Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

Administrative Agencies – The Fourth Branch of Government – Circumventing the Constitution

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Administrative Agencies – The Fourth Branch of Government
Circumventing the Constitution
Constitution reversed

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
April 19, 2016

Suppose you lived in Washington state or Colorado.  Suppose, too, that consistent with state law, you grow, process, and use marijuana.  Now, state law says you can, but federal law says that you can’t.  What happens if the feds arrest you and charge you with a crime?

The Constitution/Bill of Rights says that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed”.  Would a federal requirement that demands that you register your firearms be such an infringement, if your state did not require such registration?  Could you be successfully prosecuted by the federal government if charged with failing to register your firearms? (more…)

Vermont – The Fourteenth Colony

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Vermont

The Fourteenth Colony

Vermont flag

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
October 1997 (Revised March 23, 2015)

 

There is no doubt among Americans that there were thirteen colonies engaged in the struggle with Great Britain just over two hundred years ago. Most will recognize names such as the Green Mountain Boys, Ethan Allen and the Battle of Bennington. Few, however, recognize the role played by this isolated area in our quest for independence.

Vermont, geographically nestled between New York and New Hampshire, was, without a doubt, part of the number that cast off British control of the colonies. Both geographically and evidenced by their full participation, they were as much a colony, that arose from the conflict as, any of other thirteen colonies.

In an area known as the New Hampshire Grants, in lands which were disputed between New York and New Hampshire, lay some rugged and mountainous terrain. The people carved their niches and felt no allegiance to either of the two colonies. After their declaration of independence from Great Britain, they also declared themselves free from New York and New Hampshire.

In 1777, Vermont established its Constitution, basing the right of Vermonters to establish self government on the Declaration of Independence, with its declared right to self government. Ironically, the authors and defenders of the right to self-government and separation from ALL British control denied Vermont the right to self-government and chose to abide by geopolitical boundaries established by the British Parliament. They failed to recognize the right of the people in the disputed lands to establish their own government, in direct opposition to the words by which they declared themselves “free and independent.”

This is not to say that Vermont was denied recognition. From 1777 through March 4, 1791, when Vermont became the first state entering the Union under the Constitution, there are many historical passages that recognize the importance of this state and its true relationship with the War for Independence.

The primary source of political opposition to Vermont’s admission to the Union came from New York. Some of the lands within Vermont were claimed as lands granted to New York. These outstanding claims by the very large and powerful New York caused the Continental Congress and subsequent Constitutional Congress to refuse to even discuss the entry of Vermont as a member of the Union. It wasn’t until 1790, when Vermont agreed to pay $30,000 for the disputed lands, that New York finally removed its opposition, opening the door, finally, to Vermont’s admission.

Vermont, during the course of these events, was the only true “free and independent” colony among the fourteen who had taken on the British. Of all of the states to enter the Union after the first thirteen, only Vermont was required to ratify the Constitution as a condition of entry. Although the entry of Kentucky was approved by the Congress on February 4, 1791 and Vermont on February 18th, the entry of Kentucky was delayed until June 1st so as to allow Vermont’s entry prior to Kentucky, on March 4, 1791.

Further proof of the recognition of Vermont as a true member of the original Union lies in the fact that it is the only state, other than its 13 brothers, allowed a vote to ratify the Bill of Rights, ratifying the ten amendments on November 3, 1791.

Vermont’s admission was recognized, at the times, as a closing of a circle. From the Vermont Gazette of January 24, 1791:

ALBANY [New York], January 13.

XIVth PILLAR OF OUR FREE AND HAPPY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Yesterday morning, the pleasing intelligence of our sister state, VERMONT, having adopted the american constitution, by a state convention, was received by a gentleman of character from that quarter — and at one o’clock, the independent company of artillery paraded, in uniform, and fired a federal salute of 14 guns from Forthill, which was followed by three cheerful huzzas, from a number of our most respectable citizens. This agreeable event, which closes the circle of our federal union, cannot fail of being received with the utmost satisfaction by all americans, of every description, who are friends to order, unanimity, and good government, and to the true welfare of our happy country.

Celebration of Independence Day – 2014

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Celebration of Independence Day – 2014

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 4, 2014, and in the Year of our Independence, Two-hundred and Thirty-nine

It seems that time, especially the last 150 years, has eroded away the Independence gained by the Founders, at the cost of their lives and fortunes, though their Honor is still preserved, for the time being.

Our traditions have been trampled into the dust of history (except the hot dogs and fireworks – though the latter is slowly becoming illegal).

An example is that of dating documents. If you go to your county courthouse and look at the public records and deeds from the early Nineteenth Century, you will see something like:

This 4th day of July, in the Year of Our Lord, Two-Thousand and Fourteen, and of our Independence, Two-hundred and Thirty-nine.

Yes, today starts the 239th year of what was gained, then, and is slowly dying.

We have lost the reverence we had for the moral foundation of this country, through subjugation of the churches to the dictates of an administrative agency known as the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). In those formative years, church pulpits were inspirational in discussing the rights of the people, and the necessity of opposing the creeping despotism from across the ocean. Now, they have become pulpits of political correctness — in order to retain their tax-exempt status.

Similarly, our educational system, I won’t say Public Schools, since they have been stealthily subverted into propagandized reeducation camps for our children, so I call them what they are, government schools. Their purpose is to propagate a belief in a government system whereby the words and ideals of the Founders have been distorted and in most cases, omitted, from the “knowledge” being taught to those who will soon hold in their hands the reins of the of this country.

As an old house, whose foundation is beginning to crumble, if not repaired, the house will soon follow. With proper maintenance of the foundation, and continual (education) repair to the house, itself, that house may continue to serve the posterity of those who first built it, for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, becoming, once again, a beacon unto the world.

I am reluctant to say, “Happy Independence Day”, as there is nothing happy about the threatened failure of both foundation and house, though I do hold in my heart a celebration that the work to be done is, already, in progress.

Independence Day 2012

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Independence Day 2012

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 4, in the Year of our Lord, 2012, and, of our Independence, 236

 

As we enter the 236th year of our Independence, perhaps it is time to reflect upon that which was achieved so many years ago, and, what has transpired since that time.

It was just a month before that when the Continental Congress had suggested that all of the colonies create new governments.  Two colonies revised their charters, omitting any reference to the King or England while the others wrote constitutions, forming new government based upon republican/democratic principles.

In 1781, the Article of Confederation were finally ratified, though were insufficient for the purpose of binding the colonies into a cohesive and functioning confederacy.

From 1776 through 1787, many of the original state constitutions had been heavily revised, or replaced, as the process of forming a government based upon theory was much more difficult than was first anticipated. Most importantly, the limitations on the power of the government were insufficient since those early government’s authority was nearly absolute.

By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, many of the apparent problems with the conversion of theory to practice had become known and were addressed in the new document known as the Constitution for the United States of America.  However, Article V provided for an amendment process, as they had learned from the past decade that theory to practice needed to have some practice to find what did not work according to theory.

Since that time, the deficiencies in the theory have manifested themselves into significant shortcomings as to what was intended when the Constitution was written.  Whether it be the infringement of the right to keep and bear arms; The prolific use of direct taxes that were supposed to be assessed only for purpose of emergency; The subversion of the jury and judicial process; or a multitude of other unforgivable sins, the limitations have been slowly abrogated in favor of more power in the government than was ever intended.  As the states went through that period of learning, the national government has, also. However, the national government has not taken the intended steps to correct those evils that those seeking power have found and utilized, contrary to the intentions of the Framers.

From the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776):

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when long trains of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide for new guards for their future security.

“[D]eriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” was the initial offering. That consent was granted, though it only continues so long as we don’t raise objection. Voting is not, by its nature, consent, especially when it is done only with hope that things will change.  Sons of Liberty #14 will explain that matter of consent, as perceived by the Framers.

“[W]hen long trains of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism” is the qualifier — the determinant — of when the system has failed for want of proper control.  That deficiency can be caused by omission from, or usurpation of, the original writing (Constitution). It is merely the object that, once perceived, is an alarm that the system and the intent has been subjugated to the authority of those who pursue that despotism. This, of course, leads us to:

“[I]t is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide for new guards for their future security.”  Is it our responsibility to pass on to our posterity, when we know of the failure of the government? Or, is it our responsibility to, as the Founders did, by whatever means necessary, provide for our posterity, with the intention of a more severe and specific limitation of those powers granted to government?

duty –  noun.  That which a person owes to another; that which a person is bound, by any natural, moral, or legal obligation, to pay, do, or perform.

Habeas Corpus – A New Understanding

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Habeas Corpus
A New Understanding

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
June 19, 2012

 

The Constitution provided for a separation of powers both within the federal government, and, between the federal government and the state governments (Republican Form, Art I, Sec IV, clause 4, Const.). There were limitations of, and grants of, authority given to the federal government. And, by the Tenth Amendment, those powers not granted were retained by the states or the people.

