Understanding Your Rights

Noah Burger

True freedom requires guaranteed, unalienable rights. The United States of America, or formerly, American Colonies, were Western Civilization’s birth upon the New World. Predominately English, the American Colonies grew to adapt many of the same laws as their parent nation, Great Britain. The Constitution of the United States of America, and its Bill of Rights, were greatly based upon England’s Magna Carta, Petition of Right, and Bill of Rights. Hundreds of years passed before a widespread fear of rebellion, and even a Glorious Revolution, swayed English lawmakers into providing and protecting the rights of their people. The People of the American Colonies, fed up with the tyranny of Great Britain, declared their independence on July 4th, 1776, with one goal in mind: freedom. The United States of America was born.

Founded as a Republic, each state in the union quickly formed their own state constitutions and state bills of rights, following the Declaration of Independence (History Channel, 2009). George Mason, of Virginia, well understood that true freedom would require a certain set of guaranteed, unalienable rights; Mason drafted protections against governmental abuse of power and combined them with John Locke’s beliefs of a natural right to life, liberty, and property, spawning the State of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights. Many states followed suit, basing their own work upon Mason’s. Later, at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Mason and others pushed for a similar listing of guaranteed rights to be included within the Constitution. However, some politicians thought it to be unnecessary, as the federal government was supposed to have limited power, and many of the states had already adopted their own bills of rights. Luckily, after two years of debate, it was finally agreed upon in 1789 that the formation of a federal government should come with a federal guarantee of rights and protections. Thomas Jefferson said, notably, that “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference” (History Channel, 2009). Jefferson’s speech had hit home with many of the founders, as the main reason America had declared independence in the first place was because of Great Britain’s gross abuse of governmental powers and taxation. Thus, the Bill of Rights, ten amendments written by James Madison that were largely based on George Mason’s Declaration of Rights, was introduced, and, in 1791, the Constitution of the United States of America had been ratified by all states. (History Channel, 2009).

In the Bill of Rights, there are certain rights that have been deemed as “unalienable”. Citizens of the American Colonies had already believed that those rights were their own, and during the American Revolution, they were more than prepared to die for those rights. Later, their beliefs were broadcasted by certain states’ refusals for ratifying the United States Constitution until it included a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights lists Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Press, Petition, and Assembly, and the rights of Privacy, Due Process, and Equality before the Law, as unalienable rights (ACLU, n.d.). The American People implemented the Bill of Rights from the very beginning, leaving many redcoats extra red in the process. However, the most prominent initial implementation of Constitutional Law in an American Court was in 1803, when the “U.S. Supreme Court struck down an act of Congress as unconstitutional in a case called Marbury v. Madison” (ACLU, n.d.). This landmark case established the principle of Judicial Review, wherein the Supreme Court has the power to strike down acts of Congress that are deemed unconstitutional (Thirteen, n.d.). The system of checks and balances granted within the constitution had been successfully implemented, and had provided what James Madison had prophesized as the “impenetrable bulwark of liberty” (ACLU, n.d.). Ironically, the unconstitutional actions contained within the Marbury v. Madison case, had been perpetrated by James Madison himself (Thirteen, n.d.).

Individual rights, however, had not yet been implemented by the courts. The American Peoples’ willingness to die for their rights had seemingly fallen by the wayside. So much so, that even after the civil war, racial segregation, sexual discrimination, and political discrimination were continuous, everyday norms. In fact, “the most common constitutional violations went unchallenged because the people whose rights were most often denied were precisely those members of society who were least aware of their rights and last able to afford a lawyer” (ACLU, n.d.). The American People had become a mass of sheep, consciously castrated versions of their former selves. The people needed a shepherd, and in 1909, the NAACP was founded, with the mission of advancing the rights of African American minorities. Later, in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union was formed, with the mission of protecting the rights of all Americans. Over time, “the Bill of Rights was transformed from a ‘parchment barrier’ to a protective wall”, because of actions taken by these organizations (ACLU, n.d.).

The Constitution, and its Bill of Rights, were tremendously penned. However, its grandeur was merely illusory, in the case of women, and African Americans. The rights of these two groups, while not necessarily excluded in the actual writing of the Constitution, were simply ignored by everyone else. Native Americans’ rights, too, were excluded (however, they were not viewed as citizens of the United States, nor did they want to be). In fact, the Supreme Court, in many cases, ruled in favor of slavery (ACLU, n.d.). The Democratic Party housed much of the nation’s power and wealth since its inception in 1828, most notably through its vast network of slaveowners. However, on March 20th, 1854, the Republican Party was formed as the “Anti-Slavery Party”. Not one single Republican owned a slave. In fact, in 1861, 100% of slaves were owned by Democrats. The American Civil War had begun, and over 500,000 white republican males gave their lives, freeing the slaves.

Soon after the Civil War, Republican leadership passed Amendments 13, 14, and 15, which abolished slavery, gave blacks due process, and gave blacks the right to vote. However, for well over a century after the Civil War, Democratic Elites continued their efforts against the black populace, just as they had done in the decades leading up to the Civil War. Democrats, using their vast plantation wealth, sought control of education and media arms, while implementing various forms of institutionalized racism along the way. Additionally, slaveowners convinced a vast number of freed slaves to remain on the plantation under Indentured Servitude, working the same jobs, for no pay, with the promise of subsidized housing and food. In fact, this war of racism and deception still rages on today. Republicans continue to push for education, jobs, and families to be the catalyst that will lift blacks out of poverty. Democrats, on the other hand, continue to connive for votes, rape, and welfare-trap blacks into an endless poverty cycle of modern-day indentured servitude.

Wake Up America, Or We Will Lose Everything.

References:

ACLU. (n.d.). The Bill of Rights: A Brief History. Retrieved February 16, 2019, fromhttps://www.aclu.org/other/bill-rights-brief-history

History Channel. (2009, October 27). Bill of Rights. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from https://www.history.com/topics/united-states-constitution/bill-of-rights

Emery, D., & Emery, D. (n.d.). FACT CHECK: 9 Facts About Slavery They Don’t Want You to Know. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/facts-about-slavery/

Thirteen. (n.d.). The Supreme Court . The Court and Democracy . Landmark Cases . Marbury v. Madison (1803) | PBS. Retrieved February 16, 2019, fromhttps://www.thirteen.org/wnet/supremecourt/democracy/landmark_marbury.html

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