Ask Mr. Little – Week of April 9

“Ask Mr. Little”
Student Questions for the Week of April 9

1. What Exactly did Andrew Johnson get impeached for?

President Johnson had violated the “Tenure Act,” which prevented him from firing a Cabinet member until a successor had been replaced. He was impeached, then acquitted.

2. What is the yellow snake flag in your room?

The yellow snake is the “Don’t Tread On Me” revolutionary flag of the colonists. It dates back to a political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin, where he urged the colonies to unite and “fight” the Brits. The snake eventually became a symbol for the colonists, the strong, sneaky, yet very violent and dangerous. “Tread” means “walk,” so it basically says “don’t walk on me.” Think of it both literally (would you want to step on a snake?!), and figuratively (taking advantage or treating someone poorly). The flag was a symbol that both unified the colonists and urged the Brits not to push them… or else…

This flag is also used today by the US Navy in the “War on Terror,” for nearly the same reason.

3. why is Thomas Jefferson saying “this is the fourth?” if he wasn’t the fourth president?

Those are Jefferson’s last words, confirming it was the anniversary of the nation’s birth, one he helped create by authoring the Declaration of Independence. Very ironic that he passed away on that day, isn’t it?

4. Who is the youngest supreme court justice?

Joseph Story was appointed at the age of 32 (in 1811).
Horace Lurton was the oldest appointed at age 65 (1910).

5. Who is the youngest chief justice?

John Jay, the first CJ, was 44 when he was appointed in 1789.

6. Can people in the us territories become president?

This is very controversial. Several people (including John McCain currently) have run for president with this problem, but none have been elected. This would likely become a very big problem if someone becomes elected and was born outside the Continental US. One source I found says yes, that “natural” citizenship applies to any person born in any US territory, state, or military base. This also extends to those Americans born overseas, on vacation.

7. Can I apply for citizenship for another country?

It depends. Each country has their own immigration/citizenship laws, so you’d have to check with whichever country you want to live in. The US has no laws against Dual Citizenship, but there are drawbacks. What if both countries go to war, and ask for your military services? In which do you pay taxes?

The US government does reserve the right to revoke your citizenship if you were foreign born, become an American citizen, then returned to that foreign country for a long time. Also, America does have a law requiring to “renounce your old citizenship,” but it’s not always recognized by other countries, and isn’t always followed through on. The US doesn’t really care if you’re a Mexican citizen if you’re living in America, paying taxes.

8. Can the president get arrested? If yes, does the VP take over until he gets out?

Yes. The President has been arrested for some small crimes (Ulysses Grant was speeding on his horse), but nothing serious. Since the Constitution says a President shall be impeached for “high crimes, bribery and misdemeanors,” anything more serious would call for impeachment. It’s very unlikely that the President would commit an “arrestable” crime since he has drivers, protection, etc. I imagine if President Bush was seen on TV kicking a dog, he would probably be arrested, but something like that is very unlikely… I hope!

9. Can the vice president be fired?

Yes. The President can also be impeached. Usually, a VP will just resign, as Spiro Agnes (Nixon’s VP) did.

10. Is it possible to be a citizen of several countries?

See Question #7.
11. If you are born in Puerto rico, can you run for us president?

See Question #6.

12. What countries today still acknowledge a monarch?

Most modern monarchies are “Constitutional Monarchies,” meaning that they serve as leader with an “elected head of state,” kind of like how the UK has the Queen and the Prime Minister. There are lots of these kinds of governments today, as they blend modern democracy and efficiency of government with a tradition, like a King/Queen. Some examples are: Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom (See # 16), Norway, New Zealand, Monaco, Kuwait, Japan, Denmark, Cambodia, Belgium and Andorra.

13. where is Monaco? Is it an independent nation?

Monaco is “on” the southeastern corner of France, between France and Italy. It’s an insanely wealthy country, one of the 5 wealthiest in the world, I believe, and the smallest nation outside of the Vatican. It’s famous for Monte Carlo, a hotel/resort/casino. Prince Rainer and Princess Grace Kelly are famous celebrities from it.

14. why does our country trade with communist china but not communist Cuba?

Great question, though I’m not sure I can answer it correctly. This is largely a question of politics and money. There is much more to gain with a friendship with China than one with Cuba. China provides us with a strong economic partner and has been an ally against the Soviet Union, Japan, communist countries allied with them in indo-China (e.g. Vietnam) and North Korea. Also, China is a rapidly growing country, is building a very strong military, and has 1/6 of the worlds population (over 1 Billion).

Cuba’s population is smaller than Illinois and provides us with nothing that we can’t do on our own (sugar, tobacco grows well here), and is a remnant of our arch-enemy during the Cold War (the Soviet Union). While it’s a contradiction of the “communism is our enemy” idea, it’s a matter of money and military protection, in my guess. China simply provides us with so much more than Cuba has, or will.

15. Why are Cuban cigars illegal in the us?

It is Illegal to sell any Cuban-made product in America due to a trade embargo. Starting with John F. Kennedy – and supported by every President Since – the US decided not to support the regime of Fidel Castro. Unfortunately, this has probably hurt the Cuban people most, and not affected Castro or his regime.

16. What are the current commonwealths of great Britain?

First, you should understand:

• Great Britain = the island that England, Wales and Scotland is on.
• England = the larges nation of those 3 British countries (though referred to as Britain).
• United Kingdom = the monarchy that includes GB and Northern Ireland. That monarchy has 15 additional Commonwealths that the Queen “rules” over. The Queen is more a figurehead than a ruler, and doesn’t run the day-to-day operations, as those 16 countries are almost fully independent. Those nations are:

Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Jamaica, Grenada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu