees. However, those who would want to start over with a new constitution have the legal and historical precedent in their favor to make throwing out the old constitution a viable option. In this case, the ratification process of three-fourths of the states would almost certainly go out the same window as the Constitution. We would be in a  whole new ballgame with completely new rules.
 3. The wording in Article V of the U.S. Constitution does not provide a legal mechanism to toss out our current Constitution. It is only provides two ways of amending the Constitution. One of those ways is to convene a Convention of States which does not require presidential or congressional approval.
Rebuttal: It is true that Article V of the United States Constitution does not have any language providing the legal framework in which you can replace the current constitution with another constitution, but why would it? The language in the Constitution only provides the legal framework for our current government. Any constitution that we want to endure should allow for changes to be made as needed or it could become as unworkable as the Articles of Confederation. It should always allow for amendments, changes, or as some might claim, fixes. However, it wouldn’t have any language describing how you dump it. Why even bother to write a constitution if you planned on dumping it later?
Just as our current Constitution does not provide for replacement, neither did the Articles of Confederation provide for replacement. In fact the Articles of Confederation stated that the union under that constitution was perpetual. The Articles of Confederation clearly stated that it could only be changed when all of the states were in full agreement. Throwing the whole constitution out is a pretty big change. A one-hundred percent agreement is something that obviously did not happen, at least not right away.
After the ratification of the new constitution by New Hampshire, the ninth state, the new constitution was switched on, becoming the law of the land in those states that ratified it. The remaining states still operating under the Articles of Confederation were left in legal limbo as they should not have been able to reach a quorum. On a practical matter, the Confederation Congress still provided a limited transition function, accomplishing a few things extra-constitutionally, such as setting the date when the new constitution’s Electoral College would be selected. The last meeting of the Confederation Congress was held on March 2, 1789. The ardent anti-federalist Philip Pell from New York was the sole attendee. He adjourned the meeting sine die and dropped out of state and national politics. By definition, the very act of replacing one constitution for another is extra-constitutional.
 4. When appointing and sending a delegation to a Convention of States, states can forbid their delegates from doing anything other than proposing amendments to the current constitution.
Rebuttal: This is true; the states can forbid an action. However, according to precedent, the delegates don’t have to listen.  Here is some of the wording from the twelve states that sent representatives to Philadelphia:
“. . . to join with them [other delegates from other states] in devising and discussing all such alterations and further provisions, as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution [Articles of Confederation] adequate to the exigencies of the Union . . .”
“. . . for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of the Union as to trade and other important objects, and of devising such further provisions as shall appear necessary to render the Constitution [Articles of Confederation] of the federal government adequate to the exigencies thereof.”
“. . . of revising the Foederal Constitution [Articles of Confederation], for the purpose of making such alterations and amendments as the exigencies of our public affairs require . . .”
“. . . to discuss and decide upon the most effectual means to remove the defects of our federal union . . .”
“. . . to join with them in devising, deliberating on, and discussing, such Alterations and further Provisions, as may be necessary to render the Foederal Constitution [Articles of Confederation] adequate to the Exigencies of the Union . . .”
“. . . in devising and discussing all such alterations and farther provisions, as may be necessary to render the federal constitution [Articles of Confederation] adequate to the exigencies of the union . . .”
Authorizes the convention in Philadelphia with the limited purpose of “. . . sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation . . .”
“. . . for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation . . . render the federal constitution [Articles of Confederation] adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the union . . .”
“. . . for the sole & express purpose of revising the articles of Confederation . . .” Further amended to include:  “And it is further Resolved, that the Said Delegates on the part of this Commonwealth be, and they are hereby instructed not to accede to any alterations or additions that may be proposed to be made in the present Articles of Confederation, which may appear to them, not to consist with the true republican Spirit and Genius of the Said Confederation: and particularly that they by no means interfere with the fifth of the Said Articles which provides, ‘for the annual election of Delegates in Congress, with a power reserved to each State to recal its Delegates, or any of them within the Year & to send others in their stead for the remainder of the year – And which also provides, that no person shall be capable of being a Delegate for more than three years in any term of six years, or being a Delegate shall be capable of holding any Office under the United States for which he or any other for his benefit, receives any salary, fees, or emolument of any kind . . .’”
“. . . authorised and impowered in devising and discussing all such alterations, clauses, articles and provisions as may be thought necessary to render the federal constitution [Articles of Confederation] entirely adequate to the actual situation and future good government of the confederated states . . . will effectually provide for the exigencies of the union.” 
“. . . for the sole & express Purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation . . . authorized and empowered . . . to discuss upon such Alterations and Provisions, agreeable to the general Principles of Republican Government, as they shall think proper, to render the federal Constitution [Articles of Confederation] adequate to the Exigencies of Government, and the Preservation of the Union . . .”
“. . . for the purpose of revising the federal system, and to join with them in considering such alterations, and further provisions, as may be necessary to render the federal constitution [Articles of Confederation] adequate to the exigencies of  the union . . .”
“ . . . to discuss and decide upon the most effectual means to remedy the defects of our federal union; and to procure, and secure, the enlarged purposes which it was intended to effect . . .”
