We the People

September 17, 1787

Today is Constitution Day. It may be the most widely disregarded of US Holidays. It shouldn’t be. As we are seeing lately, freedom is an endangered thing, held by a thread, or three. One of those three is the Constitution.

When I write, as I did the other day, about the loss of freedom of speech in England, I thank God and Jemmy Madison for the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. For here, right in one of the Charters of Freedom, is my right to speak, and yours too.

Back in 2012, I wrote about this, and here is part of what I said:

I’m glad you brought attention to this most important of days.

I was a very lucky person. During WWII my father was sent over from Britain to Washington D.C.on the British Raw Materials Mission…basically to get brass to make ammunition. My mother joined him. this was in early 1942. We three children,were in Canada, my mother’s native land, spent the Winter and Easter vacations from boarding school with them in D.C..

My father was paid in pounds which didn’t go very far in the US in those days. My mother, being very ingenious, planned twice weekly excursions to the various historic sites and museums. It was always planned with both my two older sisters in mind and myself, some stuff that interested boys and some girls. There were of course, some places that interested all of us.

One such trip was to the Capitol Building. In the Rotunda on display were the three most important documents of the world. There under protective glass were the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, and the one on which both of these are based the Magna Carta. It had been sent over from England together with many other historical artifacts for protection for the duration of the war. Sad to say I didn’t even have a “Brownie” to record this amazing day.

What an awesome sight that must have been in the Rotunda of the Capitol, which is pretty awesome in itself! Thank you, David.

Let’s talk about this comment a bit.

If you wish to know about individual freedom in this world, there are two countries who have pioneered it and presented the case in writing:. England and the United States. There are three documents existing that spell it all out. There are legends that there are other’s, for instance, there is what is called King Alfred’s Charter which supposedly was similar. But anyway, there are really only three documents that have changed the world, and they are all in English or Anglo-French.

The first of these is Magna Charta signed by King John at Runnymede, in 1215, as we have said it was based upon older charters including Henry I’s  Charter of Liberties. It was forced upon King John by the barons of England by force of arms, and like our Emancipation Proclamation did not really do anything in the present. But it has come down to all of us whose law code descend from the Common Law as the basic statement of the rights of the Freeman. At that time in history, it was the first and only attempt anywhere to limit the power of the King. That would make it the basic document of freedom for the entire world.

This particular copy is from 1297 and bears the Seal of Edward I, it is privately owned and is on permanent loan to the National Archives and is displayed in the same manner as the other ‘Documents of Freedom’. There are four copies of the original 1215 Charter, all are in England.

The other two documents David mentions seeing were the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the most succinct, concise, and thoroughgoing statement of rights of the individual ever written, and the Constitution of the United States of America, in which we codified how free men could best organize to govern themselves.

Now here’s some thinking matter for you, these three documents plus the Bill of Rights, have become the sine qua non of freedom for men everywhere, how remarkable that all of them are derived from the history of the English freeman and his tenacity in resisting the imposition of tyranny by his own government. Where are the similar document from Europe, or Asia or Africa?

Individual liberty is the bequest of the English speaking countries to the world. We have a lot to do to uphold our heritage.

Today, all around the world, in London, in Germany, in Poland, in Israel, in India, in Japan, in Australia, in fact, wherever free men, or men who wish to be free, gather, they will take heart from a simple document written long ago, that starts,

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.

That is the document that turned us from these semi-united squabbling states into The United States.

Brave words, but like Magna Charta, and the Declaration before them, only words on paper. The difference is that in America they were made good in patriots’ blood. And still are, every day.

Today would be an excellent day to take that little book out of your pocket (as so derisively said by a US Senator to Judge Kavanaugh during the hearing) and read again why America is different, and why it is free.

About Neo
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

12 Responses to We the People

  1. the unit says:

    Lots of thoughts by different folks and organizations. Some differently confused. 🙂
    https://twitter.com/hashtag/ConstitutionDay?src=tren&lang=en

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicholas says:

    I’m also a fan of the English Bill of Rights 1689, produced at the time of the Glorious Revolution. While not perfect, it is an important document and is considered a constitutional document in English law. Remember: we do not have a written constitution, so our courts have decided which statutes are constitutional and which are not. Constitutional provisions are immune to the doctrine of implied repeal; non-constitutional ones are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Ours is mostly based on it, which I suspect you know. Your problem is that in any conflict with the EU, by treaty, the EU wins, and it is not common law based. That is the main reason for Brexit, I think, the longing for the “good old law”. As it was for Magna Charta, the English Civil War, and the Glorious Revolution itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        Indeed. Having studied EU law as part of my law course last year, I can affirm that I did not like what I saw. The Factortame saga is particularly unpleasant to learn about, and we covered it in EU Law and Public Law. Of course, the Bill of Rights was not pleasant for Catholics, and we have since moved on, but it was important as a protection for Protestantism in an age where religious freedom was not a given.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          It wasn’t pleasant for Catholics, but compared to what happened to them (and the Protestants) in Europe, it was mild sauce, indeed. And became rather moot in the Religious Toleration Act.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicholas says:

    The Poles have a problem if they decide they want a referendum on the Polish constitution being the supreme law of their land. No constitution can be higher than EU law according to a ruling of the ECJ – I’ll need to check my notes for which case that is. So if they will their constitution to be supreme, they must will the means to that end, viz. withdrawal from the Union. Look at what’s happening with Orban at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. the unit says:

    Ruth Bader is probably celebrating today. While in Egypt several years ago, she said women were the spark that got the Constitution started. Concerning the part about forming a more perfect union, she also said at the time of the founding there was slavery.
    Actually women were a spark to slavery. It’s called marriage…husband the slave. Apple anyone? 🙂

    Like

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