Why Can’t Foreign Troops Occupy American Soil?—Answers Through Analysis of Constitutional Language, Intent and Word Meanings

By Daniel V. McGonigle III

August 22, 2012


Statements and questions by an acquaintance of a friend:

“The U.S. does joint military exercises in other countries.  Doesn’t mean we’re looking to do harm to their citizens.  The fact that Russian soldiers are here doesn’t mean all of this conspiracy theory is true. .. Where in the constitution does it say that foreign troops aren’t allowed on U.S. soil?  I’m searching but can’t find it. .. Is there a simple reference in the constitution or in any of the amendments which state this?  I’m hoping to see the specific text to better understand the letter and the intent of it. .. I want to see/read it.”

An initial brief response by another during the above questions:

“FYI. Any foreign military on U.S. soil is considered an invasion. The Constitution allows for no exception, nor should there be any. It is why the second amendment is so important…”

I was asked if I could provide a detailed appropriate answer, to which I said sure, no problem, I’ll give it a shot. Published here are some relevant sections and clauses in the Constitution, Webster’s 1828 definitions of several words relevant to the question, a few sections of Story’s Commentaries, and a few links to Cooley and Vieira, for readers to benefit from the information towards a greater understanding. 

The words of the Constitution and constitutional intent must be read and understood within the context and understanding of the meanings of the words at the time that the Constitution was established by We the People.

One good example is that “Militia” is not defined in the Constitution. The institution had been in existence for 150 years before the Constitution, and everyone in the 18th-century knew what it was and that all able-bodied adult males composed the Militia with some exceptions.

Another important and relevant point regarding the past and current operations of government, is that People often mistakenly accuse “government” of doing bad things. Government is that which was created by the Constitution that was established by We the People. Blame of wrongdoing in government is properly assigned to “usurpers” and “Oath-violators” that temporarily occupy government offices.

The implied concern attached to the question, when attempting answers found within law to such statements and questions is this—Why do Russian or any other foreign troops need to train here on American soil with our troops, and what possibly could they be preparing for or getting acclimated to? And, what would be the preparation or acclimation of the American People be to such activities and exercises conducted in American cities? The implied concerns will not be entertained here now; a constitutional answer is attempted here as requested.

The questioner asked for answers that could be found in language within the Constitution, so the following is an attempt to provide an appropriate answer to a multi-dimensional question. A lengthy paper could be written on the subject, so in the interests of saving space and promoting learning through self-study, readers are encouraged to find their own answers through their own reading and their own understanding, by the joining or juxtaposition of the quoted sections, clauses, words, phrases, definitions and commentaries provided. Keep in mind the aforesaid importance of proper context and original intent towards an accurate meaning. The quotes are accurate from reliable web sources and web links to sources are provided. Any emphasis (bold) is made for importance to the subject and for ease of reading. For anyone not particularly interested in the specific question, the original true meanings posted herein of some important words in the Constitution are of value to people interested generally in the original intent and current meanings within the Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

“Article. I.


Section. 2.  The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States,


Section. 8.  The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;


To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

“Article. II.


Section. 2.  The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;

[DM: Therefore, the Militia is a state institution. Before the Constitution was established, the Militia was governed by 13 sets of colony-province laws, and later by 13 and more states when they established their state constitutions.]


He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;


Section. 3.  He shall .. take care that the Laws be faithfully executed ..

“Article. IV.


Section. 4.  The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.


Amendment II.  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. 

Amendment V.  No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. 

Amendment X.  The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


“1828 Definition

    INVA’SION, n. s as z. [L. invasio, from invado. See Invade.]

1. A hostile entrance into the possessions of another; particularly, the entrance of a hostile army into a country for the purpose of conquest or plunder, or the attack of a military force. The north of England and south of Scotland were for centuries subject to invasion, each from the other. The invasion of England by William the Norman, was in 1066.

2. An attack on the rights of another; infringement or violation.

3. Attack of a disease; as the invasion of the plague, in Egypt.”

1828 Definition

    INSURREC’TION, n. [L. insurgo; in and surgo, to rise.]

1. A rising against civil or political authority; the open and active opposition of a number of persons to the execution of a law in a city or state. It is equivalent to sedition, except that sedition expresses a less extensive rising of citizens. It differs from rebellion, for the latter expresses a revolt, or an attempt to overthrow the government, to establish a different one or to place the country under another jurisdiction. It differs from mutiny, as it respects the civil or political government; whereas a mutiny is an open opposition to law in the army or navy. Insurrection is however used with such latitude as to comprehend either sedition or rebellion.

It is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings,and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein. Ezra. 4.

2. A rising in mass to oppose an enemy. [Little used.]

1828 Definition

     USURPA’TION, n. [supra.] The act of seizing or occupying and enjoying the property of another, without right; as the usurpation of a throne; the usurpation of the supreme power. Usurpation, in a peculiar sense, denotes the absolute ouster and dispossession of the patron of a church, by presenting a clerk to a vacant benefice, who is thereupon admitted and instituted.

1828 Definition

    JURISDIC’TION, n. [L. jurisdictio; jus, juris, law, and dictio, from dico, to pronounce.]

1. The legal power of authority of doing justice in cases of complaint; the power of executing the laws and distributing justice. Thus we speak of certain suits or actions, or the cognizance of certain crimes being within the jurisdiction of a court, that is, within the limits of their authority or commission. Inferior courts have jurisdiction of debt and trespass, or of smaller offenses; the supreme courts have jurisdiction of treason, murder, and other high crimes. Jurisdiction is secular or ecclesiastical.

2. Power of governing or legislating. The legislature of one state can exercise no jurisdiction in another.

3. The power or right of exercising authority. Nations claim exclusive jurisdiction on the sea, to the extent of a marine league from the main land or shore.

4. The limit within which power may be exercised.

Jurisdiction, in its most general sense, is the power to make, declare or apply the law; when confined to the judiciary department, it is what we denominate the judicial power, the right of administering justice through the laws, by the means which the laws have provided for that purpose. Jurisdiction, is limited to place or territory, to persons, or to particular subjects.”

Source: http://www.1828-dictionary.com

Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary


Commentaries on the Constitution (1833)

By Justice Joseph Story

Vol.3:§§ 1890

Amendment II.  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

§ 1890. The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens [i.e. burdens], to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.

The Founders’ Constitution
Volume 5, Amendment II, Document 10

Vol.3:§§ 1502

Article II Sec. 2 cl 2.  He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; ..

§ 1502. The power “to make treaties” is by the constitution general; and of course it embraces all sorts of treaties, for peace or war; for commerce or territory; for alliance or succours; for indemnity for injuries or payment of debts; for the recognition and enforcement of principles of public law; and for any other purposes, which the policy or interests of independent sovereigns may dictate in their intercourse with each other.(4) But though the power is thus general and unrestricted, it is not to be so construed, as to destroy the fundamental laws of the state. A power given by the constitution cannot be construed to authorize a destruction of other powers given in the same instrument. It must be construed, therefore, in subordination to it; and cannot supersede, or interfere with any other of its fundamental provisions.(1) Each is equally obligatory, and of paramount authority within its scope; and no one embraces a right to annihilate any other. A treaty to change the organization of the government, or annihilate its sovereignty, to overturn its republican form, or to deprive it of its constitutional powers, would be void; because it would destroy, what it was designed merely to fulfil, the will of the people. Whether there are any other restrictions; necessarily growing out of the structure of the government, will remain to be considered, whenever the exigency shall arise.(2)”  http://www.mindserpent.com/American_History/books/Story/js_337.htm

In a more condensed volume than Story’s, the above is also confirmed by Thomas Cooley, LLD in his The General Principles of Constitutional Law in the United States of America (1880)  http://www.constitution.org/cmt/tmc/pcl.htm

Story’s 1833 Commentaries and others provided are a few of the available reliable sources confirming and verifying original intent and understanding. The Constitution and Laws place restrictions on an American standing army, never mind a foreign army. Foreign military conducting exercises in or on American soil, waterways or airspace is considered an invasion because military are equipped with standard supplies and weapons of War, and therefore would be an extreme security risk and potential “public danger”, never mind that Russian military is an historical enemy of America. During such exercises recently conducted, was the Militia called forth for security purposes, in foreseeing a remote but possible chance of foreign military conducting an actual attack instead of a fake or practice attack? With Militia maintained per the Constitution, there exists absolutely no necessity for foreign help for security purposes. There is no logical reason for foreign military to be here, especially historical enemies! Additionally, foreign military has no jurisdiction or authority on American soil because that power of a foreign entity is not enumerated in the Constitution. General-federal government powers are only those enumerated in the Constitution to general-federal government. Other powers “are reserved to the States .. or to the People”. Foreign entities never come into the picture. Treaties (e.g. U.N.) and Laws are superseded by the Constitution and cannot violate the Constitution. That is very well established in many legal precedents. “We the People .. in Order to .. provide for the common defence ..” The defense of what?–“Life, liberty and property”. A foreign invasion or insurrection on American soil to perform the duty–[“to execute the Laws .. suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions .. in time of .. public danger .. to protect .. against domestic violence”]–constitutionally assigned to the Militia of the several States during an emergency, whether invited by the President/Governors or not and regardless of any subordinate treaty, is not enumerated and is not “due process of law” and is therefore unconstitutional.  P.S. To perform a little self-test after reading and studying the information, double-check for awareness of the connection between a word at the end of the 2nd Amendment and the word in the definition of “Invasion”.

Regarding alleged “martial law” and alleged “emergency powers”, I highly recommend the following commentaries from Dr. Vieira’s archive posted at NewsWithViews.com:


By Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
August 31, 2009.  NewsWithViews.com http://www.newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin198.htm


PART 1 of 2

Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
June 26, 2006.  NewsWithViews.com http://www.newswithviews.com/Vieira/edwin46.htm


Daniel V. McGonigle III is an instructor of The Powers of the Purse and the Sword at Camp Constitution. As a dedicated student and follower of the Vieira principles, he is now working on the first in a series of his own edited books dedicated to aspects of the power of the sword and the urgent necessity for state legislators to revitalize “the Militia of the several States”. He is a graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology. In his former building & construction career, he was a licensed construction supervisor and registered carpentry instructor familiar with building codes and as a certified instructor wrote a course for the union on construction safety & health regulations. He is self-taught in history, natural law and the Constitution. He ran for the Massachusetts legislature once in the ‘90s. He performed a constitutional analysis of the 2009 Massachusetts “pandemic bill” legislation (S.2028/H.4271) and led a State House lobby effort using those analyses, which successfully resulted in the draconian bill dying in conference committee following passage of the House version, after it had initially passed the Senate 36-0.

Mr. McGonigle’s can be reached by email at phgivemeliberty1775@yahoo.com