Rhode Island did not send representatives. They later claimed their state required an election to send representatives for such a purpose as proposing alterations to a constitution. However, they were the only state not to require a state level constitutional convention in order to ratify the new constitution.
Ten states directed their delegations to discuss ways of improving the Articles of Confederation with one state associating these changes to “trade” and “other important objects.” Three states forbade their delegations from doing anything but modifying the Articles of Confederation with the verbiage “sole and express.” Of these three, not only did Massachusetts forbid any negotiations other than modifying the Articles of Confederation, they specifically forbade changes that were later incorporated into the new constitution. The Confederation Congress forbade the delegates from doing anything other than modifying the Articles of Confederation, which is their explicit right under the Articles of Confederation.
The North Carolina and New Hampshire delegations were the only delegations that appeared to have the latitude they needed to create a new constitution. Their states directed them to fix the union, not specifically to fix the constitution. For the Philadelphia Convention to do what they did was at best unauthorized and at worst, blatantly illegal. One of the reasons they succeeded was due to the secrecy surrounding the proceedings of the convention. The declared reason for this secrecy was to allow all members the ability to explore all options without outside recrimination, or in the exact words, “licentious publications.” They certainly did.
5. This government does not have the same problems the government had in 1788. In 1788 the Articles of Confederation government was insolvent. It had a large foreign debt and stood vulnerable to invasion. A single belligerent state could cause a war. It could not tax. It did not have the sole authority to coin a uniform currency. There was no independent federal judiciary. It could not make standardized rules for interstate and international commerce. There was no national army or navy and it did not possess the authority to draft soldiers or sailors. The country stood at risk of invasion from Britain in the north and Spain in the west and southeast. It could not put down insurrections. It could not enforce its own laws. It was difficult to pass federal laws and virtually impossible to amend the Articles of Confederation. The union was dying and a radical solution was necessary to save it. Considering the differences between then and now, tossing out a fixable constitution is highly unlikely.
Rebuttal: While all of this is true, you wouldn’t believe it if you listened to the rhetoric from those who believe the Constitution is an old dusty and obsolete document standing in everyone’s way. While it might be unlikely that a convention would toss out the current constitution, it is not impossible. The unchallenged precedent exists. While most people would like to tweak what we have, there is a large group of people who would like to do much more. It is a progressive utopian dream of many to get rid of federalism altogether, reducing the semi-sovereignty of the many states to mere administrative districts of a larger and more capable national government.
The precedence set in 1787 and maintained for 230 years gives these dreamers the legitimacy to throw out our current constitution in favor of a far more progressive document. All they need is enough delegates to go along. The ratification criteria for any new constitution would be whatever was decided in the convention. Should such an event occur, it would be highly unlikely the ratification process would remain the three fourths of the states that exist now. It could be as simple as a majority vote in a national referendum. In fact, in recent times this is the preferred way of legitimizing a new constitution as seen in places such as Egypt and Turkey.
6. The Philadelphia Convention was held in secrecy. It could be required that a new Convention of States be open and transparent. If the many states observed the beginning of a runaway convention, they could put the brakes on it, even recalling their delegation.
Rebuttal: It is true that the Philadelphia Convention was held in secrecy. Some have speculated that they never could have proposed a completely new constitution if the convention was open. The many states that were already uneasy about the convention would almost certainly have exerted any influence they could muster to get the convention back on track or shut it down completely. However, we have seen how things don’t always go the way we want or expect.
The Obama Administration promised the most transparent administration ever. Very few people would argue this transparency actually occurred. The legislative construction of the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be transparent. Instead the bill’s evolving text was arguably buried in congressional committees and cabals, with only bits and pieces coming to light until it was ready for a vote. This is when Nancy Pelosi made her famous quote, “But we have to pass the [Senate] bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” The Patriot Act was advertised to the public as giving the government the ability to intercept messages between domestic residents (mostly U.S. citizens) and known terrorists living abroad. Somehow this morphed into a “haystack” of information that lowly technicians, outside of the permissions given by the U.S. FISA Court, could get their hands on. When the Affordable Care Act was challenged in the SCOTUS, most experts I spoke with felt certain it would be struck down. How could anyone be penalized for not engaging in commerce? Even the President glumly made comments indicating this likely outcome. However, the Roberts Court simply changed the word “penalty” to the word “tax” and said Congress has the constitutional authority to tax.
Regardless of any promised transparency, many things can still go wrong. While there are non-objectionable deliberations on television and computer screens, there may be other actions taken behind the scenes. How will the many states recall their delegations if anything goes wrong and how long will it take? Each state may have different procedures for doing this. If it is by a resolution, then how long will it take to build a consensus if they can build one at all? How can we be sure our state representatives will act in a way we would like them to act? Will enough states recall their delegations to drop the convention below the necessary quorum required to function? If the convention carries the same character as the U.S. Congress, that of a federal deliberative body, will the states even be able to recall their delegations for the same reason we cannot recall members of Congress or place term limits on them? Will any challenges to a Convention of States end up in the court, allowing the convention even more time to finish their efforts? Depending on how quickly a Convention of States goes off the rails and how fast it moves thereafter, there may be little time for anyone to do anything at all. The thing to consider is that we don’t know how a Convention of States will go off the rails or how we will be able to respond to any and all circumstances. We can, however, safely assume that those who want a runaway convention have already conceived of cleaver ways to make this happen. Once again, they have history in their favor.
