This post continues a debate that began several weeks ago.

In this post, we consider the following question.

What “People” Do You Think The Framers Were Talking About?

I don’t recall saying that the 1st Amendment explicitly says it applies only to citizens. However, when the 1st Amendment uses the term “People”, what “People” do you think the Framers were talking about?”

When they used the word “people”, can we tell who the Framers of the Constitution were talking about? Did they define the term? No, but they most certainly used it.

Declaration of Independence

The word “people” appears ten times in the Declaration of Independence. That includes specific references to a particular people. The Declaration of Independence spoke of “one people”, “our people”, and the “People of these Colonies”.

The Articles of Confederation

The word “people” appears only three times in The Articles of Confederation. A less successful document, The Articles of Confederation speak of “the people of the different States in this Union”. With the danger passed, “the people of the different States in this Union” still had half a mind to remain independent of each other.

The United States Constitution

The word “people” appears ten times in The United States Constitution, three times in the original document and seven times in the amendments. Where it appears first is most revealing.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

How can a people that cannot define itself be unified? If there is nothing that binds a people together, what will hold that people together as one? Yet the Framers gave as their first goal the intent to form a more perfect Union. In fact, the Founders expressed an explicit concern that Congress should define citizenship. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution empowered Congress “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”.

Bill of Rights

The term “people” appears in the Bill of Rights five times. Three times the document speaks of “the right of the people”; it does so in the first, second, and the fourth amendments.  In the ninth amendment, the Bill of Rights speaks of rights retained “by the people”, and in the tenth amendment the Bill of Rights speaks of powers reserved “to the people”.


Why the strange contortion? Why are those who want to transmit the dubious blessings of a socialist welfare state to all the world so blind? It is not difficult to find in the Constitution what the term “people” must mean. Yet the rascals would have us believe that it is. Why do they obfuscate the meaning of the word “people”? If our leaders can evolve the Constitution so that we can no longer determine what people the Constitution is talking about, will our people still have any rights? It seems we will not. Perhaps then that explains the recent successes our leaders have had quickly eroding our rights.