vannrox
Since Jul 19, 1998

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Molon labe
(mo-lone lah-veh)

Two little words. With these two words, two concepts were verbalized that have lived for nearly two and a half Millennia. They signify and characterize both the heart of the Warrior, and the indomitable spirit of mankind. From the ancient Greek, they are the reply of the Spartan General-King Leonidas to Xerxes, the Persian Emperor who came with 600,000 of the fiercest fighting troops in the world to conquer and invade little Greece, then the center and birthplace of civilization as we know it. When Xerxes offered to spare the lives of Leonidas, his 300 personal bodyguards and a handful of Thebans and others who volunteered to defend their country, if they would lay down their arms, Leonidas shouted these two words back.

Molon Labe! (mo-lone lah-veh)
They mean, "---Come and get them!"

They live on today as the most notable quote in military history. And so began the classic example of courage and valor in its dismissal of overwhelming superiority of numbers, wherein the heart and spirit of brave men overcame insuperable odds. Today, there lies a plaque dedicated to these heroes all at the site.

It reads: "Go tell the Spartans, travelers passing by, that here, obedient to their laws we lie."

We have adopted this defiant utterance as a battle cry in our war against oppression because it says so clearly and simply towards those who would take our arms. It signifies our determination to not strike the first blow, but also to not stand mute and allow our loved ones, and all that we believe in and stand for, to be trampled by men who would deprive us of our God-given ? or natural, if you will rights to suit their own ends.




THE DOC SAVAGE CODE

Let me strive every moment of my life, to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, that all may profit by it.

Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice

Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage

Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do

Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.



LINK COLLECTION
Here are archived collections of my links. Each archive has between 75 and 500 links. For historical purposes, as well as for reasons of my own design, they are organized by date and not by content.

1999.A Bookmark Archives.
2000.A FR Bookmark Archives.
2001.A FR Bookmark Archives.
2002.1 FR Bookmark Archives.
2002.3 FR Bookmark Archives.
2002.5 FR Bookmark Archives.
2002.E FR Bookmark Archives.
2003.2 FR Bookmark Archives.
2003.4 FR Bookmark Archives.
2003.12 FR Bookmark Archives
2004.7 FR Bookmark Archives
2004.11 FR Bookmark Archives
2005 Q1 Bookmarks
2005 Q2 Bookmarks



Walter E. Williams: Socialism is evil

July 28, 2004

What is socialism? We miss the boat if we say it's the agenda of left-wingers and Democrats. According to Marxist doctrine, socialism is a stage of society between capitalism and communism where private ownership and control over property are eliminated. The essence of socialism is the attenuation and ultimate abolition of private property rights. Attacks on private property include, but are not limited to, confiscating the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it doesn't belong. When this is done privately, we call it theft. When it's done collectively, we use euphemisms: income transfers or redistribution. It's not just left-wingers and Democrats who call for and admire socialism but right-wingers and Republicans as well.

Republicans and right-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to farmers, banks, airlines and other failing businesses. Democrats and left-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to poor people, cities and artists. Both agree on taking one American's earnings to give to another; they simply differ on the recipients. This kind of congressional activity constitutes at least two-thirds of the federal budget.

Regardless of the purpose, such behavior is immoral. It's a reduced form of slavery. After all, what is the essence of slavery? It's the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person. When Congress, through the tax code, takes the earnings of one person and turns around to give it to another person in the forms of prescription drugs, Social Security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts, it is forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another.

The moral question stands out in starker relief when we acknowledge that those spending programs coming out of Congress do not represent lawmakers reaching into their own pockets and sending out the money. Moreover, there's no tooth fairy or Santa Claus giving them the money. The fact that government has no resources of its very own forces us to acknowledge that the only way government can give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- take that dollar from some other American.

Some might rejoin that all of this is a result of a democratic process and it's legal. Legality alone is no guide for a moral people. There are many things in this world that have been, or are, legal but clearly immoral. Slavery was legal. Did that make it moral? South Africa's apartheid, Nazi persecution of Jews, and Stalinist and Maoist purges were all legal, but did that make them moral?

Can a moral case be made for taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? I think not. That's why socialism is evil. It uses evil means (coercion) to achieve what are seen as good ends (helping people). We might also note that an act that is inherently evil does not become moral simply because there's a majority consensus.

An argument against legalized theft should not be construed as an argument against helping one's fellow man in need. Charity is a noble instinct; theft, legal or illegal, is despicable. Or, put another way: Reaching into one's own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person's pocket to assist one's fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

For the Christians among us, socialism and the welfare state must be seen as sinful. When God gave Moses the commandment "Thou shalt not steal," I'm sure He didn't mean thou shalt not steal unless there's a majority vote. And I'm sure that if you asked God if it's OK just being a recipient of stolen property, He would deem that a sin as well.

[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]

CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.









Here is a recent interview Ann gave:


John Hawkins: Why do you think USA Today hired you to write a column on the Democratic Convention and then killed your column?

Ann Coulter: I refused to include pie charts.


John Hawkins: What do you think of the claim made by people like Eric Alterman that the mainstream media is actually conservative?

Ann Coulter: Eric, they're called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and they're going to change your life. Ask your doctor if an S.S.R.I. is right for you.


John Hawkins: Has anyone approached you about doing a syndicated radio show or getting your own show on one of the Cable News Networks? I'd have to think somebody would be making an offer since you're almost guaranteed ratings.

Ann Coulter: Yes, but I refuse to wear a bow tie.


John Hawkins: When I last interviewed you back in late June of 2003, you were getting ready to start up your new blog "CoulterGeist" at Human Events. Whatever happened to your blog?

Ann Coulter: I decided that bloggers were just a bunch of losers with no audience and no credibility who sat around their living rooms in pajamas all day hatching crackpot theories that never pan out. They did a special about this on CBS News (on 60 minutes II) just the other night.


John Hawkins: I know you're a big proponent of racial profiling at our airports. But, don't you think that would be a violation of the 4th Amendment?

Ann Coulter: No, of course not. You think they have a right to search little old ladies in wheelchairs now? And if it were, we should change the Fourth Amendment by adding the words, "except in the case of Islamo-Fascists who want us all dead".


John Hawkins: Do you think we're going to be able to successfully help the Iraqis become a Democratic country?

Ann Coulter: I was kind of hoping they'd go Republican.


John Hawkins: A few Democrats like Zell Miller, Ron Miller, Christopher Hitchens, Ed Koch have nailed their own party for their non-serious approach to defending our country. Do you think it's more surprising that they've been wiling to nail their own party on national security or that more Democrats haven't been willing to step up and point out the obvious?

Ann Coulter: Unlike mainstream Democrats, the men you mention are to be commended for having a will to live.


John Hawkins: Do you think having John Kerry as our President would mean America would be more likely to be hit with another 9/11 style terrorist attack?

Ann Coulter: As I understand it from his policy proposals, such attacks would become mandatory.


John Hawkins: You caught a lot of flack for pointing out that Max Cleland wasn't actually injured in combat in Vietnam. However, it turns out that you were right and your critics were wrong. Did any of the people who accused you of lying about how Cleland was injured apologize or admit their mistake?

Ann Coulter: I assume that's a rhetorical question. Their "apologies" are re-printed in "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)"


John Hawkins: After Reagan's death, did you think it was amazing to see all these liberals who treated Ronald Reagan like a monster when he was in office and who opposed everything he ever did giving the Gipper credit for defeating the Soviet Union and trying to adopt Nancy Reagan (who they referred to as the Dragon Lady in the 80s) as their own because of her support of stem cell research?

Ann Coulter: Was I amazed to see liberals being liars, hypocrites, and historical revisionists? No. Were you?


John Hawkins: One of the many things you've said that really cheeses off liberals is,

"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors".

Do you regret saying that?

Ann Coulter: Only that I didn't say it loud enough and in a large enough public forum. And when I said we should "execute" John Walker Lindh, I mis-spoke. What I meant to say was "We should burn John Walker Lindh alive and televise it on prime-time network TV". My apologies for any misunderstanding that might have occurred.


John Hawkins: A lot of your detractors on the right refer to you as the right-wing version of Michael or Al Franken. What do you think about that comparison?

Ann Coulter: The fact that only my detractors say this says it all.


John Hawkins: Any initial reaction to the $60 million dollar sexual harassment suit against Bill O'Reilly?

Ann Coulter: Last week I received an obscene phone call that began, "Ann from New York, you're in the Zone. What say you, and what are you wearing?" and ended, "I'll give you the last word."


John Hawkins: How about dashing off a quick sentence or even just a word or two about the following individuals...

George Bush: A 21st century Churchill.

Dick Cheney: Takes a licking, keeps on ticking.

Jonah Goldberg: Who?

Andrew Sullivan: Every inch a lady.

Tucker Carlson: See what happens when you try to be mainstream?

John Kerry: 30 years later he's still shooting himself in the foot.

Teresa Heinz Kerry: To be first lady, first you have to be a lady.

John Edwards: Jury's still out - expect a huge settlement.

Max Cleland: At least he earned his medals.

Dan Rather: A space alien -- and I have the Microsoft documents from the fifties. that prove it!


John Hawkins: Can you tell us a little bit about your new book, "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)"?

Ann Coulter: It's like Bill Clinton's book, only interesting. If you can't find it in your local bookstore, look behind the stacks of left-wing books about President Bush with the word "lie" in the title


John Hawkins: Are there any blogs you read regularly or semi-regularly these days?

Ann Coulter: Yes, but if I tell you they'll be over-run and I'll never be able to go there again.


John Hawkins: Is there anything else you'd like to say or promote before we finish up?

Ann Coulter: Yes, vote on November 2nd. Democrats get to vote as often as they like, so we should all vote at least once.




We the People Congress, in meeting assembled
in Washington, DC on November 13, 1999...

REMONSTRANCE We, the undersigned citizens of the United States of America, acting in good faith and impelled by our devotion to our Constitutional-Republic, present this Remonstrance to the leaders of our federal government in order to draw attention to and express deep concerns that have accumulated over many years regarding the federal income and social security tax system.

Our grievances are several:

The proof is manifest for all to see that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was illegally and fraudulently proclaimed to be ratified in 1913 by a lame-duck Secretary of State just days before he left office. An official attempt by a leading, currently-sitting U.S. Senator to pay to have the evidence suppressed, to avoid publication and to maintain secrecy, has been exposed at this meeting this day.

The federal courts for decades, ruling in cases challenging the constitutional validity of the 16th Amendment, have issued a series of largely unintelligible rulings that fail even to recognize the basic question of whether the income tax is a direct tax or an excise tax, suggesting, for instance, that the income tax is "in the nature of" an indirect, excise tax, reflecting the mood of powerful special interests of that day.

Again, the federal courts since 1985, on hearing cases challenging the ratification of the 16th Amendment as being fraudulent, have ruled that the issue of fraudulence is political and, therefore, non-justiciable -- to be dealt with by Congress. This obviously constitutes an evasion of responsibility by the courts, since fraud is a legal, rather than a political question. In ruling in this way, the courts have abdicated their constitutional responsibilities under our system of checks and balances.

Congress, in turn, has called this issue of fraud to be a matter for the courts.

In addition to the 16th Amendment ratification issue, there simply is no law or regulation that makes most citizens liable to file and pay federal income and social security taxes nor to have those taxes withheld from the money they earn, yet, the Internal Revenue Code is enforced by the Executive as though the taxes were, indeed, compulsory, imposing interest and penalties, including incarceration for willful failure to file the voluntary tax.

Citizens have the right to clear and precisely worded laws that are not vague. Yet, the income tax laws are deliberately written in the most disorganized manner imaginable, with the frequent use of double-negatives, circular reasoning, disconnected sections without reference or cross-reference, and other legal gimmicks that intentionally obfuscate and confuse matters beyond comprehension of even highly trained professionals. It must be concluded that the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in 1916, attempted to keep the income tax constitutional by suggesting that it was "in the nature" of an excise tax, if required to rule today on the constitutionality of the 16th Amendment, would in no way be able to find the 1999 tax constitutional on the simple basis that it is clearly not uniform, which is a constitutional mandate for excise taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says the income tax is voluntary. This is an obvious fiction. In their application and enforcement, the tax code and the regulations have all the force and effect of compulsory law. Yet, the notion that the tax is voluntary has been confirmed by a federal appeals court. Few people know that the tax is voluntary and that when they "voluntarily" submit their tax forms they also "voluntarily" waive their 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. This is a form of coercion to which the courts have turned a blind eye, ruling that the waiver of 5th Amendment rights was "voluntary".

Many outrageous IRS practices have been revealed and detailed to the public by congressional hearings, but little has been done about it.

Thousands of citizens are jailed or financially destroyed by the IRS for not paying taxes that are not expressly sanctioned by law, while being denied their most basic due process rights. And, since the courts have ruled that the fraudulent ratification of the 16th Amendment is a political question, by definition, those in jail are political prisoners, a condition that is illegal in this country.

The IRS is conspicuously used by the Executive to carry out retribution against political adversaries. This is a growing threat to fundamental freedoms.

Federal judges, members of Congress, and other government officials are themselves afraid of the IRS, which compiles and maintains secret files on them.

The abuses and lawlessness exemplified by the governmental conduct described above undermine the foundations of our nation and tear apart the very fabric of our Constitutional-Republic.

Therefore, we hereby petition the leaders of our federal government to take immediate and forthright action that will result in the redress of these grievances. We call for a thorough overhaul of the IRS and its administrative procedures to make its operations and agents completely accountable to the Constitution and constitutional law. We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners. We call for the creation of a Judicial Review Commission to hear and decide on complaints against federal judges who make rulings that support violations of the rights of citizens which are rooted and grounded in the Constitution and constitutional law.





LIBERTARIAN PARTY FOUNDER ENDORSES BUSH

From Elder Statesman John Hospers * * *

AN OPEN LETTER TO LIBERTARIANS

Dear Libertarian:

As a way of getting acquainted, let me just say that I was the first presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party back in l972, and was the author of the first full-length book, Libertarianism, describing libertarianism in detail. I also wrote the Libertarian Party s Statement of Principles at the first libertarian national convention in 1972. I still believe in those principles as strongly as ever, but this year -- more than any year since the establishment of the Libertarian Party -- I have major concerns about the choices open to us as voting Americans.

There is a belief that s common among many libertarians that there is no essential difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties -- between a John Kerry and a George W. Bush administration; or worse: that a Bush administration would be more undesirable. Such a notion could not be farther from the truth, or potentially more harmful to the cause of liberty.

The election of John Kerry would be, far more than is commonly realized, a catastrophe. Regardless of what he may say in current campaign speeches, his record is unmistakable: he belongs to the International Totalitarian Left in company with the Hillary and Bill Clintons, the Kofi Annans, the Ted Kennedys, and the Jesse Jacksons of the world. The Democratic Party itself has been undergoing a transformation in recent years; moderate, pro-American, and strong defense Senators such as Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman and Scoop Jackson are a dying breed. Observe how many members of the Democrat Party belong to the Progressive Caucus, indistinguishable from the Democratic Socialists of America. That caucus is the heart and soul of the contemporary Democratic Party.

Today s Democrats have been out of majority power for so long that they are hungry for power at any price and will do anything to achieve it, including undermining the President and our troops in time of war; for them any victory for Americans in the war against terrorism is construed as a defeat for them.

The Democratic Party today is a haven for anti-Semites, racists, radical environmentalists, plundering trial lawyers, government employee unions, and numerous other self-serving elites who despise the Constitution and loath private property. It is opposed to free speech ; witness the mania for political correctness and intimidation on college campuses, and Kerry s threat to sue television stations that carry the Swift Boat ads. If given the power to do so, Democrats will use any possible means to suppress opposing viewpoints, particularly on talk radio and in the university system. They will attempt to enact hate speech and hate crime laws and re-institute the Fairness Doctrine, initiate lawsuits, and create new regulations designed to suppress freedom of speech and intimidate their political adversaries. They will call it defending human rights. This sort of activity may well make up the core of a Kerry administration Justice Department that will have no truck with the rule of law except as a weapon to use against opponents.

There are already numerous stories of brownshirt types committing violence against Republican campaign headquarters all over the country, and Democrat thugs harassing Republican voters at the polls. Yet not a word about it from the Kerry campaign. Expect this dangerous trend to increase dramatically with a Kerry win, ignored and tacitly accepted by the liberal-left mainstream media. This is ominous sign of worse things to come.

Kerry, who changes direction with the wind, has tried to convince us that he now disavows the anti-military sentiments that he proclaimed repeatedly in the l970s. But in fact he will weaken our military establishment and devastate American security by placing more value on the United Nations than on the United States: for example he favors the Kyoto Treaty and the International Criminal Court, and opposed the withdrawal of the U.S. from the ABM Treaty. He has been quoted as saying that it is honorable for those in the U.S. military to die under the flag of the U.N. but not that of the U.S. Presumably he and a small cadre of bureaucrats should rule the world, via the U.N. or some other world body which will make all decisions for the whole world concerning private property, the use of our military, gun ownership, taxation, and environmental policy (to name a few). In his thirty-year career he has demonstrated utter contempt for America, national security, constitutional republicanism, democracy, private property, and free markets.

His wife s foundations have funneled millions of dollars into far-left organizations that are virulently hostile to America and libertarian principles. Not only would these foundations continue to lack transparency to the American people, they would be given enormous vigor in a Kerry administration.

Already plans are afoot by the Kerry campaign to steal the coming election via a legal coup, e.g. to claim victory on election night no matter what the vote differential is, and initiate lawsuits anywhere and everywhere they feel it works to their advantage, thus making a mockery of our election process, throwing the entire process into chaos -- possibly for months -- and significantly weakening our ability to conduct foreign policy and protect ourselves domestically. Let me repeat: we are facing the very real possibility of a political coup occurring in America. Al Gore very nearly got away with one in 2000. Do not underestimate what Kerry and his ilk are going to attempt to do to America.

George Bush has been criticized for many things ; and in many cases with justification: on campaign finance reform (a suppression of the First Amendment), on vast new domestic spending, on education, and on failing to protect the borders. No self-respecting libertarian or conservative would fail to be deeply appalled by these. His great virtue, however, is that he has stood up -- knowingly at grave risk to his political viability -- to terrorism when his predecessors, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton did not. On many occasions during their administrations terrorists attacked American lives and property. Clinton did nothing, or engaged in a feckless retaliation such as bombing an aspirin factory in the Sudan (based on faulty intelligence, to boot). Then shortly after Bush became president he was hit with the big one: 9/11. It was clear to him that terrorism was more than a series of criminal acts: it was a war declared upon U.S. and indeed to the entire civilized world long before his administration. He decided that action had to be taken to protect us against future 9/11s involving weapons of mass destruction, including suitcase nuclear devices.

Indeed, today it is Islamic fundamentalism that increasingly threatens the world just as Nazis fascism and Soviet communism did in previous decades. The Islamo-fascists would be happy to eliminate all non-Muslims without a tinge of regret. Many Americans still indulge in wishful thinking on this issue, viewing militant Islam as a kind of nuisance, which can be handled without great inconvenience in much the same way as one swats flies, rather than as hordes of genocidal religious fanatics dedicated to our destruction.

The president has been berated for taking even minimal steps to deal with the dangers of this war (the allegations made against the Patriot Act seem to me based more on hysteria and political opportunism than on reality). But Bush, like Churchill, has stood steadfast in the face of it, and in spite of the most virulent hate and disinformation campaign that any American president has had to endure. Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists. Saddam s regime is no longer a major player in the worldwide terror network. Libya has relinquished their weapons of terror. The Pakistani black market in weapons of mass destruction has been eliminated. Arafat is rotting in Ramallah. Terrorist cells all over the world have been disrupted, and thousands of terrorists killed. The result: Americans are orders of magnitude safer.

National defense is always expensive, and Bush has been widely excoriated for these expenditures. But as Ayn Rand memorably said at a party I attended in l962, in response to complaints that taxes are too high (then 20%), Pay 30% if you need it for defense. It is not the amount but the purpose served that decides what is too much. And the purpose here is the continuation of civilized life on earth in the face of vastly increased threats to its existence.

Bush cut income tax rates for the first time in fifteen years. These cuts got us moving out of the recession he inherited, and we are all economically much better off because of them. 1.9 million new jobs have been added to the economy since August 2003. Bush has other projects in the wind for which libertarians have not given him credit. For example:

(l) A total revision of our tax code. We will have a debate concerning whether this is best done via a flat tax or a sales tax. If such a change were to occur, it would be a gigantic step in the direction of liberty and prosperity. No such change will occur with Kerry.

(2) A market-based reform of Social Security. This reform, alone, could bring future budget expenditures down so significantly that it would make his current expenditures seem like pocket change. Kerry has already repudiated any such change in social security laws.

The American electorate is not yet psychologically prepared for a completely libertarian society. A transition to such a society takes time and effort, and involves altering the mind-set of most Americans, who labor under a plethora of economic fallacies and political misconceptions. It will involve a near-total restructuring of the educational system, which today serves the liberal-left education bureaucracy and Democratic Party, not the student or parent. It will require a merciless and continuous expose of the bias in the mainstream media (the Internet, blogs, and talk radio have been extremely successful in this regard over the past few years). And it will require understanding the influence and importance of the Teresa Kerry-like Foundations who work in the shadows to undermine our constitutional system of checks and balances.

Most of all, it will require the American people -- including many libertarians "to realize the overwhelming dangerousness of the American Left "; a Fifth Column comprised of the elements mentioned above, dedicated to achieving their goal of a totally internationally dominated America, and a true world-wide Fascism.

Thus far their long-term plans have been quite successful. A Kerry presidency will fully open their pipeline to infusions of taxpayer-funded cash and political pull. At least a continued Bush presidency would help to stem this tide, and along the way it might well succeed in preserving Western civilization against the fanatic Islamo-fascists who have the will, and may shortly have the weapons capability, to bring it to an end.

When the stakes are not high it is sometimes acceptable, even desirable, to vote for a "minor party" candidate who cannot possibly win, just to get the word out and to promote the ideals for which that candidate stands. But when the stakes are high, as they are in this election, it becomes imperative that one should choose, not the candidate one considers philosophically ideal, but the best one available who has the most favorable chance of winning. The forthcoming election will determine whether it is the Republicans or the Democrats that win the presidency. That is an undeniable reality. If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical Battle Ground states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.

We stand today at an important electoral crossroads for the future of liberty, and as libertarians our first priority is to promote liberty and free markets, which is not necessarily the same as to promote the Libertarian Party. This time, if we vote libertarian, we may win a tiny rhetorical battle, but lose the larger war.

John Hospers

Los Angeles, CA





Am I a Bad American ?
by Ted Nugent

I'm A Bad American

This pretty much sums it up for me.

I like big trucks, big boats, big houses, and naturally, pretty women.

I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some midlevel governmental functionary with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts squirting out babies.

I don't care about appearing compassionate.

I think playing with toy guns doesn't make you a killer - I believe ignoring your kids and giving them Prozac might.

I think I'm doing better than the homeless.

I have the right not to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird or make me mad. This is my life to live, and not necessarily up to others expectations.

I know what SEX is and there are not varying degrees of it.

I don't celebrate Kwanzaa. But if you want to that's fine; just don't feel like everyone else should have to.

I believe that if you are selling me a Dairy Queen shake, a pack of cigarettes, or hotel room you do it in English. As of matter of fact, if you are an American citizen you should speak English. My uncles and forefathers shouldn't have had to die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come disrespect ours, and make us bend to your will.

Get over it. I think the cops have every right to shoot your sorry butt if you're running from them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word 'freeze' or 'stop' in English, see the previous line. I don't use the excuse "it's for the children" as a shield for unpopular opinions or actions. I know how to count votes and I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation do a recount when needed.

I know what the definition of lying is, and it isn't based on the word "is" -- ever.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you qualify for and special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans, etc., so you can open a hotel, 7-Eleven, trinket shop, or any [****] thing else, while the indigenous peoples can't get past a high school education because they can't afford it.

I didn't take the initiative in inventing the Internet.

I thought the Taco Bell dog was funny.

I want them to bring back safe and sane fireworks.

I believe no one ever died because of something Ozzy Osbourne, Ice-T or Marilyn Manson sang, but that doesn't mean I want to listen to that crap from someone else's car when I'm stopped at a red light. But I respect your right to.

I think that being a student doesn't give you any more enlightenment than working at Blockbuster or Jack In The Box.

I don't want to eat or drink anything with the words light, lite or fat-free on the package.

Our soldiers did not go to some foreign country and risk their lives in vain and defend our Constitution so that decades later you can tell me it's a living document ever changing and is open to interpretation. The guys who wrote it were light years ahead of anyone today, and they meant what they said -- now leave the document alone, or there's going to be trouble.

I don't hate the rich.

I help the poor.

I know wrestling is fake.

I've never owned, or was a slave, and a large percentage of our forefathers weren't wealthy enough to own one either. Please stop blaming me because some prior white people were idiots -- and remember, tons of white, Indian, Chinese, and other races have been enslaved too -- it was wrong for every one of them.

I believe a self-righteous liberal with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

I want to know exactly which church is it where the "Reverend" Jessie Jackson preaches; and, what exactly is his job function.

I own a gun, you can own a gun, and any red blooded American should be allowed to own a gun, but if you use it in a crime, then you will serve the time.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it makes you mad, then invent the next operating system that's better and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the internet to help you.

I don't believe in hate crime legislation. Even suggesting it makes me mad. You're telling me that someone who is a minority, gay, disabled, another nationality, or otherwise different from the mainstream of this country has more value as a human being that I do as a white male. [****], if someone kills anyone, I'd say that it's a hate crime. We don't need more laws! Let's enforce the ones we already have.

I think turkey bacon, turkey beef, turkey fake anything sucks.

I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child -- it takes a parent with the [****] (guts) to stand up to the kid and spank his butt and say "NO!" when it's necessary to do so.

I'll admit that the only movie that ever made me cry was Ole Yeller.

I didn't realize Dr. Seuss was a genius until I had a kid.

I will not be frowned upon or be looked down upon or be made to keep silent because I have these beliefs and opinions. I thought this country allowed me that right. I will not conform or compromise just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings. I'm neither angry nor disenfranchised, no matter how desperately the mainstream media would like the world to believe otherwise.

Yes, I guess by some people's definition, I may be a bad American.

But that's tough.



THE CODE
OF HAMMAUABI


When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land, assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

Hammurabi, the prince, called of Bel am I, making riches and increase, enriching Nippur and Dur-ilu beyond compare, sublime patron of E-kur; who reestablished Eridu and purified the worship of E-apsu; who conquered the four quarters of the world, made great the name of Babylon, rejoiced the heart of Marduk, his lord who daily pays his devotions in Saggil; the royal scion whom Sin made; who enriched Ur; the humble, the reverent, who brings wealth to Gish-shir-gal; the white king, heard of Shamash, the mighty, who again laid the foundations of Sippara; who clothed the gravestones of Malkat with green; who made E-babbar great, which is like the heavens, the warrior who guarded Larsa and renewed E-babbar, with Shamash as his helper; the lord who granted new life to Uruk, who brought plenteous water to its inhabitants, raised the head of E-anna, and perfected the beauty of Anu and Nana; shield of the land, who reunited the scattered inhabitants of Isin; who richly endowed E-gal-mach; the protecting king of the city, brother of the god Zamama; who firmly founded the farms of Kish, crowned E-me-te-ursag with glory, redoubled the great holy treasures of Nana, managed the temple of Harsag-kalama; the grave of the enemy, whose help brought about the victory; who increased the power of Cuthah; made all glorious in E-shidlam, the black steer, who gored the enemy; beloved of the god Nebo, who rejoiced the inhabitants of Borsippa, the Sublime; who is indefatigable for E-zida; the divine king of the city; the White, Wise; who broadened the fields of Dilbat, who heaped up the harvests for Urash; the Mighty, the lord to whom come scepter and crown, with which he clothes himself; the Elect of Ma-ma; who fixed the temple bounds of Kesh, who made rich the holy feasts of Nin-tu; the provident, solicitous, who provided food and drink for Lagash and Girsu, who provided large sacrificial offerings for the temple of Ningirsu; who captured the enemy, the Elect of the oracle who fulfilled the prediction of Hallab, who rejoiced the heart of Anunit; the pure prince, whose prayer is accepted by Adad; who satisfied the heart of Adad, the warrior, in Karkar, who restored the vessels for worship in E-ud-gal-gal; the king who granted life to the city of Adab; the guide of E-mach; the princely king of the city, the irresistible warrior, who granted life to the inhabitants of Mashkanshabri, and brought abundance to the temple of Shidlam; the White, Potent, who penetrated the secret cave of the bandits, saved the inhabitants of Malka from misfortune, and fixed their home fast in wealth; who established pure sacrificial gifts for Ea and Dam-gal-nun-na, who made his kingdom everlastingly great; the princely king of the city, who subjected the districts on the Ud-kib-nun-na Canal to the sway of Dagon, his Creator; who spared the inhabitants of Mera and Tutul; the sublime prince, who makes the face of Ninni shine; who presents holy meals to the divinity of Nin-a-zu, who cared for its inhabitants in their need, provided a portion for them in Babylon in peace; the shepherd of the oppressed and of the slaves; whose deeds find favor before Anunit, who provided for Anunit in the temple of Dumash in the suburb of Agade; who recognizes the right, who rules by law; who gave back to the city of Ashur its protecting god; who let the name of Ishtar of Nineveh remain in E-mish-mish; the Sublime, who humbles himself before the great gods; successor of Sumula-il; the mighty son of Sin-muballit; the royal scion of Eternity; the mighty monarch, the sun of Babylon, whose rays shed light over the land of Sumer and Akkad; the king, obeyed by the four quarters of the world; Beloved of Ninni, am I.

When Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I did right and righteousness in . . . , and brought about the well-being of the oppressed.


1

If any one ensnare another, putting a ban upon him, but he can not prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.


2

If any one bring an accusation against a man, and the accused go to the river and leap into the river, if he sink in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river prove that the accused is not guilty, and he escape unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.


3

If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.


4

If he satisfy the elders to impose a fine of grain or money, he shall receive the fine that the action produces.


5

If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve times the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge's bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.


6

If any one steal the property of a temple or of the court, he shall be put to death, and also the one who receives the stolen thing from him shall be put to death.


7

If any one buy from the son or the slave of another man, without witnesses or a contract, silver or gold, a male or female slave, an ox or a sheep, an ass or anything, or if he take it in charge, he is considered a thief and shall be put to death.


8

If any one steal cattle or sheep, or an ass, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold; if they belonged to a freed man of the king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death.


9

If any one lose an article, and find it in the possession of another: if the person in whose possession the thing is found say "A merchant sold it to me, I paid for it before witnesses," and if the owner of the thing say, "I will bring witnesses who know my property," then shall the purchaser bring the merchant who sold it to him, and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner shall bring witnesses who can identify his property. The judge shall examine their testimony—both of the witnesses before whom the price was paid, and of the witnesses who identify the lost article on oath. The merchant is then proved to be a thief and shall be put to death. The owner of the lost article receives his property, and he who bought it receives the money he paid from the estate of the merchant.


10

If the purchaser does not bring the merchant and the witnesses before whom he bought the article, but its owner bring witnesses who identify it, then the buyer is the thief and shall be put to death, and the owner receives the lost article.


11

If the owner do not bring witnesses to identify the lost article, he is an evil-doer, he has traduced, and shall be put to death.


12

If the witnesses be not at hand, then shall the judge set a limit, at the expiration of six months. If his witnesses have not appeared within the six months, he is an evil-doer, and shall bear the fine of the pending case.


14

If any one steal the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.


15

If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death.


16

If any one receive into his house a runaway male or female slave of the court, or of a freedman, and does not bring it out at the public proclamation of the major domus, the master of the house shall be put to death.


17

If any one find runaway male or female slaves in the open country and bring them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of silver.


18

If the slave will not give the name of the master, the finder shall bring him to the palace; a further investigation must follow, and the slave shall be returned to his master.


19

If he hold the slaves in his house, and they are caught there, he shall be put to death.


20

If the slave that he caught run away from him, then shall he swear to the owners of the slave, and he is free of all blame.


21

If any one break a hole into a house (break in to steal), he shall be put to death before that hole and be buried.


22

If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death.


23

If the robber is not caught, then shall he who was robbed claim under oath the amount of his loss; then shall the community, and . . . on whose ground and territory and in whose domain it was compensate him for the goods stolen.


24

If persons are stolen, then shall the community and . . . pay one mina of silver to their relatives.


25

If fire break out in a house, and some one who comes to put it out cast his eye upon the property of the owner of the house, and take the property of the master of the house, he shall be thrown into that self-same fire.


26

If a chieftain or a man (common soldier), who has been ordered to go upon the king's highway for war does not go, but hires a mercenary, if he withholds the compensation, then shall this officer or man be put to death, and he who represented him shall take possession of his house.


27

If a chieftain or man be caught in the misfortune of the king (captured in battle), and if his fields and garden be given to another and he take possession, if he return and reaches his place, his field and garden shall be returned to him, he shall take it over again.


28

If a chieftain or a man be caught in the misfortune of a king, if his son is able to enter into possession, then the field and garden shall be given to him, he shall take over the fee of his father.


29

If his son is still young, and can not take possession, a third of the field and garden shall be given to his mother, and she shall bring him up.


30

If a chieftain or a man leave his house, garden, and field and hires it out, and some one else takes possession of his house, garden, and field and uses it for three years: if the first owner return and claims his house, garden, and field, it shall not be given to him, but he who has taken possession of it and used it shall continue to use it.


31

If he hire it out for one year and then return, the house, garden, and field shall be given back to him, and he shall take it over again.


32

If a chieftain or a man is captured on the "Way of the King" (in war), and a merchant buy him free, and bring him back to his place; if he have the means in his house to buy his freedom, he shall buy himself free: if he have nothing in his house with which to buy himself free, he shall be bought free by the temple of his community; if there be nothing in the temple with which to buy him free, the court shall buy his freedom. His field, garden, and house shall not be given for the purchase of his freedom.


33

If a . . . or a . . . enter himself as withdrawn from the "Way of the King," and send a mercenary as substitute, but withdraw him, then the . . . or . . . shall be put to death.


34

If a . . . or a . . . harm the property of a captain, injure the captain, or take away from the captain a gift presented to him by the king, then the . . . or . . . shall be put to death.


35

If any one buy the cattle or sheep which the king has given to chieftains from him, he loses his money.


36

The field, garden, and house of a chieftain, of a man, or of one subject to quit-rent, can not be sold.


37

If any one buy the field, garden, and house of a chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent, his contract tablet of sale shall be broken (declared invalid) and he loses his money. The field, garden, and house return to their owners.


38

A chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent can not assign his tenure of field, house, and garden to his wife or daughter, nor can he assign it for a debt.


39

He may, however, assign a field, garden, or house which he has bought, and holds as property, to his wife or daughter or give it for debt.


40

He may sell field, garden, and house to a merchant (royal agents) or to any other public official, the buyer holding field, house, and garden for its usufruct.


41

If any one fence in the field, garden, and house of a chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent, furnishing the palings therefor; if the chieftain, man, or one subject to quit-rent return to field, garden, and house, the palings which were given to him become his property.


42

If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field.


43

If he do not till the field, but let it lie fallow, he shall give grain like his neighbor's to the owner of the field, and the field which he let lie fallow he must plow and sow and return to its owner.


44

If any one take over a waste-lying field to make it arable, but is lazy, and does not make it arable, he shall plow the fallow field in the fourth year, harrow it and till it, and give it back to its owner, and for each ten gan (a measure of area) ten gur of grain shall be paid.


45

If a man rent his field for tillage for a fixed rental, and receive the rent of his field, but bad weather come and destroy the harvest, the injury falls upon the tiller of the soil.


46

If he do not receive a fixed rental for his field, but lets it on half or third shares of the harvest, the grain on the field shall be divided proportionately between the tiller and the owner.


47

If the tiller, because he did not succeed in the first year, has had the soil tilled by others, the owner may raise no objection; the field has been cultivated and he receives the harvest according to agreement.


48

If any one owe a debt for a loan, and a storm prostrates the grain, or the harvest fail, or the grain does not grow for lack of water; in that year he need not give his creditor any grain, he washes his debt-tablet in water and pays no rent for this year.


49

If any one take money from a merchant, and give the merchant a field tillable for corn or sesame and order him to plant corn or sesame in the field, and to harvest the crop; if the cultivator plant corn or sesame in the field, at the harvest the corn or sesame that is in the field shall belong to the owner of the field and he shall pay corn as rent, for the money he received from the merchant, and the livelihood of the cultivator shall he give to the merchant.


50

If he give a cultivated corn-field or a cultivated sesame-field, the corn or sesame in the field shall belong to the owner of the field, and he shall return the money to the merchant as rent.


51

If he have no money to repay, then he shall pay in corn or sesame in place of the money as rent for what he received from the merchant, according to the royal tariff.


52

If the cultivator do not plant corn or sesame in the field, the debtor's contract is not weakened.


53

If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper condition, and does not so keep it; if then the dam break and all the fields be flooded, then shall he in whose dam the break occurred be sold for money, and the money shall replace the corn which he has caused to be ruined.


54

If he be not able to replace the corn, then he and his possessions shall be divided among the farmers whose corn he has flooded.


55

If any one open his ditches to water his crop, but is careless, and the water flood the field of his neighbor, then he shall pay his neighbor corn for his loss.


56

If a man let in the water, and the water overflow the plantation of his neighbor, he shall pay ten gur of corn for every ten gan of land.


57

If a shepherd, without the permission of the owner of the field, and without the knowledge of the owner of the sheep, lets the sheep into a field to graze, then the owner of the field shall harvest his crop, and the shepherd, who had pastured his flock there without permission of the owner of the field, shall pay to the owner twenty gur of corn for every ten gan.


58

If after the flocks have left the pasture and been shut up in the common fold at the city gate, any shepherd let them into a field and they graze there, this shepherd shall take possession of the field which he has allowed to be grazed on, and at the harvest he must pay sixty gur of corn for every ten gan.


59

If any man, without the knowledge of the owner of a garden, fell a tree in a garden he shall pay half a mina in money.


60

If any one give over a field to a gardener, for him to plant it as a garden, if he work at it, and care for it for four years, in the fifth year the owner and the gardener shall divide it, the owner taking his part in charge.


61

If the gardener has not completed the planting of the field, leaving one part unused, this shall be assigned to him as his.


62

If he do not plant the field that was given over to him as a garden, if it be arable land (for corn or sesame) the gardener shall pay the owner the produce of the field for the years that he let it lie fallow, according to the product of neighboring fields, put the field in arable condition and return it to its owner.


63

If he transform waste land into arable fields and return it to its owner, the latter shall pay him for one year ten gur for ten gan.


64

If any one hand over his garden to a gardener to work, the gardener shall pay to its owner two-thirds of the produce of the garden, for so long as he has it in possession, and the other third shall he keep.


65

If the gardener do not work in the garden and the product fall off, the gardener shall pay in proportion to other neighboring gardens.


[Here a portion of the text is missing, apparently comprising thirty-four paragraphs.]


100

. . . interest for the money, as much as he has received, he shall give a note therefor, and on the day, when they settle, pay to the merchant.


101

If there are no mercantile arrangements in the place whither he went, he shall leave the entire amount of money which he received with the broker to give to the merchant.


102

If a merchant entrust money to an agent (broker) for some investment, and the broker suffer a loss in the place to which he goes, he shall make good the capital to the merchant.


103

If, while on the journey, an enemy take away from him anything that he had, the broker shall swear by God and be free of obligation.


104

If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefor. Then he shall obtain a receipt form the merchant for the money that he gives the merchant.


105

If the agent is careless, and does not take a receipt for the money which he gave the merchant, he can not consider the unreceipted money as his own.


106

If the agent accept money from the merchant, but have a quarrel with the merchant (denying the receipt), then shall the merchant swear before God and witnesses that he has given this money to the agent, and the agent shall pay him three times the sum.


107

If the merchant cheat the agent, in that as the latter has returned to him all that had been given him, but the merchant denies the receipt of what had been returned to him, then shall this agent convict the merchant before God and the judges, and if he still deny receiving what the agent had given him shall pay six times the sum to the agent.


108

If a tavern-keeper (feminine) does not accept corn according to gross weight in payment of drink, but takes money, and the price of the drink is less than that of the corn, she shall be convicted and thrown into the water.


109

If conspirators meet in the house of a tavern-keeper, and these conspirators are not captured and delivered to the court, the tavern-keeper shall be put to death.




112

If any one be on a journey and entrust silver, gold, precious stones, or any movable property to another, and wish to recover it from him; if the latter do not bring all of the property to the appointed place, but appropriate it to his own use, then shall this man, who did not bring the property to hand it over, be convicted, and he shall pay fivefold for all that had been entrusted to him.


113

If any one have consignment of corn or money, and he take from the granary or box without the knowledge of the owner, then shall he who took corn without the knowledge of the owner out of the granary or money out of the box be legally convicted, and repay the corn he has taken. And he shall lose whatever commission was paid to him, or due him.


114

If a man have no claim on another for corn and money, and try to demand it by force, he shall pay one-third of a mina of silver in every case.


115

If any one have a claim for corn or money upon another and imprison him; if the prisoner die in prison a natural death, the case shall go no further.


116

If the prisoner die in prison from blows or maltreatment, the master of the prisoner shall convict the merchant before the judge. If he was a free-born man, the son of the merchant shall be put to death; if it was a slave, he shall pay one-third of a mina of gold, and all that the master of the prisoner gave he shall forfeit.


117

If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and sell himself, his wife, his son, and daughter for money or give them away to forced labor: they shall work for three years in the house of the man who bought them, or the proprietor, and in the fourth year they shall be set free.


118

If he give a male or female slave away for forced labor, and the merchant sublease them, or sell them for money, no objection can be raised.


119

If any one fail to meet a claim for debt, and he sell the maid servant who has borne him children, for money, the money which the merchant has paid shall be repaid to him by the owner of the slave and she shall be freed.


120

If any one store corn for safe keeping in another person's house, and any harm happen to the corn in storage, or if the owner of the house open the granary and take some of the corn, or if especially he deny that the corn was stored in his house: then the owner of the corn shall claim his corn before God (on oath), and the owner of the house shall pay its owner for all of the corn that he took.


121

If any one store corn in another man's house he shall pay him storage at the rate of one gur for every five ka of corn per year.


122

If any one give another silver, gold, or anything else to keep, he shall show everything to some witness, draw up a contract, and then hand it over for safe keeping.


123

If he turn it over for safe keeping without witness or contract, and if he to whom it was given deny it, then he has no legitimate claim.


124

If any one deliver silver, gold, or anything else to another for safe keeping, before a witness, but he deny it, he shall be brought before a judge, and all that he has denied he shall pay in full.


125

If any one place his property with another for safe keeping, and there, either through thieves or robbers, his property and the property of the other man be lost, the owner of the house, through whose neglect the loss took place, shall compensate the owner for all that was given to him in charge. But the owner of the house shall try to follow up and recover his property, and take it away from the thief.


126

If any one who has not lost his goods state that they have been lost, and make false claims: if he claim his goods and amount of injury before God, even though he has not lost them, he shall be fully compensated for all his loss claimed. (I.e., the oath is all that is needed.)


127

If any one "point the finger" (slander) at a sister of a god or the wife of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and his brow shall be marked. (by cutting the skin, or perhaps hair.)


128

If a man take a woman to wife, but have no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.


129

If a man's wife be surprised (in flagrante delicto) with another man, both shall be tied and thrown into the water, but the husband may pardon his wife and the king his slaves.


130

If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father's house, and sleep with her and be surprised, this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.


131

If a man bring a charge against one's wife, but she is not surprised with another man, she must take an oath and then may return to her house.


132

If the "finger is pointed" at a man's wife about another man, but she is not caught sleeping with the other man, she shall jump into the river for her husband.


133

If a man is taken prisoner in war, and there is a sustenance in his house, but his wife leave house and court, and go to another house: because this wife did not keep her court, and went to another house, she shall be judicially condemned and thrown into the water.


134

If any one be captured in war and there is not sustenance in his house, if then his wife go to another house this woman shall be held blameless.


135

If a man be taken prisoner in war and there be no sustenance in his house and his wife go to another house and bear children; and if later her husband return and come to his home: then this wife shall return to her husband, but the children follow their father.


136

If any one leave his house, run away, and then his wife go to another house, if then he return, and wishes to take his wife back: because he fled from his home and ran away, the wife of this runaway shall not return to her husband.


