Adriel Rowley

Senior Member
Very interesting.Thanks for the clarifications, @Tiger .

I have been confused about this issue, to be quite honest. I understand that the three branches of government were created after the revision, but I have known several people -- and some of them native-born American history specialists -- who regarded these Presidents as the first ones, before the three branches etc, were created. Some of these people corrected me rather sharply when I said I thought the first President was Washington!

Perhaps there is room for disagreement between historians. I read a fair bit of American history prior to my taking up US citizenship -- I thought it was a good chance to educate myself about the country I was going to adopt as my own. A country and a people who, despite being exasperating at times, I had come to love very much. I was very familiar with the ins and outs of the history of US immigration and on legal discussions of citizenship and alienage. Professor Linda Bosniak's important work The Citizen and the Alien lays the groundwork for the American view of citizenship, critical in a nation of immigrants.

I also read Francis Parkman's Montcalm and Wolf on the buildup to 1776, for instance and the shorter version of the Carl Sandburg biography of Lincoln -- I have the six-volume set, but that is a long project! And we also did some of the important events and milestones in American history when I was in my boys' school in India -- we had World history, British history and Indian history. I don't remember all of the details, but it is easy enough to find out.

I don't know, it is not a big deal for me, but maybe American historians themselves could come to some agreement about the Presidential hierarchy, so that immigrant citizens like myself could be given the straight dope, LOL. You never know, this could pop up on some version of the citizenship test in the future!
The word President comes from preside, to be before an assembly. So then these moderators who are presiding over the Congress seems fitting to call them Presidents. However, I do agree calling them just that is confusing, there needs to be differentiation.

Dr. Peter, how wonderful the dedication to learn American history and become an enlightened and well educated citizen. Far better than these people who come in droves over the boarder which they say doesn't exist and try and change America to the Mexico they left while demanding citizenship. They don't want to be Americans, so they should never be. Gives me hope there are many who are like you and truly become American citizens. And to be clear, being American doesn't mean forgetting one's lineage and heritage, I am an American of European decent (the list is too long for this time and not important to the point).
 

drpeter

Super Member
Thanks for the kind words. Learning about the country and its history is the least one can do as a citizen, although I had some of the advantages of a broad general education, and wide reading. I am often surprised though at the lack of such knowledge among the university students I have taught, let alone the general public. The often-told joke my native-born American friends made when I was becoming a citizen: If you gave us the test, we probably would flunk it!

I can't agree with you entirely on Latin Americans and Mexicans who come across the border, especially those who do so to flee persecution and hardships. Remember that we have created some of the conditions that caused the chaos in many of these countries, especially those in Central America. One example: The war on drugs in Colombia sent the drug lords to Guatemala and Nicaragua, and Honduras. It merely displaced the chaos and murder from Colombia into those other nations.

The other point to remember is that Americans have for more than a century treated Mexicans in particular as a cheap labour force whom they can bring in to do hard,dangerous work they themselves would not do, and then pay them poorly, without benefits of any sort, and send them back across the border. If we did not have these people and others from the Caribbean countries, who would cut our sugar cane, pick our fruits, do other dangerous and exhausting work?

I think a good solution would be to have a guest worker program, so that Mexicans can come and work, then go back to their families in Mexico. This would also mean that we would legalize their presence, value their labour and pay them a fair wage with benefits. None of this happens because for decades, our government has refused to overhaul immigration. They have not done that with the impossible tax code either, but that's another matter!

By the way, which country do you think supplies the largest number of illegal aliens to the United States? It may surprise you to learn that, for many years, at the top of the list of such countries, we see Canada. Canadians routinely overstay their six-month permits and then find employment here. Because they are mostly white as opposed to brown, they escape detection and focus! I didn't make this up. The numbers can be found in the US Government's Labour Statistics. This last year may be an exception because everything changed with the covid virus.

Life is filled with such puzzles.
 
