Could the key to understanding our nation's future lie in the wisdom of the past? We embark on a thought-provoking journey through America's political landscape as we grapple with the dynamics of the 2024 presidential race and the potential for a shift in leadership. Delving into the intricate separation of powers, we dissect the distinct responsibilities that Congress and the President should uphold. We touch on the issues of border security and law enforcement. Through our Constitution Alive classes, we aim to rectify common misconceptions and reaffirm the importance of constitutional boundaries in maintaining a healthy federal structure.
Navigating the complex interplay between government and societal pillars, we turn our attention to the principle of limited government, challenging the presumption that an expansive government ensures societal welfare. By examining the government's vested interest in fostering strong family units to curb social ills, we uncover the deep-rooted connections between marriage, morality, and law. Moreover, we scrutinize the broad interpretation of the general welfare clause, questioning its role in the creeping reach of government into aspects of life traditionally left to individual or state jurisdiction.
As we wrap up the episode, we transport you back to the intense debates of the Constitutional Convention, where the foundational blueprints of our nation were painstakingly crafted. Considering federal bailouts, we recount the historic codfish debate in which the founders had to deal with that very issue. We reflect on the enumerated powers of Congress, contemplating how these historic deliberations continue to resonate within the framework of American governance. By encouraging active participation in the constitutional process, we invite you to become more than just a listener, but a steward of the enduring principles that have shaped our nation's past and will define its future. Join us as we honor the visionary efforts of the Founding Fathers and arm ourselves with the knowledge essential for engaged citizenship.
Rick Green: 0:07
Welcome to the intersection of faith and culture. It's WallBuilders, where we take on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. I'm Rick Green, America's Constitution coach, here with David and Tim Barton. David, America's premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor and president of WallBuilders. All three of us thank you for joining us. And I guess we're kicking off 2024 just in the early parts here, and about to choose a president, or at least choose a presidential nominee for the Republicans. Democrats eventually will have to do that. I'm absolutely convinced Biden will not be the nominee for the Democrats. Don't forget that Lyndon Johnson was still on the ballot until March of 1968, presidential year and so there's still time for them to remove Biden from the ballot and from the stage, and they will. There is no way he's going to be the candidate. At least that's my prediction. We'll see. I might be eating a lot of crow come June or July, we'll see. Anyway, we're going to. Here's what we're going to do the next few days, because there has been so much not confusing, just ignorance about the proper role, not only of the federal government. We talk a lot about the difference between the feds and the states and local government, but the proper roles of the branches of the federal government. And recently, with Speaker Johnson and the other House members heading down to the border, some of the interviews, some of the comments from the media. It just was shocking. Worst of all that I saw was Jake Tapper just trying to act like it was Congress that wasn't doing their job, as if they're supposed to pass new laws instead of the president actually executing the law. Now, granted, congress should pass some additional laws to make it even tougher and take away the decisions that the president can even make on the border because he's refusing to do the job. But from a technical perspective, the laws are already there. The border should already be secure. The president of the United States is the one in Article 2 that is supposed to faithfully execute those laws. So we want to do a reminder of that separation of powers and and the proper role of these branches and and, of course, of the federal government in general, and so sometimes we share with you some of our Constitution classes Right here on the the radio program, and so we're going to do that for the next three days we're going to be sharing it's actually. It's actually section four of Constitution alive. So this is the the core Constitution program that that David and I recorded years ago and his library there at WallBuilders and then also at Independence Hall. And so this one, the well we're going to share the next three days, is actually section four out of Constitution alive, which it's only part one of the Congress. So we're just going to get a taste, but we're going to give you enough of a taste. I think that it'll help to remind us of the proper role of the federal government, the proper role of Congress, and then, you know, in the next few weeks or so, we'll talk more about the proper role the president and executing those laws as well. But let's jump in here's. Here's Constitution alive Welcome back to Constitution alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It's time to get into the specifics. We're going to go through those specific enumerated powers in article one, section eight, those powers given to Congress. But, David, before we get to the Specifics, back in Philly and walk through them, when you think about the specifics and you think about all that you've learned from reading the founding fathers and their intent for these clauses in the Constitution, what's one that comes to mind that's really been changed from what they intended to?