137

If a man wish to separate from a woman who has borne him children, or from his wife who has borne him children: then he shall give that wife her dowry, and a part of the usufruct of field, garden, and property, so that she can rear her children. When she has brought up her children, a portion of all that is given to the children, equal as that of one son, shall be given to her. She may then marry the man of her heart.


138

If a man wishes to separate from his wife who has borne him no children, he shall give her the amount of her purchase money and the dowry which she brought from her father's house, and let her go.


139

If there was no purchase price he shall give her one mina of gold as a gift of release.


140

If he be a freed man he shall give her one-third of a mina of gold.


141

If a man's wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave it, plunges into debt, tries to ruin her house, neglects her husband, and is judicially convicted: if her husband offer her release, she may go on her way, and he gives her nothing as a gift of release. If her husband does not wish to release her, and if he take another wife, she shall remain as servant in her husband's house.


142

If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house.


143

If she is not innocent, but leaves her husband, and ruins her house, neglecting her husband, this woman shall be cast into the water.


144

If a man take a wife and this woman give her husband a maid-servant, and she bear him children, but this man wishes to take another wife, this shall not be permitted to him; he shall not take a second wife.


145

If a man take a wife, and she bear him no children, and he intend to take another wife: if he take this second wife, and bring her into the house, this second wife shall not be allowed equality with his wife.


146

If a man take a wife and she give this man a maid-servant as wife and she bear him children, and then this maid assume equality with the wife: because she has borne him children her master shall not sell her for money, but he may keep her as a slave, reckoning her among the maid-servants.


147

If she have not borne him children, then her mistress may sell her for money.


148

If a man take a wife, and she be seized by disease, if he then desire to take a second wife he shall not put away his wife, who has been attacked by disease, but he shall keep her in the house which he has built and support her so long as she lives.


149

If this woman does not wish to remain in her husband's house, then he shall compensate her for the dowry that she brought with her from her father's house, and she may go.


150

If a man give his wife a field, garden, and house and a deed therefor, if then after the death of her husband the sons raise no claim, then the mother may bequeath all to one of her sons whom she prefers, and need leave nothing to his brothers.


151

If a woman who lived in a man's house made an agreement with her husband, that no creditor can arrest her, and has given a document therefor: if that man, before he married that woman, had a debt, the creditor can not hold the woman for it. But if the woman, before she entered the man's house, had contracted a debt, her creditor can not arrest her husband therefor.


152

If after the woman had entered the man's house, both contracted a debt, both must pay the merchant.


153

If the wife of one man on account of another man has their mates (her husband and the other man's wife) murdered, both of them shall be impaled.


154

If a man be guilty of incest with his daughter, he shall be driven from the place (exiled).


155

If a man betroth a girl to his son, and his son have intercourse with her, but he (the father) afterward defile her, and be surprised, then he shall be bound and cast into the water (drowned).


156

If a man betroth a girl to his son, but his son has not known her, and if then he defile her, he shall pay her half a gold mina, and compensate her for all that she brought out of her father's house. She may marry the man of her heart.


157

If any one be guilty of incest with his mother after his father, both shall be burned.


158

If any one be surprised after his father with his chief wife, who has borne children, he shall be driven out of his father's house.


159

If any one, who has brought chattels into his father-in-law's house, and has paid the purchase-money, looks for another wife, and says to his father-in-law: "I do not want your daughter," the girl's father may keep all that he had brought.


160

If a man bring chattels into the house of his father-in-law, and pay the "purchase price" (for his wife): if then the father of the girl say: "I will not give you my daughter," he shall give him back all that he brought with him.


161

If a man bring chattels into his father-in-law's house and pay the "purchase price," if then his friend slander him, and his father-in-law say to the young husband: "You shall not marry my daughter," the he shall give back to him undiminished all that he had brought with him; but his wife shall not be married to the friend.


162

If a man marry a woman, and she bear sons to him; if then this woman die, then shall her father have no claim on her dowry; this belongs to her sons.


163

If a man marry a woman and she bear him no sons; if then this woman die, if the "purchase price" which he had paid into the house of his father-in-law is repaid to him, her husband shall have no claim upon the dowry of this woman; it belongs to her father's house.


164

If his father-in-law do not pay back to him the amount of the "purchase price" he may subtract the amount of the "Purchase price" from the dowry, and then pay the remainder to her father's house.


165

If a man give to one of his sons whom he prefers a field, garden, and house, and a deed therefor: if later the father die, and the brothers divide the estate, then they shall first give him the present of his father, and he shall accept it; and the rest of the paternal property shall they divide.


166

If a man take wives for his son, but take no wife for his minor son, and if then he die: if the sons divide the estate, they shall set aside besides his portion the money for the "purchase price" for the minor brother who had taken no wife as yet, and secure a wife for him.


167

If a man marry a wife and she bear him children: if this wife die and he then take another wife and she bear him children: if then the father die, the sons must not partition the estate according to the mothers, they shall divide the dowries of their mothers only in this way; the paternal estate they shall divide equally with one another.


168

If a man wish to put his son out of his house, and declare before the judge: "I want to put my son out," then the judge shall examine into his reasons. If the son be guilty of no great fault, for which he can be rightfully put out, the father shall not put him out.


169

If he be guilty of a grave fault, which should rightfully deprive him of the filial relationship, the father shall forgive him the first time; but if he be guilty of a grave fault a second time the father may deprive his son of all filial relation.


170

If his wife bear sons to a man, or his maid-servant have borne sons, and the father while still living says to the children whom his maid-servant has borne: "My sons," and he count them with the sons of his wife; if then the father die, then the sons of the wife and of the maid-servant shall divide the paternal property in common. The son of the wife is to partition and choose.


171

If, however, the father while still living did not say to the sons of the maid-servant: "My sons," and then the father dies, then the sons of the maid-servant shall not share with the sons of the wife, but the freedom of the maid and her sons shall be granted. The sons of the wife shall have no right to enslave the sons of the maid; the wife shall take her dowry (from her father), and the gift that her husband gave her and deeded to her (separate from dowry, or the purchase-money paid her father), and live in the home of her husband: so long as she lives she shall use it, it shall not be sold for money. Whatever she leaves shall belong to her children.


172

If her husband made her no gift, she shall be compensated for her gift, and she shall receive a portion from the estate of her husband, equal to that of one child. If her sons oppress her, to force her out of the house, the judge shall examine into the matter, and if the sons are at fault the woman shall not leave her husband's house. If the woman desire to leave the house, she must leave to her sons the gift which her husband gave her, but she may take the dowry of her father's house. Then she may marry the man of her heart.


173

If this woman bear sons to her second husband, in the place to which she went, and then die, her earlier and later sons shall divide the dowry between them.


174

If she bear no sons to her second husband, the sons of her first husband shall have the dowry.


175

If a State slave or the slave of a freed man marry the daughter of a free man, and children are born, the master of the slave shall have no right to enslave the children of the free.


176

If, however, a State slave or the slave of a freed man marry a man's daughter, and after he marries her she bring a dowry from a father's house, if then they both enjoy it and found a household, and accumulate means, if then the slave die, then she who was free born may take her dowry, and all that her husband and she had earned; she shall divide them into two parts, one-half the master for the slave shall take, and the other half shall the free-born woman take for her children. If the free-born woman had no gift she shall take all that her husband and she had earned and divide it into two parts; and the master of the slave shall take one-half and she shall take the other for her children.


177

If a widow, whose children are not grown, wishes to enter another house (remarry), she shall not enter it without the knowledge of the judge. If she enter another house the judge shall examine the state of the house of her first husband. Then the house of her first husband shall be entrusted to the second husband and the woman herself as managers. And a record must be made thereof. She shall keep the house in order, bring up the children, and not sell the house-hold utensils. He who buys the utensils of the children of a widow shall lose his money, and the goods shall return to their owners.


178

If a "devoted woman" or a prostitute to whom her father has given a dowry and a deed therefor, but if in this deed it is not stated that she may bequeath it as she pleases, and has not explicitly stated that she has the right of disposal; if then her father die, then her brothers shall hold her field and garden, and give her corn, oil, and milk according to her portion, and satisfy her. If her brothers do not give her corn, oil, and milk according to her share, then her field and garden shall support her. She shall have the usufruct of field and garden and all that her father gave her so long as she lives, but she can not sell or assign it to others. Her position of inheritance belongs to her brothers.


179

If a "sister of a god," or a prostitute, receive a gift from her father, and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that she may dispose of it as she pleases, and give her complete disposition thereof: if then her father die, then she may leave her property to whomsoever she pleases. Her brothers can raise no claim thereto.


180

If a father give a present to his daughter—either marriageable or a prostitute (unmarriageable)—and then die, then she is to receive a portion as a child from the paternal estate, and enjoy its usufruct so long as she lives. Her estate belongs to her brothers.


181

If a father devote a temple-maid or temple-virgin to God and give her no present: if then the father die, she shall receive the third of a child's portion from the inheritance of her father's house, and enjoy its usufruct so long as she lives. Her estate belongs to her brothers.


182

If a father devote his daughter as a wife of Mardi of Babylon (as in 181), and give her no present, nor a deed; if then her father die, then shall she receive one-third of her portion as a child of her father's house from her brothers, but Marduk may leave her estate to whomsoever she wishes.


183

If a man give his daughter by a concubine a dowry, and a husband, and a deed; if then her father die, she shall receive no portion from the paternal estate.


184

If a man do not give a dowry to his daughter by a concubine, and no husband; if then her father die, her brother shall give her a dowry according to her father's wealth and secure a husband for her.


185

If a man adopt a child and to his name as son, and rear him, this grown son can not be demanded back again.


186

If a man adopt a son, and if after he has taken him he injure his foster father and mother, then this adopted son shall return to his father's house.


187

The son of a paramour in the palace


service, or of a prostitute, can not be demanded back.
188

If an artizan has undertaken to rear a child and teaches him his craft, he can not be demanded back.
189

If he has not taught him his craft, this adopted son may return to his father's house.


190

If a man does not maintain a child that he has adopted as a son and reared with his other children, then his adopted son may return to his father's house.


191

If a man, who had adopted a son and reared him, founded a household, and had children, wish to put this adopted son out, then this son shall not simply go his way. His adoptive father shall give him of his wealth one-third of a child's portion, and then he may go. He shall not give him of the field, garden, and house.


192

If a son of a paramour or a prostitute say to his adoptive father or mother: "You are not my father, or my mother," his tongue shall be cut off.


193

If the son of a paramour or a prostitute desire his father's house, and desert his adoptive father and adoptive mother, and goes to his father's house, then shall his eye be put out.


194

If a man give his child to a nurse and the child die in her hands, but the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurse another child, then they shall convict her of having nursed another child without the knowledge of the father and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.


195

If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.


196

If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An eye for an eye ]


197

If he break another man's bone, his bone shall be broken.


198

If he put out the eye of a freed man, or break the bone of a freed man, he shall pay one gold mina.


199

If he put out the eye of a man's slave, or break the bone of a man's slave, he shall pay one-half of its value.


200

If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out. [ A tooth for a tooth ]


201

If he knock out the teeth of a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a gold mina.


202

If any one strike the body of a man higher in rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-whip in public.


203

If a free-born man strike the body of another free-born man or equal rank, he shall pay one gold mina.


204

If a freed man strike the body of another freed man, he shall pay ten shekels in money.


205

If the slave of a freed man strike the body of a freed man, his ear shall be cut off.


206

If during a quarrel one man strike another and wound him, then he shall swear, "I did not injure him wittingly," and pay the physicians.


207

If the man die of his wound, he shall swear similarly, and if he (the deceased) was a free-born man, he shall pay half a mina in money.


208

If he was a freed man, he shall pay one-third of a mina.


209

If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.


210

If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.


211

If a woman of the free class lose her child by a blow, he shall pay five shekels in money.


212

If this woman die, he shall pay half a mina.


213

If he strike the maid-servant of a man, and she lose her child, he shall pay two shekels in money.


214

If this maid-servant die, he shall pay one-third of a mina.


215

If a physician make a large incision with an operating knife and cure it, or if he open a tumor (over the eye) with an operating knife, and saves the eye, he shall receive ten shekels in money.


216

If the patient be a freed man, he receives five shekels.


217

If he be the slave of some one, his owner shall give the physician two shekels.


218

If a physician make a large incision with the operating knife, and kill him, or open a tumor with the operating knife, and cut out the eye, his hands shall be cut off.


219

If a physician make a large incision in the slave of a freed man, and kill him, he shall replace the slave with another slave.


220

If he had opened a tumor with the operating knife, and put out his eye, he shall pay half his value.


221

If a physician heal the broken bone or diseased soft part of a man, the patient shall pay the physician five shekels in money.


222

If he were a freed man he shall pay three shekels.


223

If he were a slave his owner shall pay the physician two shekels.


224

If a veterinary surgeon perform a serious operation on an ass or an ox, and cure it, the owner shall pay the surgeon one-sixth of a shekel as a fee.


225

If he perform a serious operation on an ass or ox, and kill it, he shall pay the owner one-fourth of its value.


226

If a barber, without the knowledge of his master, cut the sign of a slave on a slave not to be sold, the hands of this barber shall be cut off.


227

If any one deceive a barber, and have him mark a slave not for sale with the sign of a slave, he shall be put to death, and buried in his house. The barber shall swear: "I did not mark him wittingly," and shall be guiltless.


228

If a builder build a house for some one and complete it, he shall give him a fee of two shekels in money for each sar of surface.


229

If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.


230

If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to death.


231

If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the owner of the house.


232

If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.


233

If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.


234

If a shipbuilder build a boat of sixty gur for a man, he shall pay him a fee of two shekels in money.


235

If a shipbuilder build a boat for some one, and do not make it tight, if during that same year that boat is sent away and suffers injury, the shipbuilder shall take the boat apart and put it together tight at his own expense. The tight boat he shall give to the boat owner.


236

If a man rent his boat to a sailor, and the sailor is careless, and the boat is wrecked or goes aground, the sailor shall give the owner of the boat another boat as compensation.


237

If a man hire a sailor and his boat, and provide it with corn, clothing, oil and dates, and other things of the kind needed for fitting it: if the sailor is careless, the boat is wrecked, and its contents ruined, then the sailor shall compensate for the boat which was wrecked and all in it that he ruined.


238

If a sailor wreck any one's ship, but saves it, he shall pay the half of its value in money.


239

If a man hire a sailor, he shall pay him six gur of corn per year.


240

If a merchantman run against a ferryboat, and wreck it, the master of the ship that was wrecked shall seek justice before God; the master of the merchantman, which wrecked the ferryboat, must compensate the owner for the boat and all that he ruined.


241

If any one impresses an ox for forced labor, he shall pay one-third of a mina in money.


242

If any one hire oxen for a year, he shall pay four gur of corn for plow-oxen.


243

As rent of herd cattle he shall pay three gur of corn to the owner.


244

If any one hire an ox or an ass, and a lion kill it in the field, the loss is upon its owner.


245

If any one hire oxen, and kill them by bad treatment or blows, he shall compensate the owner, oxen for oxen.


246

If a man hire an ox, and he break its leg or cut the ligament of its neck, he shall compensate the owner with ox for ox.


247

If any one hire an ox, and put out its eye, he shall pay the owner one-half of its value.


248

If any one hire an ox, and break off a horn, or cut off its tail, or hurt its muzzle, he shall pay one-fourth of its value in money.


249

If any one hire an ox, and God strike it that it die, the man who hired it shall swear by God and be considered guiltless.


250

If while an ox is passing on the street (market) some one push it, and kill it, the owner can set up no claim in the suit (against the hirer).


251

If an ox be a goring ox, and it shown that he is a gorer, and he do not bind his horns, or fasten the ox up, and the ox gore a free-born man and kill him, the owner shall pay one-half a mina in money.


252

If he kill a man's slave, he shall pay one-third of a mina.


253

If any one agree with another to tend his field, give him seed, entrust a yoke of oxen to him, and bind him to cultivate the field, if he steal the corn or plants, and take them for himself, his hands shall be hewn off.


254

If he take the seed-corn for himself, and do not use the yoke of oxen, he shall compensate him for the amount of the seed-corn.


255

If he sublet the man's yoke of oxen or steal the seed-corn, planting nothing in the field, he shall be convicted, and for each one hundred gan he shall pay sixty gur of corn.


256

If his community will not pay for him, then he shall be placed in that field with the cattle (at work).


257

If any one hire a field laborer, he shall pay him eight gur of corn per year.


258

If any one hire an ox-driver, he shall pay him six gur of corn per year.


259

If any one steal a water-wheel from the field, he shall pay five shekels in money to its owner.


260

If any one steal a shadduf (used to draw water from the river or canal) or a plow, he shall pay three shekels in money.


261

If any one hire a herdsman for cattle or sheep, he shall pay him eight gur of corn per annum.


262

If any one, a cow or a sheep . . .


263

If he kill the cattle or sheep that were given to him, he shall compensate the owner with cattle for cattle and sheep for sheep.


264

If a herdsman, to whom cattle or sheep have been entrusted for watching over, and who has received his wages as agreed upon, and is satisfied, diminish the number of the cattle or sheep, or make the increase by birth less, he shall make good the increase or profit which was lost in the terms of settlement.


265

If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been entrusted, be guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural increase, or sell them for money, then shall he be convicted and pay the owner ten times the loss.


266

If the animal be killed in the stable by God ( an accident), or if a lion kill it, the herdsman shall declare his innocence before God, and the owner bears the accident in the stable.


267

If the herdsman overlook something, and an accident happen in the stable, then the herdsman is at fault for the accident which he has caused in the stable, and he must compensate the owner for the cattle or sheep.


268

If any one hire an ox for threshing, the amount of the hire is twenty ka of corn.


269

If he hire an ass for threshing, the hire is twenty ka of corn.


270

If he hire a young animal for threshing, the hire is ten ka of corn.


271

If any one hire oxen, cart and driver, he shall pay one hundred and eighty ka of corn per day.


272

If any one hire a cart alone, he shall pay forty ka of corn per day.


273

If any one hire a day laborer, he shall pay him from the New Year until the fifth month (April to August, when days are long and the work hard) six gerahs in money per day; from the sixth month to the end of the year he shall give him five gerahs per day.


274

If any one hire a skilled artizan, he shall pay as wages of the . . . five gerahs, as wages of the potter five gerahs, of a tailor five gerahs, of . . . gerahs, . . . of a ropemaker four gerahs, of . . . gerahs, of a mason . . . gerahs per day.


275

If any one hire a ferryboat, he shall pay three gerahs in money per day.


276

If he hire a freight-boat, he shall pay two and one-half gerahs per day.


277

If any one hire a ship of sixty gur, he shall pay one-sixth of a shekel in money as its hire per day.


278

If any one buy a male or female slave, and before a month has elapsed the benu-disease be developed, he shall return the slave to the seller, and receive the money which he had paid.


279

If any one by a male or female slave, and a third party claim it, the seller is liable for the claim.


280

If while in a foreign country a man buy a male or female slave belonging to another of his own country; if when he return home the owner of the male or female slave recognize it: if the male or female slave be a native of the country, he shall give them back without any money.


281

If they are from another country, the buyer shall declare the amount of money paid therefor to the merchant, and keep the male or female slave.


282

If a slave say to his master: "You are not my master," if they convict him his master shall cut off his ear.


Ten Conservative Principles
The Russell Kirk Center | Russell Kirk

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.

It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. In various editions of my book The Conservative Mind I have listed certain canons of conservative thought—the list differing somewhat from edition to edition; in my anthology The Portable Conservative Reader I offer variations upon this theme. Now I present to you a summary of conservative assumptions differing somewhat from my canons in those two books of mine. In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long social experience, the result of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Thus the body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls. Human society is no machine, to be treated mechanically. The continuity, the life-blood, of a society must not be interrupted. Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to he gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often. Similarly, our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste. It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger. Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition. If, then, in the name of an abstract Democracy, the functions of community are transferred to distant political direction—why, real government by the consent of the governed gives way to a standardizing process hostile to freedom and human dignity.

For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Such, then, are ten principles that have loomed large during the two centuries of modern conservative thought. Other principles of equal importance might have been discussed here: the conservative understanding of justice, for one, or the conservative view of education. But such subjects, time running on, I must leave to your private investigation.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.

 Laws of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established. A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land.

Hammurabi, the protecting king am I.

I have not withdrawn myself from the men, whom Bel gave to me, the rule over whom Marduk gave to me, I was not negligent, but I made them a peaceful abiding-place. I expounded all great difficulties, I made the light shine upon them. With the mighty weapons which Zamama and Ishtar entrusted to me, with the keen vision with which Ea endowed me, with the wisdom that Marduk gave me, I have uprooted the enemy above and below (in north and south), subdued the earth, brought prosperity to the land, guaranteed security to the inhabitants in their homes; a disturber was not permitted.

The great gods have called me, I am the salvation-bearing shepherd, whose staff is straight, the good shadow that is spread over my city; on my breast I cherish the inhabitants of the land of Sumer and Akkad; in my shelter I have let them repose in peace; in my deep wisdom have I enclosed them. That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans, I have in Babylon the city where Anu and Bel raise high their head, in E-Sagil, the Temple, whose foundations stand firm as heaven and earth, in order to declare justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.

The king who rules among the kings of the cities am I. My words are well considered; there is no wisdom like mine. By the command of Shamash, the great judge of heaven and earth, let righteousness go forth in the land: by the order of Marduk, my lord, let no destruction befall my monument. In E-Sagil, which I love, let my name be ever repeated; let the oppressed, who have a case at law, come and stand before this my image as king of righteousness; let him read the inscription, and understand my precious words: the inscription will explain his case to him; he will find out what is just, and his heart will be glad, so that he will say:

"Hammurabi is a ruler, who is as a father to his subjects, who holds the words of Marduk in reverence, who has achieved conquest for Marduk over the north and south, who rejoices the heart of Marduk, his lord, who has bestowed benefits for ever and ever on his subjects, and has established order in the land."

When he reads the record, let him pray with full heart to Marduk, my lord, and Zarpanit, my lady; and then shall the protecting deities and the gods, who frequent E-Sagil, graciously grant the desires daily presented before Marduk, my lord, and Zarpanit, my lady.

In future time, through all coming generations, let the king, who may be in the land, observe the words of righteousness which I have written on my monument; let him not alter the law of the land which I have given, the edicts which I have enacted; my monument let him not mar. If such a ruler have wisdom, and be able to keep his land in order, he shall observe the words which I have written in this inscription; the rule, statute, and law of the land which I have given; the decisions which I have made will this inscription show him; let him rule his subjects accordingly, speak justice to them, give right decisions, root out the evil-doers and criminals from this land, and grant prosperity to his subjects.

Hammurabi, the king of righteousness, on whom Shamash has conferred the law am I. My words are well considered; my deeds are not equaled; to bring low those that were high; to humble the proud, to expel insolence. If a succeeding ruler considers my words, which I have written in this my inscription, if he do not annul my law, nor corrupt my words, nor change my monument, then may Shamash lengthen that king's reign, as he has that of me, the king of righteousness, that he may reign in righteousness over his subjects.

If this ruler does not esteem my words, which I have written in my inscription, if he despises my curses, and fears not the curse of God, if he destroys the law which I have given, corrupts my words, changes my monument, effaces my name, writes his name there, or on account of the curses commissions another to do so, that man, whether king or ruler, patesi, 11 or commoner, no matter what he be, may the great God (Anu), the Father of the gods, 1 who has ordered my rule, withdraw from him the glory of royalty, break his scepter, curse his destiny.

May Bel, the lord, who fixes destiny, whose command can not be altered, who has made my kingdom great, order a rebellion which his hand can not control; may he let the wind of the overthrow of his habitation blow, may he ordain the years of his rule in groaning, years of scarcity, years of famine, darkness without light, death with seeing eyes be fated to him; may he (Bel) order with his potent mouth the destruction of his city, the dispersion of his subjects, the cutting off of his rule, the removal of his name and memory from the land.

May Belit, the great Mother, whose command is potent in E-Kur, the Mistress, who harkens graciously to my petitions, in the seat of judgment and decision, turn his affairs evil before Bel, and put the devastation of his land, the destruction of his subjects, the pouring out of his life like water into the mouth of King Bel.

May Ea, the great ruler, whose fated decrees come to pass, the thinker of the gods, the omniscient, who makes long the days of my life, withdraw understanding and wisdom from him, lead him to forgetfulness, shut up his rivers at their sources, and not allow corn or sustenance for man to grow in his land.

May Shamash, the great Judge of heaven and earth, who supports all means of livelihood, Lord of life-courage, shatter his dominion, annul his law, destroy his way, make vain the march of his troops, send him in his visions forecasts of the uprooting of the foundations of his throne and of the destruction of his land. May the condemnation of Shamash overtake him; may he be deprived of water above among the living, and his spirit below in the earth.

May Sin, the Lord of Heaven, the divine father, whose crescent gives light among the gods, take away the crown and regal throne from him; may he put upon him heavy guilt, great decay, that nothing may be lower than he. May he destine him as fated, days, months and years of dominion filled with sighing and tears, increase of the burden of dominion, a life that is like unto death.

May Adad, the lord of fruitfulness, ruler of heaven and earth, my helper, withhold from him rain from heaven, and the flood of water from the springs, destroying his land by famine and want; may he rage mightily over his city, and make his land into flood-hills (heaps of ruined cities).

May Zamama, the great warrior, the first-born son of E-Kur, who goes at my right hand, shatter his weapons on the field of battle, turn day into night for him, and let his foe triumph over him.

May Ishtar, the goddess of fighting and war, who unfetters my weapons, my gracious protecting spirit, who loves my dominion, curse his kingdom in her angry heart; in her great wrath, change his grace into evil, and shatter his weapons on the place of fighting and war. May she create disorder and sedition for him, strike down his warriors, that the earth may drink their blood, and throw down the piles of corpses of his warriors on the field; may she not grant him a life of mercy, deliver him into the hands of his enemies, and imprison him in the land of his enemies.

May Nergal, the might among the gods, whose contest is irresistible, who grants me victory, in his great might burn up his subjects like a slender reedstalk, cut off his limbs with his mighty weapons, and shatter him like an earthen image.

May Nin-tu, the sublime mistress of the lands, the fruitful mother, deny him a son, vouchsafe him no name, give him no successor among men.

May Nin-karak, the daughter of Anu, who adjudges grace to me, cause to come upon his members in E-kur high fever, severe wounds, that can not be healed, whose nature the physician does not understand, which he can not treat with dressing, which, like the bite of death, can not be removed, until they have sapped away his life.

May he lament the loss of his life-power, and may the great gods of heaven and earth, the Anunaki, altogether inflict a curse and evil upon the confines of the temple, the walls of this E-barra (the Sun temple of Sippara), upon his dominion, his land, his warriors, his subjects, and his troops. May Bel curse him with the potent curses of his mouth that can not be altered, and may they come upon him forthwith.

Translated by L.W. King (1910)
Edited by Richard Hooker




THE SIN OF SILENCE--A DEFINING MOMENT


[GREAT SOBERING Refs to Hitler's Germany]

Posted on 11/01/2004 11:28:54 AM EST by Quix

Address given at Midwestern Seminary, Kansas City. September 6, 2000 The Sin of Silence A Defining Moment

It is a joy to be with you here today in a place where God has done great things, in a place where, once again, you stand for the truth of God’s Word, for the verbal inspiration of Scripture, for the inerrancy of that which God has written from the first chapter of the book of Genesis to the 22nd chapter of the book of Revelation, and I applaud you for that stand, and I stand with you in that faith.

And on the basis of that word, today we confront that which is happening in our culture. Now, I’m a Lutheran Christian, and that means that my historical and theological roots go back to Germany. And I find a context for what is happening in America today in that which took place in that great homeland of the Reformation in the 1930’s and the 1940’s.

Let me begin with a story about an incident that took place a few years ago as a prominent evangelical pastor was invited to a Christian university on the east coast to address the student body. Upon his arrival on the campus, he was greeted by the president of that institution, a distinguished looking older gentleman with upswept white hair who spoke with a decided German accent. As they walked to the chapel that day, the president requested permission to say a few words to the students before the service itself began, and of course, you don’t say no to the president of his own campus, so that permission was granted.

After the student body had gathered, the old gentleman walked to the rostrum with a ramrod straightness that only a German has, and he looked out over the students assembled there, the picture of dignity and composure. Gazing intently into the eyes of the young people in front of him, he began. “For you, “ he said, “today is a day like any other day, but it is an extremely important and painful day for me.” Silence fell over the room. The students noticed that as the old gentleman spoke, tears streamed down his face. This uncharacteristic display of emotion stunned the student body and riveted their attention. “Today is November the 9th,” he continued, “the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the ‘night of the broken glass.’ On this day in 1938, Nazi thugs moved through the cities of Germany, smashing the windows of Jewish homes and shops, burning the synagogues. Innocent people--men, women and children--were beaten and killed simply because they were Jews.

I was there as a young man,” he sobbed, “and I can still hear the sound of the shattering glass. There were many of us who were Christians then, and we did nothing. We looked the other way, and we did nothing. That was the beginning of the Holocaust, because the “Jew-haters” knew then that no one would stop them. No one would stand in their way.”

The old man went on to quote the words now inscribed in the Auschwitz memorial in Poland, the place where so many died. “Never again!” he pleaded. “Christian young people we must never let it happen again!”

My friends, it is happening again.

It is happening again today in our beautiful America, so richly and abundantly blessed by a gracious God. •

It is happening today as the innocents are slaughtered in a 27-year holocaust that has seen nearly 40 million little boys and girls brutally done to death. •

It is happening again, as families are fractured and marriages are broken while self-obsessed people pursue the immediate gratification of their every desire. •

It is happening again as militant homosexuals pursue absolute approval, complete acceptance and preferential legal treatment for their perversion. •

It is happening again as our young people lose their way and often their lives in a maze of alcohol and drugs and the corridors and classrooms of our land are littered with the bodies of murdered teenagers. •

It is happening again as the nation’s leaders wallow in decadence and deceit while the people look on in apathetic indifference.

It is happening again.

For while the killing goes on, and the nation is led down the path of destruction, the Church and her pastors stand silent and afraid. This country that we love, our America, is fighting for her life--not against the military power of a foreign enemy, but against the principalities and powers of this dark age. You and I, as sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ, but even more so, those of you here today who are pastors of the church of Jesus Christ, are being called upon to take a stand in this moment of crisis, and let there be no one among us who doubts the urgency of this hour.

To compare what is happening in America today to Nazi Germany is no mere flight of rhetorical exaggeration. This nation is heedlessly stumbling toward third millennium darkness. Look around you and read the signs of the times. Look beyond the walls of our beautiful sanctuaries and the comfort of our padded pews to see the chaos, the corruption and the confusion, that reigns throughout our culture. We live in a society where passions are riderless horses, uncontrolled and uncontrollable, in which there is a desolation of decency, in which love has become a jungle emotion, lust exalted to lordship, sin elevated to sovereignty, Satan adored as a saint, and man magnified above his Maker.

Americans have come to dwell in an Alice in Wonderland world of fantasy, of self-delusion. Everything has been turned upside down and inside out in our America. Right is wrong, and wrong is right. Good is bad and bad is good. Normal is abnormal, and abnormal is normal, true is false and false is true. We are fast degenerating into a decadent culture obsessed with selfishness and sin, death and destruction.

In the face of this relentless onslaught of evil, the church of Jesus Christ has grown timid and afraid. We have abandoned the truth of God’s word, compromised the stern demands of His law, tailored our message to meet the felt needs of sinful men (as if sinful men ever knew what they actually needed) and prostituted ourselves and the Gospel that we profess to proclaim, for worldly popularity and success. We as Christian pastors seem to have forgotten that God did not call us to be popular or successful. God called us to be faithful.

Faithful preaching never comes in the form of safely vague pious platitudes. Faithful preaching must identify and denounce the false gods of this world that call upon our people to bow down before them every day.

God did not call us to be successful CEO’s protecting institutional peace and tranquillity, bringing in the bodies and the bucks by avoiding controversy and telling everybody what they wanted to hear.

God called us to proclaim His word, to be vigilant watchmen standing high upon the walls of Zion, sounding forth the clear, clarion call of the trumpet, calling out God’s people for war against the hosts of evil advancing all around us.

We as the Christians of America, we as the pastors of America, have failed in this responsibility before God. And our country is paying a dire price for that failure. Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, we are responsible.

The great reformer Martin Luther once declared that “the preacher who does not rebuke the sins of the rulers through God’s word spoken publicly, boldly, and honestly, strengthens the sins of the tyrants, and becomes a partaker in them and bears responsibility for them.”

Now note carefully Luther’s words. They ought to sear the conscience of every pastor in America today. The preacher who does not speak out becomes a participant in the wickedness of the tyrants and bears responsibility for it. We cannot shift that responsibility to anyone else today. We cannot blame the liberal media or the corrupt politicians or the apathetic public for that which has overtaken America. This is our fault, for we are the ones whom God placed here at this moment in our nation’s history to be the stinging salt and the shining light.

We are responsible for what has happened to America. In the year of our Lord 2000, there is no Pontius Pilate’s basin that can cleanse the hands of American pastors from the guilty stain of innocent blood.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he scornfully dismissed the Church and her pastors as an irrelevant force which posed no threat to the Nazi agenda for that great nation.

“I promise you," he boasted to his inner circle, “that if I wish to, I could destroy the Church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten and false through and through. One push, and the whole structure would collapse. We should trap the preachers," he said, “ by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years’ reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves; they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.”

The dictator’s words proved to be tragically accurate. The great majority of Christians in Germany looked the other way and minded their own business. They kept their religion and their politics strictly separate from one another and refused to vote on the basis of single issues which would have set them apart from the rest of the electorate. They blended in and they went along and they followed the path of least resistance. They did that which was expedient and practical and safe, while their country was dragged down into a swirling maelstrom of barbarism and death. Only a few lonely voices were raised in protest.

In 1940 Nazi Germany was near her zenith, the nation’s power, prestige, prosperity unparalleled in history, her armies invincible on every front. The Jews had been systematically excluded from the life of the nation, deprived of the protection of the law and citizenship, gradually disappearing into a spreading network of concentration camps.

In that year 1940, at the height of Hitler’s power and popularity, a courageous young pastor named Dietrich Bonhoeffer denounced the church’s failure to speak out against the evil. In 1940 that lonely voice of truth proclaimed, “We the Church must confess that we have not proclaimed often or clearly enough the message of the one God, who has revealed Himself for all time in Christ Jesus and Who will tolerate no other gods beside Himself. She must confess her timidity, her cowardice, her evasiveness and her dangerous concessions.

She was silent when she should have cried out, because the blood of the innocent was crying aloud to heaven. The Church must confess that she has witnessed the lawless application of brutal force, the physical and spiritual suffering of countless innocent people, oppression, hatred, and murder, and that she has not raised her voice on behalf of the victims and has not found ways to hasten to their aid. The Church is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ. The Church must confess that she has desired security and peace, quiet, possessions and honor, to which she has no right. She has not borne witness to the truth of God. And by her silence, she has rendered herself guilty because of her unwillingness to suffer for what she knows to be right.”

Bonhoeffer’s warning went unheeded. He was dismissed by most of his colleagues as a single-issue fanatic. In less than 5 years, he was dead, hung naked from a piano-wire noose in Flossenberg concentration camp. Germany lay in ruins, her great cities bombed out of existence, cathedrals that had stood for a thousand years reduced to piles of broken brick and rubble.

In the face of monstrous evil, he who keeps silent fails in his responsibility before God and shares in the guilt. The moral meltdown that has overtaken America has been met with a deafening silence from the pulpits of America and the people-pleasing preachers who presume to stand in them. This desolation of decency could not have occurred if the pulpits of this land were once again aflame with righteousness, to use Alexis de Tocqueville's famous words. By our apathy, by our acquiescence and by our ignorance, the church of Jesus Christ has consigned itself to irrelevance and impotence in the ongoing struggle for the soul of America.

Our political leaders deal in trivialities and superficial nonsense, practicing the feel-good politics of deliberate ambiguity, while the destruction of our families, the perversion of our most basic moral principles, and the murder of innocent unborn children goes on and on and on.

Those candidates in the Presidential primaries who denounced the evils of abortion and stood unequivocally for moral values against the corruption of our times never rose out of single digits in the polls and therefore they were never considered serious contenders in this election cycle, and the moral issues for which they stood were pushed aside in favor of more practical considerations. We have come to this sorry state because Christian voters were more concerned about electability than about integrity.

The result, to use the words of former president Gerald Ford, is “we have an election in which candidates without ideas hire consultants without convictions to carry out campaigns without content.

Throughout the mind-boggling series of scandals that has gushed out of Washington like filth from a sewer in recent years, the endless refrain of the beltway establishment and the media elite has been, “We’ve got to get on with the nation’s business.” Well, folks, there was a time not too long ago when righteousness and decency and justice were the nation’s business. And unless that time comes again soon, this nation will not endure.

John Adams once warned that the problem with democracy is that you get the leaders you deserve. This sad spectacle ought to remind us that a people who cannot control themselves cannot govern themselves. It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the morality, stupid.

The issue before us as Christians and as Christian pastors is faithfulness to the word of God and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To speak to the great moral issues of our day is an integral and essential part of that God-given responsibility. To fail to do so is nothing less than a denial of the Lordship of Jesus.

Pastor Martin Niemöller was yet another of that lonely band of Christian heroes that stood against the tide of evil in Nazi Germany. He was arrested by the Gestapo for faithfully preaching the word of God. Now Niemöller was what we would today call a celebrity; he was a national hero. He had been a U-boat commander highly decorated in the First World War, and only then after the war did he enter the ministry. His congregation in the Berlin suburb of Dahlem was one of the wealthiest and most influential evangelical churches in the land, its membership made up of high government officials, generals, and so on. And the arrest of this pastor from that church was highly controversial. The judge before whom he was arraigned on charges of sedition seemed genuinely puzzled why a patriot like Martin Niemöller would criticize Adolf Hitler, the man whom the German people hailed as their Fuhrer, an absolute leader, to whom unquestioned obedience was owed. The magistrate pleaded with the minister to end his attacks upon the Nazi regime and upon the Fuhrer. He promised Niemöller immediate release and the opportunity to return to his pulpit "today," if only he would agree to do so. Niemöller’s reply was steadfast: “I cannot and I will not be silent, because God is my Fuhrer.”

Our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ must take precedence over any other loyalty in every part of our lives. If the Lord Jesus is truly our Lord, then we must serve Him. If the Lord Jesus is truly our Lord, then He cannot be safely compartmentalized to one place, one time, one day of the week, with one group of people, while we live like the heathen the rest of the time. If the Lord Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, He cannot be left outside the ballot box like an unneeded umbrella when we go in to vote. We must serve Him in all that we do. We must participate in this democracy that He has given us, not as “rock-ribbed Republicans” or “yellow-dog Democrats,” not as liberals or conservatives, not as men or women, not as labor or management, not as senior citizens who want to protect Social Security or as wage-earners who want their taxes lower, not as whites or blacks or Asians or Hispanics, but as sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must participate in this democracy as Christians, for only then will America turn from the path of destruction.



But as we participate, we must be careful to maintain our theological and moral integrity. God has not called us to be social agitators or reformers. He has called us to be faithful spokesmen for His word. Politics is the art of the possible. Christianity is the art of the impossible. The politician always has his eye on the next election. The Christian pastor must always have his eye on eternity. There is only one Savior, and His name will not be appearing on any election ballot in this particular cycle or any other. We dare never labor under the illusion that the Kingdom of God is about to arrive aboard Air Force One. Nor may we ever allow the church of Jesus Christ to be reduced to the status of a sanctimonious shill for a political candidate, party or philosopher.

The Roman statesman/historian Pliny the Younger once observed, “The common people find all religions to be true. The philosophers find all religions to be false. The politicians find all religions to be useful.”

When we as Christian pastors participate in this democracy, our participation must be prophetic, not political. We must summon this nation and its leaders to repentance as we relentlessly proclaim the truth of God. What America needs, essentially, is not merely a change of administration. What America needs is a spiritual re-birth…. Where God’s will does speak, on the fundamental issues of life, morality and family, there God’s pastors must address the issues, on the basis of Scripture, without equivocation and without hesitation.

God may not have endorsed a particular method for Tax Reform, but of this one thing we can be absolutely certain: The Lord God Almighty hates the murder of innocent unborn children. God is not the mascot of the Republican or the Democratic parties. But let there be no doubt whatsoever about this: The Creator instituted holy marriage as the life-long union of a man and a woman. Any other combination, no matter how modern, innovative or politically correct is a perversion of the divine intent. That prophetic witness will not be welcomed by those politicians on either side of the aisle who seek only to preserve their own position and power. We who profess to speak for God must proclaim the truth in a political world of diplomatic double-talk and deliberate evasion. Once again, that won’t make us popular, but God did not call us to be popular. He called us to be faithful, and we as His spokesmen must be willing to pay the high personal price that that faithfulness requires.

The morning after Pastor Martin Niemöller was arrested, the Lutheran chaplain was making his rounds in the city jail and as he was making his rounds, he was astounded and dismayed to find his fellow clergyman sitting there under arrest. “My brother!" he exclaimed. “What did you do? Why are you here?” Niemöller, never at a loss for words, immediately reacted. “My brother, given what’s happened in our country, why aren't you here?”

Those days have not yet come in America, but they are coming soon. We have already seen the ominous beginnings of attempts to muzzle Christian witness on radio and television, to label Christian objections to abortion and homosexuality as “hate speech.”

In Europe and Canada significant steps have already been taken in that direction, and if present trends continue, America will not be far behind. Gentlemen and ladies, it is only a short step from prohibiting that which is politically incorrect as “hate speech" in the media to prohibiting it in the pulpits of every church in America. My brothers, given what is happening in our country, why aren't you here?

The saddest and most tragic feature of the Christian experience in Germany was the bitter expression of regret that came from so many afterwards, who realized their failure only too late.

One such man was a university professor and diplomat named Albrecht Haushoeffer. He was a quiet, gentle man who wrote poetry in his spare time. As gradually he came to recognize the enormity of the evil of Nazism, he was drawn into the resistance and arrested in 1944 after the failure of the Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler.

In the final days of the war, as the Russian tanks moved through the outskirts of the city of Berlin and the dictator hid in the Fuhrer bunker like a rat trapped in his hole, the SS guards at the city prison were given a list of those who were not to be allowed to survive the downfall of Nazism because they knew too much.

Albrecht Hausshoeffer’s name was included on that death list.

A group of 7 or 8 prisoners was taken out of their cells that morning. They were told they were about to be released. Each of the prisoners was assigned an SS guard. They were led out of the jail into the nearby Tiergarten, the great park in the center of the city of Berlin. And as they came to the center of that park, out of sight from anyone else, each guard stepped up behind the prisoner assigned to him and shot him in the back of the head. The bodies were abandoned there in the snow and the mud of the ruined city.

Some time later Albrecht’s brother heard rumors of what had happened, and he hurried into the park to search for his brother’s body. When he found it, there clutched in his hand was a bloodstained sheaf of paper. Written on that paper was a poem that Hausshoeffer had composed just a few hours before his execution. It was entitled "Schuldig Bin Ich" ( “I Am Guilty.”)

“The burden of my guilt,” the condemned man wrote, “before the law weighs light on my shoulders. To plot and conspire was my duty to the people. I would have been a criminal had I not. I am guilty, although not in the way that you think. I should have done my duty sooner. I was wrong. I should have called the evil more clearly by its name. I hesitated to condemn for far too long. I now accuse myself within my own heart. I have betrayed my conscience for far too long. I have deceived myself and my fellow man. I knew the course of evil from its start. My warning was not loud enough or clear enough. Today as I die, I know what I am guilty of.”

We, too, have known the evil from its start. In this great nation, where for 27 long years the innocent unborn have been slaughtered, we have grown accustomed to the killing and have gone on with our business, with our lives and our ministries while the little ones have perished every day, 4,500 a day. This is what we have come to in America. The Supreme Court of our land sanctions the horror of partial birth abortion, this most barbaric and grotesque killing of a child in the midst of its birth. And yet, even in the face of this abomination, the churches of America, the pastors of America, are silent. Where is the cry of outrage? Where is the indignation of the people of God? We, too, have known the evil from its start. Dumpsters full of ravaged infant bodies stand in mute testimony to our failure and to our guilt.

