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by Steven Wayne Pattison, ©2011

Does the U.S. Constitution define a "national" or "federal" government formed by the states?

(Dec. 25, 2011) — Is this the really issue? If it is, the current Government located in DC is still de facto.

This presentation is hopefully going to help you connect the dots and provide evidence of the deeds done that changed what our Founding Fathers first guaranteed to every State in this Union, a “Republican Form of Government,” as Section. 4 of Article IV declares:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Please note for the record that the Organic Constitution posted here does not have either of the terms ‘national’ or federal’. Therefore, all we have to rest our beliefs on is “A LAW DICTIONARY ADAPTED TO THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND OF THE SEVERAL STATES OF THE AMERICAN UNION” by John Bouvier, Revised Sixth Edition, 1856 posted on the Internet. The term “Federal” is defined within this Law Dictionary as:

FEDERAL, government. This term is commonly used to express a league or compact between two or more states.

2. In the United States the central government of the Union is federal. The constitution was adopted “to form a more perfect union” among the states, for the purpose of self-protection and for the promotion of their mutual happiness.

This should be enough evidence to state for the record that what was created by our Founding Fathers was a ‘Federal Government’.

Within the Organic Constitution creating the union of states it states, “done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,” therefore, the named delegates representing each of the sovereign States created the Grant from the collective People inhabiting within the boundaries declared within each of  their State Constitutions.

Henry Baldwin, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, explains that THE CONSTITUTION IS A GRANT of the people of the several states. Baldwin goes on to state:

“In our system, the legislature of a state is the supreme power; in all cases where its action is not restrained by the constitution of the United States.” 12 Wh. 347.

It is also the basis on which the federal system of jurisprudence was erected by the constitution, the judiciary and process acts, which refer to “cases in law and in equity,” “suits at common law,” “the common law, the principles and usages of law,” as they had at the time been defined and settled in England; 5 Cr. 222; 3 Wh. 221; 4 Wh. 115, 16; 7 Wh. 45; 10 Wh. 29, 32, 56, 8; 1 Pet. 613: and were adopted as then understood by the old states.

From the very beginning, till the consummation of the Revolution, the people of the colonies and states, in all successive congresses, took their stand upon the common law and constitution of England, as the “heirs of freedom;” “English freemen, whose custom it is, derived from their ancestors, to make those tremble who dare to think of making them miserable.” 1 Journ. Cong. 60, 65, 138. In the spirit and like the descendants of Britain, ib. 143, 9, who procured “the inestimable advantages of a free English constitution of government, which it is the privilege of all English subjects to enjoy.”

This book by Baldwin is a recommended read for anyone wanting his or her Freedom from what is now a de facto government which will be documented within the balance of this piece, including historical facts which should be learned by all. The American Civil War started in 1861. On Jan. 29, 1861 the 34th State joined the Union.  There were eleven Confederate States of America, and up through the end of the war, on April 9, 1865, there were reportedly 37 states. Please take note while reading the following clips from this URL.  There might be some conflicting information:

After the divisive Civil War, 1861-65, the U.S.A. was faced with the challenge of rebuilding both the South, the relationship between states, and the federal government.

There were two major issues to be resolved once the Confederacy had been defeated:

1) Were the rebel States still a part of the United States?

2) Was the president or the Congress responsible for Reconstruction?

Former President Lincoln had always claimed that these eleven states had never left the Union. In 1862 he had appointed provisional governors in Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee. As early as December 8, 1863, he had already announced a plan of Reconstruction:

1) Amnesty to all Southerners who would take an oath of loyalty

2) Recognition of state governments where 10% of the pre-war electorate took the oath and renounced slavery.

Louisiana and Arkansas took these steps in 1864, but Congress refused to let their representatives sit in the House. President Johnson adopted Lincoln’s plan and recognized the loyal governments in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia, which Lincoln had set up. By December 1865, every Confederate State except Texas had taken the steps. Texas conformed on April 6, 1866 and on December 6, President Johnson announced to Congress that the Union was restored.

Congress, however, refused to endorse what Johnson had done. A joint committee of six senators and nine representatives was formed instead to oversee the management of the former Confederacy. The committee considered the confederate states to be “conquered provinces,” and they were effectively put under the trusteeship of Congress.

On December 18th, the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was ratified by 27 states and formally proclaimed. However, a New Freedmen’s Bureau had to be set up on Feb. 19, 1866 in order to protect freed slaves from the harsh “Black Codes” being enacted in some states. These Black Codes effectively tied the freed slaves to the land on which they lived and worked.

Later that year, April 9, Congress passed a Civil Rights Act that bestowed citizenship on Afro-Americans. The Act granted the same civil rights to all persons born in America (except Indians). Johnson vetoed the bill because he said that it infringed on the rights of those states that were not represented in the House. The Act was passed over Johnson’s veto but the Supreme Court ruled that the Act was unconstitutional.

