Monday, July 22, 2013

Chapter 3 possibly

Grandpa and Jim
A New Form of Government

            In many ways talking with his Grandfather things became a little clearer for Jim, in other ways he was probably more confused than he was before.  At the same time he was becoming more and more curious about the way things were before the Unification had occurred, especially about what the place called the United States of America was. 

Jim and his family lived in District 21-544 of the Unified State of America.  According to Grandpa this used to be called Jamestown in the State of Virginia which was one of the States in the United States of America.  In fact it seemed like it all started here for the most part, at least for what Grandpa had called the British Colonies which eventually wrote this document called the Declaration of Independence and renamed themselves the Unites States of America.  It was this Declaration that Jim had been studying and had talked to Grandpa about a week or so ago.  Since then he had re-read it numerous times and more of it made sense, at the same time more of it created questions that Jim was unable to get answers for.

One of the first things that Jim was able to clear up for himself was why the Declaration said the United States and the Committee called it the Unified States, they sound similar.  When Jim had a few minutes at Educational Training he looked up the definition of the two words were, wow was he surprised at the difference in their meanings.  To be unified basically meant one unit, consolidated, to be a union meant an alliance of people or even political parties for mutual beliefs and / or mutual benefit.  For two words that sounds so similar it was amazing how different the meanings.  Jim started understanding some of the things Grandpa had said about the whole change happened slowly and that today those in power gained land through slick talk and dirty tricks, this was slick talk.

Jim was also intrigued with the opening words of the Declaration, especially the part about the Creator, Laws of Nature and Natures God.  He was going to try and look these up on his e-tablet but as soon as he typed in “The Creator” his tablet locked him out and one of the facilitators of Educational Training was instantly at his station.  Jim was able to talk his way out by claiming he meant to search for the Creator of the e-tablet since he was interested in computers but he hit the enter key by mistake.  The facilitator accepted this explanation but seemed to keep an extra close eye on Jim for the rest of the day.  Jim realized then that he would not be able to use his e-tablet for researching anything him and Grandpa talked about.  Even though paper was not used anymore Educational Training still taught everyone how to write since you could take notes on an e-tablet, only Jim was afraid to put any notes on the tablet since it seemed that everything he did on it was or could be monitored.  Part of the scrap book that Grandpa gave him were blank pages and there were a couple of ancient writing instruments stuck in the book as well.  Grandpa showed Jim how to use these so he started to write questions on the blank paper that he would ask Grandpa later.  Jim had decided he wanted to continue with the talk about the pocketbook and then ask all the questions at once, maybe he would get the answers without having to ask.

Today was one day 14 of the Educational schedule which meant Jim did not have to attend training today.  Educational Training was on a 14 day schedule, 13 days of training with one day off, this day off was actually used to update the computerized training that was constantly changing.  Nobody minded since it gave them a day to other things such as visit virtual museums or participate in the one of the virtual sports, actual sports were outlawed to prevent any injuries to the participants.  Jim enjoyed virtual baseball, he only wished the bats and balls were real and not just balls of light and small light wands you swung at them.  At least with virtual baseball you still had to run, even though it was only running in place, to move the virtual player around the bases.  Today was different though, instead of going to the Virtual Sports Emporium, the VSE, Jim decided to spend the day with Grandpa.

When Jim walked into the main room of their living quarters Grandpa was there as he expected.  Today Grandpa was wearing some old dark blue sweater that had the initials USN on it over some funny looking fish like things.  Jim had seen it before but never really paid that much attention to it, today for some reason he was real curious about what it all meant and where Grandpa had gotten it, seemed like Jim was getting more and more curious about things since Grandpa had given him the scrapbook.

“What’s with the sweater Grandpa?” Jim asked.

“This?  This was part of my uniform when I was in the Navy.”

“The Navy?  What is The Navy?” Jim asked with a puzzled look.

Grandpa chuckled.  “I tend to forget that all the branches of the military have been combined and are now called the Unified Peace Keeping Force.  As you know there is a branch of the UPKF that operates on the oceans of the world, in my day this was called the Navy.”