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Tiger

Advanced Member
Fine, moderators with some admirative duties. The thing is that these first governing bodies experiences led to the current three branch government. I doubt most Americans know this, instead think the three branch government was the first and only. Am I wrong about this?
Sorry, I'm unsure of your question. Every colony had a colonial government, and then the Continental Congress was formed after Britain levied the Coercive Acts after that rather famous "tea party." The first constitution of the states (Articles of Confederation) was created after each state declared independence, and the war that was raging between parent country and colonial children became one for American independence. A few years after the end of that war, the states decided to revise (overhaul?) that constitution, which was ratified by 1788 and is the current Constitution that we violate incessantly! The confederated republic of sovereign states that began in 1777 was maintained by this new document, and is technically still alive today.
 

Tiger

Advanced Member
The word President comes from preside, to be before an assembly. So then these moderators who are presiding over the Congress seems fitting to call them Presidents. However, I do agree calling them just that is confusing, there needs to be differentiation.

Dr. Peter, how wonderful the dedication to learn American history and become an enlightened and well educated citizen. Far better than these people who come in droves over the boarder which they say doesn't exist and try and change America to the Mexico they left while demanding citizenship. They don't want to be Americans, so they should never be. Gives me hope there are many who are like you and truly become American citizens. And to be clear, being American doesn't mean forgetting one's lineage and heritage, I am an American of European decent (the list is too long for this time and not important to the point).
Since these administrative/ceremonial presiders had very little power or responsibility, we can distinguish them from the Chief Executive of the United States (as per Article Two of the Constitution) by their roles and duties. In fact, I tend to use the term "chief executive" far more than "president."
 

Adriel Rowley

Senior Member
Thanks for the kind words. Learning about the country and its history is the least one can do as a citizen, although I had some of the advantages of a broad general education, and wide reading. I am often surprised though at the lack of such knowledge among the university students I have taught, let alone the general public. The often-told joke my native-born Americans made when I was becoming a citizen: If you gave us the test, we probably would flunk it!
No problem, they are deserved.


I can't agree with you entirely on Latin Americans and Mexicans who come across the border, especially those who do so to flee persecution and hardships. Remember that we have created some of the conditions that caused the chaos in many of these countries, especially those in Central America. One example: The war on drugs in Colombia sent the drug lords to Guatemala and Nicaragua, and Honduras. It merely displaced the chaos and murder from Colombia into those other nations.
I guess a better noun be Chicano. I have taken Chicano studies, I understand where they are coming from regarding colonialism and oppression. I have been to TJ several times and participated in four mission trips to Mexican farmland, I have seen the Mexico most Americans will never see. There are some terrible and unpleasant, there is also success despite the difficulties. Why is it the American taxpayers should be punished because of past Mexican history?

And yes, I do agree with you on the rest of Central and Latin America. America has no business meddling in other countries affairs.


The other point to remember is that Americans have for more than a century treated Mexicans in particular as a cheap labour force whom they can bring in to do hard, dangerous work they themselves would not do, and then pay them poorly, without benefits of any sort, and send them back across the border. If we did not have these people and others from the Caribbean countries, who would cut our sugar cane, pick our fruits, do other dangerous and exhausting work?
And now it has bit us in the arse as if you don't speak Spanish, you can't get a job at fast food joint. I have an auditory processing difficulty and has hindered my ability to learn languages, I know a few words of Spanish to be polite. Over and over, I tried to gain employment at a fast food, be it California or Arizona, same thing, must be fluent in Spanish. When growing up, I had no problem getting up early, sometimes even before Oma, putting in a couple hours working outside, then coming in for breakfast, then back outside until lunch. I didn't have to do this, I did it because it needed to be done and to a lesser degree because I enjoy working hard. I also have been a gardener and a janitor, working along side Mexicans. So when someone asks who would do these, I say I would, though I do agree most Americans be too lazy to do this work.


I think a good solution would be to have a guest worker program, so that Mexicans can come and work, then go back to their families in Mexico. This would also mean that we would legalize their presence, value their labour and pay them a fair wage with benefits. None of this happens because for decades, our government has refused to overhaul immigration. They have not done that with the impossible tax code either, but that's another matter!
We already have a systems in place, work visas and green cards. And most of the undocumented have no desire to go back to their former countries, America is far better. Most love the undocumented status as they don't have to be obligated, don't have to pay taxes, heck, don't have to pay vehicle registration or insurance.

