Introduction to Treason
What article and section of the Constitution defines treason?
U.S. law defines treason as a high crime that poses an extreme threat to the nation, a massive, dangerous betrayal. The Constitution of the United States. Article III, Section 3: Treason against the United States shall only be committed against them or in response to their Enemies, providing them with aid and comfort. Treason is the only crime defined in the United States Constitution. It was narrowly limited to avoid countless notorious past abuses perpetrated by governments.
In debates during the creation of the Constitution, the main concern was not about drafting a law that would allow the government to prosecute traitors. It was to prevent “the numerous and dangerous excrescences (monstrosities)” that had been a feature of English and European laws of treason. The founding fathers wanted to ensure that political divisions within the country were not escalated into treason charges, with death for the dissenters as the ultimate penalty.
Debate and disagreement were not considered to be treason. They were welcomed. Americans often achieved better solutions than either side had proposed. Our motto was, “Out of many, one.” – E pluribus unum. We put that on the Great Seal.
We love that motto. Some, including Obama, prefer “In God we trust,” the slogan we now put on our money. That came out of the Cold War. Today it seems outdated, perhaps too close to Islam’s inshallah, where God sets the outcome. It also seems ironic to worry that only God can save us from the government in a time of rampant inflation and plundering of the treasury.
In any case, the Judeo-Christian God gave Americans both teachings and free will. It is up to us to fix things. God won’t do it for us, but he will help save us if we follow his commandments. God Bless America.
As for treason, Article 3, Section 3 of the United States Constitution states, “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”
This wording in the Constitution prevents Congress from expanding the definition of treason or lowering the standard of proof for prosecution. This is a clear departure from earlier treason laws in several ways. First, it turns the focus of treason from a largely internal matter to an external one, dealing with foreign enemies. Also, no treason charge may be brought when the proof is just one person’s word against another.
Who Can Be Tried for Treason?
To be tried for treason, one must owe the government allegiance. For example, there is a case of a slave Billy who was sentenced for treason against Virginia. This is because he sided with the British during the American Revolution.
Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson voided his conviction because, as a slave, Billy owed no allegiance to the United States or Virginia. This does not mean that only citizens can be prosecuted. For example, a foreign resident who works and pays taxes in the United States would be considered to owe allegiance for the benefits he receives as a permanent or long-term resident.
The first act in the Constitution that can be considered treason against the United States is “levying war.” However, the most famous trial for treason in United States history shows how narrowly this is interpreted.
The case of Ex parte Bollman & Swarthout (1807) dealt with two conspirators in Aaron Burr’s alleged plot to overthrow the government in New Orleans by force. In this case, the court held that recruiting men, making plans, and making maps to overthrow the government was not enough for a conviction of treason. Instead, there needed to be an actual assemblage of troops intending to start the overthrow.
Aid and Comfort
The second act the Constitution defines as treason is “Adhering to their Enemies,” giving them “Aid and Comfort.” This has also been narrowly construed. A person may adhere to the enemy by being a sympathizer or favoring their cause, but if no action can be considered aid or comfort, then there is no treason.
There must be both a desire to help the enemy and an overt act. In one of the most sensational trials in American history, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted for their role in passing atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War II. They were both executed, but NOT for treason, for espionage.
The “aid and comfort” part of treason law has rarely been used, only first in 1947. The cases tried have all been minor and, well, odd. A father was tried and convicted for giving his son housing and an automobile, who later went to work in a defense plant where he committed espionage. The only American charged with treason against the U.S. since World II was Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American. Before he could be tried, Gadahn was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan.
The Intersection of Treason and Politics Lacks Legal Clarity
“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? For if it prospers, none dare call it treason.” Sir John Harrington, circa 1650.
For many years, the radical left has been working to normalize treason, to make it socially acceptable. In the Vietnam era, Jane Fonda, and John Kerry (well-connected leftist “ruling elites”) had the spotlight. While still a serving Naval officer during the war, Kerry met with the enemy to support them in Paris. Fonda posed on an antiaircraft gun in Vietnam, doing a photo op to support shooting down our planes. Neither was punished, and both became folk heroes for the Marxist left. Meanwhile, our brave soldiers, often young draftees, were spat upon when they returned home and called “baby killers” by the left-leaning (now Fake News) media.
Recently, Kamala Harris publicly proclaimed support for violent, destructive, city-burning Antifa rioters. She raised bail money for them. This gave aid and comfort to enemies of America, but no one even bothered to charge her with treason. The “Overton Window” – what’s socially acceptable to discuss — had been shifted.
Today, truth is strongly censored. If a church or patriotic group dares to host or feature this book, even as a free guest talk, they could lose their tax-exempt status. Treason has become socially acceptable and debate impossible, even dangerous. Our book Mindless War Two discusses that.
Dare to wear a Trump hat, and you might be attacked. On August 29, 2020, Aaron Danielson, a supporter, was shot in the back of the head and killed by Antifa in Portland. Trump protestors from January 6, 2021, are still in DC Gulags. The FBI, now weaponized politically, won’t release the videos of exculpatory evidence. Several groups (e.g., Operation Jericho, by Stand Up America US Foundation, and others by Ted Nugent and Trump) are trying to get the Jan 6 videos released, and these patriots moved to ordinary prisons where they can get good legal counsel, fair trials, and be subpoenaed to testify to Congress, without success.
America has been shredded by embedded enemies within who weaken us in myriad ways. China and the world have shifted from kinetic war (e.g., bombs and nukes) to “Unrestricted Warfare” with bioweapons and where American officials (e.g., Biden) have been bribed or coopted. We are losing this new form of war. Our nation suffers managed decline, invasion across our open borders, lockdowns, crime, and more. We now lose more young Americans to Chinese fentanyl yearly than in the Vietnam War. We suffer lies, stolen elections, and a two-tier justice system. We (and the world) suffered genocide and lockdowns from bioweapons.
In America’s almost 250-year history, we have seen only two momentous events in our past that could have decided whether we survived to be the free, self-governing nation under God the founders promised, or an autocratic nation more typically imposed by oligarchs or self-appointed despots. The Revolutionary War and the American Civil War are those events. The two World Wars never saw a moment when our nation’s right to exist was as much in question as today. Think about that. Our country was founded on freedom, but Americans are now less free than in 1776.