There is also a rather obscure provision that provided the means to protect the states and the people from encroachment by federal authority. When I say “obscure”, I do so because I am at a loss for the proper word. After all, nearly everybody in the country knows that “The Privilege of the Writ Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it” (Art. I, Sec. 9. Clause 2, Const.). Most people also understand that Habeas Corpus is also known as the “Sacred Writ”, however, I would suggest that only a small handful really understand exactly what Habeas Corpus ad subjiciendum, really is. After all, the last time the United States Supreme Court heard a case on Habeas Corpus ad subjiciendum was in 1876 (EX PARTE PARKS, 93 U.S. 18), yes, 136 years ago — long before any practicing attorney or judge ventured into law school to learn the “law of the land”. Given the number of generations between that last occurrence, is it any wonder that the concept, and the understanding of the significance, of Habeas Corpus has been lost?

Just a few historical quotations regarding the Sacred Writ:

“The sovereignty to be created was to be limited in its powers of legislation, and if it passed a law not authorized by its enumerated powers, it was not to be regarded as the supreme law of the land, nor were the State judges bound to carry it into execution.”. [Abelman v. Booth, 62 U.S. 506 (1858), at 519]

“This judicial power was justly regarded as indispensable, not merely to maintain the supremacy of the laws of the United States, but also to guard the States from any encroachment upon their reserved rights by the General Government.  And as the Constitution is the fundamental and supreme law, if it appears that an act of Congress is not pursuant to and within the limits of the power assigned to the Federal Government, it is the duty of the courts of the United States to declare it unconstitutional and void.  The grant of judicial power is not confined to the administration of laws passed in pursuance to the provisions of the Constitution, nor confined to the interpretation of such laws; but, by the very terms of the grant, the Constitution is under their view when any act of Congress is brought before them, and it is their duty to declare the law void, and refuse to execute it, if it is not pursuant to the legislative powers conferred upon Congress” [Abelman v. Booth, 62 U.S. 506 (1858), at 520,521]

Rights and immunities created by or dependant upon the Constitution of the United States can be protected by Congress.  The form and the manner of the protection may be such as Congress, in the legitimate exercise of its legislative discretion, shall provide.  These may be varied to meet the necessities of the particular right to be protected”. [U S v. REESE, 92 U.S. 214 (1875), at 215, 216]

“A remedy the more necessary, because the oppression does not always arise from the ill-nature, but sometimes from the mere inattention of government“. [William Blackstone, Commentaries (1768)]

Reasons will be given hereafter for considering many of the restrictions, contained in the amendments to the Constitution, as extending to the states as well as to the United States, but the nature of the writ of habeas corpus seems peculiarly to call for this construction. It is the great remedy of the citizen or subject against arbitrary or illegal imprisonment; it is the mode by which the judicial power speedily and effectually protects the personal liberty of every individual, and repels the injustice of unconstitutional laws or despotic governors“.  [“A View of the Constitution of the United States”, William Rawles (1829)]

“The national code in which the writ of habeas corpus was originally found, is not expressly or directly incorporated into the Constitution.

If this provision had been omitted, the existing powers under the state governments, none of whom are without it, might be questioned, and a person imprisoned on a mandate of the president or other officer, under colour of lawful authority derived from the United States, might be denied relief. But the judicial authority, whether vested in a state judge, or a judge of the United States, is an integral and identified capacity; and if congress never made any provision for issuing writs of habeas corpus, either the state judges must issue them, or the individual be without redress.” [“A View of the Constitution of the United States”, William Rawles (1829)]

“It is at any rate certain, that congress, which has authorized the courts and judges of the United States to issue writs of habeas corpus in cases within their jurisdiction, can alone suspend their power, and that no state can prevent those courts and judges from exercising their regular functions, which are, however, confined to cases of imprisonment professed to be under the authority of the United States. But the state courts and judges possess the right of determining on the legality of imprisonment under either authority. [“A View of the Constitution of the United States”, William Rawles (1829)]

“§ 1333. In order to understand the meaning of the terms here used, it will be necessary to have recourse to the common law; for in no other way can we arrive at the true definition of the writ of habeas corpus. At the common law there are various writs, called writs of habeas corpus. But the particular one here spoken of is that great and celebrated writ, used in all cases of illegal confinement, known by the name of the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum,” [“Commentaries on the Constitution”, Joseph Story (1833)]

Though we have seen that the state legislatures have failed at nullification of unlawful enactments of Congress, perhaps, however,  we can see that there is a remedy within the Constitution that, if properly applied, will achieve such end. Unless, of course, the “Sacred Writ has been suspended — without the requisite act of Congress and the Constitutional conditions met.

To understand more about Habeas Corpus, and, the apparent suspension (not enacted suspension, as required), go to Habeas Corpus 2012

Also:

Habeas Corpus 2012

Has Habeas Corpus Been Eliminated

For the current status of the Habeas Corpus before the Supreme Court, see Habeas Corpus Suspended

 

“We the People”, but, Who are We? – Part III

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

“We the People”, but, Who are We? – Part III

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
July 20, 2011

So, we have established that “rights” were not conveyed by the Fourteenth Amendment, only “privileges and immunities”.  Or, have we?  Of course, to this point, it is only words and omission of words that can lead us to that conclusion.

Understand, however, that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and early legislation was written so that all could understand what was being required.  After all, as James Madison said (Federalist Papers #62), “Law is defined to be a rule of action”.  If it is a rule of action, then it must be written so that anybody can understand it.

Let’s see if we can determine whether the premise that rights were not conveyed is properly construed, as presented.  To do so, we must, once again, return to the past — to those who lived the times and understood what the intention of the 14th Amendment really was.

Our answer can be found in another Supreme Court decision, decided just 7 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment.  The case is Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874).

At issue was whether the Fourteenth Amendment conveyed the right to vote to a woman, since she was made “a citizen of the United States” by that Amendment.  Understand that many states did not recognize woman as being full citizens and they were denied the right to vote, own land, sue in court, inherit property, or hold office; or portions of some of these restrictions, depending on the state.

Understand that this case was heard just seven years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment, and all parties were fully aware of the Amendment, its interpretation and ramifications.  They lived the times, unlike those of us who have to search back to find the intent of laws and amendments.

The case introduces the problem with the following statement of facts:

The fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in its first section, thus ordains:

‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.  Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.’

And the constitution of the State of Missouri thus ordains:

‘Every male citizen of the United States shall be entitled to vote.’

 

Minor, as described by the Court, set forth the following arguments:

1st. As a citizen of the United States, the plaintiff was entitled to any and all the ‘privileges and immunities’ that belong to such position however defined; and as are held, exercised, and enjoyed by other citizens of the United States.

2d. The elective franchise is a ‘privilege’ of citizenship, in the highest sense of the word.  It is the privilege preservative of all rights and privileges; and especially of the right of the citizen to participate in his or her government.

3d. The denial or abridgment of this privilege, if it exist at all, must be sought only in the fundamental charter of government,-the Constitution of the United States.  If not found there, no inferior power or jurisdiction can legally claim the right to exercise it.

4th. But the Constitution of the United States, so far from recognizing or permitting any denial or abridgment of the privileges of its citizens, expressly declares that ‘no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.’

5th. It follows that the provisions of the Missouri constitution and registry law before recited, are in conflict with and must yield to the paramount authority of the Constitution of the United States.

The Court (in the decision) then posed the question:

The question is presented in this case, whether, since the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, a woman, who is a citizen of the United States and of the State of Missouri, is a voter in that State, notwithstanding the provision of the constitution and laws of the State, which confine the right of suffrage to men alone.

In providing an answer to the question, we find:

Looking at the Constitution itself we find that it was ordained and established by ‘the people of the United States [Preamble to the Constitution],’ and then going further back, we find that these were the people of the several States that had before dissolved the political bonds which connected them with Great Britain, and assumed a separate and equal station among the powers of the earth [Declaration of Independence], and that had by Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, in which they took the name of ‘the United States of America,’ entered into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defence, the security of their liberties and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other against all force offered to or attack made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever [Articles of Confederation].

Whoever, then, was one of the people of either of these States when the Constitution of the United States was adopted, became ipso facto a citizen-a member of the nation created by its adoption.  He was one of the persons associating together to form the nation, and was, consequently, one of its original citizens.  As to this there has never been a doubt.  Disputes have arisen as to whether or not certain persons or certain classes of persons were part of the people at the time, but never as to their citizenship if they were.

* * *

Other proof of like character might be found, but certainly more cannot be necessary to establish the fact that sex has never been made one of the elements of citizenship in the United States.  In this respect men have never had an advantage over women.  The same laws precisely apply to both.  The fourteenth amendment did not affect the citizenship of women any more than it did of men.  In this particular, therefore, the rights of Mrs. Minor do not depend upon the amendment.  She has always been a citizen from her birth, and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizenship.  The amendment prohibited the State, of which she is a citizen, from abridging any of her privileges and immunities as a citizen of the United States; but it did not confer citizenship on her, that she had before its adoption.

