Talk:United States Constitution/Archive 8

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Edit request on 1 February 2012

Please check the wording under "Executive" branch and sub-paragraph "Qualifications". The first sentence states a resident had to be in the Country 14 years, the last sentence in the paragragh states a person had to be in the Country 35 years. 35 years initially (sentence 1) was a prerequisite of age (35 years) to eligible for presidency. (talk) 03:50, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

 Done Thanks. Dru of Id (talk) 06:59, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Wait, what? That whole thing is nonsense. The provision was written so that people like Alexander Hamilton, who had not been born in any of the states, but who had fought for Independence, could become president. -Rrius (talk) 08:01, 1 February 2012 (UTC) Indeed, this is a whackadoodle theory was introduced here in November 2009 and at various other articles, but wasn't noticed here. -Rrius (talk) 08:13, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 9 February 2012

Section 1.2.1, in the last paragraph, says:

Transmitted to the Articles Congress then sitting in New York City, the Constitution was forwarded to the states by Congress recommending the ratification process outlined in the Constitution.

It ought to read:

After being transmitted to Congress, then sitting in New York City, the Constitution was forwarded to the states by Congress recommending the ratification process outlined in the Constitution. (talk) 08:58, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
This request is the punctuation I was taught in school. Here at WP, editors have excised my commas about subordinate clauses and phrases and dates as "too frequent". I would very much appreciate guidance going forward relative to the modern conventions adopted for use here ... TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:18, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

"of" v. "for"

Constitution of the United States is the preferred usage. And such usage is mandated in the Constitution itself. Look at Article II, Section 1.8 where the Presidential oath or affirmation says "I will ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." [Emphasis added.] --S. Rich (talk) 05:22, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Introduction reference to "federalism"

The introductory sentences are restored: "The last four Articles frame the principle of federalism. The Tenth Amendment confirms its federal characteristics."

Previously, on this page:

These statements [above] are POV and represent one political view. They are also misleading and inaccurate in many respects. The last four articles have many components which are not accurately summarized here. Also why would one amendment out of many be pulled for special highlight here other than to stake out a POV? Jeisenberg (talk) 2:54 pm, 7 February 2012, Tuesday (20 days ago) (UTC−5)
The assertion is that the constitution prescribes a federal government rather than a unitary one.
-- "Federal" describes the relationship between central government and states, and among the states. It is found in these articles of the Constitution.
-- What other "political view" on the subject do you suppose? Please give it voice.
-- The one Amendment which addresses the federal relationship between the national central government and the local state governments is the one selected show how "federalism" in the Constitution as fundamental law was extended in an Amendment to expand upon that fundamental law.
-- Which other Amendment would you suggest for the purpose? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 4:56 am, 8 February 2012, Wednesday (19 days ago) (UTC−5)
There has been no reply in over two weeks from Jeisenberg.
(1) Nothing to deny federalism as an organizational principle which merits mention in the introduction.
(2) Nothing to deny central-to-state and state-to-state government relationships are found in the last four Articles.
(3) Nothing to advance any alternative view of the U.S. Constitution, its structure or its composition.
(4) Nothing to explain how presuming that there are states apart from the central government is somehow POV.
...It seems to me that asserting that there were no states for the central government to have relationship among would be the POV.
(5) Nothing to suggest another Amendment for illustration

No less than Hubert Horatio Humphrey (D-MN), HHH, one of my favorite U.S. Senators ever, said that the national government had a federal relationship with the states. He walked the walk and talked the talk of federalism, personally supporting the Minnesota ban on serving margarine alone in restaurants the during his lifetime, for instance. Virginia does not have the same interest in the dairy industry, so margarine can be served here, unencumbered with the added cost of equivalent butter each serving. According to the CBS/AP story, with only 11 of the 132 Minnesota state legislators sponsoring it as of September 19, 2011 the bill to abolish the law did not stand a good chance. No WP editor on this page proposes an act of Congress to allow restaurants to serve cheaper margarine alone in Minnesota. Could it be "federalism" at work? On the merits, of course, I prefer Minnesota butter over margarine made with Virginia corn, regardless of the cost, POV. . . . on further prompting, I would now list the 10th and the 14th for abbreviated introductory purposes, were Jeisenberg to collegially agree to collaborate in that way.

Does anyone here remember the annual cheese and apple reception thrown by Capitol Hill staffs of Senator Proxmire (D-WI) and Senator Byrd (I-VA)? Not only did Minneapolis steal my childhood Senators baseball team, Wisconsin staffers used to win in the softball game every year. But all is forgiven for giving women the right to vote sooner than Virginia. Win or lose, we could all drink to that. or we used to. But I digress.

Federalism is an organizing principle of the U.S. Constitution as it is contemporarily legislated, administered and adjudicated and the term belongs in the article introduction. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:01, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

the last four articles of the Constitution, just to recap:
  • all provisions speak directly to relationships of the nation, its branches, or its citizens and states, and
  • no provision does not address both the nation, its branches, or its citizens and the states.
-- Article IV. has four sections, all relating to states and the nation, states and the national Congress or the states and the nation’s citizens.
-- Article V. describes how the people in the states can effect an Amendment to the central government without the national Congress, President or Supreme Court, and there can be no change in the Constitution of the central government without the people in three-fourths of the states, even if a super-majority initiates it in the U.S. Congress.
-- Article VI. Specifies all officers of government, state and national, shall swear to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution and ratified treaties are the supreme law of the land and both national and state judges are bound by it, state laws “to the contrary notwithstanding.” All debts contracted in the states under the Articles of Confederation are enforceable in the Constitution’s national courts.
-- Article VII. Ratification by “we the people” in the states create the central government, the requirement being nine, initially eleven, unanimously in two years, twice as fast as the Articles of Confederation, and without the urgency of an on-going war. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 17:49, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

"Very Long" template

I don't see any issues that constitute the use of this template. However, I was instructed not to remove the tag until "issues" are fixed. However, I don't see how United States Constitution and worldwide influence meets WP:N to guarantee a stand-alone article. Was that a way to resolve that "issue"? --George Ho (talk) 12:05, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

The article is shorter than it was last year, but I still have trouble navigating it on my little tablet computer, and surely such hardware will only become more commonplace over the next few years. In particular the Convention and Judicial Review sections are too long and ought to be examined carefully for details better handled in detail articles. Also the subsections on some individual amendments present argumentation on points dear to the hearts of casuists that ought to be hashed out in, again, their individual articles. Perhaps other editors can suggest better trims, but in any case judicious balancing is important. Jim.henderson (talk) 12:37, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
You know what? After one month, I found the little tablet problem too flimsy to have the "very long" tag holding on forever, as "very long" is irrelevant to WP:how to write a great article. I'm removing it. --George Ho (talk) 20:47, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
True, I only mentioned one of the more recent concerns for WP:TOOLONG, one that personally affects me. I did not repeat the older and more generally relevant arguments for more vigorously managing it, assuming they were fairly well known. I can take comfort in not being alone in this failing, but I don't take comfort when a matter is mentioned in the talk page mere minutes before action, rather than the days a proper response might take.
Responding at last to the "Great article" comment, it is indeed appropriate that this advisory, mainly intended to help a new editor in developing a new article, not mention the concerns of excess length. Those concerns are better addressed in WP:SPLIT which is more relevant to a large, mature but overgrown article like this one. Anyway I don't intend to undertake a broad study of the scope of the problem of too big articles, which would be necessary to develop a stronger sense of which articles most urgently should be tagged for shrinkage by WP:SUMMARY or other means. Perhaps someone will. Jim.henderson (talk) 17:19, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 29 March 2012

The Constitution was signed by 39 delegates, not 36 as specified here.


