Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall NOT be Infringed......
And here is

Friday, May 19, 2006

To Keep and Bear Arms?

The aim of this thread is to gather a consensus. The following idea orginated off this post on Keep and Bear Arms, on which was left the following comment:
The foundation for this proposal is found in the preamble to the United States Constitution:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
And the Second Amendment:
Amendment II
A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State,

the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.
What is the opinion of the People? We, after all as shown in the Federalist Papers, ARE the Legitimate and Ultimate Authority, as well as the Natural Guardians of OUR Constitution. Shall We The People demand our Right back to the manner in which it was intended? Or, shall we allow the Infringements to continue?
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without ANY qualification as to their condition or degree..." - St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries
"The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic Usurpation of Power by rulers. The Right of the Citizens to Keep and Bear Arms has JUSTLY been considered, as the PALLADIUM of the LIBERTIES of The Republic; since it offers a strong moral check AGAINST the Usurpation and Arbitrary Power of rulers; and will generally...ENABLE the PEOPLE to RESIST and TRIUMPH OVER THEM."
- Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, p. 3:746-7, 1833
"It will be a desirable thing to extinguish from the bosom of EVERY MEMBER of the community, ANY apprehensions that there are those among his countrymen who wish to DEPRIVE them of the LIBERTY for which they VALIANTLY FOUGHT and HONORABLY BLED. And if there are Amendments desired of such a nature as will NOT INJURE the Constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give SATISFACTION to the DOUBTING part of OUR FELLOW-CITIZENS, the friends of the Federal Government will evince that SPIRIT of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished....We ought NOT TO DISREGARD their inclination, but, on PRINCIPLES of amity and moderation, CONFORM to their wishes, and EXPRESSLY DECLARE THE GREAT RIGHTS OF MANKIND SECURED UNDER THIS CONSTITUTION." - James Madison, Debates on the Bill of Rights, House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution, (8 June , 21 July , 13 , 18-19 Aug. 1789 Annals 1:424-50, 661-65, 707-17, 757-59, 766 [8 June]).
"Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature....
"When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact....

"The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule....
"In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation....

"The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave."
- Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists, (November 20, 1772).
As is plain to see, we do have just cause for grievance as a foundation to make a stand....
Also see The First Law of Nature
(Footnote: MAY 19 1986, THE MACHINE GUN BAN was intitiated....A SAD DAY IN AMERICAN HISTORY!!!).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cannot be observed?

"Wise politicians will be cautious about fettering the government with restrictions that cannot be observed, because they know that every break of the fundamental laws, though dictated by necessity, impairs that sacred reverence which ought to be maintained in the breast of rulers towards the constitution of a country, and forms a precedent for other breaches where the same plea of necessity does not exist at all, or is less urgent and palpable. "
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25,
21 December 1787
Founders' Quote Daily
Cannot be observed, you say Alex? Hmmmmm.....

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Brutus no 2

Brutus, no. 2
1 Nov. 1787 Storing 2.9.23--33
Though it should be admitted, that the argument[s] against reducing all the states into one consolidated government, are not sufficient fully to establish this point; yet they will, at least, justify this conclusion, that in forming a constitution for such a country, great care should be taken to limit and definite its powers, adjust its parts, and guard against an abuse of authority. How far attention has been paid to these objects, shall be the subject of future enquiry. When a building is to be erected which is intended to stand for ages, the foundation should be firmly laid. The constitution proposed to your acceptance, is designed not for yourselves alone, but for generations yet unborn. The principles, therefore, upon which the social compact is founded, ought to have been clearly and precisely stated, and the most express and full declaration of rights to have been made--But on this subject there is almost an entire silence.
If we may collect the sentiments of the people of America, from their own most solemn declarations, they hold this truth as self evident, that all men are by nature free. No one man, therefore, or any class of men, have a right, by the law of nature, or of God, to assume or exercise authority over their fellows. The origin of society then is to be sought, not in any natural right which one man has to exercise authority over another, but in the united consent of those who associate. The mutual wants of men, at first dictated the propriety of forming societies; and when they were established, protection and defence pointed out the necessity of instituting government. In a state of nature every individual pursues his own interest; in this pursuit it frequently happened, that the possessions or enjoyments of one were sacrificed to the views and designs of another; thus the weak were a prey to the strong, the simple and unwary were subject to impositions from those who were more crafty and designing. In this state of things, every individual was insecure; common interest therefore directed, that government should be established, in which the force of the whole community should be collected, and under such directions, as to protect and defend every one who composed it. The common good, therefore, is the end of civil government, and common consent, the foundation on which it is established. To effect this end, it was necessary that a certain portion of natural liberty should be surrendered, in order, that what remained should be preserved: how great a proportion of natural freedom is necessary to be yielded by individuals, when they submit to government, I shall not now enquire. So much, however, must be given up, as will be sufficient to enable those, to whom the administration of the government is committed, to establish laws for the promoting the happiness of the community, and to carry those laws into effect. But it is not necessary, for this purpose, that individuals should relinquish all their natural rights. Some are of such a nature that they cannot be surrendered. Of this kind are the rights of conscience, the right of enjoying and defending life, etc. Others are not necessary to be resigned, in order to attain the end for which government is instituted, these therefore ought not to be given up. To surrender them, would counteract the very end of government, to wit, the common good. From these observations it appears, that in forming a government on its true principles, the foundation should be laid in the manner I before stated, by expressly reserving to the people such of their essential natural rights, as are not necessary to be parted with. The same reasons which at first induced mankind to associate and institute government, will operate to influence them to observe this precaution. If they had been disposed to conform themselves to the rule of immutable righteousness, government would not have been requisite. It was because one part exercised fraud, oppression, and violence on the other, that men came together, and agreed that certain rules should be formed, to regulate the conduct of all, and the power of the whole community lodged in the hands of rulers to enforce an obedience to them. But rulers have the same propensities as other men; they are as likely to use the power with which they are vested for private purposes, and to the injury and oppression of those over whom they are placed, as individuals in a state of nature are to injure and oppress one another. It is therefore as proper that bounds should be set to their authority, as that government should have at first been instituted to restrain private injuries.
This principle, which seems so evidently founded in the reason and nature of things, is confirmed by universal experience. Those who have governed, have been found in all ages ever active to enlarge their powers and abridge the public liberty. This has induced the people in all countries, where any sense of freedom remained, to fix barriers against the encroachments of their rulers. The country from which we have derived our origin, is an eminent example of this. Their magna charta and bill of rights have long been the boast, as well as the security, of that nation. I need say no more, I presume, to an American, than, that this principle is a fundamental one, in all the constitutions of our own states; there is not one of them but what is either founded on a declaration or bill of rights, or has certain express reservation of rights interwoven in the body of them. From this it appears, that at a time when the pulse of liberty beat high and when an appeal was made to the people to form constitutions for the government of themselves, it was their universal sense, that such declarations should make a part of their frames of government. It is therefore the more astonishing, that this grand security, to the rights of the people, is not to be found in this constitution.
It has been said, in answer to this objection, that such declaration[s] of rights, however requisite they might be in the constitutions of the states, are not necessary in the general constitution, because, "in the former case, every thing which is not reserved is given, but in the latter the reverse of the proposition prevails, and every thing which is not given is reserved." It requires but little attention to discover, that this mode of reasoning is rather specious than solid. The powers, rights, and authority, granted to the general government by this constitution, are as complete, with respect to every object to which they extend, as that of any state government--It reaches to every thing which concerns human happiness--Life, liberty, and property, are under its controul. There is the same reason, therefore, that the exercise of power, in this case, should be restrained within proper limits, as in that of the state governments. To set this matter in a clear light, permit me to instance some of the articles of the bills of rights of the individuals states, and apply them to the case in question.
For the security of life, in criminal prosecutions, the bills of rights of most of the states have declared, that no man shall be held to answer for a crime until he is made fully acquainted with the charge brought against him; he shall not be compelled to accuse, or furnish evidence against himself--The witnesses against him shall be brought face to face, and he shall be fully heard by himself or counsel. That it is essential to the security of life and liberty, that trial of facts be in the vicinity where they happen. Are not provisions of this kind as necessary in the general government, as in that of a particular state? The powers vested in the new Congress extend in many cases to life; they are authorised to provide for the punishment of a variety of capital crimes, and no restraint is laid upon them in its exercise, save only, that "the trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be in the state where the said crimes shall have been committed." No man is secure of a trial in the county where he is charged to have committed a crime; he may be brought from Niagara to New-York, or carried from Kentucky to Richmond for trial for an offence, supposed to be committed. What security is there, that a man shall be furnished with a full and plain description of the charges against him? That he shall be allowed to produce all proof he can in his favor? That he shall see the witnesses against him face to face, or that he shall be fully heard in his own defence by himself or counsel?
For the security of liberty it has been declared, "that excessive bail should not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted--That all warrants, without oath or affirmation, to search suspected places, or seize any person, his papers or property, are grievous and oppressive."
These provisions are as necessary under the general government as under that of the individual states; for the power of the former is as complete to the purpose of requiring bail, imposing fines, inflicting punishments, granting search warrants, and seizing persons, papers, or property, in certain cases, as the other.
For the purpose of securing the property of the citizens, it is declared by all the states, "that in all controversies at law, respecting property, the ancient mode of trial by jury is one of the best securities of the rights of the people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable."
Does not the same necessity exist of reserving this right, under this national compact, as in that of these states? Yet nothing is said respecting it. In the bills of rights of the states it is declared, that a well regulated militia is the proper and natural defence of a free government--That as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous, they are not to be kept up, and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and controuled by the civil power.
The same security is as necessary in this constitution, and much more so; for the general government will have the sole power to raise and to pay armies, and are under no controul in the exercise of it; yet nothing of this is to be found in this new system.
I might proceed to instance a number of other rights, which were as necessary to be reserved, such as, that elections should be free, that the liberty of the press should be held sacred; but the instances adduced, are sufficient to prove, that this argument is without foundation.--Besides, it is evident, that the reason here assigned was not the true one, why the framers of this constitution omitted a bill of rights; if it had been, they would not have made certain reservations, while they totally omitted others of more importance. We find they have, in the 9th section of the 1st article, declared, that the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless in cases of rebellion--that no bill of attainder, or expost facto law, shall be passed--that no title of nobility shall be granted by the United States, &c. If every thing which is not given is reserved, what propriety is there in these exceptions? Does this constitution any where grant the power of suspending the habeas corpus, to make expost facto laws, pass bills of attainder, or grant titles of nobility? It certainly does not in express terms. The only answer that can be given is, that these are implied in the general powers granted. With equal truth it may be said, that all the powers, which the bills of right, guard against the abuse of, are contained or implied in the general ones granted by this constitution.
So far it is from being true, that a bill of rights is less necessary in the general constitution than in those of the states, the contrary is evidently the fact.--This system, if it is possible for the people of America to accede to it, will be an original compact; and being the last, will, in the nature of things, vacate every former agreement inconsistent with it. For it being a plan of government received and ratified by the whole people, all other forms, which are in existence at the time of its adoption, must yield to it. This is expressed in positive and unequivocal terms, in the 6th article, "That this constitution and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution, or laws of any state, to the contrary notwithstanding.
"The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States, and of the several states, shall be bound, by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution."
It is therefore not only necessarily implied thereby, but positively expressed, that the different state constitutions are repealed and entirely done away, so far as they are inconsistent with this, with the laws which shall be made in pursuance thereof, or with treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States; of what avail will the constitutions of the respective states be to preserve the rights of its citizens? should they be plead, the answer would be, the constitution of the United States, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, is the supreme law, and all legislatures and judicial officers, whether of the general or state governments, are bound by oath to support it. No priviledge, reserved by the bills of rights, or secured by the state government, can limit the power granted by this, or restrain any laws made in pursuance of it. It stands therefore on its own bottom, and must receive a construction by itself without any reference to any other--And hence it was of the highest importance, that the most precise and express declarations and reservations of rights should have been made.
This will appear the more necessary, when it is considered, that not only the constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof, but all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, are the supreme law of the land, and supersede the constitutions of all the states. The power to make treaties, is vested in the president, by and with the advice and consent of two thirds of the senate. I do not find any limitation, or restriction, to the exercise of this power. The most important article in any constitution may therefore be repealed, even without a legislative act. Ought not a government, vested with such extensive and indefinite authority, to have been restricted by a declaration of rights? It certainly ought.
So clear a point is this, that I cannot help suspecting, that persons who attempt to persuade people, that such reservations were less necessary under this constitution than under those of the states, are wilfully endeavouring to deceive, and to lead you into an absolute state of vassalage.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Richard Henry Lee to Samuel Adams

