"Your hard-earned money is being used to pay those greedy members of congress a salary of $174,000 a year - - - and you also give them a very generous office allowance, a "gold-plated" healthcare plan, a fantastic pension, an extremely liberal expense account, and many other elitist perks. But they typically only work 90 days a year. Wow! What a great job!"
I thought this was very well written article, not only did it grasp my complete attention but it did teach me a thing a two about how Congress has made violations against the Constitution. Just from this excerpt you can see that somehow, some of your money ends up paying Congressmen's 174,000 salary. Not to mention that they only work 90 days out of the year, that is a mere 3 months!
Please take a moment to read the article, it is very insightful.
"No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."
- 27th Amendment of the United States Constitution
This amendment prevented Congress (Senators and Representatives) from giving themselves a higher pay or raise, if they did want to increase the pay it would have to wait until the New Congress convened. This was proposed by James Madison in 1789, after about 200 the amendment finally took affect, specifically in 1992.
The first piece of media is a comic, it relates to the amendment because it illustrates a Congressman with a briefcase full of his raise money, while a man in the background stands against the wall needing a "bailout."
For the next segment of media, I decided to show some voting materials used. The ones shown below are specifically targeted at 18 year olds, hence the number 18 on both items. The first item is a group of materials included in it is a schedules of events, informational CD's, and a Publication to further assist new voters with the procedures for voting. I feel like the button is the epitome of voting, thus by creating one with the number 18 on it, you have targeted a specific group. I think these are both great materials used for voting.
"Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
- 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution
The voting age was changed from twenty one to eighteen because young men would return from the war and realized that they were unable to vote because the voting age was set at 21. If you can just take a minute to understand their situation. You just fought in a war for your country but you can't vote....
The media I chose for this amendment is a more modernized version of this amendment. It depicts how the amendment fits in within modern Society. I thought it was simple and cool. What it expresses to me is how America's youth are involved with voting. This shows childish/youth-like traits by including the cell phone and custom ringtone. Also the writings in the bubbles are almost like texts, by using "u," "2," and "4" (All texting lingo).
This media also comes from: One Heartbeat Away by Birch Bayh
Senator Birch Bayh (Kefauver's successor as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments) proposed in the Senate and Representative Emanuel Celler (Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee) proposed in the House of Representatives what would become the Twenty-fifth Amendment. Their proposal specified the process by which a President could be declared disabled, thereby making the Vice President an Acting President, and by which he could regain the powers of that office.
Also, their proposal provided a way to fill a vacancy in the office of Vice President before the next presidential election. This was as opposed to the Keating-Kefauver proposal, which did not provide for filling a vacancy in the office of Vice President prior to the next presidential election or itself provide a process for determining presidential disability. In 1964, the American Bar Association endorsed the type of proposal which Bayh and Celler advocated. And that is where the 25th Amendment comes from.
"Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President Pro Temporeof the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives is written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office."
- 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution
The 25th Amendment outlines the procedures that must be taken place when the President is unable to complete his term. The Vice President fills this vacancy and serves as the President.
My first media segment is actually a proposal: One Heartbeat Away by Birch Bayh
In 1963, Senator Kenneth Keating of New York proposed a Constitutional amendment which would have enabled the Congress to enact legislation providing for how to determine when a President is disabled, rather than, as the Twenty-fifth amendment does, having the Constitution so provide. This is a very important section of the amendment.
This video was a funny one! This is how poll taxes were advertised, with a sweet old lady, presumably talking to an invisible elf, reading off a newspaper advert for the same thing. They didn't even try to convince the working-classes that it was for their own good - "trickle-down economics" being an American invention - nor did they aim at anyone other than the softest of targets: easily confused elderly people. I hope you enjoy!
"Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
- 24th Amendment of United States
The 24th amendment to guarantees that no person can be denied the right to vote due to an inability to pay a tax prior to voting. The "poll tax" (the tax paid in order to vote) is now considered unconstitutional. I find this to be important because as a broke College student I rather not have to pay a fee to have my voice be heard.
The video I chose for this amendment is a mash up of clips recorded at different riots. These poll tax riots were mass disturbances that occurred in the UK because citizens had to pay a fee to vote, which is no unconstitutional in the United States.
Another Schoolhouse Rock video! E-L-E-C-T-O-R-A-L C-O-L-L-E-G-E This video explains what the Electoral College is. It is done in a very fun way, as Schoolhouse Rock usually does! I found it to be a very enjoyable and informational video.
"Section 1. 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; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article using appropriate legislation."
- 23rd Amendment of United States Constitution
It is important to note that Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution gave Washington D.C. votes in the electoral college. It allowed as many electors as the smallest state which was Rhode Island.
The following is the first media segment, it is a screen shot of an Interactive Map. This is the 2012 Presidential Election Interactive Map and History of the Electoral College. It traces the Electoral view from what they were in 2008 and what they are projected to be after 2010 Census. Also the years go all the way back to 1789, so the Electoral view can be traced very far back.
