richardinman | 17 March, 2012 16:13
If more Americans pondered this simple question they would have a more clear understanding of why those brave men who came before us risked their blood, treasure and sacred honor to create the greatest nation on Earth.
The Founding Fathers were a revolutionary group, diverse in their professions and yet unified in their goal: American liberty.
They understood that the citizens should have a say in their government and that the government only derives its legitimate power from the consent of the governed.
When Thomas Jefferson penned those timeless, eloquent words of freedom in the Declaration of Independence it sent political shock waves around the world that continue to reverberate in the minds of revolutionaries everywhere.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — 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."
A challenge was issued that kings did not automatically have supreme authority.
Rights come from Nature's God and it was time for men to rise up to secure these rights at any cost because it was the right thing to do.
Thus begun a radical shift in political thought. Individuals are not given rights by a government or king, the power of that government or king must be justly derived from the consent of the governed.
Rights would no longer be given to the people by the government, the government would be given limited rights from the people.
America would be a land of freedom and opportunity, with minimal government intrusion, a limited central government that would simply protect the people and maintain a safe environment for them to pursue happiness in anyway they saw fit.
The Founding Fathers would weep if they saw how destructive the government of the nation they risked everything to create had become to the liberty of the people.
The most common lie told is when a modern politician puts his hand on that Holy Book and swears to uphold and defend the United States Constitution.
If Americans truly want the Republic that their forefathers bled for, they must educate themselves on what the Founding Fathers wanted for America and fight to restore that vision through strict adherence and respect for the Constitution.
Thomas Jefferson, a true literary warrior for American liberty, stated:
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
If Thomas Jefferson could only see America now.
The Founding Fathers deliberated extensively in 1787 to produce the nearly perfect U.S. Constitution, the oldest written constitution still in use today.
Even after this expertly crafted document of limited government was created they still wanted to go further for liberty.
Thus in 1791 the Bill of Rights was added to the constitution and adopted by the several states.
The term "Bill of Rights" is actually quite misleading. The Bill of Rights is a collection of amendments to the Constitution that actually sets clear limits on what the Federal Government is allowed to do. It is more a bill of limitations on government then a bill of rights for the citizens.
So much freedom and protection was given to the citizens of the United States that it created the perfect catalyst for the fledgling nation to grow at a rapid pace. This addition to the constitution is so crucial to understanding what the Founding Fathers believed that I feel it is necessary to include all 10 of these precious limitations on government here.
The Bill of rights is something all Americans must understand and cherish.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The Founding Fathers believed so much in the people that they allowed them the freedom to do virtually anything they wanted as long as they did not harm one another. This is individual liberty.
Even our sacred rights to speak freely, worship the way we see fit, own firearms and be secure in the ownership of our private property are envied around the world today.
Governments try to fix problems by taking little bits of our liberty piece by piece and they always wind up creating more unforeseen problems which require new government solutions.
If there is a rise in gun crime, the solution is to limit the rights of the people to own guns. Never mind that less than 1% of all legally purchased handguns will ever be used in a crime, just make all citizens suffer for a tiny minority.
This is the current trend of our government in all aspects of our freedoms.
Most Americans only see the small incremental regulations on things they consider "problems" in society and don't rise up or protest.
They quietly watch their rights slip away at a very slow pace, ever so carefully and never quick enough to alarm them to action.
Government has begun to coddle citizens and provide for them by taking from the wealth that some citizens create and giving it to others. This philosophy promotes punishing success to reward failure.
Once the government heads down this road however, it creates dependency and the people who depend on that help from the government become incapable of surviving without it. Thus it becomes eternal.
People believe the government should do whatever it is doing. Sure there is outrage when a new program is mentioned and brought to the forefront but once it becomes law the outrage slowly subsides and a future generation would be outraged at the thought of repealing the law.
A perfect example of this phenomenon is the U.S. Department of Education. If you say you want to end the Department of Education people think you do not care about the children. Upon closer inspection though, one will find that ever since its inception in 1979 education in America has deteriorated.
This is due to the bureaucracy and centralized approach to education instead of the individual states, who are much closer to the citizens, creating and maintaining their own standards to create the best and the brightest citizens for their own economic benefit.
The States are losing more and more of their constitutionally enumerated power to the Federal Government and our nation is suffering because it.
Contrary to popular discussion, America is a Republic, not a democracy. Representatives of the people are chosen to represent them on the state level and also on the national level. We have an electoral college that selects the president, not a popular vote.
In a Republic, the most qualified individuals from among the people are chosen by the citizens to represent them in government.
In a democracy the people represent themselves. These distinctions are important when looking at national politics and then looking at politics on a state level.
The Founding Fathers wanted the states to govern themselves, with a loose Federal Government protecting them from outside threats and making decisions concerning multiple states, treaties with foreign governments and regulating commerce.
The term "state" always meant nation. France was a state, Great Brittan was a state all the nations of Europe were individual states. The modern use of the term is something closer to "province" because the true power of the states has been squelched by those who believe in strong central and national government.
The Founding Fathers knew better than this, which is why they added the 10th amendment to the constitution that expressly states that all powers not given to the Federal Government, are given to the States and the People respectively.
State governments are much closer to the people they represent and thus have much less bureaucracy. Also if a state became destructive to the rights of the people, the citizens could simply move to another state that was more consistent wit their beliefs.
If New York wanted to start taxing its middle class and businesses to provide services for other citizens, New Yorkers could simply move.
If the policies of New York's high taxation were damaging business there, the businesses could more to a more business friendly state like Virginia and all the other states could watch the experiments of state governments and determine if they would like to implement those changes in there own states.
Bad decisions were not supposed to punish the entire country.
This is the advantage of a Republic over some form of a pure national government.
Obviously the values of California are not the same as the values in Montana, so why should they be under the same blanket federal laws pertaining to morality such a drug use or prostitution?
If states' rights were still respected, individual freedom would be greater in some states then others and individuals would make a conscious choice on which state best reflected their values and move there, or fight tooth and nail within there own state to make the changed they believe in.
The Federal Government was never intended to impose whatever it wanted across the entire nation.
Massachusetts is not South Carolina and the people there should not be governed by the same blanket legislation, they should be able to choose the laws they wish to live under in their own state legislatures respectively.
Is freedom dangerous? Absolutely not. There should be some limitations, but they should be crafted by the states. Victimless crimes account for copious amounts of tax payers dollars and federal initiatives like the "War on Drugs" are giant strains on resources for very little benefit.
This may come as a surprise, but there are still drugs in America. There will always be drugs in America. If individual states want to go after the problem then by all means they should be able to legislate whatever laws they deem fit. If other states feel that adults should be able to do whatever they want to their own body because they are not owned by the government, then they should have that right to.
The government should protect citizens from each other and from foreign threats, protecting people from themselves is a nanny state mentality that is destructive to human liberty.
What did the Founding Fathers want for America? In short, the Founding Fathers wanted pure American liberty. With all of its problems it was still better than the alternative. People who are free are happy, creative and productive and they thrive if the government just stays off their back. They wanted a properly limited government and they designed one. It is up to America to remember that and fight to get it back.
I know the prospect of pure individual liberty is unsettling to some today. That tiny little minority of criminals, the less than 3% of the population scares the other 97% into passing legislation limiting all of the peoples liberty. But ask yourself, what is more important than freedom? What is freedom worth? It is priceless and it is a relatively new phenomenon in mankind recent existence. Cherish that freedom and study what the Founding Fathers of this great nation envisioned for the country.Get organized and vote accordingly. Future generations will be forever indebted to you.
Next time someone says to you that pure individual liberty is a "radical idea" and won't work in today's society, politely remind them that the Founding Fathers of America also had a radical idea -- that men could govern themselves, without a king!