The Christians of Germany realized only too late how much had been at stake and how much they had lost. But we may still have a chance. It’s not too late yet for our America. The righteous judgment of God has not yet come upon us. The New Testament speaks of unique moments of divine destiny, when God confronts His people with a challenge and offers them an opportunity. The Greek word for such a moment of divine destiny is “kairos.” I believe that the Church in America has come to such a time, a biblical kairos, a moment of divine destiny. If we fail to meet this challenge and rise to this opportunity, our nation will not survive. It is as simple and as stark as that.

This is our moment, my friends. Our time of testing. I pray that we may be equal to the challenge of these days, that we may seize this precious opportunity from God, that we may be within this dying culture the stinging salt that stops the decay of death, the shining light that dispels the darkness of doubt and despair, that America may once again be the gleaming city set high upon a hill that shines as a beacon light of life and hope for this nation and to every nation. I pray that we may serve the Lord Jesus Christ with courage and with honor, for the glory of His name, that we may snatch our country back from the brink of destruction and preserve this legacy of faith and freedom for those who will come after us. This is our moment of divine destiny, our kairos.

In the winter of 1943, a group of university students in Munich, calling themselves The White Rose, began a desperate effort to awaken the young people of that nation to the malignant evil that had engulfed their country. Led by a 25-year old student named Hans Scholl, they distributed leaflets across the campus in a doomed effort to provoke resistance to the Hitler regime.

Six leaflets were written. Number Four in the series included this desperate plea, a plea which could have been written today, a plea which could have been addressed to us. Scholl wrote, “Everywhere, at all times of greatest trial, men have appeared, prophets and saints, who cherished their freedom, who preached the one God and who with His help brought the people to a reversal of their downward course. I ask you now, as a Christian, wrestling for the preservation of your greatest treasure: Why do you hesitate? Why are you inclined toward intrigue, calculation and procrastination? Are you hoping that someone else will raise his arm in your defense? God has given you the strength! God has given you the will to fight! We must attack the evil now, where it is strongest!”

Their valiant effort was crushed after only a few weeks. Scholl and his young comrades were beheaded by the Gestapo. They died for their faith, but their words reverberate down across the years to us in America today, to a nation that has been blessed more richly than any other nation in the history of mankind. Their words come to us:

“Why do you hesitate? God has given you the strength! God has given you the will to fight! We must attack the evil now where it is strongest.”

Christians of America, this is our kairos, our moment of divine destiny. God has given us this time. Let us use it to His glory. To that end, may our gracious God bless you, and may God bless our America. Thank you.




The Rise and Fall of the New American Left

Today's typical responses from the lefty print media have convinced me of the delusion of the far left in America. "We didn't get our message out", or "the great unwashed are stupid, ignorant peasants." Sure, that's the way to win next time - just crank up the BS machine and try even harder to convince the "little folks" that Communism can work if its "done right". Jane Smiley's article in today's Slate is typical. I don't how how old Jane is, but the way she refuses to address reality means she probably was around in the late 1960's - 1968 in particular - the year the left began to think they really were the vanguard of future America.

The bringing down of Richard Nixon (of which event little Hillary the Clown Princess and perhaps the heir apparent to Kerry's lost crusade was part) gave these fools (including Dan Rather who, as a legend in his own mind, convinced himself that he could become King of the Media and thus, control the American political dialog forever) the false idea that NeoMarxism as a way of life for allAmericans was just over the horizon.

They peaked in 1994 and the tide began to turn in that year. The BS factor had run its course: 1994 - exactly 30 years after Lyndon Baines Johnson had come into the presidency on the promise that "American boys should not do the job Asian boys should do." 1964 was the start of the War On Poverty with its affirmative action centerpiece garnered through the Civil Rights Act of the same year. Women's lib (code for having sex with no consequences attached - an outcome of the development of the oral contraceptive), the civil rights movement built on the greatness of Martin Luther King (who listens to his heir apparent - the unlikeable, hypocritical, fornication king, Jesse Jackson, today?), the Free Speech Movement spawned at the University of California at Berkeley, (whatever happened to Mario Savio and his band of foul-mouthed failed academics?)and the advent of the Psychedelic Age (Tim Leary has gone to his reward as has his heir apparent, Terrence McKenna) - it all looked like the dawning of a New Age.

Thirty years later it all looks so stupid in retrospect. The War on Poverty has been a colossal failure. Although many fine black people have taken advantage of the gift of affirmative action to better their lives and the lives of their families, most have not. Clinging to the mantle of 'victim-hood', many refuse to address their own unwillingness to actually do the foot work necessary for success. The promise of unrestricted, consequence-less sex has dissolved into an epidemic of herpes and AIDS. The Psychedelic Culture has not spawned a New Age of Enlightenment - it merely sputters along as the aficionados have moved back to the more comfortable (and more controllable) amphetamines, opiates, and booze.

The high water mark for the RAT bastards was 1994 - the end of the honeymoon of the first two years of the Clinton presidency. The cold war had been won (not by a RAT, but by a Goldwater Republican - Ronald Reagan), free sex was no longer free, the drugged out hippy generation was now approaching (or in )middle age, nobody gave a hoot for the National Organization for Women, (now hi-jacked by radical feminist lesbians with a single agenda item - on demand abortion), the Civil Rights Movement had more or less petered out, and people were getting a little tired of having much of their hard earned money taxed at confiscatory rates.

Clinton left office in shame, Al Gore went completely insane and lost his 2000 bid for the presidency, the RAT party moved further to the left, so much so that a life-long democrat, Zell Miller, could no longer recognize the party of his youth, and certifiable psychotics like Kucinich and Dean (and Teresa)were pushed to forefront.

Kerry was hosed before he got started.

And now, in the aftermath of perhaps the greatest failure of the American left, the morons want to fall back behind their own phony victimhood nonsenes once again. These people (thankfully) are never going to get it



The Death of the Democratic Party
October 29, 2004
by Barbara J. Stock

The Democrat Party of my father is dead. It started to die with Lyndon Johnson and the “Great Society.” Jimmy Carter crippled it, but it could have been saved. Bill Clinton put a stake in its heart and John Kerry has let his party bleed to death. There is no hope now. The Democrat Party is almost devoid of morals, honesty or integrity. Its members have thrown it all away in their rush for power and in their headlong plunge towards socialism. The liberals don’t even try to keep it secret anymore. They don’t care who knows. They just keep lying.

To win the election in 1991, the Clinton camp put out their “October Surprise.” Lawrence Walsh handed down a last-minute indictment of Casper Weinberger and that tipped the scale in Clinton’s favor. Interestingly, if one checks, he will find that the Senate Committee Report on Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy was chaired by none other than Senator John F. Kerry. Perhaps Bill Clinton climbed out of his sick bed to repay a favor.

In 2000, a Democrat operative leaked the news of a George Bush drunk driving arrest that was 25 years old. It nearly cost Bush the election as a 5% lead disappeared overnight.

This year the Democrat lie-machine has been moving at warp speed. The truly horrifying thing is that they have openly been joined by their ultra-liberal friends in the media. The New York Times has totally sold its soul to the Kerry campaign. CBS has sacrificed 50 years of credibility to assist John Kerry. Can anyone now believe anything either of these once irrefutable sources of news puts forth? Not only has the Democrat Party committed suicide, it has taken many great American icons with it. It was all done in the name of power and the need to regain it.

The Democrat Party never recovered from loosing the Congress in 1994. Democrats have been bitter and angry ever since. When Al Gore lost in 2000, the rage turned into blind hatred. Democrats perpetuate the lie that the Supreme Court “gave” the election to Bush. They did not. Democrats continue to insist that a million African Americans were “disenfranchised” in the last election in Florida. They were not. Now they circulate a disgusting pamphlet that tells minorities if they try to vote, evil Republicans will hit them with fire hoses “like they did in the 1960’s.” Pay no mind to the fact that most of those using fire hoses were following the orders of southern Democratic governors.

For the 2000 election, Democrats put out ads that showed a man being dragged to death behind a truck while saying Bush was against severe penalties for “hate crimes.” This ad ran while the men responsible for that very crime were on death row. Is there a more severe penalty than death for such a crime? Are not most murders “hate crimes?” Then the liberals have the gall to accuse Bush of executing more people than any other governor--which was another false statement.

Can today’s Democrats say anything that is not a lie? Is it possible anymore? Do they care? If they can’t win an election honestly, then they will just lie and cheat.

Ohio's Republican Governor Bob Taft has reported that four counties have now been found to have more people registered than even live in the counties and are eligible to vote according to the last census. The old Democrat saying “vote early and often” is alive and well. Be sure to drag dead or senile grandma with you so you can vote for her as well.

Now we have this years “October Surprise.” The Democrats, in concert with the New York Times and CBS, are trying to convince Americans that Bush allowed 350 tons of high explosives fall into the hands of the enemy. The way the story was written, it sounded as though the explosives were stolen last week or yesterday. As it turned out, they probably were not stolen at all. Their plan was a good one, but they forgot about those pesky reporters who were embedded with the troops. The reporter embedded for NBC, Dana Lewis, now with FOX News, states that he saw no weapons with the IAEA’s seal on them as he walked the complex when the troops arrived on April 10, 2003. Mohamed El Baradei, head of the United Nations nuclear watch-dog group, had reported in February 2003 that some of the high explosives had already been moved. The IAEA also reported huge explosions at that site during the opening days of the war. One has to ask, since these weapons were illegal under the United Nations agreement with Saddam, why were they not removed and destroyed when they were found by the IAEA?

The last visit from the United Nations organization was in January of that year. Sometime between January and April, Saddam probably moved many of those explosives. A complete inspection of the site was done on May 27, 2003 and nothing with an IAEA seal was present. There were several deep craters. How does one get 40 semi-truck loads of high explosives out past roads teaming with American soldiers and the sky full of spy planes without being seen? Who would have organized such an operation? The Saddam government was in chaos and there was no insurgency at that early date.

Why then did the Mohamed El Baradei, chastised by Bush for not know about Libya’s weapons of mass destruction program and being weak in its dealings with Iran, leak this story to the media? Remember, El Baradei knew these explosives were missing in May 2003 when it was reported to him that our inspectors had found no such weapons at that complex. Why did he wait until one week before the American election to reveal this “news?” Could it be that the mighty and corrupt United Nations feels its world supremacy is threatened by President Bush? Is it possible that it would feel much more comfortable with John Kerry who has already pledged his allegiance to the United Nations and stated that dying under the U.N. flag is honorable, but dying under the American flag is not? John Kerry voted against the Gulf War because he felt the war should have been carried out by United Nations commanders, not American generals. Kerry wanted to do the unthinkable--put American troops under foreign command.

This election year has been like no other. Outside interference from Europe in the form of mass email messages pleading with Ohioans to vote for Kerry and British newspapers printing columns with statements like “Where is a Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?” Terrorists like Yassar Arafat endorse John Kerry. Forged documents and blatant lies abound. Democrats have sold their souls to the devil in an attempt to regain their power and the devil wants his due.

Hopefully, Americans will bury this rotting and decaying Democrat Party on November 2, 2004 without allowing them to totally corrupt our democratic system beyond repair. If we are lucky, Bush will win is such a decisive manner that Kerry’s army of 10,000 lawyers, poised to make the election a living hell, will be sent home. A new Democratic Party may rise from ashes and if it does, I hope that there will be at least a few honest people among them. But at this point, I’m not going to place any bets on it.




"I wouldn't call it fascism exactly, but a political system nominally controlled by an irresponsible, dumbed down electorate who are manipulated by dishonest, cynical, controlled mass media that dispense the propaganda of a corrupt political establishment can hardly be described as democracy either." --Edward Zehr






Socialism: The Left's Fundamental Problem


Due to the late night last night, I took the day off and I've been watching the election post-mortem as many of us may have. The Left have been wringing their hands, analyzing Kerry's campaign from birth to death, and asking the inevitable question: "Where did John Kerry go wrong?" The excuses run the usual gamut: "Karl Rove got the vote out", "It was crazy Bible-thumping Evangelicals", "The Massachusetts Supreme Court lost it for Kerry", and so on. While the gay marriage issue probably had a hand in turnout, they still appear to be terminally afflicted with the central denial that has kept them out of any real power for the last ten years (I don't count a lame-duck Clinton as having any real power). There is one overriding theme that they simply refuse to accept:

WE DON'T WANT SOCIALISM.

Full stop. This is so important and fundamental to the Conservative identity that it bears repeating, slowly and loudly.

WE - DON'T - WANT - SOCIALISM!!!

I realize that no "reputable" Democrat hasn't actually mentioned the S-word. It doesn't matter. I assure our citizens on the Left that we've gotten the memo, that we understand that "Progressive" is the current code-word for Socialism. Truly, we get it. "Progressive" equals "Socialism". We *do not* want it.

I am speaking to the Left now. No matter how you repackage it, we will refuse to accept it. If the "Visionary" memo goes out and that becomes the new term for "Socialism", we will still vote down anyone who tries to push it upon us. Hillary tried this with her "Hillarycare" proposal in 1993, and we took the US Congress away from you. We did it because, and I'll say it again, WE DO NOT WANT TO LIVE UNDER SOCIALISM! We know what Socialism is; there are countless examples of countries that utilize it to varying degrees in different parts of the world, and we have consciously decided that we do not want to live under such a system. You can attempt to repackage it any way you want: no term, no turn of the phrase, no race-baiting language, nor any other greed-inducing or emotionally-charged diatribe will sway us. We know it for what it is, and we will refuse it every time.

I am sure that some among the Left will still be in denial even after I've said this. I know, we "just don't get it." We're uneducated, hyper-religious, Bible-thumping zealots. I assure you that we are not. We are educated, we are professionals, and we have real lives. Urban music or culture might not be our cup of tea, but ignorant yokels we are not. We are capable of studying a socioeconomic construct like Socialism and passing judgment upon it -- and we have decided that it is not for us. If you want Socialism so badly, I suggest moving to Canada. They have apparently decided differently, and you will almost certainly gain your wish. However, as long as we Conservatives draw breath, we shall not submit to such a system. In fact, your decades-long insistence on imposing it upon us has convinced most of us that you will not give this up anytime soon, and we therefore mustn't trust you with power. Don't expect any support from us in "flyover country" (or even those of us not in flyover country -- I am writing this a mere fifteen minutes from Philadelphia International Airport).

Make no mistake: Christianity does enter into this for some of us. One of the Ten Commandments says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods." Believe it or not, we are actually capable of comprehending the written word, and we understand what this simple statement means in practice. It is *morally wrong* to feel jealous of those who have more than us, even if we don't lift a finger to take from them. Socialism turns this upon its head: under such a system no one is allowed to have more than someone else, and the State has the authority to correct a material imbalance. So in that sense, while many of us base our judgment of Socialism purely on the basis that we don't want to live under it, for many of us it is also a moral decision. I understand that the Left doesn't believe in moral decisions, but make no mistake -- we do, and we won't give up our right to form our own morality without a fierce fight. Once again may I suggest Canada. It is lightly populated, and I am confident that legions of American Left could take it over easily.




Social Justice: Code for Communism
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 27, 2004 | Barry Loberfeld

The signature of modern leftist rhetoric is the deployment of terminology that simply cannot fail to command assent. As Orwell himself recognized, even slavery could be sold if labeled "freedom." In this vein, who could ever conscientiously oppose the pursuit of "social justice," -- i.e., a just society?

To understand "social justice," we must contrast it with the earlier view of justice against which it was conceived -- one that arose as a revolt against political absolutism. With a government (e.g., a monarchy) that is granted absolute power, it is impossible to speak of any injustice on its part. If it can do anything, it can't do anything "wrong." Justice as a political/legal term can begin only when limitations are placed upon the sovereign, i.e., when men define what is unjust for government to do. The historical realization traces from the Roman senate to Magna Carta to the U.S. Constitution to the 19th century. It was now a matter of "justice" that government not arrest citizens arbitrarily, sanction their bondage by others, persecute them for their religion or speech, seize their property, or prevent their travel.

This culmination of centuries of ideas and struggles became known as liberalism. And it was precisely in opposition to this liberalism -- not feudalism or theocracy or the ancien régime, much less 20th century fascism -- that Karl Marx formed and detailed the popular concept of "social justice," (which has become a kind of "new and improved" substitute for a storeful of other terms -- Marxism, socialism, collectivism -- that, in the wake of Communism's history and collapse, are now unsellable).

"The history of all existing society," he and Engels declared, "is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf ... oppressor and oppressed, stood in sharp opposition to each other." They were quite right to note the political castes and resulting clashes of the pre-liberal era. The expositors of liberalism (Spencer, Maine) saw their ethic, by establishing the political equality of all (e.g., the abolition of slavery, serfdom, and inequality of rights), as moving mankind from a "society of status" to a "society of contract." Alas, Marx the Prophet could not accept that the classless millenium had arrived before he did. Thus, he revealed to a benighted humanity that liberalism was in fact merely another stage of History's class struggle -- "capitalism" -- with its own combatants: the "proletariat" and the "bourgeoisie." The former were manual laborers, the latter professionals and business owners. Marx's "classes" were not political castes but occupations.

Today the terms have broadened to mean essentially income brackets. If Smith can make a nice living from his writing, he's a bourgeois; if Jones is reciting poetry for coins in a subway terminal, he's a proletarian. But the freedoms of speech and enterprise that they share equally are "nothing but lies and falsehoods so long as" their differences in affluence and influence persist (Luxemburg). The unbroken line from The Communist Manifesto to its contemporary adherents is that economic inequality is the monstrous injustice of the capitalist system, which must be replaced by an ideal of "social justice" -- a "classless" society created by the elimination of all differences in wealth and "power."

Give Marx his due: He was absolutely correct in identifying the political freedom of liberalism -- the right of each man to do as he wishes with his own resources -- as the origin of income disparity under capitalism. If Smith is now earning a fortune while Jones is still stuck in that subway, it's not because of the "class" into which each was born, to say nothing of royal patronage. They are where they are because of how the common man spends his money. That's why some writers sell books in the millions, some sell them in the thousands, and still others can't even get published. It is the choices of the masses ("the market") that create the inequalities of fortune and fame -- and the only way to correct those "injustices" is to control those choices.

Every policy item on the leftist agenda is merely a deduction from this fundamental premise. Private property and the free market of exchange are the most obvious hindrances to the implementation of that agenda, but hardly the only. Also verboten is the choice to emigrate, which removes one and one's wealth from the pool of resources to be redirected by the demands of "social justice" and its enforcers. And crucial to the justification of a "classless" society is the undermining of any notion that individuals are responsible for their behavior and its consequences. To maintain the illusion that classes still exist under capitalism, it cannot be conceded that the "haves" are responsible for what they have or that the "have nots" are responsible for what they have not. Therefore, people are what they are because of where they were born into the social order -- as if this were early 17th century France.

Men of achievement are pointedly referred to as "the priviliged" -- as if they were given everything and earned nothing. Their seemimg accomplishments are, at best, really nothing more than the results of the sheer luck of a beneficial social environment (or even -- in the allowance of one egalitarian, John Rawls -- "natural endowment"). Consequently, the "haves" do not deserve what they have. The flip side of this is the insistence that the "have nots" are, in fact, "the underpriviliged," who have been denied their due by an unjust society. If some men wind up behind bars, they are (to borrow from Broadway) depraved only because they are "deprived." Environmental determinism, once an almost sacred doctrine of official Soviet academe, thrives as the "social constructionist" orthodoxy of today's anti-capitalist left. The theory of "behavioral scientists" and their boxed rats serviceably parallels the practice of a Central Planning Board and its closed society.

The imperative of economic equality also generates a striking opposition between "social justice" and its liberal rival. The equality of the latter, we've noted, is the equality of all individuals in the eyes of the law -- the protection of the political rights of each man, irrespective of "class" (or any assigned collective identity, hence the blindfold of Justice personified). However, this political equality, also noted, spawns the difference in "class" between Smith and Jones. All this echoes Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek's observation that if "we treat them equally [politically], the result must be inequality in their actual [i.e., economic] position." The irresistable conclusion is that "the only way to place them in an equal [economic] position would be to treat them differently [politically]" -- precisely the conclusion that the advocates of "social justice" themselves have always reached.

In the nations that had instituted this resolution throughout their legal systems, "different" political treatment came to subsume the extermination or imprisonment of millions because of their "class" origins. In our own American "mixed economy," which mixes differing systems of justice as much as economics, "social justice" finds expression in such policies and propositions as progressive taxation and income redistribution; affirmative action and even "reparations," its logical implication; and selective censorship in the name of "substantive equality," i.e., economic equality disingenuously reconfigured as a Fourteenth Amendment right and touted as the moral superior to "formal equality," the equality of political freedom actually guaranteed by the amendment. This last is the project of a growing number of leftist legal theorists that includes Cass Sunstein and Catherine MacKinnon, the latter opining that the "law of [substantive] equality and the law of freedom of expression [for all] are on a collision course in this country." Interestingly, Hayek had continued, "Equality before the law and material equality are, therefore, not only different, but in conflict with each other" -- a pronouncement that evidently draws no dissent.

Hayek emphasized another conflict between the two conceptions of justice, one we can begin examining simply by asking who the subject of liberal justice is. The answer: a person -- a flesh-and-blood person, who is held accountable for only those actions that constitute specifically defined crimes of violence (robbery, rape, murder) against other citizens. Conversely, who is the subject of "social justice" -- society? Indeed yes, but is society really a "who"? When we speak of "social psychology" (the standard example), no one believes that there is a "social psyche" whose thoughts can be analyzed. And yet the very notion of "social justice" presupposes a volitional Society whose actions can (and must) be held accountable. This jarring bit of Platonism traces all the way back to Marx himself, who, "despite all his anti-Idealistic and anti-Hegelian rhetoric, is really an Idealist and Hegelian ... asserting, at root, that [Society] precedes and determines the characteristics of those who are [its] members" (R.A. Childs, Jr.). Behold leftism's alternative to liberalism's "atomistic individualism": reifying collectivism, what Hayek called "anthropomorphism or personification."

Too obviously, it is not liberalism that atomizes an entity (a concrete), but "social justice" that reifies an aggregate (an abstraction). And exactly what injustice is Society responsible for? Of course: the economic inequality between Smith and Jones -- and Johnson and Brown and all others. But there is no personified Society who planned and perpetrated this alleged inequity, only a society of persons acting upon the many choices made by their individual minds. Eventually, though, everyone recognizes that this Ideal of Society doesn't exist in the real world -- leaving two options. One is to cease holding society accountable as a legal entity, a moral agent. The other is to conclude that the only practicable way to hold society accountable for "its" actions is to police the every action of every individual.

The apologists for applied "social justice" have always explained away its relationship to totalitarianism as nothing more than what we may call (after Orwell's Animal Farm) the "Napoleon scenario": the subversion of earnest revolutions by demented individuals (e.g., Stalin, Mao -- to name just two among too many). What can never be admitted is that authoritarian brutality is the not-merely-possible-but-inevitable realization of the nature of "social justice" itself.

What is "social justice"? The theory that implies and justifies the practice of socialism.

And what is "socialism"? Domination by the State.

What is "socialized" is state-controlled.

So what is "totalitarian" socialism other than total socialism, i.e., state control of everything?

And what is that but the absence of a free market in anything, be it goods or ideas?

Those who contend that a socialist government need not be totalitarian, that it can allow a free market -- independent choice, the very source of "inequality"! -- in some things (ideas) and not in others (goods -- as if, say, books were one or the other), are saying only that the socialist ethic shouldn't be applied consistently.




This is nothing less than a confession of moral cowardice. It is the explanation for why, from Moscow to Managua, all the rivalries within the different socialist revolutions have been won by, not the "democratic" or "libertarian" socialists, but the totalitarians, i.e., those who don't qualify their socialism with antonyms. "Totalitarian socialism" is not a variation but a redundancy, which is why half-capitalist hypocrites will always lose out to those who have the courage of their socialist convictions. (Likewise, someone whose idea of "social justice" is a moderate welfare state is someone who's willing to tolerate far more "social injustice" than he's willing to eliminate.)

What is "social justice"? The abolition of privacy. Its repudiation of property rights, far from being a fundamental, is merely one derivation of this basic principle. Socialism, declared Marx, advocates "the positive abolition of private property [in order to effect] the return of man himself as a social, i.e., really human, being." It is the private status of property -- meaning: the privacy, not the property -- that stands in opposition to the social (i.e., "socialized," and thus "really human") nature of man. Observe that the premise holds even when we substitute x for property. If private anything denies man's social nature, then so does private everything. And it is the negation of anything and everything private -- from work to worship to even family life -- that has been the social affirmation of the socialist state.

What is "social justice"? The opposite of capitalism. And what is "capitalism"? It is Marx's coinage (minted by his materialist dispensation) for the Western liberalism that diminished state power from absolutism to limited government; that, from John Locke to the American Founders, held that each individual has an inviolable right to his own life, liberty, and property, which government exists solely to secure. Now what would the reverse of this be but a resurrection of Oriental despotism, the reactionary increase of state power from limited government to absolutism, i.e., "totalitarianism," the absolute control of absolutely everything? And what is the opposite -- the violation -- of securing the life, liberty, and property of all men other than mass murder, mass tyranny, and mass plunder? And what is that but the point at which theory ends and history begins?

And yet even before that point -- before the 20th century, before publication of the Manifesto itself -- there were those who did indeed make the connection between what Marxism inherently meant on paper and what it would inevitably mean in practice. In 1844, Arnold Ruge presented the abstract: "a police and slave state." And in 1872, Michael Bakunin provided the specifics:

[T]he People's State of Marx ... will not content itself with administering and governing the masses politically, as all governments do today. It will also administer the masses economically, concentrating in the hands of the State the production and division of wealth, the cultivation of land, the establishment and development of factories, the organization and direction of commerce, and finally the application of capital to production by the only banker -- the State. All that will demand an immense knowledge and many heads "overflowing with brains" in this government. It will be the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant, and elitist of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and counterfeit scientists and scholars, and the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense ignorant majority. And then, woe unto the mass of ignorant ones!

It is precisely this "new class" that reflects the defining contradiction of modern leftist reality: The goal of complete economic equality logically enjoins the means of complete state control, yet this means has never practically achieved that end. Yes, Smith and Jones, once "socialized," are equally poor and equally oppressed, but now above them looms an oligarchy of not-to-be-equalized equalizers. The inescapable rise of this "new class" -- privileged economically as well as politically, never quite ready to "wither away" -- forever destroys the possibility of a "classless" society. Here the lesson of socialism teaches what should have been learned from the lesson of pre-liberal despotism -- that state coercion is a means to no end but its own. Far from expanding equality from the political to the economic realm, the pursuit of "social justice" serves only to contract it within both. There will never be any kind of equality -- or real justice -- as long as a socialist elite stands behind the trigger while the rest of us kneel before the barrel.

Further Reading

The contemporary left remains possessed by the spirit of Marx, present even where he's not, and the best overview of his ideology remains Thomas Sowell's Marxism: Philosophy and Economics, which is complemented perfectly by the most accessible refutation of that ideology, David Conway's A Farewell to Marx. Hayek's majestic The Mirage of Social Justice is a challenging yet rewarding effort, while his The Road to Serfdom provides an unparalleled exposition of how freedom falls to tyranny. Moving from theory to practice, Communism: A History, Richard Pipes' slim survey, ably says all that is needed.



PATRIOTS 51........SOCIALISTS 48


“We the People” made history on November 2nd 2004 in so many ways. We turned out in record numbers to decide the future of our nation. By doing so, we took control of our country at a time when many believed control had been lost to the politicians, the corporations, or the special interest groups. We proved who runs this country, and the lessons are clear…

Since FDR, there has been a slow constant march towards socialism in America.

American’s are the most socially conscious people on earth, but that doesn’t mean we believe in socialism as a form of governance. We know what socialism is, and we are aware of its record of failure around the globe. We have watched the DNC adopt a socialist doctrine, even watched as the socialist and communist party’s endorsed the DNC candidate in 2004, and on November 2nd, “we the people” said no!

The socialization of America depends on the movement first succeeding at a few other things. Neither socialism nor communism will be accepted in a nation of free moral people. No matter which God one believes in, belief in God’s dominion over man removes any possibility of man’s dominion over man. So for socialism to be accepted, America must first agree to become a secular nation. On November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” said no!

In order to become a secular nation, separation of church and state has to become law. We have all listened to Ivy League professor’s pontificate about the idea of separation of church and state in America, but we all know there is no such thing. We also know there is no real difference between people with no moral foundation at all, and people who can separate themselves from their moral convictions at will. On November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” said no!

A secular nation replaces moral and ethical values with the concept of an open society whereby all ideals, no matter how immoral, no matter how perverted, have equal merit and Rights. Idea’s like Gay Marriage, Pedophilia and Bestiality are given equal status with traditional family values. Some want to separate these ideas as though some are more immoral or more perverted than others. But in all cases, they represent unnatural sexual urges and none of them belong on an equal footing with traditional family values. On November 2nd, 11 states addressed these ideas and in all 11 cases, “we the people” overwhelmingly said no!

Abortion, the taking of innocent life for the purpose of sexual convenience has been accepted in this country for more than 40 years. No law was passed making it legal, no Constitutional Amendment exists making it a Right, and if it were put to a nation wide referendum, it would be outlawed from sea to shining sea. People who can do this, or who openly promote it, will pay a heavy price for their actions and so will all of us who sit quietly by, and allow it to continue. In a secular nation, murder is no problem, but on November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” proved that America is not yet a secular nation.

America is not only the nation that feeds itself; it’s the nation that has fed the world for more than 100 years. Most countries in the world are either third world dictatorships, or socialist forms of limited self-governance. Every nation envies the wealth and power of America, and many wish to bring America down to their level in every respect. All of our power is a result of and dependent upon our economic power. That economic power exists because of our economic freedom, and socialists threaten that freedom, and the power and security it provides.

More than $4 billion was spent in the 2004 election to fill a $400,000. a year position. An obscene amount of “illegal” money from God knows where or who, with God knows what kind of strings attached, was funneled into our honorable system by dishonorable people through 527 organizations attempting to supercede the will of the American people. On November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” said no!

Billionaire socialists like George Soros, secularists with anti-American agenda’s attempted to purchase the White House for their lap monkey John Kerry, and “we the people” said no!

Socialist media elite’s like Dan Rather and Peter Jennings, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, and Hollywood socialists like Michael Moore, Barbara Streisand, Sean Penn, George Clooney and Alec Baldwin combined their efforts of mass disinformation, converting what was left of a liberal news media into a pure socialist propaganda machine. The quality of information being delivered to the American people by these folks was on par with Baghdad Bob.

They worked in tandem with the Kerry campaign, creating anti-Bush and anti-American headlines, even using forged government documents, and reinventing old news stories in an attempt to unseat a President who stands in the way of their socialist agenda for America. To their surprise and dismay, on November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” said no!

Members of the European Union, and the UN, all of whom had been exposed for their corrupt protection of the world’s most brutal dictator, acting against America and the free world in their own greedy self-interests at the expense of millions of Iraqi’s, attempted to inject their will into the American election. On November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” said no!

Osama Bin Laden himself, marginalized by the Bush doctrine of pre-emption, relegated to the status of video terrorist, attempted to inject his will into the American election too, just as he did successfully in Spain. On November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” said no!

They told us that 254 decorated Swift Vets were all liars, and that former POW’s were all liars too. They told us not to pay any attention to Kerry’s record as the most liberal member of the US Senate. They told us we didn’t need or deserve to see Kerry’s military records, and that his meeting with the North Vietnamese in France was a chance social event, even though his following false testimony before congress in 1971 was read right from the pages of a Viet Cong propaganda document.

On November 2nd, 2004, “we the people” once again said no!

“We the people” said no to all of this, and for that, I am a proud American today. But we only said no 51 to 48, a dangerously slim margin of true Patriots over Secular Socialists, which means, there is much work to be done in our country.

America’s moral majority took a stand, drew a line in the sand, and said this is the point at which the march towards secularism and socialism stops in our country. Our country is divided, 51 to 48, right down the line that separates morality from immorality. We know where the secular socialists live, in all the little blue counties on that election map. Our goal between now and 2008 must be to turn those blue counties red.

The red counties represent real American values of freedom over free stuff, the idea that right and wrong exists, and the understanding that America’s promise of personal liberty far outweighs any promise of temporary government issued economic security.

The red states don’t hate the wealthy, no matter how poor they are. They don’t believe anyone owes them anything, other than an equal opportunity to make their lives whatever they want it to be. They don’t believe America should be run by the UN, or that America should reduce itself to equal status in the world in order to eliminate the rightful envy of the world.

They believe in America, and all of the American ideals that made America the greatest nation on earth, and they are clearly committed to preserving real American values, whatever the cost.

The DNC is already talking about running Hillary Clinton in 2008, signaling that they still don’t get it. Hillary is left of Kerry and Edwards, a ticket that was already too left for America. She is left of her husband Bill, who was to the right of Kerry and Edwards, and who never received 50% of the popular vote.

On November 2nd, 2004, George W. Bush received more votes than any Presidential candidate in U.S. history, more than Reagan, and he was the first President to receive a clear majority of the peoples support since his father did in 1988.

At the same time, an already Republican House and Senate gained an even broader majority, leaving the DNC completely out of power, even losing their leadership, Tom Daschle in the process.

The message could not be clearer, yet the DNC, media elite’s and Hollywood socialists refuse to learn the lessons of the last several elections. The most divisive, intolerant, and hate filled group in America, now calls for unity from the conservative leadership. But this is no call for unity; it’s a call for mercy from the Right who has complete control in America today.

The mandate is on the Right, and the conservative leadership has an obligation to those who put them in power to not only preserve, but to advance the conservative agenda of returning America to its rightful place in the world. They have an obligation to lead America back to its moral heritage, away from the brink of secularism and socialism.

In the coming months, the mainstream media must be reformed from top to bottom, replacing propagandist with real news reporters who value “true and accurate” reporting over “fair and balanced” reporting. 527 groups and the likes must be put out of business for good; eliminating any possibility of another international coup attempt.

Congress must be forced to place all pending legislation and voting records online where anyone can access the performance data of those we elect to do our nations business, so that never again, will the people be locked out of the halls of congress where deals are cut that undermine the interest of the people who pay the bills.

There is much to be done, and conservatives have the mandate to get it done, so shame on us if we don’t. We are a moral nation, where secularists are welcome. There is no such place as a secular nation, where the religious are welcome. November 2nd must be the beginning, not the end…

Comments: jbw@jb-williams.com

White Paper on State Citizenship

T. Collins -- 10/04/94

Introduction

I was born a first class citizen. I entered into contracts that, without my knowledge, made me a second class citizen. I am working on the legal process of restoring my first class citizenship status.

I was surprised to find that the United States government recognized two distinct classes of citizens, let alone that my citizenship status had changed. At first I did not believe it. It was not until I learned how to use the law library in the county court house that I was able to confirm my status. I am not an attorney so this paper should not be considered as legal advice. It may be used for the basis of your own research. This paper does not have a copyright, so you can copy all or part of it. This paper borrows research from other papers without copyrights written by people across the nation. I will describe the big picture first, then I will substantiate the claims made and give a more detailed picture later.

You may find the ideas presented here conflict with the model of government that you have been taught. You may also find these ideas impossible to believe. This is understandable. The further you read, the more you may change the way you filter information about what the government is doing. If you cannot believe any of this, please set this paper aside. Sometime in the future, you may come back to this paper and it may make more sense. I believe that the concepts described here are true. But, you should not! If you accepted the ideas in this paper without confirming them from other sources, then you are a fool! If I can change your model of reality in one paper then someone else might be able to fill your head with nonsense. Please be skeptical. Even if you do not agree with the central premise, you may agree with some of the research. If so, you will still get something out of this paper. There are many Citizens doing research on the topics described in this paper. Some will sell the results of their research while others will practically give it away. This paper does not discuss some of the more advanced topics (Citizen militia, commercial liens, common law liens, common law trusts). At the end of this paper, I will supply you with the names of books, magazines, newspapers, computer bulletin boards that fill in some of the details that I have excluded.

The big picture

The United States of America is a unique nation. It was the first constitutional republic in the world. Before the American Revolution, the King of England owned all the land in his colonies. The inhabitants of the colonies were his subjects. When the war was over, the King signed the Treaty of Peace. In that treaty he said that all the land in the former colonies was owned by the people and all of his sovereign powers that he held in the colonies were transferred, not to the government of the colonies but, to the People of the colonies. This made all of the Citizens of the colonies sovereigns. This has never happened before or since in any other country. In other countries, the government is sovereign. It makes laws for its subject-citizens and it gives them their rights. In the United States, the People were sovereigns. The People were endowed, by their creator, with certain rights and the government was instituted to secure those rights. We the People, gave a portion of our sovereignty to the state government, and the states gave a small portion of the sovereignty we gave to them, to the federal government so that it would be strong enough to defend the People. The Constitution for the United States of America describes the powers that the states gave to the federal government.

If the federal government is defined by the Constitution, and the Constitution says that I am a sovereign, why do I feel like a subject? I own my house. If I don't pay my property tax the government will go to a court and remove me from it just as the courts would remove me from an apartment if I did not pay the rent. Do I really own the land if someone can take it away from me simply because I don't pay them for the use of it? Could the King of England have the land taken away from him if he did not pay a tax? So long as I don't cause injury to someones person or property or defraud them shouldn't I, as a sovereign, have the right to do anything I want? Today there are so many rules and regulations that the government has that I think nearly everything I do is against some law. What has happened to my sovereignty? Isn't the government sovereign over me? Are there any sovereign People left in the United States of America?

There are hundreds of thousands of sovereigns in the United States of America but I am not one of them. The sovereigns own their land in "allodium." That is, the government does not have a financial interest in the their land. Because of this they do not need to pay property tax (school tax, real estate tax). Only the powers granted to the federal government in the Constitution for the United States of America define the laws that they have to follow. This is a very small subset of the laws most of us have to follow. Unless they accept benefits from or contract with the federal government, they do not have to pay Social Security tax, federal income tax, or resident individual state income tax. They do not need to register their cars or get a driver's license unless they drive commercially. They will not have to get a Health Security Card. They can own any kind of gun without a license or permit. They do not have to use the same court system that normal people do. I am sure that most people reading this are saying to themselves that this can not be true. I know I did when I first heard of it.

The government recognizes two distinct classes of citizens: a state Citizen and a federal citizen.

A state Citizen, also called a de jure Citizen, is an individual whose inalienable natural rights are recognized, secured, and protected by his/her state Constitution against State actions and against federal intrusion by the Constitution for the United States of America.

A federal citizen, also called: a 14th Amendment citizen, a citizen of the United States, a US citizen, a citizen of the District of Columbia, has civil rights that are almost equal to the natural rights that state Citizens have. I say almost because civil rights are created by Congress and can be taken away by Congress. Federal citizens are subjects of Congress, under their protection as a "resident" of a State, a person enfranchised to the federal government (the incorporated United States defined in Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution). The individual States may not deny to these persons any federal privileges or immunities that Congress has granted them. This specific class of citizen is a federal citizen under admiralty law (International Law). As such they do not have inalienable common rights recognized, secured and protected in the Constitutions of the States, or of the Constitution for the United States of America, such as "allodial" (absolute) rights to property, the rights to inheritance, the rights to work and contract, and the right to travel among others.

A federal citizen is a taxable entity like a corporation, and is subject to pay an excise tax for the privileges that Congress has granted him/her.

The rights that most people believe they have are not natural rights but civil rights which are actually privileges granted by Congress. Some of these civil rights parallel the protection of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution), but by researching the civil rights act along with case law decisions involving those rights, it can be shown that these so-called civil rights do not include the Ninth or Tenth Amendments and have only limited application with regard to Amendments One through Eight.

If you accept any benefit from the federal government or you claim any civil right, you are making an "adhesion contract" with the federal government. You may not be aware of any adhesion contracts but the courts are. The other aspect of such a contract is that you will obey every statute that Congress passes.

State Citizens cannot be subjected to any jurisdiction of law outside the Common Law without their knowing and willing consent after full disclosure of the terms and conditions, and such consent must be under agreement/contract sealed by signature. This is because the Constitution is a compact/contract created and existing in the jurisdiction of the Common Law, therefore, any rights secured thereunder or disabilities limiting the powers of government also exist in the Common Law, and in no other jurisdiction provided for in that compact!

Federal citizens are presumed to be operating in the jurisdiction of commercial law because that is the jurisdiction of their creator -- Congress. This is evidenced by the existence of various contracts and the use of negotiable instruments. All are products of international law or commercial law[Uniform Commercial Code]. Under Common Law your intent is important; in a court of contract (commercial law) the only thing that matters is that you live up to the letter of the contract. Because you have adhesion contracts with Congress, you can not use the Constitution or Bill of Rights as a defense because it is irrelevant to the contract. As stated previously, the contract says you will obey every statute passed by Congress. A federal citizen does not have access to Common Law.

To restate: state Citizens are bound and protected by the Constitution, like the founding fathers intended and like we are taught in school what citizenship means. Federal citizens have made further agreements with the federal government and are bound by these contracts.

The Constitution empowers the Federal Government to;

Operate on behalf of the several States in dealing with foreign relations and matters of treaties, trade agreements, etc., under the purview of International Law.

Exercise limited constitutional jurisdiction to interact with the several States in regulating trade, commerce, etc., between the States to insure equitable continuance of the compact.

Exercise exclusive jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, the Territories, and enclaves, in the same manner that a state exercises jurisdiction within its boundaries.

Rights are considered gifts from the Creator, and not to be disturbed by acts of man. Some of these rights were considered important enough to be specifically stated to be secured from Federal encroachment in the Bill of Rights, upon the theory that these rights existed long antecedent to the creation of the nation, and the theory that a government, left to its own devices without restriction, could and would use man made law to defeat the liberty that this Republic was intended to represent.

I was born in one of the several states, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, so why am I not a state Citizen? The answer is that I was born a state Citizen but, I unknowingly gave it up to become a federal citizen so that I could receive benefits from the federal government. Some of the benefits that I received were: a Social Security Number, receiving mail sent to the state of PA, receiving mail with ZIP Codes, having FDIC insurance on the money left in a bank, and using Federal Reserve Notes (dollar bills) without protest. This sounds crazy. Would you give away sovereign powers for benefits like these?

If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you are not a state Citizen. In the near future, I will send papers into the District of Columbia stating that I am recinding my application for a SSN. If I had known that applying for a SSN would affect my citizenship status, I would not have applied. I found out that Social Security is voluntary and that I can work without a SSN.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth is one of the "several states" described in the Constitution. The "several states" were severed from each other. The law treats the several states as independent countries. The Buck Act in 1940 created federal areas inside the states. If you live in a federal area, you are subject to federal territorial laws and the municipal laws of the District of Columbia. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is internal to the District of Columbia. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth is not part of the District of Columbia, but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is. PA is the name that the post office recognizes for mail sent into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is a federal area. Pa., Penna., and Pennsylvania are the names that the post office uses for mail sent into the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, which is not a federal area. If I accept mail sent to PA, I am saying that I live in part of the District of Columbia. The same situation exists in the other states.

Your ZIP Code determines which ZIP Code region you live in. ZIP Code regions are federal areas. The IRS has adopted the ZIP Code regions as IRS regions. If you accept mail that has a ZIP Code on it, you are in a federal territory and thus subject to the IRS and all other municipal laws of the District of Columbia.

I find the most offensive trick to get me to lose my sovereignty was that if I do not protest using the only legal tender in America, the Federal Reserve Notes (FRN), also know as U.S. Dollars, I am receiving a benefit. This is a complicated trick that I will explain in detail later.

Of course there are many other benefits that many people use that the sovereigns cannot. Among these are Social Security checks, welfare checks, food stamps, federally insured bank accounts, Medicaid, Medicare, and sending children to publicly funded schools.

I am not trying to get everybody to give up government benefits. If you wish to support and be supported by the federal government, much like people in other countries do, then by all means, go ahead and do so. But, if you wish to be a sovereign protected by the Bill of Rights and not pay many of the taxes that you are paying now but also not receive benefits, then there is an alternative. It is not an easy alternative. The law makers want control over you. They have made the legal system complex. It takes years for attorneys to learn the language and procedures of our legal system. Fortunately you do not need to know everything an attorney needs to know. You do need to have a basic understanding of how our legal system works. You may be surprised that it bears little resemblance to television courtroom dramas.

I also must warn you that reclaiming your state Citizenship status may have negative effects on your life. Besides the lack of benefits, such as unemployment checks, you are treated more harshly if you get convicted of a common law crime if you are a state Citizen. If you get convicted of rape and you are a federal citizen, you may get five years in an air conditioned prison with cable TV and three meals a day. If a state Citizen gets convicted, by a common law jury, of rape, he could be put to death.

