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Mark Twain once defined a literary "classic" as a work "which people praise and don't read." Jefferson's majestic proclamation of self-evident truths has reached an even more exalted status: words which people praise and do read, but don't understand. For if understood, these words, and their evolving meaning between 1776 and 1789, call for a fundamental rethinking of conventional understandings of the U.S. Constitution. Concretely, the U.S. Constitution is a far more majoritarian and populist document than we have generally thought; and We the People of the United States have a legal right to alter our Government-to change our Constitution- via a majoritarian and populist mechanism akin to a national referendum, even though that mechanism is not explicitly specified in Article V.

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