PlanetBoyer (talk) 15:05, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Done. Good eye. Thanks. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:47, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 15 April 2012

The number of representatives from each state is based on, "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. [1]" This section of the Constitution also happens to be one of the most misunderstood. Many people believe because the Constitution only counts slaves as three-fifths of a person that it is a racist document. However, it is the South (slave states) that wanted slaves counted as whole people. It was the North (anti-slave) that want slaves not counted towards representation. The North argued that only free men could be counted towards representation. Slaves would not want to be counted so the South gained more representatives in order to gain more votes to keep slavery legal. Without counting slaves as people counted for representation the South knew that the North would out vote them and end slavery once the Constitution passed. The compromise was for slaves to be counted as three-fifths of a person. Madison's Notes From the Constitutional Convention The South could go home saying they got the better part of the deal (3/5's is better than half) and the North still had the majority of votes. However, as history showed the North did not have the resolve to call the South's bluff and end slavery. AlexnHills (talk) 19:59, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Your links to the text of the Constitution and to a directory of Madison's notes from the convention don't expressly say what you suggest can be taken from them. Can you provide a better source for this theory, one that explicitly says that this is what happened? bd2412 T 22:15, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. Per BD2412's comment. If you need further assistance, please re-enable the requested edit template. Thanks!   — Jess· Δ 03:47, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the argument may be cogent or not, but in either case it is WP:OR. Besides which, if it were sourceable, where it would belong is in Three-Fifths Compromise. Jim.henderson (talk) 00:32, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
The North-South compromise for a three-fifths count of slaves was taken directly from the Articles Congress legislative formula previously used for assessing requisitions for the national government when there was a per capita basis for assessment. I think the view expressed by AlexnHills can be found in Pauline Maier's "Ratification", but my library is mostly packed for a move, so I can't verify the citation with anything at hand. I agree with Jim.henderson that the expansive discussion of the Three-fifths Compromise belongs in the related article. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:15, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

17 edits to the constitution?

Summary section at beginning of article says constitution has been modified 17 times for a total of 27 amendments. if you count bill of rights as first modification and each of the following 17 as additional modifications, that makes a total of 18 modifications. am i seeing this correctly or missing something? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:01, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

I have changed to "additional amendments" to correct this. I would also disagree with the assessment that the Constitution has only been amended 18 times since the 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights came into force on the same date as each had to be individually voted on by each state. But either way, post-Bill of Rights there have been indisputably 17 additional amendments so this should be a good compromise. PantsB (talk) 05:17, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Regarding 10 versus 1, you are missing something. Each amendment was a separate article that any state could have decided not to ratify. Of the 12 that were sent to the states, only 10 were ratified at that point. The second article of amendment proposed to the states was later adopted, in 1992, as the 27th amendment. -Rrius (talk) 09:31, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Right, that's kind of the point. In the original Bill of Rights as passed by the first House of Reps, there were 12 Amendments. Each had to be individually ratified by the states. Ten went into effect on Dec 15 because Virginia ratified all 12 but two weren't ratified at that point. Which means that each amendment had to be ratified individually, going into effect once sufficient states had ratified it. The Constitution was "amended" once the last necessary vote ratified the proposed amendment. So the 27th Amendment was ratified in 1992, which was when the Constitution was amended(not in 18th century). The first Amendment was ratified on Dec 15th at a certain time which amended the Constitution, then the 2nd Amendment was ratified which amended the Constitution (etc). So to me, 27 Amendments requiring 27 courses of ratification necessarily means it was amended 27 times. I may be wrong however, which is why I merely inserted "additional."PantsB (talk) 14:35, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
What was the point of responding to me with all that? And what is with the snarky "Right, that's kind of the point"? I wasn't responding to you (which you should have picked up on from the fact that my indent level was the same as yours). That I was responding to IP is also clear from my opening, which echoed IP's "am I missing something". So again, what was the point of your response to me and the attitude with which you put it? -Rrius (talk) 19:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Apologies if it came across as snarky, it was not intentional. The case of the 27th Amendment originally being part of the Bill of Rights was a strong argument for the "amended 27 times" framework and I was just reiterating. Everything is cool.PantsB (talk) 19:11, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Okay, but how else was "Right, that's kind of the point" supposed to come across? It's not like that sentence was in any way ambiguous. Your point in saying it seemed to be that I was restating something you had already said (which wasn't the case—you presented a bald assertion; I backed it up) and you were annoyed about it. -Rrius (talk) 19:43, 6 August 2012 (UTC)


The article says the United States Constitution "is the oldest charter of supreme law in continuous use." However, the Constitution of San Marino and the Constitution of Massachusetts are both older and still in use. I think it should probably be changed to something more along the lines of "is the second oldest written national constitution in continuous use." --~ScholarlyBreeze~ 06:05, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

