Covenants, Part 1
The Constitutions Part I
In America the Constitution of the United States is considered by many to be a sacred document. Some even proclaim it as divinely inspired. With great pride and pomp it is hailed as the source of the United States’ success as a nation and the fountainhead of its freedoms and fortunes.
The question asked by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 remains ours to answer, “Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”
The Party of the First Part
The men who signed the Constitution of the united States beginning “We the People” had been given no authority to sign anything, much less invent a new government. At the time they scratched their John-Hancocks to that parchment We the People consisted of the names on that document. Patrick Henry, who opposed the Constitution, aptly asked “Who authorized them to speak the language of ‘We the People,’ instead of ‘We the States’?”1
Prior to the Fourteenth Amendment, “No private person has a right to complain, by suit in court, on the ground of a breach of Constitution. The constitution it is true, is a compact, but he is not a party to it. The states are party to it.”2
If the individual freeman was not a party to the Constitution, then the constitution was not “a government of the people” or “by the people”, at least as “private persons” but only those people who signed the compact and those state governments in their limited and legal capacity. If the Constitution is a compact or contract then there is no contract or contracting away of rights of the people in general at its signing or ratification. Those who signed did not have the rights of the people in their possession at the time. The States could invest no rights in the Federal government that were not theirs to begin with and if they did so they would have to do it according to the contract that granted their existence. In any case the people were not a party to the Constitution.
“Hence the attempt of the constitution to establish a federal government, without these natural souls, was preposterous, unnatural, and void...”3
Did the people want the constitution? Do they want it now or even have a choice in the matter?
The Quiet Revolution
The Declaration of Independence was not a declaration of the people’s revolt against lawful government but it was a clarification of the revolt and usurpation of the crown of Britain against the People.
America was already a republic composed of free men before the declaration of independence. In colonial America, “The ordinary citizen, living on his farm, owned in fee simple, untroubled by any relics of Feudalism, untaxed save by himself, saying his say to all the world in town meetings, had gained a new self-reliance. Wrestling with his soul and plow on week days, and the innumerable points of the minister’s sermon on Sundays and meeting days, he was becoming a tough nut for any imperial system to crack.”4
“An absolute or fee-simple estate is one in which the owner is entitled to the entire property, with unconditional power of disposition during his life, and descending to his heirs and legal representatives upon his death intestate.”5
They possessed not only the title to the land but the “beneficial interest” and therefore could not be taxed on it. It was this freehold title that men came to this country to find not land for free but a free land. Men paid dearly to obtain such “true and actual title”.
They knew that being a free people in a pure republic depended on a large body of freemen, and they endeavored to obtain that status so that they and their children might be free.
“The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of Land.”6 From the earliest times it was understood that the right of dominion over land was essential to liberty. Even the word, “Freeman” means “the possessors of allodial lands.”7 “For as labor cannot produce without the use of land, the denial of the equal right to the “use” of land is necessarily the denial of the right of labor to its own produce.”8
In Lansing vs Smith 21 D. 89 it is written, “People of a state are entitled to all rights which formerly belonged to the king by his prerogative.” Freedom in America was not due to the collective Declaration of Independence but rather the result of tens of thousands of individual independent declarations in words and deeds. Those declarations began a century before and at the success of that conflict the freeman was truly king of his castle under God alone.
The virtue that settled the wilderness and earned the freedoms of early Americans are not automatically carried from generation to generation. “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”9
“Are men the property of the state? Or are they free souls under God? This same battle continues throughout the world?”10
Samuel Adams stated, on August 1, 1776 within one month of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “Our Union is complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are now the guardians of your own liberties. We may justly address you, as the decemviri did the Romans, and say: ‘Nothing that we propose can pass into law without your consent.’ Be yourself, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends.”
Why would we need another constitution? All the power of governing yourself was in the hands of the individual freeman. Who did want the Constitution of the United States? Who could impose it on the freeman? Where does it get its power and lawful authority? To understand this process of governmental power, authority and growth is to understand rights and the loss of rights.
“I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those powers than by violent and sudden usurpations.”11
Today, many consider the constitution as sacred - but not those who had won a great freedom through a century of sacrifice and hardship. They feared and opposed it. And that generation who had secured their free dominion against an unwarranted usurpation and tyranny opposed those “great words” and its compact. They did not war against it because it was not a compact with them nor did it have much influence over them or their lives.