What I do find upsetting is those Central and Latin Americans who pay USA taxes, yet can get no benefits. Even greater upset is the considerable process and length of time for a person to become a citizen.


By the way, which country do you think supplies the largest number of illegal aliens to the United States? It may surprise you to learn that, for many years, at the top of the list of such countries, we see Canada. Canadians routinely overstay their six-month permits and then find employment here. Because they are mostly white as opposed to brown, they escape detection and focus! I didn't make this up. The numbers can be found in the US Government's Labour Statistics. This last year may be an exception because everything changed with the covid virus.
Interesting, that does make sense to me. The question then I would have is if they are continuing to act legally, for example paying taxes and vehicle insurance, or once illegal immigrants they go all the way. Also, why are they staying.


Life is filled with such puzzles.
Which makes it more enjoyable, doesn't it?
 

Adriel Rowley

Senior Member
Sorry, I'm unsure of your question. Every colony had a colonial government, and then the Continental Congress was formed after Britain levied the Coercive Acts after that rather famous "tea party." The first constitution of the states (Articles of Confederation) was created after each state declared independence, and the war that was raging between parent country and colonial children became one for American independence. A few years after the end of that war, the states decided to revise (overhaul?) that constitution, which was ratified by 1788 and is the current Constitution that we violate incessantly! The confederated republic of sovereign states that began in 1777 was maintained by this new document, and is technically still alive today.
How hard was the question that most Americans do not know what led to a three branch Government?

Or do most Americans know this and my perception was wrong?


Since these administrative/ceremonial presiders had very little power or responsibility, we can distinguish them from the Chief Executive of the United States (as per Article Two of the Constitution) by their roles and duties. In fact, I tend to use the term "chief executive" far more than "president."
I am not finding it clear who the Chief Executive is and who the President is.
 

Tiger

Advanced Member
How hard was the question that most Americans do not know what led to a three branch Government?

Or do most Americans know this and my perception was wrong?




I am not finding it clear who the Chief Executive is and who the President is.
I agree, most Americans know very little about United States history.

Under the U.S. Constitution, “president” and “chief executive” are synonymous. Prior to the Constitution, there wasn’t a chief executive, as executive functions were carried out by a committees consisting of legislative members of the Confederation Congress.
 

Mike Petrik

Honors Member
Sorry, I'm unsure of your question. Every colony had a colonial government, and then the Continental Congress was formed after Britain levied the Coercive Acts after that rather famous "tea party." The first constitution of the states (Articles of Confederation) was created after each state declared independence, and the war that was raging between parent country and colonial children became one for American independence. A few years after the end of that war, the states decided to revise (overhaul?) that constitution, which was ratified by 1788 and is the current Constitution that we violate incessantly! The confederated republic of sovereign states that began in 1777 was maintained by this new document, and is technically still alive today.
I think the best understanding is that the Constitution does not so much represent an overhaul or revision of the Articles of Confederation as a replacement. The creation of our Constitution started as a revision but eventually the Framers decided to start from scratch. Article VI's reference to the "supreme law of the land" effectuates the practical extinction of the Articles of Confederation.
How to best consider "presidents" under the Articles of Confederation is more a matter of pedantic definition than historical disagreement.
 

Tiger

Advanced Member
I think the best understanding is that the Constitution does not so much represent an overhaul or revision of the Articles of Confederation as a replacement. The creation of our Constitution started as a revision but eventually the Framers decided to start from scratch. Article VI's reference to the "supreme law of the land" effectuates the practical extinction of the Articles of Confederation.
How to best consider "presidents" under the Articles of Confederation is more a matter of pedantic definition than historical disagreement.
Generally agree, Mike. However, there are still significant remnants of the AoC in the Constitution, most crucially in the principle of federalism - the general ("federal") government only has the specific powers delagated to it by the states that created/ratified the document; all residuary powers belong to the states and their people. It is the essence of the American system of government.

Article VI's "supremacy clause" really is no more "supreme" than the AoC, and any new laws are the "supreme law of the land" only if they're constitutional, as you well know. The Articles of Confederation became extinct when nine states or more ratified the new Constitution, as per Article VII.