The Joint Committee then formulated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in order to get around the apparent unconstitutionality of the Civil Rights Bill. It passed Congress on the 13th of June and was submitted to the states for ratification. The Amendment defined American citizenship and included Afro-Americans. It provided Federal protection to freedmen whose rights could not now be limited by state governments. Ratification was denied by most of the southern states but was made a requirement for readmission into the Union. Tennessee accepted the amendment, but the other southern states awaited the upcoming congressional elections and possibly a more sympathetic Congress.

Johnson’s republicans captured a two-thirds majority in both houses, giving the Republican Radicals control over Reconstruction. This was Johnson’s party, but these radicals were much more antagonistic towards the South than he.  On March 2, 1867, Congress passed the First Reconstruction Act over Johnson’s veto. Martial law was declared over the former Confederate states, which were divided into five regions.

The new requirements for states to be readmitted to the Union were ratification of the 14th amendment and universal suffrage guaranteeing that Afro-Americans would be given the right and opportunity to vote. In the Omnibus Act, June 22-25, 1868, seven states met the requirements and were readmitted to the Union. These were Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina. Georgia soon returned to military rule when all of the Afro-American representatives were dismissed from the state legislature. It was allowed to return to self-rule only when the state ratified the Fifteenth Amendment, guaranteeing equality for the freed slaves, and allowed the Afro-Americans to return to the House.

Despite being vetoed by the Congress, Johnson faithfully executed their decisions. He appointed military commanders who led 20,000 troops (including Afro-American militia) into the South. Governments that he had previously set up were displaced. Seven hundred three thousand (703,000) Afro-Americans and 627,000 whites were registered as voters. In Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, black voters were in the majority. In other states, a black-white coalition formed under the Radical banner. Southern whites allied with the Radicals were called “scalawags.” Northerners who went south to assist in Reconstruction were called “carpetbaggers.”

Meanwhile, Radicals in the Congress were consistently overriding Johnson’s vetoes and placed some important limitations on his Executive power. Johnson was prevented from naming judges to the Supreme Court and deprived of being the “Commander in Chief” of the armed forces. The Covode Resolution of February 24, 1868 passed in the House by a vote of 126-47 and called for the impeachment of the President. The charges included alleged violations of the Tenure of Office Act, the Command of the Army Act and with bringing disgrace upon Congress. The impeachment vote, however, did not arrive at the required two-thirds majority.

The Supreme Court played a huge role in determining the legality and constitutionality of many of the laws that were passed during Reconstruction. The court decided that it was unconstitutional to set up martial law where civil courts were in operation. In Texas vs. White, 1869, the court upheld Lincoln’s position that the Union was indivisible and indissoluble. The court also decided that the loyalty oaths were wrong and invalidated them.

One would believe that since the “court upheld Lincoln’s position that the Union was indivisible and indissoluble,” everything done should be null and void.

At some time and place the definition of the word ‘Federal,’ as in the “Federal Government” was changed from its earlier meaning – “In the United States the central government of the Union is federal” to what it is defined within Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 1818: FEDERAL

federal, adj. Of or relating to a system of associated governments with a vertical division of governments into national and regional components having different responsibilities; esp., of or relating to the national government of the United States. — Abbr. Fed. (emphasis mine)

Why didn’t it just say, “of or relating to the government of the United States”?

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 3248: NATIONAL

national, adj.1. Of or relating to a nation <national anthem>.2. Nationwide in scope <national emergency>.

national, n.1. A member of a nation. 2. A person owing permanent allegiance to and under the protection of a state. 8 USCA § 1101(a)(21).

national of the United States. A citizen of the United States or a noncitizen who owes permanent allegiance to the United States. 8 USCA § 1101(a)(22). — Also termed U.S. national; U.S. citizen. [Cases: Citizens 1. C.J.S. Citizens §§ 7, 12.]

All they did was change the meaning of “Federal” from what the Founding Fathers had defined it to mean, “National,” which means the government. Regardless if you call it the National government or the Federal government, they pretty much have total control over everything unless you use Common Law.

Therefore we should be asking our elected and appointed state officers if we are a Federal Government or a National Government.

 This is not new, as you will read here:

A federal government is distinguished from a national government by its being the government of a community of independent and sovereign states, united by compact.  Piqua Branch Bank v. Knoup, 6 Ohio St. 393. Internet search Please don’t misread this, for it states it just as the Founding Fathers had defined it:

A federal government is the government of a community of independent and sovereign states, united by compact.

Now compare with Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition

FEDERAL, government. This term is commonly used to express a league or compact between two or more states.

2. In the United States, the central government of the Union is federal. The constitution was adopted “to form a more perfect union” among the states for the purpose of self-protection and for the promotion of their mutual happiness.


Black’s always leaves us clues such as federal common law or Jurisdiction, which is pretty simple, but they make it confusing.

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 1825: FEDERAL LAW

federal law. The body of law consisting of the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes and regulations, U.S. treaties, and federal common law. Cf. STATE LAW.

Read that again. They didn’t use the term “Codes,” did they? There is just too much to cover so we will leave you to read the balance of some definitions.