7. It couldn’t happen. No one would support throwing out our constitution. You can try to force me to go along with such a farce, but bring lots of guns because I’ll certainly have mine.
Rebuttal: It always seems to eventually get to this last argument. Our inception as a nation is steeped in bloody revolution. Thomas Jefferson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” This kind of sentiment still endures.
A new constitution becomes an issue of legitimacy. We must remember that each of us represent a single voice in a larger chorus that exceeds 320 million people. We tend to discuss our values with others who share those same values. As a result, we often forget that this is a country that is almost equally split between those wanting the government to do more, and those wanting the government to do less. If there are enough people in a democratic form of government who want a new constitution in order to accomplish their vision for America, then this becomes a legitimate effort.
In a democratic form of government, legitimacy is manifested through the perceptions of the majority, or possibly even a highly vocal minority. The last two presidents were elected by what their opponents might describe as populism running amuck. Should a constitutional convention of states replace the old constitution with a new constitution, and then a majority of people in the United States vote yes in a national referendum, it would be virtually impossible to roll back. The old constitution would be null and void. With the precedence of history and a majority popular vote, we would have a legitimate new government and there is nothing anyone could do to change it short of civil war.
In summary, there are at least twelve short arguments against an Article V Convention of States which are as follows:
    • The reason for the ratification of our current constitution is because of the wording in our current constitution, not the constitution that was in effect during the convention that recommended our current constitution.
    • The replacement of constitutions was illegal under the constitution that was in effect while it was being replaced. It referred to the union under its authority as perpetual. It said all states must inviolably follow all of the articles that made up the constitution (Articles of Confederation). It said all of the states would have to be in full agreement to change anything in the constitution (Articles of Confederation), let alone replace it.
    • The actions taken by the delegations in Philadelphia were unauthorized by all the states in attendance and prohibited by at least three of these states and the Confederation Congress.
    • The very continuance of our current constitution provides the proof of legitimacy regarding the actions taken during the Philadelphia Convention. These actions set the legal precedence of replacing one constitution for another. This precedence happened despite the language in the constitution that was in effect at the time of the convention, the directives of the congress, and the directives of the states that sent the delegations. One cannot declare the actions taken during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 illegal without also declaring our current constitution illegal. Even as we cannot declare the actions in Philadelphia illegal, we cannot declare similar actions that may occur in a modern Convention of States illegal either.
    • One cannot depend on the courts to nullify any actions taken by a runaway convention, especially if the courts have an active role to play under the terms of a new government.
    • The reason for the legitimacy of our current constitution is because enough people recognize it as being legitimate, not because of any documents or court proceedings that make it legitimate. A Constitutional Republic is also called a Representative Democracy. In any form of Democracy, something becomes legitimate when enough people say it is legitimate.
    • It should go without saying that you cannot use any legal wording in our current constitution to ward off replacement of the same constitution if it has been replaced. As mentioned, the ability to replace a constitution is based in a sense of legitimacy by the people in a democratic form of government, not by any legalese that has arguably been made null and void. Replacing a constitution is by definition extra-constitutional.
    • Even if a new Convention of States is transparent, the interests wanting to replace the Constitution may move quicker than the opposition simply due to the legalese and federal structure of our government. There is a multitude of moving parts in the machinery.
    • Simply getting proposed amendments to our current constitution doesn’t guarantee ratification of these amendments. The general public must exert enough will to cause three-fourths of the many states to ratify the proposed amendments under the terms of our current constitution.
    • Any wording in the Constitution, current or future is meaningless if the government is not held accountable by the electorate.
    • One cannot provide every possible safeguard against a runaway convention as no one can predict exactly how a convention will runaway. For every safeguard put in place, there is a way around it.
  • Considering the very real and present danger of a runaway convention and the almost certain civil unrest that would follow in its wake, perhaps alternatives such as taking back our educational institutions and mass media outlets would be a better solution. If the status quo is allowed to continue, then the number of those who believe the government should do more will continue to grow while the number of those who believe government should do less will continue to shrink. Forcing the majority of people to accept the values of the few through the machinery of federalism, if possible, will only last for a season. Eventually the majority will get their way. This is the real reason why we are where we are today. The government doing more things for more people is what a majority of people, in one way or another, have wanted for a very long time. Sometimes the truth hurts, but the only long-term solution is to convince the majority of people that the original vision of limited government was and is, the best kind of government.
Regardless of what some conservative lawyers say, the risk of a run-away convention resulting in a catastrophe is not zero. No one can deny the precedence of the past or the inability to put in place adequate safeguards for any and all events that could go wrong. So you decide, is the risk worth it?
WORTH TAKING  8 Minutes to hear Bill Still’s take on the Con Con:
The new Constitutional Convention push rears its ugly head again. Delegate Bob Marshall’s explanation: …..