“Just as the revolutionary Adams opposed the Constitution in Massachusetts, so did Patrick Henry in Virginia, and the contest in that most important State of all was prolonged and bitter. He who in Stamp Act days had proclaimed that there should be no Virginians or New Yorkers, but only Americans, now declaimed as violently against the preamble of the Constitution because it began, ‘We the People of the United States’ instead of ‘We, the State’. Like many, he feared a ‘consolidated’ government, and the loss of states rights. Not only Henry but much abler men, such as Mason, Benjamin Harrison, Munroe, R.H. Lee, were also opposed and debated... others in what was the most acute discussion carried on anywhere...”
“Owing to the way in which the conventions were held, the great opposition manifested everywhere, and the management required to secure the barest majorities for ratification, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that the greater part of the people were opposed to the Constitution.”
“It was not submitted to the people directly, and in those days of generally limited suffrage, even those who vote for delegates to the State conventions were mostly of a propertied class, although the amount of property called for may have been slight.”12
Limited suffrage dependent upon the ownership of property was not an arbitrary concept but an essential quality of a free state or nation. This has been true since the most ancient of times and is still true to this day. It was originally part of the constitution, yet deleted before a form of ratification. Its removal then - and absence now - is an important point to consider and understand but must be dealt with elsewhere.
In 1787, when the Constitution was ready to be submitted to the Governors of the states for ratification, Patrick Henry lectured against it in the Virginia State House for three weeks, criticizing the Constitution, warning that it had been written “as if good men will take office!” He asked “what they would do when evil men took office!”. “When evil men take office, the whole gang will be in collusion,” he declared, “and they will keep the people in utter ignorance and steal their liberty by ambuscade!”. He further warned that the new federal government had too much money and too much power and it would consolidate power unto itself, converting us “into one solid empire.” And the President with the treaty power would “lead in the treason.”
Alexander Hamilton,13 James Madison,14 and John Jay15 wrote 85 articles that were known as The Federalist Papers. They advocated the ratification of the Constitution. Most of them appeared as serials in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788.
The Federalist Papers have been a primary source for the understanding of the U.S. Constitution, revealing the philosophy and motivation of its advocates. The authors of the articles were attempting to influence the states and the people to find favor with ratification and reduce the opposition.
The authorship of the articles was kept secret for a number of reasons, but no debate nor the constitution can be understood without the opposing view equally examined and of course the judge of history will determine the winner.
The book entitled “The Anti-Federalist Papers” is a detailed explanation of American Anti-Federalist thought which appeared in articles and speeches during the same time. The Complete Anti-Federalist, was produced by Herbert Storing, and should be thoroughly examined by anyone assuming that the Constitution was seen as a prince of political salvation.
This movement16 that opposed the ratification of the Constitution was far more popular with the people. These men and the people who opposed the constitution believed that State rights would eventually be undermined and that the office of president would centralize power, attack state rights and eventually steal away the rights of the individual under some pretext of guaranteeing freedom.
History has been the judge but few today have heard the debate, nor do they understand the precepts of human nature or the construction of government through contracts that pump blood into the veins of tyrants. It is the greed and avarice of the people that give breath to the corporate state. When the people breath out the sigh of sloth and acquiescence, despots take a deep breath and act upon the vacuum of virtue.
“While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”17
Edmond Pendleton, who debated Patrick in his opposition to the phrase “We the People”, stated, “Permit me to ask the gentleman who made this objection, who but the people can delegate powers? Who but the people have the right to form government?”.
Neither the people of America nor the States they instituted created or legally ratified the Constitution. While the states did adopt that document many years ago the march of history has changed the course of mankind.
“It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people.”18
The Constitution is often an icon of popularity in the minds of the people today, but the covetous souls of mankind have formed government by the action and inaction of an indulgent population, by covetous participation and application, by slothful acceptance and acquiescence for more than two hundred years.
“For we are opposed, around the world, by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy, that relies primarily on covet means for expanding its fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation, instead of free choice... a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources ...”19
The powers of government now prevalent in the world today are a direct result of the people. Rights are instituted by God but governments are instituted by men. Those institutions of men are seldom formed by one single document but are constructed over time by the witness and testimony of the people.
“Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics. There must be a positive passion for the public good, the public interest, honour, power and glory, established in the minds of the people, or there can be no republican government, nor any real liberty: and this public passion must be superior to all private passions.”20
“There exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”21
Contracts, Covenants, and Constitutions
The book Contract, Covenants, and Constitutions, reveals the contrasting nature of a free government and those established by contract. It brings the original Constitution of the United States into historical contexts and the change in the modern American government into a unique revealing perspective. It also takes a detailed look at the prohibition in the Bible concerning government by contract; the Biblically delegated elements for constitutions; and the debt and bondage that always results from the failure to adhere to Godly precepts.
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2Supreme Court of Georgia, Padelford, Fay ∓mp; Co. vs Mayor and Alderman, City of Savannah, 14 Ga. 438,520 (1854)