The Original Thirteenth Article of Amendment
To The Constitution of the United States
A contemporary example of an "honor" granted to only a few Americans is the privilege of being a judge: Lawyers can be judges and exercise the attendant privileges and powers; non-lawyers cannot.
By prohibiting "honors", the 13th Amendment prohibits any advantage or privilege that would grant some citizens or corporations (legal fictions having the status of Person) an unequal opportunity to achieve or exercise political power. Therefore, the second meaning (intent) of the 13th Amendment was to ensure political equality among all American citizens, by prohibiting anyone, even government officials, from claiming or exercising a special privilege or power (an "honor") over other citizens.
Therefore, "honor" is a key concept in the 13th Amendment. While "titles of nobility" may no longer apply in today's political system, the concept of "honor" remains relevant. For example, anyone who had a specific "immunity" from lawsuits which were not afforded to all citizens, would be enjoying a separate privilege, an "honor". Think of the "immunities" from lawsuits that our judges, lawyers, politicians, and bureaucrats currently enjoy. As another example, think of all the "special interest" legislation our government passes: "special interests" are simply euphemisms for "special privileges," i.e., honors.
"These had anciently duties annexed to their respective honors. They are created either by writ, i.e., by royal summons to attend the house of peers, or by letters patent, i.e., by royal grant of any dignity and degree of peerage; and they enjoy many privileges, exclusive of their senatorial capacity." 1 Blackstone's Commentaries 396.
"TITLE OF NOBILITY" is defined in relevant part as follows: "The qualities which constitute distinction of rank in civil society, according to the customs or laws of the country; that eminence or dignity which a man derives from birth or title conferred, and which places him in an order above common men. In Great Britain, nobility is extended to five ranks, those of duke, marquis, earl, viscount and baron." Webster's American Dictionary of 1828
From a court case, in Horst v. Moses, 48 Ala. 123, 142 (1872), which gave the following description of "Titles of Nobility":
RATIFY, Ratified, Ratifying
Ratify \Rat"i*fy\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ratified; p. pr. & vb. n. Ratifying.] [F. ratifier, fr. L. ratus fixed by calculation, firm, valid + -ficare (in comp.) to make. ... To approve and sanction; to make valid; to establish; to settle; especially, to give sanction to, as something done by an agent or servant; as, to ratify an agreement, treaty, or contract; to ratify a nomination.
n : making something valid by formally ratifying or confirming it; "the ratification of the treaty"; "confirmation of the appointment" [syn: confirmation] -- WordNet (r) 1.6, (c) 1997. Princeton University
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