- San Marino has a common law constitution, England's is of the same kind. Is England's older because it was written down earlier? Though, San Marino and Italy fundamentally altered their constitutions during Mussolini's regime, so all San Marino judges are Italian, and all San Marino defense is Italian. Nevertheless, the U.S. is grateful to San Marino for its unwavering support in the United Nations, even when the Italian government does not ...
- Unlike San Marino, the United States has a charter constitution. It is older than Switzerland's because Switzerland summarily re-chartered their republic in the same way France has done, rather than altering the original document by amendment and allowing inconsistencies to be interpreted in the Courts over time.
- The European summary manner was considered by Madison as floor leader in the First Congress for the first twelve amendments, but the first round of state ratifications was such a near run thing that it did not make any political sense to chance a failure to get the Bill of Rights through. And even then, only ten of the twelve made it through, but Anti-federalists still gave the new U.S. government a chance.
- There was no need to seek a European-style lock-step in the U.S. The states physically adjacent with like legal traditions would have separate decisions in each of three appellate districts. Further appeal to the Supreme Court was limited. So there was diversity in state federalism AND regional federalism concurrently.
- The Virginia and Plymouth corporate charters are not properly considered state constitutions. The British colonies of 1776 all had western boundaries along the Appalachian Mountain chain according to the Proclamation of 1763. The United States established boundaries west to the Mississippi River, successfully negotiated competing colonial claims to establish a Northwest Territory without slavery and a Southwest Territory with slavery, and all state constitutions were subsequently written anew. I believe all states have changed their Constitutions in a summary manner at least three times in American history, during the span of the Early Republic, Jacksonian Democracy and Progressive Eras. Rhode Island in the Early Republic Era may be the only exception I know of, and that led to the Dorr War. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:07, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I've been to San Marino and looked into its history. Its constitution is 20th century. The old document its publicity people cite was an edict by a foreign duke and never served as a constitution. Rjensen (talk) 08:12, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
It was not an edict by a foreign duke. San Marino was always a republic and it had an earlier constitution than the law of 1600. This issue was cleared up years ago on Wikipedia. Evidence was provided from 19th century documents, including American authors. The false claim about the American constitution was removed. -David Latimer (former editor) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Okay, thanks for clearing that up about San Marino, but the Constitution of Massachusetts is still an older charter constitution. Thus, I still think we should probably add something like "national". --~ScholarlyBreeze~ 03:16, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The Constitution of Massachusetts is not a charter of "supreme law" because the US Constitution (as well as federal law when applicable) has supremacy over it. While it is the oldest continuous charter Constitution and is historically very important due to its influence on the US Constitution (and other constitutions), it clearly can't be considered a charter of "supreme law" PantsB (talk) 03:25, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The US Constitution only has supremacy over state constitutions in areas of exclusively federal or shared jurisdiction. Each state is a separate sovereign, so within its exclusive sphere, each state's constitution is the supreme law of the land. By contrast, city charters and the like are wholly dependent for their existence on the state, so a city charter (or town by-law or the like) cannot be the supreme law of anything. Scholarly breeze is right: the word national is necessary, so I've added it while also restoring the more natural and meaningful "written constitution". -Rrius (talk) 09:20, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
This is not true. see: the Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2. "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." The states are also not sovereign states as it is generally understood in large part because of this clause. PantsB (talk) 19:16, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The fact that you would say any of that shows you have no idea what you are talking about. The federal Constitution is one of enumerated, and therefore necessarily limited powers. Where the US Constitution does not extend, a state constitution is supreme. Acts of Congress, etc. can't trump a state statute or constitution in an area where the federal government doesn't have explicit power to act under the Constitution. If you don't understand that, you clearly don't understand the American federal system. If you don't believe me, go read some court decisions about federalism. It is that simple. As for states not being sovereigns, I'm sure the thousands of judges who have stated the contrary would be very surprised. Even the article Laws of the United States mentions it. It's right there in the lead. It's right in the first sentence of U.S. state. Even if they are not sovereign states in the sense you meant (foreign relations?), they certainly are in the sense that I intended and that is relevant when talking about constitutional law.
I don't know why you are getting worked up. You are also incorrect. Supreme law is just that - supreme. If a law can be overturned by a higher power it is not supreme. That's just the basic definition. A state is not sovereign just because it retains some powers under the federal constitution. A federal law can never be nullified by a state law or Constitution, it can only be restrained by limits placed on federal power by the Constitution, because the US Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. When the powers of the Constitution have been made more broad - such as when the 14th Amendment extended the Bill of Rights to restrict the power of the states- it overrules state law or state Constitutions. States are not sovereign states, they are the textbook example of federated states in large part because they've ceded this authority. PantsB (talk) 21:45, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
- Ancient feudal prerogatives of the dead do not rule the living in a democracy, and the 600,000 bloodshed of the slaver-led rebellion 1861-1865 was not for free. The "sovereign state" issue ends when the Fourteenth Amendment says all protections of the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, shall be extended to citizens of every state under every state constitution. Then, the Fifteenth Amendment says that everyone who has rights in the U.S. has the same rights in every state.
- So, 13th = we are all free, 14th = we are all citizens, 15th = we all have rights (men vote). Thousands of judges have held since 1868 that the 14th amendment applies to the STATES, and precedents constraining the federal government do now ALL constrain the state governments, and they are just as limited relative to the sovereign PEOPLE as the national government has been in all its branches.
- And, for the Seventeenth Amendment, when the states in their legislatures abused their trust granted from the people long enough, the sovereign PEOPLE by 2/3 of the people in the House, and 2/3 of the people in the states in the Senate, and 3/4 of the people in the states in their state legislatures, WITHDREW the privilege of voting for U.S. Senators on loan to the STATES in their legislatures during good behavior, and gave it to the PEOPLE in their states. The sovereign people of the nation removed the state privilege not only from the states which voted for it, but from all the legal fictions we call states, which are all subservient to the sovereign people in theory and in practice.
- Article VI is very precise, clear and short. The Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. treaties are the supreme law of the land, "the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. Members of state legislatures, their judges and their governors "shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution." There are no "sovereign states" in ANY sense of the term. Their Constitutions are NOT supreme relative to the Bill of Rights or any other provision of the U.S. Constitution as constitutionally enacted by the people of the United States, including selecting U.S. Senators or any other thing. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 17:03, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Those amendments are not what removed sovereignty from the states. I would have hoped that you would know that. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 12:12, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
- [insert] By that, I suppose you mean the original thirteen, overthrowing their colonial charters to form a "Confederation of Perpetual Union" in the first U.S. constitution, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.
- Thereafter each state admitted into the U.S. was made up of people acting in their sovereign political character petitioning the U.S. Congress to be admitted into that perpetual union on the very same footing as equals, perpetually unalterable in any way in law or in fact -- but by free discussion and deliberative action made through the people's representatives in the several states according to the uniform process of Constitutional amendment conducted under the auspices of -- either (a) two-thirds of the U.S. Congress, ratified by a three-quarters concurrent majority of the people in the states, -- or (b) in a Constitutional Convention called by a majority vote of the U.S. Congress, of all the states, by a simple majority vote among the state delegations, freely elected by their people for an express purpose.
- Yes, in that we may be agreed. The amendments referred to above only made abundantly clear to the folks reading law, that they would be mistaken were they to believe that the character of the states was unaltered by the sovereign people since 1775 by either their first United States constitution, or its second. Over the course of events in that national perpetual union, it mattered to make it clear at some length that the character of the states had in fact changed since 1775, sir, since that misunderstanding led to the late unpleasantness between the states, to which I believe you do now obliquely refer. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:50, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Many years ago I was a visiting professor of history in San Marino. It's a strange place --for example the showcase "medieval" castle was built by an American heiress in the 1880s. The Wiki article has three citations to this point: "As the political scientist Jorri Duursma notes, "San Marino does not have an official Constitution as such. The first legal documents which mentioned San Marino's institutional organs were the Statutes of 1600." Popular misunderstanding sometimes credit the country with a "written constitution" dating from 1600." [cite: Jorri C. Duursma (1996). Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-states: Self-determination and Statehood. Cambridge UP. p. 211. ; also Scott Witmer (2012). Political Systems. Heinemann-Raintree Classroom. p. 21; also J. N. Larned, ed. (1894). History for Ready Reference. p. 2799-2800.] Rjensen (talk) 20:52, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

If Puerto Rico Were a State, Electoral Votes

The following paragraph from the article is not entirely correct:

"The Twenty-third Amendment (1961) grants presidential electors to the District of Columbia. DC has three votes in the Electoral College as though it were a state with two senators and one representative in perpetuity. If Puerto Rico were given the same consideration, it would have seven Electoral College votes."