David Barton: 3:38
stored it, even abused. I think there's one that's abused by our folks that that are pro-constitution people and they Confuse a small government with a limited government, and there's a big difference between the two. Yeah, a limited government is what the Constitution established, and so when you think of a limited government, quite frankly a limited government means it has certain Jurisdictions, it's got certain lines. It has to stay within it. It doesn't have to do with the size, it has to do with what it can and can't do.
Rick Green: 4:02
So it could be a lot of money or it could be a big department, but it's within a certain jurisdiction.
David Barton: 4:07
That's right. So if you look within the Constitution, the Constitution authorizes a military. Now, if you're going to have a military that will defend 330 million Americans here in abroad, it's not going to be small. Yeah, it's a. It's a limited government because it's limited to that military, but it's not a small area. The same, the Constitution says that the president can appoint ambassadors, can make treaties with foreign nations. That's why we have a State Department. That's one of the four original cabinet level departments and founding fathers new we needed. We got 257 embassies across the world. In the United States we're one of 195 nations and that goes up and down every year at the UN. But 257 members, that's not small and it's not small for your State.
Rick Green: 4:49
Department is going to be big, but it still it hasn't crossed over those jurisdiction lines. It's still with it things.
David Barton: 4:54
We define post office. The article 1, section 8, says that Congress will establish post office and post roads. We got 31,000 post offices because we have one in every community. That's not small, yeah, but it's limited. So that's limited government and if we make the mistake of confusing Limited government with small government, you get really frustrating. You won't understand it. Limited government means hey, there are certain set of lines you cannot cross and those jurisdiction lines, and Give you away this. This used to work because we're already talking previous programs about the six principles and declaration, yeah, one of which involved in able rights and moral laws, and one of the moral laws that we had dealt with, the issue of marriage. Now, this is really easy to understand. Jesus has a quote out of Matthew 22, 21. He says render to Caesar that was a Caesar's, and God that which is God's. In other words, there are certain jurisdictions. This is not a separation church and state verse. There's certain. We talked earlier that you know you've got a gray Dodge pickup, I got a red Ford pickup, I want yours to be a red, so I go pay. I can't do that. I can do that which belongs to me. I can't do that which belongs to you there certain areas of authority, certain areas of Jurisdictional lines, and Caesar can't be a God, it can't get in. So Caesar's got to recognize those lines, yeah, and so what's with that? A good example, that is the marriage issue. Because if you take the marriage issue itself back in Genesis 1 through 3, when God created everything, he said this is good, this is good. But he got to man and woman and a family. He said this is very good. And then Jesus has the same opportunity as his disciples and they were asking about divorce, and Specifically no fault divorce, which is what the law allowed. Then he said hey, guys, don't you remember how it was back at the beginning? He said don't you remember? There was one man, one woman, and that's what God put together. And he said what God's put together, let not man divide asunder. And so Jesus, in that passage in Matthew 19, reaffirms that marriage is a lifelong union of a man and a woman. Okay, so that's God's definition. That is part of the moral law. That was actually part of the common law and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution. This is enshrined in the Constitution to the common law. So you have that now. What happens is in previous generations, generations. Government would never even think about redefining marriage because that's not part of its jurisdiction. It's already defined. God's already done that. There is something higher than government that has got, and so it's a government.
Rick Green: 7:10
It's not. The government wouldn't have anything to do with marriage is their job, to uphold it their job, but it will be outside. They'd begin across those limited government Jurisdictional lines if they started tinkering with it and changing the definition to be something it was.
David Barton: 7:21
Let me take you to a court case that happened on this 1913. The case is called Griggs beam versus rape. Actually, this is the Supreme Court of Texas and the question was can we have civil unions? In other words, there are there's religious weddings or God weddings. Can we have secular weddings as well? Can we do a second? I mean, you religious people do what you want to do, but we secular people. Here's what the court said, and real clear. They said marriage was not originated by human law.
