Comment: It was a penalty for violation

(See in situ)


It was a penalty for violation

The Constitution prohibited tiles of nobility but did not include a penalty (other than, presumably, an elected official could be impeached).

In the 1790's, Britain was giving titles of nobility to Americans, with the hope of getting those Americans to *really* support Britain, even if they were in the American government.

The 13th Amendment provide for a VERY tough penalty (loss of citizenship and inability to hold public office) for violating the constitutional clause AND it added "titles of honor."

Titles of nobility (i.e. duke, duchess, lord) and titles of honor (esquire) have one thing in common: they grant a special privilege to this class of citizen at the expense of all other citizens. It creates a class that is "above the law" or at least above the law of the peasants.

That's the idea, and that's why it was prohibited, and that's why they decided to institute a very serious penalty for violating this. Also, these sorts of titles, along with accepting presents from foreign heads of state, are a form of bribe to influence American politicians.

So, that's why it was passed.

However, during the War of 1812, records were lost. For a few decades, the various states published their laws and included this amendment. But around the time of the War of Northern Aggression (Civil War), the states one-by-one started publishing their law books without this amendment. Once the 13th Amendment that we know (anti-slavery) passed, all law books completely omitted the original 13th.

But all amendments can be passed if enough states pass them. There is no time limit. The 27th Amendment was originally proposed along with the Bill of Rights, but was not passed then. It was revived 200 years later, and in 1992 it was passed by 3/4 of the state legislatures and was officially part of the Constitution.

New Hampshire is taking a step in this direction, though their position is even stronger: the original 13th is and always has been (for 200+ years) part of the Constitution, but the attorneys have conspired to omit it as if it did not exist.