Treason is significantly different
from all other crimes. The Constitution as well as our early laws clearly
points this out because it was the only crime dealt with by the Constitution itself. Why? It was the only crime at the time which attacked the principles
of our free nation
itself and not individuals or possessions. It might in fact not involve any physical loss as did all other crimes.
Instead it was
a crime against the founding principles of the United States of America. As
such it was treated differently.
This may surprise you but treason is actually not actually a felony. It's a third class of crime after Felonies and Misdemeanors.
are some side by
side comparisons of the legal procedures of treason and other crimes
as stated by the first congress.
number of days before a trail that an indictment must be delivered is different. On the next page:
number of jurors are different.
is only one punishment and there can be only one punishment and as you see it was ascribed by the first Congress.
a person ever objected to our government and it was rare, then the saying was
'If you don't like it then start walking north. If the English
(in Canada) laws are not oppressive enough for you then turn right and walk to the French
Colonies (like Halifax). If neither one is oppressive enough then instead of
going north walk the other direction to Spanish Florida and I guarantee all
your needs will be met.
the world of today it is far less expensive to go elsewhere if the country you
live in is not to your liking. Back then it was customary to promise to spend
up to 12 years working as an indentured servant to pay off the price of a trip
Atlantic. We still told them to take
a hike if they came and didn't like the system. Surprisingly lots of people did not like
the freedom. Taking their future into their own hands and making their own decisions was next to impossible
for many of them. However, most of these people endured and their own children often showed them how.
Treason was considered a step higher in importance than all felonies and that included murder and piracy. This information
is found in the Statutes at Large which can be found on line at the American
memory web site.
When it states
the words 'treason, felony or other crimes' the Constitution shows us clearly
that Treason is separate from felonies and other crimes (misdemeanors).
Let's go through it one time slowly. (It's not
the learning that takes time, it's the unlearning that takes the most time. You have to compare it with what you thought was right and then determine which
is the correct understanding and so forth before you can even think of learning the right understanding.)
Except for treason all crimes at that time
essentially targeted the property of individuals or groups. A few crimes such
as kidnapping attacked the freedom of individuals. Our forefather's attitude
was that you had total freedom and that even included the freedom to commit crimes.
The laws were there to make it too expensive for you to make a living
Treason is in a completely different class
of crime since it targets the Union
itself by attacking the freedom that is provided by
the Constitution. So in effect it attacked the Constitution directly. Treason threatens to take away our freedom and allow another country
to enslave everyone. Treason can in theory destroy the
United States without harming a single person or taking any material
possessions from them. (I understand that treason usually ends up becoming mass
murder but that is not an issue to be addressed here.)
Unlike whit most other crimes there are no mitigating factors in regards
to Treason. So the Constitution only proscribes the death penalty. All the other
countries were more oppressive than the
so to give information to any of them was an action
to deny us our freedoms. There could be no excuse for an
act of treason.
shows a clearer delineation between the three classes of crimes that existed
in the early 1800's than this Act of Congress.
This shows that there was a separation of the
classes of crimes into three main categories. Treason, felony and
There is not one
instance of Treason being classed as Felony until
somebody messed up after 1872.