A Report on the Massachusetts Hearing on the Article V Convention

     The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Election Laws held a hearing Thursday October 12 from 2:00 – to 5:30 PM on a number of bills and resolutions including two resolutions applying for an Article V Convention (S 379 Wolf PAC and S 401 COS). We sent out two E-mail blasts on the subject, and thanks to Brad Wyatt, the Massachusetts Campaign for Liberty also did an E-mail blast.
      I attended the hearing and was accompanied by Tom Moor, and Dave Vieira. Dave did an excellent job in his testimony. The Left had a good contingent of people on hand supporting S 379 from “Massachusetts We the People.” The current director of Wolf PAC and one of their attorneys was also on hand to testify. The main sponsor of the Wolf PAC resolution, Carmine Gentile, testified. His testimony and most of the other supporters of S 379 were more interested in overturning the “Citizens United” decision, and said nothing about the Article V convention. The Wolf PAC attorney was the only one that referenced the Article V Convention. He raised the same old easily refuted arguments. The only person on hand, to my knowledge, supporting the COS resolution WAS  full time lobbyist for COS from Maine.  
      While we were greatly outnumbered, I think we held our own. Most of those that testified on behalf of S 379 gave emotional appeals. The only one that actually discussed the convention was the Wolf PAC attorney, and I was able to refute his testimony. The only question that was raised by a member of the committee concerned a “runaway” convention.” The Wolf PAC attorney said it couldn’t happen. I refuted him by pointing out that I have the Wolf PAC founder Cenk Uygur and Professor Larry Lessig on video both wishing for a runaway convention. Here is the link to the short video clip:https://www.youtube.com/watch…
      The Wolf PAC resolution had 40 sponsors, and the COS resolution has two. Two years ago, the Wolf PAC resolution had over 80, and twice as many supporters on hand at the hearing, but we still managed to kill it. While two years ago, the COS resolution had 8-10 sponsors and not one supporter to testify. Both resolutions died in committee.
    Thank you for all you do, and making Camp Constitutuon’s activities possible.
Hal Shurtleff
Director, Camp Constitution
12 March Ave.
West Roxbury, MA 02132

The Weekly Sam: The Benefits of Teaching History at Home

This is an article written by Sam Blumenfeld in the 1980s:

