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Founders / Framers: Article 1, Section 4, Clause 2

They believed that the national government would be smaller and thus would have less to do.

Founders / Framers: Article 1, Section 4, Clause 2

Founders / Framers Minute 14:
Article 1, Section 4, Clause 2


The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.”

by Cornel Rasor

Concerned that the legislature would not have enough business to conduct yearly, Gouverneur Morris and Rufus King argued for no fixed date for the legislature to meet. Mr. King believed that “A great vice in our system was that of legislating too much.” As did most of the framers, Mr. King believed that the national government would be smaller and thus would have less to do. He noted that “The most numerous objects of legislation belong to the States. Those of the Natl. Legislature were but few. The chief of them were commerce & revenue. When these should be once settled, alterations would be rarely necessary & easily made.”

Many framers were convinced however that it was imperative that the convening of the U.S. Congress not be subject to the executive as it was in Britain. Indeed one is reminded of the list of particular encroachments in the Declaration, specifically facts 4, 5 and 6 of the list submitted “to a candid world”:

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.–He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.–He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.”

The original clause in this section mandated December which appealed to most framers who noted that the summer months were busy with agriculture. Nevertheless, some pushed for a date in May which failed 2-8. The concern over fixing a particular date emanated from worries over constraining the legislature to meet at a time inconvenient. Madison expressed concern that should a date certain be fixed, and should exigent circumstances require a special meeting, and should the date certain follow the special meeting closely in time it would be difficult to meet the obligation. The clause passed by a vote of 8 yes and 2 no.

Finally, when the 20th amendment was ratified in 1933, the date certain was changed by section 2 to January 3: “2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.”

Founders / Framers Minute 1: Article I, Section 1   Congressional Powers

Founders / Framers Minute 2: Article I, Section 2, Clause 1-2   Composing the House of Representatives

Founders / Framers Minute 3: Article I, Section 2, Clause 3a   Representation vs. Taxation

Founders / Framers Minute 4: Article I, Section 2, Clause 3b   Representation a Function of Population

Founders / Framers Minute 5: Article I, Section 2, Clause 4   Filling Vacancies

Founders / Framers Minute 6: Article I, Section 2, Clause 5   Power of Impeachment

Founders / Framers Minute 7: Article I, Section 3, Clause 1   Composing the Senate

Founders / Framers Minute 8: Article I, Section 3, Clause 2   Senate Terms

Founders / Framers Minute 9: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3   Age of Senators

Founders / Framers Minute 10: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 4   President of the Senate

Founders / Framers Minute 11: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 5   Senate Officers

Founders / Framers Minute 12: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6-7   Impeachment

Founders / Framers Minute 13: Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1   Federal Elections


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3 Comments on Founders / Framers: Article 1, Section 4, Clause 2

  1. “But let us not forget that violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood, falsehood its only support in violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE. At its birth violence acts openly and even with pride. But no sooner does it become strong, firmly established, than it senses the rarefaction of the air around it and it cannot continue to exist without descending into a fog of lies, clothing them in sweet talk. It does not always, not necessarily, openly throttle the throat, more often it demands from its subjects only an oath of allegiance to falsehood, only complicity in falsehood.”
    Nobel Lecture in Literature 1970

    “Yes, the clauses and their genesis are often dry but the debate and posturing at the convention are rich with instruction showing us how we got the final document.”

    The document (assumed to be the so-called Constitution of 1789) is a documented crime scene.

    The perpetrators knew that they were counterfeiting lawful government. For those who are ignorant, a lawful government is based upon Mathew 7:12, also known as The Golden Rule.

    Those who are ignorant are those who are ripe for exploitation. Those who are ignorant are ripe for corruption.

    The perpetrators who got rid of a Federation of free people in free states documented their crime on the official record for all to see. All who care to see will see, while all who wish to remain ignorant will get their wish, by the employment of their power of will.

    “Mr. E. Gerry. Does not rise to speak to the merits of the question before the Committee but to the mode.
    A distinction has been made between a federal and national government. We ought not to determine that there is this distinction for if we do, it is questionable not only whether this convention can propose an government totally different or whether Congress itself would have a right to pass such a resolution as that before the house. The commission from Massachusets empowers the deputies to proceed agreeably to the recommendation of Congress. This the foundation of the convention. If we have a right to pass this resolution we have a right to annihilate the confederation.”
    Papers of Dr. James McHenry on the Federal Convention in Philadelphia, 14 May, 1787.

    Those who wish to get their acceptance into the Cult of Might Makes Right have to swear an oath to falsehood in order to get that acceptance into that cult.

    This is – by the way – not news.

    This is – for your information – verifiable knowledge offered by those who have documented their individual testaments of the facts that matter concerning our temporal salvation as a living species. Ignore at the peril of posterity, as you wish.

  2. Yes, the clauses and their genesis are often dry but the debate and posturing at the convention are rich with instruction showing us how we got the final document. And yes, regulation, statute, rule, even fee. They are all laws.

  3. Thank you Cornel…Rather dry stuff, but a needful addition to our knowledge. I’m with Governour Morris and Rufus King – Congress meets far too often for any good it’s doing, and their “Government Work” is often “Make Work” at best…How about taking a cue from the constitutional NDAA requirement, and have em’ meet biannually ? This would cut the cluster f – – k in DC by half ! You know, with all their wisdom, our founders didn’t anticipate the rise of a fourth branch, one that mimics the “Multitude of offices ( Read “Agencies”) sent hither to harass us and eat out our substance”..they complained of in the Declaration. Empowered to implement the Government Interest, and making their own regulations, today’s Fed Agencies have made much of Congress’s lawmaking power superfluous. Day to day, the average American Rancher, miner or logger has to deal with these unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. They may call their rules “Regulations” but if a person can be thrown in prison for a so-called violation of their regs, they sound like laws to me…

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