Article 1, Section 4

1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives,
When, where, and exactly how elections are held to choose senators and representatives

shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof;
shall be decided in each State, by each respective State’s legislature

but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators.
buy Congress may pass a law at any time overriding a State’s election regulations, except Congress cannot alter a State’s decided place to choose Senators

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year,
Congress shall come to session at least annually

and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December,
and this required meeting shall be on the first Monday in December

unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
unless Congress passes a law that dictates a different day

My notes:

I really don’t have a lot of comments about this section of Article 4 of our Constitution.  But I do have one comment.

Sub-section 2, “The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year…”, I feel lends some perspective to (1) the times and (2) the evolvement (or devolvement, depending on how you view it) of our politicians.

You see, the Constitution mandated that Congress shall assemble at least once a year.  In those days, there were no jets, cars, etc., to allow Congressmen to travel back and forth from their hometown to Washington, D.C., at will.  There were also no telephones, computers, internet, email, television, etc., that would allow them to reside in D.C. and communicate with their constituents back home.  This was all due to the times in which they lived.  By mandating that Congress meet once a year, it ensured that elected officials didn’t simply get elected then “abandon their duties” (sound familiar? HINT: Wisconsin).  So congressmen in those days continued their way of life (which wasn’t simply being a politician), and would visit with their electors to see what their thoughts were on the “hot topics” of the day.  Then they would travel to D.C. at least annually to present bills and vote on them.  Then after their (brief) sessions, they would all return home to get back to their livelihoods.

However now, maybe we should have a new amendment to our Constitution to say that Congress shall meet ONLY once per year.  Maybe this would limit the amount of time they would have to devote to damaging our Union.  Today, congressmen don’t hold a job, and then vote on the topics.  Today, their job is: POLITICIAN.  Our founders did not intend for elected seats to be a primary means of living. In fact Benjamin Franklin was opposed to elected officials being paid.  Others at the Constitutional Convention had differing opinions.

For many, many years, elected officials were only paid a per diem of $6 for each day they were in session.  Annual salary of congressmen did not begin until 1855, and their salary was $3000 a year. Only ONE time in history has Congress ever received a DECREASE in salary: 1900, when their pay was reduced from $7500 to $5000 a year. And in the year 2000, Congress voted that key positions in both houses should receive more pay than other Senators and Representatives. (All information from this paragraph is derived from http://www.legistorm.com/member_of_congress_salaries.html)

Today, we have congressional elected officials meeting year-round to propose more and more legislation….more rules on our businesses and our people…more hurdles to achieving the “American dream”….more infringements on our inalienable rights and our Bill of Rights.  Are we as Americans so dumb, so vile, so ignorant, or so inconsiderate of our neighbors that we have to have more and more laws to control us?  Progressives think so. And by “Progressive” I don’t mean just Democrats. I mean ALL progressives: Democrat, Independent, or Republican. The Tea Party (of today) is demanding more fiscal conservatism, and more compliance by our elected officials to our Constitution. Let’s hope they don’t get sucked into the abyss of personal gains that so many good elected officials have been drawn into.

Well, that’s my soapbox for tonight.  Like I said, I didn’t have much to comment on with this section of Article 1, but that one statement within Section 4 just gets me thinking a lot about business on Capitol Hill in today’s world.  I hope this (and my other postings) evoke thought on your part, and that you research, analyze, and assemble your own ideas.  I hope that by reading these posts, you may see how far we as Americans, and our elected officials have strayed from the ideals that our founding fathers dreamed and implemented.

© 2011 Ike Chisholm

All additional materials contained in this work are the ideas and works of the author. Use of these works is forbidden without expressed permission from the author.  The text of the Constitution is not copyrighted. It is not the author’s intent to claim the text of the Constitution as his own.



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