“So what are the fish things and what does USN mean?”

“USN stood for United States Navy and...”

Jim interrupted excitedly “That makes sense to me now!”

Grandpa smiled broadly and continued “and the funny fish are an insignia that was called Dolphins, it was a symbol that I was a qualified member of the United States Submarine Service.”

Again excited Jim exclaimed “I know what Submarines are.  In Educational Training they told us that they are used for not only Peace Keeping missions but they also have ones that are used for scientific purposes only, something about exploring the oceans to see if we can set up communities on the ocean floor to alleviate the overcrowding.”

“Very good Jim.  Is that what you wanted to talk about today, my sweater?”  Grandpa said teasingly.

Jim didn’t really blush but he did kind of flush a little from embarrassment at being so easy to read.  “Actually I was hoping we could talk some more about the pocketbook you gave me.”

“Are you wanting to talk about the Declaration of Independence some more?”

“No, I do have more questions about that but I thought I’d wait until we got through it all before I asked them.  Actually I’d like to talk about the Constitution of the United States of America.”

“OK” Grandpa said looking at Jim, “what about the Constitution of the United States of America?”

“First off what is the Constitution?” Jim asked.

“Well, the Constitution was the document that established the Government of the newly established United States of America.”

“OK, so why, if I remember correctly, the Declaration actually established the United States of America in 1776, some…. 262 years ago but the Constitution wasn’t written until 1787, so 251 years ago?  Was there no Government for that 11 years?”

“Good question.  Actually the Constitution was not the first time the newly formed United States tried to establish guidelines for how the Government was going to operate.  Right after the Declaration of Independence was written and signed establishing the United States as a sovereign Nation the Continental Congress met and wrote the Articles of Confederation.  While the Articles of Confederation did provide for some unity among the States of the newly formed United States they were very weak overall.  It was realized early on that the Articles of Confederation were not sufficient for all the needs of this up and coming Nation.  The Articles of Confederation got them through the Revolutionary War…”

“The what war?” Jim asked puzzled.

“The Revolutionary War” Grandpa said laughing.  “Throughout history most major wars have been named, the one that the new United States of America fought against the King of Great Britain to secure their independence was called the Revolutionary War.  Understand?”

“Got it” replied Jim with a grin.

“OK, now, after the war was over many believed that there needed to be a central Government with more power, but that power had to have checks and balances to keep it from becoming a tyrannical Government, to keep from becoming another Great Britain.  Not everyone felt this way, some felt the Articles of Confederation were good but just needed some adjusting.  With this in mind they called for what was called a Federal Convention in 1787 presumably to propose changes to the Articles of Confederation.  Those that wanted a stronger central Government had a different plan, they proposed a completely different style of Government.  These men, we called them either the Founding Fathers or the Framers of the Constitution, looked back at history and put together a plan for a Government using the knowledge they had gained.  They called it a Republic with indirect Democracy.  A Republic is a form of Government where all affairs of State are a public matter, not a private matter for the ruler.  Indirect Democracy is where the People elect officials that will represent them in the affairs of State.”

“If the People are represented how does that make for a stronger central Government?” Jim asked.  “Seems to me it would be chaos with all the People having different ideas.”

“I’m impressed” Grandpa replied.  “The Founders knew they had to have representation for not only the People but also for all the individual State Governments.  Remember I told you that at that time State meant the same as Country and each of the States had their own Governments, and their own Constitutions I might add.  To do this they had what was called the Congress, the Congress was split into two houses as they called them.  One was the House of Representatives.  This was the side that represented the People.  The number of Representatives for each States was determined by the population of that State.  These were the ones that were the voice of the People.  The idea was that they would spend time in the districts that elected them, talk to the People and use that knowledge to represent them within the Central Government.  On the other hand the State Governments would elect two individuals that would represent them in the Congress, this was the second house in Congress, and it was called the Senate.  Since citizens are the ones that worked and earned the money the House of Representatives were given the power of writing the laws that would raise the revenue that would be needed to keep the Central Government operating.  To ensure that neither house could write a law that would hurt the other once a law was written it had to go to the other house to be approved.  Laws had to be approved by a majority of each house.  This was not always an easy task since the citizens of the individual States and the Governments of the States each had their own ideas about how things should be done.”