The other day I was having dinner at a friend’s house and was chatting with his
12-year-old daughter who attends a local public school. I asked her how she was doing,
and she told me that she hated school-not merely disliked schoo~ but hated it. I had
hoped that her parents would home-school her. But they just couldn’t do it. I told her I
thought I knew why she hated school-because it was boring. Yes, she replied. It was
boring. And then I said, “And you’re probably not learning much also.” She wanted to
know what I meant by that. So I asked her to name the first three wars that the United
States was involved with. She got the first one all right, the Revolutionary War. But the
only other war she could think of was the Civil War, and she had no idea when that took
The second war, I told her, was the one fought against the Barbary pirates of
North Africa who kidnapped Americans for ransom. An American invasion of
Tripolitania brought that war to a victorious end. My friend’s daughter had never heard
of that war. The fact is that most Americans have never heard of it. But the anthem of
the U.S. Marine Corps should remind us: “From the halls ofMontezuma, to the Shores of
Tripoli… ”
The third war was the War of 1812. She had never heard of that one either. She
had never heard of the Battle of New Orleans, or the burning of Washington by the
British, or Andrew Jackson, the hero of that war who later became our seventh President.
“But I know all about the Industrial Revolution,” she volunteered. It turned out
that her class had been studying the cotton mills ofNew England and how young girls
were being exploited by the mill owners who were rich and mean. So, at the age of 12,
she was already being indoctrinated to view factory owners as exploiters of poor young
She had heard ofEli Whitney and the cotton gin. But she had never heard of
Robert Fulton and the steamboat. In other words, the public schools were teaching
“social studies” not history. Their aim was to indoctrinate children in a pro-socialist view
of our history by emphasizing the meanness of capitalism.
But homeschoolers have the freedom to teach history as history and not as
propagandistic social studies. History is such a fascinating subject and can be studied in
so many different ways: chronologically, by reading biographies and autobiographies, by
unit studies, by concentrating on certain eras and events. The Civil War commands great
interest for many reasons. Thousands of books have been written about virtually every
aspect of that war. There are even organizations that stage mock battles of the Civil War,
with uniforms and weapons made to the exact specifications of the real things.
Every American should have a foundational knowledge of American history in
order to affirm one’s American identity and heritage. Our nation’s history is such a
remarkable story, so full of great and wonderful people, so vibrant with human endeavor
and enterprise, so stirring in its afftrmation of freedom and love of country, that it
behooves a home schooling parent to learn and teach history to one’s children as a means
of making sure that a child understands what it means to be an American.
Americans, and homeschoolers in particular, have a responsibility of transferring
to future generations the philosophy of our founding fathers, who sacrificed so much so
that we could enjoy the fruits of liberty. It is only through knowledge of history that we
can make sure that our free society continues to exist in decades ahead.
It is, of course, a tragedy that millions of young Americans will never learn
history in their public schools, which have betrayed the trust that parents have, over the
years, placed in them. But it is the opinion of this writer that government schools have
never been compatible with the principles of a free society in which parents have the
responsibility of educating their children in accordance with their own values and beliefs.
Prof. Benjamin Bloom, father of Outcome-Based Education, wrote in his famous
Taxonomy: “By educational objectives, we mean explicit formulations of the ways in
which students are expected to be changed by the educative process. That is, the ways in
which they will change in their thinking, their feelings, and their actions.”
Knowing how important it was to start indoctrinating children as early as
possible, Bloom wrote: “The evidence points out convincingly to the fact that age is a
factor operating against attempts to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of
attitudes and values …. The evidence collected thus far suggests that a single hour of
classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major reorganization in
cognitive as well as affective behaviors.”
Those are not the words of an educator who respects the values and beliefs of
parents whose children he is about to indoctrinate.

A link to the article from the Sam Blumenfeld Archives:



The Blumenfeld Archives

The Weekly Sam: Cursive First

Several week ago while driving in rural New Hampshire, I turned on the radio and the first thing that came on was a talk show on NPR.  The host was interviewing a college professor on the subject of cursive.  The professor, a mother of a teenage boy, informed us of a study she conducted on the difference between  students who know cursive vs. those who do not.  She had my attention.  Her study led he to conclude that cursive writers had better grades.  Alas, I thought, a Sam Blumenfeld disciple, and on NPR no less!   I pulled over the van in order to write down her name, and contact info.  But a minute later,  this professor said she was against teaching cursive.  She explained that her son was traumatized by it.  The poor dear.    She claimed that cursive was unnecessary, a product of a bygone era.   Was she advocating the dumbing down of America?  I think so. I never did write down her contact info.

A week later, I visited the Lillian Nordica Homestead in Farmington, Maine to donatesome artifacts to the homestead that were in Sam’s estate.  The curator, Crystal Williams, lamented that a young lady volunteer was unable to read cursive, and therefore unable to read Lillian’s numerous cursive letters.

Sam was a strident proponent of cursive first.  He pointed out that all toddlers use circular motions when scribbling, and rightfully noted that cursive was natural.  Sam wrote the book “How to Tutor” which contains lessons on cursive.  Here is a link to the lessons:


If taught using these lessons, your children will not be traumatized.

The Blumenfeld Archives