The very first settlers to what we now call America came here under a charter granted them by the King of England; allowing them to establish English Colonies in the New World. The first wave of settlers may have brought supplies with them to help in establishing these Colonies, but make no mistake about it they faced hardships many of us today could hardly even imagine. For instance, out of those who first arrived at Jamestown, only 20% were still alive three months after arriving here. Despite the hardships faced by those first waves of settlers, more settlers continued to make the journey across the Atlantic to the point that, by the time Parliament enacted the Stamp Act in 1765 there were roughly a million and a half people living in the English Colonies in the Americas.
Although they may have been separated by an ocean, although they may have done all the hard work in establishing these Colonies, make no mistake about it, they were still, for all intents and purposes, British subjects. Although they may have been separated from the mother country by an ocean, the King of England was still their sovereign, and the laws enacted by Parliament were still binding upon them.
For almost a century and a half the Colonies had a peaceful relationship with the mother country; with England pretty much leaving them alone to govern their own internal affairs. It wasn’t until England imposed a direct tax upon the Colonists in 1765 that things began to go sour between those who were governed, and their government.
I could describe every Act of Parliament and the Crown which led the Colonists to make the decision to sever ties with England and declare themselves to be an independent nation, but that would only bore you and is not really relevant to what I need to say. Let it be sufficient to say that in 1776 the thirteen Colonies agreed to a Declaration of Independence, and after years of war against agents of their government, they obtained the independence that document declared.
Now we come to the first point of real importance in this article; the condition the 13 Colonies, or States, found themselves in after the Revolution came to an end. Each State was treated as a sovereign independent state of its own; a fact attested to in the peace treaty signed by both sides after the Revolution, “His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; that he treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors…” For all intents and purposes, each State was a nation unto itself; each with its own system of government established by the people of the States.
Now we come to important point number two; who was considered the sovereign now that the King of England was out of the picture? I know I’m jumping ahead a little bit, but to answer that I will need to quote from an early Supreme Court ruling dated February 18, 1793, “…at the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects…with none to govern but themselves; the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty.” (Source: Chisholm v. Georgia)
I use certain words time and time again, but I often wonder if those for whom these articles are intended understand the meaning of those words. Sovereignty is such a word. Do you really know what sovereignty is, or is it one of those words you just breeze over without giving it much thought?
Black’s Dictionary of Law defines sovereignty as: The possession of sovereign power; supreme political authority; paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and Its administration; the self-sufficient source of political power, from which all specific political powers are derived. Sovereignty is the power from which all systems of government originate; it is the fount of legal power from which those who govern derive their authority; and in America that sovereignty rests with the people, whose agents in government act on their behalf.
At the same time I discuss sovereignty, I would be remiss if I did not also discuss the origin of our rights. If sovereignty in America rests with the people, then governments are creations of the people, and not their superiors except in the specific areas where the people have given government the authority to act.
In his book The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine states, “It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom to say that Government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.”
Therefore, if there was a time when government, of any kind, did not exist, does that mean that prior to the establishment of any kind of government that man had no rights whatsoever? From years of listening to others discuss their rights, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what rights are, and from whence they originate.
A right, simply put, is something you can do without requiring permission to do from another. Our rights predate our government. In fact, it was because we had these rights to begin with that men gathered together and established government.
What are constitutions if they are not laws which govern the actions of a government? It was because the sovereigns of our country decided that they needed government that our system of government was established; it owes its existence to those who created it, not vice versa.
The authority to create a system of government is a natural right of the people; as is their authority to dismantle that system of government should it cease serving the purposes for which it was established. These are principles dating back to the Declaration of Independence, which states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
But the Declaration does not stop there, it continues by saying, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Whether James Madison and his cohorts at the Constitutional Convention produced a Republic, a Democracy, or a Monarchy for that matter, it does not take away from the underlying principle that our system of government was established by the will of the people for certain specific purposes, and if it oversteps the limits placed upon its powers, then the people have a right to ignore the laws it passes as if they had never been passed in the first place.
Our government is not our master; it’s will is not above ours, except in regards to the specific powers given government by the Constitution. Article 6 of the Constitution declares, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof shall be the supreme Law of the Land…”; the key phrase being, ‘in Pursuance thereof’. The laws enacted by our government must be in pursuance of the specific powers granted government in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. If they are not, then it is usurpation, and that makes the laws they pass unlawful.