Richard Henry Lee to Samuel Adams
5 Oct. 1787
Letters 2:444--45
Having long toiled with you my dear friend in the Vineyard of liberty, I do with great pleasure submit to your wisdom and patriotism, the objections that prevail in my mind against the new Constitution proposed for federal government--which objections I did propose to Congress in form of amendments to be discussed, and that such as were approved might be forwarded to the States with the Convention system. You will have been informed by other hands why these amendments were not considered and do not appear on the Journal, and the reasons that influenced a bare tranmission of the Convention plan, without a syllable of approbation or disapprobation on the part of Congress. I suppose my dear Sir, that the good people of the U. States in their late generous contest, contended for free government in the fullest, clearest, and strongest sense. That they had no idea of being brought under despotic rule under the notion of "Strong government," or in form of elective despotism: Chains being still Chains, whether made of gold or iron.
The corrupting nature of power, and its insatiable appetite for increase, hath proved the necessity, and procured the adoption of the strongest and most express declarations of that Residuum of natural rights, which is not intended to be given up to Society; and which indeed is not necessary to be given for any good social purpose. In a government therefore, when the power of judging what shall be for the general welfare, which goes to every object of human legislation; and where the laws of such Judges shall be the supreme Law of the Land: it seems to be of the last consequence to declare in most explicit terms the reservations above alluded to. So much for the propriety of a Bill of Rights as a necessary bottom to this new system--It is in vain to say that the defects in this new Constitution may be remedied by the Legislature created by it. The remedy, as it may, so it may not be applied--And if it should a subsequent Assembly may repeal the Acts of its predecessor for the parliamentary doctrine is "quod leges posteriores priores contrarias abrogant" 4 Inst. 43. Surely this is not a ground upon which a wise and good man would choose to rest the dearest rights of human nature.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

House - Amendments Debate June, 8th 1789

House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution 8 June, 21 July, 13, 18--19 Aug. 1789 Annals 1:424--50, 661--65, 707--17, 757--59, 766.

[8 June]

Mr. Goodhue. - "I believe it would be perfectly right in the gentleman who spoke last, (Mr. Jackson), to move a postponement to the time he has mentioned; because he is opposed to the consideration of amendments altogether. But I believe it will be proper to attend to the subject earlier, (Bill of Rights); because it is the wish of many of our constituents, that something should be added to the Constitution, to secure in a stronger manner their liberties from the inroads of power. Yet I think the present time premature; inasmuch as we have other business before us, which is incomplete, but essential to the public interest. When that is finished, I shall concur in taking up the subject of amendments."

Mr. Madison. - "...I am sorry the same reason still exists in some degree, (for delay on consideration of the Bill of Rights), but operates with less force, when it is considered that it is not now proposed to enter into a full and minute discussion of every part of the subject, but merely to bring it before the House, that our constituents may see we pay a proper attention to a subject they have much at heart; and if it does not give that full gratification which is to be wished, they will discover that it proceeds from the urgency of business of a very important nature. But if we continue to postpone from time to time, and refuse to let the subject come into view, it may occasion suspicions, which, though not well founded, may tend to inflame or prejudice the public mind against our decisions. They may think we are not sincere in our desire to incorporate such amendments in the Constitution as will secure those rights, which they consider as not sufficiently guarded. The applications for amendments come from a very respectable number of our constituents, and it is certainly proper for Congress to consider the subject, in order to quiet that anxiety which prevails in the public mind. Indeed, I think it would have been of advantage to the Government, if it had been practicable to have made some propositions for amendments the first business we entered upon; it would have stifled the voice of complaint, and made friends of many who doubted the merits of the Constitution. Our future measures would then have been more generally agreeably supported; but the justifiable anxiety to put the Government into operation prevented that; it therefore remains for us to take it up as soon as possible. I wish then to commence the consideration at the present moment; I hold it to be my duty to unfold my ideas, and explain myself to the House in some form or other without delay. I only wish to introduce the great work, and, as I said before, I do not expect it will be decided immediately; but if some step is taken in the business, it will give reason to believe that we may come to a final result. This will inspire a reasonable hope in the advocates for amendments, that full justice will be done to the important subject; and I have reason to believe their expectation will not be defeated. I hope the House will not decline my motion for going into a committee."

Mr. White. - "I hope the House will not spend much time on this subject, till the more pressing business is despatched; but, at the same time, I hope we shall not dismiss it altogether, because I think a majority of the people who have ratified the Constitution, did it under the expectation that Congress would, at some convenient time, examine its texture and point out where it was defective, in order that it might be judiciously amended. Whether, while we are without experience, amendments can be digested in such a manner as to give satisfaction to a Constitutional majority of this House, I will not pretend to say; but I hope the subject may be considered with all convenient speed. I think it would tend to tranquillize the public mind; therefore, I shall vote in favor of going into a Committee of the Whole, and, after receiving the subject, shall be content to refer it to a special committee to arrange and report. I fear, if we refuse to take up the subject, it will irritate many of our constituents, which I do not wish to do. If we cannot, after mature consideration, gratify their wishes, the cause of complaint will be lessened, if not removed. But a doubt on this head will not be a good reason why we should refuse to inquire. I do not say this as it affects my immediate constituents, because I believe a majority of the district which elected me do not require alterations; but I know there are people in other parts who will not be satisfied unless some amendments are proposed.

"Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, thought the gentleman, (Mr. Madison), who brought forward the subject had done his duty: he had supported his motion with ability and candor, and if he did not succeed, he was not to blame. On considering what had been urged for going into a committee, he was induced to join the gentleman; but it would be merely to receive his propositions, after which he would move something to that effect: That, however desirous this House may be to go into the consideration of amendments to the Constitution, in order to establish the liberties of the people of America on the securest foundation, yet the important and pressing business of the Government prevents their entering upon that subject at present."

Mr. Page. - "My colleague, (Mr. Madison), tells you he is ready to submit to the Committee of the Whole his ideas on this subject. If no objection had been made to his motion, the whole business might have been finished before this. He has done me the honor of showing me certain propositions which he has drawn up; they are very important, and I sincerely wish the House may receive them. After they are published, I think the people will wait with patience till we are at leisure to resume them. But it must be very disagreeable to them to have it postponed from time to time, in the manner it has been for six weeks past; they will be tired out by a fruitless expectation. Putting myself into the place of those who favor amendments, I should suspect Congress did not mean seriously to enter upon the subject; that it was vain to expect redress from them. I should begin to turn my attention to the alternative contained in the fifth article, and think of joining the Legislatures of those States which have applied for calling a new convention. How dangerous such an expedient would be I need not mention; but I venture to affirm, that unless you take early notice of this subject, you will not have power to deliberate. The people will clamor for a new convention; they will not trust the House any longer. Those, therefore, who dread the assembling of a convention, will do well to acquiesce in the present motion, and lay the foundation of a most important work. I do not think we need consume more than half an hour in the Committee of the Whole; this is not so much time but we may conveniently spare it, considering the nature of the business. I do not wish to divert the attention of Congress from the organization of the Government, nor do I think it need be done, if we comply with the present motion."

Mr. Jackson. - "...Let me ask gentlemen, what reason there is for the suspicions which are to be removed by this measure? Who are Congress, that such apprehensions should be entertained of them? Do we not belong to the mass of the people? Is there a single right that, if infringed, will not affect us and our connexions as much as any other person? Do we not return at the expiration of two years into private life? and is not this a security against encroachments? Are we not sent here to guard those rights which might be endangered, if the Government was an aristocracy or a despotism? View for a moment the situation of Rhode Island, and say whether the people's rights are more safe under State Legislatures than under a Government of limited powers? Their liberty is changed to licentiousness. But do gentlemen suppose bills of rights necessary to secure liberty? If they do, let them look at New York, New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. Those States have no bills of rights, and is the liberty of the citizens less safe in those States, than in the other of the United States? I believe it is not. (And you were wrong Mr. Jackson).

There is a maxim in law, and it will apply to bills of rights, that when you enumerate exceptions, the exceptions operate to the exclusion of all circumstances that are omitted; consequently, unless you except every right from the grant of power, those omitted are inferred to be resigned to the discretion of the Government.

The gentleman endeavors to secure the liberty of the press; pray how is this in danger? There is no power given to Congress to regulate this subject as they can commerce, or peace, or war. Has any transaction taken place to make us suppose such an amendment necessary? An honorable gentleman, a member of this House, has been attacked in the public newspapers on account of sentiments delivered on this floor. Have Congress taken any notice of it? Have they ordered the writer before them, even for a breach of privilege, although the Constitution provides that a member shall not be questioned in any place for any speech or debate in the House? No, these things are offered to the public view, and held up to the inspection of the world. These are principles which will always prevail. I am not afraid, nor are other members I believe, our conduct should meet the severest scrutiny. Where, then, is the necessity of taking measures to secure what neither is nor can be in danger?.....If we actually find the Constitution bad upon experience, or the rights and privileges of the people in danger, I here pledge myself to step forward among the first friends of liberty to prevent the evil; and if nothing else will avail, I will draw my sword in the defence of freedom, and cheerfully immolate at that shrine my property and my life." (Where are Representatives like you now, Mr. Jackson?)

Mr. Sumter. - "I consider the subject of amendments of such great importance to the Union, that I shall be glad to see it undertaken in any manner. I am not, Mr. Speaker, disposed to sacrifice substance to form; therefore, whether the business shall originate in a Committee of the Whole, or in the House, is a matter of indifference to me, so that it be put in train. Although I am seriously inclined to give this subject a full discussion, yet I do not wish it to be fully entered into at present, but am willing it should be postponed to a future day, when we shall have more leisure. With respect to referring to a select committee, I am rather against it; because I consider it as treating the applications of the State conventions rather slightly; and I presume it is the intention of the House to take those applications into consideration as well as any other. If it is not, I think it will give fresh cause for jealousy; it will rouse the alarm which is now suspended, and the people will become clamorous for amendments. They will decline any further application to Congress, and resort to the other alternative pointed out in the Constitution. I hope, therefore, this House, when they do go into the business, will receive those propositions generally. This I apprehend will tend to tranquillize the public mind, and promote that harmony which ought to be kept up between those in the exercise of the powers of Government, and those who have clothed them with the authority, or, in other words, between Congress and the people. Without a harmony and confidence subsist between them, the measures of Government will prove abortive, and we shall have still to lament that imbecility and weakness which have long marked our public councils."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Political Disquisitions? I'll say....

Political Disquisitions

By James Burgh

General Reflections on Standing Armies in free Countries in Times of Peace.

In a survey of public abuses, it would be unpardonable to overlook that of a standing army in times of peace, one of the most hurtful, and most dangerous of abuses.

The very words, Army, War, Soldier, &c. entering into a humane and christian ear, carry with them ideas of hatred, enmity, fighting, bloodshed, mangling, butchering, destroying, unpeopling, and whatever else is horrible, cruel, hellish. My inestimable friend, the late great and good Dr. Hales, was used to say, that if any thing might be called the peculiar disgrace of human nature, and of our world, it is war; that a set of wretched worms, whose whole life, when it holds out the best, is but a moment, a dream, a vision of the night, should shorten this their short span, should assemble by thousands and myriads, travel over vast countries, or cross unmeasurable oceans, armed with swords and spears and infernal fire, and when they meet immediately fall to butchering one another, only because a couple of frantic and mischievous fiends in human shape, commonly called kings, have fallen out they know not about what, and have ordered them to go and make havock of one another.

Yet such is the turn of mind of those who are at the head of the world, that they bestow more attention upon the art of war, that is, the art of destroying their fellow-creatures, than upon the improvement of all the liberal arts and sciences, and outvie one another in keeping up bands of those butchers of mankind commonly called standing armies, to the number of many thousands; and so prevalent is this infatuation, that even we, though surrounded by the ocean, must mimick the kingdoms on the continent, and beggar ourselves by keeping up an army of near 50,000 in times of profound peace.

The whole art of war from beginning to end is, at best, but a scene of folly and absurdity. Two kings, already possessed of more territory than they know how to govern, fall out about a province. They immediately take up arms. Immediately half a continent is deluged in blood. They carry on their infernal hatred, while either of them can find in the purses of their beggared subjects any money to squander, or while they can find any more of their miserable people, who, being by the fell ravage of war stripped of all, are glad to throw themselves into the army, to get a morsel of bread. And when the two mighty belligerant powers, the two venomous worms, have carried on the contest almost to the destruction of both, the point in dispute remains undecided as before, or they see, that it might have been infinitely better decided by arbitration of indifferent states, without the spilling of one drop of christian blood.

War is not a more proper method of deciding controversies between kings, than single combat between individuals. All that can be determined by fighting is, that the conqueror is the best fighter of the two; not that he has justice on his side. As I should conclude that private person, who chose rather to decide a quarrel by a duel, than to appeal to the laws of his country, or stand to arbitration of a few friends, a ruffian and a murderer; so I do not hesitate to pronounce every king a butcher of mankind who chooses rather to appeal to the ratio ultima regum, than to arbitration of neutral princes.

Standing armies first become necessary, or the pretence of their necessity plausible, when the disbanded troops, called tard-venus, in France, took to plundering and mischief in times of peace. Then the neighbouring princes pretended they must be upon an equal foot with France. But what is that to England, surrounded by the sea, and guarded by a fleet equal to all the maritime force of Europe?

