Constitution's 225th Anniversary: 'Fifth Page' on Display

09/14/2012
       
Constitution's 225th Anniversary: 'Fifth Page' on Display

The National Archives displayed publicly today the "fifth page" of the Constitution. Today the National Archives publicly displayed for the first time the "fifth page" (transmittal page) of the Constitution in conjunction with the celebration of the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution on Monday, September 17.

The full-text and image of the "fifth page" were also provided online. Furthermore, just last week the National Archives posted a 3-minute video (see below) showing the conservation treatment and re-encasement of the document.

For those of us interested in the compact theory of the union and state nullification of unconstitutional federal laws, this transmittal page serves to buttress our belief that the states created the federal government by means of their joint production of and ratification of the Constitution, and therefore individual states are empowered to nullify federal laws within their borders that are not authorized by the Constitution.

The transmittal page begins with:

In Convention, Monday September 17th 1787.

Present

The States of

New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

This listing of the individual states serves to emphasize that it was the states, not "the people," that were meeting in convention to devise the Constitution.

The body of the transmittal page consists of two resolutions that were being transmitted to "the United States in Congress assembled" by "the unanimous Order of the Convention."

These two resolutions serve to illustrate how the states in their meeting known as the Constitutional Convention had just created a new Constitution, not a mere revision of the existing Articles of Confederation, by specifying a ratification procedure based on the agreement of nine state conventions which was wholly different from the unanimous consent of thirteen states requirement of the Articles. Furthermore, this superior-inferior relationship between the Constitutional Convention and the Confederation Congress provides a useful example of how a modern-day constitutional convention would have the inherent power to exceed any restrictions placed on it by Congress or state legislatures.

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