Founding Principles of America 18: Unalienable Rights of Constitution Protected by Written Records of History

Founding Principles of America:

28 Great Ideas that changed the world

5000leapThe practical application of this book review of Skousen educated wisdom is to leverage “We, The People’s” knowledge to easily expose ignorance, anarchy and tyranny, and hold the government accountable.

From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

US Constitution Series 18

Our Unalienable Rights are Best Protected by Written Records of History

keyoldThey had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator. ~Omni 1:17

 

No written records, no history

The one weakness of the Anglo-Saxon common law was that it was unwritten. Since its principles were known among the whole people, they seemed indifferent to the necessity of writing them down.

“Until the Anglo-Saxon conversion to Christianity it was unwritten and like all customary law was considered immutable. “ (Lovell, English Constitutional and Legal History, 7)

magna-cartaHowever, the Norman Conquest taught the Anglo-Saxons in England a bitter lesson. Many of their most treasured rights disappeared in a flood of blood and vindictive oppression. In fact, these rights were retained very slowly over a period of centuries and gradually they were written down. In A.D. 1215, during a national crisis, the sword was virtually put to the throat of King John in order to compel him to sign the Magna Charta, setting forth the traditional rights of freemen.

During that same century the “Model Parliament” came into being, which compelled the King to acknowledge the principle of no taxation without representation.

Through the centuries, the British have tried to manage their political affairs with no written constitution and have merely relied upon these fragmentary statures as a constitutional reference source. These proved helpful to the American Founders, but they felt that the structure of government should be codified in a more permanent, comprehensive form.

It will be appreciated, therefore, that the tradition of written constitutions in modern times is not of English origin but is entirely American, both in principle and practice.

Mayflower-compact-hero2-ABeginnings of a Written Constitution in America

The first written charter in America was in 1620, when the Mayflower Compact came into being. Later the charter concept evolved into a more comprehensive type of constitution when Thomas Hooker and his associates adopted the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639. It is interesting that the Connecticut charter makes no reference to the Crown or the British Government as the source of its authority. (Skousen, 217-218)

American Constitution Represents Wisdom of Many

signers3Montesquieu pointed out that when it comes to legislating (which includes the setting up of constitutions), the writing of the statute or charter is “oftentimes better regulated by many than by a single person.” In harmony with this same sentiment, the American Founding Fathers considered it wise to “legislate” their constitution by filtering it through the wisdom and experiences of many delegates assembled in a convention rather than leaving it to the genius of some individual.

It is always difficult to operate through a committee, a group, or a convention as the Founding Fathers did. Nevertheless, the history of the convention demonstrates that the final product was far stronger than any individual could have written it. Time has also proven the tremendous advantage of having a completely written document for reference purposes rather than relying upon tradition and a few scattered statutes as the fundamental law of the land. (Skousen 220-221)

NEXT—

Principle 19: Only Limited Powers should be delegated to Government; all others being Retained in the People

US Constitution Series 17: Checks and Balances in the Constitution prevent Abuse of Power

 

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