All of the information describing how the United States really works and how it is supposed to work was so spread out that few people could see the big picture. The communication revolution has changed this. Computer bulletin boards across the country provided a means to share research. Tax protesters, ranchers, religious people, historians, gun owners, and others have all found pieces of the puzzle. Perhaps there are more pieces to find.

These researchers started on different legal threads. They followed and untangled the threads until they reached the source; The Constitution for the United States of America. The surprising thing is that the researchers did not know about each other but they each came to similar conclusions. Some of the minor details are being debated by researchers. The overall conclusions are described in this paper. Some of their research is not described here. The longer this paper is, the more unlikely it is that people unfamiliar with this subject will even attempt to read it.

If every Citizen in the colonies became a sovereign, how could any Citizen lose their sovereignty? The Citizens of each of the several states in the Union were sovereigns. But the people in a territory or in the District of Columbia were not because the territories and the District of Columbia were not in the Union. Congress had/has exclusive legislative control over these areas. The states were governed by a "constitutional republic" while the territories were ruled by a "legislative democracy". In a legislative democracy the citizens have no rights except what Congress gives them. In the constitutional republics, the Citizens have rights given to them by their Creator and Congress is the Citizens servant. This is why Citizens, having left a state to buy or conquer land from the native Americans, would apply for statehood as soon as possible.

How is it that someone who was born in and has lived in a state all his/her life can be treated like a citizen of the District of Columbia? There has been a series of steps that Congress has made to convert the state Citizens into federal citizens. Over the years, our laws have been made unreadable by the average intelligent person. The 14th Amendment was illegally passed creating a federal citizen who can not question the federal debt. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 turned over our money to a private banking cartel. Social Security created Social Security Districts (or territories) in which people with SSN lived. The Buck Act created federal areas inside the states. Let's describe each of these steps in detail.

Reasons I believe this

To show that Congress has made the laws unreadable by the average person, an objective method of measuring the readability of English text must be discussed. English scholars use a scale known as the "Flesch Index" that measures the level of understanding necessary for an individual to comprehend the written English language. Newspapers are written at an average comprehension level of 7. The average high school graduate reads and understands at a level of 10. The average law school graduate reads and comprehends at a level of 15. The Internal Revenue Code ranks on this index at an average level of 31, with some specific provisions as high as 55. And the words that are used in the law have specific legal definitions that are different from the common English definitions. If the laws that we are supposed to obey are written at a level that an individual of reasonable intelligence cannot understand then perhaps we should be highly suspect of the law writer's motives. My word processor's grammar checker tells me that this paper is written at level 11.5. People in this country cannot understand at this level. How many people have the time, energy, and ability to go into a law library and piece this together? By making the law so difficult to read, Congress has effectively removed our access to it.

To show how the government uses common English words in such a way that they have meanings that are different from what you might think, I will show how the word 'state' is redefined. In the IRS code, it says you are subject to the income tax if you live in: one of the states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Quam, or the northern Marranara Islands. From this definition it sounds as if I need to pay income tax. But, if you look at how the IRS defines the word state you probably will be confused. In the definition of the word state, it uses the word state. If you check this definition in years back you will see it has been modified several times. Before Alaska was admitted into the Union, it was in this list of states. After it became one of the states of the Union, it was not listed in the IRS definition of a state. The same thing happened to Hawaii. What does this mean? The definition that is used in the IRS code for the word state, is not a state like Texas but a state like Quam, that is a federal territory. The Federal Zone is a book listed in the other source's section of this paper describes this and other words that have specific legal definitions that are, sometimes, the opposite of the common definition.

So far I have stated some unconventional ideas. To substantiate them I will cite standing decisions made by the courts and statutes passed by Congress. Unless the decision or statute is in quotation marks, it has been paraphrased. Please look up the decision or statutes to verify my paraphrase. At the end of this paper, I will give the names of books and publications that give more information on the subject. One of the books will teach you how to find and understand the law.

"People of a state are entitled to all rights which formerly belonged to the king by his prerogative." Lansing v. Smith, 21 D. 89.

"At the revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects, and have none to govern but themselves: the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty." Chisholm Exp v. Georgia (US) 2 Dale 419, 454; I L Ed 440, 445 @DALL 1793 pp 471-472.

"as general rule men have natural right to do anything which their inclinations may suggest, if it be not evil in itself, and in no way impairs the rights of others." In Re Newman (1925), 71 C.A. 386, 235 P. 664.

"The United States government is a foreign corporation with respect to a state." In re Merriam, 36 N.E. 505, 141 N.Y. 479, affirmed 16 S.Ct. 1073, 163 U.S. 625, 41 L.Ed. 287; 20 C.J.S., Section 1785. Title 28, United States Code, Section 297 defines the several States of the union as being "freely associated compact states" in subsection (a), and then refers to these freely associated compact states as being "countries" in subsection(b). Did you know that the individual states were considered to be foreign countries to the United States and to each other?

In 1818, the Supreme Court stated that "In the United States of America, there are two (2) separated and distinct jurisdictions, such being the jurisdiction of the states within their own state boundaries, and the other being federal jurisdiction (United States), which is limited to the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and federal enclaves within the states, under Article I, Section 8, Clause 17." U.S. v. Bevans, 16 U.S. (3 WHEAT) 336 (1818), reaff. 19 U.S.C.A., section 1401(h).

When Congress is operating in its exclusive jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the Territories, and enclaves, it is important to remember that it has full authority to enact legislation as private acts pertaining to its boundaries, and it is not a state of the union of States because it exists solely by virtue of the compact/constitution that created it. The constitution does not say that the District of Columbia must guarantee a Republican form of Government to its own subject citizens within its territories. (See Hepburn & Dundas v. Ellzey, 6 US. 445(1805); Glaeser v. Acacia Mut. Life Ass'n., 55 F. Supp., 925 (1944); Long v. District of Columbia, 820 F.2d 409 (D.C. Cir. 1987); Americana of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Kaplus, 368 F.2d 431 (1966), among others).

"The idea prevails with some -- indeed, it found expression in arguments at the bar -- that we have in this country substantially or practically two national governments; one, to be maintained under the Constitution, with all its restrictions; the other to be maintained by Congress outside and independently of that instrument, by exercising such powers as other nations of the earth are accustomed to exercise." Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, supra.

The Constitution provides limited powers to federal government over the state Citizens. The federal government has unlimited powers over federal citizens because it is acting outside of the Constitution. Administrative laws are private acts and are not applicable to state Citizens. The Internal Revenue Code is administrative law.

"We are a republic. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of democracy." - Alexander Hamilton.

The origin of the federal citizen

So far I have not given any proof that the government actually recognizes two distinct classes of citizens. I will give that evidence now by describing the 13th and 14th Amendments.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. The Supreme Court ruled that the 13th Amendment operated to free former slaves and prohibit slavery, but it in no way conferred citizenship to the former slaves, or to those of races other than white, because the founders of the Constitution were all of the white race.



The federal government did not have the authority to determine if former slaves could become a Citizen of one of the several states because the 9th and 10th Amendments said that powers not granted specifically to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the People. History shows that the Pennsylvania Commonwealth and New York State were nationalizing blacks as State Citizens. In other states blacks were not Citizens and therefore did not have standing in any court. The answer to this problem was the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment used the term "citizen of the United States." The courts have ruled that this means federal citizenship which is similar to a citizen of the District of Columbia. Since the federal government didn't step in and tell Pennsylvania or New York that it couldn't make State Citizens out of former black slaves, an argument could be made that the 14th Amendment was written primarily to afford [voluntary] citizenship to those of the black race that were recently freed by the 13th Amendment (Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 71), and did not include Indians and others NOT born in and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (McKay v. Cambell, 2 Sawy. 129), Thus, the Amendment recognized that "an individual can be a Citizen of one of the several States without being a citizen of the United States," (U.S. v. Anthony, 24 Fed. Cas. 829, 830), or, "a citizen of the United States without being a Citizen of a State." (Slaughter-House Cases, supra; cf. U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 US 542, 549 (1875)).

To restate: In the Slaughter-House Cases, supra the Court said: "It is quite clear, then, that there is a citizenship of the United States and a citizenship of a state, which are distinct from each other and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances of the individual. . . . Of the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the United States and of the privileges and immunities of the citizen of the state, and what they respectfully are, we will presently consider; but we wish to state here that it is only the former which are placed by this clause under the protection of the Federal Constitution, and the latter, whatever they may be, are not intended to have any additional protection by this paragraph of the amendment."

The court has also ruled that "The term United States is a metaphor [a figure of speech]". Cunard S.S Co. V. Mellon, 262 US 100, 122; and that "The term 'United States' may be used in one of several senses. It may be merely the name of a sovereign occupying the position analogous to that of sovereign in a family of nations. It may designate territory over which sovereignty of the United States extends, or it may be a collective name of the states which are united by and under the Constitution." Hooven & Allison Co. v. Evatt, 324 US 652, 672-73.

Did the Courts really say that someone could be a Citizen of a State without being a citizen of the United States? Yes, they did. It's true that the cases cited above are old, some over 100 years old. None of these cases have ever been overturned by a more recent decision, so they are valid. A more recent case is Crosse v. Bd. of Supervisors, 221 A.2d 431 (1966) which says: "Both before and after the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution, it has not been necessary for a person to be a citizen of the United States in order to be a citizen of his state." Citing U.S. v. Cruikshank, supra.

The courts presume you to be a federal citizen, without even telling you that there are different classes of citizens. It is up to you dispute this. "Unless the defendant can prove he is not a citizen of the United States, the IRS has the right to inquire and determine a tax liability." U.S. v. Slater, 545 Fed. Supp. 179,182 (1982).

In 1866, Congress passed the first civil rights act which only applied to the District of Columbia and other federal territories. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was proclaimed to be passed. At this point the number of subjects that the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction over increased to all of the former slaves that had not become state Citizens.

There are many reasons why I do not like the 14th Amendment. The first is that is was never ratified!

"I cannot believe that any court in full possession of all its faculties, would ever rule that the (14th) Amendment was properly approved and adopted." State v. Phillips, 540 P.2d. 936; Dyett v. Turner, 439 P.2d. 266. (The court in this case was the Utah Supreme Court.)

Further, in 1967, Congress tried to repeal the 14th Amendment on the ground that it is invalid, void, and unconstitutional. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD -- HOUSE, June 13, 1967, pg. 15641. The nine pages of argument that are recorded here detail the infirmities that prove that the 14th Amendment was never properly ratified, and thus is no law!

The 14th Amendment reads in pertinent part, "All persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside....The validity of the public debt of the United States...shall not be questioned."

There is a wealth of deception in the above wording, because of sheer number of words that have specific or multiple meanings in law depending upon how they are used.

Go the part "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." The word the is used in a singular form, not the plural, as is the word jurisdiction. If Congress meant the several States, rather that the District of Columbia, it would have been more correct to say "and subject to their jurisdictions."

In addition, a new pecking order is established with the phrase. "are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

If you research the terms "resident" and "legal residence", you find that it is the nexus that binds us all to the State and federal enforcement of commercial law statutes today. "Resident" is the short form of "Resident Alien" and is used in State statutes to mean someone who exhibits actual presence in an area belonging to one nation while retaining a domicile/citizenship status within another foreign nation [The United States/District of Columbia]. The term "legal residence" further indicates that these two terms may be applied either to a geographical jurisdiction, or, a political jurisdiction. An individual may reside in one or the other, or in both at the same time. In California, Government Code, section 126, sets forth the essential elements of a compact between this State and the federal government allowing reciprocal taxation of certain entities, and provide for concurrent jurisdiction within geographical boundaries.

Both state Citizens and federal citizens are Americans. US citizens are "domiciled" in the District of Columbia and are privileged alien to the state wherein the reside and state Citizens are domiciled in their state and not aliens in their state. They also do not reside in their state; they are Citizens of the state. The distinction may seem insignificant to you but it is not to the court. A state Citizen has the right to travel in each of the 50 states. He/she can file papers at any county courthouse in any state and become a Citizen of that state.

Most of the federal statute laws do not apply to Citizens of a state. If the authority for the statute can be found in the organic Constitution, then the statute is of a National character, as it applies to both state Citizens and aliens.

"Upon introducing the provisions which eventually became 18 U.S.C. 242, its sponsor, Senator Stewart, explicitly stated that the bill protected all 'persons'... He noted that the bill 'simply extends to foreigners, not citizens, the protection of our laws'." United States v. Otherson, 480 F.Supp. 1369, 1373 (1979). What could this mean? Well, it implies that Citizens of a state already had the protections introduced by this statute, but it extended to foreigners this protection also. What is a "foreigner" if they are not also an "alien"?

Privileges granted by the sovereign (governments) in their capacity to license (condone) what might otherwise be illegal are always taxable and regulatable. Rights such as those envisioned by the founding fathers are not taxable or regulatable because they are exercises of the common right that could be completely destroyed by government through taxation and/or regulation. These are maxims of law so well established that they are irrefutable. For example, look to Frost & Frost Trucking v. Railroad Commission of California, 271 U.S. 583, 70 L.Ed. 1101 (1925).

Now, in 1868, we have a class of citizenship created [14th Amendment] which is "subject" by grant of privilege from a sovereign power [federal Congress] exercising exclusive authority to govern its territory under Article I, sect. 8, cl. 17 of the Constitution. Federal citizens are created by Congress. It is self-evident that all state Citizens are created equal; that they are endowed, by their creator, with certain inalienable rights, and that governments are instituted to secure these rights.

It is also a self-evident truth that the sovereign creator can never create an entity (government) and assign it more power than what the creator possesses to begin with. Further, the Constitution for the United States of America did not repeal the Articles of Confederation, it was only intended "to make a more perfect union." Therefore, it logically follows that the creator did not purposely intend to alter their status as MASTER to accept a role as SERVANT to its own creation. This is plainly shown throughout the Constitution, but especially set forth in the Tenth Amendment. (cf. United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 124 (1941); Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958))

"The right to tax and regulate the national citizenship is an inherent right under the rule of the Law of Nations, which is part of the law of the United States, as described in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17." The Luisitania, 251 F.715, 732. And, "This jurisdiction extends to citizens of the United States, wherever resident, for the exercise of the privileges and immunities and protections of [federal] citizenship." Cook v. Tait, (1924) 265 U.S. 37,44 S.Ct 447, 11 Virginia Law Review, 607."

The right of trial by jury in civil cases, guaranteed by the 7th Amendment (walker v. Sauvinet, 92 U.S. 90), and the right to bear arms, guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment (presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252), have been distinctly held not to be privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States guaranteed by the 14th Amendment against abridgment by the states, and in effect the same decision was made in respect of the guarantee against prosecution, except by indictment of a grand jury, contained in the 5th Amendment (Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516), and in respect of the right to be confronted with witnesses, contained in the 6th Amendment." West v. Louisianna, 194 U.S. 258.

The privileges and immunities [civil rights] of the 14th Amendment citizens were derived [taken] from....the Constitution, but are not identical to those referred to in Article IV, sect. 2 of the Constitution [which recognizes the existence of state Citizens who were not citizens of the United States because there was no such animal in 1787]. Plainly spoken, RIGHTS considered to be grants from our creator are clearly different from the "civil rights" that were granted by Congress to its own brand of franchised citizen in the 14th Amendment.

"A 'civil right' is a right given and protected by law [man's law], and a person's enjoyment thereof is regulated entirely by law that creates it." Nickell v. Rosenfield, (1927) 82 CA 369, 375, 255 P. 760.

Title 42 of the USC contains the Civil Rights laws. It says "Rights under 42 USCS section 1983 are for citizens of the United States and not of state. Wadleigh v. Newhall (1905, CC Cal) 136 F 941."

In summary, what we are talking about here is a Master-Servant relationship. Prior to the 14th Amendment, there were state Citizens and non-citizens. State Citizens were the masters in the relationship to government. After the 14th Amendment was declared to be passed, a new class of citizenship was created, which is both privileged and servant [subject] to the creator [the federal government].

How state Citizens were converted into federal citizens

In order for the federal government to tax a Citizen of one of the several states, it had to create some sort of contractual nexus. This contractual nexus is the Social Security Number (SSN).

In 1935, the federal government instituted Social Security. The Social Security Board then created 10 Social Security "Districts." The combination of these "Districts" resulted in a "Federal Area", a fictional jurisdiction, which covered all of the several states like a clear plastic overlay.

In 1939, the federal government instituted the "Public Salary Tax Act of 1939." This Act is a municipal law of the District of Columbia for taxing all federal government employees and those who live and work in any "Federal Area." Now the government knows it cannot tax those state Citizens who live and work outside the territorial jurisdiction of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 2 in the Constitution for the United States of America; also known as the ten square miles of the District of Columbia and territories and enclaves. So, in 1940, Congress passed the "Buck Act" now found in 4 U.S.C. Sections 105-113. In Section 110(e), this Act authorized any department of the federal government to create a "Federal Area" for imposition of the "Public Salary Tax Act of 1939." This tax is imposed at 4 U.S.C. Section 111. The rest of the taxing law is found in the Internal Revenue Code. The Social Security Board had already created a "Federal Area" overlay. U.S.C. Title 4 is as follows:

Sec. 110(d): The term "State" includes any territory or possession of the United States.

Sec. 110(e): The term "Federal Area" means any lands or premises held or acquired by or for the use of the United states or any department, establishment, or agency of the United states; and any federal area, or any part thereof, which is located within the exterior boundaries of any State, shall be deemed to be a federal area located within such State.

Under the Provisions of Title 4, Section 105, the federal "State" (also known as, "The State of...") is imposing an excise tax. That section states, in pertinent part:

Sec. 105: State, and so forth, taxation affecting Federal areas; sales or use tax.

(a) No person shall be relieved from the liability for payment of, collection of, or accounting for any sales or use tax levied by any State, or any duly constituted taxing authority therein, having jurisdiction to levy such tax, on the ground that the sales or use, with respect to which such tax is levied, occurred in whole or in part within a Federal area; and such State or taxing authority shall have full jurisdiction to levy such a tax, by reason of his residing within a Federal area or receiving income from transactions occurring or services performed in such area; and such State or taxing authority shall have full jurisdiction and power to levy and collect such tax in any Federal area within such a State to the same extent and with the same effect as though such area was not a Federal area.

NOTE: Irrespective of what the tax is called, if its purpose is to produce revenue, it is an income tax or a receipts tax under the Buck Act [4 U.S.C. Secs. 105-110]. See Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Calvert, 464 SW 2d. 170 (1971), affd (Tex) 478 SW 2d. 926, cert. den. 409 U.S. 967, 34 L.Ed. 2d 234, 93 S.Ct. 293.

For purposes of further explanation, a Federal area can include the Social Security areas designated by the Social Security Administration; any public housing that has federal funding; a home that has a federal (or Federal reserve) loan; a road that has federal funding; schools and colleges (public or private) that receive (direct or indirectly) federal funding, and virtually everything that the federal government touches through any type of direct or indirect aid. See Springfield v. Kenny, 104 N.E. 2d. 65 (1951 app.) This "Federal area" is attached to anyone who has a Social Security number or any personal contact with the federal or State government. (That is, of course, with the exception of those who have been defrauded through the tenets of an Unrevealed Contract to "accept" compelled benefits. Which includes me and perhaps you.) Through this mechanism, the federal government usurped the Sovereignty of the People, as well as the Sovereignty of the several states by creating "Federal areas" within the authority of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 in the Constitution for the United States of America which states:

"The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States, and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United states, or of any particular State."

Therefore, all U.S. citizens [i.e. citizens of the District of Columbia] residing in one of the states of the Union, are classified as property and franchisees of the federal government, and as an "individual entity." See Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Fox 298 U.S. 193, 80 L.Ed. 1143, 56 S.Ct. 773. Under the "Buck Act," 4 U.S.C Secs. 105-113, the federal government has created a "Federal area" within the boundaries of the several states. This area is similar to any territory that the federal government acquires through purchase, conquest or treaty, thereby imposing federal territorial law upon the people in this "Federal area." Federal territorial law is evidenced by the Executive Branch's Admiralty flag (a federal flag with a gold or yellow fringe on it) flying in schools, offices and courtrooms.

To enjoy the freedoms secured by the federal and state constitutions, you must live on the land in one of the states of the Union of several states, not in any "Federal area." Nor can you be involved in any activity that makes you subject to "federal laws." You cannot have a valid Social Security Number, a "resident" State driver's license, a motor vehicle registered in your name, a bank account in a federally insured bank, or any other known "contract implied in fact" that would place you in this "Federal area" and thus within the territorial jurisdiction of the municipal laws of Congress. Remember, all acts of Congress are territorial in nature and can only apply within the territorial jurisdiction of Congress. See American Banana Co. v. United fruit Co., 213 U.S. 347, 356-357 (1909); U.S. v. Spelar, 338 U.S. 217, 222, 94 L.Ed. 3, 70 S.Ct. 402 (1925).

This is not easy to do! Most banks are federally insured. It may be inconvenient to bank at an institution that is not federally insured. There are many things that become a little more difficult to do without a SSN, driver's licenses, or a ZIP Code.

There has been created a fictional federal "State (of) within a state." See Howard v. Sinking Fund of Louisville, 344 U.S. 624, 73 S.Ct. 465, 476, 97 L.Ed. 617 (1953); Schwarts v. O'Hara TP School District, 100 A 2d. 621, 625, 375, Pa. 440. Compare also 31 C.F.R. Parts 51.2 and 52.2, which also identify a fictional State within a state. This fictional "State" is identified by the use of two-letter abbreviations like "PA", "NJ", "AZ", and "DE", etc., as distinguished from the authorized abbreviations for the sovereign States: "Pa.", "N.J.", "Ariz.", and "Del." The fictional States also use ZIP Codes that are within the municipal, exclusive legislative jurisdiction of Congress. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth is one of the several States. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, also known as PA, is a subdivision of the District of Columbia. If you accept postal matter sent to PA, and/or with a ZIP Code, the Courts say that this is evidence that you are a federal citizen or a resident. Use of the Zip Code is voluntary. See Domestic Mail Service Regulations, Section 122.32. The Postal service cannot discriminate against the non-use of the ZIP Code. See Postal Reorganization Act, Section 403, (Public Law 91-375). The IRS has adopted the ZIP Code areas as Internal Revenue Districts. See the Federal Register, Volume 51, Number 53, Wednesday March 19, 1986. The acceptance of mail with a ZIP Code is one of the requirements for the IRS to have jurisdiction to send you notices.

When you apply for a Social Security Number, you are telling the federal government that you are repudiating your state Citizenship in order to apply for the benefits of citizenship in the federal Nation. Granting a Social Security number is prima facie evidence that no matter what you were before, you have voluntarily entered into a voyage for profit or gain in negotiable instruments and maritime enterprise. This is the system that has been set up over the years to restrict, control, and destroy our personal and economic liberties. Our legal system is very complicated and you may not understand how it works. I believe that this is intentional.

Common law versus commercial law

Besides the municipal laws for federal territory like the District of Columbia, the Constitution specifies three other types of law: Common Law, Equity Law, and Admiralty Law.

Common Law is criminal law. Equity Law deals with written contracts and is civil law. Admiralty Law deals with international contracts and has both criminal and civil penalties.

A cursory review of the Uniform Commercial Code proves that it was codified to replace the Negotiable Instrument Laws. Further research reveals that the Negotiable Instrument Laws have their foundation in the jurisdiction of Admiralty Law (Maritime Law -- law of the sea), and, the U.C.C. has come to be known in law as the substantive common law. (Bank v. Moore, 201 Ala. 411, 78 So. 789) This substantive common law has also been directly tied to the jurisdiction of the Law Merchant [International Law]. (Miller v. Miller, 296 SW.2d 648).

Under the Common Law, every contract must be entered into knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally by both parties or it is void and unenforceable. Common Law contracts must also be based on substance. For example, contracts used to read, "For one dollar and other valuable considerations, I will paint your house, etc." That was a valid contract...the dollar was a genuine silver dollar. Now suppose you wrote a contract that said "For one Federal Reserve Note and other considerations..." And suppose, for example, I painted your house the wrong color. Could you go into a Common Law court and get justice? No, you could not. You see, a Federal Reserve Note is a "colorable" dollar, as it has no substance, and in a Common Law jurisdiction, that contract would be unenforceable.

The word colorable means something that appears to be genuine but is not. If it looks like a dollar, and spends like a dollar but is not redeemable for lawful money (silver or gold) it is colorable. If a federal Reserve Note is used in a contract, then the contract becomes a colorable contract. And colorable contracts must be enforced under a colorable jurisdiction. So by creating Federal Reserve Notes, the government had to create a jurisdiction to cover the kinds of contracts that use them. We now have what is called Statutory Jurisdiction which is not a genuine Admiralty Jurisdiction. It is colorable Admiralty Jurisdiction the judges are enforcing because we are using colorable money.

This government set up a "colorable" law system to fit the colorable currency. It used to be called the Law Merchant or the Law of Redeemable instruments because it dealt with paper that was redeemable in something of substance. But, once Federal Reserve Notes had become unredeemable, there had to be a system of law which was completely colorable from start to finish. This system of law was codified as the Uniform Commercial Code, and has been adopted in every state.

One difference between Common Law and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is that in Common Law, contracts must be entered into: knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally. Under the UCC, this is not so. First of all, contracts are unnecessary. Under this new law, "agreements" can be binding, and if you only exercise the benefits of an "agreement," it is presumed or implied that you intend to meet the obligations associated with those benefits. If you accept a benefit offered by government, then you are obligated to follow, to the letter, each and every statute involved with that benefit. The trick has been to get everybody exercising benefits that they don't believe they can live without.

One "benefit" that I accepted was the privilege of discharging debt with limited liability, instead of paying debt. When I pay a debt, I give substance for substance. If I buy a quart of milk with a silver dollar, that dollar bought the milk, and the milk bought the dollar -- substance for substance. But if I used a Federal Reserve Note to buy the milk, I have not paid for it. There is no substance in the Federal Reserve Note. It is worthless paper given in exchange for something of substantive value. Congress offers this benefit. Debt money, created by the federal United States, can be spent all over the continental united States; it will be legal tender for all debts, public and private, and the limited liability is that I cannot be sued for not paying my debts. It's as if they have said, "We're going to help you out, and you can discharge your debts instead of paying your debts." When I use this colorable money to discharge my debts, I cannot use a Common Law court. I can only use a colorable court. It would appear that I am stuck. If the only legal tender is colorable money, then if I use any legal tender, then the only court that is available to me is a colorable court. But there is a way out.

Volume 1, Section 207 of the Uniform Commercial Code states "The making of a valid Reservation of Rights preserves whatever rights the person then possesses, and prevents the loss of such rights by application of concepts of waiver or estoppel." (UCC 1-207.7) It also says "When a waivable right or claim is involved, the failure to make a reservation thereof, causes a loss of the right, and bars its assertion at a later date." (UCC 1-207.4) It also says "The Sufficiency of the Reservation--Any expression indicating an intention to reserve such rights, is sufficient, such as "without prejudice." (UCC 1-207.4)

Whenever I sign any legal paper that deals with Federal Reserve Notes--in any way, shape or manner--under my signature I write, or stamp: "Without Prejudice UCC 1-207." When I use "without prejudice UCC 1-207" in connection with my signature, I am saying: "I reserve my right not to be compelled to perform under any contract or commercial agreement that I did not enter knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally. And furthermore, I do not accept the liability of the compelled benefit of any unrevealed contract or commercial agreement." Some people use a rubber stamp that says "DISCHARGED WITHOUT PREJUDICE UCC 1-207" on every Federal Reserve Note that pass through their hands. I do not think this is necessary.

What is the compelled performance of an unrevealed commercial agreement? When I use Federal Reserve Notes instead of silver dollars, is it voluntary? No. There is no lawful money, so I have to use Federal Reserve Notes--I have to accept the benefit. The government has given me the benefit to discharge my debts with limited liability. Therefore discharging my debts instead of paying my debts is a compelled benefit.

The Uniform Commercial Code says in Volume 1, Section 103.6: "The Code is complimentary to the Common Law, which remains in force, except where displaced by the code. A statute should be construed in harmony with the Common Law, unless there is a clear legislative intent to abrogate the Common Law." It also says: "The Code cannot be read to preclude a Common Law action."

Most court proceedings today are under a colorable Admiralty jurisdiction also known as Statutory jurisdiction. In Admiralty jurisdiction, "The technical niceties of the common law are not regarded...", 1 R.C.L. 31, p. 422. "A jury does not figure, ordinarily, in the trial of an admiralty suit...the verdict of the jury merely advisory, and may be disregarded by the court." 1 R.C.L. 40, p. 432. "[The] rules of practice may be altered whenever found to be inconvenient or likely to embarrass the business of the court." 1 R.C.L. 32, p. 423. "A court of admiralty ... acts upon equitable principles." 1 R.C.L. 17, p. 416. Have you ever heard a court case where the judge overrules the decision of the jury? This can only happen in a trial in admiralty jurisdiction. The jury is only the conscience of the court. The judge is not an impartial referee who understands Public Law but a commissioner that supports Public Policy which is private law. And your attorney may not be working for you. In CORPUS JURIS SECUNDUM (complete restatement of the entire American law) Volume 7, section 4 states: "an attorney occupies a dual position which imposes dual obligations. His first duty is to the courts and the public not to the client and wherever the duties to his client conflict with those he owes as an officer of the court in the administration of justice, the former must yield to the latter....Clients are also called 'wards of the court'." The fifth edition of Blacks Law Dictionary states that a Ward of court is: "person of unsound mind".

What does this mean? If you don't know how the legal system works you will be treated like a person of unsound mind that hires an expensive attorney, who is an officer of the court, to defend you, and that if the judge does not want to hear your arguments, he can command the attorney, without your knowledge, not to use the defense, and the judge does not let the jury read the law, he only gives his interpretation of the law, and that the laws are usually part of very large bills that are not even read by members of Congress who voted on it, and that if, in the unlikely event that the jury comes to conclusions that the judge does not agree with, the judge can overturn the decision of the jury. As bad as this is, it is not the worst case scenario. If you are accused of breaking certain administrative laws, such as driving infractions, you do not have the right to even this type of jury trial. In Tax Court, you are actually suing the IRS which is presumed innocent until you prove that they are guilty. Because of this you do not have the right to have council of your choice. Only the defendant has the right to council. The judges are the most successful former prosecutors in Tax Court. Is this the way our legal system was supposed to work? No! In Common Law the jury determines both the facts and the law, the judge is an impartial referee, and the council for both the Plaintiff and defendant are working for their clients. If you know how the legal system works and you are a state Citizen, you will challenge the jurisdiction of the court and never go into anything but a Common Law court. If the flag in the courtroom has a gold fringe on it, you are in an admiralty court.

The jury can nullify a law. The two most notable times in the history of the United States were the end of slavery and the end of prohibition. Hiding escaped slaves was against the federal law (stolen property transferred across state lines). People arrested for hiding runaway slaves would be tried. In many cases the jury would find the defendant not guilty because the law was not valid. The same thing happened to bootleggers during prohibition. If a prosecutor can not get a jury to convict people of crimes then the law has been effectively nullified. This was a way Citizens defended their sovereignty from the government. If the government passed a law that the Citizens disagreed with, they would nullify it when someone was tried for breaking the law. This is the way the country was supposed to be. By trying cases in admiralty jurisdiction the jury can still try to nullify a law but the judge can overrule the decision made by the jury. In many cases, the judge incorrectly tells the jury they must follow the instructions to the jury. If Citizens can not nullify laws, the federal government has more power.

From the last few paragraphs, you may think that I do not have a high opinion of the integrity of our judges. This is not correct. The courts are there to resolve disputes without violence. Since the vast majority of the people in this country are either US citizens or residents, judges are correct to assume that everyone that comes before them are under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress. It is up to the Citizen to challenge the jurisdiction of an admiralty court.

So if you are a state Citizen and you take precautions of not making it easy for the federal government to make the presumption that you are involved in an international contract, such as Federal Reserve Notes, then you will not be able to be charged with any statutory offenses. You will be able to do anything you wish, so long as you do not use force or fraud and you live with the consequences of your actions.

More federal glue

You may also find it disturbing to know how an administrative procedure can remove your children from you. In 1921 Congress passed the Sheppard-Towner Maternity Act that created the United States birth "registration" area (see Public Law 97, 67th Congress, Session I, Chapter 135, 1921.) That act allows you to register your children when they are born. If you do so, you will get a copy of the birth certificate. By registering your children, which is voluntary, they become Federal Children. This does several things: Your children become subjects of Congress (they lose their state citizenship). A copy of the birth certificate is sent to the Department of Vital Statistics in the state in which they were born. The original birth certificate is sent to the Department of Commerce in the District of Columbia. It then gets forwarded to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) building in Europe. Your child's future labor and properties are put up as collateral for the public debt.

Once a child is registered, a constructive trust is formed. The parent(s) usually become the trustee (the person managing the assets of the trust), the child becomes an asset of the trust, and the state becomes the principal beneficiary of the trust. See The Uniform Trustees' Powers Act (ORS 128.005(1)). If the beneficiary does not believe the trustee is managing the assets of the trust optimally, the beneficiary can go through an administrative procedure to change trustees. This is the way that bureaucrats can take children away from their parents if the bureaucrat does not like the way the child is cared for. You may say that there is nothing wrong with this. If a parent is neglecting a child, then the state should remove the child from the parents custody. Under common law a child can still be removed from the parent but it takes twelve jurors from that county to do so. Theoretically, a bureaucrat could remove your children from you, if you disagree with some unrelated administrative procedure, such as home schooling the child. This is another way the government can intimidate citizens who question its authority. With all this in mind, the statement that the President says every few months: "Our children are our most valuable asset." takes on a different meaning. That is - your children are their assets.

Part of the process of restoring my state Citizenship status is revoking my Birth Certificate through a process called REVOCATION OF SIGNATURE AND POWER OF ATTORNEY. If my Birth Certificate is not revoked, then the courts consider me to be a 14th Amendment federal citizen and my labor and all of my assets are put up as collateral for the public debt.

When the government communicates with corporations it spells the name of the corporation in all capital letters. If the government refers to you with your name in all capital letters, it is actually means to treat you like a corporation. A corporation is created by government. It has no rights. The government gives it privileges and the corporation must follow the rules of its creator. I am not a corporation! A state Citizen should challenge the government's assertion that he/she is a corporation. This applies to both postal matter and court documents.

We gave the federal government the right to regulate commerce. Since the government has started usurping our sovereignty, our language has been subtly modified to include commercial terms. Most people do not realize or care that they are using commercial terms but the courts do. If you describe your actions in commercial terms in a court, the judge will take silent notice of your status as being regulatable by the federal government. In the following examples, the commercial terms are all in upper case letters: instead of a birthing room, you are now born in a DELIVERY room. Instead of traveling in your car, you are DRIVING or OPERATING a MOTOR VEHICLE in TRAFFIC and you don't have guests in your car, you have PASSENGERS. Instead of a nativity you have a DATE OF BIRTH. You are not a worker but an EMPLOYEE. You don't own a house but a piece of REAL ESTATE.

Lost rights

A state Citizen has the right to have any gun he/she wishes without being registered. A federal citizen does not. In the District of Columbia, it is a felony to own a handgun unless you are a police officer or a security guard or the hand gun was registered before 1978. The District of Columbia has not been admitted into the Union. Therefore the people of the District of Columbia are not protected by the Second Amendment or any other part of the Bill of Rights. Dispite the lack of legal guns in DC, crime is rampant. It is called Murder Capital of the World. This should prove that gun control/victim disarmament laws do not work in America. Across the country, there is an assault on guns. If you are a federal citizen and you are using Second Amendment arguments to protect your rights to keep your guns, I believe you are in for a surprise. First by registering gun owners then renaming guns 'Assault Weapons' and 'Handguns', those in power will take away your civil right to bear arms. Of course, they won't tell you that the right to keep and bear arms is a civil right and not a natural right for a US citizens. The Supreme court has ruled that you as an individual have no right to protection by the police. Their only obligation is to protect "society". The real protection for state Citizens to keep their guns is not the Second Amendment but the Ninth Amendment. Note in Switzerland, every household must have, by law, a fully automatic machine gun and ammunition. The crime rate is very low there.

A state Citizen has the right to travel on the public easements (public roads) without being registered. A federal citizen does not. It is a privilege for a foreigner to travel in any of the several states. If you are a US citizen, you are a foreigner in the state. The state legislators can require foreigners and people involved in commerce (chauffeurs, freight haulers) to be licensed, insured, and to have their vehicles registered. When you register your car, you turn over power of attorney to the state. At that point, it becomes a motor vehicle. If it is not registered then it is not a motor vehicle and there are no motor vehicle statutes to break. There are common law rules of the road. If you don't cause an injury to anybody then you can not be tried.

If your car is registered, the state effectively owns your car. The state supplies a sticker to put on your license plate every time you re-register the motor vehicle. Look closely at the sticker on your plate right now. You may be surprised to see that it says "OFFICIAL USE ONLY".(Note: In some states, they do not use stickers on the plate) You may have seen municipal vehicles that have signs on them saying "OFFICIAL USE ONLY" on them but why does yours? You do not own your car. You may have a Certificate of Title but you probably do not have the certificate of origin. You are leasing the state's vehicle by paying the yearly registration fee. Because you are using their equipment, they can make rules up on how it can be used. If you break a rule, such as driving without a seatbelt, you have broken the contract and an administrative procedure will make you pay the penalty. A state Citizen must be able to explain to the police officers why they are not required to have the usual paperwork that most people have. They should carry copies of affidavits and other paperwork in their car. The state Citizen should also be prepared to go to traffic court and explain it to the judge.

Unanswered questions

A reasonable person may ask - How did the government get so far removed from the model of government defined by the Constitution? I'm not sure. Perhaps it was a small group of bankers who realized that they could control a central government much easier than many independent sovereigns. Perhaps it is the natural outcome of specialization; that is, it might be said that a brain surgeon should not be expected to be an expert on farming, manufacturing, mining, retailing, politics, as well as medicine, therefore it is possible that the people wanted to be governed by experts - allowing them to focus on their pleasures and careers. Perhaps the elite thought they would help the poor masses by making decisions for them because they believed that the common people could not make good decisions for themselves. Perhaps it is the result of people believing that they can get something for nothing; that is, the people believed that the government was stealing more from other citizens that it was stealing from them, so overall, they were helped by such policies more than they were hurt. There is some evidence to support each of these propositions but, one thing is important: The government is acting this way because the people allow it to. If the people were very dissatisfied with the government, they would change it. For all the complaining Americans do, they still elect the same people again and again.

Another good question is: If all this is true, why haven't I heard these ideas before? Again, I am not sure. It is very difficult to keep a conspiracy secret for very long. If there has been a plan to steal the sovereignty of the people, then many people would be affected and more than a few people had to know about the plan in order to execute it. Unless all of the politicians, bankers, media people were in on the conspiracy or were intimidated so that they would not expose the plan, the People would, sooner or later, find out. It is difficult for me to believe that every politician, banker, and media person are corrupt. I think it is more likely that people thought that the experts could run the country better than they could. Today, many people can not conceive the government being run any other way. It is my belief that turning over the government to experts was a mistake.

Who are these people?

The people who do research on state citizenship call themselves patriots. This may sound strange to people who equate patriotism with support for whatever the government does as long as the flags are waving and the politicians say have the best interest of the nation at heart, but patriots like Thomas Jefferson saw patriotism as supporting the value of liberty. The founders of the nation thought it was unpatriotic to accept being ruled by a sovereign. In the Constitutional Republic that they founded, each Citizen was a sovereign without subjects. That is, we were all equal. This did not mean that we each had an equal amount of money or an equal standard of living. Each Citizen had equal opportunity to use the gifts we were given at birth. If you did not use your gifts wisely or you did not have many gifts to start with, then you had to accept a lower standard of living. People who received charity were not treated with the same respect as a person who did not.

How does one reclaim their state Citizenship?

This paper cannot give you everything you need to know on how to restore your first class citizenship status. It is only a starting point. With that being said, here is a list of the papers that a state Citizen should to do to be free of federal adhesion contracts. Some of these things are to be done at the county recorder's office, others must be sent to the District of Columbia.

A notice of intent

A declaration of sovereignty.

An oath to your state.

A notice that you are using Federal Reserve Notes under protest.

A revocation of

1. signature and power of attorney

2.driver's license (you don't need one unless you drive commercially)

3. motor vehicle registration (if your car is not registered, it is not a motor vehicle)

4. marriage license (but not your marriage contract)

5. birth certificate (the hospital still has a record of birth)

6. application for a Social Security Number

7. union membership

8. status as an employee (the word employee has a specific legal definition)

9. voter registration (you become an elector not a voter)

10. private or public pension benefits

You should also close credit cards, saving accounts, checking accounts, IRA accounts, money market accounts, CD's, mutual funds, and 401k. You should pay off all mortgages, car loans, and any other loan that you have. You may continue to receive postal matter with ZIP codes but you should not accept them. You should also remove your children from the schools that receive public money.

This is not easy! But, you can do it. If only a few people were doing this it would be very difficult. But hundreds of thousands have done this just in the past few years. This makes it much easier since alternative organizations are being formed that are servicing the non federal citizens. Note: there are some banks that have been around for more than 100 years that are safe and not federally insured. Also common law trusts can be created to circumvent some of the restrictions that the list above implies. There are many intelligent and creative people working on these problems. As the years go by, it will be more and more difficult to remain federal citizens. As the number of state Citizens increases, the amount of revenue that the federal government receives will decrease. The amount of money that the federal government spends will probably not decrease because most of the people reclaiming their state Citizenship don't use the services provided by the federal government. This will cause taxes to increase which will cause even more people to drop out of the federal system. I also expect to see the continuation of the trend to add more regulations that the federal citizens have to follow.

Other sources of information

The best source of information is a law library. you can find a law library that is open to the public in you county courthouse. You may find better law libraries at a local college. The problem with the law library is that there are so many books in it. Some of the court cases cited here are old. For one reason or another, some of the books that had information on this subject seemed to have been removed from my local county courthouse. I recommend that you visit the county courthouse law library. If you have read this far, even if you decide not to change your status you will probably find it very interesting.

If you have a computer and a modem you can connect up to bulletin boards that are dedicated to the sovereignty issue. A very good bulletin board is located in California. The telephone number is 1-818-888-9882 and the line attributes are BAUD rate up to 14.4, Parity - none, Data bits - 8, Stop bits - 1. If you do not live in the 818 area code, it will cost you the toll charges. There is no charge for using the board. There is a file on there that contains the telephone numbers of other bulletin boards. Perhaps you can find a number with your area code so you can avoid the toll charges. The bulletin board has files pertaining to two subjects. The first is restoring the rights that you lost when you lost your state Citizenship. The second is trying to prevent the loss of more rights by opposing the New World Order, that is losing your US citizenship status to become a UN citizen. A word of warning must be given at this point. Some of the people who do basic legal research start out with some extremely unusual conspiracy theories that they try to prove. You may be offended at these theories. Time will tell if the conspiracies exist or not. Dispite this the research is very valuable.

ANTISHYSTER is a paper that is published six times a year. It is "A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM." This excellent publication is about 60 pages. The annual subscription is $25.00 but, if you order as a group (3 subscriptions or more at the same time) it is only $15.00. This is money well spent. You can reach them at (214) 418-8993 or send cash, check, or money order to: AntiShyster c/o P.O.B. 540786 Dallas, Texas 75354-0786. You can order by Visa or Master Card at (800) 477-5508.

The AMERICAN'S BULLETIN is a monthly newspaper that is dedicated to be "A VOICE OF OPPOSITION TO TYRANNY". It is printed in Oregon and is mailed across the nation. Accept for a few articles about unconventional ideas on alternative health care the newspaper seems to be exclusively dedicated to Citizenship. You can call them at 1-503-779-7709. The cost is $25.00 a year. You can get it shipped without a ZIP Code but it cost $30.00 because it will be shipped via first class mail. There are advanced topics that I have not described in this paper printed every month.

PERCEPTIONS is a magazine that is published four times a year. It has articles about Citizenship but it also has articles UFOs, Astrology, and alternative health strategies. The cost is $15.00 a year. You can reach them at: Perceptions, 11664 National Blvd., No. 314, Los Angeles, California 90064.

THE SPOTLIGHT is a newspaper that reports on the New World Order and how it is being implemented. You can reach them at 300 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003.