In former times we had no mercenary army. It was the militia that went to the holy war, that conquered France, &c. So at Rome there was no mercenary army in the best times of the republic. Our Hen. VII. raised no small jealousy by his 100 yeomen of the guards, augmented by him from 50, the whole standing army of his times. In the days of Ch. II. the army was got to 5,000; in our times to near 50,000. There can no account be given of this alarming increase, but the increase of corruption, and decrease of attention to liberty. And now, our patriotic parliaments have made the army a sacred establishment, and the sinking fund a temporary expedient.

An army, in a free country, says judge Blackstone, "ought only to be enlisted for a short and limited time. The soldiers should live intermixed with the people. No separate camp, no barracks, no inland fortresses should be allowed." Yet it is notorious, that our soldiers are enlisted for life, on pain of death, if they desert; and that camps, barracks, and inland forts, are very common in our pretended free country. The mere slavery of a soldier's life, and the rigorous discipline, and Turkish severities, so great a number of brave, and freeborn English subjects are exposed to in the army, are sufficient to render it the abhorrence of every true English spirit, and the peculiar disgrace of our country, and our times. See Blackstone's Commentaries, 1. 415, where the learned author (no malecontent) shews the peculiar danger to liberty from enslaving so many subjects, (and thereby exciting their envy against their countrymen, who enjoy what they are for ever deprived of) and then arming those slaves, to enable them to reduce the rest to their condition, of which ill policy history furnishes many terrible examples.

"In a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies, this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitution, which is, that of governing by fear: but in free states, the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy.--The laws, therefore, and constitution of these kingdoms know no such state as that of a perpetual standing soldier, bred up to no other profession, than that of war." Yet we see gentlemen breed up their sons for the army as regularly as for law, physic, or divinity; and, while in France, the land of slaves, the soldiery are engaged only for a certain time, ours are for life; that they may be effectually separated from the people, and attached to another interest.

The judge goes on to shew, that in the Saxon times, the military force was under the absolute command of the dukes, or heretochs, who were elected by the people. This the judge, as if he were fascinated in favour of prerogative, sees in a dangerous light. "This large share of power, says he, thus conferred by the people, though intended to preserve the liberty of the subject, was perhaps unreasonably detrimental to the prerogative of the crown." And then he mentions one instance of its being abused. But will any Englishman, understanding what he says, gravely declare, that he thinks an armed force safer, in respect of liberty, in the hands of a king, than of a number of subjects elected by the people? Yet this very author prefers a militia to an army. If all this be either consistent with the fundamental principles of liberty, or with itself, it is to be understood in some manner, which I own to be out of my reach.

"Those, who have the command of the arms in a country, says Aristotle, are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please."

The soldiery are themselves bound for life, under the most abject slavery. For what is more perfect slavery, than for a man to be, without relief, obliged to obey the command of another, at the hazard of his life, if he obeys, and under the penalty of certain death if he disobeys, while the smallest misbehaviour may bring upon him the most painful and disgraceful punishment? The sense of their own remediless condition may naturally be expected to excite in them the same disposition, which shews itself in the negroes in Jamaica, and the eunuchs in the eastern seraglios.

In the mutiny-act, it is always mentioned, that keeping up an army in time of peace, without consent of parliament, is unlawful. But there is no such clause for keeping up marines. Yet marines are as much an army as any other men; are mostly at land; and may, at any time, be applied to the enslaving of the people, as readily as the soldiery. 'Tis true, their number is at present inconsiderable; but that is entirely at the disposal of government.

Lord Hinton's arguments against a reduction of the army, A. D. 1738.

1. The army is only a change made in the management of the armed force of the nation, which was formerly kept up in the guise of a militia.

Ans. The army is the very creature of the court; and therefore likely to execute every order of the court. The army is detached from the people for life, and enslaved for life. A militia continues still a part of the people, and is to return and mix with the people again, which must keep up in their minds both an awe and an affection for the people.

2. Now all the countries about have regular disciplined armies.

Ans. This is no reason for our keeping up an army, who are separated from all our neighbors. It is a reason for our keeping up a fleet, and a militia.

3. Our militia cannot be trusted. Our people are otherwise employed, than in learning military discipline.

Ans. The army are, on no account, preferable to a militia, but their being more thoroughly trained. Let the militia then be thoroughly disciplined. Fifty days exercise at different times in the year, will train them thoroughly. Let them have pay for those days, and carry on their business the rest of the year as at present. And let every male be trained; and then see, whether enemies will invade, or tumults disturb.

4. The army has not yet enslaved us. Experience shows us, that a standing army is not unfriendly to liberty.

Ans. We ought to depend on the constitution for the safety of our liberties; not on the moderation of the individuals, who command our army. If our army has not yet enslaved us; we know, that the far greatest part of the world has been enslaved by armies. But it is much to be questioned, whether we are not already so far enslaved, that the people could not now obtain of government what they requested, though the undoubted sense of the people was known to government.

5. An annual army is different from a standing army. The former may be dissolved, whenever it pleases parliament to give over providing for it.

Ans. There is no difference, as to the liberty of the subject, whether the army be on one foot, or the other; whether it be established by law, or whether it be constantly kept, and certainly never to be reduced.

6. An army is necessary to keep the peace. Turbulent people raise tumults about matters, which have had even the sanction of parliament, as excises, turnpikes, suppression of gin, &c.

Ans. Good government is a surer way to keep the peace, than keeping up a formidable and expensive army. The people may judge wrong, or be misled occasionally. But it is mal-administration that sets up popular demagogues, who could not excite the people to tumults, if government did not afford some cause for discontent. The sanction of parliament neither will nor ought to satisfy the people, unless the people be satisfied of the independency of the members, who compose it. So much for lord Hinton's arguments.

"Whatever it may be called, that government is certainly, and necessarily, a military government where the army is the strongest power in the country. And it is eternally true, that a free parliament and a standing army are absolutely incompatible."

"It is the interest of favourites to advise the king to govern by an army: for if he prevails (over his subjects) then they are sure to have what heart can wish; and if he fail, yet they are but where they were; they had nothing, and they can lose nothing."

Every officer in the army, almost, is an addition to the power and influence of the ministry. And every addition to their power and influence is a step toward aristocracy or absolute monarchy.

"All armies whatsoever, says Davenant, if they are over large, tend to the dispeopling of a country, of which our neighbour nation is a sufficient proof; where in one of the best climates in Europe men are wanting to till the ground. For children do not proceed from intemperate pleasures taken loosely and at random, but from a regular way of living, where the father of the family desires to rear up, and provide for the offspring he shall beget."

When a country is to be enslaved, the army is the instrument to be used. No nation ever was enslaved but by an army. No nation ever kept up an army in times of peace, which did not lose its liberties.

"An army is so forcible, and, at the same time, so coarse an instrument, that any hand, that wields it, may, without much dexterity, perform any operation, and gain any ascendancy in human society."

