Sunday, December 7, 2008
Secure Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity
Noah Webster proposed a Constitutional Convention as he traveled from New Hampshire to North Carolina in 1785 to 1787. He produced Sketches of American Policy; a 48 page document presented to George Washington at Mount Vernon in 1785.
Webster was in Philadelphia during the Constitutional Convention and was visited by: Washington, Franklin, Rufus King, Abraham Baldwin, Edmund Randolph, William Johnson, Oliver Ellsworth, James Madison, Roger Sherman, William Livingston, and John Marshall.
Two days before the Convention adjourned, Thomas Fitzsimmons, delegate from Pennsylvania,requested that he prepare an essay in support of the Constitution. Although Noah Webster wasn’t a delegate to the Constitutional Convention; his counsel, advice, and guidance were momentous. Noah Webster is our authority if we are to understand the terminology of the Constitution.
Article IV of the United States Constitution states:
“This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
Webster sheds light on the phrase “which shall be made in pursuance thereof.” In Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828”one finds these definitions:
1.Following; prosecution, process or continued exertion to reach or accomplish something as in pursuance of the main design.
2.Consequence: as in pursuance of an order from the Commander in Chief.”
“Done in consequence or prosecution of anything, hence agreeable, conformable pursuant to a former resolution, the house proceeded to appoint the standing committee the measure was adopted to a former order”
“To follow, to go or proceed after in a like direction. The captain pursued the same course as former navigators have taken. A subsequent legislature pursued the course of their predecessors.”
Consequently, the phrase “the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof” actually means:
The laws of the United States which shall be ratified by subsequent legislatures shall be laws that follow and precede after in a like direction the course of their predecessors. The “senators and representatives before mentioned and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution,” laws following, prosecution, process or continued exertion to reach or accomplish something as in pursuance of the main design. Legislation shall be done in consequence or prosecution of anything, hence agreeable, conformable pursuant to a former resolution. The Chief Executive officer is to pursue the same course as former navigators have taken and subsequent legislatures pursue the course of their predecessors. Government officials have fulfilled their oaths to secure the blessing of liberty when this takes place. Therefore, all treaties made must not violate the blessings of liberty secured by the Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence declares, “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."
The “pursuit of happiness” is illuminated by Sir William Blackstone:
“For He [the Creator] has so intimately connected, so inseparably interwoven the laws of eternal justice with the happiness of each individual that the latter cannot be attained but by observing the former; and, if the former be punctually obeyed, it cannot but induce the latter. In consequence of which mutual connection of justice and felicity, He has not perplexed the law of nature with a multitude of abstracted rules and precepts, referring merely to the fitness or unfitness of things as some have vainly surmised, but has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this one paternal precept, that man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness. This is the foundation of what we call ethics or natural law. For the several articles into which it is branched in our systems amount to no more than demonstrating that this or that action tends to man’s real happiness and therefore very justly concludes that the performance of it is a part of the law of nature, or on other hand, that this or that action is destructive to man’s real happiness and therefore the law of nature forbids it.”
I quote again from Noah Webster’s First American English Dictionary:
Law of nature:
“Law of nature is a rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept. Thus it is a law of nature, that one man should not injure another, and murder and fraud would be crimes, independent of any prohibition from a supreme power.”
“Civil liberty is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state, or nation. A resistant of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. Civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.”
“‘The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.’ Ames”
“In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.”
Article VI of the United States Constitution states: “The senators and representatives before mentioned and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution.”
A President-elect assassinated in Dallas spoke these words in his Inaugural Address… “For I have sword before you and Almighty God that same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.”
Article 2 section 1 of the Constitution states, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
George Washington set the precedent and placed his hand upon the Holy Bible as he swore that solemn oath then proclaimed, “So help me God.”
The preface to the United States Constitution declares: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insecure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
I quote Noah Webster again:
1.Posterity, descendants, children, children’s children etc. indefinitely the race that proceeds from a progenitor. The whole human race are the posterity of Adam.
2.In a general sense, succeeding generations opposed to ancestors.
“‘To the unhappy that unjustly bleed, Heav’n gives posterity t’avenge the deed.’ Pope”
The president of the United States swears before American citizens and Almighty God that he will “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution".
Consequently, the president of the United States, “senators and representatives before mentioned and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers” take solemn oaths before the citizens of America and before God that they will “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
The Declaration of Independence states, “That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such form – as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
President Kennedy declared in his Inaugural address, “the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe – the belief that the rights of man come not from the state but from the hand of God.”
“Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
Liberty to our Posterity is secured by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Life is among those liberties which the forefathers of our country pledged to secure with their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor."
Article IX states, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Among those rights secured by the Constitution is the inalienable God-given right of life!
Philosopher theologian Francis A. Schaeffer declared: “When a government of a nation violates the laws of God; they abrogate their authority.”
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves…and our Posterity…the unborn!