If the Twenty-Third Amendment were applied to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico would have the right to appoint three electors, not seven.

The Amendment states, in part,

"The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct:
"A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State..."

So as long as there are states that have only one Representative in Congress, the number of electors that may be appointed by the District of Columbia is limited to three no matter how large their population gets.

HankW512 (talk) 13:06, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Good eye. I hope I fixed it right, and I hope you contribute more to Wikipedia. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 08:57, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

States included in the the Second Circuit Court of Appeals

The current version of the page under "Amendments"; "Incorporated Amendments" identifies The Third Amendment as incorporated in the states subject to the Second Circuit as: "The Third Amendment is incorporated only in the U.S. Second Circuit, the states of New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire." New Hampshire is in the 'First Circuit', not the 2nd. and Vermont is the third state in the Second Circuit. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rayevictory (talkcontribs) 22:06, 10 August 2012 (UTC)

Done. Good eye. Thanks. source: .gov court locator map. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:09, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Qualifications to be President of the United States

The U.S. Constitution, as it stands now, does not allow a woman to be president of the United States. The reason being Sections 1, 2 and 3 of Article II make it very clear by the use (twenty times) of the masculine pronouns, “he” and “his” that the drafters intended that only a man could be president. The drafters intent is further evidenced by the fact that they did not give women the right to vote plus who among them would have thought that a woman could be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States?Craryja (talk) 19:40, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, your concern is linguistic, not legal, philosophical or political. English is inherently messy. "He", like "Los" in Spanish or "Les" in French, may be either masculine, or masculine AND feminine. Also, there is a crying need for second person plural, because "you" means both "usted" and "ustedes". This is supplied by English dialects everywhere, hence my favorite second person plural, y'all and you-all (south), but also you-uns (appalacian), yous, guys and yous-guys (mid-atlantic). TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:53, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes and no. You might be oversimplifying things a bit. First, every "linguistic concern" in a legal document including the constitution is a "legal concern". Secondly, yes, there are gender-neutral forms in English that are spelled out in the masculine. "Mankind", "Penmanship", "History of Man", etc. Further "He" is an appropriate substitute for "He/She". HOWEVER, that aside, there is no doubt that the framers were using it in a far more gender specific manner: They did not intend for women to vote, nor did they ever conceive of a woman commander in chief.Tgm1024 (talk) 14:28, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Except he TVH isn't oversimplifying things. Even Justice Scalia wouldn't look to that particular bit of original intent.
Look at the qualifications for a representative: "No Person shall be a Representative who shall an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen." And those for a senator: "No Person shall be a Senator who shall an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen." Also, look at the language that necessitated Hillary Clinton's Saxbe fix: "No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office." And are female fugitives from justice not subject to extradition? Because here is what that text says, "A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime." There is also the 6th Amendment: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence." (Emphasis added in all quotations.) The 20th Amendment uses the male pronoun to refer to the president in 1967, decades after women had already begun to serve, notwithstanding the male pronoun being used in the first two passages cited above.
To suggest the male pronouns referring to the president are somehow materially different from all the other ones is without basis, and the inclusion of the theory would give undue weight to a fringe theory. -Rrius (talk) 14:51, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
- 1) Tgm1024 shifts the ground a bit. We began the discussion over the constitution as it stands now, which as amended, has been ruled in federal court to universally include women in all its terms and phrases.
- 2) When the constitution was drafted, New Jersey allowed women voting when they met the same property requirements as men – mostly widows at the time. There was no provision to review or reverse state laws in Congress, Madison's suggestion to that effect was voted down in the constitutional convention.
- The federal nature of the union found in articles IV - VII allowed women to a) persist in voting where they did, b) gain the vote in states where they did not, 41 of the 48 in some way by 1920. See map, c) lose the vote, as New Jersey did by the same men who ratified the Constitution when they met in state legislature, see Pauline Maier's "Ratification". But that original intent, such as it may be, does not pertain to the constitution as it stands now.
- d) The "federal nature of the union" forbade interference by the FEDERAL government in the states to protect the woman vote – until the 14th Amendment, when rights and privileges were uniformly extended to every STATE government, -- then e) the 19th Amendment required women’s vote for FEDERAL elections in all the states, as it stands now.
- 3) Women were conceived as commander-in-chief from the start, see Rousseau, his General Will is explicitly "men and women", also Abigail Adams, but such idealists did not then have the votes for the requisite majorities to impose their will.
- 4) Nevertheless, the original intent of the framers was to confer upon U.S. citizens the widest possible privileges under the most expansive rights of any nation on earth conceived up until that time, and they intended their creation to be amended in ways THEY had not conceived, and so wrote Article V to amend it, for us the LIVING to use, as it stands now. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:06, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
To the extent that you suggest the 14th Amendment's supposed 'uniform extension of rights and privileges to every state government,' permitted "interference by the federal government in the states to protect the woman vote," Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875) would seem to stand for the contrary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:36, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
- Good point, I may have not been clear. Lots of folks here confound (a) the freedom of states versus (b) the freedom of individuals. The short answer is, The Constitution operates on individuals, not states. As explained in the Federalist Papers before we got this thing res republica started, if the national government operated on states, every geographical conflict would become an invitation to civil war. Then came the Whisky Rebellion right off the bat!
- One reader's background speaks to (a) the sovereignty of the STATES, the other to (b) the sovereignty of the PEOPLE. One view would have (a) states with the right to hold any individual as a slaves, the other would have (b) any individual held as a slave to be free in every state. The preamble is pretty clear, it is (a) We the PEOPLE, not (b) we the states.
- You are perhaps referring to the doctrine,“Freedom is not possible without slavery.” found in the Richmond Enquirer, April 15, 1856, quoted in Oakes, “The Ruling Race”, 141 and placed in context north and south perspectives in Chapter 8, “The counter-evolution in 1861”, page 244, in James M. McPherson’s Pulitzer prize winning Battle Cry of Freedom, 1988, viewed November 14, 2012. An alternative recent treatment of the definition of ‘freedom’ from another historical tradition is found in Eric Foner’s “The Story of American Freedom” 1998.
- The tragic misunderstanding is sorted out during the civil war, and codified in the Constitution in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Most importantly, the 14th because for the FIRST time, an Amendment applies not only to (a) limiting the power and possible oppressions of the FEDERAL government, but the Constitution is (b) extended to protect the rights of the people against their STATES. I believe all modern amendments explicitly carry forward that 14th Amendment phrasing to operate on (a) BOTH federal and state governments for the sake of we the living sovereign PEOPLE, and not exempting (b) the legally subordinate creatures of the people, the states. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:45, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
- here is the phrase from the 19th Amendment, the "vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State". It takes about 35 years of persistent majorities in Congress on a subject to see the Supreme Court reflect a change of its constitutional understanding. The 14th Amendment began the re-education of the Supreme Court and federal jurisprudence. Nothing happens here overnight. A viewpoint must prevail AND be sustained to take hold. But once it does, its just as hard and painstaking to undo, much to the disappointment of reactionaries everywhere and to the chagrin of reformers on just about everything you could mention. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:14, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Not totally correct information provided

