My Students, generally, do not quibble about the meanings of the words: ratify and establish, the root words of “ratification and establishment.” Article VII of “this Constitution” provides clear definitions for ratification and establishment: “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.”
Some of my Students fail to see the connection between the taking and subscription of the Article VI oath and the adoption of the Constitution of September 17, 1787. “Adoption” in the context of the ratification and establishment of “this Constitution” means to take up voluntarily and practice or use as one’s own. The Preamble ordained and established “this Constitution for the United States of America,” which meant it was ready for the use of the States once it was ratified by nine States. Taking and subscribing the Article VI oath made that Constitution ready to be taken up by the President and Congress.
Adoption must follow ratification and establishment, because one cannot adopt something which does not exist. That limitation, however, does not apply to the thirteen States, as twelve of those States sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention of May 25, 1787, who subscribed their names to the Constitution of September 17, 1787. Formal ratification and establishment of the Constitution of September 17, 1787 in conformity with Article VII took place on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth State to ratify that Constitution.
Ratification and Establishment was the procedure by which the States adopted the Constitution of September 17, 1787. Adoption for the new government under the authority of “this Constitution,” the Constitution of September 17, 1787 was prescribed in Article VI Clause 3: ‘The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
What would it take for all those Officers mentioned in Article VI to “be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution”? Each Representative, every Senator and George Washington would have to attach to a copy of the Constitution of September 17, 1787 a piece of paper with the words: “I support this Constitution” and subscribe their signature.
George Washington was an executive Officer by virtue of his election to the Office of President of the United States of America on April 6, 1789. The oral oath of Office of President of the United States Washington took on April 30, 1789 would not satisfy Article VI, because the only oral oath that is binding is the testamentary oral oath to tell the truth. The April 30, 1789 oral oath of Office of President of the United States was intended by Washington and the Framers of the Constitution to be mistaken for an Article VI oath and history has shown it to be so mistaken.
The Article II Section 1 Clause 5 Office of President requires that any person who fills that Office must be “fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” Fourteen Years from July 4, 1776, the birth date of the United States would be July 4, 1790. The Office of President under the Constitution of September 17, 1787 could not be filled until after July 4, 1790. That Office has been vacant since the ratification and establishment of the Constitution of September 17, 1787 and that Constitution has never been adopted by a Congress or President.
It is not possible to understand the Constitution without knowing the secrets locked within it. My “Basic Course in Law and Government” is the only one that reveals these constitutional secrets to the novice law student. For more information on the Course, contact me at email@example.com
Dr. Eduardo M. Rivera