Two interesting things: As many Anti-Federalists noted, the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 clearly exceeded its "revision" mandate, casting doubt as to the legitimacy of the proceedings. Additionally, one could argue that the AoC's unanimity rule to amend the document was violated since not all thirteen states were represented in Philadelphia and a mere nine were needed to enable the Constitution to go into effect for those states so ratifying it. Rhode Island and North Carolina did not ratify until much later, leaving them as sovereign republics no longer in the (illicitly?) discarded Confederation and certainly not in this new union of states.

I know you're aware of this, Mike; I thought others might find it worthwhile, too.
 

Mike Petrik

Honors Member
Generally agree, Mike. However, there are still significant remnants of the AoC in the Constitution, most crucially in the principle of federalism - the general ("federal") government only has the specific powers delagated to it by the states that created/ratified the document; all residuary powers belong to the states and their people. It is the essence of the American system of government.

Article VI's "supremacy clause" really is no more "supreme" than the AoC, and any new laws are the "supreme law of the land" only if they're constitutional, as you well know. The Articles of Confederation became extinct when nine states or more ratified the new Constitution, as per Article VII.

Two interesting things: As many Anti-Federalists noted, the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 clearly exceeded its "revision" mandate, casting doubt as to the legitimacy of the proceedings. Additionally, one could argue that the AoC's unanimity rule to amend the document was violated since not all thirteen states were represented in Philadelphia and a mere nine were needed to enable the Constitution to go into effect for those states so ratifying it. Rhode Island and North Carolina did not ratify until much later, leaving them as sovereign republics no longer in the (illicitly?) discarded Confederation and certainly not in this new union of states.

I know you're aware of this, Mike; I thought others might find it worthwhile, too.
Quite agreed, Tiger.
As you note, quite a few principles and concepts embedded in the Articles were specifically included in the Constitution, sometimes even with virtually identical language.
FWIW I think the fact that the Articles' unanimity requirement for amendment was probably not satisfied actually supports the widely held view that the Constitution is better understood as a replacement of the Articles rather than an amended version of the Articles.
 

Tiger

Advanced Member
Quite agreed, Tiger.
As you note, quite a few principles and concepts embedded in the Articles were specifically included in the Constitution, sometimes even with virtually identical language.
FWIW I think the fact that the Articles' unanimity requirement for amendment was probably not satisfied actually supports the widely held view that the Constitution is better understood as a replacement of the Articles rather than an amended version of the Articles.
Yes, the Constitution was a replacement for the AoC, not an amended version. Whether the Philadelphia Convention had the right to do this is another story. And what about the states that did not ratify the proposed constitution - and there were plenty of reasons to oppose it - they suddenly found themselves outside of the formerly existing union of states. Destroys Lincoln's first inaugural argument that the union was indissoluble and had existed since 1774...
 

drpeter

Super Member
Generally agree, Mike. However, there are still significant remnants of the AoC in the Constitution, most crucially in the principle of federalism - the general ("federal") government only has the specific powers delagated to it by the states that created/ratified the document; all residuary powers belong to the states and their people. It is the essence of the American system of government.

Article VI's "supremacy clause" really is no more "supreme" than the AoC, and any new laws are the "supreme law of the land" only if they're constitutional, as you well know. The Articles of Confederation became extinct when nine states or more ratified the new Constitution, as per Article VII.

Two interesting things: As many Anti-Federalists noted, the Federal Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 clearly exceeded its "revision" mandate, casting doubt as to the legitimacy of the proceedings. Additionally, one could argue that the AoC's unanimity rule to amend the document was violated since not all thirteen states were represented in Philadelphia and a mere nine were needed to enable the Constitution to go into effect for those states so ratifying it. Rhode Island and North Carolina did not ratify until much later, leaving them as sovereign republics no longer in the (illicitly?) discarded Confederation and certainly not in this new union of states.

I know you're aware of this, Mike; I thought others might find it worthwhile, too.
Thank you, Tiger. I certainly do.
 

some_dude

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I agree, most Americans know very little about United States history.

Under the U.S. Constitution, “president” and “chief executive” are synonymous. Prior to the Constitution, there wasn’t a chief executive, as executive functions were carried out by a committees consisting of legislative members of the Confederation Congress.
In the early days of the republic, the President was often referred to as the "Chief Magistrate."
 
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