"The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) limits the president to two terms." The amendment it limits two elected terms as long as not having acquired the presidency more than two years from a predecessor. Simply stating "The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) added term limits for the president." would be more accurate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dlflynn (talkcontribs) 03:53, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

-So, a president elevated from the vice presidency, then elected and re-elected for full terms, may be conceivably, in office one day less than ten years? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:39, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
- the rewrite reads, "The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) limits the president to two elected terms unless a vice president succeeds to the office for less than two years prior to election." TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:59, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

San Marino has the oldest constitution

Many students in the US are taught that America has the oldest constitution, however there is a Constitution_of_San_Marino written in 1600. On these talk pages over the years, the debate is repeated every archive.

(1) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_1#Not_the_oldest_constitution (2005) the facts of the matter are not debated and the article changed.

(2) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_2#Oldest_constitution.2C_again (2006) claim that the 1600 law was not a constitution because other important laws were later added, which is irrelevant as pointed out at the time.

(3) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_3#San_Marino.3F_not (2007) claim that the status of the 1600 law was was disputed, but concludes "No evidence sofar of a dispute among scholars".

(4) Talk:United States Constitution/Archive 3#Statutes of 1600 (2008) complains the then wikipedia article mentions about a dispute among scholars about San Marino without any evidence.

(5) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_3#San_Marino.2FMedina editors are trying to make sense of why San Marino constitution is being dismissed or disputed. Conclusion: "By what silliness does one country's constitution be counted as 'real' or 'true' but not another?"

(6) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_3#The first constitution No disagreement that San Marino is the oldest constitution.

(7) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_4#The oldest constitution in the world? (2009) It is claimed that San Marino does not have a written constitution, because only parts of it are written (no references offered).

(8) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_4#The oldest one? (2009) "It's only the shortest one, being the oldest the Constitution of San Marino", no further debate.

(9) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_5#Oldest_constitution:_US_vs_San_Marino (2010) argument that "considering the size of the population living under it, makes San Marino rather insignificant by comparison [to the US]" (which is irrelevant)

(10) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_5#Shortest and oldest constitution (2010) "I don't know about shortest, but it definitively isn't oldest.", no further debate.

(11) Talk:United_States_Constitution/Archive_6#San_Marino.27s_constitution.28s.29 (2011) argument that San Marino may not be a self-governing nation-state comparable to the United States, because Italy broadcasts there (irrelevant in 1600) and because the 1600 constitution used Italians as judges (no source provided).

The answer to this question is very simple: (1) San Marino is recognised as a nation, (it's size is irrelevant) (2) It has a supreme law describing its government that was written in 1600 (in Latin) and there was never any dispute about it. (3) That 1600 law is in force. (4) Just like the US, other constitutional laws have been added, and these two laws (electoral law and human rights law) recognize the 1600 law as the original law in their preambles. (5) San Marino does not need to follow American constitutional notions to have a constitution (unless the claim is that the US has the oldest American-style constitution) (6) The San Marino 1600 laws describe the governance of San Marino (unlike the Magna Carta)

Regarding the politics of editing this page:

(1) Some people in any country will exaggerate the claims of their country and continue their national myths, even if it means inventing implausible or fictional arguments. I thought the broadcasting rights argument was amazing.

(2) It seems that only a few wikipedia editors are responsible for pushing an agenda and it's obviously going to be pointless to argue with them. It's why I left wikipedia about six years ago.

(3) In wikipedia in other languages, the age of the San Marino constitution is not disputed. So the rest of the world knows the simple truth.

(4) I think it is insulting to the highly-regarded reputation of the US constitution and its positive, lasting influence on the world, that such silliness is published and defended.

(5) The US has so many important and significant firsts, that it strikes me as extremely petty for citizens of a giant superpower to seek to "dispute" this curiosity from a tiny country. It informs us more about the fragility of American pride in some people (but I know many Americans with a real pride in their country).

No, I'm not going to argue the point... just look to the previous arguments. I've lined them all up for you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:15, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

