Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Founding Fathers would have loved the European Union (they would have let Canada join the US!)

The Articles of Confederation (the United States' governing document from 1781 until before the Constitution replaced it in 1788) allowed Canada to join the United States at any time it wished, simply by accepting the terms of the Articles of Confederation. Here's the language:

Art. XI Canada acceding to this confederation, and joining in the measures of the united states, shall be admitted into, and entited to all the advantages of this union: but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine states.

Even better, any other colony could join up if 9 of the 13 states agreed to it. That's pretty flexible! With a 70% vote of the states, any colony could have joined the United States of America.

Can you imagine Mexico and Canada joining with the United States today in a North American Union? Look at our friends in Europe for an example of the power of a new, modern form of government. The European Union has transformed a continent of perpetual war and bitter enemies into one of the world's strongest economies with almost 500 million people.

Building a North American Union would be one of the smartest long-term investments in our economic well-being we can make. Here, we spend billions on patrolling borders and wasting millions of hours for people and cargo to pass through heavily-fortified checkpoints. And for what? To make it more expensive to for all of us to build businesses, create jobs and improve our quality of life throughout North America.

I can already hear conservatives and those afraid of fundamental improvements in our government resurrect our Founding Fathers and our sacred Constitution as weapons to dismiss any discussion of a North American Union or integrating Canada and Mexico into the United States as un-American or fundamentally unconstitutional. It's nice to learn that the original government of the United States of America explicitly embraced the same progressive spirit now seen in the European Union.

You know, the best way to honor our Founding Fathers is to emulate then, not worship them. They spent their political capital fundamentally improving their governments and they weren't afraid to reject altogether the deficient governments they inherited. We ought to be infused with that same bold spirit of government-making to imagine and create modern institutions.

2 comments:

Maggie The Wolf Star said...

First, you have a nerve even talking about our founding fathers never mind pretending to understand what they were about.

Second, they were not all of one mind. Thomas Jefferson warned us about entangling alliances. I wouldn't trust Hamilton or his crew any more than I'd trust modern Democrats OR Republicans.

"Art. XI Canada acceding to this confederation, and joining in the measures of the united states, shall be admitted into, and entited to all the advantages of this union: but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine states.

Even better, any other colony could join up if 9 of the 13 states agreed to it. That's pretty flexible! With a 70% vote of the states, any colony could have joined the United States of America."

Note that it says join the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA -- not form some alliance with other nations with a new government that will effectively dissolve the United States of America!

God help us, we're gonna need it.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Well, "Maggie the Wolf Star", note that our Founding Fathers took "the United States of America" as laid out in the governing document of the country in 1781 and less than a decade later, chose to create an entirely new "United States of America" where all of the small nations (the 13 states) decided to grow stronger together by creating and empowering an entirely new government with jurisdiction over all of them. That's our federal government which didn't exist before the Founding Fathers -- without authority under the Articles of Confederation, mind you -- decided to act boldly and imagine a stronger, modern government to improve all of their lives. Sounds a lot like the Founding Fathers of the European Union to me.

Don't be scared of progress, Maggie. We're going to need to be as bold as our Founding Fathers.