2012 Presidential Election Interactive Map and History of the Electoral College
I decided to do another video for the second blog. This video was made for a school project and explained the importance of the 22nd amendment. It explains why it was adopted, its purpose, and some other interesting facts that are relevant to the 22nd amendment. It is a short and sweet video that really does get the significance of the amendment across to the viewer.
"Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.
Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress."
- 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution
The 22nd amendment was primarily designed to establish that no President of the United States can be elected to more than two terms. It also limits the maximum time a President may serve to 10 years, if one should succeed to the office. Since the presidency of George Washington, only one thing could be said to be totally consistent, that no President had the job for more than two full terms. Washington had been asked to run for a third term in 1796, but he made it quite clear that he had no intention of doing so; that an orderly transition of power was needed to set the Constitution in stone. And so it was for almost 150 years. This amendment does not really relate to me but I think it is important to understand them all.
The video I chose for this amendment is a brief excerpt from an interview with Barrack Obama. Obama admits in the interview that he plans to be in office from "8-10 years." I think it is interesting that Obama plans to re-run for the presidential position. It will be interesting to see if he makes the office or not.
The next piece of media that I have is another video. It is from atom.com and it is I Love the 30's: The End of Prohibition. I Love the 30's is an online mini-series, that follows different actors and actresses that re-enact the topic of the episode. In this case it it the repeal of prohibition, the 21st amendment. There are a couple of funny lines here and there that gave me a good laugh. In short, I found the video to be epic, it is a really good video for young adults because it's so spunky. Hopefully, you will find this video as enjoyable as I do.
"Section 1. The eighteenth article of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States hereby repealed.
Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission here of to the States by the Congress."
- 21st Amendment of the United States of Constitution
This article repeals prohibition. Prohibition was enacted for several reasons but most importantly to better the American Society. Prohibition was suppose to help in lowering the crime rate, however crime rates increased (via revolts, riots, etc), and crime was a prevalent misdemeanor that occurred. By repealing the 18th Amendment law makers were hoping to lower the rate again.
The video I chose for this amendment is an informative newsreel that talks about the repeal of prohibition. I thought it was interesting because it was an actual reel from the times the amendment was ratified, it's even in black and white!
Since I have already shed light on succession, the other aspect of the 20th amendment I wanted to examine was the inauguration. For those who do not know, the inauguration of the President of the United States is the formal ceremony in which he/she takes the oath of office. The inauguration marks the beginning of the President's term. Below, I have inserted President Obama's Inauguration speech. If you have yet to read it or hear it, I strongly advise reading it. It is critical to do so because in the speech Obama speaks of his intentions as the next President and his plans for the future of America.
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.
Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
"Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.
Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.
Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission."
- 20th Amendment of the United States Constitution
The 20th amendment moved the date on which new presidential and vice presidential terms begin as well as the date for beginning new congressional terms; it ended the abbreviated congressional session that had formerly convened in even-numbered years, and fixed procedures for presidential succession if the president-elect dies before inauguration day.
It was difficult to find a good video that represents the amendment, so instead I look for a video that talked more directly about succession. The amendment refers to the succession that takes place if any position is emptied or opened, for example if the President died, the Vice President would then become President, and so on. In the video we see a direct provision from Barack Obama that restructured the succession of the Department of Justice. It is not the most grasping video but I found it to be very informative.
The following talks about the 19th amendment and the importance of women's right to vote. This is song is a Schoolhouse Rock Classic, where Esra Mohawk's blues vocals are playing during the cartoon, as characters act out the lyrics of her song. Some of the animations are colorful and vivid while others are black and white archival photographs; it mixes well, and makes the video even more presentable. I like finding fun videos like these because they are upbeat and keep you entertained; the song was even catchy.
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."
- 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution
The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote. In response to the19th amendment definition, which was basically a summary of all of the work of activists in favor of women’s suffrage, the National Woman’s Party urged citizens to vote against anti-suffrage senators up for election in the fall of 1918. After the 1918 election, most members of Congress were pro-suffrage. On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment by a vote of 304 to 89. 304 to 89, shows that most members wanted women to have the right to vote. I think it is important for everyone to have a chance to have their voice heard.
The first piece of media, that I am presenting is a photograph from around the time the 19th amendment was ratified. It is a picture of six women behind a banner that reads "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party who ignores her sex." Even though the statement is short, I think it is very strong and profound. It gets the point across clearly, and shows that women were fed up with being on the back burner. As citizens they should have the rights that men do, it is only fair.
Chairwoman Alice Paul, second from left, and officers of the National Woman's Party, June 1920.
I decided to do another piece of artwork for my second media piece because I stumbled upon something hilarious that is relevant to me and many other people who know their television comedies. The artwork is an image from The Simpsons, a cartoon comedy that parodies historical events, government, current events, pop culture, and everything else you can think of. Specifically this image come from the episode Homer VS. The Eighteenth Amendment. After an old paper is discovered that proves Springfield is a dry city, Homer loses it and enlists the aid of Bart to start smuggling alcohol from his basement to Moe’s. Hopefully this is as funny as I thought it would be. It made me think about an alternate future where the 18th amendment was not repealed. I feel as though it would cause chaos and disorder; maybe even a revolution, good thing the 18th amendment was repealed.
"Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress."
- 18th Amendment of the United States Constitution
Today the 18th Amendment is meaningless because it was repealed. However, once upon a time it did serve a great purpose. The 18th Amendment was the Prohibition of Alcohol. There isn't much to say about this amendment except that it took away everyone's right to consume alcohol, no matter how old you were or you status. What I find important are the increases in violent behavior during this time:
According to Albany.edu
Police funding: INCREASED$11.4 Million
Arrests for Prohibition Las Violations: INCREASED 102%
Arrests for Drunkenness and Disorderly Conduct: INCREASED 41%
Arrests of Drunken Drivers: INCREASED 81%
Thefts and Burglaries: INCREASED 9%
Homicides, Assault, and Battery: INCREASED 13%
Number of Federal Convicts: INCREASED 561%
Federal Prison Population: INCREASED 366%
Total Federal Expenditures on Penal Institutions: INCREASED 1,000%
None of the increases were positive except for police funding, but that 11.4 million dollars could have went to something more meaningful such as education. The artwork I chose was a picture of a tombstone for John Barleycorn who represented alcohol. Make sure to look at the Date of Death, and then the question mark which showed the possible resurrection of alcohol. A humorous thing they threw in, if you haven't caught it already, is the last name which is 'Barleycorn.' I thought it was a unique and symbolic image.
The artwork I decided to use for the 17th amendment represents the opposite of what the 17th amendment stands for, the image reads "Repeal the 17th Amendment Restore States' Rights." Many people rather have the States' as a whole hold the right to appoint Senators instead of the Federal Government. The 17th amendment took away the powers that were given to the states and gave them to the federal government. This took away the buffer between the people and the federal government. The image is from zazzle.com a website that makes custom shirts, mugs, hats, etc.
"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution."
- 17th Amendment of The United States Constitution
The Seventeenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1913, provided for the direct election of U.S. senators by citizens. Until 1913 state legislatures had elected U.S. senators. Ratification of the amendment followed decades of insistence that the power to elect senators should be placed in the hands of ordinary voters. By the late nineteenth century, political opinion was changing in favor of a more fully participatory democracy, which gave way to the amendment. I feel as though this is an important amendment because it gives citizens with no governmental affiliation a chance to have their voice be heard when senators were selected.
The video I chose talks about the importance of one's voice in government, specifically in choosing America's leaders if that is the President or if that is Senators. It also talks about alternative methods of communicating and getting the word out, which I also find important.
It speaks a little bit on the 16th Amendment in reference to taxes. The creator of the video Glozell, talks about how she is unemployed and sits at home with her "seven childrens." She talks about how taxes help pay for her health care as an unemployed citizen. I want to believe that those who are unemployed were laid off or are citizens who cannot find work; people with legitimate issues. Hopefully this video was a joke, if not, I have to ask myself what has America come to or as she puts it "Amurica!"
Your Higher Taxes pay for My healthcare thanks President Obama Healthcare Reform
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
- 16th Amendment of the United States Constitution
The 16th amendment is pretty self explanatory. Just for clarification though, the 16th amendment gives Congress the power to collect taxes on income without apportioning it among the states. The Sixteenth Amendment was passed in 1909 and ratified in 1913. Before the ratification of the amendment, Congress had passed The Income Tax Act of 1894 that tried to establish a 2% income tax on anyone earning over $4,000 in income. The Tax Act was challenged and taken to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was deemed unconstitutional, which is why the government had to pass this amendment.
The first piece of media that I am introducing for the 16th amendment is from a neighboring blogger of blogger.com. The person's blog is Chico Town, and I ran across this image that read "1913. Worst. Year. Ever." Then ir went to listing the reasons for 1913 being such a horrible year. I found it funny and it refers to the 16th Amendment, however, not in the best light.
1) The federal reserve was created 2) The 16th amendment reinstated the federal income tax 3) the 17th amendment killed states rights with the direct election of senators and 4) President Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated. Wilson of course was the jackass who signed the federal reserve act into existence and he can directly be blamed for causing WWI and WWII
For the 15th amendment I decided to choose an art piece that clearly expressed the meaning behind the amendment. Although the amendment is very simple, it was actually hard trying to find a piece that accurately defined the amendment. The piece I chose is a graphic design image, which has a voter button on it, people in the background, and interlocking hands. Starting with the interlocking hands, this image shows unity, which stems from equality. When unity is present, it is safe to say that everyone is equal, that is why they are united. The people in the background are two African Americans and one Caucasian. This also shows unity but more importantly that the African Americans can vote which was the goal of the 15th amendment; to give newly freed slaves the right to vote, presently, it gives all U.S. citizens the right to vote.