San Marino has a 1947 [oops correct == 1974] constitution. read a RS by a scholar: Jorri C. Duursma (1996). Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-states: Self-determination and Statehood. Cambridge UP. p. 211.  Rjensen (talk) 21:56, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
This is why I'm not going to argue. Deliberately confusing the 1947 Italian constitution with San Marino? or falsely misquoting a reference, which on page 211 or 212, does not mention any 1947 event in San Marino? Of course, San Marino does not have a 1947 constitution, according to that reference and all others. Thanks for proving your bias to the world. Bye! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Wow! In a knee-jerk reaction to comments on this talk page, Rejensen alters the whole opening paragraph of the Constitution of San Marino page to express his point of view. He even falsely attributes a "popular misunderstanding" as a mention in the Micronations book. How unscrupulous! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:15, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
- But the only argument that needs to be lined up is that the two constitutions are of different kinds, so its apples and oranges. As explained before on this talk page. And of the incremental customary-law-set-down-in-writing sorts-of-constitution, the British has an older written form than that of San Marino. But that does not matter here, because it is of a different class of historical document. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:23, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
Seems to me, the question of what kind of document, custom or other entity constitutes a political "constitution" is so complex that the question of "oldest" one ought not be mentioned in an article without explaining the details. Such details surely don't belong in the first few paragraphs of this article, and perhaps any such material ought to go to another article such as United States Constitution and worldwide influence. It would include San Marino and whatever else might be relevant, and how this influences the influence upon writers of other constitutions. Ooh, and don't we love influences upon influences? Jim.henderson (talk) 00:53, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Our job is to go by the Reliable secondary sources. Let's start with "San Marino does not have an official Constitution" at {cite book|author=Jorri C. Duursma|title=Fragmentation and the International Relations of Micro-states: Self-determination and Statehood|url= UP |page=211}}. Now who had a different RS??? Rjensen (talk) 02:46, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
This is issue popped up a while ago at Massachusetts Constitution (which is the oldest still in effect). These sources [2] [3] support the idea that Massachusetts' is the oldest (which means San Marino's doesn't count). Hot Stop (Edits) 04:26, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
- (a) Among the states of the U.S., the Constitution lasting from colonial times the longest may have been Rhode Island's, so property bound that it led to the Dorr War. Among the states of the U.S., I believe that John Adams early on, 1774? laid out a blue print for legislatures representing Americans to create their own state constitutions to supercede their colonial charters, and Massachusetts may have been the first (oldest) because his cousin Sam Adams and John Hancock prevailed in the Massachusetts legislature. But I think that it has had a constitutional convention since then, so by Massachusetts rules, ...
- (b) Nothing has to be the oldest anything. Serious scholars consider the U.S. Constitution the first of its kind, but why not mention some of the constitutions which are of the charter kind with world-wide influence parallel to and apart from the U.S. Constitution over two centuries, such as the French?
- (c) but WP:PUFF suggests we stay away from superlatives, because to be accurate under editor challenge, they become so qualified that they read as WP:WEASEL. The difficulty with placing San Marino in the narrative has nothing to do with its size, or its voting in the United Nations in some cases with the U.S. and against Italy. The difficulty is that its population does not have San Marino judges, only Italian nationals, and they refuse to defend themselves apart from their citizens enlisting in a foreign military, the Italian, so San Marino has not the same kind of a constitution as those which presume a population as self-governing in executive, legislative and judicial affairs, including waging war, making peace ... see DOI. The source was provided from San Marino, I believe, but in any case it was a link. You may have to hit the browser translator? Both English and Italian sources were used in the prior discussion.
- (d) Can we just describe: the U.S. has a charter form of Constitution. period. Then someone can copy edit the intro to include its antecedents in (1) the enlightenment philosophy as an overarching guide to arrange (2) customary and traditional law from several English counties of early 1600s settler origin, (3) European traditions from among settlers incorporated or immigrated over the next 150 years, and (4) precedents of colonial legislatures and judiciaries found among the 13 original states treated as equals, though their history ranged from 200 years to 50 years' existence, regardless of which was oldest. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:27, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
the Mass. conventions are merely to amend its constitution, not rewrite it. Hot Stop (Edits) 15:55, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
[4] "The miniature republic of San Marino continues to preserve its ancient democratic representative constitution, in which there are some aristocratic elements" Encyclopaedia Americana: A popular dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, history, politics and biography - Volume 3 - Page 472 (1835) (talk) 17:19, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
well that's what editors can compare for reliability: an anonymous 1835 encyclopedia article without footnotes versus 20th century scholarship. Rjensen (talk) 18:18, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
The Encyclopaedia Americana was edited by Francis Lieber and this section on the constitution was written by Joseph Story who served as a Justice of the US Supreme Court for over 30 years and wrote the famous Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. Since you mention "reliability", you cannot just concoct stories and invent quotes that suit your opinion (as you did, not once, but twice earlier), pretend an article is anonymous when it's expertly written. Editors should be neutral, yet you've entirely outed yourself as biased on this issue. (talk) 19:48, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Wiki rules discourage use of encylopedias ("Tertiary sources such as compendia, encyclopedias, textbooks, obituaries, and other summarizing sources may be used to give overviews or summaries, but should not be used in place of secondary sources for detailed discussion." WP:RS) and require reliable secondary sources.Rjensen (talk) 21:13, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
"Policy: Reliably published tertiary sources can be helpful in providing broad summaries of topics that involve many primary and secondary sources, and may be helpful in evaluating due weight, especially when primary or secondary sources contradict each other" [5]. Next time, write the polite stuff as your first response. Is there a policy about not inventing things? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • "The San Marino constitution, originating from the Statutes of 1600 provides for a parliamentary form of govemment." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1988) Vol 10 p395
  • [6] "1599 San Marino drafts constitution" - Encyclopedia of European Peoples p691
  • [7] "Ratified in 1788, it is the world's second oldest constitution. (The tiny land-locked microstate of San Marino boasts the oldest constitution, dating to 1600.)" -- Janda K, Berry J, Goldman J (2008-12) The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in Global Politics
  • [8] "San Marino's government is based on its “governing principles”, a type of informal constitution framed in 1600" -- Witmer S. (2012) Political Systems
  • [9] "San Marino's constitution, dating from 1600, vests legislative power in a Grand and General Council -- Karatnycky A, Gastil R, Freedom House Survey Team (2000) Freedom in the World: Political Rights and Civil Liberties
  • [10] "On 8 October 1600, the first written Constitution was promulgated, the Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini, which continues to remain at the bottom of the sources of San Marino Law." -- San Marino Chamber of Commerce (I assume they mean "fount" or "foundation" not "bottom")
  • "Although founded in 301 AD, the present Constitution of San Marino was written in 1600 based on the original Statuti Comunali of 1300." -- Protected areas of the world: a review of national systems - vol 1 - p301
  • [11] "The first codified constitution was San Marino's (1600)" -- Ken Newton,Jan W. Van Deth (2005) Foundations of Comparative Politics, Cambridge University Press p43
  • [12] "The principals of the traditions and of the institutions of San Marino are contained in the "Statutes"; or, more specifically, the "Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini". The Statutes are a formal and solemn constitutional resolution which contains those principals which regulate the life of the Community under all aspects: institutional, occupational and in daily life." -- Internet portal of San Marino (talk) 19:48, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Even some of what you list points to the document being part of San Marino's constitution without being the sum total of its constitution, as is the case with the US Constitution. "A type of informal constitution" is not a written constitution. Notably, when San Marino has added things to its constitution, it has simply passed a completely new law. In the United States, and in other jurisdictions with written constitutions, it is necessary to actually amend the written constitution under its own terms. What you are not getting is the distinction between this sort of document and the looser arrangement of San Marino. Yes, San Marino has a document of constitutional significance that is older, but that document is not a written constitution. -Rrius (talk) 21:30, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Saying "that document is not a written constitution" contradicts the sources. I probably do understand that a 16th century constitution will not have the same qualities as one from the 18th. Unsurprising you picked out the comment saying it was "informal". I doubt it was informal in 1599; more that legal standards improved in the intervening 187 years? or it is that the document does not say "Constitution" in its title.
But I can show, more easily that this distinction between written and unwritten is about explaining the English system. Did you notice the 1835 encyclopedia article on constitutions does not even mention a "written constitution"? A. V. Dicey writes that "When we call the Constitution unwritten we mean ..." and uses "the [capital C] Constitution" to show he trying to explain the United Kingdom, not an abstract nation ( [13] p68-69). Extending the notion to New Zealand may be fair given the legal connections, but to extend it to San Marino surely is a leap of faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:53, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Dicey also explains that "where a constitution is written or enacted the articles are frequently but by no means always 'rigid'; they cannot that is be by the ordinary legislative power". In a practical sense, it is not necessary to write an amending method for a very small nation, when the option of summoning all the voters is available. In the 16th century why would they even think about it? T (talk) 02:55, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Saying it is a written constitution contradicts the sources. It is a constitutional document—a part of a constitution—not a constitution. And no, the use or not of the word "constitution" is not the issue. The point is that if you read the 1600 document, you have not read the constitution of San Marino. If you read the subject of this article, you have read the constitution of the United States. -Rrius (talk) 03:38, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
A written constitution does not need to be in one document, according to the first paragraph of Constitution. There are books written on the unwritten constitution of the United States (no pun intended):
1. Tiedeman (1890) The unwritten constitution of the United States: a philosophical inquiry into the fundamentals of American constitutional law
2. Price, D. K. (1983) America's Unwritten Constitution: Science, Religion, and Political Responsibility
3. Quirk, W. (2010) Courts & Congress: America's Unwritten Constitution
4. Amar, A. R. (2012) America's Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles We Live By
San Marino can pass additional constitutionally significant laws, such as the 1974 Declaration of Citizen rights, without resetting the age of its written constitution. The way the USA amends its constitution is not binding on San Marino at all. They can organise any constitutional document structure they like, and if it is written, it's written.

