I received a comment elsewhere on this blog that asked for an analysis of the difference between “The United States of America” and “United States”. I replied as follows:
As I understand it, the word “constitution” signifies a document that originally creates, incorporates or “constitutes” some new entity. We say “The Constitution of the United States,” but the same text might just as easily have been entitled “The Charter of the United States” or “The Incorporation Papers of the United States”. As I understand it, the instrument entitled “The Constitution of the United States” is the document that “constituted” the entity named “United States”.
Note that even though a document that performs the function of “constituting” or creating a new entity, that document need not be expressly named “The Constitution of [That Entity]”. It could have an name that never used the word “constitution” but still performed the function of “constituting” a new entity.
We’re all familiar with the federal “Constitution”. There’s a problem with that document. The author’s never attached an explicit title at the top of that document and so there’s some confusion about its proper name. Some think that document is properly named “The Constitution of the United States”. Some say, “The Constitution of The United States of America.” Others say, “The Constitution for the United States of America”.
I could be mistaken, but I believe its proper name is “The Constitution of the United States“. I believe that document (first ratified by the People in A.D. 1788) constituted or created an entity called “United States” which is commonly referred to today as the federal government.
But there’s also confusion as to whether that “Constitution” created a “federal” government or a “national” government–or both. I don’t know the answer, but I speculate that the “general government” acts in its “federal” capacity whenever it deals with the States of the Union, and in it’s “national” capacity whenever it deals with foreign countries, international law, the territories and/or Washington DC. But that’s pure speculation.
Some people believe that Constitution’s proper name is “The Constitution for the United States of America” because the last phrase in the Preamble to the Constitution reads “. . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” That belief might be correct, but I disagree. I believe that the text in the Preamble is telling us that “this Constitution” is being ordained and established “FOR” the benefit of the pre-existing entity named “The United States of America”. I.e., I strongly suspect that the “United States” was created to serve as a fiduciary for “The United States of America”; and, conversely, “The United States of America” is the principle beneficiary of “The Constitution of the United States”.
If I’m right, then the “United States” created by the Constitution is a separate and distinct entity from “The United States of America”.
If I’m right, the Constitution created the “United States” but some other document must’ve created or constituted “The United States of America”.
Q: What other document predated “The Constitution of the United States” (ratified by the People in A.D. 1788) that might’ve constituted/created “The United States of America”?
A: The Articles of Confederation ratified in A.D. 1781.
If you read the Articles of Confederation, you’ll that its Article 1 declares: “The Stile of this Confederacy shall be “The United States of America“.”
I read Article 1 to mean that the Articles of Confederation created or constituted an entity whose proper name is “The United States of America“. If so, then the Articles of Confederation are the “constitution” of “The United States of America”.
Again, I therefore believe that the later instrument that came to be called “The Constitution of the United States” created/constituted another entity called “United States” that was separate and distinctly different from “The United States of America”. Again, I believe that the “Constitution” constituted the entity “United States” to act for the benefit of the beneficiary named “The United States of America”.
What possible difference could there be between “The United States of America” (as constituted by the Articles of Confederation) and the “United States” (as constituted by The Constitution of the United States”)?
There are certainly a host of differences between the two documents and the entities they each created. However, I see a fundamental and glaring distinction between the two. If you read and compare the “Articles” to the “Constitution,” you’ll see that “The United States of America” includes only the States of the Union. There is no proviso for territories owned by the federal government, nor is there any proviso for a federal “district” that is currently called “Washington DC“.
On the other hand, the latter “Constitution” provides for the federal government to have exclusive legislative jurisdiction over territories and allows for the “district” that is now called “Washington DC“.
If so, then if you are in Washington DC or one of the “territories,” you are presumably in and under the jurisdiction of the “United States“. If you are within a State of the Union, you are within and under the jurisdiction of The Unites States of America.
I speculate that a primary benefit provided for “The United States of America” (the States of the Union) by the “United States” (national (?) government) was to own and operate the territories for the benefit of the States of the Union.
I similarly speculate that if someone asks if I am in one of the “United States” (meaning the entity created by the “Constitution”) and I say Yes, it might be possible for others to presume that I am in a territory of “this state” of the “United States”. On the other hand, so long as I insist that I am within “The United States of America,” I must be within a State of the Union and I cannot be in a territory.
This is pure speculation based primarily on my “gut” and could be mistaken. Nevertheless, once this kind of issue is raised, the gov-co will have to overcome any suggestion that there’s a difference between the venue of the “United States” and the venue of “The United States of America”. If the “The State/this state” hypothesis that’s been explored on this blog is true, I doubt that government will want to touch any case that raises the issue of the difference in venues between “United States” and “The United States of America”.
Once the issue is raised, one of two things is true: either 1) the “United States” and “The United States of America” signify the same venue; or 2) they signify two different venues.
If the gov-co declares that “United States” and “The United States of America” signify the same venue, I’m good to go because then I can’t be in a “territory” (where I have virtually no meaningful rights) but must be within a State of the Union.
If the gov-co admits that “United States” (this state/territory) and “The United States of America” (The State(s)) are two different entities, I’m also good to go because I will insist that all of my transactions have taken place within “The United States of America,” and that I never voluntarily left my State of the Union to enter some fictional “territory” of the the “United States”. Even if they could prove that I’m “in this state,” they have no authority over me without my consent. Once I denied that I have ever knowingly consented to be subject to the power (not authority) of “this state,” And I would be much amazed if any prosecutor could find a legitimate jury which would not agree with me.
The system appears to depend on the court taking a kind of “silent judicial notice” that the defendant has voluntarily and knowingly entered into “this state”. But once that unstated presumption is challenged by raising the issue of two competing venues, the fictional venue of “this state” must fail. If he knows his stuff, any defendant should be able to explain to a jury that the government should not allowed to prosecute based in the unspoken presumption (that most jurors could not even imagine) that each of us (including the jurors) have somehow “voluntarily” entered into a venue that we’ve never been told about and is fictional, besides.
If the two-venue, “The State/this state” hypothesis is true, and if a defendant really understands it, once that issue is raised, the gov-co of “this state” (territory) would seem little choice but to drop the case. Again, this is conjecture. Take it all with salt. But I think it’s probably true.
I’ll bet that any address with a Zip Code is in a territory rather than a State of the Union. I can’t prove it, but I strongly suspect that one of the first orders of business is to understand the difference between The United States of America and the United States, and then be prepared to effectively claim that everything you do is within a State (such as The State of Texas or The State of Illinois) which is a member of the perpetual Union called “The United States of America”.
Within “The United States of America,” you may have a shot at enforcing your unalienable right to Liberty. In the “United States” you’re a subject or even livestock deemed to be living or transacting in a territory where the Congress has exclusive legislative jurisdiction. Within “The United States of America,” you might be a sovereign. “In this state” of the “United States,” you are, at best, a subject.
For more insight into this subject, see “The Organic Law of The United States of America“.