The Constitutional Convention was called for on February 21, 1787 to start May 14, 1787 but there wasn’t a quorum. A quorum was reached on May 25. It was finally signed on September 17, 1787. So you can see that that summer in Philadelphia was spent planning, writing, and arguing about the document that would eventually be called the United States Constitution.
The Constitutional Convention was called as a way to amend the Articles of Confederation under which the country operated up to then. The Article of Confederation required a consensus of the states to amend it. However, only nine states had ratified the Constitution when it took effect, and two states ratified it after the first President was elected.
If we look at the chart erected for the opening of the Convention on May 25 we see that Saturn is on the Moon. By looking at the graphical ephemeris for that summer we see that Saturn went back and forth over the moon, and back and forth sesquiquadrate to the Sun of the United States. Now the United States is a very Saturnine nation, as we shall talk about at a different time; one indication of this is Saturn square Sun in the U.S. Chart. But the Constitution is also a document seeped in Saturn. What does this mean for the country and our system of laws, based on that Constitution? Saturn is limits, definitions, concrete reality. It is by nature conservative, possibly pessimistic, expecting the worse. Saturn in this case covers three area: conservative, lawyers, property. We shall discuss each in turn.
Of the 55 men (no women allowed!) at the Constitutional Convention, fully 35 were lawyers or trained in the law, or 63%, almost two-thirds. So from the beginning America was dominated by lawyers. (Insert any lawyer jokes you have here.) And it has only continued that way. A majority of the members of Congress are lawyers, and many have commented on the litigious nature of our society. There are so many laws (written by the lawyer-dominated Congress and state legislatures) that one needs a lawyer to navigate it all. As one who has availed himself of lawyers from time to time, they are extremely valuable and helpful. But again, many have commented by how lawyers dominate our society.
Many think that the Constitution came from God, especially the Second Amendment which Moses brought down with the Ten Commandments, and so it can’t be criticized. But in reality the Constitution is a conservative document that was designed to slow down the process of law making (consider checks and balances) which has lead to many of the problems with government we face today. Just think of the Electoral College, two Senators from every state so that Wyoming and California have the same number of Senators, and lifetime appointment of Supreme Court justices. Daniel Lazare in his books The Velvet Coup and The Frozen Republic has outlined well the problems with the Constitution, and George Kenney on electricpolitics.com has talked often about the need to rewrite the Constitution.
An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by Charles Beard is possibly the most controversial history book of all time. Beard, a Progressive historian of the early Twentieth Century, gives an alternate view of why the Constitution was created, to protect the economic interest of the Founders and their friends, most of whom were wealthy. John Hancock, for example, was one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. Another alternate view is that of Staughton Lynd in Class Conflict, Slavery, and the United States Constitution, that argues that protecting slave owners was an important part of the Constitution. (Interestingly, George Kenney just interviewed Staughton Lynd about this book. Kenney’ s show – electric politics – is interesting because he not only covers politics but also less mainstream topics such as UFOs, ESP, and reincarnation. I suggested to Mr. Kenney that he interview Richard Tarnas about subjects similar to what is covered in this blog. Tarrnas is an academic who has written a standard undergraduate textbook, The Passion of the Western Mind, and who was introduced to astrology by Rob Hand when they were both at Esalen. I was shot down and realized that among the intellectual class interest in astrology is considered only slightly above an interest in child pornography.) The theories of these books go in and out of fashion; sometimes they are condemned and at other times a restatement of them is published.
Another important aspect of Saturn-dominance of the United States is the high esteem property is held in these United States, one can almost say worship. Even though the term “property” is not used in the Constitution, its function is hard to miss. The Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) is the most obvious, but there are others that relate. And this worship of property is put in so-called Free Trade Agreements, such as NAFTA and the current Trans Pacific Partnership – TPP — which allow business to sue for loss of value of their property because of, for example, environmental regulations. And of course the whole subject of regulations of business is considered as evil because they interfere with the right of property, which are considered to have higher rights than that of people. Many Supreme Court decisions relate to the rights of property such as the Citizens United decision. As I write this there was recently a standoff in Nevada between a cattlemen and the Federal government that comes down to property rights.