Rick Green: 7:48
Our folks got to take a quick break. We'll be right back. You're listening to WallBuilders. We're airing Constitutional live this particular section on Congress.
David Barton: 8:00
This is David Barton, with another moment from America's history. Christians have always believed that the greatest life-changing experience available to any individual is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the Testimonies of numerous converts confirm the dramatic changes which often accompany salvation. Once such testimony of change comes from founding father Noah Webster, who explained, I was led by spontaneous impulse to repentance, prayer, an entire submission and surrender of myself to my maker and redeemer, I now began to understand and relish many parts of the scriptures which before appeared mysterious and unintelligible. In short, my view of the scriptures, of religion, of the whole Christian scheme of salvation and of God's moral government are very much changed. The power of God to change a life yielded to him was just as evident at the time of the founding fathers as it still is today. For more information on God's hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8-REBUILD.
Rick Green: 9:02
We're back here on While Builders jumping right back into Constitution Alive.
David Barton: 9:06
This is not something we came up with. Therefore we don't have the right to regulate. It says when God created Eve, she was a wife to Adam. They then and there occupied the status of husband to wife and wife to husband Says. The truth is a civil government has grown out of marriage, which created homes and population and society, from which government became necessary. Marriages will produce a home and a family that will contribute to good society, to free and just government and the support of Christianity. They said it would be sacrilegious to apply the designation of a civil contract to such a marriage. It's that and more to status ordained by God. Now, this is a statement of jurisdiction. We can't go to find that. It doesn't belong to us. I can't go paint your pickup red, it's not mine. Government says hey, these are areas we can't get into. There's a higher authority here and we recognize that it's a loss of nature, and nature is God. And we can't redefine the laws of nature, and nature is God. That's limited government. That's the government that says you know, I recognize a certain line of law I can't cross and that's why, again, the first premise of the declaration is there is a creator. If there's nothing higher than government. Then government thinks it's God and it will redefine anything it wants to.
Rick Green: 10:07
Let me ask you a quick question. If you back up there, okay, so marriages will produce a home and family that will contribute to good society, to free and just government and support Christianity. So that tells me, then, that marriage is something that government should be interested in because it's going to benefit the nation.
David Barton: 10:23
It promotes it and everybody said about it will contribute to good society. Among other things, I've done and been a consultant in the US Justice Department and we know, for example, that when you look specifically at all violent crime committed in America between 1973 and 1995, 90% of that violent crime came from kids who were raised in a home without a father and mother. So how much money do we spend on violent crime from that period, those 22 years, and how much did it hurt other people? You didn't have a good society because people are being wrong. You not only have the cost, you have the injuries and the loss of life and the loss of property that came from it. Plus, we know that the same group of kids raised in a situation without a mother and a father that there are about five times more likely to have educational problems, about four times more likely to have psychological problems, about three times more likely to have health problems. So if we want to keep the cost of healthcare down, we need to have strong families. See, government could look at this from a totally secular viewpoint and say this is in our best interest and what we're going to do. And so we've reached a point now where that, as you look at out of wedlock births, for example, single parent out of wedlock births we have one program alone in America that spends $26.5 billion every year just to help teenagers who are still in high school but have babies while they're in high school, and we're having to pay for that. There's a number of nations across the world that have adopted homosexual or same sex marriage and what we see from those nations over in Europe that have now had it for much longer than America has. They found that the average homosexual marriage lasted 18 months and in that 18 months it involved nine extra-medal partners. So if you're in one of those countries and you look at that and say that's marriage, that doesn't mean much. So what they have found is in those countries out of wedlock births have increased over 60%. So now they're paying a huge social economic cost In society Because it's affecting good society and freeing just government. Because now, since you can't control yourself anymore you're not raised in an environment where you've been taught to control yourself we have to control you with more police and more regulations and more laws and more so we as a society have an interest in this.
