Constitutional Whitewash?

Yesterday the United States House of Representatives kicked off the year with a reading of the Constitution. I thought it a nice gestured, but wondered how many of them have actually read it (you know as much as they read their own bills!) and/or understood what they read? Come to find out they didn’t even read the whole thing! Instead they read an abridged version. The reasoning? To read it in its most modern form. What a mistake. I agree with those who called the Congress out. The Representatives left out the bit about the 3/5 clause and the 18th Amendment! They had an opportunity to offer educators like myself a teachable moment, but missed the opportunity. But then again, by not reading it they brought even more attention to it.

I have seen teachers butcher the meaning and reasoning behind the 3/5 Clause by holding it up as an example of American Injustice and racism. You know, Slaves were not even human, they were only 3/5′s of one! Forgetting that it were the Slave Owners who wanted slaves counted equally and the Abolitionists who thought otherwise. The whole debate, of course, centered around representation and by limiting the South’s ability to count slaves and thus limiting their power in Congress.

And as for the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment, not sure what the big deal was there?

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2 Responses to Constitutional Whitewash?

  1. elektratig says:


    I agree that on balance they should have read the whole thing, but I’d say that it’s a closer question than you suggest. If the purpose of the exercise was to remind members of Congress of the document they are bound to observe, well it’s the Constitution as it exists today, after amendment, that’s relevant.

    As for whether or not the members understood what they read, we know the Democrats don’t, or don’t care – I’m sure you’ve seen the YouTube videos. We’ll see whether the new Republican majority in the House has absorbed the lesson.

  2. Chris says:

    Good points, it is the document as it exists today!

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