The LA Lawman is a television show that is broadcast on cable TV in California. You can by a copy of the 30 minute videotapes on issues relating to state Citizens and perhaps even get them broadcast in your area. You can reach The LA Lawman at 9245 Reseda Blvd Suite 450 Northridge CA 91324 or at (818) 366-6187.

There are many good books that you may want. LEGAL RESEARCH - How To Find and Understand the Law by attorneys Stephen Elias & Susan Levinkind is a good introduction to the law library. It is published by Nolo Press in 1992. It costs $16.95. Before getting this book, I was never in a law library but now, I can do legal research! <p>The FEDERALIST PAPERS by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay is published by Mentor. The paperback cost $5.99. This book can be downloaded from the bulletin board listed above. It contains more than 500 pages of arguments that Hamilton, Madison, and Jay wrote to be published in the local papers for the purpose of ratifying the Constitution. The Supreme Court sometimes quotes the Federalist Papers in its decisions. If you want to know what the Constitution means, then this is the book for you.

THE ANTI-FEDERALIST by the Opponents if the Constitution is published by The University of Chicago Press. The articles in this book were published in the local papers for the purpose of not ratifying the Constitution. It is not quite as good as the Federalist Papers but, it also determines what the framers of the constitution were thinking.

LIBERTY LIBRARY publishes a booklet that contains the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and a description of jurors rights. A single copy is $1.50; but if you buy 20 or more, the cost is only $0.50 a piece. I find it amazing that all through public school, I never read more than two paragraphs from any of these documents. Every child should have the opportunity to have a copy of this booklet. You can reach Liberty Library at 300 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20003.

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA by Alexis De Tocqueville is published by Anchor Books (DOUBLEDAY & COMPANY, INC.) De Tocqueville traveled around the United States of America in the 1830s & 1840s. He compared, in minute detail, the differences between how the American Republics were run and how the French Republic was run. If you want to see how the nation existed without income taxes and government bureaucracies, then this is the book for you. It is kind of long (almost 800 pages).

The Federal Zone by Mitch Modeleski can be downloaded from the bulletin board listed above. It describes in more detail how the federal government usurped power of the states by creating a federal zone that nearly swallowed the states. The IRS code is explained.

Invisible Contracts by George Mercier can be downloaded from the bulletin board listed above. This book describes the adhesion contracts that bind people into federal jurisdiction. It also about conspiracies by the New World Order people. It is written from the perspective of a Mormon. Mormon religious ideas are described in great detail and with great fervor. The information on adhesion contracts is very enlightening.

Conclusion

The ideas in this paper may be new to you. You may not believe them. You may like the federal system. If you have read this far, I hope you will see the government in a different light.

Let's restate the central premise of this paper.

The government recognizes two distinct classes of citizens: a state Citizen and a federal citizen. Each has different rights and responsibilities. State Citizens created the states who created the federal government who created federal citizens. Most people are born state Citizens and become federal citizens without their knowledge sometime after birth. You can reclaim your state Citizenship status through a legal procedure. If you remain a federal citizen, you will pay lots of taxes and have no rights. If you reclaim your state Citizenship status, you will have to learn about our legal system and you will have to change the way you bank, and save, and invest, and other aspects of modern living that probably taken for granted. But a state Citizen that knows the legal system has more control over his/her life.

Information is power. For decades the information, and the power, has been centralized by the government class. Today, the balance of power is shifting. As Citizens become more vigilant about government encroachments, the government's power is lessened. As the number of state Citizens mushrooms, you will hear about them in the press as the empire strikes back. This movement is not trying to change the system -- this is the way it works now! In fact, any attempt to change the Constitution via a constitutional convention or international treaty should be opposed strongly. Can you imagine what sort of constitution would be written if our current political leaders do the writing? Now you know what this movement is all about. Whether you decide to change your status is up to you.

Please send a copy of this paper to everybody that you think is smart enough to understand it.







ACLU fulfilling communist agenda

Every day, the headlines scream with some new threat from the American Civil Liberties Union. I believe it's important to look behind the curtain and discover the origins of groups and organizations to better understand their activities.

The ACLU was founded in the 1920s by Roger Baldwin and Crystal Eastman, described as a "progressive" and "the perfect feminist."

Earl Browder was general secretary of the Communist Party of the United States from 1930 through its dissolution in 1944. When the party was reconstituted as the Communist Political Association later that year, Browder was chosen as its president. Browder proudly proclaimed that the ACLU functioned as "a transmission belt" for the party. To deny the ACLU's founding was attached at the hip to communist organizations is to deny what can easily be proven as truth.

For the past few decades, the ACLU has been on a major crusade to destroy Christianity in America, promote filth under "freedom of speech and expression," and of course, vigorously defend the homosexual culture of death. On Jan. 10, 1963, Congressman Albert S. Herlong Jr., D-Fla., read a list of 45 communist goals into the Congressional Record. Below are the communist goals being implemented by the ACLU in their quest to destroy America's culture and traditions:

  • Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions, by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

  • Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

  • Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all form of artistic expression. An American communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings," substituting shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.

  • Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

  • Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio and television.

  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural and healthy."

  • Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."

  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the grounds that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

  • Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of "the big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the communists took over. Obliterating the American past, with its antecedents in principles of freedom, liberty and private ownership is a major goal of the communists then and now.

  • Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture – education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

  • Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

Anyone who has been following the destructive path of the ACLU can easily see how effective these communist goals have been implemented to "promote democracy" and protect your "civil rights." Lenin stated: "Communism alone is capable of providing really complete democracy." (See Tucker, "The Lenin Anthology"). James Madison, known as the "Father of the Constitution" had something different to say about a democracy:

Democracy is the most vile form of government ... democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

Perhaps it's time to recognize the ACLU as the American Communist Lawyers Union instead of their disingenuous "civil rights" stage name.

No organization can exist without memberships and funding. It is inconceivable to me how anyone who claims to be a Christian, lawyer or layman, could belong to such an anti-American organization as the ACLU. Burn your card and get out. Organizations like Working Assets, tobacco companies and big corporations all donate to the ACLU, which in turn uses that money to buy the favors of those who serve in Congress – who vote to unconstitutionally fund the activities of the ACLU under the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act of 1976.

If Americans really want to put the ACLU out of business, remove yourself as a member of their organization, boycott companies that donate to them and demand these public servants in Congress repeal the unconstitutional funding of this subversive organization.

There is no justification under Art. 1, Sec. 8, to steal from the people's treasury to give money to the ACLU or any other organization for "civil rights" lawsuits. Your Congress critter will be in your district during the month of December – make the most of it.






We hold these truths to be self-evident, that a whole lot of people were confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim that they require a Bill of No Rights.

ARTICLE I

You do not have the right to a new car, big-screen color TV or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II

You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone -- not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc., but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III

You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful, do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all of your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV

You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.

ARTICLE V

You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI

You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and kill you.

ARTICLE VII

You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big-screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII

You do not have the right to demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments and won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight if you'd like. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat.

ARTICLE IX

You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have one, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities in education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

ARTICLE X

You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness -- which, by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an overabundance of idiotic laws created by those around you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.
Copyright - Lewis W. Napper. All Rights Reserved.






White Paper on State Citizenship

T. Collins -- 10/04/94

Introduction

I was born a first class citizen. I entered into contracts that, without my knowledge, made me a second class citizen. I am working on the legal process of restoring my first class citizenship status.

I was surprised to find that the United States government recognized two distinct classes of citizens, let alone that my citizenship status had changed. At first I did not believe it. It was not until I learned how to use the law library in the county court house that I was able to confirm my status. I am not an attorney so this paper should not be considered as legal advice. It may be used for the basis of your own research. This paper does not have a copyright, so you can copy all or part of it. This paper borrows research from other papers without copyrights written by people across the nation. I will describe the big picture first, then I will substantiate the claims made and give a more detailed picture later.

You may find the ideas presented here conflict with the model of government that you have been taught. You may also find these ideas impossible to believe. This is understandable. The further you read, the more you may change the way you filter information about what the government is doing. If you cannot believe any of this, please set this paper aside. Sometime in the future, you may come back to this paper and it may make more sense. I believe that the concepts described here are true. But, you should not! If you accepted the ideas in this paper without confirming them from other sources, then you are a fool! If I can change your model of reality in one paper then someone else might be able to fill your head with nonsense. Please be skeptical. Even if you do not agree with the central premise, you may agree with some of the research. If so, you will still get something out of this paper. There are many Citizens doing research on the topics described in this paper. Some will sell the results of their research while others will practically give it away. This paper does not discuss some of the more advanced topics (Citizen militia, commercial liens, common law liens, common law trusts). At the end of this paper, I will supply you with the names of books, magazines, newspapers, computer bulletin boards that fill in some of the details that I have excluded.

The big picture

The United States of America is a unique nation. It was the first constitutional republic in the world. Before the American Revolution, the King of England owned all the land in his colonies. The inhabitants of the colonies were his subjects. When the war was over, the King signed the Treaty of Peace. In that treaty he said that all the land in the former colonies was owned by the people and all of his sovereign powers that he held in the colonies were transferred, not to the government of the colonies but, to the People of the colonies. This made all of the Citizens of the colonies sovereigns. This has never happened before or since in any other country. In other countries, the government is sovereign. It makes laws for its subject-citizens and it gives them their rights. In the United States, the People were sovereigns. The People were endowed, by their creator, with certain rights and the government was instituted to secure those rights. We the People, gave a portion of our sovereignty to the state government, and the states gave a small portion of the sovereignty we gave to them, to the federal government so that it would be strong enough to defend the People. The Constitution for the United States of America describes the powers that the states gave to the federal government.

If the federal government is defined by the Constitution, and the Constitution says that I am a sovereign, why do I feel like a subject? I own my house. If I don't pay my property tax the government will go to a court and remove me from it just as the courts would remove me from an apartment if I did not pay the rent. Do I really own the land if someone can take it away from me simply because I don't pay them for the use of it? Could the King of England have the land taken away from him if he did not pay a tax? So long as I don't cause injury to someones person or property or defraud them shouldn't I, as a sovereign, have the right to do anything I want? Today there are so many rules and regulations that the government has that I think nearly everything I do is against some law. What has happened to my sovereignty? Isn't the government sovereign over me? Are there any sovereign People left in the United States of America?

There are hundreds of thousands of sovereigns in the United States of America but I am not one of them. The sovereigns own their land in "allodium." That is, the government does not have a financial interest in the their land. Because of this they do not need to pay property tax (school tax, real estate tax). Only the powers granted to the federal government in the Constitution for the United States of America define the laws that they have to follow. This is a very small subset of the laws most of us have to follow. Unless they accept benefits from or contract with the federal government, they do not have to pay Social Security tax, federal income tax, or resident individual state income tax. They do not need to register their cars or get a driver's license unless they drive commercially. They will not have to get a Health Security Card. They can own any kind of gun without a license or permit. They do not have to use the same court system that normal people do. I am sure that most people reading this are saying to themselves that this can not be true. I know I did when I first heard of it.

The government recognizes two distinct classes of citizens: a state Citizen and a federal citizen.

A state Citizen, also called a de jure Citizen, is an individual whose inalienable natural rights are recognized, secured, and protected by his/her state Constitution against State actions and against federal intrusion by the Constitution for the United States of America.

A federal citizen, also called: a 14th Amendment citizen, a citizen of the United States, a US citizen, a citizen of the District of Columbia, has civil rights that are almost equal to the natural rights that state Citizens have. I say almost because civil rights are created by Congress and can be taken away by Congress. Federal citizens are subjects of Congress, under their protection as a "resident" of a State, a person enfranchised to the federal government (the incorporated United States defined in Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution). The individual States may not deny to these persons any federal privileges or immunities that Congress has granted them. This specific class of citizen is a federal citizen under admiralty law (International Law). As such they do not have inalienable common rights recognized, secured and protected in the Constitutions of the States, or of the Constitution for the United States of America, such as "allodial" (absolute) rights to property, the rights to inheritance, the rights to work and contract, and the right to travel among others.

A federal citizen is a taxable entity like a corporation, and is subject to pay an excise tax for the privileges that Congress has granted him/her.

The rights that most people believe they have are not natural rights but civil rights which are actually privileges granted by Congress. Some of these civil rights parallel the protection of the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution), but by researching the civil rights act along with case law decisions involving those rights, it can be shown that these so-called civil rights do not include the Ninth or Tenth Amendments and have only limited application with regard to Amendments One through Eight.

If you accept any benefit from the federal government or you claim any civil right, you are making an "adhesion contract" with the federal government. You may not be aware of any adhesion contracts but the courts are. The other aspect of such a contract is that you will obey every statute that Congress passes.

State Citizens cannot be subjected to any jurisdiction of law outside the Common Law without their knowing and willing consent after full disclosure of the terms and conditions, and such consent must be under agreement/contract sealed by signature. This is because the Constitution is a compact/contract created and existing in the jurisdiction of the Common Law, therefore, any rights secured thereunder or disabilities limiting the powers of government also exist in the Common Law, and in no other jurisdiction provided for in that compact!

Federal citizens are presumed to be operating in the jurisdiction of commercial law because that is the jurisdiction of their creator -- Congress. This is evidenced by the existence of various contracts and the use of negotiable instruments. All are products of international law or commercial law[Uniform Commercial Code]. Under Common Law your intent is important; in a court of contract (commercial law) the only thing that matters is that you live up to the letter of the contract. Because you have adhesion contracts with Congress, you can not use the Constitution or Bill of Rights as a defense because it is irrelevant to the contract. As stated previously, the contract says you will obey every statute passed by Congress. A federal citizen does not have access to Common Law.

To restate: state Citizens are bound and protected by the Constitution, like the founding fathers intended and like we are taught in school what citizenship means. Federal citizens have made further agreements with the federal government and are bound by these contracts.

The Constitution empowers the Federal Government to;

Operate on behalf of the several States in dealing with foreign relations and matters of treaties, trade agreements, etc., under the purview of International Law.

Exercise limited constitutional jurisdiction to interact with the several States in regulating trade, commerce, etc., between the States to insure equitable continuance of the compact.

Exercise exclusive jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, the Territories, and enclaves, in the same manner that a state exercises jurisdiction within its boundaries.

Rights are considered gifts from the Creator, and not to be disturbed by acts of man. Some of these rights were considered important enough to be specifically stated to be secured from Federal encroachment in the Bill of Rights, upon the theory that these rights existed long antecedent to the creation of the nation, and the theory that a government, left to its own devices without restriction, could and would use man made law to defeat the liberty that this Republic was intended to represent.

I was born in one of the several states, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, so why am I not a state Citizen? The answer is that I was born a state Citizen but, I unknowingly gave it up to become a federal citizen so that I could receive benefits from the federal government. Some of the benefits that I received were: a Social Security Number, receiving mail sent to the state of PA, receiving mail with ZIP Codes, having FDIC insurance on the money left in a bank, and using Federal Reserve Notes (dollar bills) without protest. This sounds crazy. Would you give away sovereign powers for benefits like these?

If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you are not a state Citizen. In the near future, I will send papers into the District of Columbia stating that I am recinding my application for a SSN. If I had known that applying for a SSN would affect my citizenship status, I would not have applied. I found out that Social Security is voluntary and that I can work without a SSN.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth is one of the "several states" described in the Constitution. The "several states" were severed from each other. The law treats the several states as independent countries. The Buck Act in 1940 created federal areas inside the states. If you live in a federal area, you are subject to federal territorial laws and the municipal laws of the District of Columbia. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is internal to the District of Columbia. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth is not part of the District of Columbia, but the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is. PA is the name that the post office recognizes for mail sent into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is a federal area. Pa., Penna., and Pennsylvania are the names that the post office uses for mail sent into the Pennsylvania Commonwealth, which is not a federal area. If I accept mail sent to PA, I am saying that I live in part of the District of Columbia. The same situation exists in the other states.

Your ZIP Code determines which ZIP Code region you live in. ZIP Code regions are federal areas. The IRS has adopted the ZIP Code regions as IRS regions. If you accept mail that has a ZIP Code on it, you are in a federal territory and thus subject to the IRS and all other municipal laws of the District of Columbia.

I find the most offensive trick to get me to lose my sovereignty was that if I do not protest using the only legal tender in America, the Federal Reserve Notes (FRN), also know as U.S. Dollars, I am receiving a benefit. This is a complicated trick that I will explain in detail later.

Of course there are many other benefits that many people use that the sovereigns cannot. Among these are Social Security checks, welfare checks, food stamps, federally insured bank accounts, Medicaid, Medicare, and sending children to publicly funded schools.

I am not trying to get everybody to give up government benefits. If you wish to support and be supported by the federal government, much like people in other countries do, then by all means, go ahead and do so. But, if you wish to be a sovereign protected by the Bill of Rights and not pay many of the taxes that you are paying now but also not receive benefits, then there is an alternative. It is not an easy alternative. The law makers want control over you. They have made the legal system complex. It takes years for attorneys to learn the language and procedures of our legal system. Fortunately you do not need to know everything an attorney needs to know. You do need to have a basic understanding of how our legal system works. You may be surprised that it bears little resemblance to television courtroom dramas.

I also must warn you that reclaiming your state Citizenship status may have negative effects on your life. Besides the lack of benefits, such as unemployment checks, you are treated more harshly if you get convicted of a common law crime if you are a state Citizen. If you get convicted of rape and you are a federal citizen, you may get five years in an air conditioned prison with cable TV and three meals a day. If a state Citizen gets convicted, by a common law jury, of rape, he could be put to death.

All of the information describing how the United States really works and how it is supposed to work was so spread out that few people could see the big picture. The communication revolution has changed this. Computer bulletin boards across the country provided a means to share research. Tax protesters, ranchers, religious people, historians, gun owners, and others have all found pieces of the puzzle. Perhaps there are more pieces to find.

These researchers started on different legal threads. They followed and untangled the threads until they reached the source; The Constitution for the United States of America. The surprising thing is that the researchers did not know about each other but they each came to similar conclusions. Some of the minor details are being debated by researchers. The overall conclusions are described in this paper. Some of their research is not described here. The longer this paper is, the more unlikely it is that people unfamiliar with this subject will even attempt to read it.

If every Citizen in the colonies became a sovereign, how could any Citizen lose their sovereignty? The Citizens of each of the several states in the Union were sovereigns. But the people in a territory or in the District of Columbia were not because the territories and the District of Columbia were not in the Union. Congress had/has exclusive legislative control over these areas. The states were governed by a "constitutional republic" while the territories were ruled by a "legislative democracy". In a legislative democracy the citizens have no rights except what Congress gives them. In the constitutional republics, the Citizens have rights given to them by their Creator and Congress is the Citizens servant. This is why Citizens, having left a state to buy or conquer land from the native Americans, would apply for statehood as soon as possible.

How is it that someone who was born in and has lived in a state all his/her life can be treated like a citizen of the District of Columbia? There has been a series of steps that Congress has made to convert the state Citizens into federal citizens. Over the years, our laws have been made unreadable by the average intelligent person. The 14th Amendment was illegally passed creating a federal citizen who can not question the federal debt. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 turned over our money to a private banking cartel. Social Security created Social Security Districts (or territories) in which people with SSN lived. The Buck Act created federal areas inside the states. Let's describe each of these steps in detail.

Reasons I believe this

To show that Congress has made the laws unreadable by the average person, an objective method of measuring the readability of English text must be discussed. English scholars use a scale known as the "Flesch Index" that measures the level of understanding necessary for an individual to comprehend the written English language. Newspapers are written at an average comprehension level of 7. The average high school graduate reads and understands at a level of 10. The average law school graduate reads and comprehends at a level of 15. The Internal Revenue Code ranks on this index at an average level of 31, with some specific provisions as high as 55. And the words that are used in the law have specific legal definitions that are different from the common English definitions. If the laws that we are supposed to obey are written at a level that an individual of reasonable intelligence cannot understand then perhaps we should be highly suspect of the law writer's motives. My word processor's grammar checker tells me that this paper is written at level 11.5. People in this country cannot understand at this level. How many people have the time, energy, and ability to go into a law library and piece this together? By making the law so difficult to read, Congress has effectively removed our access to it.

To show how the government uses common English words in such a way that they have meanings that are different from what you might think, I will show how the word 'state' is redefined. In the IRS code, it says you are subject to the income tax if you live in: one of the states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Quam, or the northern Marranara Islands. From this definition it sounds as if I need to pay income tax. But, if you look at how the IRS defines the word state you probably will be confused. In the definition of the word state, it uses the word state. If you check this definition in years back you will see it has been modified several times. Before Alaska was admitted into the Union, it was in this list of states. After it became one of the states of the Union, it was not listed in the IRS definition of a state. The same thing happened to Hawaii. What does this mean? The definition that is used in the IRS code for the word state, is not a state like Texas but a state like Quam, that is a federal territory. The Federal Zone is a book listed in the other source's section of this paper describes this and other words that have specific legal definitions that are, sometimes, the opposite of the common definition.

So far I have stated some unconventional ideas. To substantiate them I will cite standing decisions made by the courts and statutes passed by Congress. Unless the decision or statute is in quotation marks, it has been paraphrased. Please look up the decision or statutes to verify my paraphrase. At the end of this paper, I will give the names of books and publications that give more information on the subject. One of the books will teach you how to find and understand the law.

"People of a state are entitled to all rights which formerly belonged to the king by his prerogative." Lansing v. Smith, 21 D. 89.

"At the revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects, and have none to govern but themselves: the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty." Chisholm Exp v. Georgia (US) 2 Dale 419, 454; I L Ed 440, 445 @DALL 1793 pp 471-472.

"as general rule men have natural right to do anything which their inclinations may suggest, if it be not evil in itself, and in no way impairs the rights of others." In Re Newman (1925), 71 C.A. 386, 235 P. 664.

"The United States government is a foreign corporation with respect to a state." In re Merriam, 36 N.E. 505, 141 N.Y. 479, affirmed 16 S.Ct. 1073, 163 U.S. 625, 41 L.Ed. 287; 20 C.J.S., Section 1785. Title 28, United States Code, Section 297 defines the several States of the union as being "freely associated compact states" in subsection (a), and then refers to these freely associated compact states as being "countries" in subsection(b). Did you know that the individual states were considered to be foreign countries to the United States and to each other?

In 1818, the Supreme Court stated that "In the United States of America, there are two (2) separated and distinct jurisdictions, such being the jurisdiction of the states within their own state boundaries, and the other being federal jurisdiction (United States), which is limited to the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and federal enclaves within the states, under Article I, Section 8, Clause 17." U.S. v. Bevans, 16 U.S. (3 WHEAT) 336 (1818), reaff. 19 U.S.C.A., section 1401(h).

When Congress is operating in its exclusive jurisdiction over the District of Columbia, the Territories, and enclaves, it is important to remember that it has full authority to enact legislation as private acts pertaining to its boundaries, and it is not a state of the union of States because it exists solely by virtue of the compact/constitution that created it. The constitution does not say that the District of Columbia must guarantee a Republican form of Government to its own subject citizens within its territories. (See Hepburn & Dundas v. Ellzey, 6 US. 445(1805); Glaeser v. Acacia Mut. Life Ass'n., 55 F. Supp., 925 (1944); Long v. District of Columbia, 820 F.2d 409 (D.C. Cir. 1987); Americana of Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Kaplus, 368 F.2d 431 (1966), among others).

"The idea prevails with some -- indeed, it found expression in arguments at the bar -- that we have in this country substantially or practically two national governments; one, to be maintained under the Constitution, with all its restrictions; the other to be maintained by Congress outside and independently of that instrument, by exercising such powers as other nations of the earth are accustomed to exercise." Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, supra.

The Constitution provides limited powers to federal government over the state Citizens. The federal government has unlimited powers over federal citizens because it is acting outside of the Constitution. Administrative laws are private acts and are not applicable to state Citizens. The Internal Revenue Code is administrative law.

"We are a republic. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of democracy." - Alexander Hamilton.

The origin of the federal citizen

So far I have not given any proof that the government actually recognizes two distinct classes of citizens. I will give that evidence now by describing the 13th and 14th Amendments.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime. The Supreme Court ruled that the 13th Amendment operated to free former slaves and prohibit slavery, but it in no way conferred citizenship to the former slaves, or to those of races other than white, because the founders of the Constitution were all of the white race.

The federal government did not have the authority to determine if former slaves could become a Citizen of one of the several states because the 9th and 10th Amendments said that powers not granted specifically to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the People. History shows that the Pennsylvania Commonwealth and New York State were nationalizing blacks as State Citizens. In other states blacks were not Citizens and therefore did not have standing in any court. The answer to this problem was the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment used the term "citizen of the United States." The courts have ruled that this means federal citizenship which is similar to a citizen of the District of Columbia. Since the federal government didn't step in and tell Pennsylvania or New York that it couldn't make State Citizens out of former black slaves, an argument could be made that the 14th Amendment was written primarily to afford [voluntary] citizenship to those of the black race that were recently freed by the 13th Amendment (Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, 71), and did not include Indians and others NOT born in and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (McKay v. Cambell, 2 Sawy. 129), Thus, the Amendment recognized that "an individual can be a Citizen of one of the several States without being a citizen of the United States," (U.S. v. Anthony, 24 Fed. Cas. 829, 830), or, "a citizen of the United States without being a Citizen of a State." (Slaughter-House Cases, supra; cf. U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 US 542, 549 (1875)).

To restate: In the Slaughter-House Cases, supra the Court said: "It is quite clear, then, that there is a citizenship of the United States and a citizenship of a state, which are distinct from each other and which depend upon different characteristics or circumstances of the individual. . . . Of the privileges and immunities of the citizens of the United States and of the privileges and immunities of the citizen of the state, and what they respectfully are, we will presently consider; but we wish to state here that it is only the former which are placed by this clause under the protection of the Federal Constitution, and the latter, whatever they may be, are not intended to have any additional protection by this paragraph of the amendment."

The court has also ruled that "The term United States is a metaphor [a figure of speech]". Cunard S.S Co. V. Mellon, 262 US 100, 122; and that "The term 'United States' may be used in one of several senses. It may be merely the name of a sovereign occupying the position analogous to that of sovereign in a family of nations. It may designate territory over which sovereignty of the United States extends, or it may be a collective name of the states which are united by and under the Constitution." Hooven & Allison Co. v. Evatt, 324 US 652, 672-73.

Did the Courts really say that someone could be a Citizen of a State without being a citizen of the United States? Yes, they did. It's true that the cases cited above are old, some over 100 years old. None of these cases have ever been overturned by a more recent decision, so they are valid. A more recent case is Crosse v. Bd. of Supervisors, 221 A.2d 431 (1966) which says: "Both before and after the Fourteenth Amendment to the federal Constitution, it has not been necessary for a person to be a citizen of the United States in order to be a citizen of his state." Citing U.S. v. Cruikshank, supra.

The courts presume you to be a federal citizen, without even telling you that there are different classes of citizens. It is up to you dispute this. "Unless the defendant can prove he is not a citizen of the United States, the IRS has the right to inquire and determine a tax liability." U.S. v. Slater, 545 Fed. Supp. 179,182 (1982).

In 1866, Congress passed the first civil rights act which only applied to the District of Columbia and other federal territories. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was proclaimed to be passed. At this point the number of subjects that the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction over increased to all of the former slaves that had not become state Citizens.

There are many reasons why I do not like the 14th Amendment. The first is that is was never ratified!

"I cannot believe that any court in full possession of all its faculties, would ever rule that the (14th) Amendment was properly approved and adopted." State v. Phillips, 540 P.2d. 936; Dyett v. Turner, 439 P.2d. 266. (The court in this case was the Utah Supreme Court.)

Further, in 1967, Congress tried to repeal the 14th Amendment on the ground that it is invalid, void, and unconstitutional. CONGRESSIONAL RECORD -- HOUSE, June 13, 1967, pg. 15641. The nine pages of argument that are recorded here detail the infirmities that prove that the 14th Amendment was never properly ratified, and thus is no law!

The 14th Amendment reads in pertinent part, "All persons, born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside....The validity of the public debt of the United States...shall not be questioned."

There is a wealth of deception in the above wording, because of sheer number of words that have specific or multiple meanings in law depending upon how they are used.

Go the part "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." The word the is used in a singular form, not the plural, as is the word jurisdiction. If Congress meant the several States, rather that the District of Columbia, it would have been more correct to say "and subject to their jurisdictions."

In addition, a new pecking order is established with the phrase. "are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

If you research the terms "resident" and "legal residence", you find that it is the nexus that binds us all to the State and federal enforcement of commercial law statutes today. "Resident" is the short form of "Resident Alien" and is used in State statutes to mean someone who exhibits actual presence in an area belonging to one nation while retaining a domicile/citizenship status within another foreign nation [The United States/District of Columbia]. The term "legal residence" further indicates that these two terms may be applied either to a geographical jurisdiction, or, a political jurisdiction. An individual may reside in one or the other, or in both at the same time. In California, Government Code, section 126, sets forth the essential elements of a compact between this State and the federal government allowing reciprocal taxation of certain entities, and provide for concurrent jurisdiction within geographical boundaries.

Both state Citizens and federal citizens are Americans. US citizens are "domiciled" in the District of Columbia and are privileged alien to the state wherein the reside and state Citizens are domiciled in their state and not aliens in their state. They also do not reside in their state; they are Citizens of the state. The distinction may seem insignificant to you but it is not to the court. A state Citizen has the right to travel in each of the 50 states. He/she can file papers at any county courthouse in any state and become a Citizen of that state.

Most of the federal statute laws do not apply to Citizens of a state. If the authority for the statute can be found in the organic Constitution, then the statute is of a National character, as it applies to both state Citizens and aliens.

"Upon introducing the provisions which eventually became 18 U.S.C. 242, its sponsor, Senator Stewart, explicitly stated that the bill protected all 'persons'... He noted that the bill 'simply extends to foreigners, not citizens, the protection of our laws'." United States v. Otherson, 480 F.Supp. 1369, 1373 (1979). What could this mean? Well, it implies that Citizens of a state already had the protections introduced by this statute, but it extended to foreigners this protection also. What is a "foreigner" if they are not also an "alien"?

Privileges granted by the sovereign (governments) in their capacity to license (condone) what might otherwise be illegal are always taxable and regulatable. Rights such as those envisioned by the founding fathers are not taxable or regulatable because they are exercises of the common right that could be completely destroyed by government through taxation and/or regulation. These are maxims of law so well established that they are irrefutable. For example, look to Frost & Frost Trucking v. Railroad Commission of California, 271 U.S. 583, 70 L.Ed. 1101 (1925).

Now, in 1868, we have a class of citizenship created [14th Amendment] which is "subject" by grant of privilege from a sovereign power [federal Congress] exercising exclusive authority to govern its territory under Article I, sect. 8, cl. 17 of the Constitution. Federal citizens are created by Congress. It is self-evident that all state Citizens are created equal; that they are endowed, by their creator, with certain inalienable rights, and that governments are instituted to secure these rights.

It is also a self-evident truth that the sovereign creator can never create an entity (government) and assign it more power than what the creator possesses to begin with. Further, the Constitution for the United States of America did not repeal the Articles of Confederation, it was only intended "to make a more perfect union." Therefore, it logically follows that the creator did not purposely intend to alter their status as MASTER to accept a role as SERVANT to its own creation. This is plainly shown throughout the Constitution, but especially set forth in the Tenth Amendment. (cf. United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 124 (1941); Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958))

"The right to tax and regulate the national citizenship is an inherent right under the rule of the Law of Nations, which is part of the law of the United States, as described in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17." The Luisitania, 251 F.715, 732. And, "This jurisdiction extends to citizens of the United States, wherever resident, for the exercise of the privileges and immunities and protections of [federal] citizenship." Cook v. Tait, (1924) 265 U.S. 37,44 S.Ct 447, 11 Virginia Law Review, 607."

The right of trial by jury in civil cases, guaranteed by the 7th Amendment (walker v. Sauvinet, 92 U.S. 90), and the right to bear arms, guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment (presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252), have been distinctly held not to be privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States guaranteed by the 14th Amendment against abridgment by the states, and in effect the same decision was made in respect of the guarantee against prosecution, except by indictment of a grand jury, contained in the 5th Amendment (Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516), and in respect of the right to be confronted with witnesses, contained in the 6th Amendment." West v. Louisianna, 194 U.S. 258.

The privileges and immunities [civil rights] of the 14th Amendment citizens were derived [taken] from....the Constitution, but are not identical to those referred to in Article IV, sect. 2 of the Constitution [which recognizes the existence of state Citizens who were not citizens of the United States because there was no such animal in 1787]. Plainly spoken, RIGHTS considered to be grants from our creator are clearly different from the "civil rights" that were granted by Congress to its own brand of franchised citizen in the 14th Amendment.

"A 'civil right' is a right given and protected by law [man's law], and a person's enjoyment thereof is regulated entirely by law that creates it." Nickell v. Rosenfield, (1927) 82 CA 369, 375, 255 P. 760.

Title 42 of the USC contains the Civil Rights laws. It says "Rights under 42 USCS section 1983 are for citizens of the United States and not of state. Wadleigh v. Newhall (1905, CC Cal) 136 F 941."

In summary, what we are talking about here is a Master-Servant relationship. Prior to the 14th Amendment, there were state Citizens and non-citizens. State Citizens were the masters in the relationship to government. After the 14th Amendment was declared to be passed, a new class of citizenship was created, which is both privileged and servant [subject] to the creator [the federal government].

How state Citizens were converted into federal citizens

In order for the federal government to tax a Citizen of one of the several states, it had to create some sort of contractual nexus. This contractual nexus is the Social Security Number (SSN).

In 1935, the federal government instituted Social Security. The Social Security Board then created 10 Social Security "Districts." The combination of these "Districts" resulted in a "Federal Area", a fictional jurisdiction, which covered all of the several states like a clear plastic overlay.

In 1939, the federal government instituted the "Public Salary Tax Act of 1939." This Act is a municipal law of the District of Columbia for taxing all federal government employees and those who live and work in any "Federal Area." Now the government knows it cannot tax those state Citizens who live and work outside the territorial jurisdiction of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 2 in the Constitution for the United States of America; also known as the ten square miles of the District of Columbia and territories and enclaves. So, in 1940, Congress passed the "Buck Act" now found in 4 U.S.C. Sections 105-113. In Section 110(e), this Act authorized any department of the federal government to create a "Federal Area" for imposition of the "Public Salary Tax Act of 1939." This tax is imposed at 4 U.S.C. Section 111. The rest of the taxing law is found in the Internal Revenue Code. The Social Security Board had already created a "Federal Area" overlay. U.S.C. Title 4 is as follows:

Sec. 110(d): The term "State" includes any territory or possession of the United States.

Sec. 110(e): The term "Federal Area" means any lands or premises held or acquired by or for the use of the United states or any department, establishment, or agency of the United states; and any federal area, or any part thereof, which is located within the exterior boundaries of any State, shall be deemed to be a federal area located within such State.

Under the Provisions of Title 4, Section 105, the federal "State" (also known as, "The State of...") is imposing an excise tax. That section states, in pertinent part:

Sec. 105: State, and so forth, taxation affecting Federal areas; sales or use tax.

(a) No person shall be relieved from the liability for payment of, collection of, or accounting for any sales or use tax levied by any State, or any duly constituted taxing authority therein, having jurisdiction to levy such tax, on the ground that the sales or use, with respect to which such tax is levied, occurred in whole or in part within a Federal area; and such State or taxing authority shall have full jurisdiction to levy such a tax, by reason of his residing within a Federal area or receiving income from transactions occurring or services performed in such area; and such State or taxing authority shall have full jurisdiction and power to levy and collect such tax in any Federal area within such a State to the same extent and with the same effect as though such area was not a Federal area.



NOTE: Irrespective of what the tax is called, if its purpose is to produce revenue, it is an income tax or a receipts tax under the Buck Act [4 U.S.C. Secs. 105-110]. See Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Calvert, 464 SW 2d. 170 (1971), affd (Tex) 478 SW 2d. 926, cert. den. 409 U.S. 967, 34 L.Ed. 2d 234, 93 S.Ct. 293.

For purposes of further explanation, a Federal area can include the Social Security areas designated by the Social Security Administration; any public housing that has federal funding; a home that has a federal (or Federal reserve) loan; a road that has federal funding; schools and colleges (public or private) that receive (direct or indirectly) federal funding, and virtually everything that the federal government touches through any type of direct or indirect aid. See Springfield v. Kenny, 104 N.E. 2d. 65 (1951 app.) This "Federal area" is attached to anyone who has a Social Security number or any personal contact with the federal or State government. (That is, of course, with the exception of those who have been defrauded through the tenets of an Unrevealed Contract to "accept" compelled benefits. Which includes me and perhaps you.) Through this mechanism, the federal government usurped the Sovereignty of the People, as well as the Sovereignty of the several states by creating "Federal areas" within the authority of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 in the Constitution for the United States of America which states:

"The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States, and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United states, or of any particular State."

Therefore, all U.S. citizens [i.e. citizens of the District of Columbia] residing in one of the states of the Union, are classified as property and franchisees of the federal government, and as an "individual entity." See Wheeling Steel Corp. v. Fox 298 U.S. 193, 80 L.Ed. 1143, 56 S.Ct. 773. Under the "Buck Act," 4 U.S.C Secs. 105-113, the federal government has created a "Federal area" within the boundaries of the several states. This area is similar to any territory that the federal government acquires through purchase, conquest or treaty, thereby imposing federal territorial law upon the people in this "Federal area." Federal territorial law is evidenced by the Executive Branch's Admiralty flag (a federal flag with a gold or yellow fringe on it) flying in schools, offices and courtrooms.

To enjoy the freedoms secured by the federal and state constitutions, you must live on the land in one of the states of the Union of several states, not in any "Federal area." Nor can you be involved in any activity that makes you subject to "federal laws." You cannot have a valid Social Security Number, a "resident" State driver's license, a motor vehicle registered in your name, a bank account in a federally insured bank, or any other known "contract implied in fact" that would place you in this "Federal area" and thus within the territorial jurisdiction of the municipal laws of Congress. Remember, all acts of Congress are territorial in nature and can only apply within the territorial jurisdiction of Congress. See American Banana Co. v. United fruit Co., 213 U.S. 347, 356-357 (1909); U.S. v. Spelar, 338 U.S. 217, 222, 94 L.Ed. 3, 70 S.Ct. 402 (1925).

This is not easy to do! Most banks are federally insured. It may be inconvenient to bank at an institution that is not federally insured. There are many things that become a little more difficult to do without a SSN, driver's licenses, or a ZIP Code.

There has been created a fictional federal "State (of) within a state." See Howard v. Sinking Fund of Louisville, 344 U.S. 624, 73 S.Ct. 465, 476, 97 L.Ed. 617 (1953); Schwarts v. O'Hara TP School District, 100 A 2d. 621, 625, 375, Pa. 440. Compare also 31 C.F.R. Parts 51.2 and 52.2, which also identify a fictional State within a state. This fictional "State" is identified by the use of two-letter abbreviations like "PA", "NJ", "AZ", and "DE", etc., as distinguished from the authorized abbreviations for the sovereign States: "Pa.", "N.J.", "Ariz.", and "Del." The fictional States also use ZIP Codes that are within the municipal, exclusive legislative jurisdiction of Congress. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth is one of the several States. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, also known as PA, is a subdivision of the District of Columbia. If you accept postal matter sent to PA, and/or with a ZIP Code, the Courts say that this is evidence that you are a federal citizen or a resident. Use of the Zip Code is voluntary. See Domestic Mail Service Regulations, Section 122.32. The Postal service cannot discriminate against the non-use of the ZIP Code. See Postal Reorganization Act, Section 403, (Public Law 91-375).



The IRS has adopted the ZIP Code areas as Internal Revenue Districts. See the Federal Register, Volume 51, Number 53, Wednesday March 19, 1986. The acceptance of mail with a ZIP Code is one of the requirements for the IRS to have jurisdiction to send you notices.

When you apply for a Social Security Number, you are telling the federal government that you are repudiating your state Citizenship in order to apply for the benefits of citizenship in the federal Nation. Granting a Social Security number is prima facie evidence that no matter what you were before, you have voluntarily entered into a voyage for profit or gain in negotiable instruments and maritime enterprise. This is the system that has been set up over the years to restrict, control, and destroy our personal and economic liberties. Our legal system is very complicated and you may not understand how it works. I believe that this is intentional.

Common law versus commercial law

Besides the municipal laws for federal territory like the District of Columbia, the Constitution specifies three other types of law: Common Law, Equity Law, and Admiralty Law.

Common Law is criminal law. Equity Law deals with written contracts and is civil law. Admiralty Law deals with international contracts and has both criminal and civil penalties.

A cursory review of the Uniform Commercial Code proves that it was codified to replace the Negotiable Instrument Laws. Further research reveals that the Negotiable Instrument Laws have their foundation in the jurisdiction of Admiralty Law (Maritime Law -- law of the sea), and, the U.C.C. has come to be known in law as the substantive common law. (Bank v. Moore, 201 Ala. 411, 78 So. 789) This substantive common law has also been directly tied to the jurisdiction of the Law Merchant [International Law]. (Miller v. Miller, 296 SW.2d 648).

Under the Common Law, every contract must be entered into knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally by both parties or it is void and unenforceable. Common Law contracts must also be based on substance. For example, contracts used to read, "For one dollar and other valuable considerations, I will paint your house, etc." That was a valid contract...the dollar was a genuine silver dollar. Now suppose you wrote a contract that said "For one Federal Reserve Note and other considerations..." And suppose, for example, I painted your house the wrong color. Could you go into a Common Law court and get justice? No, you could not. You see, a Federal Reserve Note is a "colorable" dollar, as it has no substance, and in a Common Law jurisdiction, that contract would be unenforceable.

The word colorable means something that appears to be genuine but is not. If it looks like a dollar, and spends like a dollar but is not redeemable for lawful money (silver or gold) it is colorable. If a federal Reserve Note is used in a contract, then the contract becomes a colorable contract. And colorable contracts must be enforced under a colorable jurisdiction. So by creating Federal Reserve Notes, the government had to create a jurisdiction to cover the kinds of contracts that use them. We now have what is called Statutory Jurisdiction which is not a genuine Admiralty Jurisdiction. It is colorable Admiralty Jurisdiction the judges are enforcing because we are using colorable money.

This government set up a "colorable" law system to fit the colorable currency. It used to be called the Law Merchant or the Law of Redeemable instruments because it dealt with paper that was redeemable in something of substance. But, once Federal Reserve Notes had become unredeemable, there had to be a system of law which was completely colorable from start to finish. This system of law was codified as the Uniform Commercial Code, and has been adopted in every state.

One difference between Common Law and the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is that in Common Law, contracts must be entered into: knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally. Under the UCC, this is not so. First of all, contracts are unnecessary. Under this new law, "agreements" can be binding, and if you only exercise the benefits of an "agreement," it is presumed or implied that you intend to meet the obligations associated with those benefits. If you accept a benefit offered by government, then you are obligated to follow, to the letter, each and every statute involved with that benefit. The trick has been to get everybody exercising benefits that they don't believe they can live without.

One "benefit" that I accepted was the privilege of discharging debt with limited liability, instead of paying debt. When I pay a debt, I give substance for substance. If I buy a quart of milk with a silver dollar, that dollar bought the milk, and the milk bought the dollar -- substance for substance. But if I used a Federal Reserve Note to buy the milk, I have not paid for it. There is no substance in the Federal Reserve Note. It is worthless paper given in exchange for something of substantive value. Congress offers this benefit. Debt money, created by the federal United States, can be spent all over the continental united States; it will be legal tender for all debts, public and private, and the limited liability is that I cannot be sued for not paying my debts. It's as if they have said, "We're going to help you out, and you can discharge your debts instead of paying your debts." When I use this colorable money to discharge my debts, I cannot use a Common Law court. I can only use a colorable court. It would appear that I am stuck. If the only legal tender is colorable money, then if I use any legal tender, then the only court that is available to me is a colorable court. But there is a way out.