Rick Green: 12:34
This is not a because sometimes I hear people say, well, government just should stay out of it completely. But we can't, because government has an interest and does have a jurisdiction in promoting and supporting marriage as defined by government and that's part of the wrong argument.
David Barton: 12:46
Government should get involved in moral issues. I'm sorry. Point number four in the declaration says there's a law of nature and nature's God. There's a fixed moral law. That's what we incorporate in the seventh amendment of the constitution. There are fixed moral laws. We do tell you what's right.
Rick Green: 12:58
Well and every law you pass has a moral aspect. Somebody's deciding. Your representatives are deciding, from a moral point of view, to do something or not do something, to outlaw something.
David Barton: 13:06
But speed limits. Every time we pass a speed limit law that says we think it is moral to drive 55 or below, we think it's immoral to drive 50. Every law establishes right and right and John Witherspoon's side of the declaration says every law establishes a moral standard because we've said it's right or it's wrong. If it's wrong, we're going to punish you for it. That's moral, that's legislated. Morality that's legislated morality.
Rick Green: 13:27
Okay, I got you an off track. Sorry about that. It's the first time that it hit me about that in terms of there is a government role here. There is a government role.
David Barton: 13:33
There's a great way of looking at it because it affects the society. It does affect it. Now, one of the interesting things is when you understand limited government, as you're going to talk about even this session coming up. There's ways that that has been accepted, it's expanded, and one of those is through the general welfare clause. Yeah, talk about an abused clause from the Constitution. We can claim anything is for your general welfare. We and the government have decided that you need to have red hair, whatever, and so government can claim general welfare as whatever they want to do for any place.
Rick Green: 14:02
It's opened it up to anything. You hear congressmen all the time say well, the general welfare clause gives us authority to do this and this is for the general welfare of the nation. But is that what these guys? When we go back to the original intent of the folks in the Constitution, how did they mean it?
David Barton: 14:13
Then go back to recent debates in American history debates over are there companies that are too big to fail? Yeah, Federal government bailout companies that are too big to fail because it's going to destroy the economy and that's going to hurt everybody and the general welfare of everybody is. You don't want the economy going to and so all this is going. We had the TARP bills and the stimulus bills and all these things that have happened and, interestingly, as we sit here in this library, this is a very actively used library.
Rick Green: 14:37
This is not a museum type thing where all this stuff sits here.
David Barton: 14:40
You guys are always researching and writing new books and taking information, putting it online, and we have people come through all the time. It is a museum of sorts, but it's a working library and so it's a working museum. And so I remember very distinctly, in the middle of that TARP stimulus, bailout kind of stuff is we were looking oh my gosh, insurance is about to go under, real estate is about to go under, automotive industry is about to go under, banking is about to go. We got to bail them out because if they go under, it will destroy all the jobs in America. And I got a call from three congressmen who were on the floor in the house during that extended debate and I could hear the debate going in the background. They said hey, you know, with all the stuff you got, do you think the founding fathers had a position on whether the federal government should bail out private industries and whether there are private industries that are too big to fail?
Tim Barton: 15:23
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don't know much about American history or even heroes of the faith, and I know oftentimes for parents we're trying to find good content for our kids to read and if you remember, back to the Bible, the book of Hebrews, it has the faith hall of fame where they outlined the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that, as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well. I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called the Courageous Leaders Collection and this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers, and there's a second collection called Heroes of History. In this collection you'll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, friends. The list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it's a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at WallBuilders.com. This is www.WallBuilders.com.
Rick Green: 16:30
Did they connect that dot from one company to the general welfare of the whole country? Right, really, is what?
David Barton: 16:35
they're asking, and that is because we're being told in Congress right now, as we debate right now, that this is for the general welfare and this is what the founders were going to look at, and so I don't know, went back and actually found and this book right here now. This is all these debates on the Constitution. This is the five volume set. This is the first ever publication of all the notes at the Constitutional Convention. So a lot of people kept notes. You had UH and you had King and other folks who kept notes, luther, martin all these delegates kept notes. They're all here. Madison this is the first time Madison has known this come out so and looking through here to see what they did, it turns out that in volume, in fact, all those names you just named- you never hear those names.