Mr. Hume calls the army a mortal distemper in the British government, of which it must at last inevitable perish.

It was Walpole's custom, if a borough did not elect his man for their member, to send them a messenger of Satan to buffet them, a company of soldiers to live upon them.

In this way a standing army may be used as an instrument in the hand of a wicked minister for crushing liberty.

. . . . .

A Militia, with the Navy, the only proper Security of a free People in an insular Situation, both against foreign Invasion and domestic Tyranny.

A standing army, as those on the continent, continues, of course, from year to year, without any new appointment, and is a part of the constitution. Our courtiers affect to call the British land-establishment a parliamentary army, and would deceive us into the notion of a difference between a standing army and a parliamentary. The British land-forces, say they, are appointed from year to year, not only as to their number, but their subsistence; so that the parliament's neglecting to provide for their subsistence would be annihilating the army at once. But is the army the less a grievance for its being on this foot, than if it were on the same with those of France or Spain? Suppose that for twenty years together, we should have no parliament called. At the end of that period, could the grievance and loss to the nation be estimated as at all less upon the whole, than it would have been, if the king had at the beginning of the twenty years, declared by edict, that there should be no parliament during that period? This would be a bolder stroke of tyranny, than merely neglecting, from year to year, or refusing, to let the writs be issued; but the people would be as really deprived of the advantages of parliaments by one proceeding, as by the other.

"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion. And though for a while, those, who have the sword in their power, abstain from doing him injury, yet by degrees he will be awed into submission to every arbitrary command. Our ancestors" [the Caledonii, see Tacit. &c.] "by being always armed, and frequently in action, defended themselves against the Romans, Danes and English, and maintained their liberty against the incroachments of their own princes."

"We all know, that the only way of enslaving a people, is by keeping up a standing army; that by standing forces all limited monarchies have been destroyed; without them none; that so long as any standing forces are allowed in a nation, pretences will never be wanting to increase them; that princes have never suffered a militia to be put upon any good foot, lest standing armies should appear unnecessary."

. . . . .

Nothing will make a nation so unconquerable as a militia, or every man's being trained to arms. For every Briton having in him by birth the principal part of a soldier, I mean the heart; will want but little training beyond what he will have as a militia-man, to make him a complete soldier. A standing army, though numerous, might be routed in one engagement, if an engagement should happen in consequence of a French invasion. Whereas the militia of Britain would be a million of men; which would render a descent from France an operation of war not to be thought of.

"All the force, which the French can throw over to this country, before our fleet can come to our assistance, must be so inconsiderable, that their landing would deserve the name of a surprize, rather than of an invasion;" says one, who will hardly be suspected of intending to derogate from the importance of the army; I mean, John, duke of Argyle.

De Wit proposed to the French king, during the first Dutch war, an invasion of England. The king replied, that such an attempt would be fruitless, and would unite all the jarring parties in England against the enemy. "We shall have," says he, "in a few days after our landing, 50,000 men (meaning the militia) upon us."

Mr. Fletcher adds afterwards what follows.

"The essential quality of a militia consistent with freedom, is, that the officers be named, and preferred, and they, and the soldiers maintained, not by the prince but the people, who send them out. Ambitious princes [and he would have added, if he had fore-known the late duke of Newcastle's opposition to the establishment of the militia, corrupt ministers] have always endeavoured to discredit the militia, and render it burdensome to the people, by never suffering it to be upon any right, or even tolerable footing; all to persuade the necessity of standing forces. In the battle of Naseby, the number of forces was equal on both sides; and all circumstances equal. In the parliament's army only nine officers had ever seen actual service, and most of the soldiers were London prentices, drawn out of the city two months before. In the king's army there were above 1000 officers, who had served abroad; yet the regulars were routed by the prentices. A good militia is of such importance to a nation, that it is the chief part of the constitution of every free government. For, though, as to other things, the constitution be ever so slight, a good militia will always preserve the public liberty; and in the best constitution ever known, as to all other parts of government, if the militia be not upon a right foot, the liberty of the people must perish. The militia of antient Rome made her mistress of the world. Standing armies enslaved her. The Lacedaemonians continued 800 years free, because they had a good militia. The Swiss are the freest people in our times, and like to continue such the longest, because they have the best militia."

However a corrupt government may intend to defeat the design of a militia by totally perverting it from its original intention and use, this ought not to hinder all men of property from learning the use of arms. There is no law against a free subject's acquiring any laudable accomplishment. And if the generality of housekeepers were only half-disciplined, a designing prince, or ministry, would hardly dare to provoke the people by an open attack on their liberties, lest they should find means to be completely instructed in the exercise of arms before the chain could be rivetted. But without the people's having some knowledge of arms, I see not what is to secure them against slavery, whenever it shall please a daring prince, or minister, to resolve on making the experiment. See the histories of all the nations of the world.

The militia-act is long and intricate; whereas there was nothing necessary, but to direct, that every third man in every parish in England, whose house had 10 or more windows, should be exercised in his own parish, by an experienced serjeant, times every year, the days to be appointed; and every third part of every parish to be upon the list for three years, and free six years, so that in nine years every such housekeeper in England might have had all the knowledge he could acquire by field-days. The men never to be drawn out of their respective parishes, but to resist an invasion, quell an insurrection, or for some necessary purpose. Every healthy housekeeper of 10 windows and above, under 50, who refused to enlist and attend the exercising days, to be fined. No hirelings to be accepted. The commanders to be the men of largest property in each county.

A country, in which every man of property could defend his property, could have no occasion for a dangerous standing army, and would be incomparably more secure against invasion, than it could be with a standing army of 50,000 men scattered over a whole empire.

Lord Lyttelton thinks the militia (the only permanent military force, our ancestors knew) was commanded by the heretoch of every county, who was annually chosen into his office by the freeholders in the folkmote, or county-court; and that after the Norman times, this command devolved upon the earl of each county.

A militia consisting of any others than the men of property in a country, is no militia; but a mungrel army.

Men of business and property will never choose to enter into the militia, if they may be called from their homes, and their business, for three years together, subject to martial law all the while.

Brigadier general Townshend, in his Dedication of the "Plan of Discipline composed for the Militia of the county of Norfolk," affirms, that he has made some persons masters of that exercise "in two or three mornings, so as to perform it with grace and spirit;" and that the common men learned it in "seven or eight days time, some in less."

The same gentleman complains heavily of the "discouragements, slights, delays, evasions, and unnatural treatment" of the militia-act from those, whose duty it was to see it executed according to its intention. One would think the old militia law might have directed our government to avoid sending the militia out of their respective counties. This was always expressly guarded against, and was never to be done, but in the case of foreign invasion.