It does not matter that a majority of the people may call for such measures, the law says that their actions are confined to the specific powers granted them by the Constitution. The fact that most do not resist these unconstitutional acts does not take away from the fact that they are…well, unconstitutional.
Our government was established to represent, not only the people of this country, but the States as well. That is why those who wrote the Constitution established a bicameral Congress; with the House being the voice of the people, and the Senate being the voice of the States. Where, if I might ask, is the voice of the States now; and more importantly, with all the partisan politics, would it even matter if the States still had a say in what laws the federal government enacts?
On January 26, 1788 Federalist 45 was published in the Independent Journal in New York. In it James Madison declares, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
That was a crucial point when deciding how much power to give this system of government; how to best separate the powers held by the States and those held by the federal government. If the States no longer have a say via the choosing of Senators, then how can that balance of power and authority still exist?
Within a decade of going into effect, the government created by this Constitution sought to enact laws which some felt overstepped the legitimate authority granted government; and in so doing violate State sovereignty. In response to this usurpation of power Thomas Jefferson had this to say, “Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. . . . that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers…” (Source: Kentucky Resolutions)
The problem in America today, at least as I see it, is not that we’ve had too many Republicans in control of government, or that we’ve had too many Democrats in control. The problem is that the voters place their causes above the legitimate powers given government. Each of us, when considering whom to cast our vote for, has a mental checklist of things which we feel strongly about, and we compare each candidate against that checklist and usually end up voting for the one who comes closest to our own personal beliefs.
The problem is that, no matter if you are Republican or Democrat, keeping government to the specific powers granted it by the Constitution is not on your mental checklist. We don’t care if government grows bigger; we only care that it grows bigger in ways which benefit us, or in ways that we think are best for the future of America. Limiting government to the few specific powers granted it, or securing your liberty is way down on your list of priorities; if it is on it at all.
Yet all the time I’m told that I lose my right to complain about the state of our nation if I do not vote. I might vote if there were candidates worthy of my vote; but my vote does not come cheap; it comes with the solemn promise to support and defend the Constitution; not sell it out for political expediency.
You may think that these things you want government to do are in the best interests of the country. Well, if you think that government should have the authority to do those things, then go about it the proper way; by amending the Constitution to give government the power to do those things.
In his Farewell Address George Washington said, “If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
Our free government has been dead for a long time; going back to the day Lee surrendered at Appomattox if you want my honest opinion. Since then we’ve had a government that was beholden to special interests, and who only enact laws which further expand their control over our lives.
The purpose of our government was to secure the liberty of the people in this country. How well has it done so; and be honest. People today are divided over issues such as immigration, job creation, the war against terror, or a thousand other issues that keep us from focusing on the fact that our liberty is being taken away from us one slice at a time. Patrick Henry warned, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
Even Woodrow Wilson, the s.o.b. who signed the Federal Reserve Act, making us all debt slaves, had this to say about liberty: “Liberty has never come from Government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it… The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.”
I sit here and watch Americans go at each other over the recent election of Donald Trump and it is all I can do not to scream. Some support Trump for the things he has promised to do, and others hate him for those same things. Neither side asks themselves about the legality of his keeping those promises. Neither side seems to realize that it is Congress that makes the laws in this country and although the president may make recommendations to them, they are under no obligation to act upon those recommendations.
People want their hope for the future; they need it to sustain themselves. I’ve lost all hope as long as people throw away their liberty for the illusion of security provided by all the violations of their most fundamental rights.
In his Summary View, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
I keep seeing these God Bless America stickers on cars and I have to ask myself, why would God deem to bless a nation that allows for practices which violate His laws? Why would God bless us when we allow our government to deprive us of the liberty He gave us without even a whimper of protest?
But that’s okay; you go ahead and keep playing your game of two party paradigm for as long as you want. Just don’t expect me to join you. One of these days you’re going to find out how stupid you’ve been, how much you’ve been played.
Then again maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll just go on playing the game and blame the other side when it all falls apart around you. Maybe you truly are so stupid that you can’t see the truth, as explained by Carroll Quigley, “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”
Keep believing in hope for as long as you want. My hope for the future of this country will come on the day a the sitting directors of the CIA and NSA are found guilty of violating the law, and the day that all charges against Edward Snowden have been dropped and he can return home to a hero’s welcome.
Maybe then my hope will be rekindled; but until then I see only ignorance and stupidity.
And if you can’t tell, I’m angry again…