Jim looked thoughtful, “so the Central Government was this Congress that could write laws that went back and forth between the two houses until enough members agreed to get a majority before anything got done?”

“It does sound like that doesn’t it?” mused Grandpa.  “While that may seem like the way it would work it actually worked out quite well, for the most part.  But that wasn’t all that had to happen.  The Founders knew there had to be checks and balances in place.  Congress was called the Legislative Branch, where there is one branch there has to be more.  The next branch was called the Executive Branch.  The Executive Branch was one person, really it was more but I’ll explain that later.  After much deliberation this person was to be called the President, meaning this person was to preside over the Nation.  All of the laws that were written in Congress were not actually laws until they were signed by the President, up to that point they were actually called Bills.  The President was to look over each Bill that arrived in his office to ensure it was the best thing for the Nation, if it was he would sign it and make it a law.  If he didn’t like it he could outright turn it down, called a veto, or he could suggest changes to it and send it back down to whichever of the two houses originally wrote it.  It would then go through the entire process again.”

“So we now have the Congress that sits around thinking of Bills to write and the President that either approves them or disapproves them, sorry, veto’s them.  Have I got all that right?” asked Jim.

“So far, maybe not in the most accurate terms but you have the idea” Grandpa replied with a grin.  “There is more though.  So far we have two branches, there is one more.  To ensure the other branches were staying within the, shall we use the word rules for now, of the Constitution the Judicial Branch was established.  The Judicial Branch consists of nine Judges that are selected by the President and approved by Congress, remember, checks and balances.  These Judges, called the Supreme Court, are there to review Laws to ensure they are constitutionally correct, they have other duties but you can read about that in the Constitution.”

“So if I understand right now, the People elect the House of Representatives which gives the People a voice and they also write the ummm, Bills that control the money.”

“Right so far.”

“The individual State Governments select the Senate which gives the State Governments a voice.”

“Again, right so far.”

“All Bills, possibly to become a law, are written in one or the other House of the Congress but the other house must approve it.”


“The Bills then go to the President to become a Law or to be vetoed.”

“Very good.”  Grandpa was impressed.

“OK” Jim began again. “Then we have the Judicial Branch that is selected by the President and approved by the Congress but makes sure that the other Branches are staying within the rules of the Constitution.”

“Right again, you are doing great, wait, why the puzzled look Jim?”

“Well you said that the Executive Branch was one person, well actually more but you never said how many more or who.  You also never said how the President was chosen.”

“Guess I have to stay on my toes around you now, you are learning quickly.  The Executive Branch was for all intents and purposes two people, one was the President and the other was the Vice President.  The Vice President presided over the Senate and would act as a tie breaker if the voting was 50 50, remember there were two Senators for each State so the Senate had an even number of members.  The Vice President was also the person that would take the place of the President if the President should not be able to perform the duties of his office for any reason.  The way the President and the Vice President was selected was by a vote.  Originally this vote was done by a group, called electors, chosen from each State.  The groups in the individual States would select the best possible candidates they believed to be President and Vice President, the number of selectees was up to the States.  They would then take their lists to a convention of all the States electors, called the Electoral College, and compare them.  The two individuals with the most votes from all the States were selected to be the President and the Vice President.  As times changed and the population grew it became harder and harder to do it this way because the numbers of potential candidates grew also, therefore the selection came down to voting by all citizens in the individual States with the candidate for President selecting who he wanted to be his Vice President before the voting began.  Most of the time the Presidential candidate was the only one that mattered.  The States would tally the votes within their State and again, their selected electors would go to the Electoral College for the final vote.  The number of Electors per State was determined by the population of each State, just like the House of Representatives, so some States had more votes than others.  With me so far?”

“Actually I think I am” Jim replied.  “What about the other things in the Constitution, like this Article 5 thing?”