* * *

It is clear, therefore, we think, that the Constitution has not added the right of suffrage to the privileges and immunities of citizenship as they existed at the time it was adopted.  This makes it proper to inquire whether suffrage was coextensive with the citizenship of the States at the time of its adoption.  If it was, then it may with force be argued that suffrage was one of the rights which belonged to citizenship, and in the enjoyment of which every citizen must be protected.  But if it was not, the contrary may with propriety be assumed.

When the Federal Constitution was adopted, all the States, with the exception of Rhode Island and Connecticut, had constitutions of their own.  These two continued to act under their charters from the Crown.  Upon an examination of those constitutions we find that in no State were all citizens permitted to vote.  Each State determined for itself who should have that power.  Thus, in New Hampshire, ‘every male inhabitant of each town and parish with town privileges, and places unincorporated in the State, of twenty-one years of age and upwards, excepting paupers and persons excused from paying taxes at their own request,’ were its voters; in Massachusetts ‘every male inhabitant of twenty-one years of age and upwards, having a freehold estate within the commonwealth of the annual income of three pounds, or any estate of the value of sixty pounds;’ in Rhode Island ‘such as are admitted free of the company and society’ of the colony; in Connecticut such persons as had ‘maturity in years, quiet and peaceable behavior, a civil conversation, and forty shillings freehold or forty pounds personal estate,’ if so certified by the selectmen; in New York ‘every male inhabitant of full age who shall have personally resided within one of the counties of the State for six months immediately preceding the day of election . . . if during the time aforesaid he shall have been a freeholder, possessing a freehold of the value of twenty pounds within the county, or have rented a tenement therein of the yearly value of forty shillings, and been rated and actually paid taxes to the State;’ in New Jersey ‘all inhabitants . . . of full age who are worth fifty pounds, proclamation-money, clear estate in the same, and have resided in the county in which they claim a vote for twelve months immediately preceding the election;’ in Pennsylvania ‘every freeman of the age of twenty-one years, having resided in the State two years next before the election, and within that time paid a State or county tax which shall have been assessed at least six months before the election;’ in Delaware and Virginia ‘as exercised by law at present;’ in Maryland ‘all freemen above twenty-one years of age having a freehold of fifty acres of land in the county in which they offer to vote and residing therein, and all freemen having property in the State above the value of thirty pounds current money, and having resided in the county in which they offer to vote one whole year next preceding the election;’ in North Carolina, for senators, ‘all freemen of the age of twenty-one years who have been inhabitants of any one county within the State twelve months immediately preceding the day of election, and possessed of a freehold within the same county of fifty acres of land for six months next before and at the day of election,’ and for members of the house of commons ‘all freemen of the age of twenty-one years who have been inhabitants in any one county within the State twelve months immediately preceding the day of any election, and shall have paid public taxes;’ in South Carolina ‘every free white man of the age of twenty-one years, being a citizen of the State and having resided therein two years previous to the day of election, and who hath a freehold of fifty acres of land, or a town lot of which he hath been legally seized and possessed at least six months before such election, or ( not having such freehold or town lot), hath been a resident within the election district in which he offers to give his vote six months before said election, and hath paid a tax the preceding year of three shillings sterling towards the support of the government;’ and in Georgia such ‘citizens and inhabitants of the State as shall have attained to the age of twenty-one years, and shall have paid tax for the year next preceding the election, and shall have resided six months within the county.’

[Note: you may want to review the list of voter qualifications, above, and consider that we were strong and building our country into the greatest nation in the world, when the voters had to be above debt to vote — rather than able to vote themselves “a chicken in every pot”.]

* * *

And still again, after the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, it was deemed necessary to adopt a fifteenth, as follows: ‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’  The fourteenth amendment had already provided that no State should make or enforce any law which should abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.  If suffrage was one of these privileges or immunities, why amend the Constitution to prevent its being denied on account of race, &c.?  Nothing is more evident than that the greater must include the less, and if all were already protected why go through with the form of amending the Constitution to protect a part?

* * *

… Women were excluded from suffrage in nearly all the States by the express provision of their constitutions and laws. If that had been equivalent to a bill of attainder, certainly its abrogation would not have been left to implication. Nothing less than express language would have been employed to effect so radical a change. So also of the amendment which declares that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, adopted as it was as early as 1791. If suffrage was intended to be included within its obligations, language better adapted to express that intent would most certainly have been employed. The right of suffrage, when granted, will be protected. He who has it can only be deprived of it by due process of law, but in order to claim protection he must first show that he has the right.

So, clearly, from this decision, rendered shortly after the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, we see that there is a distinction between “rights” and “privileges and immunities”, and that any grant of right would require a constitutional amendment to confer it on any other than “We the People”.

This does beg the question of whether the Fifteenth Amendment confers more than the right to vote.  Does it also confer the right to hold office, when the requisite for that office is “Citizen of the United State” [Art. I. Section 2, clause 2, and, Art. I, Section 3, clause 3, Constitution], and, “a natural born Citizen of the United States” [Art. II, Section 1, clause 5, Constitution], unless such “right” is specifically conferred?

 

Part I can be found at “We the People”, but, Who are We? – Part I

Part II can be found at “We the People”, but, Who are We? – Part II

Part IV can be found at “We the People”, but, Who are We? — Part IV

Part V can be found at “We the People”, but, Who are We? — Part V 

The Constitution is NOT a Suicide Pact

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

The Constitution is NOT a Suicide Pact

Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
March 30, 2011

Through the process of conditioning (programming), especially in government schools and the press, we have lost sight of what this country really is, and, what it stands for.

Though there have been many nations throughout the history of the world, there is only one that was established, independent of outside source, by the people of that nation.  It was a nation of independent people who had learned to cherish their freedom, primarily established by an absence of control from across the ocean.

They had found, though bound by English laws and English government, that absent a regular imposition of that authority, that they did quite well for themselves, taming a wilderness and establishing a productive society, within the limits imposed by that far away government. They were, for all intents and purposes, the first and only truly free civilized nation.

When that foreign government began to impose upon these people who had developed self-sufficiency, beyond any before them, they resented their treatment as “children” rather than being treated as adults, and true sons of England, with all of the rights enjoyed by Englishmen.

Just eleven years after their separation from the then greatest power on the Earth, they established a government in a form that would best suit them — developed, in part, by the political philosophers that preceded them; in part, from what they had learned from the natives of the land they shared; and, in part from their experiences with the previous government, which bonds they had so recently broken.

This new government was embodied in a document which was then styled, “Constitution for the United States of America”. It was, through conventions in the various states, truly a document approved by “We The People”, as its suggests in its preamble:

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.

In this modern day, we have lost sight of the intention of the Framers of that great document. We can however, look to the past to understand just who embodied those “People” who set on forth this greatest venture in self-government that the world has ever seen.

Our best understanding can be found in a Supreme Court decision, rendered in Dred Scott v. Sandford [60 U.S. 393] , in 1856. Chief Justice Taney, who gave the decision of the Court, went into great detail in defining just who those “People” were.

The case hinges on who had standing, as a “citizen of the United States” (prior to the Fourteenth Amendment) to sue in court.  The details of the case is not necessary to understand the following.

The case ended up in the Supreme Court.  In its decision (below), the Court pointed out that Scott had claimed to be a citizen of Missouri, which would give him standing to sue Sandford.  It found that though Scott was not a citizen of Missouri, or of the United States, that standing for the Court to hear the case was based upon the Courts acting on the fact that the question of citizenship was not in the plea that brought the matter before the Court.

Going directly to the Final Decision, given my Justice Taney, we have the Court’s determination of just who was a “citizen of the United Sates:

The words ‘people of the United States’ and ‘citizens’ are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing.  They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives.  They are what we familiarly call the ‘sovereign people,’ and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty.  The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty?  We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.  On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.  “

* * *

The question then arises, whether the provisions of the Constitution, in relation to the personal rights and privileges to which the citizen of a State should be entitled, embraced the negro African race, at that time in this country, or who might afterwards be imported, who had then or should afterwards be made free in any State; and to put it in the power of a single State to make him a citizen of the United States, and endow him with the full rights of citizenship in every other State without their consent? Does the Constitution of the United States act upon him whenever he shall be made free under the laws of a State, and raised there to the rank of a citizen, and immediately clothe him with all the privileges of a citizen in every other State, and in its own courts?

The court think the affirmative of these propositions cannot be maintained.  And if it cannot, the plaintiff in error could not be a citizen of the State of Missouri, within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States, and, consequently, was not entitled to sue in its courts.”

It is true, every person, and every class and description of persons, who were at the time of the adoption of the Constitution recognised as citizens in the several States, became also citizens of this new political body; but none other; it was formed by them, and for them and their posterity, but for no one else.  And the personal rights and privileges guaranteed to citizens of this new sovereignty were intended to embrace those only who were then members of the several State communities, or who should afterwards by birthright or otherwise become members, according to the provisions of the Constitution and the principles on which it was founded.  It was the union of those who were at that time members of distinct and separate political communities into one political family, whose power, for certain specified purposes, was to extend over the whole territory of the United States.  And it gave to each citizen rights and privileges outside of his State which he did not before possess, and placed him in every other State upon a perfect equality with its own citizens as to rights of person and rights of property; it made him a citizen of the United States.