Volume 1, Section 207 of the Uniform Commercial Code states "The making of a valid Reservation of Rights preserves whatever rights the person then possesses, and prevents the loss of such rights by application of concepts of waiver or estoppel." (UCC 1-207.7) It also says "When a waivable right or claim is involved, the failure to make a reservation thereof, causes a loss of the right, and bars its assertion at a later date." (UCC 1-207.4) It also says "The Sufficiency of the Reservation--Any expression indicating an intention to reserve such rights, is sufficient, such as "without prejudice." (UCC 1-207.4)

Whenever I sign any legal paper that deals with Federal Reserve Notes--in any way, shape or manner--under my signature I write, or stamp: "Without Prejudice UCC 1-207." When I use "without prejudice UCC 1-207" in connection with my signature, I am saying: "I reserve my right not to be compelled to perform under any contract or commercial agreement that I did not enter knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally. And furthermore, I do not accept the liability of the compelled benefit of any unrevealed contract or commercial agreement." Some people use a rubber stamp that says "DISCHARGED WITHOUT PREJUDICE UCC 1-207" on every Federal Reserve Note that pass through their hands. I do not think this is necessary.

What is the compelled performance of an unrevealed commercial agreement? When I use Federal Reserve Notes instead of silver dollars, is it voluntary? No. There is no lawful money, so I have to use Federal Reserve Notes--I have to accept the benefit. The government has given me the benefit to discharge my debts with limited liability. Therefore discharging my debts instead of paying my debts is a compelled benefit.

The Uniform Commercial Code says in Volume 1, Section 103.6: "The Code is complimentary to the Common Law, which remains in force, except where displaced by the code. A statute should be construed in harmony with the Common Law, unless there is a clear legislative intent to abrogate the Common Law." It also says: "The Code cannot be read to preclude a Common Law action."

Most court proceedings today are under a colorable Admiralty jurisdiction also known as Statutory jurisdiction. In Admiralty jurisdiction, "The technical niceties of the common law are not regarded...", 1 R.C.L. 31, p. 422. "A jury does not figure, ordinarily, in the trial of an admiralty suit...the verdict of the jury merely advisory, and may be disregarded by the court." 1 R.C.L. 40, p. 432. "[The] rules of practice may be altered whenever found to be inconvenient or likely to embarrass the business of the court." 1 R.C.L. 32, p. 423. "A court of admiralty ... acts upon equitable principles." 1 R.C.L. 17, p. 416. Have you ever heard a court case where the judge overrules the decision of the jury? This can only happen in a trial in admiralty jurisdiction. The jury is only the conscience of the court. The judge is not an impartial referee who understands Public Law but a commissioner that supports Public Policy which is private law. And your attorney may not be working for you. In CORPUS JURIS SECUNDUM (complete restatement of the entire American law) Volume 7, section 4 states: "an attorney occupies a dual position which imposes dual obligations. His first duty is to the courts and the public not to the client and wherever the duties to his client conflict with those he owes as an officer of the court in the administration of justice, the former must yield to the latter....Clients are also called 'wards of the court'." The fifth edition of Blacks Law Dictionary states that a Ward of court is: "person of unsound mind".

What does this mean? If you don't know how the legal system works you will be treated like a person of unsound mind that hires an expensive attorney, who is an officer of the court, to defend you, and that if the judge does not want to hear your arguments, he can command the attorney, without your knowledge, not to use the defense, and the judge does not let the jury read the law, he only gives his interpretation of the law, and that the laws are usually part of very large bills that are not even read by members of Congress who voted on it, and that if, in the unlikely event that the jury comes to conclusions that the judge does not agree with, the judge can overturn the decision of the jury. As bad as this is, it is not the worst case scenario. If you are accused of breaking certain administrative laws, such as driving infractions, you do not have the right to even this type of jury trial. In Tax Court, you are actually suing the IRS which is presumed innocent until you prove that they are guilty. Because of this you do not have the right to have council of your choice. Only the defendant has the right to council. The judges are the most successful former prosecutors in Tax Court. Is this the way our legal system was supposed to work? No! In Common Law the jury determines both the facts and the law, the judge is an impartial referee, and the council for both the Plaintiff and defendant are working for their clients. If you know how the legal system works and you are a state Citizen, you will challenge the jurisdiction of the court and never go into anything but a Common Law court. If the flag in the courtroom has a gold fringe on it, you are in an admiralty court.

The jury can nullify a law. The two most notable times in the history of the United States were the end of slavery and the end of prohibition. Hiding escaped slaves was against the federal law (stolen property transferred across state lines). People arrested for hiding runaway slaves would be tried. In many cases the jury would find the defendant not guilty because the law was not valid. The same thing happened to bootleggers during prohibition. If a prosecutor can not get a jury to convict people of crimes then the law has been effectively nullified. This was a way Citizens defended their sovereignty from the government. If the government passed a law that the Citizens disagreed with, they would nullify it when someone was tried for breaking the law. This is the way the country was supposed to be. By trying cases in admiralty jurisdiction the jury can still try to nullify a law but the judge can overrule the decision made by the jury. In many cases, the judge incorrectly tells the jury they must follow the instructions to the jury. If Citizens can not nullify laws, the federal government has more power.

From the last few paragraphs, you may think that I do not have a high opinion of the integrity of our judges. This is not correct. The courts are there to resolve disputes without violence. Since the vast majority of the people in this country are either US citizens or residents, judges are correct to assume that everyone that comes before them are under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress. It is up to the Citizen to challenge the jurisdiction of an admiralty court.

So if you are a state Citizen and you take precautions of not making it easy for the federal government to make the presumption that you are involved in an international contract, such as Federal Reserve Notes, then you will not be able to be charged with any statutory offenses. You will be able to do anything you wish, so long as you do not use force or fraud and you live with the consequences of your actions.

More federal glue

You may also find it disturbing to know how an administrative procedure can remove your children from you. In 1921 Congress passed the Sheppard-Towner Maternity Act that created the United States birth "registration" area (see Public Law 97, 67th Congress, Session I, Chapter 135, 1921.) That act allows you to register your children when they are born. If you do so, you will get a copy of the birth certificate. By registering your children, which is voluntary, they become Federal Children. This does several things: Your children become subjects of Congress (they lose their state citizenship). A copy of the birth certificate is sent to the Department of Vital Statistics in the state in which they were born. The original birth certificate is sent to the Department of Commerce in the District of Columbia. It then gets forwarded to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) building in Europe. Your child's future labor and properties are put up as collateral for the public debt.

Once a child is registered, a constructive trust is formed. The parent(s) usually become the trustee (the person managing the assets of the trust), the child becomes an asset of the trust, and the state becomes the principal beneficiary of the trust. See The Uniform Trustees' Powers Act (ORS 128.005(1)). If the beneficiary does not believe the trustee is managing the assets of the trust optimally, the beneficiary can go through an administrative procedure to change trustees. This is the way that bureaucrats can take children away from their parents if the bureaucrat does not like the way the child is cared for. You may say that there is nothing wrong with this. If a parent is neglecting a child, then the state should remove the child from the parents custody. Under common law a child can still be removed from the parent but it takes twelve jurors from that county to do so. Theoretically, a bureaucrat could remove your children from you, if you disagree with some unrelated administrative procedure, such as home schooling the child. This is another way the government can intimidate citizens who question its authority. With all this in mind, the statement that the President says every few months: "Our children are our most valuable asset." takes on a different meaning. That is - your children are their assets.

Part of the process of restoring my state Citizenship status is revoking my Birth Certificate through a process called REVOCATION OF SIGNATURE AND POWER OF ATTORNEY. If my Birth Certificate is not revoked, then the courts consider me to be a 14th Amendment federal citizen and my labor and all of my assets are put up as collateral for the public debt.

When the government communicates with corporations it spells the name of the corporation in all capital letters. If the government refers to you with your name in all capital letters, it is actually means to treat you like a corporation. A corporation is created by government. It has no rights. The government gives it privileges and the corporation must follow the rules of its creator. I am not a corporation! A state Citizen should challenge the government's assertion that he/she is a corporation. This applies to both postal matter and court documents.

We gave the federal government the right to regulate commerce. Since the government has started usurping our sovereignty, our language has been subtly modified to include commercial terms. Most people do not realize or care that they are using commercial terms but the courts do. If you describe your actions in commercial terms in a court, the judge will take silent notice of your status as being regulatable by the federal government. In the following examples, the commercial terms are all in upper case letters: instead of a birthing room, you are now born in a DELIVERY room. Instead of traveling in your car, you are DRIVING or OPERATING a MOTOR VEHICLE in TRAFFIC and you don't have guests in your car, you have PASSENGERS. Instead of a nativity you have a DATE OF BIRTH. You are not a worker but an EMPLOYEE. You don't own a house but a piece of REAL ESTATE.

Lost rights

A state Citizen has the right to have any gun he/she wishes without being registered. A federal citizen does not. In the District of Columbia, it is a felony to own a handgun unless you are a police officer or a security guard or the hand gun was registered before 1978. The District of Columbia has not been admitted into the Union. Therefore the people of the District of Columbia are not protected by the Second Amendment or any other part of the Bill of Rights. Dispite the lack of legal guns in DC, crime is rampant. It is called Murder Capital of the World.



This should prove that gun control/victim disarmament laws do not work in America. Across the country, there is an assault on guns. If you are a federal citizen and you are using Second Amendment arguments to protect your rights to keep your guns, I believe you are in for a surprise. First by registering gun owners then renaming guns 'Assault Weapons' and 'Handguns', those in power will take away your civil right to bear arms. Of course, they won't tell you that the right to keep and bear arms is a civil right and not a natural right for a US citizens. The Supreme court has ruled that you as an individual have no right to protection by the police. Their only obligation is to protect "society". The real protection for state Citizens to keep their guns is not the Second Amendment but the Ninth Amendment. Note in Switzerland, every household must have, by law, a fully automatic machine gun and ammunition. The crime rate is very low there.

A state Citizen has the right to travel on the public easements (public roads) without being registered. A federal citizen does not. It is a privilege for a foreigner to travel in any of the several states. If you are a US citizen, you are a foreigner in the state. The state legislators can require foreigners and people involved in commerce (chauffeurs, freight haulers) to be licensed, insured, and to have their vehicles registered. When you register your car, you turn over power of attorney to the state. At that point, it becomes a motor vehicle. If it is not registered then it is not a motor vehicle and there are no motor vehicle statutes to break. There are common law rules of the road. If you don't cause an injury to anybody then you can not be tried.

If your car is registered, the state effectively owns your car. The state supplies a sticker to put on your license plate every time you re-register the motor vehicle. Look closely at the sticker on your plate right now. You may be surprised to see that it says "OFFICIAL USE ONLY".(Note: In some states, they do not use stickers on the plate) You may have seen municipal vehicles that have signs on them saying "OFFICIAL USE ONLY" on them but why does yours? You do not own your car. You may have a Certificate of Title but you probably do not have the certificate of origin. You are leasing the state's vehicle by paying the yearly registration fee. Because you are using their equipment, they can make rules up on how it can be used. If you break a rule, such as driving without a seatbelt, you have broken the contract and an administrative procedure will make you pay the penalty. A state Citizen must be able to explain to the police officers why they are not required to have the usual paperwork that most people have. They should carry copies of affidavits and other paperwork in their car. The state Citizen should also be prepared to go to traffic court and explain it to the judge.

Unanswered questions

A reasonable person may ask - How did the government get so far removed from the model of government defined by the Constitution? I'm not sure. Perhaps it was a small group of bankers who realized that they could control a central government much easier than many independent sovereigns. Perhaps it is the natural outcome of specialization; that is, it might be said that a brain surgeon should not be expected to be an expert on farming, manufacturing, mining, retailing, politics, as well as medicine, therefore it is possible that the people wanted to be governed by experts - allowing them to focus on their pleasures and careers. Perhaps the elite thought they would help the poor masses by making decisions for them because they believed that the common people could not make good decisions for themselves. Perhaps it is the result of people believing that they can get something for nothing; that is, the people believed that the government was stealing more from other citizens that it was stealing from them, so overall, they were helped by such policies more than they were hurt. There is some evidence to support each of these propositions but, one thing is important: The government is acting this way because the people allow it to. If the people were very dissatisfied with the government, they would change it. For all the complaining Americans do, they still elect the same people again and again.

Another good question is: If all this is true, why haven't I heard these ideas before? Again, I am not sure. It is very difficult to keep a conspiracy secret for very long. If there has been a plan to steal the sovereignty of the people, then many people would be affected and more than a few people had to know about the plan in order to execute it. Unless all of the politicians, bankers, media people were in on the conspiracy or were intimidated so that they would not expose the plan, the People would, sooner or later, find out. It is difficult for me to believe that every politician, banker, and media person are corrupt. I think it is more likely that people thought that the experts could run the country better than they could. Today, many people can not conceive the government being run any other way. It is my belief that turning over the government to experts was a mistake.

Who are these people?

The people who do research on state citizenship call themselves patriots. This may sound strange to people who equate patriotism with support for whatever the government does as long as the flags are waving and the politicians say have the best interest of the nation at heart, but patriots like Thomas Jefferson saw patriotism as supporting the value of liberty. The founders of the nation thought it was unpatriotic to accept being ruled by a sovereign. In the Constitutional Republic that they founded, each Citizen was a sovereign without subjects. That is, we were all equal. This did not mean that we each had an equal amount of money or an equal standard of living. Each Citizen had equal opportunity to use the gifts we were given at birth. If you did not use your gifts wisely or you did not have many gifts to start with, then you had to accept a lower standard of living. People who received charity were not treated with the same respect as a person who did not.

How does one reclaim their state Citizenship?

This paper cannot give you everything you need to know on how to restore your first class citizenship status. It is only a starting point. With that being said, here is a list of the papers that a state Citizen should to do to be free of federal adhesion contracts. Some of these things are to be done at the county recorder's office, others must be sent to the District of Columbia.

A notice of intent

A declaration of sovereignty.

An oath to your state.

A notice that you are using Federal Reserve Notes under protest.

A revocation of

1. signature and power of attorney

2.driver's license (you don't need one unless you drive commercially)

3. motor vehicle registration (if your car is not registered, it is not a motor vehicle)

4. marriage license (but not your marriage contract)

5. birth certificate (the hospital still has a record of birth)

6. application for a Social Security Number

7. union membership

8. status as an employee (the word employee has a specific legal definition)

9. voter registration (you become an elector not a voter)

10. private or public pension benefits

You should also close credit cards, saving accounts, checking accounts, IRA accounts, money market accounts, CD's, mutual funds, and 401k. You should pay off all mortgages, car loans, and any other loan that you have. You may continue to receive postal matter with ZIP codes but you should not accept them. You should also remove your children from the schools that receive public money.

This is not easy! But, you can do it. If only a few people were doing this it would be very difficult. But hundreds of thousands have done this just in the past few years. This makes it much easier since alternative organizations are being formed that are servicing the non federal citizens. Note: there are some banks that have been around for more than 100 years that are safe and not federally insured. Also common law trusts can be created to circumvent some of the restrictions that the list above implies. There are many intelligent and creative people working on these problems. As the years go by, it will be more and more difficult to remain federal citizens. As the number of state Citizens increases, the amount of revenue that the federal government receives will decrease. The amount of money that the federal government spends will probably not decrease because most of the people reclaiming their state Citizenship don't use the services provided by the federal government. This will cause taxes to increase which will cause even more people to drop out of the federal system. I also expect to see the continuation of the trend to add more regulations that the federal citizens have to follow.

Other sources of information

The best source of information is a law library. you can find a law library that is open to the public in you county courthouse. You may find better law libraries at a local college. The problem with the law library is that there are so many books in it. Some of the court cases cited here are old. For one reason or another, some of the books that had information on this subject seemed to have been removed from my local county courthouse. I recommend that you visit the county courthouse law library. If you have read this far, even if you decide not to change your status you will probably find it very interesting.

If you have a computer and a modem you can connect up to bulletin boards that are dedicated to the sovereignty issue. A very good bulletin board is located in California. The telephone number is 1-818-888-9882 and the line attributes are BAUD rate up to 14.4, Parity - none, Data bits - 8, Stop bits - 1. If you do not live in the 818 area code, it will cost you the toll charges. There is no charge for using the board. There is a file on there that contains the telephone numbers of other bulletin boards. Perhaps you can find a number with your area code so you can avoid the toll charges. The bulletin board has files pertaining to two subjects.



The first is restoring the rights that you lost when you lost your state Citizenship. The second is trying to prevent the loss of more rights by opposing the New World Order, that is losing your US citizenship status to become a UN citizen. A word of warning must be given at this point. Some of the people who do basic legal research start out with some extremely unusual conspiracy theories that they try to prove. You may be offended at these theories. Time will tell if the conspiracies exist or not. Dispite this the research is very valuable.

ANTISHYSTER is a paper that is published six times a year. It is "A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM." This excellent publication is about 60 pages. The annual subscription is $25.00 but, if you order as a group (3 subscriptions or more at the same time) it is only $15.00. This is money well spent. You can reach them at (214) 418-8993 or send cash, check, or money order to: AntiShyster c/o P.O.B. 540786 Dallas, Texas 75354-0786. You can order by Visa or Master Card at (800) 477-5508.

The AMERICAN'S BULLETIN is a monthly newspaper that is dedicated to be "A VOICE OF OPPOSITION TO TYRANNY". It is printed in Oregon and is mailed across the nation. Accept for a few articles about unconventional ideas on alternative health care the newspaper seems to be exclusively dedicated to Citizenship. You can call them at 1-503-779-7709. The cost is $25.00 a year. You can get it shipped without a ZIP Code but it cost $30.00 because it will be shipped via first class mail. There are advanced topics that I have not described in this paper printed every month.

PERCEPTIONS is a magazine that is published four times a year. It has articles about Citizenship but it also has articles UFOs, Astrology, and alternative health strategies. The cost is $15.00 a year. You can reach them at: Perceptions, 11664 National Blvd., No. 314, Los Angeles, California 90064.

THE SPOTLIGHT is a newspaper that reports on the New World Order and how it is being implemented. You can reach them at 300 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20003.

The LA Lawman is a television show that is broadcast on cable TV in California. You can by a copy of the 30 minute videotapes on issues relating to state Citizens and perhaps even get them broadcast in your area. You can reach The LA Lawman at 9245 Reseda Blvd Suite 450 Northridge CA 91324 or at (818) 366-6187.

There are many good books that you may want. LEGAL RESEARCH - How To Find and Understand the Law by attorneys Stephen Elias & Susan Levinkind is a good introduction to the law library. It is published by Nolo Press in 1992. It costs $16.95. Before getting this book, I was never in a law library but now, I can do legal research!

The FEDERALIST PAPERS by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay is published by Mentor. The paperback cost $5.99. This book can be downloaded from the bulletin board listed above. It contains more than 500 pages of arguments that Hamilton, Madison, and Jay wrote to be published in the local papers for the purpose of ratifying the Constitution. The Supreme Court sometimes quotes the Federalist Papers in its decisions. If you want to know what the Constitution means, then this is the book for you.

THE ANTI-FEDERALIST by the Opponents if the Constitution is published by The University of Chicago Press. The articles in this book were published in the local papers for the purpose of not ratifying the Constitution. It is not quite as good as the Federalist Papers but, it also determines what the framers of the constitution were thinking.

LIBERTY LIBRARY publishes a booklet that contains the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and a description of jurors rights. A single copy is $1.50; but if you buy 20 or more, the cost is only $0.50 a piece. I find it amazing that all through public school, I never read more than two paragraphs from any of these documents. Every child should have the opportunity to have a copy of this booklet. You can reach Liberty Library at 300 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, D.C. 20003.

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA by Alexis De Tocqueville is published by Anchor Books (DOUBLEDAY & COMPANY, INC.) De Tocqueville traveled around the United States of America in the 1830s & 1840s. He compared, in minute detail, the differences between how the American Republics were run and how the French Republic was run. If you want to see how the nation existed without income taxes and government bureaucracies, then this is the book for you. It is kind of long (almost 800 pages).

The Federal Zone by Mitch Modeleski can be downloaded from the bulletin board listed above. It describes in more detail how the federal government usurped power of the states by creating a federal zone that nearly swallowed the states. The IRS code is explained.

Invisible Contracts by George Mercier can be downloaded from the bulletin board listed above. This book describes the adhesion contracts that bind people into federal jurisdiction. It also about conspiracies by the New World Order people. It is written from the perspective of a Mormon. Mormon religious ideas are described in great detail and with great fervor. The information on adhesion contracts is very enlightening.

Conclusion

The ideas in this paper may be new to you. You may not believe them. You may like the federal system. If you have read this far, I hope you will see the government in a different light.

Let's restate the central premise of this paper.

The government recognizes two distinct classes of citizens: a state Citizen and a federal citizen. Each has different rights and responsibilities. State Citizens created the states who created the federal government who created federal citizens. Most people are born state Citizens and become federal citizens without their knowledge sometime after birth. You can reclaim your state Citizenship status through a legal procedure. If you remain a federal citizen, you will pay lots of taxes and have no rights. If you reclaim your state Citizenship status, you will have to learn about our legal system and you will have to change the way you bank, and save, and invest, and other aspects of modern living that probably taken for granted. But a state Citizen that knows the legal system has more control over his/her life.

Information is power. For decades the information, and the power, has been centralized by the government class. Today, the balance of power is shifting. As Citizens become more vigilant about government encroachments, the government's power is lessened. As the number of state Citizens mushrooms, you will hear about them in the press as the empire strikes back. This movement is not trying to change the system -- this is the way it works now! In fact, any attempt to change the Constitution via a constitutional convention or international treaty should be opposed strongly. Can you imagine what sort of constitution would be written if our current political leaders do the writing? Now you know what this movement is all about. Whether you decide to change your status is up to you.

Please send a copy of this paper to everybody that you think is smart enough to understand it.


Top Ten Things To Say To Liberals Now That The Election Is Over.
  1. Your papers, please.
  2. If you idiots ever shut up, I'd have nothing to laugh at!
  3. Who cares if Old Europe would&#8217;ve voted for Kerry? We protect old Europe. The children don&#8217;t tell the grownups when they want to go to bed.
  4. Thank God for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
  5. Are you going to Bible study tonight? You know, it&#8217;s mandatory now.
  6. How are you going to &#8220;secede from the Union?&#8221; You have no guns!
  7. I hear Canada is beautiful in the winter.
  8. I think I saw your name on the 'red list'.
  9. Don't feel so bad, you still have Hollywood.
  10. There was a guy in an unmarked Suburban asking about you.
  11. Someone told me Kerry was in Vietnam. Is that true?
  12. Now that you're a minority, you can get affirmative action.
  13. I picked up a copy of Fahrenheit 911 for 50 cents at Wal-Mart.
  14. I picked up a case of Kerry/Edwards stickers out of the dumpster behind Wal-Mart.
  15. Did you hear they have Fox News in Canada now?
  16. I hear spotted owl is great in a turkey fryer.
  17. Your draft notice should be arriving soon in the mail.
  18. So who do you think Jeb will pick as his running mate in 2008?"
  19. I feel your pain
  20. Yeah, we stole another election. What are you going to do about it?
  21. Stop your whining and get into the revival tent.
  22. NO! You can't have your country back!
  23. John Ashcroft will make a great Supreme Court Justice!
  24. My Halliburton stock really took off after the election!
  25. Now we can drill for oil in Alaska.
  26. It was God's will that George W. Bush remain President.
  27. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.
  28. You know, I've been thinking about what you guys keep saying about Bush not being elected in 2000. I think you're right, of course, that makes him eligible to run again in 2008.
  29. Registered Democrats will be required to take sensitivity training classes on conservative values.
  30. Aren't you supposed to be in reeducation camp?
  31. Will you hold these snakes I'm handling while I have a cigarette?
  32. 4 more years. Learn it, Live it, LOVE IT!
  33. Yes, we stole the election, but we're not telling you how.
  34. If you don't think your vote was counted, you can pull my finger to vote again.
  35. When they come to get you, you can hide in my attic
  36. Don't worry; I will do my best to make sure you are well treated in detention








Are we a republic or a democracy?


Walter E. Williams (archive)

January 5, 2005

We often hear the claim that our nation is a democracy. That wasn't the vision of the founders. They saw democracy as another form of tyranny. If we've become a democracy, I guarantee you that the founders would be deeply disappointed by our betrayal of their vision. The founders intended, and laid out the ground rules, for our nation to be a republic.

The word democracy appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution -- two most fundamental documents of our nation. Instead of a democracy, the Constitution's Article IV, Section 4, guarantees "to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." Moreover, let's ask ourselves: Does our pledge of allegiance to the flag say to "the democracy for which it stands," or does it say to "the republic for which it stands"? Or do we sing "The Battle Hymn of the Democracy" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"?

So what's the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe." Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of rights. Instead, government is a protector of rights.

In recognition that it's Congress that poses the greatest threat to our liberties, the framers used negative phrases against Congress throughout the Constitution such as: shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, and shall not be violated, nor be denied. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. All citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. Government intervenes in civil society to protect its citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange.

Contrast the framers' vision of a republic with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that envisioned under a republican form of government, rights are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.

How about a few quotations demonstrating the disdain our founders held for democracy? James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10: In a pure democracy, "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual." At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, " ... that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy." John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." Chief Justice John Marshall observed, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos." In a word or two, the founders knew that a democracy would lead to the same kind of tyranny the colonies suffered under King George III.

The framers gave us a Constitution that is replete with undemocratic mechanisms. One that has come in for recent criticism and calls for its elimination is the Electoral College. In their wisdom, the framers gave us the Electoral College so that in presidential elections large, heavily populated states couldn't democratically run roughshod over small, sparsely populated states.

Here's my question. Do Americans share the republican values laid out by our founders, and is it simply a matter of our being unschooled about the differences between a republic and a democracy? Or is it a matter of preference and we now want the kind of tyranny feared by the founders where Congress can do anything it can muster a majority vote to do? I fear it's the latter.





What in the world is going on in this country? Has the old American frontier spirit been bred out of us? What happened to our ebullient, can do, give 'em hell attitude? Has our becoming cleaned up, civilized and increasingly sissified in order to grace the global drawing rooms and salons of Europe sapped our strength as well as our senses?

If I wanted a French looking, French speaking Francophile for a president, I would have moved to France a long time ago! And I don't want a wealthy heiress from Mozambique with a penchant for gin soaked raisins for a first lady either. I am also not interested in having my grandsons donning a beret and saying" Hi, I'm from the United Nations and I'm here to help you." And while on that subject, I'm equally sure that I don't want a Commander in Chief that only 18% of the military is planning to vote for. No wonder Kerry is talking about a draft.

Another thing - I don't want a vice president that is prettier than I am and who spends an inordinate amount of time fingercombing his hair in front of a woman's compact mirror. What's next - Barbies? Nor do I want an effete, Botoxed, orange-tanned 1200 dollar haircut in the West Wing. I do not under any circumstances want "girlie men" in the White House - I want gunslingers! I don't want anyone whose ideal weapon is a fencing sword - I want someone who can operate a chainsaw!

And I sure don't want someone who can't even carry his own dead goose out of the woods, like some kind of lord of the manor, or country squire. Noblesse oblige...

Waaaaa! I want an old time cowboy. Someone who rides the perimeter, mends fences when he can, and clears out the dead brush and the varmints. Someone strong, resourceful, straight talking and resolute. I want cowboy boots echoing down the halls of American history, not tasseled loafers. I want a president reflective of the majority of Americans, those in "flyover country", in Middle America - somewhere in between Michael Moore and the Hollywood lefties, and the liberal North East elitists that know it all.

I want...oops, here comes my husband with the hose - just like old times! I'm feeling better all ready! Hmm, maybe I ought to lock myself in the bathroom for a while...See you at the polls!"



Declaration Foundation

The Declaration Foundation | October 27, 2004 | Dr. Richard Ferrier

<i> Fellow Declarationists,

When the Patriot Fathers of '76 finally saw that they were compelled to declare independence from Britain, the central ground was simple and single. The Declaration itself contained a long list of abuses, but running through them all was this: the People's right to rule itself was under sustained attack by the King and his ministers.

Victory in the Revolution meant, above all, that that right would be enshrined in American foundational law. The Constitution was meant to make that victory permanent. Each American election in the three centuries since that victory, be it local or national, presents an opportunity to exercise that right, and a duty to defend it.

The current election is, in that sense, no different. And yet, it is different, in two ways. First, this election is menaced by a prospect of fraud, and a threat of litigation, greater than any since the time of the Civil War. The civic-minded reader needs no evidence to undergird my claim. The signs of irregular voter registration, fraudulent registration forms, non-citizens names appearing on the rolls, etc., is on the front pages of the Republic's newspapers. The parties, particularly the Democratic Party, have legions of lawyers positioned to take the verdict of the votes that are tallied to our activist liberal judges looking for a partisan revision of the tallies in the states. This is judicial usurpation, deliberate and premeditated, and based on factional passion.

Second, the electoral campaign itself is bitter and divisive, in large measure, due to the wish of one party to continue the reign of judicial usurpation, and the other to restrain it. Laws and initiatives passed by the people and their legislatures, manifestly in accordance with Declaration Principle and popular will, have been overturned by judges of political views too well known to need identification. Other initiatives have been kept from the ballot by the same class of judicial tyrants. One party salutes these acts of despotism, the other, sometimes, deplores them.

The election is thus about Declaration Principles, and their application to such matters as marriage, life, equality, and property rights, in a gross and palpable way.

What is to be done?

The answer is simple. Do your duty. Vote. And vote as Adams and Jefferson, Lincoln and Frederick Douglas would have voted. For life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, unfettered by self-anointed and amoral aristocrats. Do your duty. Volunteer to be a poll watcher, and keep your eyes open for fraud. Do your duty, and defend, to your fellow citizens, in the little circles of society, in twos and threes, in the churches and clubs, the principles of the Republic. Do your duty. Don't rely on the lying media to feed the candidates' ideas to you in predigested and distorted bits. Read their speeches and platforms, visit their websites.

The Declaration Foundation does not take stands for or against candidates. But it can, and does, link you via the best of our free press, to what the candidates actually propose. Read the Bush/Kerry debates. Or the wonderfully illuminating Keyes/Obama debates, which bring out American Principles in a stark and intelligible manner. No one need be ignorant of what divides Coburn from Carson, in Oklahoma, or Boxer from Jones, in California. Find out who stands for unalienable rights in your state and our nation, and vote accordingly.

But be sure to vote!

And then go to sleep on election night, knowing that you have, for this season and this day, done the Lord's work, and that the fate of the battle lies in His loving hands.

He will call you again, November 3rd, to the new task he intends for you. Serve Him, and you will never be on the losing side.

Dr. Richard Ferrier President, Declaration Foundation


















Theban Mapping Project
A most outstanding site. Well done, and beautiful.



POLITICAL BELIEF SYSTEM:

Pragmatic Libertarian - I believe that there will always be a need for a government of some kind and size. The reason for this is because we do not live in a perfect world, and that in a society there are elements of the population who are unable to live in harmony with the others in a community. Thus, governments are necessary to maintain tranquility and peace in a successful society.

However,problems arise when these troublesome elements, who cannot live in the society, gain control of the reins of power for that society. The result is, at the least, corruption and moral degration. At the worst you have DEMOCIDE. Democide where the rulers of a society carry out mass murder for reasons of a secular nature.

I believe that our United States government was constructed in such a manner that it would operate and avoid the corruption of past civilizations. Such was the intent of our founding fathers. However, our founding fathers failed to maintain the standard by which our republic would be maintained.

These standards include;

  1. The belief that humans answer to a higher authority. (Call it God; Mother Nature; or Karma).

  2. The electorate would be well read and informed, and

  3. That words would maintain their meanings.

But times have changed. Now we have a situation whereas the main use for government is for some people to lord it over others at their expense. I maintain that the government should be as small as possible, and that civil liberties, "victimless crimes", and gun ownership are basic rights. I agree totally with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and believe that real interpetation of these documents begins at their preambles. Failure to read the preambles of these documents is an indicator of either severe stupidity or selfish agenda. Neither of which has a place in any branch of our government.

I advocate a large degree of economic and personal freedom. My political neighbors include folks like Ayn Rand, Jesse Ventura, Milton Friedman, and Drew Carey, and may refer to themselves as "classical liberals," "libertarians," "market liberals," "old whigs," "objectivists," "propertarians," "agorists," or "anarcho-capitalist."




LIBERTY MEANS FREEDOM.



THE PREAMBLE TO THE 2nd AMENDMENT


The modern debate over the wording of the Second Amendment could be quickly resolved if the Amendment was read through the preamble to the Bill of Rights. A preamble to the Bill of Rights? What are you talking about? You mean the preamble to the Constitution don't you? No Senators Kennedy, Feinstein, Schumer, Lautenberg and your fellow gun-grabbing buddies, we mean the preamble to the Bill of Rights. Next to Hillary Clinton's billing records from the Rose Law Firm, this little known text might be the most closely guarded secret in American History.

Following the Federal Convention of 1787 and the subsequent ratification of the Constitution, the several States began submitting amendments to Congress for consideration. By September of 1789 Congress had reduced 210 separate amendments to 12. The amendments were inserted into a congressional resolution and submitted to the several States for consideration. Of these, numbers 2-12 were adopted and became the so-called Bill of Rights.

A little known fact about this resolution is that it contained a preamble declaring the purpose of the proposed amendments. Most modern editions of the Bill of Rights either do not contain the preamble or only include the last paragraph. The complete preamble, which is still part of the Bill of Rights, is printed below as it appeared in the 1789 resolution:




Congress of the United States,
begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.t

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

As stated in the preamble, the only purpose of the proposed amendments was to prevent the federal government from "misconstruing or abusing its powers." To accomplish this, "further declaratory and restrictive clauses" were being proposed. The amendments, when adopted, placed additional restraints or limitations on the powers of the federal government. Thus, every clause of the Bill of Rights, without exception, is either a declaratory statement or a restrictive provision.

A declaratory clause, pursuant to English language dictionaries, is a simple statement or assertion. A restrictive clause is a statement that restricts or limits. If the Second Amendment is read through the preamble, it reads as follows:

Article II. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, (declaratory clause) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (restrictive clause)

The first part of the Amendment is declaratory, not restrictive, because it is merely an assertion or statement that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free State. It does not grant the States or the people any rights. It also does not restrict the federal government from exercising any power. Thus, the first part of the Amendment has no effect on the right to keep and bear arms, "collective [State] or individual."

The second clause, like the first, does not grant the States or the people any rights. Therefore, any assertion that the Second Amendment grants rights, "collective or individual," is constitutionally inaccurate. In addition, since the Amendment did not create any rights, then the right enumerated, whether it be collective or individual, had to be an existing right.

This leaves us with only one option concerning the second part of the Amendment. It is restrictive, not declaratory, because it specifically places a restraint on the exercise of power by the federal government.

Those groups and individuals opposed to the private ownership of firearms claim this restraint pertains to the State militias. According to the Brady Campaign, the Second Amendment was adopted "to prevent the federal government from disarming the State militias."

The U.S. Constitution established a permanent professional army, controlled by the federal government. With the memory of King George III's troops fresh in their minds, many of the "anti-federalists" feared a standing army as an instrument of oppression. State militias were viewed as a counterbalance to the federal army and the Second Amendment was written to prevent the federal government from disarming the state militias.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence claims the Amendment was adopted to "ensure the right of the states to maintain their own militias."

The Second Amendment was adopted to ensure the right of states to maintain their own militia to protect themselves against foreign and federal encroachment.

The Second Amendment, as shown by the preamble, does not place any restraint on the powers federal government concerning the States or their militias. Consequently, any assertion the Second Amendment restricts the powers of the federal government concerning the State militias is patently false.

There is another way to use the preamble to prove this fact. In a sentence, a non-restrictive clause gives information that is not essential to the meaning of a sentence. This information can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. A restrictive clause gives information that is critical to the meaning of a sentence and cannot be removed without changing the meaning of a sentence. If the Second Amendment is read through this sentence structure, the declaratory clause in the first part of the Amendment is the non-restrictive clause because it does not restrain the exercise of power. Thus, the Amendment reads as follows:

Article II. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, (non-restrictive clause) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. (restrictive clause)

This sentence structure triggers a question. Is the existence of a State militia essential to a people's right to keep and bear arms? The answer is no because people can have a right to keep and bear arms without the existence of a State militia. In the alternative, since the word militia, as used in the Second Amendment refers to an armed citizenry, not a State organized army, you cannot have a State militia unless that same people has the right to keep and bear arms.

From a constitutional standpoint, State militias exist because the individual citizens who make-up those militias have the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, the individual right to keep and bear arms is essential to the existence of a State militia--not visa versa.

Since the phrase--"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," is the non-restrictive or non-essential part of the Amendment, then, as stated above, it can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. In addition, this phrase is an incomplete thought and cannot stand alone as a sentence. Thus, it needs addition information to give it meaning.

Conversely, the phrase--"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," is the restrictive or essential part of the Amendment. It cannot be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence. This phrase is a complete thought and can stand alone as a sentence because it does not need additional information to give it meaning.

If the non-restrictive part is removed and the Amendment is read in a manner that allows the verbiage to stand alone as a complete thought, then the Second Amendment can be reduced to the following sentence:

[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Those groups and individuals who advance the militia interpretation of the Second Amendment have failed to grasp the significance of this verbiage. If the purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the federal government from disarming the State militias as organizations like the Brady Campaign claim, then this sentence structure accomplishes that goal. By denying the federal government the power to infringe the existing right of the people right to keep and bear arms, the State militias could never be constitutionally disarmed because the people of the individual States are the militia referenced in the Amendment. Thus, the States would retain the so-called right to maintain armed militias. Irrespective of how organizations like the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence attempt to twist the sentence structure of the Second Amendment, it is the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms that ensures the existence of the State militias contemplated by the Founders.

In conclusion, the preamble to the Bill of Rights shows that the purpose of the Amendments was to prevent the federal government from abusing its delegated powers.

To accomplish this, further declaratory and restrictive clauses were added to restrain the exercise of power by the federal government. Thus, the preamble negates any assertion that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to grant the States the right to maintain armed militias. It also negates the claim that the Amendment granted the people an individual right to keep and bear arms. The sole purpose of the Second Amendment was to place an enumerated restraint on the powers of the federal government concerning the existing right of the people to keep and bear arms.






William E. Simon's List of the Most Destructive Ideas in Public Life

  • Abortion on Demand
  • Multiculturalism
  • Progressive Taxation
  • Euthanasia
  • Deficit Spending
  • The Welfare State
  • The Great Society
  • No-Fault Divorce
  • Nuclear Freeze
  • Unilateral Disarmament




Give Me Liberty

by Rose Wilder Lane

I came out of the Soviet Union no longer a communist, because I believed in personal freedom. Like all Americans, I took for granted the individual liberty to which I had been born. It seemed as necessary and as inevitable as the air I breathed; it seemed the natural element in which human beings lived.

The thought that I might lose it had never remotely occurred to me. And I could not conceive that multitudes of human beings would ever willingly live without it.

It happened that I spent many years in the countries of Europe and Western Asia, so that at last I learned something, not only of the words that various peoples speak, but of the real meanings of those words. No word, of course, is ever exactly translatable into another language; the words we use are the most clumsy symbols for meanings, and to suppose that such words as "war," "glory," "justice," "liberty...home," mean the same in two languages, is an error.

Everywhere in Europe I encountered the living facts of medieval caste and of the static medieval social order. I saw them resisting, and vitally resisting, individual freedom and the industrial revolution.

It was impossible to know France without knowing that the French demand order, discipline, the restraint of traditional forms, the bureaucratic regulation of human lives by centralized police power, and that the fierce French democracy is not a cry for individual liberty but an insistence that the upper classes shall not too harshly exploit the lower classes.

I saw in Germany and in Austria scattered and leaderless sheep running this way and that, longing for the lost security of the flock and the shepherd.

Resisting step by step, I was finally compelled to admit to my Italian friends that I had seen the spirit of Italy revive under Mussolini. And it seemed to me that this revival was based on a separation of individual liberty from the industrial revolution whose cause and source is individual liberty. I said that in Italy, as in Russia, an essentially medieval, planned and controlled economic order was taking over the fruits of the industrial revolution while destroying its root, the freedom of the individual.

"Why will you talk about the rights of individuals!" Italians exclaimed, at last impatient. "An individual is nothing. As individuals we have no importance whatever. I will die, you will die, millions will live and die, but Italy does not die. Italy is important. Nothing matters but Italy."

This rejection of one's self as an individual was, I knew, the spirit animating the members of the Communist Party. I heard that it was the spirit beginning to animate Russia. It was the spirit of Fascism, the spirit that indubitably did revive Italy. Scores, hundreds of the smallest incidents revealed it.

In 1920, Italy was a fleas' nest of beggars and thieves. They fell on the stranger and devoured him. There was no instant in which baggage could be left unguarded; every bill was an over-charge and no service however small was unaccompanied by a bill; taxis dodged into vacant streets and boats stopped midway to ships, that drivers and boatmen might terrorize timid passengers into paying twice. Every step in Italy was a wrangle and a fight.

In 1927, my car broke down after nightfall in the edge of a small Italian village. Three men, a waiter, a charcoal burner, and the uniformed chauffeur of wealthy travelers sleeping in the inn, worked all night on the engine. When it was running smoothly in the bleak dawn, all three refused to take any payment. Americans in a similar situation would have refused from human friendliness and personal pride. The Italians said firmly, "No, signora. We did it for Italy." This was typical. Italians were no longer centered in themselves, but in that mythical creation of their imaginations unto which they poured their lives, Italy, immortal Italy.

I began at last to question the value of this personal freedom which had seemed so inherently right. I saw how rare, how new in history, is a recognition of human rights. From Brittany to Basra I considered the ruins of brilliant civilizations whose peoples had never glimpsed the idea that men are born free. In sixty centuries of human history that idea was an element of Jewish-Christian-Moslem religious faith, never used as a political principle.

It has been a political principle to only a few men on earth, for little more than two centuries. Asia did not know it. Africa did not know it. Europe had never wholly accepted it, and was now rejecting it.

I began to question, What is individual liberty? When I asked myself, "Am I truly free?" I began slowly to understand the nature of man and man's situation on this planet. I understood at last that every human being is free; that I am endowed by the Creator with inalienable liberty as I am endowed with life; that my freedom is inseparable from my life, since freedom is the individual's self-controlling nature. My freedom is my control of my own life-energy, for the uses of which I, alone, am therefore responsible.

But the exercise of this freedom is another thing, since in every use of my life-energy I encounter obstacles. Some of these obstacles, such as time, space, weather, are eternal in the human situation on this planet. Some are self-imposed and come from my own ignorance of realities. And for all the years of my residence in Europe, a great many obstacles were enforced upon me by the police-power of the men ruling the European States.

I hold the truth to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable liberty, with individual self-control and responsibility for thoughts, speech and acts, in every situation. The extent to which this natural liberty can be exercised depends upon the amount of external coercion imposed upon the individual. No jailer can compel any prisoner to speak or act against that prisoner's will, but chains can prevent his acting, and a gag can prevent his speaking.

Americans have had more freedom of thought, of choice, and of movement than other peoples have ever had. We inherited no limitations of caste to restrict our range of desires and of ambition to the class in which we were born.

We had no governmental bureaucracy to watch our every move, to make a record of friends who called at our homes and the hours at which they arrived and left, in order that the police might be fully informed in case we were murdered. We had no officials who, in the interests of a just and equitable collection of gasoline taxes, stopped our cars and measured the gasoline in the tanks whenever we entered or left an American city.

We were not obliged, as Continental Europeans have been, to carry at all times a police card, renewed and paid for at intervals, bearing our pictures properly stamped and stating our names, ages, addresses, parentage, religion and occupation.

American workers were not classified; they did not carry police cards on which employers recorded each day they work; they have no places of amusement separate from those of higher classes, and their amusements are not subject to interruption by raiding policemen inspecting their workingmen's cards and acting on the assumption that any workingman is a thief whose card shows he has not worked during the past week.

In 1922, as a foreign correspondent in Budapest, I accompanied such a police raid. The Chief of Police was showing the mechanisms of his work to a visiting operative from Scotland Yard. We set out at ten o'clock at night, leading sixty policemen who moved with the beautiful precision of soldiers.

They surrounded a section of the workingmen's quarter of the city and closed in, while the Chief explained that this was ordinary routine; the whole quarter was combed in this way every week.

We appeared suddenly in the doorways of workingmen's cafes, dingy places with sawdust on earthen floors where one musician forlornly tried to make music on a cheap fiddle and men and women in the gray rags of poverty sat at bare tables and economically sipped beer or coffee. Their terror at the sight of uniforms was abject. All rose and meekly raised their hands. The policemen grinned with that peculiar enjoyment of human beings in possessing such power.

They went through the men's pockets, making some little jest at this object and that. They found the Labor cards, inspected them, thrust them back in the pockets. At their curt word of release, the men dropped into chairs and wiped their foreheads.

