Jerry Adler in Newsweek is reporting on a plank in the Iowa GOP platform — adopted last month at the state convention in Des Moines — which is aimed at stripping President Obama of his citizenship for accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. This is only the weirdest of 387 planks, which include everything from a definition of manure to support for the gold standard.
Plank 7.19 calls for “the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th amendment in today’s Constitution.” Here, according to Adler, is the text of the original 13th amendment (aka TONA, “Titles of Nobility Amendment”):
“If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”
This amendment passed both houses of Congress in 1812 and was ratified by 12 states when the war intervened. Ratification by 13 states would have been required for passage at that time, but soon more states were added to the Union and so it fell further behind. This, at least, is the view of mainstream historians.
And so it was until the 1980s, when a conspiracy-minded researcher named David Dodge came across an 1825 copy of the Constitution including this provision. Further research led Dodge to conclude that TONA had been ratified by Virginia no later than 1819 and was an accepted, if largely unnoted, part of the Constitution from then until its mysterious disappearance around the time of the Civil War.
According to Adler, the entire impetus for dragging this into the Iowa GOP platform this year is “to embarrass Obama.”
But, as those of us who are not sleepwalking can plainly see, the GOP — as usual — embarrassed itself.
The cause of the Thirteenthers sounds like something the Tea Party Patriots could support.
Read Adler’s full article — which includes an explanation for why restoration of the original 13th would abolish all lawyers and bankers in the U.S. – here.