“Well the Founders knew they could not predict what would happen in the future, how the Nation would grow, what its needs would be or how technology would change so they included a way to change the Constitution in such a way that the majority of the States, in fact at least 2/3s of the States would have to agree with.  The other parts of the Constitution actually laid out the areas that the Central Government would have control over, in fact there are only 18 things the Central Government has control over and most of these have to do with the Defense of the Nation.  Then there are the rules, for a lack of a better term, which the individual States would have to agree to in order to become one of the United States.  There are a lot of words in the Constitution that are not legally binding, they are there for clarification of the reasons for writing the Constitution more than anything else, things like providing for the General Welfare and the Common Defense.  These were the goals of the Constitution, not rules in themselves.  Does that make sense to you?”

Jim looked at his Grandfather for a few seconds and then replied “I think so.  I remember reading those things, only the words they used were different, they sounded almost foreign, but the way you tell it it makes sense.”

“Remember I told you that the way of speaking and language has changed over time, it continues to change with each new generation.  The problem has been that people no longer understand the original language of this Nation, oops, of the United States of America.”

            With this last statement Grandpa had a sad look in his eyes.  Jim thought this might be a good point for them to stop for today.

“Would you like to stop for today Grandpa?  Maybe we can discuss other things later.  For now I think I want to study the Constitution some more, sorry, the Constitution of the United States.”

“Thanks Jim, you are a fast learner” replied Grandpa with a glint of pride in his eyes.

Steve Avery


Monday, July 15, 2013

Still here

I know I have been quite for a long time, but I'm still here and still thinking about what is going on.  The problem has become that most of what is happening gets rehashed by so many people that I have not known what to write about or how to say it when I have thought about writting, so..... I decided to get back into by bringing back something that I had a little fun with a couple of years ago, Grandpa and Jim.  I'm not a historian and I'm not going to take years to do research so there are plenty of holes in what I've written, I know that, it's really meant to just continue a story, not to be a history lesson you will be tested on later.  I hope you enjoy it and who knows, maybe I'll write more about Grandpa and Jim, maybe I'll write more about other things.

Grandpa and Jim
The Beginning of a Nation

            It had been a few days since Jim had received the scrapbook from Grandpa but even though Jim had been born on New Year’s Eve 2026 New Years since then had not been days of celebration.  The Unification itself had occurred on the 2nd of January 2027, since then New Years as the Americas knew it was not celebrated; the Committee, not wanting to offend any of the citizens from the other former Nations had abolished all celebrations.  There were many questions in the beginning about how many days a year would contain and when it would start because of all of the changes the calendar had taken over history. In the end, the European calendar was adopted starting over at year one, 1 AU, since this was the calendar that was the most widely used throughout the world.

            Jim had spent every available moment after Educational Training looking over the scrapbook Grandpa had given him.  In particular, the Pocketbook version of the US Constitution.  This pocketbook contained what was titled as the Declaration of Independence, Grandpa had not mentioned this part but he did say that if Jim read this book he would get an understanding of how the United States of America, the country whose flag was also in the book, was formed and what it meant.  From what Jim had read it seemed that this Declaration was written some 11 years before the actual Constitution thing that Grandpa had mentioned was written.  Jim read both of these but he didn't really understand what they meant so he had been waiting for Educational Training to end today to talk to Grandpa.

            Grandpa was sitting, as usual, in one of his old fashioned outfits.  Since the Unification there had been talk off and on about the Committee prescribing what everyone should wear but nothing had been done so far since the different races that made up the Unified Nations could not come to an agreement about what should be worn, some races wanted to go with robes, some with suits and ties and there were some that really didn’t care, as long as there were multiple choices.  The Committee wanted one uniform style with various colors to delineate worth in the working class.  But as of yet no ruling had been passed so today Grandpa was sitting wearing his blue jeans, boots and a thick denim shirt, some days he would even wear a hat that was turned up on the sides and down on the front and back, but that was just for going outside.  During the warm months Grandpa still liked to wear short pants, button up short sleeve shirts and flip flops.  Personally Jim thought Grandpa was confused as to who he was or what he was, but that was his Grandpa and that was OK.  On the other hand those attending Educational Training did have uniforms to wear so Jim went to his room to change before he started his talk with Grandpa, he also wanted to grab the pocketbook.  After Grandpas warning Jim had taken great pains to hide the scrap book and all its contents, being 12 he thought his sock drawer was the perfect location.

