Skip to comments.What A Little-Known Colonial Pamphlet Tells Us About the Constitution
Posted on 11/14/2011 7:28:08 AM PST by marktwain
Between 1764 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776 Americans produced a rich series of pamphlets and resolutions listing their grievances against the central government of the British Empire. As I have pointed out before, reading those pamphlets is very helpful in understanding what the Constitution really means. And ignorance of them contributes to common constitutional mistakes.
These pamphlets are particularly useful in comprehending the Founders version of federalism. This is because the constitutional balance between states and federal government partly reflected what the Founders had wanted the balance to be between colonies and imperial government.
One of the most extraordinary of these pamphlets is little-known today, but it deserves much more attention. It is The Votes and Proceedings of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston in Town Meeting assembled According to Law. Historians refer to it as The Boston Pamphlet.
The Boston Pamphlet was the product of the Boston committee of correspondence, a group consisting of patriots such as James Otis and Sam Adams. The people of the Town of Boston formally approved the Pamphlet on November 20, 1772, whereupon they sent it to other Massachusetts towns for their consideration and response.
The Boston Pamphlets statement of natural rights anticipates the statement of natural rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence. The Pamphlets view of the limits on British power anticipates the balance the Framers struck in the Constitution.
Among the Boston Pamphlets statements of natural law are
* All men have a right to life, liberty, property.
* In Case of intollerable [sic] Oppression people have the right to leave the Society they belong to, and enter into another.
* Every natural Right, not expressly given up, or from the Nature of the social Compact necessarily ceded, remains.
(Excerpt) Read more at tenthamendmentcenter.com ...
Those good people would do more than laugh at the current abominable mess that we have gotten into.
It is still laughed at by the millions of gun owners across America.
There is no logic to a “right to life” without the means to protect that life. This is painfully obvious to anyone with a functioning brain.
ping for a ping
Thanks for that interesting article. In 2010 my husband and I read a very interesting book about Samuel Adams and fell in love with the guy.
One of the three people on my list I would have liked to meet.
I liked that he took on Franklin - arguably the most powerful man of his time, as to the eagle or Turkey as national symbol and he won.
BTW the Turkey back then looked more like an Austrian pheasant then today’s Thanksgiving meals.
thank you for this post. this pamplet is a stunning read and repudiation of statism.
Just finished, "Benjamin Franklin, in his own words". Excellant read, that man is brillian and humerous. You can find it online.
No WONDER libs don't get it!
A must read. Sam Adams is also one of my personal heroes.
Thanks I’ll look it up. I love reading Ben Franklin.
I love these books, as they gave me a first hand feeling of their thoughts, living conditions and sacrifices they made. Many burning their own properties to keep them out of the hands of the BRITS. They were truly amazing people, I had some living at that time and knew a few of these men. nuff said on that.
There is another book worth reading: "The Founding Mothers", by Cokie Roberts. Letters, diaries, etc. from Abigail Adams, Ms. Washington and others on what they did and thought.
Abigail made a statement of (this is not an exact quote) "I wonder if the future generations will appreciate what we have done". That is astonishing in that she thought that, wish I could tell her, some do, most don't.
I also had ancestors living in Virginia in Louden County and in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. It is really fascinating for me to think about all the things they must have been part of at that time. I wish I could have known more about them and all they were going through. I’m looking forward to Glenn Beck’s new book about George Washington.
A family had a home next to Geo. Washington's Mt Vernon, and Geo. wrote about them in his diaries. I have nothing handed down from that era, and only was able to find things via genealogy work, then it opened up in history books.
I love those histories, wouldn't want to have lived at that time, plenty rough, but it makes you appreciate what they did for us. Thanks for sharing your history.
Mind were in Fairfax, Prince Wm. Counties for the most part.