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Guthrie brings real history lesson to LJ

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 LEBANON JUNCTION - Brett Guthrie traded his customary role as U.S. Congressman for the position of a fifth-grade history teacher.

For an hour, Guthrie and students at Lebanon Junction Elementary got an opportunity to talk about government and how it came to be in America.

As part of the state General Assembly before going to Washington, Guthrie is well aware of the items students are being tested on.

And, as a congressman, Guthrie gets to experience the workings of the federal government first hand.

The Bowling Green resident took the students back to pre-1776 day.

It was a time when those in England lived under the rule of the king, who was the maker, enforcer and judge of the rules.

Finally, it was a group of people who were upset that they had to worship a single religion that they made a trek to a land which would become the United States of America.

Instead of living under a king, those pilgrims who fled to a new land in the early 1600s suddenly began to farm, trade and make money.

Guthrie said the king figured he needed to get a part of the money and began to impose taxes on the people.

Finally, on July 4, 1776, the people were able to say they were independent of England and began working on the 13 colonies becoming states.

They learned that the Articles of Confederation wouldn’t work because they had no one to enforcement the rules.

Then, the Constitution was formed and Guthrie said the body was able to come up with a checks and balances.

He said the authors of the Constitution understood that the country would need a body to write the laws, a person to enforce the laws and a separate branch to judge the laws.

There was a reason that a House of Representatives and a Senate was formed.

The House legislators are elected based on population. The Senate allows for two from each state.

Guthrie said that this would prevent the big states couldn’t dominate the smaller states.

Legislation must pass both chambers and then is sent to the President.

As a legislator, Guthrie said he could theoretically write up any legislation and try to have it approved by both chambers.

However, there are certain provisions which would not allow legislation dealing with any religious issues.

Students learned some history and got an opportunity to ask a few questions.

Guthrie said that he has met the President on several occasions; however, style is to not get personal with the congressmen.

In terms of the White House, Guthrie said President Teddy Roosevelt started to refer to the building by that name in the 1900s.

The President’s family actually lives on the second and third floors.

The President works in the West Wing and the First Lady has offices in the East Wing.

While the White House appears to be very big, Guthrie said the original structure has changed little.

The country wanted a grand place to entertain but it didn’t want the building to appear to be as large as the palace in England.

The White House is very secure, said Guthrie. The Capitol is also a very secure facility.