In every place, a few cards failed to pass the examination. No employer had stamped them during the past three days. Men and women were loaded into the patrol wagon.

Now and then, at our entrance, someone tried to escape from back door or window and ran, of course, into the clutch of policemen. We could hear the policemen laughing. The Chief accepted the compliments of the British detective. Everything was perfectly done; no one escaped.

Several women frantically protested, crying, pleading on their knees, so that they had almost to be carried to the wagon. One young girl fought, screaming horribly. It took two policemen to handle her; they were not rough, but when she bit at their hands on her arms, a third slapped her face. In the wagon she went on screaming insanely. I could not understand Hungarian. The Chief explained that some women objected to being given prostitutes' cards.

When a domestic servant had been several days without work, the police took away the card that identified her as a working girl and permitted her to work; they gave her instead a prostitute's card. Men who had not worked recently were sentenced to a brief imprisonment for theft. Obviously, the Chief said, if they were not working, they were prostitutes and thieves; how else were they living?

Perhaps on their savings? I suggested.

Working people make only enough to live on from day to day, they can not save, the Chief said. Of course, if by any remarkable chance one of them had got some money honestly and could prove it, the judge would release him.

Having gone through all the cafes, we began on the tenements. I have lived in the slums of New York and of San Francisco. Americans who have not seen European slums have not the slightest idea of what slums are.

Until dawn, the police were clambering through those filthy tenements and down into their basements, stirring up masses of rags and demanding from staring faces their police cards. We did not capture so many unemployed there, because it costs more to sleep under a roof than to sit in a cafe; the very fact that these people had any shelter argued that they were working. But the police were thorough and awakened everyone. They were quiet and good-humored; this raid had none of the violence of an American police raid. When a locked door was not opened, the police tried all their master keys before they set their shoulders to the door and went in.





The Scotland Yard man said, "Admirable, sir, admirable. Continental police systems are marvelous, really.'You have absolute control over here." Then his British pride spoke, deprecatingly, as it always speaks. "We could never do anything like this in London, don't you know. An Englishman's home is his castle, and all that. We have to have a warrant before we can search the premises or touch a man's person. Beastly handicap, you know. We have nothing like your control over here on the Continent."

This is the only police search of workingmen's quarters that I saw in Europe. I do not believe that regimentation elsewhere went so far then as to force women into prostitution, and it may be that it no longer does so in Hungary. But that the systematic surrounding and searching of workingmen's quarters went on normally everywhere in Europe, and that unemployment was assumed to push them over the edge of destitution into crime, I do know.

Like everyone else domiciled in Europe, I was many times stopped on my way home by two courteous policemen who asked to see my identification card. This became too commonplace to need explanation. I knew that my thoroughly respectable, middle-class quarter was surrounded, simply as a matter of police routine, and that everyone in it was being required to show police cards.

Nevertheless, I question whether there was less crime in police- controlled Europe than in America. Plenty of crimes were reported in brief paragraphs of small type in every paper. There is no section of an American city which I would fear to go into alone at night. There were always many quarters of European cities that were definitely dangerous after nightfall, and whole classes of criminals who would kill any moderately well-dressed man, woman or child for the clothes alone.

The terrible thing is that the motive behind all this supervision of the individual is a good motive, and a rational one. How is any ruler to maintain a social order without it?

There is a certain instinct of orderliness and of self-preservation which enables multitudes of free human beings to get along after a fashion. No crowd leaves a theatre with any efficiency, nor without discomfort, impatience and wasted time, yet we usually reach the sidewalk without a fight. Order is another thing. Any teacher knows that order cannot be maintained without regulation, supervision and discipline. It is a question of degree; the more rigid and autocratic the discipline, the greater the order. Any genuine social order requires, as its first fundamental, the classification, regulation and obedience of individuals. Individuals being what they are, infinitely various and willful, their obedience must be enforced.

The serious loss in a social order is in time and energy. Sitting around in waiting rooms until one can stand in line before a bureaucrat's desk seems to any American a dead loss, and living in a social order thus shortens every person's life. Outside the bureaucrat's office, too, these regulations for the public good constantly hamper every action. It is as impossible to move freely in one's daily life as it is to saunter or hasten while keeping step in a procession.

In America, commercial decrees did not hamper every clerk and customer, as they did in France, so that an extra half-hour was consumed in every department-store purchase. French merchants are as intelligent as American, but they could not install vacuum tubes and a swift accounting system in a central cashier's department. What is the use? they asked you. They would still be obliged to have every purchase recorded in writing in a ledger, in the presence of both buyer and seller, as Napoleon decreed.

It was an intelligent decree, too, when Napoleon issued it. Could French merchants change it now? It is to laugh, as they say; a phrase with no mirth in it. The decree was entangled with a hundred years of bureaucratic complications, and besides, think how much unemployment its repeal would have caused among those weary cashiers, dipping their pens in the prescribed ink, setting down the date and hour on a new line and asking, "Your name, madame?" writing. "Your address?" writing. "You pay cash?" writing. "You will take the purchase with you? Ah, good," writing. "Ah, I see. One reel of thread, cotton, black, what size?" writing. "You pay for it how much?" writing. "And you offer in payment-Good; one franc," writing. "From one franc, perceive, madame, I give you fifty centimes change. Good. And you are satisfied, madame?"

No one considered how much unemployment this caused to the daily multitudes of patiently waiting customers, nor that if these clerks had never been thus employed they might have been doing something useful, something creative of wealth. Napoleon wished to stop the waste of disorganization, of cheating and quarreling, in the markets of his time. And he did so. The result is that so much of France was permanently fixed firmly in Napoleon's time. If he had let Frenchmen waste and quarrel, and cheat and lose, as Americans were then doing in equally primitive markets, French department stores certainly would have been made as briskly efficient and time-saving as America's.

No one who dreams of the ideal social order, the economy planned to eliminate waste and injustice, considers how much energy, how much human life, is wasted in administering and in obeying the best of regulations. No one considers how rigid such regulations become, nor that they must become rigid and resist change because their underlying purpose is to preserve men from the risks of chance and change in flowing time. Americans have had in our country no experience of the discipline of a social order. We speak of a better social order when in fact we do not know what any social order is. We say that something is wrong with this system, when in fact we have no system. We use phrases learned from Europe, with no conception of the meaning of those phrases in actual living experience.

In America we do not have even universal military training, that basis of a social order which teaches every male citizen his subservience to The State and subtracts some years from every young man's life, and has thereby weakened the military power of every nation that has adopted it.

An apartment lease in America is legal when it is signed; it is not necessary to take it to the police to be stamped, nor to file triplicate copies of it with the collector of internal revenue, so that for taxation purposes our incomes may be set down as ten times what we pay for rent. In economic theory, no doubt it is not proper to pay for rent more than 10 per cent of income, and perhaps it is economic justice that anyone so extravagant as to pay more should be fined by taxation. It was never possible to quarrel with the motives behind these bureaucracies of Europe; they were invariably excellent motives.

An American could look at the whole world around him and take what he wanted from it, if he were able. Only criminal law and his own character, abilities and luck restrained him.

That is what Europeans meant when, after a few days in this country, they exclaimed, "You are so free here!" And it was the most infinite relief to an American returning after long living abroad, to be able to move from hotel to hotel, from city to city, to be able to rush into a store and buy a spool of thread, to decide at half past three to take a four o'clock train, to buy an automobile if one had the money or the credit and to drive it wherever one liked, all without making any reports whatever to the government.

But anyone whose freedom has been, as mine has always been, freedom to earn a living if possible, knows that this independence is another name for responsibility.

The American pioneers phrased this clearly and bluntly. They said, "Root, hog, or die."

There can be no third alternative for the shoat let out of the pen, to go where he pleases and do what he likes. Individual liberty is individual responsibility. Whoever makes decisions is responsible for results. When common men were slaves and serfs, they obeyed and they were fed, but they died by thousands in plagues and famines. Free men paid for their freedom by leaving that false and illusory security.

The question is whether personal freedom is worth the terrible effort, the never-lifted burden, and the risks, the unavoidable risks, of self- reliance.

For each of us, the answer to that question is a personal one. But the final answer cannot be personal, for individual freedom of choice and of action cannot long exist except among multitudes of individuals who choose it and who are willing to pay for it.

Multitudes of human beings will not do this unless their freedom is worth more than it costs, not only in value to their own souls but also in terms of the general welfare and the future of their country, which means the welfare and the future of their children.

The test of the worth of personal freedom, then, can only be its practical results in a country whose institutions and ways of life and of thought have grown from individualism. The only such country is the United States of America.

Here, on a new continent, peoples with no common tradition founded this republic on the rights of the individual. This country was the only country in the western world whose territory was largely settled and whose culture is dominated by those northwestern Europeans from whom the idea of individual liberty came into the world's history as a political principle.

When one thinks of it, that's an odd fact. Why did this territory become American? How did it happen that those British colonists released from England spread across half this continent?

Spaniards were in Missouri before Englishmen were in Virginia or Massachusetts. French settlements were old in Illinois, French mines in Missouri were furnishing the western world with bullets, French trading posts were in Arkansas, half a century before farmers fired on British soldiers at Lexington.

Why did Americans, spreading westward, not find a populated country, a vigorous colony to protest in France against the sale of Louisiana?

This is an important fact: Americans were the only settlers who built their houses far apart, each on his own land. America is the only country I have seen where farmers do not live today in close, safe village-groups. It is the only country I know where each person does not feel an essential, permanent solidarity with a certain class, and with a certain group within that class. The first Americans came from such groups in Europe, but they came because they were individuals rebelling against groups. Each in his own way built his own house at a distance from others in the American wilderness. This is individualism.

The natural diversity of human beings, the natural tendency of man to go into the future like an explorer finding his own way, was released in those English colonies on the Atlantic coast. Men from the British islands rushed so eagerly toward that freedom that Parliament and the King refused to open any more land for settlement; the statistics of the time proved clearly that a western expansion of the American colonies would depopulate England.

Nevertheless, before tea went overboard in Boston harbor the lawless settlers had penetrated to the crests and valleys of the Appalachians and were scouting into forbidden lands beyond.

There was no plan that these young United States should ever cover half this continent. The thought of New York and Washington lagged far behind that surge. It was the released energies of individuals that poured westward at a speed never imagined, sweeping away and overwhelming settlements of more cohesive peoples and reaching the Pacific in the time that Jefferson thought it would take to settle Ohio.

I have no illusions about the pioneers. My own people for eight generations were American pioneers, and when as a child I remembered too proudly an ancestry older than Plymouth, my mother would remind me of a great-great-uncle, jailed for stealing a cow.

The pioneers were by no means the best of Europe. In general they were trouble-makers of the lower classes, and Europe was glad to be rid of them. They brought no great amount of intelligence or culture. Their principal desire was to do as they pleased, and they were no idealists. When they could not pay their debts, they skipped out between two days. When their manners, their personal habits or their loudly expressed and usually ignorant opinions offended the gently bred, they remarked, "It's a free country, ain't it?" A frequent phrase of theirs was "free and independent." They also said, "I'll try anything once," and "Sure, I'll take a chance!"

They were riotous speculators; they gambled in land, in furs, in lumber and canals and settlements. They were town-lot salesmen for towns that did not yet exist and, more often than not, never did materialize. They were ignorant peasants, prospectors, self-educated teachers and lawyers, ranting politicians, printers, lumberjacks, horse thieves and cattle rustlers.

Each was out to get what he could for himself, and devil take the hindmost. At every touch of adversity they fell apart, each on his own; there was human pity and kindness, but not a trace of community spirit. The pioneer had horse sense, and card sense, and money sense, but not a particle of social sense. The pioneers were individualists. And they did stand the gaff .

This was the human stuff of America. It was not the stuff one would have chosen to make a nation or an admirable national character. And Americans today are the most reckless and lawless of peoples. We are also the most imaginative, the most temperamental, the most infinitely varied people. We are the kindest people on earth; kind every day to one another and sympathetically responsive to every rumor of distress. It is only in America that a passing car will stop to lend a stranded stranger a tire-tool. Only Americans ever made millions of small personal sacrifices in order to pour wealth over the world, relieving suffering in such distant places as Armenia and Japan.

Everywhere, in shops, streets, factories, elevators, on highways and on farms, Americans are the most friendly and courteous people. There is more laughter and more song in America than anywhere else. Such are a few of the human values that grew from individualism while individualism was creating this nation.


  At the age of 79, Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968) was a correspondent from Vietnam for Woman's Day. This was simply one phase of a life dedicated to the individualism and liberty expressed in Lane's two major works, The Discovery of Freedom (1943) and Give Me Liberty (1936) which revolve around the American ideal of personal freedom. Give Me Liberty, from which the following essay is extracted, charts Lane's progress from socialism to libertarianism as a result of directly experiencing life under socialist regimes. First published during the Great Depression by the Saturday Evening Post, it served as a warning against the state socialism inherent in Roosevelt's New Deal.

An early and consistent critic of Roosevelt, Lane withdrew to her farm in Danbury, Connecticut (1938), where she refused to participate in Social Security or to publish writing which would be a source of revenue, through taxes, for government. "Taxation is armed robbery," she declared. "Tax collectors are armed robbers." In regard to the state, she maintained: "I am law-abiding purely for expediency, for self-defense, in the main against my conscientious principles, so at bottom I am ashamed of not being a conscientious objector practicing Gandhi's or Thoreau's civil disobedience."



Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews
Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews
Stephen P. Halbrook

17 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, No. 3, 483-535 (2000).

We are in danger of forgetting that the Bill of Rights reflects experience with police excesses. It is not only under Nazi rule that police excesses are inimical to freedom.

It is easy to make light of insistence on scrupulous regard for the safeguards of civil liberties when invoked on behalf of the unworthy. It is too easy. History bears testimony that by such disregard are the rights of liberty extinguished, heedlessly at first, then stealthily, and brazenly in the end.

--Justice Felix Frankfurter

The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.

--Adolph Hitler

Gun control laws are depicted as benign and historically progressive.(4) However, German firearm laws and hysteria created against Jewish firearm owners played a major role in laying the groundwork for the eradication of German Jewry in the Holocaust. Disarming political opponents was a categorical imperative of the Nazi regime.(5) The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."(6) This right, which reflects a universal and historical power of the people in a republic to resist tyranny,(7) was not recognized in the German Reich.

This article addresses German firearms laws and Nazi policies and practices to disarm German citizens, particularly political opponents and Jews. It begins with an account of post-World War I chaos, which led to the enactment in 1928 by the liberal Weimar republic of Germany's first comprehensive gun control law. Next, the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 was consolidated by massive searches and seizures of firearms from political opponents, who were invariably described as "communists." After five years of repression and eradication of dissidents, Hitler signed a new gun control law in 1938 which benefitted Nazi party members and entities but denied firearm ownership to enemies of the state. Later that year, in Kristallnacht (the Night of the Broken Glass), in one fell swoop, the Nazi regime disarmed Germany's Jews. Without any ability to defend themselves, the Jewish population could easily be sent to concentration camps for the Final Solution. After World War II began, Nazi authorities continued to register and mistrust civilian firearm owners, and German resistence to the Nazi regime was unsuccessful.(8)

The above topic has never been the subject of a comprehensive account in the legal literature.(9) This article is based on never before used sources from archives in Germany, German firearms laws and regulations, German and American newspapers from the period, and historical literature. It contributes to the debate concerning firearms ownership in a democracy and presents the first scholarly analysis of the use of gun control laws and policies to establish the Hitler regime and to render political opponents and especially German Jews defenseless.

I. A LIBERAL REPUBLIC ENACTS GUN CONTROL

Germany's defeat in World War I heralded the demise of the Second Reich and the birth of the Weimar republic. For several years thereafter, civil unrest and chaos ensued. Government forces, buttressed by unofficial Freikorps (Free Corps), battled Communists in the streets.(10) The most spectacular event was the crushing of the Spartacist revolt in Berlin and other cities in January 1919, when Freikorps members captured and murdered the Communist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.(11) This coincided with the passage of the Verordnung des Rates der Volksbeauftragen über Waffenbesitz (Regulations of the Council of the People's Delegates on Weapons Possession), which provided: "All firearms, as well as all kinds of firearms ammunition, are to be surrendered immediately."(12) Whoever kept a firearm or ammunition was subject to imprisonment for five years and a fine of 100,000 marks.(13) That decree would remain in force until repealed in 1928.(14)

When Spartacists attacked a Berlin police station in March, Reich Minister of Defense Gustav Noske declared that "any person who bears arms against government troops will be shot on the spot."(15) A Social Democrat, Noske was known as the "Bloodhound of the Revolution."(16) Another order was issued that anyone in mere possession of arms would be shot with no trial.(17) Under these orders, hundreds of Berliners were killed.(18)

An inept April Communist uprising in Bavaria fared no better.(19) Lieutenant Rudolf Mann, a regimental adjutant in the Freikorps, was humored by the "mopping-up operations" against the Reds:

The supreme commander tacked proclamations to the walls: "Warning! All arms are to be surrendered immediately. Whoever is caught with arms in his possession will be shot on the spot!" What could the poor citizen of average intelligence do? Surrender -- but how? If he took his rifle under his arm to take it to the place were arms were collected, he would be shot on the steps of his house by a passing patrol. If he came to the door and opened it, we all took shots at him because he was armed. If he got as far as the street, we would put him up against the wall. If he stuck his rifle under his coat it was still worse . . . I suggested that they tie their rifles on a long string and drag them behind them. I would have laughed myself sick if I had seen them go down the street doing it.(20)

Armed conflict continued into 1920 when Communists called a general strike in the Ruhr, attacked the Freikorps, and then were defeated.(21) A young Freikorps member wrote about the counteroffensive:

Our battalion has had two deaths; the Reds 200-300. Anyone who falls into our hands first gets the rifle butt and then is finished off with a bullet . . . We even shot 10 Red Cross nurses (Rote-Kreuz-Schwestern) on sight because they were carrying pistols. We shot those little ladies with pleasure--how they cried and pleaded with us to save their lives. Nothing doing! Anybody with a gun is our enemy . . .(22)

While the government officially proclaimed that it would no longer rely on the services of the Freikorps, the latter continued obtaining financial support and arms from the government, often by theft or fraud.(23) Freikorps members would go on to become part of the backbone of National Socialism.(24)

The Gesetz über die Entwaffnung der Bevölkerung (Law on the Disarmament of the People), passed on August 7, 1920, provided for a Reichskommissar for Disarmament of the Civil Population.(25) He was empowered to define which weapons were "military weapons" and thus subject to seizure.(26) The bolt action Mauser rifles Models 1888/98, which had 5-shot magazines, were put in the same class as hand grenades.(27) Persons with knowledge of unlawful arms caches were required to inform the Disarmament Commission.(28)

Civil disorders would continue off and on, particularly the Hamburg uprising of 1923. This revolt was instigated by Communists who attacked a few police stations and seized arms, only to be suppressed.(29) Under Communist ideology, arms were to be obtained in the course of the revolution itself.(30) Whatever the support or lack of support of members of the "working class" for Communism, the lack of arms in their hands would in later years prevent them from creating armed resistance to the Nazi regime.

By 1928, the Weimar republic was ready to enact a comprehensive firearms law. The Gesetz über Schußwaffen und Munition (Law on Firearms and Ammunition)(31)


...required a license to manufacture, assemble, or repair firearms and ammunition, or even to reload cartridges.(32)


A license was also required to sell firearms as a trade.(33)


Trade in firearms was prohibited at annual fairs, shooting competitions, and other events.(34)


Acquisition of a firearm or ammunition required a Waffen oder Munitionserwerbscheins (license to obtain a weapon or ammunition) from the police.(35)
The requirement applied to both commercial sales and private transfers.


It did not apply to transfer of a firearm or ammunition to a shooting range licensed by the police for sole use at the range.(36)


Exempt were "authorities of the Reich" and various government entities.(37)


Carrying a firearm required a Waffenschein (license to carry a weapon).
The issuing authority had complete discretion to limit its validity to a specific occasion or locality.(38)
"Licenses to obtain or to carry firearms shall only be issued to persons whose reliability is not in doubt, and only after proving a need for them.";(39)
Licenses were automatically denied to "gypsies,
and to persons wandering around like gypsies";
persons with convictions under various listed laws,
including this law (i.e., the 1928 Gesetz) and the 1920 Law on the Disarming of the Population; and
"persons for whom police surveillance has been declared admissible, or upon whom the loss of civil rights has been imposed, for the duration of the police surveillance or the loss of civil rights."(40)


The above categories of persons who were disqualified from obtaining an acquisition or carry license were prohibited from possession of a firearm or ammunition. Persons not entitled to possess firearms were ordered to surrender them immediately.(41)


Further, a license was required to possess a firearms or ammunition "arsenal," which was defined as more than five firearms of the same type or more than 100 cartridges.(42) (These quantities would have been very low for collectors or target competitors.)


Also included in the definition was more than ten hunting arms or more than 1000 hunting cartridges.(43)


Licenses were available only to "persons of unquestioned trustworthiness."(44)


It was forbidden to manufacture or possess firearms which are adapted for "rapid disassembly beyond the generally usual extent for hunting and sporting purposes."(45)


Firearms with silencers or spotlights were prohibited.(46)


The penalty for willfully or negligently violating the provisions of the law related to the carrying of a firearm was up to three-years imprisonment and a fine.(47)


The same penalty applied to anyone who inherited a firearm or ammunition from a deceased person and failed to report it in a timely manner.(48)


Three years imprisonment was also the penalty for whoever deliberately or negligently failed to prevent a violation of the law by a member of his household under 20 years of age.(49) Other violations of the law or implementing regulations were punishable with fines and unspecified terms of imprisonment.(50)

The new law was passed on April 12, but did not take effect until October 1, 1928. On the effective date, the 1919 law requiring immediate surrender of all firearms and ammunition would be repealed.(51) That would allow over six months for compliance with the new law while leaving the more draconian but widely ignored law on the books for the same period.

Reichskommissar Kuenzer published an explanation of the new firearms law in the newspaper Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.(52) He explained that, after preparations that lasted over three years, the law was submitted by the Reich Ministry of the Interior to the Reichsrat in 1926. (53) "The law necessitated long consultations in the Reichsrat because it interferes strongly with the police authority of the Länder [states]."(54) As adopted, the 1928 law prohibited the governments of the Länder from ordering further restrictions, "insofar as the government of the Reich with consent of the Reichsrat excluded certain kinds of firearms or ammunition from the provisions of the law."(55)

The bill was sent to the Reichstag in 1928, and "the parties unanimously considered the swift settlement of this matter as so urgent that the law passed immediately in the plenary session, without consultation in the committee . . . and was adopted in all three readings without a debate."(56)

The commentary of Kuenzer continued: "A matter that so far had been settled differently in each State, and in Prussia even differently in various districts, will now be regulated the same way in the whole Reich. The law on firearms and ammunition sets forth terms that are very important politically and economically."(57) The law, Kuenzer noted, only regulates firearms and ammunition. When first proposed and published, the press objected that the law failed to regulate weapons for hitting or stabbing, truncheons, and brass knuckles, which were regulated by the Länder. Individual Länder were opposed to a regulation of weapons other than firearms by the Reich. The Reich Ministry of the Interior would now have to draft a uniform weapons law for the whole Reich.(58)

Kuenzer addressed the merits of the new law as follows:

The purpose and goal of the law at hand are to get firearms that have done so much damage from the hands of unauthorized persons and to do away with the instability and ambiguity of the law that previously existed in this area. The difficult task was to find the appropriate limits between this necessity of the state on the one hand and the important interests of the weapons industry that was employing a large number of workers and had been heavily damaged through the peace treaty, the interests of the legal sporting industry, and the personal freedom of the individual.(59)



Thus, the law requires a permit for the manufacturing of firearms and ammunition, although "it is important to note that the permit may not be made contingent on an examination of the applicant."(60) Firearms sold commercially must bear the name or stamp of the manufacturer or dealer "in the interest of solving criminal acts committed with firearms."(61) Kuenzer noted the following sphere that would not be subject to government control:

For the public the provision is of utmost importance that in the future the possession of firearms and ammunition will be allowed without police permit. Without doubt the sharpest and best control of weapons possession would have been given if the so-called possession permit had been introduced. But in my opinion it was correct not to do that because the danger of illegal weapons use exists mainly when someone is carrying his weapons outside his house; but such a provision would also only then have been successful if there had been a punishment in the case of violations. Such a punishment would have opened the door to denunciations and would also have been useless in practice like the still valid order of the regulation of January 13, 1919 which carries such a prohibition and is still in effect. The legislature has the duty to adopt only laws that can be executed in practice because nothing is more demoralizing for the population than laws that exist only on paper, but cannot be implemented.(62)

The reference was to the 1919 regulation which required immediate surrender of all firearms and ammunition and punished disobedience with five years imprisonment.(63) Thus, the 1928 law was seen as deregulatory to a point but enforceable, in contrast to a far more restrictive albeit unenforceable order. Less regulation meant fewer "denunciations," although it was unrealistic to anticipate that the odious practice of "denunciations" would end. This would be seen when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and disarmed all political opponents. In any event, Kuenzer's following explanation illustrates the cautious and limited liberalization:

In one direction, however, there had to be prevention. Even if someone's possession of firearms in his own house in general is not a grave danger for the public security and order, the situation is very different when someone starts to build a weapons cache in his apartment. The possession of weapons and ammunition depots therefore has to be subject to a permit and a permit may only be given to persons who are reliable.(64)

Kuenzer explained the provision requiring the "arsenal" license for over five firearms of the same kind or over 100 cartridges, and increased quantities for hunting arms and ammunition. However, the Reich government had power under the law to exempt weapons from its coverage, and such weapons would not be counted in an "arsenal."(65) An explanation of the law listed weapons expected to be declared exempt as muzzle loaders, old breech loaders, weapons with unrifled barrels, small caliber air guns, harmless gas weapons and blank cartridge firearms, and similar weapons with limited penetrating power.(66)

The law prohibits possession of firearms by "adolescents, incapacitated persons, gypsies and persons traveling around like gypsies, as well as persons who are considered unreliable because of criminal convictions."(67) Kuenzer added: "This will certainly be welcomed by the general public."(68)

Kuenzer pointed to § 33, "according to which the possession of military weapons made illegal by other laws is of course prohibited."(69) Section 33 provided that the 1928 law had no effect on the 1919 Law on the Peace Between German and the Allied and Associated Powers and the implementing and regulations.(70) The effect of this was to continue the prohibition on possession of "military" arms, such as the bolt action Mauser rifles Models 1888 and 98, which had 5-shot magazines.(71)

Kuenzer continued: "If in principal the possession of a weapon at home has thus been allowed, the law on the acquisition and the carrying of firearms contains detailed provisions."(72) The carry license requirement "is meant to prevent persons who do not offer a guarantee that they will not misuse their weapons from walking around with a weapon without a police permit and [illegible] endanger the life of other persons."(73) Yet even this license requirement meant liberalization: "Extraordinary progress was made because it is finally possible to issue weapons permits valid for the whole Reich. So far, the validity of a weapon's permit ended at the border of each State, or in Prussia at the border of each district, and it had not been possible to issue a permit to a person for the whole Reich."(74)

To "facilitate the shooting sport," the law did not require a license to acquire or use a firearm at a range with a police permit. Further, "special provisions were adopted for hunters":

When hunting, conducting game protection or practicing shooting, or on their way to or from those activities, owners of a hunting permit of a German State may carry hunting weapons and a handgun without needing a special weapons permit. Whoever is in possession of a hunting permit for a whole year of a German State may acquire hunting weapons and hand firearms anywhere in the Reich to the extent provided by the hunting permit and may acquire ammunition without an acquisition permit.(75)

Noting the effective date of October 1, 1928, Kuenzer noted: "In the meantime the Reich government with the consent of the Reichsrat will issue the provisions necessary for the implementation of the law and in particular will decide which firearms should not be subject to the law at all. The governments of the Länder will make the necessary changes to the laws of their Länder and adopt the provisions left in their competence." He concluded:

The Reichstag which in order to adopt a law of such important content without extensive consultation in the committee probably had to disregard its misgivings, with the almost unanimous adoption of this encompassing law, which is settling important economic and political questions, before its adjournment has shown that it is willing to neglect formalities and party doctrines when the public welfare asks it to do so.(76)

Implementing regulations adopted in 1928(77) provided that, unless otherwise specified, the firearms acquisition permit entitled one to acquire only one firearm, and the ammunition acquisition permit entitled the holder to acquire only 50 jacketed or ball cartridges.(78) When the firearm(s) authorized by the acquisition permit was obtained, the transferor (whether a dealer or a non-dealer) was required to submit the permit to the police.(79) Dealers kept acquisition and disposition books which where subject to police inspection on demand.(80)

Within a decade, Germany had gone from a brutal firearms seizure policy which, in times of unrest, entailed selective yet immediate execution for mere possession of a firearm, to a modern, comprehensive gun control law.

 

Passed by a liberal republic, this law ensured that the police had records of all firearms acquisitions (or at least all lawful ones) and that the keeping and bearing of arms were subject to police approval. This firearms control regime was quite useful to the new government that came to power a half decade later.

II. 1933: THE NAZIS SEIZE POWER

Adolph Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933. The Nazi regime immediately began a campaign to disarm and obliterate all enemies of the state, who were invariably designated "Communists." The following describes this process from contemporaneous sources.

On February 1, in the Charlottenburg area of Berlin, a large police detachment arrived to investigate the alleged shooting deaths of two National Socialist officers by "Communists" the night before. "The police closed off the street to all traffic while at the same time criminal detectives conducted extensive raids in the houses. Each individual apartment was searched for weapons. The raid lasted several hours."(81) Countless reports of this type would appear in the coming months.

It took about a month for the Nazi party to consolidate its power over the central government. On February 28, the Hitler regime persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to issue an emergency decree, based on Article XLVIII of the Constitution (a provision passed by the Weimar republic), suspending constitutional guarantees and authorizing the Reich to seize executive power in any State which failed to take "the necessary measures for the restoration of law and order."(82) The official explanation was that evidence of "imminent Communist terrorism" was discovered in a search of the Karl Liebnecht House, Berlin's Communist headquarters, and that Communists were responsible for the Reichstag (German Parliament) fire of the night before. The decree was adopted after Hermann Göring, Minister without Portfolio and chief of the Prussian Interior Ministry, reported on the Reichstag fire and plans for Communist terror. It was claimed that, on the coming Sunday election day, the Communists intended to attack Nazi party members and "to disarm the police by force."(83) It is widely believed that the Nazis themselves set the Reichstag fire in order to justify the repressive measures which followed.(84)

The decree authorized the government to suspend the constitutional guarantees of personal liberty, free expression of opinion, freedom of the press, and the rights to assemble and to form associations. Secrecy of postal and telephonic communication was suspended, and the government was authorized to conduct search and seizure operations of homes.(85) It provided that whoever commits the offenses defined in the Penal Code as "severe rioting" or "severe breach of public peace" by "using weapons or in conscious and intentional cooperation with an armed person . . . shall be sentenced to death or, if the offense was not previously punishable more severely, to the penitentiary for life or to the penitentiary for up to 15 years."(86) Since the terms "riot" and "breach of peace" could be applied to a protest march by political opponents, the mere keeping or bearing of a weapon might have become a capital offense.

It was reported that measures to suppress "subversive activities" took place throughout Germany. Hamburg, Dresden, Hanover, Stuttgart, and numerous other cities "reported bans on Communist activities and the searching of houses for Communist literature and illegal weapons."(87) Police were put on constant alert until after the election.(88) As Communist members of the Reichstag fled, a government spokesman noted that votes for Communists would not be counted because they were "non-German."(89)

Meanwhile, non-Nazis throughout Germany were disarmed as "Communists." "Party headquarters throughout the country were raided and subversive literature and weapons were seized."(90) At the same time, even more Nazis were armed by the government. "Throughout Prussia some 60,000 Nazi storm troopers and members of the Stahlhelm have been enrolled as auxiliary police and have been armed with revolvers and truncheons."(91) The outcome of the "election" could not be in doubt.

The Reich Minister of the Interior, on March 1, sent an urgent, secret memorandum to the governments of the German states regarding the KPD, the German Communist Party, which stated:

The Police Headquarters in Berlin has established that the KPD intends to conduct systematic attacks against members of the national units, especially the SA and the SS, and by doing so to recklessly neutralize any armed members of those units by force of arms. The plan is to conduct the action in such a way that their authors will, if possible, not be recognized as Communists. The plan is also to compel patrolling policemen by force of arms to give up their weapons.

I am informing you of the above with the request to take further action.(92)

While Communists may have been capable of such attacks, this language is consistent with Nazi assaults on democrats and other opponents of the Nazis who might "not be recognized as Communists" and whose mere possession of firearms was evidence of the conspiracy.

The term "Communist Underground" took on a dual meaning in the following report: "Searches of houses of Kottbus Communists uncovered, among other things, numerous weapons and illegal flyers and also improved catacombs similar to those found in Berlin. The catacombs served as hiding places for the Communists and their weapons."(93)

Scores were being settled for anti-Nazi activity which took place before Hitler's ascension to power. The Völkische Beobachter (People's Observer), Hitler's newspaper, reported:

Following the conclusion of the preliminary investigation, the Office of the Public Prosecutor I in Berlin has now filed charges against nine Communists for severe breach of peace of the land, attempted murder and offenses against the Firearms Law committed during the assault conducted in the night of December 28, 1932 on the National Socialist meeting room at Landwehrstrasse which severely injured three National Socialists.(94)

The above reports indicate the use of the "Communist gun owner" bogeyman as a propaganda tool, the extensive searches and seizures being conducted by the police to confiscate firearms and arrest their owners, and the use of the Firearms Law against Nazi opponents. It is clear that firearms were being seized from persons of all types, not just "Communists." For example, Wilhelm Willers, an apparently prominent citizen of Munich, complained to authorities that "the SA members took several things when they searched my apartment, such as several bottles of mineral water and from my living room a box of cigarettes. A flashlight was lent, but not returned. I ask that my flashlight and the above-mentioned pistol which belongs to me personally be returned to me."(95)

Not surprisingly, the Nazis won the election, leaving the Hitler regime with executive power in all the German States.(96) The repression continued unabated. Anti-Semitic actions began to be reported. One account noted, "The Produce Exchange in Breslau was entered today by Nazi storm troops, who searched the place for arms and ousted the occupants. Several Jewish-owned department stores there were forcibly closed, and the storm troopers ejected Jewish judges and lawyers from the courts."(97)

In another incident, six Nazi storm troopers raided the apartment of the widow of former President Friedrich Ebert.(98) They demanded her "mustard flag," the Nazi term for the republican black, red, and gold emblem.(99) When her son protested that they had no flag on the premises, they conferred among themselves on whether to search the apartment anyway.(100) "They decided finally to look for hidden arms, but found only a revolver belonging to Herr Ebert, which he handed to them together with a permit that had expired. With these the Nazis marched off."(101)

By this point in time the Nazis had foisted a totalitarian regime over all of Germany. Not only had the Socialist and Communist presses been shut down, but also Centrist and neutral presses were subject to immediate suppression should anything objectionable to the regime be published.(102) Germans were forbidden to reveal any information to foreigners. To enforce this repression, telephones were tapped and informants lingered in cafes.(103) The police and the courts were instruments of the dictatorship. Jews were fleeing persecution.(104)

Despite the repression, foreign presses continued to report the news. The following New York Times account demonstrates that the Nazi drive to seize arms was in part a ruse to conduct searches and seizures and to harass selected persons:

NAZIS HUNT ARMS IN EINSTEIN HOME
Only a Bread Knife Rewards Brown Shirts'
Search for Alleged Huge Cache



OUSTING OF JEWS GOES ON . . . .

BERLIN, March 20. - Charging that Professor Albert Einstein had a huge quantity of arms and ammunition stored in his secluded home in Caputh, the National Socialists sent Brown Shirt men and policemen to search it today, but the nearest thing to arms they found was a bread knife.

Professor Einstein's home, which for the present is empty, the professor being on his way back to Europe from the United States, was surrounded on all sides and one of the most perfect raids of recent German history was carried out. The outcome was a disappointment to those who have always regarded Professor Einstein's pacifist utterances as a mere pose.(105)

If one could find humor in the above, the reality was not humorous. The above report also described the elimination of Jews from the professions. Jewish physicians were being dismissed from the hospitals, Jewish judges in criminal court were removed and placed in civil court, and Jewish prosecutors were terminated.(106)

On March 23, the Reichstag passed, by a vote of 441 to 94, the enabling act that permitted the Cabinet to make laws without consulting that body and without action by the President. The Reichstag then dissolved sine die. The Cabinet of eleven members included three Nazis: Chancellor Hitler, Dr. Wilhelm F. Frick, and Hermann Göring.(107) The others were Nationalists and appointees of President von Hindenburg.(108)

The enabling act made the Hitler cabinet a dictatorship through three simple provisions. Article I provided: "Federal laws may be enacted by the government [the cabinet] outside of the procedure provided in the Constitution . . . ."(109) Article II stated: "The laws decreed by the government may deviate from the Constitution . . . ."(110) And Article III provided: "The laws decreed by the government are to be drafted by the Chancellor [Hitler] and announced in the Reichsgesetzblatt."(111)

The above accounts concern Nazi policy to seize all arms from political opponents. Nazi policy also mandated the prohibition of possession of "military" firearms by citizens at large. An SA Oberführer warned about an ordinance issued by the provisional Bavarian Minister of the Interior:

The deadline set by § 4 of the Ordinance for the Surrender of Weapons will expire on March 31, 1933. I therefore request the immediate surrender of all arms from former army stores to the local stations of the Gendarmie.

Pursuant to § 3 of the ordinance, individuals may be permitted to keep a handgun together with proper ammunition for the protection of house and farm. Well-founded requests in this regard may be submitted to the local Gendarmerie stations by way of the mayor.

The units of the national revolution, SA, SS, and Stahlhelm, offer every German man with a good reputation the opportunity to join their ranks for the fight. Therefore, whoever does not belong to one of these named units and nevertheless keeps his weapon without authorization or even hides it, must be viewed as an enemy of the national government and will be held responsible without hesitation and with the utmost severity.(112)

In other words, anyone who possessed a military rifle or handgun was a public enemy unless he or she was a member of a Nazi-approved organization. Of the three listed organizations, the SS (Schutzstaffeln) or Elite Guard of the National Socialist Party, headed by Heinrich Himmler, emerged as the most powerful Nazi police organization.(113) The SA (Sturmabteilung) or storm troopers were appointed as an auxiliary police force which carried out many of the excesses of the Nazi revolution until its leadership, headed by Ernst Roehm, were eliminated in the "night of the long knives" in 1934.(114) The Stahlhelm or Steel Helmets, a veterans' organization,(115) had as its honorary commander President Hindenburg, whose death in 1934 would complete Hitler's consolidation of absolute power(116) and doubtlessly eliminated this organization's special privileges.

On March 28, the State Ministry of the Interior headed by Frick issued a secret directive to the government units, police, municipal commissars, and special commissioners of the highest SA leaders regarding the execution of the ordinance on the surrender of military weapons. It began: "Despite all of the measures taken so far, parts of the population opposed to the national government and the national movement behind it are still in possession of military weapons and military ammunition."(117) It ordered the police "immediately to order the population to surrender any military weapons in a timely manner to the special commissars listed in the official gazettes as well as in the local press."(118) Weapons to be surrendered included not just heavy weapons but also "military rifles" (which were bolt actions) and "army revolvers."(119) The directive continued:

Pursuant to 4, paragraph 2, of the ordinance the Special Commissar of the Highest SA Leader may exempt members of the SA, SS, and Stahlhelm units as well as members of veterans' associations by confidential order to the pertinent leaders of those units/associations. Under no circumstances may the public, especially the press, be informed about this exemption, given the fact that the provisions on disarmament of the Versailles Treaty are still in effect. Further, upon request, the Special Commissar may allow reliable persons to keep a rifle together with the necessary ammunition for the protection of house and farm. The same applies to army revolvers that are the personal property of the owner. Only such persons can be considered reliable from whom a loyal attitude toward the national government can be expected. These approved exceptions must also be treated as confidential.(120)


The surrendered arms were to be stored with the SA, SS, and Stahlhelm.(121) These groups in turn would assist the police "to conduct weapons searches in places where military weapons and military ammunition are still suspected."(122)

A terse newspaper announcement about the above began: "We would like to point out one more time that all military weapons and ammunition in private possession have to be surrendered by March 31, 1933 . . ."(123) It warned: "If we find military weapons or ammunition after 31 March 1933, we will be forced to proceed ruthlessly . . . ."(124)

Having disarmed and mopped up the "Communists," at times a euphemism for citizens who were not National Socialists, and having prohibited possession of "military" firearms to citizens who were not members of Nazi-approved organizations, the Nazis now turned their attention more toward the Jews. Apparently hoping to depict Jews as subversive by proving them to be in possession of illegal firearms, search and seizure operations were executed on April 4, 1933.(125) The New York Times reported:

Raid on Jewish Quarter

A large force of police assisted by Nazi auxiliaries raided a Jewish quarter in Eastern Berlin, searching everywhere for weapons and papers. Streets were closed and pedestrians were halted. Worshipers leaving synagogues were searched and those not carrying double identification cards were arrested. Even flower boxes were overturned in the search through houses and some printed matter and a few weapons were seized.(126)

The Völkische Beobachter contained a revealing account of the raid on the Jewish quarter under the headline: "The Time of the Ghetto Has Come; Massive Raid in the Scheunenviertel;(127) Numerous Discoveries of Weapons--Confiscation of Subversive Material; Numerous Arrests of 'Immigrants' from East Galicia."(128) The article included a dramatic and lengthy description of how the police, supported by the SS and criminal detectives, approached the Scheunenviertel ("Barn District") of Berlin and searched the houses and basements of the Jewish inhabitants. It reported:

During the very extensive search, the search details found a whole range of weapons. Further, a large amount of subversive printed material was confiscated. 14 persons who did not have proper identification were detained. Most of them were Jews from Poland and Galicia who were staying in Berlin without being registered.(129)




Despite the headlines, the article does not state how many or what types of arms were seized or whether they were even unlicenced or otherwise illegal--as will be seen, no prohibition on Jewish possession of firearms was enacted until 1938. The article does expand on the "subversive material" discovered. It includes two illustrations: first, the assemblage of SS and police on the street, and second, a pathetic picture of an elderly Jewish man in front of a microphone explaining to Nazi radio broadcasters on the scene that he did not know why he was being searched. Beobachter readers were apparently supposed to "get it," but the picture and statement evokes sympathy for the old man. Nazi repressive measures against Jewish firearms owners were facilitated by the 1928 Weimar gun control law, which banned firearms from "untrustworthy" persons and allowed the police to keep records on who acquired or carried firearms.(130) As the New York Times reported:

Permission to Possess Arms Withdrawn From Breslau Jews

Breslau, April 21. The Police President of the city has decreed that "all persons now or formerly of the Jewish faith who hold permits to carry arms or shooting licenses must surrender them forthwith to the police authorities."

The order is justified officially on the grounds that Jewish citizens have allegedly used their weapons for unlawful attacks on member of the Nazi organization and the police.

Inasmuch as the Jewish population "cannot be regarded as trustworthy," it is stated, permits to carry arms will not in the future be issued to any member thereof.(131)

Meanwhile, Wilhelm Frick, the Reich Minister of the Interior, wrote to Hermann Göring, Minister of the Interior of Prussia and head of the police of that state, that pistol imports had increased tenfold, and that "for reasons of public security we cannot tolerate the unrestrained import of such huge amounts of weapons." While the 1928 law already restricted firearm acquisitions, "the rules will not be observed by all of the weapons dealers, [and] that unauthorized persons will obtain foreign weapons flowing into the country . . . ."(132) Accordingly, on June 12, Frick decreed a prohibition on the importation of handguns.(133) Handgun ownership by German citizens, including Jews and political opponents, was apparently subversive to the Nazi regime.

