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AMERICA CONSTITUTION OF OF STATES THE THE UNITED: The US Constitution reorganised in alphabetical order. 60 pages, Paperback, 110mm x 180mm - By Joseph Ernst and Jan van Bruggen

This is the second in a series of seminal texts transformed into data. Using a custom designed software, we reorganised The U.S. Constitution, including all the ratified amendments in alphabetical order. Reprogrammed like this, it still retains all its original data, but now we can see the text objectively, in a way that would not otherwise be possible.


Converting these texts into data teaches us a valuable lesson about the subject matter: the data never lies. Whatever our preconceptions of a text, the data gives us raw undeniable information. It doesn't lie because it can't lie. It can only be interpreted. Which is the big difference between facts and data: As we have seen only too well over the past 5 years, facts can be discredited or completely swept aside, depending on your socio-political ideology or arguments. Data, on the other hand, works for both sides of the political divide. Data can tell you anything. And it is being used everywhere, to re-write the course of history.


Looking at The American Constitution as a dataset, the writing takes on a new power of its own. It uncovers a layer of hidden information that not even the authors would necessarily be aware of. A subconscious layer, that can reveal hidden bias or leanings within the text, or demonstrate great balance and awareness. The results are quite unexpected:


Did you know that ‘Maryland’ and ‘New York’ are the most popular states in the constitution, with 19 mentions each. ‘Hawaii’ on the other hand, gets just 4 mentions. Interestingly, the ‘North’ - ‘South’ divide is completely even, with 24 mentions each. Less even is the ‘East’ - ‘West’ divide: ‘West’ appears 13 times, whereas ‘East’ doesn’t appear at all. 


The most popular year was ‘1933' with 74 mentions. The most popular month is ‘January’ with 140 mentions, ‘November' being the least popular with just 17.


There doesn’t appear to be a clearcut positive or negative bias to the Constitution. ‘No’ appears 46 times, and not one single ‘yes’. But at the same time there are 83 ‘for’ and only 14 ‘against’ and an equal amount of ‘nays’ and ‘yeas’. 


‘Rules’ are mentioned 5 times in the constitution. But there appears to be more of an emphasis on ‘law’ - with 39 instances - than ‘order’, which appears only twice. There are also references to ‘crime’ 6 times, ‘treason’ 7 times, ‘rebellion’ 5 times, and 2 ‘offences’. ’Bribery’, ‘counterfeiting’ and ‘corruption’ also appear, but only once each.


From a socio-economic perspective, it is interesting to note that ‘Money’ is mentioned 6 times – double that of ‘Liberty’ (3), double that of ‘justice’ (3), and 6 times that of ‘Freedom’ (1). ‘Debts’ also appears 6 times, ‘tax’ 5 times, ‘Profit’ three times, Dollars twice, and ‘Gold’ once. ‘Power’ on the other hand, features 22 times. But there is no mention of ‘jobs’ or ‘economy’, only 3 mentions of ‘labour’, and just one mention of ‘work’. ‘Welfare’ appears twice, ‘Servitude' appears twice, and ‘slavery' once.


Which brings us on to Race. ’Race’ is only mentioned once in the entire constitution, but there are 2 references to ‘Indians’ and 1 ‘slave’. Other than that, there are 7 ‘people’, 18 ‘citizens’ and the ‘public’ is mentioned 12 times, but we found no further instances of colour or nationality or religion or ethnic origin. 


In terms of gender, the constitution offers almost no reference to anyone other than men. ‘He' is mentioned 28 times, ‘she’ none at all. ‘His’ is mentioned 18 times. ‘Hers’ - again - not at all. Indeed there is no reference to ‘woman’, ‘female’ or pretty much anyone non-male at all.


‘Science’ is mentioned once. ‘Arts’ once. ‘Religion’ only once. ‘War’ on the other hand, is referred to 6 times, whilst ‘peace’ only 3. ’Army’ is mentioned once, ‘Navy’ twice, and no mention of the ‘Air Force’, but ‘militia’ is mentioned 6 times. Interestingly, there is no specific mention of guns or weapons of any kind.


There are 14 ‘votes’, 2 ‘elections’ and 2 ‘ballots’. 33 ‘representatives’, 12 ‘senators’, and ’president’ is mentioned 113 times. ‘Impeachment’ on the other hand, only 5 times. And perhaps most surprising of all, there is no mention of ‘democracy’ anywhere in the US Constitution.