The single circumstance of the national militia's being first settled by the great and good Alfred, ought to prejudice all friends to liberty in its favour. That able politician lord Molesworth thinks a militia infinitely preferable to an army, both on the score of safety from tyranny at home, and of invasion from abroad. Judge Blackstone gives the preference to a militia. The Polish militia serve but 40 days in the year.

Queen Elizabeth's whole reign may be almost called a state of defensive and offensive war; in England as well as in Ireland; in the Indies as well as in Europe; she ventured to go through this state, if it was a venture, without the help of a standing army. The people of England had seen none from the days of Richard II. and this cautious queen might perhaps imagine that the example of his reign and those of other countries where standing armies were established, would beget jealousies in the minds of her people, and diminish that affection, which she esteemed and found to be the greatest security of her person, and the greatest strength of her government. Whenever she wanted troops, her subjects flocked to her standard; and her reign affords most illustrious proofs, that all the ends of security and of glory too may be answered in this island without the charge and danger of the expedient just mentioned. This assertion will not be contradicted by those who recollect in how many places and on how many occasions her forces fought and conquered the best disciplined veteran troops in Europe.

The militia was established by Alfred, and fell into decay under the Stuarts. A proof, that a militia is good, and ought to be kept up. The Stuarts were friends to standing armies. A demonstration, that standing armies are dangerous. James II. at his accession declared the militia useless; and demanded supplies for keeping an army, he was to raise. It is well known what armies Charles I. raised, and in what bloody business he employed them. Charles II. had, at the beginning of his reign, about 5,000 men. Toward the end of his reign, the army was increased to near 8,000. James II. at the time of Monmouth's rebellion, had on foot 15,000 men. At the prince of Orange's arrival, 30,000 regular troops.

The command of the militia was only put in the hands of the crown, when the nation was in a state of insanity, and every man ready to lay down his head on a block, for the king [Ch. II.]' to chop it off, if he pleased. As it is regulated by 30 Geo. II. c. 25, it remains too much on the same foot. For it is officered by the lord lieutenant, the deputy-lieutenants and other principal land-holders, under a commission from the crown, which places it, as every thing else is, too much under the power of the court.

The first commission of array is thought to have been in the times of Hen. V. When he went to France, A. D. 1415, he impowered commissioners to take an account of all the freemen in each county, who were able to bear arms, to divide them into companies, and to have them in readiness for resisting the enemy.

"The citizens, and country gentlemen soon became excellent officers;" says Mr. Hume. This shews what a militia may in a short time be brought to. For what is a militiaman, but a soldier, engaged for a limited time, and less completely trained? And what is a soldier, but a militiaman completely disciplined, and enslaved for life? The principal part of a soldier is the heart; and that almost every Briton has by birth without training. A militia-man is a free citizen; a soldier, a slave for life. Which is most likely to shew the most courage and the greatest attachment to his country?

"The militia--if it could not preserve liberty to the people, preserved at least the power, if ever the inclination should arise, of recovering it."

"Against insurrections at home, the sheriff of every county has the power of the militia in him, and if he be negligent to suppress them with the posse comitatus, he is fineable. Against invasions from abroad, every man would be ready to give his assistance. There would be little need to raise forces, when every man would be ready to defend himself, and to fight pro aris et focis." What would this honest man have said if he had been told, that the time would come, when it would be called necessary to keep up a standing army in this free country, surrounded with the ocean, in peace as well as war, to the formidable number of above 40,000, a number superior to that with which Alexander conquered the world?

Why must the British soldiery be enslaved for life, any more, than the sailors on board the navy? Were the militia put upon a right foot, the same individuals might serve either by sea or land, during a certain short period, and then return to their respective station. I know the court-sycophants will object to this, That a soldier requires a great deal of training and reviewing, before he comes to have the cool courage necessary in action, &c. But this is all pretence. We hardly ever have had, or can have occasion for any soldiery. Our wars with France in old times are now by all parties confessed to have been merely the loss of so much blood and treasure without possibility of advantage to this island. And our continental wars since the Revolution we have been drawn into chiefly by the unfortunate circumstance of our having on our throne a set of princes connected with the continent. There is no advantage we have ever gained by war, which would not have been greater, and cost us incomparably less, if we had kept to the sea. For we never can have a nation for our enemy that is not commercial, and we can certainly at any time force a commercial nation to yield to reasonable terms by attacking their commerce, their foreign settlements, their coast-towns, their fisheries, &c. And by sea we may always command the superiority. For every Briton is born with the heart of a soldier and a sailor in him; and wants but little training to be equal on either element, to any veteran of any country. Accordingly we never hear of the common men, in either service, shewing any appearance of cowardice.

"Immediately after the mutiny bill had passed the lower house, Mr. Thomas Pitt, elder brother of Mr. William Pitt, then paymaster general, moved, on the 9th of March, 1749, for leave to bring in a bill to limit respective times, beyond which no noncommissioned officer or soldier, now, or who hereafter may be such in his majesty's land-service, shall be compelled to continue in the said service. The motion was seconded by Sir Francis Dashwood; but very poorly supported in numbers. And at last, on the 19th of April, it was, upon a division of 139 against 82, put off for two months, so that it was no more heard of. Had this limitation taken place, such a rotation of soldiers would have ensued among the common people, that in a few years every peasant, labourer, and inferior tradesman in the kingdom would have understood the exercise of arms; and perhaps the people in general would have concluded, that a standing army, on whose virtue the constitution of Great Britain seems to depend, was altogether unnecessary."

Those incendiaries who go about to destroy our constitution, have not blushed in the same breath to admit, that standing armies have been generally the instruments of overturning free governments, and to affirm that a standing army is necessary to be kept in ours; if you ask them against whom, they answer you very frankly, against the people; if you ask them why, they answer you with the same frankness, because of the levity and inconstancy of the people. This is the evil; an army is the remedy. Our army is not designed, according to these doctors of slavery, against the enemies of the nation. We are confident that the present army is incapable of being employed to such purposes, and abhors an imputation which might have been justly cast on Cromwell's army, but is very unjustly insinuated against the present.

Political Disquisitions: or, An Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses. . . . 3 vols. London, 1774--75.

Courtesy: The Founders' Constitution

Volume 3, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12, Document 4



Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sure! Now you tell ....never mind.......

"At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, beforeany one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account."
- Thomas Jefferson, (letter to Monsieur A. Coray, 31 October 1823)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Alex does have a valid point....