* * *

“It becomes necessary, therefore, to determine who were citizens of the several States when the Constitution was adopted.  And in order to do this, we must recur to the Governments and institutions of the thirteen colonies, when they separated from Great Britain and formed new sovereignties, and took their places in the family of independent nations.  We must inquire who, at that time, were recognised as the people or citizens of a State, whose rights and liberties had been outraged by the English Government; and who declared their independence, and assumed the powers of Government to defend their rights by force of arms.

In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument.

Now, clearly, it is those who initiated the fight for independence that are of the class recognized by the Constitution as “citizens of the United States”.  Many have pointed out that one of the first to “die for the cause” was a negro named Crispus Attucks, who was shot to death in the “Boston Massacre”, in 1770.  This, however, in the eyes of the Court, does not qualify him as one of the people — for which the country was intended.

Though the decision of the Court continues to give examples of just how the Court perceived this relationship, I would prefer to not include too many more of the over one-hundred and ten thousand words in the Decision.  There are some words, however, that warrant our attention in fully understanding what was intended by the founding of this nation, and so I will provide these few paragraphs:

“The language of the Declaration of Independence is equally conclusive:

It begins by declaring that, ‘when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.’

It then proceeds to say: ‘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 them is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The general words above quoted would seem to embrace the whole human family, and if they were used in a similar instrument at this day would be so understood.  But it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration; for if the language, as understood in that day, would embrace them, the conduct of the distinguished men who framed the Declaration of Independence would have been utterly and flagrantly inconsistent with the principles they asserted; and instead of the sympathy of mankind, to which they so confidently appealed, they would have deserved and received universal rebuke and reprobation.

Yet the men who framed this declaration were great men-high in literary acquirements-high in their sense of honor, and incapable of asserting principles inconsistent with those on which they were acting.  They perfectly understood the meaning of the language they used, and how it would be understood by others; and they knew that it would not in any part of the civilized world be supposed to embrace the negro race, which, by common consent, had been excluded from civilized Governments and the family of nations, and doomed to slavery.  They spoke and acted according to the then established doctrines and principles, and in the ordinary language of the day, and no one misunderstood them.  The unhappy black race were separated from the white by indelible marks, and laws long before established, and were never thought of or spoken of except as property, and when the claims of the owner or the profit of the trader were supposed to need protection.

This state of public opinion had undergone no change when the Constitution was adopted, as is equally evident from its provisions and language.

The brief preamble sets forth by whom it was formed, for what purposes, and for whose benefit and protection.  It declares that it is formed by the people of the United States; that is to say, by those who were members of the different political communities in the several States; and its great object is declared to be to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.  It speaks in general terms of the people of the United States, and of citizens of the several States, when it is providing for the exercise of the powers granted or the privileges secured to the citizen.  It does not define what description of persons are intended to be included under these terms, or who shall be regarded as a citizen and one of the people.  It uses them as terms so well understood, that no further description or definition was necessary.

So, we have, from many angles, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of who the Constitution was written both by, and, for.  It was never intended to be a catch all for the diverse populations, cultures, and religions of the world.

In 1867, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. Though many of the Congressmen believed that its purpose was to provide a place, in this country, for the negro population (recently freed slaves, as well as those negros previously freed), it has since been interpreted, by the government, not the Court, to be inclusive of all walks of life.

The Amendment first made “[a]ll persons born or naturalized. . . . citizens of the United States”. It then prohibited any state from passing laws which would “abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States”.

Since the Fourteenth Amendment extended the privileges and immunities to those who were henceforth known as “citizens of the United States”, it made no mention, nor is there any wording that would confer upon them, the status of those “sovereign people” who had established this government, and nation. It simply granted to them the “privileges and immunities”.

This left the original intent in place, though extended only certain rights to those who had, prior to the Amendment, no access to those “privileges and immunities”.

The country was still, as intended, only for those who were as described by Justice Taney, “it was formed by them, and for them and their posterity, but for no one else,” though it was then willing to share some of the bounty of this great land with others. In essence, it took  phrase, “citizen of the United States”, and made it a legal term. It did not remove the meaning of “citizen of the United States”, as it existed prior to the amendment, it simply created a second meaning, which, in legal context, conveyed only certain specified rights, and nothing more.

Regardless of the Amendment, we can clearly understand that if the door were opened to include any who wished to walk in and enjoy that bounty, it would absolutely destroy the context in which the country was formed. It was, after all, the heritage and culture, and the moral foundation espoused by Christianity, that was the very foundation for the great experiment. To allow that a single amendment, with an alleged purpose of only extending certain rights, could not be subsequently interpreted to be the means by which all that was embodied in the document to retracted  whiteout specific wording nullifying that original intent.

A nation has to have some binding force. In most nations, that force is the common language, heritage, and, culture, of the dominant people of the nation.  In the United States, that language is English; the heritage is English and the culture is European.  It is under such conditions that the United States evolved into an effective world force between its inception (the Declaration of Independence in 1776) and its ability to defend itself against outside forces (the War of 1812).

Its growth in prestige, power, influence, productivity, and pride, continued to grow, providing what became the deciding factor in World Wars I and II.  It had, without a doubt, become the dominant world power, especially considering that it did not suffer the devastation that most other countries realized in those conflicts.

Since that time, we have begun a downward spiral, destructive of both the nation (integrity of) and the Constitution, with but few exceptions.

In 1954, the Congress enacted the Communist Control Act of 1954. This act recognized that the Communist Party posed an eminent threat to the United States and its Constitution.  The codification of that act, at 50 U.S.C. § 842 , provides that:

The Communist Party of the United States, or any successors of such party regardless of the assumed name, whose object or purpose is to overthrow the Government of the United States, or the government of any State, Territory, District, or possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein by force and violence, are not entitled to any of the rights, privileges, and immunities attendant upon legal bodies created under the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States or any political subdivision thereof; and whatever rights, privileges, and immunities which have heretofore been granted to said party or any subsidiary organization by reason of the laws of the United States or any political subdivision thereof, are terminated. . .

Clearly, there is legitimate concern that the Communist Party might use force to overthrow the government. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no due consideration of an overthrow by other means, such as subversion of the Constitution by political chicanery.  After all, subversive means had not then been developed to the fine art that has been achieved in the past half-century.

The authority within the Constitution, however, to enact laws that would protect the Constitution were, clearly, within the means and authority of the government.  Would it make any sense to be able to outlaw force as a means of supervision of the Constitution and not to allow means to avoid such an overthrow, without force?

What has effectively happened is that the manipulation, without Amendment to the Constitution, and with the abrogation of the Supreme Court’s responsibility to rule upon the constitutionality of laws (see About Ashwander v. TVA), we have seen a dilution of the Constitution which has resulted in a de facto revision to the Preamble, as follows:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect workers Union, establish Justice Injustice, insure domestic Tranquility disharmony, provide for the common defence of any nation we see fit, promote provide the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to all but ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America, which shall continue in effect until such time as the people decide that they will burden their posterity with unmanageable debt and allow revision to this Constitution, without regard to the provision in Article V for amendment hereto.

Unless we stand firm and demand that the Nation be retained, as intended by the Framers of the Constitution, we will find that our children will be living in a third world country by the time they have grandchildren.  There is no middle ground.

We must understand that any organization, association, political philosophy, or, religion, which is not consistent with the Constitution, and, our way of life, should of necessity, be made unlawful, since its purpose would be to allow the Constitution to be the weapon of its own demise

The Communist Party and the Socialist Party espouse a politics of government control of, and, redistribution of, wealth.  Islam, though a religion, retains social, political and legal requirements that are inconsistent with our Constitution. Labor unions, though they may have served a useful purpose, in times past, before the government instituted laws that were protective of labor, are now too powerful and political to be consistent with the intention of the Constitution. They have become manipulators of the law, to their own favor, and with total disregard to the economy and our world trade situation.  These serve no useful purpose to the continuation of our way of life, and must be outlawed.

If we don’t act, firmly and soon, we will find that the new Preamble to the Constitution will be taught, at our expense, to our own children:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a workers Union, establish Injustice, insure domestic disharmony, provide the defence of any nation we see fit, provide the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to all but ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America, which shall continue in effect until such time as the people decide that they will burden their posterity with unmanageable debt and allow revision to this Constitution, without regard to the provision in Article V for amendment hereto.

Though the Constitution may be equated to a “birth certificate” for the new nation conceived and embodied within it, unlike a birth certificate that certifies that you and I have entered life, only to leave it at some point in the future, that “birth certificate” was written to include posterity — it was the birth of a perpetual union – intended to live as long as free men do.

* * *

For more information on  who “We the People”, those whom the Constitution was written, by and for, are, see the five part series beginning with “We the People”, but, Who are We? – Part I    and the four part series beginning with Factions — The Chains of Oppression – Part I.

