THE CONSTITUTION REFRESHER

 

 

We, The People

What is a “Constitution?”

 

Thomas Paine told the People in the States, as the nation was figuring out how to organize and manage the new nation:

 

“A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right.  All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning.  It must be either delegated, or assumed.  There are not other sources.  All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation.  Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.”

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man [1791-1792]

 

But – What is our Constitution?  What does it say?  How did we come up with it?  Who said this was the way to go?  What does it allow, and what does it prohibit?  Why?  Is it in good health?  Is it “living,” or is it somehow obsolete?

 

The Constitution Refresher is a seminar that has been created to give you an insight to The Constitution of the United States of America that you cannot get anywhere else.

 

The Constitution Refresher is a one-day seminar, presented in a Power-Point format.  Each participant gets a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.  This copy is one of those convenient booklets that you can carry around, or leave on the end table as you watch the news.

 

 

History and Purpose of the Course

 

In 2009, discussions among Hal, his wife Micki, and Tennessee State Senator Dolores Gresham about long-term and recent radical changes in the way the United States has been led from Washington concluded that most of the concerns could be clarified if the People of Tennessee – and of the United States – had a better understanding of the Constitution of the United States.

 

This led further to the conclusion that, with the background and interest available, Senator Gresham should sponsor a seminar, to be led by Hal, that would refresh and deepen the understanding of local constituents about the United States Constitution.  The first session was held in the hallway outside Senator Gresham’s office in August of 2009.

 

The sense that this session was very successful, and should be shared with more citizens has led to many more sessions, which have been held from Coast to coast, including the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California.  Many people who have attended one have returned to participate again, stating that there is so much information, and that it is so useful, and so fun, that they feel the time is well spent.

 

 

SEMINAR AGENDA -  Times vary depending on audience participation.

 

HOUR 1 - WHO, WHEN, WHERE AND WHY –

A New World Beckoned

Why Englishmen Went There, The Perils They Faced – And Overcame

New Philosophies Began to Form A New Culture

The Old Country Tried to Keep – and Increase – Control

And It Became A War

HOUR 2 – INDEPENDENCE AND BEGINNING FROM SCRATCH –

Declaring Independence – Philosophy and Motivation

The Risks

Success

Beginning From Scratch – Articles Of A Plan

Failure

Wise Men Seeing A Changing World

Putting Hope In A Runaway Convention

HOUR 3 - THE ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION

The New Plan

What Was It?

Who Said So – By What Authority?

How Was It To Be Organized?

How Would It Govern?

How To Prevent Overreach?

Who Makes the Rules, And How?

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(Meal break is typically between hours 2 & 3 or 3 & 4.)

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HOUR 4 – STRUCTURE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Congress- Powers And Original Restraints

Executive branch –

The Electoral College

Powers And Duties

Limitations

Judicial branch –

The Weakest Branch - Originally

Rules for governing,

Ratification – Converting It From A “Legal Zoom” To Something Real

The Promise That Got It Done – Mostly, But Leaving A Hole

HOUR 5 - GETTING STARTED AND KEEPING THAT PROMISE – AND FILLING THAT HOLE

Convening For The First Time

Filling the Offices

Passing the First Laws and Creating Departments

Proposing A BILL OF RIGHTS

 

HOUR 6  - THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS - THE AMAZING RESULTS

17 More Amendments

Courts Tinkering with Perfection - Precedents And Consequences

 

THE CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE

What can we do about it? – What should we do?

That is up to you…