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 1824: FEDERAL JURISDICTION

federal jurisdiction. See JURISDICTION.

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 1824: FEDERAL JUDICIAL CODE

Federal Judicial Code. The portion (Title 28) of the U.S. Code dealing with the organization, jurisdiction, venue, and procedures of the federal court system, as well as court officers, personnel, and the Department of Justice.

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 2490


jurisdiction, n.1. A government’s general power to exercise authority over all persons and things within its territory; esp., a state’s power to create interests that will be recognized under common-law principles as valid in other states <New Jersey’s jurisdiction>. [Cases: States 1. C.J.S. States §§ 2, 16.] 2. A court’s power to decide a case or issue a decree < the constitutional grant of federal-question jurisdiction>. — Also termed (in sense 2) competent jurisdiction; (in both senses) coram judice. [Cases: Courts 3; Federal Courts 3.1, 161. C.J.S. Courts §§ 9, 18.]

“Rules of jurisdiction in a sense speak from a position outside the court system and prescribe the authority of the courts within the system. They are to a large extent constitutional rules. The provisions of the U.S. Constitution specify the outer limits of the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts and authorize Congress, within those limits, to establish by statute the organization and jurisdiction of the federal courts. Thus, Article III of the Constitution defines the judicial power of the United States to include cases arising under federal law and cases between parties of diverse state citizenship as well as other categories. The U.S. Constitution, particularly the Due Process Clause, also establishes limits on the jurisdiction of the state courts. These due process limitations traditionally operate in two areas: jurisdiction of the subject matter and jurisdiction over persons. Within each state, the court system is established by state constitutional provisions or by a combination of such provisions and implementing legislation, which together define the authority of the various courts within the system.” Fleming James Jr., Geoffrey C. Hazard Jr. & John Leubsdorf, Civil Procedure § 2.1, at 55 (5th ed. 2001).

3. A geographic area within which political or judicial authority may be exercised  <the accused fled to another jurisdiction>.4. A political or judicial subdivision within such an area <other jurisdictions have decided the issue differently>. Cf. VENUE. — jurisdictional, adj.

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 2491

common-law jurisdiction. 1. A place where the legal system derives fundamentally from the English common-law system <England, the United States, Australia, and other common-law jurisdictions>.2. A court’s jurisdiction to try such cases as were cognizable under the English common law <in the absence of a controlling statute, the court exercised common-law jurisdiction over those claims>.

They don’t state that only Common Law prior to the fourth year of King James the 1st applies here in America. They just keep giving incomplete information when they use the world “fundamentally.”

Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 1839


feigned issue. Hist. A proceeding in which the parties, by consent, have an issue tried by a jury without actually bringing a formal action. • The proceeding was done when a court either lacked jurisdiction or was unwilling to decide the issue. — Also termed fictitious issue.

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  1. John Sutherland said – “National,” which means the government.”

    John, there is much more to the term ‘National’ as found in Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004), Page 1818: federal, adj.

    It is the vertical division that makes it a dictatorship or National and not a Federal government.

    It is a system … with a vertical division of governments into national and regional components having different responsibilities; esp., of or relating to the national government of the United States. — Abbr. Fed. (emphasis mine)

    Regional is exposed as an Invisible Government here – http://www.citizensforaconstitutionalrepublic.com/Invisible_Government.html

    Have you also read part 1 of the series? http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/11/02/a-time-for-choosing-part-1/

    1. Steven,

      Thanks for your comments. No, I had missed the earlier articles, so until now I hadn’t read part 1. Regarding Black’s, I don’t use it any more except for comparison of changes against Bouvier’s.

      I do believe that if the power elite (aka Committee of 300) don’t kill us all off with some sort of virus or nuclear war, we will end up winning our freedom from them. Right now we are fiscal slaves, and there is no such thing as a happy slave. But we are gaining ground.

  2. Good article and a good comment by John.
    Re quote of John Adams, sadly the progressive movement managed to seriously erode the sovereignty of the States with the direct election of Senators per the 17th Amendment. Some day, let’s hope that amendment is repealed. Who of the current crop of GOP candidates would most likely lead such a fight?Anyone’s guess, but I suspect Romney wouldn’t consider it at all.

  3. I like this article – very well done. A couple of comments:

    “All they did was change the meaning of “Federal” from what the Founding Fathers had defined it to mean, “National,” which means the government.”

    I have had a huge issue with Black’s Dictionary in years past simply because the authors keep changing legal definitions. Bouviers is a much better source for legal definitions if for no other reason than the definitions remain unchanged.

    As quoted in this article, Bouvier’s definition of the term “Federal” is especially clear:

    FEDERAL, government. This term is commonly used to express a league or compact between two or more states.

    2. In the United States the central government of the Union is federal. The constitution was adopted “to form a more perfect union” among the states, for the purpose of self-protection and for the promotion of their mutual happiness.

    John Adams once wrote, “I expressly say that Congress is not a representative body but a diplomatic body, a collection of ambassadors from thirteen sovereign States….”

    And, so we are. Let’s not forget it.