Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.8.11:  "The Congress shall have Power To … make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water."  This clause in the United States Constitution gave power to Congress to determine the rules by which prisoners can be captured or enemy property can be confiscated.  Congress however has never used its power to enslave enemy persons, but it has confiscated land.

                    "Land captured by the armed forces does not automatically become part of the United States.  Captured land ceases to be part of the foreign country to which it belonged, but its people cannot be counted as full citizens of the United States until the Congress has adopted the territory into equal status with the rest of the country.  Puerto Rico is a case in point."  (See W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of America:  The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 443.)

                    The Articles of Confederation contained a similar clause giving Congress the power to establish rules about captures taking place on land or water.  Apparently, our Founding Fathers found this power so necessary that they included this clause in the Constitution.

                    The President has the authority to wage war and to seize prisoners and property on the battlefield; however, he does not have the power to confiscate property that is owned by the citizens of other nations and must seek approval from Congress to do so.

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