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Titles of Nobility Amendment

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I fought the law
and the law won

Pseudolaw
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To convolute
and distort

The Titles of Nobility Amendment (known as the Missing 13th Amendment by pseudolaw practitioners and those who like to confuse people) is one of the numerous failed amendments to the Constitution. The real 13th Amendment ended slavery. The proposed amendment was approved by the United States Congress in 1810 and was sent to the states for ratification; while 12 states ratified the amendment it never passed the required threshold to be added to the Constitution.

Sovereign citizens believe it has effect, and therefore all manner of spurious bullshit holds true.

Since an amendment to the Constitution has no time limit for ratification, it could theoretically become the newest Amendment, as happened with the 27th Amendment which was submitted to the states in 1791 and ratified in 1992 — but don't get your hopes up.

Text[edit]

If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain, any title of nobility or honor, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them —Titles of Nobility Amendment

Original impetus[edit]

The original purpose of the amendment is not clear. The usual claimed inspiration is the marriage of Betsy Patterson of Baltimore, Maryland to Napoleon Bonaparte's younger brother Jérôme in 1803, and Betsy wanting their child to have aristocratic recognition from France. Since America had escaped an aristocracy mere decades before, this got people's hackles up.[1] The child was born in the UK, but would have held US citizenship through his mother. Betsy is also thought to have wanted a title for herself, and was referred to as "The Duchess of Baltimore" in contemporary writing on the issue.

The marriage was annulled in 1805, well before the amendment was proposed. However, Representative Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina is recorded as saying, when voting on the amendment, that "he considered the vote on this question as deciding whether or not we were to have members of the Legion of Honor in this country."[2]

What the cranks think this means[edit]

  1. Lawyers use the post-nominal title Esquire
  2. Esquire is a title of nobility, and by using a title of nobility a US citizen loses their citizenship.
  3. Alternatively (or in addition to) #1 and #2 above, the "bar" in "American Bar Association" stands for either "British Accreditation Registry" or "Barrister Aristocratic Regency", and thus the American Bar Association is actually a part of the British Bar[3]. Anyone who joins the British Bar becomes a member of the British nobility.
  4. All members of congress are lawyers

Therefore, Congress can't pass any laws because they aren't citizens.

Also, you can totally murder police officers (who have titles like "Officer" so they are illegal aliens), and if the judge, once you're busted, uses the title "Honorable" then he's an illegal alien too.[4]

What it actually means[edit]

  1. Nothing. It was never adopted.

Even if it had been passed, it would not have applied to members of the US congress, for two reasons:

  1. They would be specifically excepted by the phrase "without the consent of Congress".
  2. The amendment would apply only to titles granted by foreign powers.

This is of course obvious from the text; it's simply a matter of reading comprehension.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

U.S. Constitution articles on RationalWiki
Preamble • Articles: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

Bill of Rights: I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X - Further amendments: XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII

Pending: Congressional Apportionment - Titles of Nobility - Corwin - Child Labor - Failed: Equal Rights - D.C. Voting Rights


Related topics

Interpretation: Originalism - Textualism - Responsive interpretation Modes of review: Rational basis - Intermediate scrutiny - Strict scrutiny
Other stuff: Articles of Confederation - Establishment Clause - Gun control