            After Jim had changed and retrieved the pocketbook version of the Constitution he went to the main room of their living quarters.  Their quarters were rather bland since the Committee prescribed how each housing unit would look.  There were a couple of chairs and tables, Grandpa had complained more than once that there were no couches, whatever they were, evidently you could actually lay down on these.  The Committee wanted the room to only be used for sitting and viewing the Committee controlled audio visual programs they received on the wall mounted large tablet.  Grandpa didn't trust the tablet, he said there had been talk of activating the embedded camera for Committee purposes but so far there was no evidence of that.  The only time the camera was activated, to their knowledge, was when the tablet was being used for communication.  The walls also contained a few digital pictures that could be changed, unfortunately they would only display Committee approved images, and too often this would be slogans the Committee was trying out.  You could get it to display the weather which made no sense to Jim, people these days hardly ever had to actually go outside since all work and education centers were located in the same buildings as the workers living quarters.  The lighting and temperature of the quarters was also controlled by the Committee, something else Grandpa grumbled about.  He was always saying the light wasn't bright enough for his old eyes and the temperature was either too hot or too cold for his old bones.  Grandpa seemed to grumble a lot, except when he and Jim were talking privately, Grandpa seemed to like talking to Jim.

Grandpa acted as if he had been waiting for Jim, in fact he almost acted like he was disappointed Jim had not talked to him earlier then today.

“I was wondering when you would come back to me with some questions.”

“Well, I, ummmm…. I wasn't sure what to ask so I read through some of the stuff again” Jim said hesitantly.

“Good.” Said Grandpa with a smile, “That was one of the biggest mistakes people made, not being well informed before they asked questions, the other big one was to not even try to get informed.”

            Jim started feeling better, he started feeling like he had been right to read the pocketbook again, even though it really didn't make complete sense to him, in fact he really did not understand very much of it.  He had gotten the impression that the people that wrote the section called the Declaration of Independence were upset about how things were going with someone called the King of Great Britain, whoever that was and wherever that was.  That was one of the questions Jim wanted to ask Grandpa about.

“For starters” Jim started, “I was wanting to ask you about the Declaration of Independence.  You didn't say anything about that being in the pocketbook so I wasn't sure what it was all about.”

Grandpa looked at Jim with a curious expression, “what do you think it’s about?”

“From what I read it seems like a list of complaints about the King of Great Britain.  What I don’t know is what is a King, where is Great Britain and why were the people that wrote it mad at him?”

“That is a question that will take a lot more than simple one word answers to explain.  I’m not a historian but I can tell you what I know.  There will be holes in my telling but I do have other information hidden away that I will give to you later to learn from.  For now I will try to make it as simple as I can.”  Grandpa stared off for a few seconds collecting his thoughts.  “Remember I told you about Jamestown being founded in 1607, 420 BU to you?  Well that was the first of what were called the British Colonies, well the first successful one.  There had been attempts before, attempts from all different races.  There were many questions about who was the first to actually discover what was called the Americas and how it got its name.  Most accounts give credit to a man by the name of Christopher Columbus in the year 1492 or 535 BU.  Columbus was from a Nation that later became the Nation of Spain, this is now known as District 44-321 of the Unified State of Europe.  Maybe I should back up a little and define Nation, State, County and City.”

