Sunday, November 25, 2007

America & Founding Documents

A 1765 Call to Action -- "Educate Young and Old: For Liberty" -- As Timely Today as When Originally Made
If only a single idea could be said to have been held in common by all of The Founders, none would have a better claim to this distinction than the idea that sound information and education constitute the essential and best foundation upon which to build securely and enduringly--for The Individual and for the people as a whole, for the nation. The writings of The Founders are filled with appeals and admonitions to make sure of a fair future for Liberty in America through widest possible use of sound information and education; and John Adams was second to none in this regard. An especially impressive appeal of this character was made by him as part of a 1765 writing: "A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law" which was first published as a series of essays in the Boston Gazette. Its value lies, in part, in its enduring quality--valuable in every year and generation and as pertinent today as when first published. This is so true, and its message is so important to the well-being of Man's Freedom from Government-over-Man in America today and in the future, that an extended quotation is believed to be justified. First he assumed to be true then a favorable situation which, it must be admitted, does not exist in America today:
"Let us presume, what is in fact true, that the spirit of liberty is as ardent as ever among the body of the nation, though a few individuals may be corrupted. . . ."
True today as to independence from foreign rule, it is not true today regarding Individual Liberty: Freedom from Government-over-Man. This melancholy fact of deterioration of the situation of Free Man in America only serves to make more important the main part of his message:
"Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. Let every order and degree among the people rouse their attention and animate their resolution. Let them all become attentive to the grounds and principles of government . . ."
After thus expressing the key idea, he continued by directing attention to one of the main areas of knowledge which should be fostered and inculcated:
"Let us read and recollect and impress upon our souls the views and ends of our own more immediate forefathers, in exchanging their native country for a dreary, inhospitable wilderness. Let us examine into the nature of that power, and the cruelty of that oppression, which drove them from their homes. Recollect their amazing fortitude, their bitter sufferings,--the hunger, the nakedness, the cold, which they patiently endured--the severe labors of clearing their grounds, building their houses, raising their provisions, amidst dangers from wild beasts and savage men, before they had time or money or materials for commerce. Recollect the civil and religious principles and hopes and expectations which constantly supported and carried them through all hardships with patience and resignation."
After this invitation to relive the harsh realities of those days in our imaginations, with emphasis however upon the sustaining things of the mind and heart and soul, he reached the key word, "liberty":
"Let us recollect it was liberty, the hope of liberty for themselves and us and ours, which conquered all discouragements, dangers, and trials. In such researches as these, let us all in our several departments cheerfully engage,--but especially the proper patrons and supporters of law, learning, and religion!"
By "learning" he referred not only to formal education but to all knowledge-gaining, in all its facets by all possible means. Then he focused attention upon the group which, in New England especially, was in that time--as before and later--so potently influential in helping to develop, nurture and propagate the ideas of "Liberty and Independence": Independence from foreign rule and Liberty of Man against Government-over-Man. This was the clergy. He appealed to them as follows:
"Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear the danger of thraldom to our consciences from ignorance, extreme poverty, and dependence, in short, from civil and political slavery. Let us see delineated before us the true map of man. Let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God,--that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest or happiness --and that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good-will to man!"
By "slavery" he of course meant, in part, subjection to tyrannous rule by a British king and Parliament. Here Adams was not urging the clergy to do something new for their group--some of them had been doing this for generations in America. Instead, he was emphasizing the need of more of the clergy to participate in this educational program in support of "Liberty and Independence" and all of them to give more attention to this cause, so crucially important to freedom of religion. He then called upon the Bar--the profession which was expected to take the lead actively in the fight and which, in every generation, is obligated to do so morally as well as otherwise; partly today because every member of the Bar--like every judge and other public official--is sworn to support the Constitution--necessarily in its true and original meaning (per page 194, ante) as intended by those who framed and adopted the initial instrument and later each of its amendments. He continued:
"Let the bar proclaim, 'the laws, the rights, the generous plan of power' delivered down from remote antiquity,--inform the world of the mighty struggles and numberless sacrifices made by our ancestors in defence of freedom . . ."
Next he came to the leading group in the realm of formal education, the colleges:
"Let the colleges join their harmony in the same delightful concert. Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of liberty and virtue, and the deformity, turpitude, and malignity, of slavery and vice [meaning mainly governmental evils from the standpoint of Free Man]. Let the public disputations become researches into the grounds and nature and ends of government, and the means of preserving the good and demolishing the evil. Let the dialogues, and all the exercises, become the instruments of impressing on the tender mind, and of spreading and distributing far and wide, the ideas of right and the sensations of freedom. In a word, let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a-flowing."
He continued by warning of Britain's plan to enslave American colonists through the Stamp Act and other such measures; then continued:
"These are not the vapors of a melancholy mind, nor the effusions of envy, disappointed ambition, nor of a spirit of opposition to government, but the emanations of a heart that burns for its country's welfare. No one of any feeling, born and educated in this once happy country, can consider the numerous distresses, the gross indignities, the barbarous ignorance, the haughty usurpations, that we have reason to fear are meditating for ourselves, our children, our neighbors, in short, for all our countrymen and all their posterity, without the utmost agonies of heart and many tears."
The distinguished clergyman, Jonathan Mayhew, was mentioned expressly by Adams with praise for his valuable writings in support of the cause of Man's freedom in America.
This message has great significance today for all parts of American society because of the pressing need at present for sound information and education, to the end that Individual Liberty may be made and kept secure under constitutionally limited government--respected in practice and preserved in full integrity for the sake of the present generation as well as for the benefit of Posterity, for whom the present generation is merely temporary trustee.
It is only through living the principles which The Founders lived, and serving the ideals which they served, that in each generation any and every American can, in truth, render all honor to The Founders.
Could they return to the American scene now and speak a word of warning in behalf of the cause of Individual Liberty, they would perhaps be satisfied to repeat the remark of Dr. Joseph Warren--President of the Massachusetts Congress and a Major General, killed in action at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775--in his oration in Boston on March 5, 1775 (the anniversary of the "Boston Massacre" by British troops). His words were in effect addressed to every American of every generation, faced with the never-ending need for Friends of Liberty to be faithful, vigilant and active in support of the institutions and principles which are essential to Liberty's well-being:
"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of . . . On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves."
Napolitano at Reason in DC
October 2007
Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is among the fiercest defenders of individual rights. Both in his daily appearances on the country's most-watched cable news network and in a series of books (most recently, A Nation of Sheep), Napolitano consistently and defiantly argues that the only legitimate government is that which respects its citizens rights in all cases.
In late October, Napolitano gave the keynote address at the conference Reason in DC, where he delivered a spellbinding speech that blended a masterful understanding of American history with a blazing outrage at the excesses of the new security state. "Who [is] the greatest violator of the Constitution?" asks Napolitano. "George W. Bush has shown less fidelity to the Constitution than any president since Abraham Lincoln."
Documents Supporting and Establishing the United States of America:Declaration of Independence
Articles of Confederation
Constitution of the United States and subsequent Amendments
Bill of Rights - and Amendments up to XXVII
332 Questions and Answers + Notes and Commentary
Buy It Now
Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States
by Arthur J. Stansbury, 1828
Revised Edition by William H. Huff, 1993
Want to know the Constitution? Then get this book! By 1839 this book was the standard textbook for learning the Constitution in American classrooms.* Written as a "catechism" in question and answer format, this new larger edition is complete with notes and excerpts from Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention.
The Catechism was first used in the early 1800's for school children but should be required reading in every school today. It is an excellent way to re-acquaint yourself with the nature and benefit of strict constitutional government. Those who are discovering their true heritage for the first time have asked for such material to begin their own studies.
"Catechism" defined in Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
"An ignorant people are easily betrayed, and a wicked people can never be ruled by the mild influence of their own laws." - Arthur J. Stansbury
Original Features:Stansbury's original 1828 text of 100 pages with Introduction and Conclusion, including 332 Questions/Answers on the Constitution with step by step commentary on all of the important features of "a government of law and not of men."
Features of the New Edition:Quotes from the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution, Texts of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights with the Amendments up to the 26th, the Virginia Resolutions of 1798-99, Selections from Madison's Notes on the Federal Convention, and a reading list recommended by Jefferson and Madison of books said to contain the foundational principles "legitimately developed."
Editor's Notes on critical issues, and more ...
Excerpts from Stansbury's Introduction:"...remember that this precious Constitution, thus wise, thus just, is your birth-right. It has been earned for you by your fathers, who counseled much, labored long, and shed their dearest blood, to win it for their children. To them, it was the fruit of toil and danger ---to you, it is a gift. Do not slight it on that account, but prize it as you ought. It is yours, no human power can deprive you of it but your own folly and wickedness. To undervalue, is one of the surest ways to lose it. Take pains to know what the Constitution is ---the more you study, the higher you will esteem it. The better you understand your own rights, the more likely you will be to preserve and guard them. And, in the last place, my beloved young countrymen, your country's hope, her treasure, and one day to be her pride and her defence; remember that a constitution which gives to the people so much freedom, and entrusts them with so much power, rests for its permanency, on their knowledge and virtue...
The virtuous citizen is the true noble. He who enlightens his understanding--controls his passions--feels for his country's honor--rejoices in her prosperity--steps forth to aid her in the hour of danger--devotes to her advancement the fruits of his mind, and consecrates to her cause, his time, his property, and his noblest powers, such a man is one of God's nobility... We have seen such men among us; we hope to see many more."
Sample Questions from the Catechism

