In 1794, Samuel Adams said, “Before the formation of this Constitution it had been affirmed as a self evident truth, in the Declaration of Independence, very deliberately made by the Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that ‘all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ This declaration was received and ratified by all the States in the Union and has never been disannulled.” [Just so you understand, because these unalienable rights were given by the Creator, they can’t be taken away by anyone but the Creator. If they were given by man, man could take them away. That is a very important distinction for you to know.]
Declaration of Independence defining rights: “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, derived their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
So basically, your individual right is the right to live your life in whatever way you choose, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others to do the same. You have the right to live life free from interference. Ayn Rand pointed out another great way to distinguish whether a right is in accordance with the Constitution: simply ask the question “at whose expense?” after the right is proposed. For example, try asking that question after someone proposes a universal right to a college education. At whose expense? If money is taken from one group of people to provide for another is that infringing on the rights of the one whose money was taken?
Also keep in mind not only the information from the Preamble, Declaration, and other work in this chapter below. It wouldn’t hurt to do some Internet research as well as actually read the U.S. Constitution.
Preamble to U.S. Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Be sure to read what Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, wrote in his 1801 Inaugural Address which is copied in part here:A Wise and Frugal Government
“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question. Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own federal and republican principles….
Enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter. With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…
You should understand what I deem the essential principles of our government….Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political…the arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus and trial by jury impartially selected….
And the questions begin – THINK and read all of the founding documents that you can. Remember all about the founding documents not what is happening today.
1. What are the things that governments should do according to the definition of individual liberty as outlined by our Founders? [Hint: Read the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution below or above.]Don’t neglect to answer this part before answering the next questions and be very careful to stick to the Preamble and not your opinion. Read it carefully and make sure your answer has to do with the Preamble itself not just your opinion.
a. What is the proper role of government in providing health care, welfare, affordable housing, or retirement security according to the definition of rights in the Declaration of Independence? In other words, does the government have a role; why or why not?
b. What is its role in limiting smoking, posting calorie counts, or demanding seat belts be worn?
c. Should the government be able to deny a prescription drug to sufferers of a disease because it is not “FDA approved”?
d. Should they run public schools and force all people in a geographic area to pay for them via property taxes?
e. Should they even collect property taxes in the first place? Be sure you are looking at the Declaration of Independence in answering a-e.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”
1. Why do you suppose the Founders wrote “We the people” with such large letters in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution? Think!
1. Select two Black Patriots from the link of the same name located at the beginning of this assignment page (it may be slow to load since it’s an ADOBE file), write in a few paragraphs what you learned about these two. I have added another website here from Wallbuilders.com on another Black patriot that you are also allowed to use as one of the two.
2. Continue by writing about two of the founding mothers from the websites below Be sure you are writing about those in the founding era not later. Let me know if you have trouble with any of the sites. You may have to either hold down the control key when clicking on one of the websites or copy/paste into the address bar of your computer.
Deborah Samson-woman who dressed as a man – very interesting
Mary Ludwig Hays (Molly Pitcher)
Elizabeth Annesley Lewis
Lydia Barrinton Darrah-spy for American Revolution – very interesting
Other women during the colonial period
Original text of Pioneer Mothers of America – colonial period begins on page 280 – I had to copy and paste the website into the address bar. It’s interesting to look at this old text if you have time.
FYI only – little known information about the Founders:
Quotations from Fisher Ames from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/fisher_ames.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
These quotes are for information only.
“A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will produce an eruption and carry desolation in their way.”
“No one ever became, or can become truly eloquent without being a reader of the Bible, and an admirer of the purity and sublimity of its language.”
“The gentleman puts me in mind of an old hen which persists in setting after her eggs are taken away.”
“The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be liberty.”
Declaration of Independence