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Citizen vs. citizen

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Samuel Howell, Jr.
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Citizen vs. citizen

Postby Samuel Howell, Jr. » Friday August 29th, 2008 1:45 pm MDT

Reading through the Constitution I noticed that the word Citizen is capitalized. My understanding of the english language leads me to interpret that to mean that a Citizen is the sovereign individual from whom the governing authority is drawn. Reading through the Bill of Rights and the Amendments I find that Citizen is capitalized up until the O.J. 15th Amendment (Corp. U.S. 14th). From this point on the word is no longer capitalized.

I am slightly confused as to the significance of this, as the Corporation had yet to be formed. If the Corporation had been formed, I would take it to mean that the lower case c was referring to citizens that were no longer in the original jurisdiction. However, because it is before the formation of the Corporation, who, exactly, are these "citizens" to whom the Amendment refers? The citizens of the former Confederacy?
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Re: Citizen vs. citizen

Postby Admin » Saturday August 30th, 2008 9:24 am MDT

:h: Samuel Howell, Jr:
It is ironic that a discussion that starts with a reference to the meaning of a proper noun (a noun with its initial letter capitalized) should have the proper noun “English” misspelled with a lower case “e” as its initial letter. Our response first focuses you back to the Standard for Review.

Accordingly we note: modern English would claim, the reason “Citizen”, as it is used in the Constitution up to the 14th amendment, is capitalized is, it is a proper noun. The modern English language rules require that, proper nouns are always capitalized to distinguish them from common nouns. Proper nouns name or describe unique persons, places or things; they are always spelled with the initial letter of each noun in the name capitalized. Again, this is a convention of modern English. Some folks attribute the capitalization in the Constitution as the effect of a convention of capitalizing all nouns as if that was how it was done in English up to about 1800. They evidence that allegation by in American English by exemplifying noteworthy documents like, the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution (1787) up to the Bill of Rights and they provide that the policy had changed by the 13th Article of amendment (1865), which only capitalizes proper nouns. That is a fine historical argument, but it is not well supported by our reading of other work written in the same period and before.

Rather, what is apparent is the authors of those instruments themselves followed a pattern of emphasis known as “Poetic License”, to accentuate their point. We see this in the Preamble of the Constitution for the United States of America)
James Madison (et al.) wrote:We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general W[elfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
In this quote we added the underlining under each of the nouns that would generally be considered common nouns by their usage. We believe (from Mr. Madison’s other writing on the subject matter) that he was pointing out that each of these nouns in fact are more like proper nouns than common nouns in that each of these nouns, as they are referred to here, represent uniquely specific things: Order, Union, Justice, Tranquility, Welfare, Blessings of Liberty, and Posterity. That was his exact point. That preamble statement was also why they did not initially believe controls external to that preamble were necessary (which is why the amendments of the Bill of Rights were added later—the states felt the preamble was not definitive enough, and the Bill of Rights were added by amendment to form the Constitution of the United States of America).

Accordingly, we look at those documents using the same rules of English as used today and acknowledge that they reference the unique nature of the words capitalized.

Thus, when you add to the meaning of the word “Citizen” the quality of sovereign, we expect that is an addition that cannot come from the word “Citizen” alone. The proper noun usage does definitively apply the word to each individual it refers to on a one by one basis. You will notice the rest of the usage wherever the word comes up is also language that indicates “each” or “any” or some other language indicating the application of the usage is focused on the individual, though the language is also expansive in that it applies to everyone, all of the time. In other words, these articles were written with exquisite eloquence.

As to the sovereign point: it is impossible for a man to have any other capacity (other than sovereign); unless he is diminished by some handicap external to his own choice (like disease, etc.).

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