Don't forget our companion book: The Bill of Rights - EXPOSED!
Our books can be customized for educators, schools, fundraisers, political campaigns and activist groups. Passivist groups can simply remain passive.
Variously compiled, edited, and written by William H. Huff - 1998

During the years 1787-1789 the States of the Union were considering and Ratifying the Constitution for the United States of America. Each State summoned a convention to ratify the Constitution that would form the government under which the appointed trustees of We the People would perform the limited duties assigned to them by that marvelous document.
The conventions were concerned that it should be made immutably clear that the States and the People were not surrendering any rights or privileges in addition to those explicitly endowed to the new federal government by the Constitution.
A common sense reading of the Bill of Rights would give most citizens a good idea of the great body of rights that were to remain under the inviolable control of the People and the States respectively. Yet, today, many Americans have been so well "educated" that they are easily led astray by charlatans and demagogues who would twist and bend the meanings of words and concepts until they would emasculate our Bill of Rights and leave us as serfs or slaves to a government out of control; a government that now wishes to assert its "rights" to rule OVER the People. The "tail would wag the dog."
The missing component that prevents many of us from understanding the original intent of our Bill of Rights is CONTEXT. If we read the Bill of Rights without being familiar with other contemporary documents, we may, through no fault of our own, be drawn away into an "understanding" of the document that is far removed from the original meaning. But, if we can read the rest of the entire Ratification documents, we are reading a summary of what the States expected of the new Constitution. We are reading precisely what the original intent of the Bill of Rights IS because these are the most succinct expressions or summaries of ideas that were ultimately distilled into that most exquisite product, our Bill of Rights.
After a brief introduction and treatment of the preambles, The Bill of Rights EXPOSED takes the Ratification documents apart and collates them to each of the 10 Articles that became the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. After reading one of the Articles, the reader finds immediately below it the language from the States that expound upon its concepts and lock it in to its original intent.

An 1828 Websters Dictionary is another indispensable tool that you will want to acquire to assist in understanding these documents. Noah Webster was the Father of American education and a contemporary of the Framers of the Constitution. No other dictionary will do if you want to learn the historical context of this period and comprehend American political philosophy.
In addition to collating the Amendments to the ratification documents, I have taken the remainder of the ratification texts and collated them to important political concepts e.g. treaty law, executive orders, direct taxation etc.
Finally, the book includes a copy of the entire collection of ratification documents for those who want to read them in their entire context.
This text will prove ideal for any citizen who is old enough to start learning how to assert his/her rights under the law and according to our American political philosophy - where the citizen is Sovereign and the government is servant. Children should be introduced to a study of their great American heritage not long after they have started reading. How else will they know all about the great body of God-given rights that We the People reserve to ourselves under the Constitution and Bill of Rights forged on our behalf by our great patriot forefathers? A middle school reading level will suffice in most cases for independent study, provided that the Original 1828 Webster's Dictionary is nearby for reference.
With regard to our servants in government and in those professions who presume they already comprehend the Bill of Rights adequately enough, we challenge them to spar even briefly with the great minds of Jefferson, Madison and others. It’s time we all knew more about our rights as well as how to assert and preserve them. This book is another way for all of us to get up to Constitutional speed. We invite you to come and learn with us.
* Lexrex was recently contacted by a visitor who had purchased the Catechism on the basis of the claim that states the book was a standard in American classrooms by 1839. As far as we know at this time the statement is true. This is based on notes in an earlier 20th Century reprint of the text made the statement in its forward. We have no reason to believe the earlier reprint would misrepresent this fact. However, we have no earlier version to verify the statement. If anyone has authoritative documentation to refute this claim we would want to remove it in the interest of accuracy. In the larger context of more easily documented facts about the period it is safe to say the literacy and common knowledge of the laws and our Constitution far exceeded current levels of awareness and competence in these crucial subjects. We are of the opinion that the text of the Catechism stands on its own merits - even though it has a few errors related to the fact that Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention were not made public until seven years after the the Catechism was originally published. The serious student can always read Madison's Notes, Elliot's Debates, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers of course. The Catechism is just one of the best tools we have seen to get the dialog started. Modern Q&As on the Constitution tend to be rather insipid by comparison. They range mostly between trivia and brainwashing.

The American Ideal of 1776:
The Twelve Basic American Principles
by Hamilton Abert Long, 1976 - See copyright information.
Intelligent choice--between 1776 Americanism and conflicting Isms (chiefly Socialism in the USA today)--requires primarily thorough knowledge of these Principles.
The book is the essential tool for all who wish to be worthy trustees for today’s children and future generations of their just heritage: this Ideal, its eternal values and the supporting Constitution, as The Founders intended. They believed to default about this is to betray. (emphasis the author's)
- The Author, from his Note About the Book

Author's Introduction and Information regarding the Author
Commendations of the book appearing on the original cover
Author's extensive introductory quotes on the subjects being discussed.

Part I: Twelve Basic American Principles:Author's Prefatory Note regarding the Principles
1. The Spiritual is Supreme
2. Fear of Government-over-Man
3. Unalienable Rights--From God
4. Man Organizes Governments to Be His Tools
5. Limited Government
6. Decentralized Government
7. Equal, By God's Gift, In Sight of God and Law
8. Life and the Pursuit of Happiness
9. Liberty--Against Government-over-Man
10. Private Property--Liberty's Support
11. Taxes--Limited to Safeguard Liberty
12. The Majority--Limited for Liberty

Part II: Some Aspects of the Traditional American PhilosophyAuthor's Preliminary Comment
The Traditional American Philosophy--A Definite, Unique, American Philosophy of Government Does Exist--Composed of a Set of Specific, Fundamental, Traditional Principles
The Two Revolutions of 1776--for Individual Liberty and for Independence
Evolution a Main Part of the Revolution
Uniqueness of the Twin Revolution
Magna Carta's King-granted Rights
Understanding the American Heritage
Comments About A Few of the Sources Consulted Regarding Definition of the American Principles
"The Federalist"--A Rich Source of Sound Knowledge
An Important Distinction: Democracy versus Republic
The Planning in 1776-1788--That the New Government Be a Republic
The Federated System of Republics in America
Representative Government--a Chief Characteristic of a Republic
Limited Government in Relation to the "Bill of Rights" (or Prohibitions)
Limited Government In Relation to Some Fields of Power Prohibited to the Federal Government Limited Government in Relation to The Constitution's Treaty Clause
Limited Government in Relation to the Role of the Supreme Court
Limited Government under the Constitution in Relation to Religious Considerations Which the Declaration of Independence Makes Express
Limited Government and Individual Enterprise and the Profit Motive--Soundness Ethically, Morally, Socially and Otherwise
Concluding Comment as to Background Material

Part III: All Honor to the Founders
Respect Due The Founders
Refutation of the Charge That The Framers Perpetrated a Coup d'etat
The Founders' Concept of "Property"--Embracing All Rights--Not Merely Things Material
The Just Heritage of Posterity Always Uppermost in The Founders' Minds
Samuel Adams' Warning
A 1765 Call to Action--"Educate Young and Old: For Liberty"--As Timely Today as When Originally Made