Rick Green: 17:09
You never hear those names. The Madisons are the only ones that I've met in Ocimass.
David Barton: 17:12
So you had a lot of them and there's a bunch of them and they're here. This is volume four of those volumes and in this one this is done and includes some of the later Congressional debates that dealt with Constitutional issues, and the back of the book here is in volume four.
Rick Green: 17:27
Let me ask you this so what you're saying is these are the notes that the people that were actually debating the Constitution and adopting the Constitution made and then added to that a lot of the same guys that were in that first Congress that are now debating things that have to do with the Constitution. They added that because it's helping us understand Now we understand that how the Constitution is supposed to work.
David Barton: 17:46
So what you happen is in 1792, you have what's called the Confish Bill. Now here is the logic in 1792. You have Massachusetts. That is an economic engine that drives America. So much population out of Massachusetts, and you had Boston and Philadelphia and New York, where you had three big economic drive engines. Well, the really big one is Massachusetts, and what drives Massachusetts is the fishing industry. What drives the fishing industry is the codfish industry and to this day, if you go in the Massachusetts chambers they're a legislature there's a big codfish hanging up there in the chambers, because that was their economic backbone. So there was a blight, if you will, on the codfish. Something was killing codfish and they weren't able to get it. It's kind of like when a red tide comes in and wipes everything out, and so here the economy of Massachusetts is headed down, because if they were hurt, if they were hurt, they would have made an economic engine and it would hurt everybody else, and that means that all these shipbuilders in South Carolina that build ships for Massachusetts. If there's no codfish you've got to, and so you look at all this stuff. That's happened and so Congress needs to step in. This is a general welfare. This company is too big to fail. This is the AIG and the Honorew and all the other folks. This is GM, all of us, whatever year this was, and so all that's going on and so that's progressing on the floor of Congress back in 1792. And James Madison, one of the guys who signed the Constitution and one of the players there, one of the guys who really had a significant impact, he steps up and it's interesting what he says about the general welfare, because he helped frame that clause in the Constitution and he says wait a minute, guys. He says if you're going to use the general welfare clause to apply money to anything, he says if Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare and if they're the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may soon take the care of religion into their own hands. It says they might appoint teachers in every state, county and parish and pay them out of the public treasury. They might even take into their own hands the education of children, establishing like manner schools throughout the union. They might even assume the provision for the poor. They might undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, everything from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of Congress. He says, guys, if we don't stop this now, before long Congress is going to get involved in education, they're going to get involved in the police powers and the states are the ones that do it. It's interesting even the police area. At the time of the founding fathers there were only three felonies that were federal because they were listed in the Constitution. You had power, you had treason. Now there's nearly 3,500 federal felonies.
Rick Green: 20:27
So he's not saying that these things could happen and that that's good. He's saying if we go down this road, guys, this is bad.
David Barton: 20:33
States are going to have nothing left. States are supposed to be in charge of education, soon Congress will be. States are supposed to be the ones to deal with the religion, soon Congress will be dealing with the religion, all based on general welfare being distorted. And so call these guys back on the floor. Congressman, here we go. Codfish debate. Been there, done that. We've decided that the founders decided that the general welfare clause is never to be interpreted to say something's too big to fail and it has to be built. We talked in the very first session about how that they use general principles that are applicable across time. And yeah, they had horses, no internet back then. But guess what? That principle is still as timeless today as it was 200 years ago, whether it's cod fishing or AIG or any other company. Anything else it works, and so that's why, going into this lesson on article one, what Congress can't do, or Congress can't do, what they can't do is they can't use the general welfare clause to decide to take money that they collect from the states and give it back out for state functions.
Rick Green: 21:29
So what we're going to do is we're going to go through these different phrases, these different clauses in article one, section eight, and talk about what Congress can or can do it, and I still have a hard time believing that we're actually going to get to do this. But we're going to do it in the room where those guys do. So. I think about that sometimes, where they took the time to go through line by line. They didn't just come in and one person had a proposal for an entire constitution. Okay, let's just vote it over. No, they went through and looked at every line. Every phrase meant something, everything that they put in the Constitution. They were taking it closely.
