Archive for the ‘U. S. Constitution’ Category

Real World Graduation: Question 21

RealWorldGraduation_Question_21   <– PDF

The Mayor and City Council of a certain city desired to raise the amount of tax revenue received by the city. They made a secret arrangement with a mall developer as follows:

  1. The city would designate a certain district of the city, consisting of 150 homes and a few small businesses as suitable for development. This district was selected because most of the homes are more than 30 years old, and it has excellent access to major freeways.
  2. With the area so designated, the city would send notices to each homeowner and business owner that they had 90 days to move out of their homes, and the land turned over to the developer.
  3. In order to save taxpayers money, the city would offer 85% of the current appraised values of the homes and businesses as compensation. On average, the homes in the affected district are appraised at $130,000.
  4. The total amount paid to the homeowners by the city as compensation would be repaid by the developer. He would be allowed to collect an additional 2% surcharge sales tax on everything sold by stores in the mall. That way, the city would be repaid the amount given to the original homeowners, and also collect all the usual sales taxes.
  5. The Mayor, City Council, and their respective staff members were to do all of the foregoing without any public hearings or notices until the formal designation letters were mailed to each affected resident.

The Constitution of the state in which this was to occur contains a “takings” clause, in which people are to be compensated for any seizure of property devoted to public use (i.e., the same as the U. S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment). If this plan were enacted, which of the activities contained in the secret plan would violate both Constitutions?

a) A government entity entering into a secret financial agreement with a private entity.

b) Seizing property from a group of private owners and giving it to another private owner for the benefit of the new private owner (as well as the city).

c) Arbitrary designation of a certain district for unusual treatment simply because of the age of the homes and their location.

d) Forcing each homeowner to take a $19,500 loss on their property, since they will be paid only $110,500 for homes that were appraised on average for $130,000.

e) All of the above.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, fifth amendment, government powers, living constitution, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 19

RealWorldGraduation_Question_19   <– PDF

Suppose a prominent black civil rights leader had made public speeches like these in 1993:

a.  “Only after the white virus destroying the quality of life of black people has been eliminated can we hope to promote cooperation between the remaining races, which will then be founded on a common understanding.”

b.  “Honkie parasites on one hand ripped off the black people without a second thought, and on the other hand instigated people of color to violence. The misfortunes of black people have become a continuing objective for these white trash crackers, and it was unfortunately made possible because of the large number of desperate unemployed black people that mistakenly supported the international trade treaties, which further benefitted the rich honkies.”

What is the proper amount of government regulation or actions that should be adopted to address speech of this sort?

a) Public speeches of this sort should first be subject to review by qualified people to determine if they are acceptable for public consumption. If a proposed speech is considered acceptable, then the speech could be made.  However, neither of these two fragments is acceptable, and both should be prohibited.

b) These fragments are obviously racist, and should be prohibited by appropriate legislation.

c) These fragments indicate both racism and mental illness, and the person who made these statements should be examined to determine his mental health. If he is found to be of sound mind, he should be prosecuted for racism or hate speech.

d) The person making these statements should be prosecuted for hate speech unless he can prove he is mentally ill and therefore not responsible for what he says.

e) Because of the First Amendment, it is difficult to pre-empt speech solely because some find it objectionable. For radical opinions like these, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, but the government should consider some appropriate remedy, tailored to specific cases.  However, such remedies should be civil (i.e., fines and restrictions) instead of criminal (imprisonment).

(The answer is shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

Tags: ,
Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 16

RealWorldGraduation_Question_16      <– PDF

Slavery in the Southern states was abolished in the U. S. after the Civil War with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution on 6 Dec 1865.  However, racism continued to be a problem, as exemplified by the so-called “Jim Crow” laws that began to be passed in the late 1880’s.  The Jim Crow laws consisted of provisions such as [1, 2]:

  1. Segregation of whites and blacks in restaurants, theaters, hospitals, public transportation, schools, and libraries. The facilities provided for blacks were generally inferior to those provided for whites.
  2. Literacy tests were applied to black voters, but exemptions made for illiterate whites.
  3. Poll taxes on black people, but waived for whites.
  4. Prohibition of racial intermarriages and curfews that applied only to black people.
  5. Railroading black people into long jail sentences for minor infractions, then paroling them to large landowners, who worked them as slaves.
  6. Occasional lynching’s by the KKK and other white supremacy groups to keep the black people in fear (approximately 4950 lynchings occurred between 1880 and 1968)
  7. Black people were prohibited from owning guns.

Based on the above facts, what were the primary underlying objectives of the Jim Crow laws?

a) Allowed the Republican Party to suppress the black votes and keep them in fear because they could not defend themselves.

b) Allowed the Republican Party to take advantage of black people by keeping them in poverty relative to whites.

c) Allowed the Republican Party to perpetuate the falsehood that blacks were inferior and could not be trusted.

d) Allowed the Republican Party to keep the blacks isolated and ignorant by preventing them from achieving the same educational level as the whites.

e) All of the above

(See answer on p. 2 of the PDF.)


[1]   Ronald L. F. Davis, Ph. D, “Creating Jim Crow: In Depth Essay”, see (

[2]   Clayton E. Cramer, “The Racist Roots of Gun Control”, (see

Posted in critical thinking, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 4

RealWorldGraduation_Question_4   <– PDF

Article I, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution originally contained the following provision:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.”

In this passage, “representatives” refers to the number of seats in House of Representatives in Congress, “Numbers” refers to population, “several States” refers to any State that ratifies the Constitution, “those bound to service” refers to indentured servants (those who had committed to a term of voluntary servitude in compensation for repayment of the voyage to America fronted by others), “Indians not taxed” refers to Indians on reservations, “other persons” refers to slaves, and “free persons” refers to anyone not in the “other person” group, i.e. not slaves.

This passage can therefore be clarified as follows: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the States according to their respective population, which shall be determined as the sum of the number of a) all free persons, b) indentured servants, and c) three-fifths of slaves; specifically excluding Indians on reservations.” In other words, representation in Congress was apportioned to the full population of all people in the state not on reservations, except for slaves, whose apportionment was at a fraction of only 60%.  This is known as the “three-fifths” rule.  This three-fifths provision was superseded by the 14th Amendment, which was ratified 9 Jul 1868.

Why did the Founding Fathers insert the three-fifths clause regarding slaves?

  1. a) Most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners who had contempt for black people, and reduced the value of black people to 60% of a white person because it was a long-held tradition.
  2. b) Most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners who had contempt for black people, and reduced the value of a black person to 60% of a white person in an attempt to deprive the slaves of their fair share of welfare payments.
  3. c) Even the Founding Fathers who did not own slaves were racist, and reduced the apportionment of slaves to 60% of a white person to suppress the political influence of the black slaves in the Southern states.
  4. d) The members of the Democratic Party insisted on this provision before they would allow a ratification vote in the Southern states.
  5. e) Each of the Founding Fathers had different motives, but these motives were generally a combination of a), b), and c).

(The answer shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Articles of Confederation, Constitutional Convention, critical thinking, Early American history, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »