Departments
Front Page
Constitutional Intro
Constitution & Bill of Rights
Constitution vs Treaties
Constitutional Rights
Civil Rights
Supreme Court
Electoral College
Justice & Juries
Case Law
Natural Law
Law Precedents
Executive Orders
Judicial Accountability
News Media Bias
Taxes
Gun Ownership
2nd Amendment
Gun Issues
The United Nations
World Issues
Viewpoints
American Loyalty
Citizen's Comments
Youth & Crime
Police Actions
World/Olympic Shooting
The Sounding Board
Links
Library
US Times
Save Your Guns
Shots Heard Downrange
U.S. History/Formation
Words of Wisdom
Voting Recommendations
Constitution Defender
Editorial/Editorial Policy
Constitution Conflicts
Corporate Profiles
FACTS
 
 

 

CIVIL RIGHTS - A BULWARK AGAINST OPPRESSION

It must be understood that before the Constitution was adopted, there was much dissension and discussion, There was a strong argument against a federal government as opposed to individual state governments, and many, in fear of the loss of their civil rights, demanded a Bill of Rights. The Federalist Papers, authored primarily by Hamilton and Madison, sought to convince everyone that a central government, with safeguards and opposing powers of its branches, would be the most effective and efficient. The thrust of these papers were to explain the advantages, insure that civil rights would be preserved and to appeal for the ratification of this new Constitution.

Authorship of some of the Federalist Papers are listed as Hamilton or Madison and may indicate that the exact author is unknown or possibly there was an unequal authorship in that particular Federalist Paper.

We do know from newspaper renderings, history and the Federalist Papers themselves, that the Constitution framers believed positively that the civil rights enumerated in the Constitution and Bill of rights were God-given and that those documents , therefore, only memorialized those rights.

The Bill of Rights emphatically defined individual and state rights and Amendment IX clearly limits the Federal powers. This was imperative, not only because of the threat against individual civil rights, but also to limit the power of those elected officials.

It seems lost in today's translation that our forebears instinctively believed that they had all the rights designated in the Bill of Rights, but to make sure the Federal government understood that, it was a condition of accepting the Constitution that these civil rights be put down on paper.

As you read these Federalist Papers, you should keep in mind that our forefathers were extremely wary of creating a government like the one they just escaped, wherein King George could,and did, demand taxation without representation, subservience and the forfeiture of arms. They also realized that the main perils of a centralized/federal power over the states could result in unfair taxation and that a separation of powers would be the only solution for protecting citizen's civil rights.

Also, it is imperative in your study of these papers that you compare where government has seized power that the Constitution has not granted. This is especially true with the current Administration and Justice Department and most especially true of Clinton using the courts to get what he wants when Congress won't oblige; when he declared war without Congressional approval; when he encourages, aids and abets legal actions in civil court to achieve his ends; and uses executive orders to bypass the legislative process. This was considered as one of the most important aspects of the Constitution and Bill of Rights -- the limiting of a central government or an individual branch run amok.

From the foregoing, you may now envision what the colonists feared most -- their own government acting without their best interests in mind and setting the stage for a very real erosion of civil rights and the integrity of the government itself.

Before we examine in some detail the Federalist Papers, let's review what the original 10 rights of the Bill of Rights granted American citizens. Keep in mind, however, that the Constitution framers firmly believed that all of these rights already existed and that they were granted by a Supreme Being; and that they were being put down on paper to satisfy everyone that there could be no doubt in anyone's mind what was meant.

Amendment I: The free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the right of the people to peaceably assemble and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (Therefore this civil right allows free thinking, speech, worship, assembly and a means to criticize government).

Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (This amendment was originally to be designated as the first amendment, which indicates the importance of the amendment. It guarantees a civil right that is imperative to preserving one's self and family, the state and the entire country).

Amendment III: 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. (This civil right protects ownership and occupation of one's home and property).

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. (This civil right protects against a Police State).

Amendment V: Please refer to the Constitutional Times "Library" for a complete rendering. (This civil right protects against 'double jeopardy', being a witness against oneself and to be compensated should your private property be confiscated.

Amendment VI: Refer to the "Library". (This civil right grants a speedy and fair trial, confrontation by your accuser and Counsel for your defense).

Amendment VII: Refer to "Library". (This civil right grants trial by jury).

Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel an unusual punishment inflicted. (This civil right is straight forward, except there is controversy re punishment).

Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (This civil right ranks as one of the most important because it is stating that just because a right is not enumerated, does not mean it doesn't exist).

Amendment X: 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. (If ever there was a civil right that is being violated on a daily basis, this is the one. The Federal government violates this civil right under every guise imaginable in complete defiance of the Constitution).

Now we will examine some of the Federalist Papers in search of how our civil rights were incorporated into the Constitution and why our government is a republic and not a democracy.

Federalist 29 - Hamilton: Note that the National Guard was not founded until more than 100 years after the Constitution was adopted, thus the militia referred to by Hamilton is composed of ordinary citizens whose function, if called upon, would be to resist insurrection, invasion and to repel its own government should that government "become formidable to the liberties of the people and who stand ready to defend their own right and those of fellow citizens." (This is in complete support of the civil right guaranteed in Amendment II).

Federalist 45 - Madison: A discussion touches on the subject, "That the people were made for kings, not kings for the people." The United States Constitution was the first form of government whereby those elected SERVED THE PEOPLE and not the reverse. Also, Amendment X - "Ultimate authority resides in the people alone."

Federalist 47 - Madison: "One of the principal objections inculcated by the more respectable adversaries to the Constitution, is its supposed violation of the political maxim, that the legislative, executive and judiciary departments ought to be separate and distinct." "There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body of magistratives," or, "if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers." (Editor's comment: Unless government authority is kept in check, there is no way for citizen's civil rights to be protected).

Federalist 51 - Hamilton or Madison: The discussion touches on the subject that men's ambitions must be reined in so as to keep the branches of government independent of each other. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of man must be connected with the Constitutional rights of the place. If men were angels, no government would be necessary." To enhance this republic form of government, legislators are elected for different terms and at different times as you note congress at two years, the president at four years and senators at six.

The Judiciary: "Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separate from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution, because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive, not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The Legislative , not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The Judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse, no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society, and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment, and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgment. (Editor's comment: Present day events question this statement and the direction of that office).