More Constitutional Craziness from David Barton

Here is the latest logic from David Barton‘s “Wallbuilders Live” radio program:

  • The Constitution does not mention God
  • The Declaration of Independence mentions God four times
  • The Constitution is “part two” of the Declaration of Independence
  • Thus the writers of the Constitution did not have to mention God again because they already mentioned God in the Declaration.

Listen:

There is absolutely no evidence for anything Barton says here.  He is making this up.  The idea that the founders believed the Constitution was a natural extension of the Declaration of the Independence in the way Barton describes it ignores everything that happened between 1776 and 1787.

I challenge Barton to show me any member of the Constitutional Convention who made the connection between the God-language of the Declaration of Independence and the lack of God language in the Constitution in the way Barton suggests.

I suggest Barton read the following books:

Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic

Woody Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

Michael Klarman, The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution.

These books all do a nice job of explaining the complicated relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

So I guess I am one of these “brainless” professors Barton talks about.  Actually, he has called me worse .

I am also still waiting for Barton to apologize for this.

For a different approach to the religious dimensions of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution check out Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.

3 thoughts on “More Constitutional Craziness from David Barton

  1. Interesting, John. I notice he didn’t include the Articles of Confederation in his arc from the Declaration to the Constitution. Not that it would have made a difference, because the Articles don’t support his thesis of connection either.

    “Legally you cannot separate those two documents.” I’ll grant the historical inseparability, but legally inseparable? OK, Mr. Barton, show me the law – statutory or decisional – that says the Declaration and Constitution are inseparable under law. It’s not there.

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    • I’ve heard him argue elsewhere that they are legally inseparable under the doctrine of “incorporation.” Of course, he mangles what incorporation means. As you know, incorporation refers to documents, like a package of mortgage documents, that are executed contemporaneously between the same parties in the same transaction, not documents created 11 years apart by different groups of people. When he refers to the signature block noting the years since the Declaration, which he bizarrely claims is substantively part of Article VII, he sometimes claims this shows “incorporation by reference.” This all makes my hair hurt.

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