“Before Unification all of what you know as Unified States were individual Countries, Countries that had their own laws and cultures.  Places like the Unified State of Europe was actually a land mass called Europe with many separate and individual Countries.  America was separated into North, Central and South America.  Where we live was once a part of North America.  Originally, starting with Jamestown and then later with a group called the Pilgrims, the Country later to be named the United States of America began.  The Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic Ocean in big ships and landed north of here in an area that was later named Massachusetts.  Massachusetts later became one of the original Colonies and then a State.  In those days State was another name for Country.  The original spot they landed in was called Plymouth which later became a Town, or City, in the State of Massachusetts.  Communities of people were called any of a number of names, City if very large, Town if moderately large and then something like a Village or Community if small.  All of these were essentially the same in respect to a group of people that had banded together with similar ideas or beliefs.  Sometimes it was a bonding for business reasons, sometimes agricultural and even at times just because of a belief in how to live.  Groups of Cities or Towns would be called Counties, generally lumped together by either geographical reasons or even lifestyle reasons.  Sometimes the reasons could not be determined.  Counties were then lumped together to form States, in early terms this was the same as a Country.  States were generally grouped together by cultural similarities.”

“Hold up Grandpa, you are going way too fast for me.” Jim protested.  “What has all of this have to do with someone called a King and a place called Great Britain?”

“OK, OK.  Great Britain was one of the most powerful Nations of the time, even though it was one of the smallest.  It was located in the Southwest portion of what you know as the Unified State of Europe, those Islands out there.  Great Britain controlled many other Nations and the head of Great Britain was called King.  In the case of the Americans anger it was King George.”

“Why were they so powerful if they were do small?” Jim asked.

“The Kings of Britain were smart and sometimes brutal, which at the time was the only way to increase your lands.  The idea was that the Country with the best trained and best armed Soldiers would occupy another country, forcefully if necessary.  Once that other Country was occupied it was under the rule of the occupiers.  Great Britain was not the only Nation that increased their lands this way, it was the way of the times.  Understand?”

“I understand what you are saying, I just don’t understand why it was allowed.” Jim replied.

“Well it was allowed as you say only because the only ones with power were the Kings because of the Armies and the Armies did the Kings bidding.  Thankfully times changed but unfortunately attitudes didn't.  Where past Kings used Armies and force to take over other Countries now they used slick talk and dirty tricks, in other words, politics.  Are you with me now?”  Grandpa asked.

“I think so.” Jim stuttered. “So where do the Americas, or rather the United States of America, come in?”

“Very good, you’re catching on” replied Grandpa.  “For countries that were not populated by what were considered to be civilized, Kings or other rulers that went by different titles, would send large groups of people to settle the areas and start towns.  As for the Americas the first successful settlement was here, only it was called Jamestown.  They came here to spread Gods word and to make the King rich off whatever natural resources were in the area, sometimes even gold.  The Pilgrims were a group that left Great Britain to find religious freedom”

“Hold it” said Jim, “God?? Who is that and what is religious freedom?”

“I keep forgetting that the Committee has banned the teaching of religious beliefs, beliefs in a creator.  God is a being that many believed in as being the creator of the world, the being that created man and all the creatures.  Belief in God was called faith, sometimes that was all we had, faith.  There were many different ways of practicing this belief in a spiritual being and in the case of the Pilgrims their way was not accepted in Great Britain at the time.  Unfortunately religion has always been a sticky point when it came to freedom, in fact it very often was the focal point of many wars throughout the history of the world.  That proved to be true here in the Americas as well.  After we get through how things got to where they are now maybe we will take on God, I’m not real good on the subject but I, and your parents, are believers. Can you put that on hold for now?”

“Sure” Jim stammered.

OK Grandpa, let’s see if I understand this so far.  The King of this small Island Great Britain sent some people over here to where we now live to start a new…… City?”

“Well more of a Settlement, but not bad so far, go on” urged Grandpa.

“OK, that was 420 years before the world became unified, right?”


“I take it that then the, what did you call them, Pilgrims?”


“The Pilgrims came over and set up shop north of here.  Am I right so far?”

“You are right, just don’t know if I would call it setting up shop though” Grandpa laughed.

“OK, well that doesn't seem like very many people to get upset with a powerful King, not to mention this Declaration was written in what 1776?  What would that be, uh, 251 BU, right?”

“Very good, you have figured out part of it.”

“Well” Jim continued, “there’s about 170 years there that you haven’t filled in.”

