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    Three Founding Documents of the United States

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    • What is the Declaration of Independence
    • What are the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution
    • Draw a conclusion about the ideals stated in the Declaration. Are they still pertinent? Which has the greater ability to accomplish them- - a distant national government funded by all Americans, or a closer state government, responsive to its population only?

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    The Declaration of Independence is a strange document. The enumeration of offenses states that it is the monarch who accomplished these. Yet, in the next paragraph, it states accurately that it was the legislature, parliament and the enemy of the crown, that committed these political crimes. Chances are, kings are easily personalized, while legislatures are more abstract. Regardless, it is deceptive, and many of the crimes listed here never occurred, or were far from being crimes at the time.

    Yet, the Declaration is a protest against the Parliament for legislating taxation without regard to whether or not the colonies were represented. In 2015, this is taken for granted. The average legislative district is greater than 250,000 in population, and the current disposition of bills is known only to a few. Even if the population had a strong hand in legislation, the courts can easily strike down whatever laws they choose.

    Since there are so many citizens represented by a single Congressman, representation as it was understood in 1776 cannot exist. Off-year elections for Congress see only 20-30% turnout anyway. This cannot be called representation, and yet, these are probably the most informed of the district constituency anyway. Yet, the essential ideas of the Declaration are important today, although putting them into action would require such a massive alteration in the way Americans think of government that it is not a practical measure. It would be a revolution.

    The American income tax is far more invasive than the tariffs about which the Founders protested. The Parliament never required a detailed listing of how much each and every citizen made. Furthermore, it did not threaten prison and public disgrace if they were not accurate enough. What was considered "tyranny" in 1775 versus 2015 has little in common with each other. What was tyranny yesterday is not only not considered such today, but is often called "good and responsive government."

    The Founding generations would never have considered a tax on income, although the Antifederalists predicted correctly that the Constitution then under review would permit it. That was not instituted until 1913, and then, largely in secret. The income tax was never put to a referendum, although the sort of information that the federal government can now collect is unlimited.

    The Antifederalists also correctly predicted that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution will permit federal usurpation of states rights that are against the spirit - if not the letter - of the Constitution. Today, goods are made throughout the world, not only over numerous American states. This implies that all commerce can come under federal jurisdiction. It might be noted that Madison explicitly denied all of these charges from the Antifederalists.

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