 

 

Introduction to Committees of Safety

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Introduction to Committees of Safety

Committees of Safety, or like elements, existed throughout the history of colonial America.  Though known by various names (Committees of Protection, Associations, or, as the case in Plymouth Colony, an unnamed civil body politic, and, in Jamestown, simply governing council), they had the characteristic of being a civil government absent a government established by the sovereign.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *Mayflower CompactIn ye name of God Amen· We whose names are vnderwriten,
the loyall subjects of our dread soueraigne Lord King James
by ye grace of God, of great Britaine, franc, & Ireland king,
defender of ye faith, &cHaueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente
of ye christian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to
plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe
by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and
one of another, couenant, & combine our selues togeather into a
ciuill body politick; for ye our better ordering, & preseruation & fur=
therance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte,
constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances,
Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought
most meete & conuenient for ye generall good of ye colonie:  vnto
which we promise all due submission and obedience.  In witnes
wherof we haue herevnder subscribed our names at Cap=
Codd ye ·11· of Nouember, in ye year of ye raigne of our soueraigne
Lord king James of England, france, & Ireland ye eighteenth
and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom ·1620·|

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

In the early eighteenth century, Committees of Safety were quite common, especially on the frontiers, where the possibility if Indian attacks were likely.  The Committee would appoint watchmen, hog reeves, fence reeves, and, militia officers.  These are functions that were taken on by more organized governments, in some towns, though were common through most of the colonies, leading up to the War of Independence.

Committees served, primarily, to fill in gaps that were left by existing colonial and county governments, providing services that were otherwise unavailable.

As tensions grew between the colonists and the Crown government in England, the need for Committees increased, especially in western Massachusetts and South Carolina.  After the Massachusetts Government Act (May 20, 1774), which revoked the Massachusetts Charter and replace the locally elected governments with appointments by the King, the farmers in western Massachusetts began forming Committee to assure a continuity of government and to take charge in expelling courts and judges who were not abiding by the original charter, and replacing them with their owns courts, though primarily only for criminal matters.

There were sufficient numbers of Committees in most of the colonies to call for the First Continental Congress, in 1774.  These Committees were not subject to Royal governance, because, quite simply, to call for such a Congress would have been a contradiction of their authority granted by the various charters.  Subsequently, the Second and Third Continental Congress were called by the Committees, which by this time, had evolved to the point where sufficient numbers of participating Committees established a Provincial Committee of Safety.

Committees of Safety continued to operate as functions of local government throughout the War of Independence, until each state adopted a Constitution, or otherwise revised their form of government, absent any Royal control.  Once the Article of Confederation were instituted (1781), the need for the Committees, except, once again, in the frontiers, diminished, as did the Committees.

Their next occurrence was in 1835, when President Santa Anna abolished the Constitution of 1824, granting himself enormous powers over the government.  Colonists in Texas began forming Committees of Correspondence and Safety.  A central Committee in San Felipe de Austin coordinated their activities.  This de facto government waged the revolution against Mexico, directing and supplying the militia, until independence was won.

What role could Committees of Safety play in today’s world?

Events such as Katrina, as well as the possibility of man caused disasters, are potential threats to the security, safety, and well-being of our families.

If a Committee existed in your community, and you were a member, then your family is also a member.  Suppose there was some sort of event that affected food supply, utilities, water, or otherwise threatened your safety.  You have in place, through the Committee, a cooperative with which to share needed resources.  Though short lived in Plymouth Colony and Jamestown, this “cooperative” served quite well for survival in a hostile land, for the first few years.

It also allowed the sharing of crops in the frontier towns and agricultural communities, in later colonial times, when Indian raids, or weather, destroyed crops, which would leave those affected short of food, had their neighbors (fellow Committee members) not shared with them what food was available.

In the aftermath of Katrina, if a Committee existed in a consolidated area (a community), and sent a representative to the local law enforcement with the message, “we will provide our own protection in our area”, describing the limits of the area protected by the Committee, it would make sense the law enforcement would be relieved that their job was made easier based upon the Committee relieving them of a substantial area that might otherwise require their patrolling.

The Committee would be a resource for such eventualities, and would be an ideal place from which to gain recognition by launching programs to help those in need.  Roof repairs, painting, yard maintenance, etc., for those unable to care for their own property.  This would encourage friendship, appeal to potential members, improve the quality of the neighborhood, and set the Committee out as supportive of the neighborly attitude that prevailed in this country, many decades ago.  This would result in reduced crime, safer streets and communities, and, a reaffirmation of our rights, freedoms, and liberty.

Committees of Safety are quite able to fill in where government fails to provide, at least for those who see the need, join, and, participate in, Committees of Safety.

http://www.committee.org/

Lucy Hosmer’s Diary, April 18-19, 1775

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

April 18 & 19 were days of change for many colonists. One wife, Lucy Hosmer, kept a diary. The following includes excerpts from that Diary.

This was given to me, and, presumably written by, Nord Davis, Jr, Northpoint Teams.

Gary Hunt

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The wind was blowing briskly over the chimney top, drawing the smoke from his hearth, as father sat thinking, the heat of the fire glazing his eyes. It was the spring of 1775. As the twilight began to fall on his modest home in Acton, Massachusetts, this young man wondered just what tomorrow would bring. His daily chores were done and an extra pile of wood had been stacked inside, handy for Hannah. He expected to be gone for a while. The leak around the chimney would have to wait for another day. There were important things to be done in the morning…

This young father had married his sweetheart, a lady named Hannah Leighton, of Acton. He had learned the gunsmithing trade. His personal future looked pretty good, and why not? He had built his own home, had a nice family, and a steady business repairing firearms. It had been a warm spring that year. According to the records, Hannah was occupied that evening with the children’s colds. Even the youngest of just fifteen months was letting the household know of her suffering and plight. The young man was left with is thoughts — Less than a dozen hours to muster. But, with spring in the air, everything going better than expected, how could he complain? How good it is to be free! We will settle some things tomorrow…

We might expect that any young man, as unusually blessed with a home, family and business, might tend to overlook the problems being created by some of the King’s men. After all, what could one do about such complex and far-reaching problems? Wasn’t his first duty to his family? Yes, but according to the Scriptures, there always comes a point when the affairs of the nation must come ahead of the needs of the family. This was one of those times. Fortunately, this was not a young man who simply looked to the rewards and the pleasures of the day. He was not one to close his eyes in a dream world of security, but one whose eyes, for his family’s sake, were fixed on the years ahead. Something had to be done about the Red Coats who were presuming themselves into the affairs of free men.

The Lord, he knew with certainty, had put him into a vital position to do some good. The Lord had called him to be the leader of men, and, as a gunsmith, his trade was to be needed on the cause of Liberty. Liberty, as he told Hannah, is never given by legislatures. It has always been obtained, and will be held, only by those who are willing to fight, and die, for it. When men cease to be willing to fight for it, it will only be a matter of time before free men are once again slaves of others. Months and months before, this young man — who had everything to both loose and fight for — organized a Company of Minutemen in his home town of Acton, Massachusetts. Acton? Who, today, has ever heard of such a place? Yes, we remember our history lessons about the brave men of Lexington and Concord. We know all about the midnight ride of Paul Revere and his group called the “Committee of Safety.” We can think of many others — but this young man and his Acton Militia, is generally unknown to even our most ardent patriots today. His name was Captain Issac Davis.

As Captain Davis sat watching the sparks crawling along the soot in the back of the fireplace that night, over in Concord a young wife, Mrs. Lucy Barnes Hosmer, was entering her concerns about the next day. In her diary* for Tuesday, April 18, 1775, she wrote:

I really don’t have time to spare from our household chores to write in this Journal–and yet, I must, to calm my nerves and enable me to think clearly about these perilous times. This I must surely do to help my husband, Joseph Hosmer, our four children, and our dear village of Concord. No shots have yet been fired but already we are a wartime community…

…for months now, our household, and those of our neighbors, have given over the major portions of our lives to the task of preparing Concord for war…what I mind more than the hiding of weapons is the need to watch out for Tories and spies amongst our own townspeople… Much of the time I am too busy to be anxious. But at night, after my work is done, I do worry and mainly about Joseph. Some of our neighbors say that all this anger at the Mother Country started here-abouts with the speech he gave last year at the Middlesex Convention when he defended our rights against Mr. Daniel Bliss, the famous Tory lawyer, who mocked our folly in resisting the mighty British empire and urged us all to stand loyally by King George and Old England.

I was proud of my husband that day. Mr. Bliss stood up in front of the Convention, handsome in his fine clothes, with a sarcastic smile on his face. Joseph was near the back of the room wearing a plain butternut suit that I had spun, wove, and dyed for him. At first he spoke slowly as if he was feeling his way with the words, but he wound up with such eloquence that he confounded Mr. Bliss and set our neighbors on fire with new ideas of our rights and freedom. Folks, even lawyer Bliss himself, they say, has been naming my Joseph the most dangerous man in Concord, ever since. And that makes me both proud and frightened. Joseph is thirty-nine years old now and our neighbors say his influence over the young men of the town is strong, and where he leads, they’ll follow.

Yesterday, the Committee of Safety ordered the dispersal of the military supplies here in Concord into the neighboring towns. Last night Joseph and I drove by ox team two wagon loads of ammunition from Acton to hide on Deacon Jonathan Hosmer’s farm there. His twenty-year-old son, Abner, is Joseph’s third cousin and an Acton Minuteman.

Lucy Hosmer was quite correct. Abner Hosmer was not only an Acton Minutemen, but Captain Davis’s right-hand man! Just before dawn on April 19, 1775, Captain Davis quietly mustered his men. All equipment was checked out. Abner Hosmer was there and his training was to meter out the cadence on his drum — 120 beats to the minute. Carrying a drum, he would go into battle unarmed. James Haywood was there. The fifer, Luther Blanchard, got there just as the red morning sun stabbed its welcome light through the naked trees surrounding the Davis homestead. This was the day that this Company had been training for, and the Acton Minutemen were ready. Captain Davis had not only trained his men well, but as you will learn here for the first time, instilled in them an unusual spirit of dedication to God and Country.

“All present and accounted for, Sir!” a sergeant quietly called out, and the small band of men moved out for their six mile march to Concord. Every second, on the second, came the beat of Abner’s drum. The fifer was silent. It was in Concord that the King’s men were searching, house to house, for arms — but now you know where they were — in Deacon Hosmer’s barn in Acton, and driven there by a courageous woman named Lucy, just the night before! Yes, yes, there was the serious matter concerning taxation, and other grievances against the Parliament, but at the level of the Acton and Concord Minutemen, the issue was the confiscation of firearms. Today they would be called assault weapons.

Well, you know much of the rest of the story. Some three hundred patriots converged on Concord from the surrounding towns and villages to confront the Red Coats. It was about 10 o’clock AM and the village of Concord was nearly deserted. The women and children had left to be safe with friends. All the Minutemen were assembled on the north side of town near the North Bridge where six companies of British soldiers were posted to attack.

Lucy Hosmer wrote:

The reverend William Emerson, who is always impetuous (even Phebe, his wife, says so) proposed: “Let’s go after them and fight ’em right now!” But Colonel Barrett ignored this from The Cloth and ordered our men to withdraw to a position on the heights above the North Bridge where they would be near enough to see what was going on there.

I have inserted this information from Lucy to show you that during the early days of America, not only the Old North Church in Boston was involved in the cause of Liberty, but so were the ministers throughout the colonies, who were more directly involved. Pastor Emerson was there, and Deacon Hosmer was hiding arms, and AHD his son right out in front. Those were the Good Old Days… The Red Coats, over-confident as agents of admiralty government, have a fatale tendency to be, sent in some men to the abandoned Concord and began to steal whatever they could find from the abandoned homes. Lucy Hosmer then gives us an insight into what happened that many of us had not known before, and a lesson that all of us can use today–

…Then they set the village Liberty Pole on fire just to mock us. That fire got out of control and spread to the roof of the Court House which surely would have been destroyed if it hadn’t been for old Martha Moulton, who keeps house for Dr. Minot. She saw the Court House beginning to burn and rushed up to some British Officers, who were standing nearly on the green, and implored them to put out the fire. At first they laughed at her and mocked her pleas. But, she kept on pleading loudly and gave them no peace until they put out the fire.

Here is the interesting part! The patriots over by the North Bridge could not see what was going on in town, but they did see the billowing smoke which continued as the Red Coats were giving the widow a hard time. Imagine, the only one who dared to confront the Red Coats was this frail old lady. That pattern is being seen again and again today in America. However, as recorded in Lucy’s journal, it was the smoke of the burning Liberty Pole and the Court House roof that actually triggered the minutemen into action.

Understand, the Red Coats were on the Concord side of the North Bridge, and to take Concord to save the town, it was necessary for the Minutemen to cross the bridge in the face of British fire. Since the immediate military mission was to save Concord, the honor of leading troops fell to the Concord Company. Instead, according to historical fact, the Concord Captain asked to be excused on the grounds that some of his men were not prepared, and others were afraid. Confusion and doubt were beginning to spread among the men. At that moment the steel voice of Captain Issac Davis came thundering over the confusion. It was the only direct statement by Davis that has been recorded in history, but it was the right on, at exactly the right moment in American history  — “I haven’t a man who is afraid to go!” he said.

He then marched the Acton Company to the head of the column of Minutemen. Lucy tells us what happened, next:

They marched in double file toward the North Bridge to the fife strains of “The White Cockade” with Captain Issac Davis’s company in front of the lines. As they advanced they could see three British companies crowding together at the far end of the bridge. Two or three of the Red Coats were observed trying to pull up the planks! But they soon gave up and ran back to their companions. Our men marched nearer and nearer to the bridge to the beat of Abner Hosmer’s drum. The British fired warning shots into the air. Our men were marching foreward. Suddenly, the Red Coats fired a volley and Abner Hosmer and his Captain, Issac Davis, fell dead… Joseph said that the battle of the North Bridge did not take more than two or three minutes, but I’ll wager that those brief moments will not be forgotten by any of our people.

This first organized attack against the Red Coats, and King George’s admiralty regulations was led by an Acton, Massachusetts man whose name, Issac Davis, is all but forgotten today.

One history book carries this account of those fateful few minutes of history that began the cause of American Liberty:

“As they marched toward the Red Coats, the shrill and stirring music of Luther Blanchard’s fife pierced the morning air. Weapons were loaded and primed. Hammers were cocked as they got into range of the British rifles. Bang! A puff of smoke appeared followed closely by the report of a British rifle. Two more followed in quick succession. Fifer Blanchard was hit and the fife was heard no more. A strange silence hung about three feet off the ground for about thirty seconds, and then came the first volley from the British. Captain Issac Davis and the drummer Abner Hosmer, were killed instantly. The war, hardly begun, was over for them.”

For a few moments, the death of Captain Davis and drummer Hosmer stunned the Acton Company. This was now the real thing! Over it all came the thundering voice of Major Buttrick, the Commanding Officer of the Concord Company, “Fire, fellow soldiers, for God’s sake, Fire!”

So, fire they did. The battle near Concord’s North Bridge was the one which set the stage for the greatest land of Liberty mankind has ever known. The battle began when King George’s forces attempted to disarm the American colonists.


* Text from Lucy Hosmer’s diary has been provided through the courtesy of Mary Hosmer Lupton of the Albemarle Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Some Thoughts on the Election Process

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Election Process

 Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
November 22, 2010

 Introduction

Whether we want to refer to the United States as a Democracy, a Republic or a Constitutional Republic is inconsequential.  It is how the government operates that really matters.

In all three decryptions, it is assumed that there will be elections, and that we will have our choice of candidates — to represent us in local, state, and federal offices.

We must wonder, considering the results of elections, especially in our recent past, whether we have been exercising that franchise in a proper manner — as was intended by the Framers.

Understand that what we are talking about is “electors”.  This is not to be misunderstood as to be referring to the electors in the “electoral college” any more than students of a grade school would be misunderstood to include students of a college.

Though the minimum qualifications may be the same, the various levels of electors are based upon their function.  The function described herein is of those at the lowly level of electors within a Republican (Article IV, Section 4) State.

Constitution

Article I, Section 2, clause 1:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

Article I, Section 4, clause 1:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Article II, Section 1, clause 2:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Amendment XIV [1868]

Section 1–All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2–Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.  But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 5–The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Amendment XV [1870]

Section 1–The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2–The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment [XIX] [1920]

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment [XXIV] [1964]

Section 1–The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2–The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment [XXVI] [1971]

Section 1–The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2–The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Federalist Papers

In Federalist Papers #52, James Madison says, Those of the former [House of Representatives] are to be the same with those of the electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislature.  The definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government.  It was incumbent on the convention, therefore, to define and establish this right in the Constitution.  To have left it open for the occasional regulation of the Congress, would have been improper…”

Later, in that same Paper, he says, “Who are to be the electors of the federal representatives?  Not the rich, more than the poor; not the learned, more than the ignorant; not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscurity and unpropitious fortune.  The electors are to be the great body of the people of the United States.  They are to be the same who exercise the right in every State of electing the corresponding branch of the legislature of the State.

Other Historical Sources

Delaware Charter of 1701:

FOR the well governing of this Province and Territories, there shall be an assembly a yearly chosen, by the Freemen thereof

Address of General Assembly of New York to Lieutenant Governor George Clarke,
September 7, 1737.

Persons that are fairly and freely chosen, have only right to represent the People, and are most likely to do the most effectual, as well as the most acceptable Service to the Public: Whereas those who have recourse to Frauds and unbecoming Arts, to procure themselves to be raised to those Stations, must be under the Government of narrow and selfish Views, unworthy any Representation of a free People, and will no doubt basely submit to those same detestable Measures, to continue themselves (by any Means) in the Exercise of a Trust unjustly acquired.  It is by such as these, that the Liberties of the most free People have been in various Ages of the World, undermined and subverted: And it is to prevent this, as much as we may, that we gave Leave to bring in the Bill, for regulating of the Elections.

William Blackstone, Commentaries 1:165, [1765]

1.  As to the qualifications of the electors.  The true reason for requiring any qualification, with regard to property, in voters, is to exclude such persons as are in so mean a situation that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.  If these persons had votes, they would be tempted to dispose of them under some undue influence or other.  This would give a great, an artful, or a wealthy man, a larger share in elections than is consistent with the general liberty.  If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, and, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote in electing those delegates, to whose charge is committed the disposal of his property, his liberty, and his life.  But, since that can hardly be expected in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications; whereby some, who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting, in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.

John Adams, On the Importance of Property for the Suffrage [1776]

James Sullivan, a member of the provincial congress of Massachusetts, corresponded with John Adams in May 1776 when the latter was a member of the Second Continental Congress.  On May 6, Sullivan wrote a letter to Adams in which he discussed the principles of representation and legislation and called for some alterations in the qualifications for voters.  Adams replied in the following letter of May 26, 1776.

IT IS CERTAIN, in theory, that the only moral foundation of government is the consent of the people.  But to what an extent shall we carry this principle?  Shall we say that every individual of the community, old and young, male and female, as well as rich and poor, must consent, expressly, to every act of legislation?  No, you will say, this is impossible.  How, then, does the right arise in the majority to govern the minority against their will?  Whence arises the right of the men to govern the women without their consent?  Whence the right of the old to bind the young without theirs?

But let us first suppose that the whole community, of every age, rank, sex, and condition, has a right to vote.  This community is assembled.  A motion is made, and carried by a majority of one voice.  The minority will not agree to this.  Whence arises the right of the majority to govern, and the obligation of the minority to obey?

From necessity, you will say, because there can be no other rule.

But why exclude women?

You will say, because their delicacy renders them unfit for practice and experience in the great businesses of life, and the hardy enterprises of war, as well as the arduous cares of state.  Besides, their attention is So much engaged with the necessary nurture of their children that nature has made them fittest for domestic cares.  And children have not judgment or will of their own.  True.  But will not these reasons apply to other?  Is it not equally true that men in general,  in every society, who are wholly destitute of property are also too little acquainted with public affairs to form a right judgment, and too dependent upon other men to have a will of their own?  If this is a fact, if you give to every man who has no property a vote, will you not make a fine encouraging provision for corruption by your fundamental law?  Such is the frailty of the human heart that very few men who have no property have any judgment of their own… talk and vote as they are directed by man of property who has attached their minds to his interest.

Upon my word, Sir, I have long thought an army a piece of clockwork, and to be governed only by principles and maxims, fixed as any in mechanics; and, by all that I have read in the history of mankind and authors who have speculated upon society and government, I am much inclined to think a government must manage a society in the same manner; and that this is machinery too.

Harrington has shown that power always follows property.  This I believe to be as infallible a maxim in politics, as that action and reaction are equal is in mechanics.  Nay, I believe we may advance one step farther, and affirm that the balance of power in a society accompanies the balance of property in land.  The only possible way, then, of reserving the balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue is to make the acquisition of land easy to every member of society; to make a division of the land Into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates.  If the multitude is possessed of the balance of real estate, the multitude will have the balance of power, and in that case the multitude will take care of the liberty, virtue, and interest of the multitude in all acts of government.  I believe these principles have been felt, if not understood, in the Massachusetts Bay from the beginning; and therefore I should think that wisdom and policy would dictate in these times to be very cautious of making alterations.  Our people have never been very rigid in scrutinizing into the qualifications of voters, and I presume they will not now begin to be so.  But I would not advise them to make any alteration in the laws, at present, respecting the qualifications of voters.

Your idea that those laws which affect the lives and personal liberty of all, or which inflict corporal punishment, affect those who are not qualified to vote, as well as those who are, is just.  But so they do women as well as men; children as well as adults.  What reason should there be for excluding a man of twenty years eleven months and twenty-seven days old from a vote, when you admit one who is twenty-one?  The reason is you must fix upon some period in life when the understanding and will of men in general is fit to be trusted by the public.  Will not the same reason justify the state in fixing upon some certain quantity of property as a qualification?

The same reasoning which will Induce you to admit all men who have no property to vote with those who have, for those laws which affect the person, will prove that you ought to admit women and children; for, generally speaking, women and children have as good judgments, and as independent minds, as those men who are wholly destitute of property; these last being to all intents and purposes as much dependent upon others who will please to feed, clothe, and employ them, as women are upon their husbands, or children on their parents.

As to your idea of proportioning the votes of men, in money matters, to the property they hold, it is utterly impracticable.  There is no possible way of ascertaining, at any one time, how much every man in a community is worth; and if there was, so fluctuating is trade and property that this state of it would change in half an hour.  The property of the whole community is shifting every hour, and no record can be kept of the changes.

Society can be governed only by general rules.  Government cannot accommodate itself to every particular case as it happens, nor to the circumstances of particular persons.  It must establish general comprehensive regulations for cases and persons.  The only question is, which general rule will accommodate most cases and most persons.

Depend upon it, sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end of it.  New claims will arise; women will demand a vote; lads from twelve to twenty-one will think their rights not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing will demand an equal voice with any other, in all acts of state.  It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions and prostrate all ranks to one common level.

North Carolina Constitution of 1776, Arts.  7 – 8

VII. That all freemen, of the age of twenty-one years, who have been inhabitants of any one county within the state 12 months immediately preceding the day of any election, and possessed of a freehold within the same county of 50 acres of land, for six months next before, and at the date of the election, shall be entitled to vote for a member of the Senate. 
VIII.  That all freemen of the age of twenty-one years, who have been inhabitants of any one county within the state 12 months immediately preceding the day of any election, and shall have paid public taxes, shall be entitled to vote for members of the House of Commons for the county in which you resides.

Georgia Constitution of 1777, Art. 9

ART. IX. All male white inhabitants, of the age of twenty-one years, and possessed in his own right of ten pounds value, and liable to pay taxes in this state

Usurpation

We can see that the Constitution recognized that every state was guaranteed “a Republican Form of Government”.  That being the case, the Constitution clearly made the determination of who shall be “electors” a prerogative of each state.  The only federal intervention was to set qualifications as to who may hold office in the legislative and executive branches of government.

The states, in their “republican” capacity could determine who was qualified as an elector for the most numerous branch (House of Representatives or equivalent), and that those so qualified could also participate as an elector in all federal elections.

The “Time, Places and Manner of holding Elections” could be regulated by the Congress, though nothing is said of the qualifications of the electors.  Clearly, then, the qualifications of electors was not within the purview of the Congress and the federal government.

Even the selection of the electoral college was not restricted, rather was simply defined as to the number of such electors and a prohibition against anyone serving in such capacity if they were a “Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States”.

This absence of authority was further recognized in the Federalist Papers, by James Madison, when he explained that “the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government”, and, that “[t]o have left it open for the occasional regulation of the Congress, would have been improper.”

So, it would be improper, and, a denial of that Republican Form of Government to allow the federal government to intrude upon the right of any state to determine just who could be an elector, and, who could not.

Even after the Civil War, the Congress realized that it could not go where the Constitution provided prohibition against its intrusion.  With the ratification (this raises a whole new question, which will not be addressed in this paper) of the 14th Amendment [1868], Congress realized that they could not determine who could be an elector, and, who could not.

Following the only recourse that the Constitution allowed, they modified the representation, for the number of Representatives to be adjusted based upon denial of allowing some males over twenty-one the franchise of voting, the representation would be reduced by the same proportion as those not allowed to vote to the whole number of such class of males.  Congress realized that they had no authority to remove the right of the state, in its “Republican Form of Government”, to determine who the electors could be.

It is also interesting to note that the anti-slavery amendment was the first, though not the last, to incorporate the wording that “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation”, as if to provide them authority which was not granted by the Constitution — to legislate outside of their originally granted powers.

It would appear, however, that having been able to pass two Amendments to the Constitution (“anti-slavery and 14th), that they felt that they could go beyond the authority granted by the Constitution (usurpation — the unlawful encroachment or assumption of the use of property, power or authority which belongs to another.), so, two years later [1870], they passed to the states and obtained ratification of the 15th Amendment.

The Fifteenth Amendment, taking advantage of the newly created class of “citizen” (see Two Classes of Citizen), provided that “race, color or previous condition of servitude” could not be cause for denying a member of this new class of citizen to vote — including both federal and state elections.

Though many states had already allowed women to vote, apparently, given the success of previous usurpations, determined that they wanted the states to extent equal suffrage (contrary to what the Constitution and Madison had declared as the right of the states) to women with the 19th Amendment [1920].

By 1964, the 24th Amendment removed the obstacle that required a demonstration of commitment (see “Qualification”, below) to allow one to vote.  Though many states had already dropped the provision for a “poll tax”, the Congress was looking for total equality in the election process.

