In terms of historical documents, there are few that are as valuable as the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution laid the groundwork for the laws of the new country when it was drafted in 1787 and ratified the following summer. All these years later and the Constitution remains the supreme law throughout the nation. While most people have read at least part of the Constitution, not many have gotten through the entire thing.
Because of this, there are a lot of popular beliefs that are actually myths when it comes to the Constitution. Let’s take a look at one of America’s most valued documents and dispel some of the myths that are often believed to be true.
5. There Is No ‘God’
Many people believe that the Constitution makes direct reference to God for a couple of reasons. The first is that the Declaration of Independence does use the word in the form of “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Also, many of the state’s individual Constitutions mention the word “God” in their texts.
The Constitution of the United States, however, makes no mention of God. The Constitution was written up to be as religiously neutral as possible for its time and allow Freedom of Religion. In ratifications, “The Year of Our Lord” is mentioned, but the original Constitution doesn’t mention God specifically. The phrase was slipped in at a later time following the original draft’s approval.
4. The Hemp Hoax
Hemp paper was one of the more popular formats to be used back in the early days of the United States. For that reason, there are a lot of people who assume that the Constitution was written on hemp paper. Many that started this myth have used it as a point of emphasis on hypocrisy as hemp and marijuana had become illegal in the country.
It turns out, though, that the Constitution was never written on hemp paper. The document was written on parchment, which is a paper that’s used from the skin of animals like sheep and goats. It’s also been found that the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were also on parchment.
3. The President Can Start A War
When there’s a President that gets elected into the White House that we don’t like, we often breathe a sigh of relief thinking that they can’t go to war without Congressional approval. However, the President only needs Congress’s sign-off to declare war, but can engage in military movements if they see fit.
After all, the Constitution gives the President the title of Commander in Chief and can send troops to wherever he pleases. Think of the Iraq War that lasted from 2003 to 2011 as an example of this. George W. Bush sent troops to Iraq, and many recognized it as a war, but Congress never declared it as one.
2. Some Founding Fathers Are Missing
Thinking about the founding fathers of the United States, there are some instrumental names that include John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Their names are on the Declaration of Independence, and many assume that they’re also on the Constitution. That’s not the case, though, as both men were out of the country at the time.
Jefferson was in Paris while Adams was in London. Several other men were not at the final signing, even though there were 55 delegates as part of the Constitutional Convention. However, only 39 of them made the final sign-off including Benjamin Franklin, who was 81 years old at the time.
1. The First Amendment Was The Third
People really value the First Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for freedom of religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition. However, that was not actually the first amendment when the Constitution was written up. Instead, the original said that there should be one US Representative for every 30,000 people.
There was a minimum of 100 Representatives and a maximum of 200, which could be revisited as the country grew. However, the amendment wasn’t ratified and the one that we know as the first today was bumped up to second. Then, the original second amendment regarding Congressional pay wasn’t ratified and revisited many years later, meaning that the third amendment became our first amendment.