David Barton: 21:56
Well, one of the things that you cover is Franklin's call from prayer at the convention, and one of the reasons that happened was you had 13 nations that came to the Constitutional Commission. We think of them as states. None of them are nations, just like Romania is different from Bulgaria, is different from Switzerland. And when they came in, they all had their own plans. You had the Virginia plan, you had the New York plan, you had the Connecticut plan, you had the New Jersey plan. And guess what, If you're from Georgia, you didn't want the New York plan. If you're from New York, you didn't want the Virginia plan. And that was the problem they got into and that's why it was falling apart, because they didn't come in with the written Constitution. They came over their own separate agendas. And that's where Franklin says guys, we got to get God in the middle of this or this thing will fail, and future generations look back to this as an example of the futility of the wisdom of man. He said we got to get God in this. So you're exactly right. When they got there, they didn't have mapped out in their mind everything. They came with agendas that they had to set aside and they went for the common good and in doing that they came up with timeless principles that we still get to use today.
Rick Green: 22:54
Let's go look at them one by one. We're headed back to Philadelphia to walk through Article I, section 8, and identify those enumerated powers of Congress.
Tim Barton: 23:12
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders, and as you've had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you've probably heard the wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, about all the things that makes America exceptional. And you might be thinking, as incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group, whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school or public school or some political event or activity. If you're interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there's a tab for scheduling and if you'll click on that tab, you'll notice there's a list of information from speakers bios to events that are already going on, and there's a section where you can request an event to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and bring a speaker to your area.
Rick Green: 24:13
So now that we see the big picture, we see seven articles, we see 27 amendments. Let's zoom in to Article One, Because it's here in Article One that we're going to discover the enumerated powers of Congress, what Congress is actually supposed to do. I call it the dues of Congress, and we're not going to spend a lot of time on all these other sections in Article One. You all probably remember all this from government and high school. You know our congressmen serve two year terms. They got to be 25,. Our senators serve six year terms. They got to be 30, you get two from each state. Those basics we're going to leave aside for a moment. I want to touch on one thing before I get to Article One, Section Eight, where those enumerated powers are, and that is the enumeration. I don't even use the word census because I think enumeration is a much better description of what is authorized by the Constitution, what they actually intended. It's at the top of page six and your Constitution made easy and it says the actual enumeration shall be made within three years and it goes through the description of how they're going to count the people so that they know what the membership in Congress ought to be. And if we go back to that Webster's dictionary, get inside the minds again of these folks. And what did that word enumeration mean, Webster said? In the United States, it's an enumeration of the inhabitants of the states taken by the order of Congress to furnish the rule of apportioning the representation among the states and the number of reps to which each state is entitled in the Congress. Also, it's an enumeration of the inhabitants of a state taken by order of its legislature. So what's it about? It's about numbering the people so that we know how many members of Congress Pennsylvania right here gets. How many members of Congress does Texas get? How many members of Congress does California get? All of those things are determined by how many people or in the States. It's that simple. So when you look at the actual language there, what's the one constitutional question that census worker ought to be asking you at the door?
Audience Member: 26:00
How many live there?
Rick Green: 26:01
How many live? How many people live here or maybe even more accurate, how many citizens live here? Alright folks, out of time for today. You've been listening to Constitution Alive. We've been playing for you section four out of this full course. It's free, by the way. If you want to go to PatriotAcademy.com today, you can take the class for free. You can become a coach for the class and host it in your home or church. We've got 27,000 coaches across the country. Over a million people have been through these constitution classes. We are educating America and restoring our constitutional republic and you've got a part to play in that. At a minimum, take the class yourself, but also consider becoming a coach Again, free to become a coach. Not only to take the class, but free to become a coach. So check that out today at PatriotAcademy.com. Tomorrow we'll jump right back in to Constitution Alive. You've been listening to WallBuilders.