"As the political scientist Jorri Duursma notes, "San Marino does not have an official Constitution as such. The first legal documents which mentioned San Marino's institutional organs were the Statutes of 1600." Popular misunderstanding sometimes credit the country with a "written constitution" dating from 1600." History of San Marino Apparently WP is contradicting itself, so both articles can't be correct. The San Marino claim seems questionable at best. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 13:30, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Ah! Thanks for that. That edit to History of San Marino was made by a contributor to this discussion, Rjensen. On 2 Aug 2010, he took out the words "San Marino adopted its written constitution on October 8, 1600" and replaced it with the above text. The comment was "a myth--no such document was written in San Marino" [14] with no discussion on the talk page. I presume this was done to protect the claim made on this page. (talk) 16:05, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
So a PhD historian has confirmed that there is no Constitution of San Marino. --THE FOUNDERS INTENT PRAISE 14:15, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
A real historian wouldn't cherry-pick or exaggerate the sources (talk) 19:14, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps you should read No true Scotsman and realize the error you just made. lcarsos (talk) 18:15, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
No. There is no "charter Constitution" of San Marino. It's Constitution is uncodified, made of tradition and precedent. It is organically accretions of incremental tradition adopted by the legislature, like that in Great Britain. Each legislative session in San Marino enacts and reenacts the constitution of San Marino. There is no "charter Constitution" outside of the sitting legislature, the sovereignty of the nation is in the legislature, so it is different from and other than "charter Constitutions" which derive their authority from the people, from an authority above and outside of the legislature, such as that found in the Constitutions of the United States or France. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:28, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Certainly, none of that is true, except for the first word. You're not going to find any sources for these claims. Some of them are absurd. Since there is a wide range of views in the secondary sources, what happens if I look at the primary document? I downloaded the Italian version of Book 1 from the San Marino government and found 61 pages of written text from the year 1600, covering various councils and what the Captains (Presidents) can and cannot do. The first article reads like a preamble and refers to the people's authority. There's sections about reforming the law (riformazioni), how votes are counted. If the Captains interfere with the courts, they can be deprived of their office. Anyway, I cannot quote from the primary sources. Nevertheless, 61 pages is a lot of written constitution. The 1974 Declaration of Citizens' Rights is 4 pages, but it is in English. Perhaps it is the absence of an English translation plus some good ol' American patriotism that keeps this claim alive (talk) 19:10, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
- Please assume a less dismissive tone. The business -- about how a PhD says there is no constitution, because he would help you distinguish between two classes of constitution which are generally understood by students of government and political science -- is called, in logic and in rhetoric, reducing your opponents argument to absurdity, reductio ad absurdum. In high school and college debate, you will have points deducted from your side for using either faulty logic or an oratorical trick. Debate judges are neither amused nor impressed, unlike the reporters passing along candidate-employee recaps after a presidential debate in the spin room for national television instant analysis. Here, it just means you have violated one of the pillars of wikidom, collegiality.
I reject your criticism for the following reasons: (1) As proven above, Rjensen modified other pages in Wikipedia to help bolster his position in this talk (2) As proven above, he falsely quoted sources and inserted them directly into the articles (if he is a PhD student, he should know better) (3) He tried to twist Wikipedia policy to mean tertiary sources could not be discussed, when in fact it says to use them in this and some other circumstances (4) I used Reductio ad absurdum fairly with respect to the United States has a partially unwritten constitution. It's not a fallacious technique; I've backed it up with sources; and it is not intended to prove it has an unwritten constitution, but that being written is a matter of degree, which it is (5) I am happy to deduct "debating points" for cherry-picking and not providing sources. (6) I can also be concerned about dismissiveness, because a large number of sources (above) are being ignored. (7) There was no doubt from the beginning, that the maintainers of this page will not alter a of this claim. (talk) 14:30, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
- Sources abound establishing Magna Carta as is a written constitution for the English in 1215, I believe there are earlier such 'written constitutions' elsewhere in Europe. For instance, the golden age of the Republic of Florence begins with the constitution of 1343, earlier "Captains" as you properly call them, were elected in Florence as a legislative body in the mid-1200s. See William R. Everdell, "The end of kings: the history of republics and republicans", ISBN 978-0-226-22482-4, pp.87-107.
The words "unwritten constitution" specifically describe the English system, for the reasons found in any English constitutional law book. I cannot find a quote from that book supporting your argument. (talk) 14:30, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
- There is no need to rehearse either the history of written constitutions, nor the history of republics in the U.S. Constitution article introduction. A couple years ago, I think an earlier version of the section on the 'origins of the constitution' had my contribution referring to the Republic of Venice as a model, quoting from the Federalist Papers, but I think that that was overwritten months ago. Regardless, INTRODUCTIONS require very concise, WP:SUMMARY style.
- I like San Marino. San Marino made one of my heros, Abraham Lincoln, a citizen during his lifetime. San Marino has published beautiful stamps since 1877. When I was a boy, I had a 1920s commemorative stamp in my collection showing the three fortresses on the mountain. My family has great stories of Italy and Italians. My grandparents saw Etna erupt in 1928. The first place I ever saw city streets washed clean in the morning by fire hydrants was in Milan in the 1960s. San Marino is a wonderful place, the architecture of city hall square alone is worth the visit. Can't we all get along? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:59, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
A little bit off-topic. I've presented numerous sources which refer to San Marino having an older constitution and a written constitution. Most constitutional law books say that there are aspects of unwritten and written law in every constitution, for example: [15] "the difference between [written or unwritten] is one of degree and not of kind" (p85) and this source specifically discusses the Magna Carta (p84). If you want to be strict about it, the short United States constitution would also have an unwritten constitution based on the 4 sources provided earlier. My source also says "The Constitution of England is the one solitary example of an unwritten or evolved constitution in the present world. [16] " (p84).
After reviewing five years of archived discussion, plus this discussion, there is still no source stating unequivocally that San Marino doesn't have a written constitution. Given that there are many which do say it does have one, and that the constitution comes from the Statutes of 1600, it is time to revisit the claim in the summary. (talk) 13:26, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
