Constitutional Rights suffer
in varying degrees with all forms of government but certainly fare worse under
emperors, monarchies and dictators. Socialism doesn't work well because it encourages
an unequal division of labor and responsibility. Communal arrangements fare
only slightly better. A true democracy is unwieldy and inefficient.
With great thought and
much determination our forefathers sought to create a new type of government
that would preserve the constitutional rights of its citizens by instituting
a revolutionary type of government - a government that served the people and
answered to the people - one where the elected were the servants and the people
To accomplish this, they
provided a Constitution and Bill of rights that set safeguards at every level
to protect the people's constitutional rights. You will note from a study of
the Constitution that a good portion is devoted to requirements to be met for
election to an office, that the three branches of the government are kept strictly
separated to balance the power, that terms of office are staggered, that voting
can oust an undesirable official, that impeachment power is granted to remove
the Executive (President) or members of the Judiciary (Supreme Court).
Laws are unfortunately
a necessary evil for civilization and the people give up rights when a law is
formulated. A people could exist without laws if each individual lived on a
separate island or if men were angels. Knowing that laws are necessary, but
often unevenly applied, the greatest threat comes from a biased authority that
threatens constitutional rights. This is most prevalent with a dictatorship
or other form of a sovereign rule. If you will refer to Section 7 of the Constitution,
you will note that in an effort to defend constitutional rights, great effort
and thought was devoted to laws, their origin, to the passage required through
both the House and the Senate and then to the president, who could sign or veto.
Even with all that, a veto override was provided for so that neither Congress
nor the President could unduly wield power.
Perhaps in this day of
"double-speak", we should examine just why certain individuals seek to destroy
the Constitution and common-sense of right and wrong and when excuses are made
as to "just what the definition of is, is."
Possibly, this is just not conjecture but instead a wilful act of destruction
of basic constitutional rights.
It certainly is appropriate
to study an original of anything should you really want to know how it was constructed
or formulated, why and what was originally intended. With that in mind, and
having a basic understanding of the English language, let's examine what the
craftsmen and signers of the Constitution meant in reference to constitutional
Quoting Thomas Jefferson:
"On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when
the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates,
and instead of trying to determine what meaning may be squeezed out of the text,
or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
And: "I know of no safe
depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves,
and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a
wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform
Quoting James Madison:
"Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is a danger of oppression.
In our government, the real power lies in the majority of the Community... Government
is the mere instrument of the major number of constituents."
And: "Whenever there is
an interest and a power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done and not less
readily by a powerful and interested Party, than by a prince.
And: "I believe there are
more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and
silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
(This is certainly apparent in today's political climate wherein thinly veiled
attacks are being made on our constitutional rights).
Quoting George Washington:
"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the
American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence...From the hour
the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies
prove that to insure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are
Quoting Patrick Henry:
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches
that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever
you give up that force, you are ruined." (These men considered the right to
arms as being the supreme of all the Constitutional Rights).
Quoting George Mason: "Disarm
the people...that was the best and most effective way to enslave them."
Quoting Samuel Adams: "The
Constitution shall never be construed...to prevent the people of the United
States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."
Quoting Benjamin Franklin:
"Those who would sacrifice Liberty for temporary safety deserve neither Liberty
nor safety." (Franklin was adamant in his belief that no constitutional right
should be traded for safety).
Quoting Noah Webster: "Before
a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed...The supreme power in
America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the
people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops..."
Having briefly examined
the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the thinking of those that drafted this
unparalleled document, it should be apparent that to surrender our Constitutional
Rights is to doom forever the most successful form of government ever devised