In a final blow to the authority reserved to the States, in the Constitution, and in the pursuit of equality (submission of the “Republican Form of Government” within the respective states), they removed the centuries old provision for age twenty-one and incorporated a whole new class of voters — those who had yet to have experienced life and its responsibilities, with the ratification of the 26th Amendment [1971].  The argument was that if they could go to war, they should be able to vote, notwithstanding the fact that the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and, World Wars I and II were fought by young men who had no right to participate. 

It becomes difficult to imagine that a franchise that should be so sacred can be extended even further.  In all of the above, the rights extended to the voting franchise only apply to “citizens of the United States”.  Though without an amendment on the subject, it does seem that Congress has removed the State’s right to determine if a potential elector has that qualification.

The extension of the voting franchise had been subordinated to federal authority, and the pool of participants was increased to allow all to vote.  This, along with current prohibition regarding determination of citizenship, have made American elections open to just about anybody who is present at the time of elections and willing to take the time to vote.

Qualifications

Beginning with the 15th Amendment (above), we see that there has been a change in the method of addressing the franchise.  This, and the subsequent amendments on the subject, do not address qualifications of electors; rather, they talk about the right to vote. 

From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

elector, n.

One who elects, or one who has the right of choice; a person who has, by law or constitution, the right of voting for an officer.  In free governments, the people or such of them as possess certain qualifications of age, character and property, are the electors of their representatives, &c., in parliament, assembly, or other legislative body.  In the United States, [also] certain persons are appointed or chosen to be electors of the president or chief magistrate.

freeholder, n.

One who owns an estate in fee-simple, fee-tail or for life; the possessor of a freehold [basically, a land owner],   Every juryman must be a freeholder.

freehold, n. 

That land or tenement which is held in fee-simple, fee-tail, or for term of life.  It is of two kinds; in deed, and in law.  The first is the real possessor of such land are tenement; the last is the right of a man as to such land are tenement, before is entry or seizure.
In the United States, a freehold is an estate which a man holds in his own right, subject to no superior nor to conditions.

Freeman, n. 

1. One who enjoys liberty, or who is not subject to the will of another; one not a slave or vassal.
2.  One who enjoys or is entitled to a franchise or peculiar privilege, as the freemen of a city or state.

From Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition:

Elector

A duly qualified voter; one who has a vote in the choice of any officer; a constituent.  One who elects or has the right of choice, or who has the right to vote for any functionary, or for the adoption of any measure.  And in a narrower sense, one who has the general right to vote, and the right to vote for a public officers.  One authorized to exercise the elective franchise.
[also]  One of the persons chosen to comprise the electoral college.

Freeholder

One having title to realty; either of inheritance or for life; either legal or equitable title.  A person who possesses a freeholder estate.

Freeman

A person in the possession and enjoyment of all the civil and political rights accorded to the people under a free government.

From colonial times through the 14th Amendment, the colonies/states have always had the right to determine just who should be an elector, and who should not.  In early colonial times, a freeman had to have an estate of 14 schillings.  This means that he had to have 14 schilling above and beyond any debt obligation that he might have.

The Delaware Constitution of 1701 simply requires that one be a “Freeman”.  A Freeman, as defined above, is someone who is not a slave or vassal.  A vassal is one who owed servitude.  And, since credit, as we know it today, was unheard of in colonial times, and if an obligation was owed, it was owed to the point that it would require no less than servitude until the obligation was satisfied, it would seem that a Freeman is one without obligation.

When Lt. Governor Clarke addressed the New York General Assembly, he justified the enactment of a “Bill, for regulating of the Elections”.  In so doing, he made clear that “those who have recourse to Frauds and unbecoming Arts” to secure elections, and, when elected, must be “ of narrow and selfish Views, unworthy any Representation of a free People, and will no doubt basely submit to those same detestable Measures, to continue themselves (by any Means) in the Exercise of a Trust unjustly acquired.”  This was the justification to pass laws necessary to assure that those elected were “fairly and freely chosen”.

If we consider some of the problems we face, today, we can see that they are not new to this country, nor the history of man.  Divisive people pursuing public office will use divisive means to gain and retain that office.

William Blackstone provides us some insight into why ownership of property (freeholder) should be a requisite to becoming an elector.  He explains that those without property have proven to be in “so mean (vulgar, lacking dignity) a situation that they are esteemed to have no will of their own”.  Suggesting that they would subject their vote to influences that should not be considered in choosing proper officers or representatives.

In 1776, North Carolina adopted one of the first Constitutions subsequent to the Declaration of Independence.  In that document, the need to qualify electors for both houses of the legislature, each qualification being different, is clearly understood.  For the higher house, the Senate, ownership (freehold) of fifty acres was required.  For the House of Commons, one need only be a taxpayer.  In both instances, he must be twenty-one years of age.

Georgia, just one year later, required that one have ten pounds of his own money and pay taxes.

There can be little doubt that the understanding that the electors must be both mature (aged twenty-one) and responsible was a condition of becoming an elector.  The idea that someone who was unable to make well for himself was, in any way, competent to make decisions so important to the community, state or federal government, was not worthy of consideration.

One might wonder what good is served by extending the franchise to everybody, without consideration of maturity or ability.  Well, from history, the 14th and 15th Amendments, we know that the federal government wanted to punish the Confederate States for the insurrection by both denying the vote to those who fought for the South and to give the vote to those who had never demonstrated their ability to be responsible for their own lives, which leads to a nearly untenable situation for many decades, putting the ex-slaves as masters over the white man, at least politically.

In a rather curious turn of events, we can see that by 1920, nine states had granted women suffrage.  Obviously, as per the Constitution, the prerogative was left with the states.

Since just a few years before, in 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment, requiring popular vote for Senators, taking the state legislature’s assertion of state input into Congressional decisions away, we see that though only the nine states had enacted suffrage, three quarters of the states ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women suffrage.  One must wonder why only nine states had granted suffrage and then 36 states (of the then 48) ratified the universal suffrage amendment.  Both a usurpation and a statistical quandary.

One of the early measures of participation in the election process was that of status.  If one was a freeholder or freeman, he could participate.  Some had to pay public taxes.  A poll tax was a measure of that capability and some states retained that qualifier in the form of a poll tax.

In 1964, the Twenty-fourth Amendment was ratified, which outlawed this measure of participation and commitment on the part of the elector, “the right of the elector… shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.”  This provision made room for participation by those who could not even take responsibility for their own lives, though they were now qualified to help determine the course and future of the state and country.

Considerations

Both William Blackstone and John Adams provide us some insight into the reasons behind the existence of the qualification for electors.  Clearly, the more one participated in his community, by ownership of land (which is, nowadays, rather easily achieved by those who wish to and are willing to work for it), or, at least, by independency and his ability to care for his family, without reliance upon others.

Age, another consideration of whether one has the maturity and ability to judge and reason, is probably more significant today than in 1776.  Ages fourteen to 17 allowed entry into the military service.  Many college students entered their institution of learning at age 12.  By 21 years of age, most males had already established their own home, and, were far more worldly than those of the same age, today.

Should these requisites be considered in the determination of who is qualified as an elector?

Should electors and candidates have clearly established investment in their community?

Should registration of electors be as carefully scrutinized as many other aspects in our society?

Conclusion

In the early years of this country, nobody ran for office, as they do, today, though their friends and associates would encourage voting for them.  Today, massive campaigns are conducted, many costing in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars for a job that pays less than two million for a full term.  Therefore, we must carefully consider what effect the qualifications of electors would have on the election process.

Let’s start with the candidates, themselves.  Residence requirements were six months or a year, required citizenship, and, in many instances, required a freehold (land ownership).  Back then, six months in a community would familiarize you with the community and the people who resided in it.  Commuting dozens of miles was impractical, and simply renting space to establish ‘residency’ was unheard of.  Where your family was and lived, was where you had your roots set.

Nowadays, you can buy an expensive house in New York (having moved from Arkansas to Washington, and then deciding that Arkansas was too backward and lacked influence), stop there from time to time to furnish the house, and then, having establish national name recognition, running for Senator from that state in complete violation of the intent, as described above.

This modern age has made transient living quite easy.  That being the case, perhaps, to achieve the intent of investment in the community, the time for residency of a candidate should be longer than it was in our past.

Now, for the electors.  Were Adams, Blackstone and the various constitutions correct in judging that certain requirements imposed upon qualifying as an elector provide a more reasoned and qualified elector?  Surely those who have earned their way in life, and, in so doing, have provided more to the upkeep of the nation (via various forms of taxation); have a vested interest in the course and cost of government by virtue of land ownership; and, are inclined to keep the expense of government down, since they are, ultimately, the ones who most pay the cost of maintaining government, are more qualified to make rational decisions with regard to those who take the reins of government and make decisions that will affect all.

It is unlikely that a corporation would allow employees to vote in the election of officers, though shareholders, by all means, should be allowed to participate.  After all, they are vested in the corporation and have far more at stake than the employees have.  Their concern for the productive direction of the corporation is far greater than that of the employees.

Should a country be any different?  Should those vested, or, at least, productive in support of the country be considered more competent to make rational decisions with regard to the course of the country than those who would be more inclined to vote because of influence, threats, coercion, or, to achieve gain for themselves?