- [off topic] Ah, I see we have someone trained in the Oxford debate style. I loved watching on cable TV a Brit, atheist Christopher Hitchens and an Indian, Anglican Dinesh D'Souza, have at it across the U.S. talk circuit in their debates about God, religion, relativity, creationism, Darwinism, etc. incredibly rich stuff. A noble tradition we can all profit from. Good to have you here. that said off topic,
- (1) I do not understand the selection of San Marino as the vehicle for addressing the article's introductory claim except that you did your homework and reading the discussion you sought common ground with editors who had weighed in previously. With that sort of preparation apparent on your part, if I go to court, I want you on my side.
- (2) So, at the link you provided above, the third edition of “Political Science” by D.K. Sarmah, we see on [page 84], -- when you click, wait just a moment, on my browser, the translation from Chinese will appear in English automatically -- “It is significant to remember that an unwritten constitution is not completely devoid of written elements. As for example, the Constitution of the U.K. which is cited as an ideal example of an unwritten constitution contains written parts like the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Act of Settlement, judicial decisions, etc., over and above the customs and conventions.“
- That is to say, by the D.K. Sarmah reference, the British written Constitution is older than that of the San Marino. And that continuous use by San Marino was interrupted by the Fascists. So, we should drop San Marino. Likewise, substantial revision of the constitutions in the republic of Switzerland, also a model for the U.S. Constitution, like that of Venice, can be dismissed for our purposes here at the WP.U.S.Constitution. Further, in the case Switzerland, I am uneasy about admitting Switzerland to the same class of constitutions, since citizenship is expanded only by internal increase: both parents must be Swiss, or the children can never be. A nation-state may not be considered "modern" if its standard of citizenship is akin to the ancient Hindu tradition of both parents Hindu as a precondition for a child's salvation. I prefer the tradition of the ancient Greek city-state democracy: citizenship by birth on the soil of the sovereign territory.
- (3) If we continue with Sarmah, -- and we should, since he has much important to say about making a multi-religious, multi-national modern nation-state work in peace and prosperity -- since the rulings of the Supreme Court interpret the U.S. Constitution, Sarmah would have it, as a matter of jurisprudence, in a practical way, that the U.S. constitution is the same as the English. But we are not practicing law, we are writing for a general audience about the forms of government.
- [aside] You mentioned the "short" U.S. Constitution. There is no inherent virtue in the length of a Constitution. Without much ambiguity and little detail, there would have been no U.S. nation-state. Without much more detail and much less ambiguity, there would have been no India nation-state. Nationalists as diverse as Abraham Lincoln, Benito Juarez and Sun Yat-sen took from all sorts of traditions and innovations in combination to invent their country for the people living in it -- to protect the life, liberty and their pursuit of happiness -- and if not the pursuit of "property" as in the U.S. tradition, pursuit of "socialism" as in the preamble of the Constitution of India.]
- Therefore it is useful to make a distinction between constitutions which are written as a charter -- beginning a nation-state, -- such as the United States, the French, the Indian, the Japanese, -- versus those which have no one date of ordaining inauguration of its constitutions. In doing that, it is fair to make the claim, that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written national constitution in continuous use, with a link defining a written constitution as a set of fundamental principals, rules that constitute what the entity is, and “When these principles are written down into a single collection or set of legal documents, those documents may be said to comprise a written constitution.”
- Or, what wording would you propose to make a statement about the duration of the U.S. Constitution in the article introduction -- which is neutral in an internationally, scholarly way? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:54, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
(1) I discuss this at the beginning summarising discussion over several years. The US is has become benchmark written constitution and it's circular reasoning to call it the oldest only based on that analysis, where there is an alternative claim which is certainly older.
(2) The British constitution is older than the US, and the Magna Carta has some clauses valid still today. The commentary and analysis almost universally refers to the UK constitution as unwritten, for a variety of well-explained reasons. I see no reason to deviate from this view and I'd go further to say that the English have the benchmark unwritten constitution, and I think that is even recognised by Canadian law.
(2a) San Marino's territorial sovereignty was violated in 1944 as Italy was invaded, however I haven't read anything to say an occupying government was established or the Sanmarinese government suspended.
(3) I wouldn't be concerned that the US constitution has evolved unwritten parts, except that the argument was put that because the Sanmarinese constitution has reformations* (functioning as amendments), an entrenched citizens-rights charter and some unwritten elements, it was not a written constitution. (*some translations just say "reforms".)
The problem with your analysis, is you're assuming that the 1600 statutes are like the Magna Carta, however they are completely, completely different. The Magna Carta is focused on a new settlement between the King and aristocracy. The 1600 statutes are a detailed codification of all the law in San Marino, with a 16th century conception of compiling it together in one collection of books. Maybe they did it because the old books were falling apart, or because they'd learnt something from the renaissance and wanted an up-to-date set of laws.
(4) I would propose that you write something less definitive. A pleasant way to put it is "the oldest constitution of its kind ..." and allow the remainder of the paragraph says that most other countries copied this kind of constitution. The qualities of nation, federal, democratic are felt in such a phrase without getting stuck on the precise definition. (talk) 20:06, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
And multiple editors have rejected your proposal. The San Marino document is part of a constitution. It isn't even the only document that is part of that constitution. You can argue that the US having unwritten constitutional whatsits all you wan't, but that is your belief, and you can't find other documents that form part of the US's constitution. Your blithe dismissal of Magna Carta isn't persuasive in the least. You also try to dismiss the question of whether San Marino has even had sovereign, but that is of vital importance. San Marino's document cannot be the "oldest written national constitution in continuous use" when it has not continuously been an independent nation for the relevant period. When it comes down to it, you've been making this argument for some time, but you don't have consensus. -Rrius (talk) 02:09, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
- well, multiple editors have rejected a proposal about San Marino which can be taken as WP:PUFFERY. But Anon.36's last proposal is actually reasonable, to "write something less definitive" for the international readership. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:44, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Go look at the actual text in the article. Any less definitive, and it will be meaningless. -Rrius (talk) 16:30, 24 October 2012 (UTC)