"Reasons have been already given to induce a supposition that the State governments will too naturally be prone to a rivalship with that of the Union, the foundation of which will be the love of power; and that in any contest between the federal head and one of its members the people will be most apt to unite with their local government. If, in addition to this immense advantage, the ambition of the members should be stimulated by the separate and independent possession of military forces, it would afford too strong a temptation and too great a facility to them to make enterprises upon, and finally to subvert, the constitutional authority of the Union. On the other hand, the liberty of the people would be less safe in this state of things than in that which left the national forces in the hands of the national government. As far as an army may be considered as a dangerous weapon of power, it had better be in those hands of which the people are most likely to be jealous than in those of which they are least likely to be jealous. For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion."
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 25

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The additional security which its adoption will afford....

"The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity -- The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union -- The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed, to the attainment of this object -- The conformity of the proposed Constitution to the true principles of republican government -- Its analogy to your own state constitution -- and lastly, The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty, and to property".
- Alexandr Hamilton, Federalist #01
to Liberty, and to property, hmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Betrayed From Within....

It might do well for you to be sitting down while reading the following from Mr. James Madison. As well as refraining from eating or drinking, as there may be danger in choking. For James shows, in explicit detail, how that We The People are in fact being betrayed by our supposed public servants....

"A fifth class of provisions in favor of the federal authority consists of the following restrictions on the authority of the several States:....

"....Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. The two former are expressly prohibited by the declarations prefixed to some of the State constitutions, and all of them are prohibited by the spirit and scope of these fundamental charters. Our own experience has taught us, nevertheless, that additional fences against these dangers ought not to be omitted. Very properly, therefore, have the convention added this constitutional bulwark in favor of personal security and private rights; and I am much deceived if they have not, in so doing, as faithfully consulted the genuine sentiments as the undoubted interests of their constituents. The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less informed part of the community. They have seen, too, that one legislative interference is but the first link of a long chain of repetitions, every subsequent interference being naturally produced by the effects of the preceding. They very rightly infer, therefore, that some thorough reform is wanting, which will banish speculations on public measures, inspire a general prudence and industry, and give a regular course to the business of society...."

2. "This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

"The indiscreet zeal of the adversaries to the Constitution has betrayed them into an attack on this part of it also, without which it would have been evidently and radically defective. To be fully sensible of this, we need only suppose for a moment that the supremacy of the State constitutions had been left complete by a saving clause in their favor.

"In the first place, as these constitutions invest the State legislatures with absolute sovereignty, in all cases not excepted by the existing articles of Confederation, all the authorities contained in the proposed Constitution, so far as they exceed those enumerated in the Confederation, would have been annulled, and the new Congress would have been reduced to the same impotent condition with their predecessors.

"In the next place, as the constitutions of some of the States do not even expressly and fully recognize the existing powers of the Confederacy, an express saving of the supremacy of the former would, in such States, have brought into question every power contained in the proposed Constitution.

"In the third place, as the constitutions of the States differ much from each other, it might happen that a treaty or national law, of great and equal importance to the States, would interfere with some and not with other constitutions, and would consequently be valid in some of the States, at the same time that it would have no effect in others.

"In fine, the world would have seen, for the first time, a system of government founded on an inversion of the fundamental principles of all government; it would have seen the authority of the whole society every where subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the members.

3. "The Senators and Representatives, and the members of the several State legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution."

"It has been asked why it was thought necessary, that the State magistracy should be bound to support the federal Constitution, and unnecessary that a like oath should be imposed on the officers of the United States, in favor of the State constitutions.

"Several reasons might be assigned for the distinction. I content myself with one, which is obvious and conclusive. The members of the federal government will have no agency in carrying the State constitutions into effect. The members and officers of the State governments, on the contrary, will have an essential agency in giving effect to the federal Constitution. The election of the President and Senate will depend, in all cases, on the legislatures of the several States. And the election of the House of Representatives will equally depend on the same authority in the first instance; and will, probably, forever be conducted by the officers, and according to the laws, of the States...."

"...We have now reviewed, in detail, all the articles composing the sum or quantity of power delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, and are brought to this undeniable conclusion, that no part of the power is unnecessary or improper for accomplishing the necessary objects of the Union. The question, therefore, whether this amount of power shall be granted or not, resolves itself into another question, whether or not a government commensurate to the exigencies of the Union shall be established; or, in other words, whether the Union itself shall be preserved...."

Well now, can you imagine that? Seems we have some technical discrepancies here doesn’t it? If I’m not mistaken, Mr. Madison has shown how that our whole system is operating out of the bounds of Original Intent. But, that’s just me. What do you think of the matter? Curious isn’t it?

Question is, how can We The People get this PERVERSION corrected? It is quite apparent that the U.S. Supreme Court either doesn’t understand the Constitution. Or, has a perfect understanding and is content in allowing the Infringement of our Right. How are we to rectify this grievance? Since the intended safeguard is plainly disinterested in performing it’s sworn duty. I’ll venture one step farther. Why are We The People paying these supposed servants to steal our Rights away?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Further, valid reasoning why we must ALWAYS be Armed;

"Let us recollect that peace or war will not always be left to our option; that however moderate or unambitious we may be, we cannot count upon the moderation, or hope to extinguish the ambition of others. Who could have imagined at the conclusion of the last war that France and Britain, wearied and exhausted as they both were, would so soon have looked with so hostile an aspect upon each other? To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that the fiery and destructive passions of war reign in the human breast with much more powerful sway than the mild and beneficent sentiments of peace; and that to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquillity, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character."
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #34
"Necessity, especially in politics, often occasions false hopes, false reasonings, and a system of measures correspondingly erroneous....
"...If we take into the account the momentary humors or dispositions which may happen to prevail in particular parts of the society, and to which a wise administration will never be inattentive, is the man whose situation leads to extensive inquiry and information less likely to be a competent judge of their nature, extent, and foundation than one whose observation does not travel beyond the circle of his neighbors and acquaintances? Is it not natural that a man who is a candidate for the favor of the people, and who is dependent on the suffrages of his fellow-citizens for the continuance of his public honors, should take care to inform himself of their dispositions and inclinations, and should be willing to allow them their proper degree of influence upon his conduct? This dependence, and the necessity of being bound himself, and his posterity, by the laws to which he gives his assent, are the true, and they are the strong chords of sympathy between the representative and the constituent."
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #35
Has logic gone so far from us, that the politicians of today can't readily perceive truths such as these? OR, if examined under a different light, the politicians know EXACTLY what they are doing and have ceased to care about the Welfare of the People entirely? Is it not time to rein them ALL in and FORCE them to do their jobs as they were INTENDED by the Constitution to do? Both, the politicians and the courts? Before it's TO LATE ,for us to be able, to do ANYTHING? If not for ourselves, than for OUR CHILDREN?