“Easy Son” said Grandpa with a grin, “I’m getting there.  Over the next 170 years, as you put it, the Americas grew into 13 distinct Colonies, later to become 13 individual States.  There are a couple of maps in the scrap book that show all of this from the first settlements until today.  Each of these Colonies had different, shall we say personalities, different beliefs on how to live, how to treat others and how they wanted to be treated.  Each of them had to literally fight for their survival.  In some cases the fight was with what were considered to be uncivilized people, the Native Americans, sometimes the fight was with weather and nature.  They did not have all the modern technologies we now have, they used fire to cook by and light their way.  They either grew their food in the ground or hunted for it, sometimes with primitive weapons like knives and bows, the things you can see only in museums today.  They lived in homes that were at times no more than branches from trees covered with mud and grass.  Every day of their lives they were fighting in some way to survive.  Depending on where they lived they had differing ideas and different hardships to deal with.  When you fight that hard to survive and to create a place to live and raise families you develop a very independent attitude.  They also developed a belief that they were just as good as the King, again because of those beliefs they had in God their creator, they believed that every individual had certain rights simply because of being born, not because of laws.  Because of this the Colonies did not always see eye to eye with each other on how things should be done.  The individual Colonies had developed their own personalities.  They did however agree that they did not like having a King some 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean writing the laws for them and telling them to pay taxes to him just for the pleasure of being allowed to live over here, at least the majority of them did.”

“Taxes???” Jim asked.

“Sorry.  Taxes were money, credits in today’s terms, that was given to someone that didn't earn it.  In this case it was paid to the King of Great Britain.  Taxes were then used to pay for Armies and luxuries as the King saw fit.  In the case of the American Colonies they were paying the King so he could pay for wars that America had no concern with, and other things of course.  If you remember what you read in the Declaration of Independence you will see what I’m talking about, and many other things the Colonies were not happy about.  The Colonies felt as if they did not have the same say in how things were to be run by the King as the Colonies that were on the Great Britain side of the Atlantic, one term they used was taxation without representation.”

“I think I’m understanding what I read now, although there were many words that I still don’t understand.”  Jim stated thoughtfully.

“Language has changed over time.  For example State and Country meant the same thing at one time, later people believed a State to be part of a Country.  There are other words and ways of talking that just fell by the wayside, I guess most of it was mainly due to people becoming lazy in how they talked.”

“I think I understand that, now what about the Declaration?”

“Alright, alright.  You now know that over a period of somewhere around 170 or so years 13 Colonies under the control of the British”………

“British????? That’s the second time you have used that term.” Jim remarked with a quizzical look.

“Opps, British were what the people of Great Britain were called.  Anyhow, they 13 Colonies decided they would be better off if they were in control of their own destinies.  That was when they called together some of the wisest and most influential men from the various Colonies and wrote the Declaration of Independence.  The Declaration spelled out their grievances with the King and declared their independence, this document formed the United States of America.  No longer were the Colonies called Colonies, they were now individual States that came together, united, under a common cause.”

Jim looked at Grandpa for a minute or so and then asked “and the King just let them do this?”

“Oh no” replied Grandpa, “just like anything worth having sometimes you have to fight for what you want.  The new States of America fought a long bloody battle to claim their independence, and they won.”

            Jim thought about all of this for a few minutes.  It was a lot of information to absorb but he thought he was starting to get the idea.  Those men had created a home here and they wanted to have the say in how it was run.  “So where does the Constitution come in with all of this?”

            Grandpa grinned, “I think we better call it quits for tonight Jim, later we will go into the Constitution.  For now go back and read the Declaration of Independence and look at the maps I talked about.  As I said before I have other information you can look at but for now it’s just important for you to start understanding how the United States of America came to be and why.  There were many different battles that occurred before all of this happened, there were different Kings that owned portions of the Americas both before and after the United States were formed.  And there were many other reasons for the United States developing as it did.  For now we will stick to the basics.  Give it a couple of days and let this sink in, then we will continue.”

Steve Avery 7-15-13