Historians of the period have shown little or no interest in the above phenomena, with the exception of William Allen, whose The Nazi Seizure of Power is based on the experiences of the town of Northeim in Lower Saxony. This work demonstrates the Nazi's manipulative hysteria about firearms owners in 1933.(134) As Allen demonstrates, the town's citizens found "that it was extremely unhealthy to have any sort of weapon around the house."(135) Discovery of firearms by the police "was a first-class justification for the repeated police raids and arrests."(136)

Allen observes that the town's Reichsbanner (armed section of the Social Democratic party) awaited orders from party headquarters in Berlin to fight the Nazis, but the order never came. "Had it been given, Northeimer's Reichsbanner members would have carried out the tested plan they had worked on so long--to obtain and distribute weapons and to crush the Nazis."(137) Social Democrats were "the only defenders of democracy in Germany, the men who should have been gathering guns and calling the general strike," but instead their homes were being raided in midnight arms searches and they were being hauled off to concentration camps.(138)

In any event, the Nazi seizure of power was complete. It remained to consolidate this power for the aims of National Socialism.

III. HITLER'S GUN CONTROL ACT OF 1938

On seizing power, as the above demonstrates, the Nazis were well served by the 1928 Firearms Law. However, leisurely discussions on possible amendments were held over a five-year period. The discussants included Wilhelm Frick, the Reich Minister of the Interior; Hermann Göring, who as Minister of the Interior of Prussia controlled the police of that State; Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police; the Head Office of the Security Police (Hauptamt Sicherheitspolizei); and other members of the Nazi hierarchy.(139)

The result was the Nazi Waffengesetz (Weapons Law) of March 18, 1938.(140) It was decreed and signed by Adolph Hitler and Reich Minister Frick under the Enabling Act passed in 1933, which stemmed from the provision of the Weimar Constitution allowing rule by decree during emergencies. Indeed, the Reichstag, the legislative body, passed only seven laws during Hitler's entire reign.(141)

Hitler and Himmler would commit suicide at the war's end, while Göring and Frick would be condemned to death at the postwar Nürnberg trials.(142) While Frick was less well known, Hitler had expressed admiration for Frick as early as Mein Kampf.(143) On assuming office in 1933, Frick wrote police stations that Communists dressed like SA members were rioting and smashing Jewish shop windows.(144) He planned anti-Semitic policies from the beginning.(145)

In mid-1933, Frick wrote to the other members of the cabinet: "Following the victory of the national revolution I consider it necessary to undertake a basic examination of the Weapons Law . . . ."(146) By Fall a draft was circulated. It would have adopted a nominal amount of deregulation for some, subject to its ultimate postulate expressed in the title to Chapter 1: "Prohibition of Firearms by Enemies of the People and the State."(147) It provided: "The police authority may prohibit the acquisition, possession or carrying of firearms to any person who is an enemy of the people and the state or who is a danger to public security."(148)

An analysis of the proposal explained:

"The Reich Minister of the Interior is of the opinion that the Weapons Law should be amended in its entirety only after the German people has been permeated with the National Socialist ideas to the degree that we no longer have to fear extensive armed riots of enemies of the people and the state."(149)

Certain relaxations would be possible, however, as long as "enemies of the people and the state and other elements endangering public security shall not possess any firearms. To achieve that goal, the draft grants the police the authority to prohibit such persons from acquiring, possessing and carrying such firearms."(150)

So as to leave no mistake, a section-by-section analysis stated: "If these provisions guarantee that no enemies of the National Socialist state possess any weapons, then it is justifiable and appropriate to relax the current limiting provisions of the Weapons Law for the population faithful to the state."(151) In determining who may not possess firearms, "the perpetrator's prior conduct will have to be investigated thoroughly, in particular also with regard to his political activity." Further, the law would be "aimed at professional criminals in addition to enemies of the National-socialist state."(152)

Purging society of enemies of Nazism apparently was taking longer than expected, for discussion of reform of the firearms law was dropped for the next two years. Then, in November 1935, Frick circulated a new draft.(153) Besides similar language about enemies of the state, it introduced the following qualification for issuance of a permit to manufacture firearms: "No permit may be issued if the requestor or the person contemplated as technical manager of a facility is Jewish."(154)

Once again, an analysis of the draft explained that the police would have absolute discretion to deny entitlement of firearm possession to enemies of the state, and thus "it will therefore be possible for any national comrade faithful to the state to acquire firearms without a special permit."(155) Its discussion about licenses to be in the firearms business indicate in part a motive to suppress competition. It stated that "the weapons industry has to be subject to strict control by the state," and that it was "the request of the weapons industry itself to keep the industry free of inappropriate elements."(156) It added that only citizens of the German Reich may obtain permits, and avowed that "there will be no room for Jews in the German weapons industry and trade."(157)

The above may be understood in the context of the Nürnberg Laws that Hitler announced on September 15, 1935. They included the Citizenship Law, which excluded Jews from civil rights, and the Law for the Defense of German Blood and Honor, which forbade marriages between Jews and citizens of German blood.(158) A Jew was defined as a person who is or has been a member of the Jewish faith or who has more than two Jewish grandparents, who in turn were Jews if they had been members of the Jewish faith.(159)

Although Jews were to be explicitly excluded from the firearms industry, the draft did not propose that they be prohibited from firearm possession or acquisition.(160) However, the latter would be assumed, given that the police could simply declare that a person was an enemy of the state and bar firearm possession.(161) Indeed, the 1928 Weimar firearms law which was still in place empowered the police the discretion to issue or refuse to issue permits to acquire or carry firearms. As the following 1936 memorandum from the Bavarian Political Police to all subordinate police reveals, in late 1935 the Gestapo had ordered that no weapons permits would be issued to Jews without Gestapo approval:

Pursuant to an order of the Political Police Commander of the States [Länder] of December 16, 1935, No. I G - 352/35, the police authorities always have to obtain the opinion of the Geheimen Staatspolizei [Gestapo or Secret State Police] authorities on the political reliability of the individual requestor, before any permits to carry weapons are issued to any Jews.

Requests by Jews for the issuance of weapons permits therefore have to be sent to the Bavarian Political Police, II/1 for special disposal, so that it can state its opinion about the political reliability of the requestor.

In general, the following has to be taken into account with regard to the issuance of weapons permits to Jews:

In principle, there will be very few occasions where concerns will not be raised regarding the issuance of weapons permits to Jews. As a rule, we have to assume that firearms in the hands of the Jews represent a considerable danger for the German people. Therefore, in the future, an extreme measure of scrutiny will have to be applied to the question of political reliability of the requestor in all cases where an opinion needs to be given about the issuance of weapons permits to Jews. Only this way will we be able to prevent numerous Jews from obtaining firearms and to cause danger to the German population.

Most likely, the forwarding of applications will come into consideration only in special cases.(162)

In short, the legal and police tools were already in place to disarm whatever group the Nazis disfavored. Indeed, Frick wrote to the other ministers in early 1936:

"Authoritative sources have expressed their concerns to me that this might not be the appropriate time to replace the acquisition permit requirement for firearms and ammunition with a police weapons prohibition. I have therefore decided to postpone for the time being the issue of amending the weapons law . . . ."(163)

However, one or more drafts continued to circulate, as the Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police Heinrich Himmler made written comments in November 1936, and Frick's office submitted a new draft and invited Himmler and the Hauptamt Sicherheitspolizei (High Office of Security Police) to a meeting in February 1937 to resolve differences.(164)

In mid-1937, Frick again sent out a new draft, which would have maintained the requirement of a firearm acquisition permit.(165) However, Nazis would be exempt from permit requirements: "The position of the NSDAP in the German state is taken into account in that those political leaders and leaders of the SA, SS, NSKK [National Socialist Motor Corps] and Hitler Youth with a certain rank who have been granted the right to carry firearms by the competent party office do not in addition need a police permit to carry firearms or acquire small firearms."(166)

By year's end, Frick had feedback "from the Reich agencies and the Deputy of the Führer" and enclosed a semi-final draft. Unless objections were received within three weeks, noted Frick, "I will assume that all pertinent agencies agree with this draft to the weapons law and will submit it to the Reich Cabinet for adoption by circulation, since I do not consider it necessary for the Cabinet to debate this draft."(167)

The Reich Minister of War and Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht Wilhelm Keitel responded that "war material" may be acquired only by the permission of his agency.(168) This was to make sure that citizens could not obtain permits to acquire military firearms, such as ordinary Mauser bolt action rifles.

Final changes were made, and at last Frick could announce: "None of the Reich Ministers has filed an objection against the proposal submitted to the members of the Reich Government . . . by way of circulation. The Führer and the Reich Chancellor has approved it and the following is herewith adopted . . . ."(169)

As adopted, the Hitler-Frick weapons law combined many elements of the 1928 law with National Socialist innovations. A license was required to manufacture, assemble, or repair firearms and ammunition, or even to reload cartridges. "A license shall not be granted if the applicant, or the persons intended to become the commercial or technical managers of the operation of the trade, or any one of them, is a Jew."(170) Firms with licenses under the 1928 law had to comply with this provision within a year or the license would be revoked.(171)

A license was also required to sell firearms as a trade. Again, Jews were excluded.(172) Trade in firearms was prohibited at annual fairs, shooting competitions, and other events.(173) This would have included traditionally-popular events as shooting festivals and gun shows.

Acquisition of a handgun required a Waffenerwerbschein (license to obtain a weapon).(174) That did not apply to transfer of a handgun to a shooting range licensed by the police for sole use at the range. Exempt were "authorities of the Reich," various government entities, and "departments and their subdivisions of the National Socialist German Workers' Party designated by the deputy of the Führer."(175)

Carrying a firearm required a Waffenschein (license to carry a weapon). The issuing authority had complete discretion to limit its validity to a specific occasion or locality.(176) The decree further provided:

(1) Licenses to obtain or to carry firearms shall only be issued to persons whose reliability is not in doubt, and only after proving a need for them.

(2) Issuance shall especially be denied to: . . .

3. gypsies, and to persons wandering around like gypsies;

4. persons for whom police surveillance has been declared admissible, or upon whom the loss of civil rights has been imposed, for the duration of the police surveillance or the loss of civil rights;

5. persons who have been convicted of treason or high treason, or against whom facts are under consideration which justify the assumption that they are acting in a manner inimical to the state . . . .

6. persons who have received final sentence to a punishment of deprivation of liberty for more than two weeks . . . for resistance to the authorities of the state . . . .(177)

It is noteworthy that, on the face of the law, Jews were not named as automatically disqualified. Gypsies were the only ethnic group which did not qualify. It could be that the Nazi leadership did not feel confident of the support of enough Germans to disarm Jews at this time. Many Jewish men had fought in the Great War and retained their side arms.(178) This reluctance would change later that year.

For officially-supplied firearms, a license to acquire or carry firearms was not required of members of the armed forces, the police, "members of the SS reserve groups and the SS skull and cross-bones units [Totenkopfverbände],"(179) and the following:

lower echelon leaders of the National Socialist German Workers' Party, from local group leaders upwards; of the SA, the SS, and the National Socialist Motor Corps from Sturmführer upwards as well as the Hitlerjugend [Hitler Youth] from Bannführer upwards, to whom the Deputy of the Führer or an office designated by him, granted the right to carry firearms . . . .(180)

Possession of any kind of weapon could be prohibited where "in individual cases a person who has acted in an inimical manner toward the state, or it is to be feared that he will endanger the public security."(181) This could include any opponent of Nazism or simply any disfavored person.

It was forbidden to manufacture or possess "firearms which are adapted for folding or telescoping, shortening, or rapid disassembly beyond the generally usual extent for hunting and sporting purposes."(182) Firearms with silencers or spotlights were prohibited.(183) Finally, .22 caliber rimfire cartridges with hollow point bullets were outlawed.(184)

The penalty for willfully or negligently violating the provisions of the law related to the carrying of a firearm was up to three-years imprisonment and a fine.(185) A fine and indeterminate imprisonment were imposed on anyone who violated other provisions of the law or implementing regulations.(186)

The primary Hitler-Frick innovations to the 1928 Weimar law were the exclusion of Jews from firearms businesses and the extension of the exceptions to the requirements for licenses to obtain and to carry firearms to include various National Socialist entities, including party members and military and police organizations. Although the 1938 law no longer required an acquisition license for rifles and shotguns, but only for handguns, any person could be prohibited from possession of any firearm based on the broad discretion of authorities to determine that a person was "acting in a manner inimical to the state," had been sentenced "for resistance to the authorities of the state,"(187) or "it is to be feared that he will endanger the public security."(188) An innovation of the 1938 law was to ban .22 caliber rimfire cartridges with hollow point bullets, which were mostly used for small game hunting but which can be lethal to humans.

The major features of the Weimar law were retained as particularly suitable for Nazism's goals: the requirement of licenses to make and sell firearms, including recordkeeping on transferees and police powers to inspect such records; the requirements of licenses to obtain and to carry weapons, and the retention by police of the identities of and information on such licensees; the provision that "licenses to obtain or to carry firearms shall only be issued to persons whose reliability is not in doubt, and only after proving a need for them"; the denial of licenses to "persons for whom police surveillance has been declared admissible," or who presumably "are acting in a manner inimical to the state"; the prohibition on possession of any weapon by a person "who has acted in an inimical manner toward the state, or it is to be feared that he will endanger the public security"; and the prohibition on firearms with certain features not generally used "for hunting and sporting purposes."

Again following the Weimar law, the Hitler-Frick law directed that the Reich Minister of the Interior shall issue implementing regulations.(189) Pursuant to that power, on March 19, 1938, Frick promulgated extensive regulations governing the manufacture, sale, acquisition, and carrying of firearms.(190) The regulations began by entrusting the higher administrative authority in the hands of the presidents of the governments or highest officials in the various States, except that in Berlin the power was in the hands of the Police Chief.(191)

Extensive recordkeeping was required. A manufacturer, which included not only the original producer but also a person who assembled firearms in his shop from parts made by others, was required to keep a book with each firearm identified and its disposition. A handgun seller was obliged to keep books on the acquisition and disposition of each handgun. Once a year, the book for the previous year was submitted to the police authorities for certification. All records were subject to police inspection on demand. The records were to be kept for ten years except that, on discontinuance of business, were required to be turned over to the police.(192)

Licenses to obtain or carry firearms, the form of which was prescribed, were issued by the district police authority of the residence of the applicant. A firearm acquisition permit was valid for one year, and a license to carry a specific firearm was valid for three years.(193) When a person obtained the handgun authorized by an acquisition permit, the transferor, whether dealer or private person, submitted the permit showing the acquisition to the police.(194) Muzzle loading pistols and revolvers, and blank and gas firearms were exempt.(195) "Individual exceptions" were now permitted to the 1933 ban on importation of handguns.(196) Apparently because the law itself covered the subject in detail, the regulations did not mention the prohibition on Jews being licensed as manufacturers or sellers or the numerous exceptions for government and National Socialist party members.

The Völkische Beobachter, Hitler's newspaper, had this to say about the revised weapons law:

The new law is the result of a review of the weapons laws under the aspect of easing the previous legal situation in the interest of the German weapons industry without creating a danger for the maintenance of public security.

In the future, the acquisition of weapons will in principle require a police permit only when the weapons are pistols or revolvers. No permit will be required for the acquisition of ammunition.

The restrictions on the use of stabbing and hitting weapons, restrictions that originated at the time of emergency decrees, have basically been revoked. Compared to the previous law, the statute also contains a series of other alleviations. From the remaining numerous new provisions, the basic prohibition to sell weapons and ammunition to adolescents below the age of 18 should be emphasized. Further, the issuing of permits for the production or commerce with weapons is linked to the possession of German citizenship and to the personal reliability and technical fitness [of the applicant]. No permits may be given to Jews.

(197)

While the above sounds like the new law was deregulatory, the Nazis were masters of propaganda. The Berliner Börsenzeitung produced identical commentary, adding the following rather ominous language:

The prerequisite for any easing of the applicable weapons law had to be that the police authorities would remain able ruthlessly to prevent any unreliable persons from acquiring or possessing any weapons. The new law is meant to enforce the obvious principle that enemies of the people and the state and other elements endangering public security may not possess any weapons. It does so by authorizing the police to prohibit such persons from acquiring, possessing or carrying weapons of any kind. Since it is possible in this way to prevent any weapons possession that the police considers undesirable, the authorities were justified to ease the previous restrictions.(198)

In short, the police determined who could and who could not possess firearms. Aryans who were good Nazis could acquire firearms with relative ease. Any possession of firearms by a person considered "undesirable" by the police was prohibited. The Nazis thereby imposed on the German people a firearms law based on totalitarianism and police-state principles.

IV. KRISTALLNACHT: THE DISARMING OF THE JEWS

On November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year old German Jewish refugee whose father had been deported to Poland, went to the German Embassy in Paris intending to shoot the ambassador. Instead he shot and mortally wounded Ernst vom Rath, the third secretary in the Embassy, who ironically was being watched by the Gestapo because he opposed anti-Semitism and Nazism.(199) As the following demonstrates, the Nazi hierarchy recognized the incident as creating a favorable opportunity to disarm Germany's Jewish population.

On the morning of November 9, German newspaper headlines reported variously "Police Raid on Jewish Weapons,"(200) "Armed Jews,"(201) "Berlin's Jews were disarmed,"(202) "Disarming the Berlin Jews,"(203) and "Surrender of Weapons by Jews in Berlin, A Measure by the Police President."(204) The articles all contained substantially the same text as follows:

In view of the Jewish assassination attempt in the German Embassy in Paris, Berlin's Police President made known publicly the provisional results so far achieved, of a general disarming of Berlin's Jews by the police, which has been carried out in recent weeks.

The Police President, in order to maintain public security and order in the national capital, and prompted by a few individual incidents, felt compelled to disarm Berlin's Jewish population. This measure was recently made known to Jews by police stations, whereupon--apart from a few exceptions, in which the explicit nature of the ban on possession of weapons had to be articulated-- weapons until now found by the police to be in the possession of Jews who have no weapons permit were voluntarily surrendered.

The provisional results clearly show what a large amount of weapons have been found with Berlin's Jews and are still to be found with them. To date, the campaign led to the taking into custody of 2,569 stabbing and cutting weapons, 1,702 firearms, and about 20,000 rounds of ammunition.

Upon completion of the weapons campaign, if a Jew in Berlin is found still to possess a weapon without having a valid weapons permit, the Police President will, in every single case, proceed with the greatest severity.(205)

The Berlin Police President, Count Wolf Heinrich von Helldorf, apparently announced the above results the day before.(206) As noted, the disarming had been carried out in "recent weeks" and had been "prompted by a few individual incidents" which were not specified. Was the disarming an attempt to control any resistance to the repressive measures currently underway which motivated Grynszpan? Or were they in anticipation of a major pogrom against Jews just waiting for the proper incident to exploit, which now existed from the shooting at the Paris embassy? The disarming meant that Jews could not protect themselves from attacks.(207)



The New York Times reported from Berlin that "Nazis Ask Reprisal in Attack on Envoy," and that "Berlin Police Head Announces 'Disarming' of Jews--Victim of Shots in Critical State."(208) Its account repeated the above statistics from Police President von Helldorf of weapons seized and the announcement that "any Jews still found in possession of weapons without valid licenses are threatened with the severest punishment."(209)

The attempted assassination was called "a new plot of the Jewish world conspiracy against National Socialist Germany," and the German press called for retaliation. Recalling David Frankfurter's shooting in 1936 of Nazi leader Wilhelm Gustloff in Switzerland, the Börsen Zeitung declared: "International Jewry and foreign Jews living in Germany as well will soon feel the consequences that the Reich will draw from the fact that for the second time in three years 'a Jew has shot.'" The Angriff asked for "the sharpest measures against Jews."(210)

Vom Rath died on the 9th, which by coincidence was the "Tag der Bewegung" (Day of the Movement), the anniversary of the 1923 Hitler's failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. Hitler gave his annual speech in the Bürgerbräukeller to commemorate and remember the "fallen heroes" who died in the shootout with the police.(211) Vom Rath's death was reported to Hitler early that evening while dining at Munich's town hall chamber. Hitler turned and spoke quietly to Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.(212) Mentioning localized anti-Jewish riots the night before, the Führer stated that the Nazi party was not to initiate such demonstrations, but would not intervene to halt "spontaneous" pogroms.(213) Hitler was also overheard to say that "the SA should be allowed to have a fling."(214) Goebbels gave a speech calling for revenge with such vehemence that the party and police leaders would discern that they should take an active role.(215)

The telephone orders between chief of staff of the SA Group Nordsee, Roempagel, and his superior, were included in a secret SS report prepared the following year.(216) Among the instructions Roempagel received were: "All Jewish stores are to be destroyed immediately by SA men in uniform"; "Jewish synagogues are to be set on fire immediately, Jewish symbols are to be safeguarded"; "the police must not intervene. The Führer wishes that the police does not intervene." The following instruction would ensure the success of the attacks as well as achieve an ultimate goal: "All Jews are to be disarmed. In the event of resistance they are to be shot immediately."(217)

After 11:55 p.m. on November 9, SS Standartenführer (Colonel) Heinrich Müller sent an urgent teleprinter message from Gestapo Headquarters in Berlin to every state police bureau in the Reich, alerting them that "demonstrations against the Jews, and particularly their synagogues, will take place very shortly." The Gestapo was not to interfere, but was to cooperate with the regular police to prevent looting and other excesses.(218) The last paragraph of Müller's message read:

If, during the actions about to take place, Jews are found in possession of weapons the most severe measures are to be applied. The special task units of the SS as well as the general SS may be employed for all phases of the operation. Suitable measures are to be taken to ensure that the Gestapo remains in control of the actions under all circumstances.(219)

While Müller ordered "severe measures" against Jews who possessed arms, the SA ordered them to be shot.(220) Müller also ordered the arrest of twenty to thirty thousand German Jews, which was not mentioned in the SA instructions(221)

As an example of an official communique, the Mayor of Nauen, which is near Berlin, reported that at 6:00 a.m. on November 10, the Staatspolizei (Gestapo) communicated the following by telephone:

Secret: in consequence of the assassination in the German Embassy in Paris, actions against Jews are shortly expected to take place throughout Germany. These actions are not to be interfered with. However, looting and theft are not to take place. If Jews are found to be in possession of weapons during these actions, these Jews should be arrested. I request that the chief administrative officers of the States and the majors contact the district committees in order to agree on the implementation of the demonstrations. Only such measures as will not endanger German lives or property are permissible. Arson is not permitted on any account. Jewish businesses and apartments may be destroyed but not looted. The police should be instructed to monitor the implementation of this disorder and to arrest any looters. Jews of foreign nationality should not be affected by the actions. All existing archive material should be confiscated from synagogues and business premises belonging to the Jewish religious community. Male Jews in possession of assets who are of a fairly young age should be arrested. Arrested persons should not be mistreated. The actions are to begin immediately. I expect an immediate report by telephone.(222)

On the morning of November 10, the following decree appeared in newspapers throughout Germany:

Jews Forbidden to Possess Weapons

By Order of SS Reichsführer Himmler

Munich, November 10 [1938]



The SS Reichsführer and German Police Chief has issued the following Order:

Persons who, according to the Nürnberg law, are regarded as Jews, are forbidden to possess any weapon. Violaters will be condemned to a concentration camp and imprisoned for a period of up to 20 years.(223)

All hell broke loose. The New York Times reported: "Nazis Smash, Loot and Burn Jewish Shops and Temples Until Goebbels Calls Halt."(224) In Berlin and throughout Germany, thousands of Jewish men, particularly prominent leaders, were taken from their homes and arrested.(225) The Angriff, Goebbel's organ, implored that, "For every suffering, every crime and every injury that this criminal [the Jewish community] inflicts on a German anywhere, every individual Jew will be held responsible."(226) The Times account reported the arms prohibition as follows:

Possession of Weapons Barred

One of the first legal measures issued was an order by Heinrich Himmler, commander of all German police, forbidding Jews to possess any weapons whatever and imposing a penalty of twenty years confinement in a concentration camp upon every Jew found in possession of a weapon hereafter.(227)

The destruction was carried out by Rollkommandos (wrecking crews) under the protection of uniformed Nazis or police.(228) However, the people at large generally did not participate, and most appeared to be gravely disturbed by the attacks.(229) Some members of the public helped Jews leave their stores unmolested, but citizens who protested against the attacks on Jews were threatened and silenced by the Rollkommandos.(230)

Some personal reminiscences relate experiences on November 10. Yitzhak Herz was in charge of the children at the Orphanage in Dinslaken. Early in the morning Herz opened the door to two Gestapo officers and a policeman, who announced: "This is a police raid! We are looking for arms in all Jewish homes and apartments and so we shall search the orphanage too!" They also searched for money, but found nothing, and departed with the order: "Nobody is to leave the house before 10 a.m.! All the blinds of the building which face the street must be drawn! Shortly after 10 a.m. everything will be over."(231)

Living in a large apartment in Uhlandstrasse in Berlin were the Sinzheimers, a Jewish family with two children. The pogrom began while Mr. Sinzheimer was in Paris on business. On the evening of November 10, Mrs. Sinzheimer heard shouting, glass being smashed, and shooting.(232) At around 6:00 a.m., she heard over the radio an announcement that any Jew found in possession of a firearm would be shot at once. Mrs. Sinzheimer recalled that her husband had a handgun, but the fact that he also had a license for it would not placate the SA if they found it. She called a friendly repairman to break open the secret drawer where the firearm and license were hidden. She then placed the handgun and license in a box of cigars and carried it to the local police station on the Kurfüstendamm. She asked to see a sergeant who she knew well and presented him with the box of cigars. When he discovered the contents, he exclaimed: "Hurry home, Frau Sinzheimer, before you give me a heart attack!"(233)

Victor Klemperer served honorably in Germany's armed forces during World War I and retired as a university professor in 1935.(234) A resident of Dresden, his acclaimed diary includes the following entry concerning Kristallnacht:

On the morning of the eleventh two policemen accompanied by a "resident of Dölzschen." Did I have any weapons?-- Certainly my saber, perhaps even my bayonet as a war memento, but I wouldn't know where.-- We have to help you find it. -- The house was searched for hours. . . . They rummaged through everything, chests and wooden constructions Eva had made were broken open with an ax. The saber was found in a suitcase in the attic, the bayonet was not found. Among the books they found a copy of the Sozialistische Monatshefte (Socialist Monthly Magazine--an SPD theoretical journal) [ . . .] this was also confiscated.(235)

A "good natured and courteous" young policeman took Klemperer's statement and stated that they would have to go to the court building, adding: "There's nothing to fear, you will probably (!) be back by evening."(236) Klemperer asked if he was under arrest. "His reply was good-natured and noncommittal, it was only a war memento after all, I would probably be released right away." At the court building, a policeman copied Klemperer's statement. After some waiting, a magistrate with a Party badge made out a certificate of discharge, without which Klemperer would be arrested again. "At four o'clock I was on the street again with the curious feeling, free-but for how long?"(237)

Some of the Jews whose homes were searched for arms and ransacked were foreign nationals, leading to diplomatic protests. The following Gestapo report concerning the complaint of Mrs. Gertrude Dawson, a British citizen residing in Döbling, did not deny the systematic vandalism:





Given the sometimes high degree of agitation of the national comrades during the action against the Jews it is no longer possible to determine which persons participated in the riots. That also explains why there was little success in the clarification of the facts, even though the investigations were conducted with vigor.

Several persons who were in Mrs. Dawson's apartment explained that they had orders to search for weapons. But it is impossible to determine the details about the damage to the furniture, etc.(238)

The anti-Jewish pogrom extended into Austria, which Germany had annexed earlier that year. Arson was committed against Vienna's temples, and Nazis attacked Jewish businesses. The New York Times reported: "Thousands of Jews had their dwellings searched for concealed arms, documents and money. The police claim to have found quantities of them . . . ."(239)

An incident in Vienna became the subject of a Gestapo report, which alleged the following about, Henry Coren, a British citizen:

During the action of 10 November 1938 against Jews, the apartment of stateless retiree Hermann . . . was searched and a loaded revolver belonging to his son in law, Henry Coren, who was living with him was found. The weapon was hidden in a suitcase belonging to Coren. Based on these facts, three SA men belonging to the local group Fuchsröhren of the NSDAP took Mr. and Mrs. Coren, as well as Hermann, to a collection point at Rinnböckstrasse. There, their personal information, etc. was written down. When it was determined that Mr. and Mrs. Coren had British citizenship, they were released immediately.

After the SA men had taken Mr. and Mrs. Coren and Hermann to the collection point, the local group asked them to also fetch Mrs. Hermann who had stayed back in the apartment. The men therefore returned to the Coren apartment and asked Mrs. Hermann to get dressed to go out and be interrogated. Mrs. Hermann then went to a room on the side for about 2 minutes and changed.(240)

Coren claimed that SA men stole 3,400 Reichsmark from the apartment, and the British Consulate General filed a protest. The Gestapo found the suspicion unfounded because the SA men "adamantly deny the allegation" and because "it was not possible to interrogate Coren about the matter because he fled the Reich on 30 November 1938. This fact also is an indication that Coren was not saying the truth."(241) For Coren, however, discretion must have been the better part of valor.

On November 11, Interior Minister Frick promulgated the Verordnung gegen der Waffenbesitz der Juden (Regulation Against Jews' Possession of Weapons).(242) Its preamble recites that it was issued pursuant to § 31 of the 1938 Weapons Law, which in turn empowered the Interior Minister to issue "the necessary legal and administrative regulations for the implementation and fulfillment of this Law." § 1 of the new regulation provided:

Jews (§ 5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of November 14, 1935 . . .) are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as cutting or stabbing weapons. Those now having in their possession weapons and ammunition must at once surrender them to the local police authority.(243)

Foreign Jews could be exempted by the Interior Minister or delegate.(244)

As to the property, § 2 stated: "Weapons and ammunition found in a Jew's possession will be forfeited to the Reich without compensation." As to the person in violation, § 4 provided: "Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions of § 1 shall be punished with imprisonment and a fine. In especially severe cases of deliberate violations, the punishment is imprisonment in a penitentiary for up to five years." The regulation was applicable in Germany, Austria, and the Sudentenland.(245)

There were about 550,000 Jews in those jurisdictions. The number of Jews arrested during the rampage was approximately 30,000 males aged 16-80.(246)

The Berliner Börsen Zeitung published the regulation under the headline: "The Weapons Ban for the Jews: A National Law--Imprisonment and Penitentiary compared with Protective Custody."(247) Referring respectively to Himmler's earlier decree and to Frick's new regulation, it stated: "According to the SS Reichsführer and Chief of the German Police in the National Ministry of the Interior, Jewish possession of Weapons, already ended abruptly by police regulations, is now immediately followed by a legal ban. The National Minister of the Interior yesterday issued the following Regulations against weapons possession by the Jews . . . ."(248) Following the text of the regulation, the article noted:

"National Minister Dr. Goebbels has made known, as we already reported, that the final answer to the Jewish assassination attempt in Paris would be given to Jewry in the form of legislation or in the form of regulations. For the first of these replies it has not been necessary to wait long!"(249)

The Völkische Beobachter published a lengthy official commentary on the new prohibition against firearm possession by Jews and its relation to the 1938 Weapons Law. The author was a Dr. Ehaus, a Senior Executive Officer (Regierungsrat). It is reproduced in full below.(250)

Explanation of the Ordinance against the Possession of Weapons

The preliminary police decree issued by the Reichsführer SS and the Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, which immediately after the assassination in Paris had prohibited persons considered Jews under the Nürnberg laws to possess any weapons, has been followed within a very short period of time by an ordinance which settles the prohibition of weapons for Jews for good. In order to make those concerned understand the extent of this law, it is necessary to explain the few paragraphs of the ordinance of November 11, 1938 in more detail.

To begin with, we need to note that the preventive activity of the Security Police will not be limited by the rules prohibiting Jews from possessing weapons. The security measures ordered by the Reichsführer SS and the Chief of the German Police in the Reich Ministry for the Interior will remain in force. 1 prohibits any and all Jews from acquiring, possessing or carrying firearms or ammunition, as well as weapons for hitting or stabbing. 5 of the First Ordinance to the Reich Citizen Law of November 14, 1935 is mentioned in parentheses. That is only meant to point out that the issue of who is Jewish should be settled by using the standard of the Nürnberg law. Of course, not only German Jews of the Reich, but also all foreign Jews (Jews with foreign citizenship and Jews without citizenship) are subject to the ordinance.

The new ordinance makes reference to 31 of the Weapons Law of March 18, 1938. From that it can be concluded that the definitions for firearms, ammunition, and weapons for stabbing or hitting of 1 of the Weapons Law apply. According to that, firearms are weapons that allow a projectile to travel through a barrel propelled by gas or air pressure; weapons for hitting or stabbing are weapons that by their nature are meant to inflict injuries by hitting or stabbing.

It is remarkable is that muzzle loaders, rifle models of antique design, blank cartridge firearms, gas, stun and dummy weapons [Scheintodwaffen], gallery rifles, parlor rifles, small caliber rifles, small caliber sports rifles and spring guns fall under the term "firearm." Ammunition means not only finished ammunition for firearms, but also gunpowder of any kind. In order to prevent any circumvention of the Weapons Law, finished or pre-fabricated essential parts of firearms or ammunition are given the same status as finished firearms or finished ammunition ( 1, paragraph 3 of the Weapons Law).

We have already mentioned what the term "weapons for hitting or stabbing" means. Even though the legal provisions are clear enough, we shall list such individual weapons one more time: daggers and stilettoes; swords, sabers, bayonets, fencing foils and students' rapiers; sword canes and defense canes (canes with metal spirals, wire cable or truncheon); clubs, steel rods and horsewhips; brass knuckles, iron rods and fighting rings; weapon rings, deer knives, and hunting knives. It will depend on each individual case whether lockable folding knives or fixed knives that cannot be folded have to be considered weapons. Knives with a handle will then have the nature of a weapon when their size and design show that they were meant to serve the purpose of a dagger.

The Jews must be warned that they should interpret the new ordinance and the already existing Weapons Law strictly. Otherwise they will have to expect severe penalties pursuant to 4 and, if applicable, protective custody. When following the order spelled out in 1 of the new ordinance to immediately turn over all of the weapons and ammunition to the local police authority, the Jews must make sure that no weapons whatsoever are left behind with them.

One thing in particular should be pointed out: Any Jew who, after this ordinance forbidding the possession of weapons by Jews has become effective, destroys, gives away or otherwise disposes of a weapon, that action violates 1, sentence 2, and 4 of the ordinance. He should have turned in the weapon immediately. As for the rest, he did not have the right to dispose of the weapon anymore because pursuant to 2 weapons and ammunition in the possession of a Jew become the property of the Reich, without compensation. That means that with the entering into force of this ordinance all of the weapons in the possession of Jews have become the property of the German Reich.

3 of the aforesaid ordinance provides exceptions for Jews with foreign citizenship. Of course, those Jews too must immediately fulfill their duty to turn in their weapons. Their weapons too have become the property of the Reich. Should their request to be exempt from the prohibition be granted, the property they lost will be returned to them.

The punishment provided by the ordinance against weapons possession by the Jews goes beyond that provided by the Weapons Law. As the assassination in Paris shows, the German ethnic community has a strong interest in disarming all Jews living within the boundaries of the Reich. By providing for severe prison and penitentiary terms, the State will discourage all Jews from violating its laws enacted to protect the German people. Where even such punishment has no effect, the authorities of the Security Police will ensure full compliance with the authority of the Reich.

It is particularly encouraging that today, when we are reaching the end of the year 1938, we were able to extend the prohibition of weapons possession by the Jews to the Ostmark and the Sudetenland regions. The protection that we are able to offer to our German brothers in the regained regions becomes particularly clear in 6 of the ordinance of November 11, 1938.

Dr. Ehaus, Senior Executive Officer

A Berlin Jewish scientist told a reporter how at 6:00 a.m. on November 12, a Nazi official in a brown uniform and four assistants in mufti took him from his home, only to order him back home.(251) Many of his friends who were arrested were not so lucky. The home of one friend was searched for weapons by six men, who broke the china and smashed furniture. The scientist related: "Only one thing they had missed--an old army revolver which was lying in a drawer of a table in my friend's bedroom. That rusted weapon, probably fired for the last time in 1918, might have gotten him twenty years in a concentration camp."(252)The American Consulate in Stuttgart reported to U.S. Ambassador Hugh R. Wilson in Berlin on November 12 that "the Jews of Southwest Germany have suffered vicissitudes during the last three days which would seem unreal to one living in an enlightened country during the twentieth century . . . ." The Consulate's office was flooded with Jews begging for visas or immigration assistance for themselves and families. He wrote: "Men in whose homes old, rusty revolvers had been found during the last few days cried aloud that they did not dare ever again return to their places of residence or business. In fact, it was a mass of seething, panic-stricken humanity."(253)

Searches for weapons in Jewish homes and arrests generally continued. Jews who still had wealth, despite the recent campaigns to deprive them of their property, were pinpointed.(254)

The Decree on an Atonement Fine for Jews with German Citizenship (November 12, 1938) levied Jews with one billion reichsmarks as payment to the German Reich for the destruction caused by the Nazis.(255) Ordered by Field Marshal Göring in his capacity as Commissioner for the Four Year Plan, this was enforceable because a registry of all Jewish property had been compiled six months previously.(256) (Similarly, the order prohibiting Jews from possession of arms under penalty of imprisonment and "protective custody" was more enforceable because of the firearms registry laws.)(257) Jews were ordered to repair all damage that had been done to businesses and homes on November 8-10, and the Reich confiscated Jewish insurance claims. Jews were excluded from economic activity in the Reich by the year's end.(258)

A Swiss newspaper reported from Berlin on November 11 under the headline "Numerous Arrests?" the following:

Last night the Gestapo started to arrest Jews in Berlin and in other German cities. Most of those arrested were respected Jewish personalities. At a reception for the press, the Reich Minister for Propaganda [Goebbels] denied that there had been any arrests; when asked again later, however, [his office] said that the arrests had been made in connection with Himmler's decree prohibiting Jews from owning arms. The explanation given was that the Jews had retained weapons even though the Chief of the German police in his latest decree had threatened to punish them with protective detention of 20 years.(259)

Reporting from Frankfurt, the British Counsel observed that for several days beginning on the evening of November 10, SS troopers and Gestapo agents intruded into Jewish homes to conduct searches and seizures. If any arms or a large sum of money were found, the occupants were arrested for illegal possession of arms or for hoarding funds.(260)

French and Swiss newspapers saw Kristallnacht as the culmination of earlier anti-Semitic measures of the Reich and as "premeditated destruction":

To illuminate the recent events one now better understands the special liabilities imposed on the Jews in recent times. Events since last June make clear the obvious methods of their measures. They have simplified the destruction. One method was to confiscate their arms from them, rendering the operation without danger. The other demanded from them a formal declaration of assets (currency, jewelry, pieces of furniture, carpets), which facilitated the confiscation thereof. All was ready.(261)

As for the shooting in the German Embassy in Paris which was the excuse for the rampage and the disarming of the Jews, the father of vom Rath, the deceased diplomat, said to his Jewish neighbor: "My dear Reverend, neither you nor any other Jew is responsible for this. I think my son was assassinated on orders. He spoke too much and a hired assassin killed him."(262)

A month after the pogrom, the Gestapo in Munich issued a memorandum to the police, commissars, and mayors concerning the regulation requiring Jews to surrender all weapons. It also explained how the regulation was to be implemented:



All weapons of all kinds in the possession of Jews are forfeited to the Reich without payment of compensation and must be surrendered.

This includes all firearms including alarm (starter) pistols and all cutting and stabbing weapons including the fixed blade if like a dagger.

Requests by emigrating Jews to have their weapons returned to them shall not be granted.

A list shall be made of all weapons that belonged to Jews and the list shall be sent to this office by January 5, 1939. The weapons shall be well packaged and, if in small numbers, sent as parcel, and if in larger numbers, by freight.

Because this will have to be reported to the Gestapo office in Berlin, this deadline will absolutely have to be observed.(263)



Thus, over a period of several weeks, Germany's Jews had been disarmed. The process was carried out both by following a combination of legal forms and by sheer lawless violence. The Nazi hierarchy could now more comfortably deal with the Jewish question without fear of resistance.

V. AFTERWORD: PRECLUDING ARMED GERMAN RESISTANCE TO NAZISM

  The disarming of the Jews made any possible individual or collective resistance in the future impossible. After Kristallnacht, the historical record does not reflect that German Jews unlawfully obtained or used arms as tools of resistance. In fact, the Reichsvertretung der Juden in Deutschland (National Representative Organization of Jews in Germany), the German-Jewish leadership, insisted that Jewish activities be legal. Militant resistance was rejected as futile and provocative of reprisals.(264) The Reichsvertretung did sanction the financing of escapes by opening illegal bank accounts,(265) but it also helped to register Jews selected for deportation and to ensure transportation arrangements for deportees.(266)

Yet it is a myth, observes Arnold Paucker, that Jews did not resist Nazism. Most Jews capable of bearing arms came forward, wherever possible, to fight either in regular armies or as partisans in every European country.(267) The exception was in Germany, where "there was virtually no armed resistance of any sort, and thus no armed Jewish resistance either."(268) German Jews could not be faulted for not instigating military adventurism.(269) Paucker does not speculate on how the course of history could have been altered had German opponents of Nazism, including both Jews and non-Jews, been better armed, more unified, and ideologically more inclined to resistance.

After Hitler launched World War II by attacking Poland in 1939, many Germans blamed him for failing to spare Germany an armed conflict. Anti-Nazi sentiment existed. Opined the London Times: "All this does not imply that Germany is ready for a revolution. Civilians are disarmed, and so powerless . . . ."(270) Germans generally longed for, it was asserted, the return of legality, freedom, and human dignity.(271)

When the Nazis conquered France (as in other countries), they proclaimed that failure of civilians to surrender all firearms within 24 hours would be punishable with the death penalty, and they executed many who failed to comply.(272) The New York Times observed:

The best way to sum up the disciplinary laws imposed upon France by the German conqueror is to say that the Nazi decrees reduce the French people to as low a condition as that occupied by the German people. Military orders now forbid the French to do things which the German people have not been allowed to do since Hitler came to power. To own radio senders or to listen to foreign broadcasts, to organize public meetings and distribute pamphlets. to disseminate anti-German news in any form, to retain possession of firearms--all these things are prohibited for the subjugated people of France, as they have been verboten these half dozen years to the people of Germany.(273)
Even with the glorious victory over France, it could not be that the German people were fully behind the Führer, as the negative answer to the following rhetorical question made clear: "will Hitler now abolish the Gestapo and set up a free press?"(274)

Nor would the Nazis trust ordinary German firearm owners. In addition to the law and regulations already in place, a secret Gestapo order in 1941 established a system of central registration of persons obtaining firearms other than military officers, police, and political leaders. An implementing directive stated:

On order of the Reich Security Main Office, Berlin, the Head Office of the State Police in Munich is in charge of the supervision and control of the sale of weapons and ammunition in your district.

The Rural District Administrators, as well as the Mayors and Mayors of former primary district towns in Upper Bavaria shall therefore record

  • Monthly (beginning on February 10, 1941), all persons who have acquired firearms from arms dealers requiring a permit or who have submitted a request for a permit to acquire firearms if the request was granted by the responsible authority. This also applies to cases where the firearm was not acquired from an arms dealer. The record shall contain first and last names (for women also their maiden name), occupation, date and place of birth, as well as exact street address; further, the type and serial number of the weapon.

  • All persons who purchased ammunition for firearms from weapons dealers requiring a permit. Besides the personal information required, the type of the ammunition shall be listed.

Exempt from the compulsory registration are persons acquiring firearms or ammunition or submitting requests for weapons permits, if they are members of the military with the rank of officer, leaders of SS Verfügungstruppe [SS Special Assignment Troops], police officers, or political leaders beginning with the rank of Ortsgruppenführer [community group leader] and up; likewise, persons who acquire hunting weapons or ammunition are not subject to compulsory registration.

It appears advisable to have the weapons dealers monitored and checked by the executing police. Separate records shall be kept for each kind of weapons transaction.(275)

The existence of firearms regulations providing for records on all individuals lawfully possessing firearms, coupled with searches and seizures of firearms from the houses of potential dissidents, guaranteed that firearms would be possessed only by supporters of Nazism. These firearms policies made it far easier to exterminate any opposition, Jews, and unpopular groups.

German resistors were different than their European counterparts in that there was no maquis or partisan force.(276) The German resistance to Hitler was not characterized by any armed popular movements or uprisings against the Nazi regime. Lone individuals or small military cliques with firearms or bombs sought to kill Hitler himself.(277) Heroic as these attempts were, how might the course of history been different had Germany (not to mention the countries Germany would occupy) been a country where large numbers of citizens owned firearms without intrusive legal restrictions and where the right to keep and bear arms was a constitutional guarantee?(278)

Instead of an armed partisan opposition, there were only individual attempts on Hitler's life, three of them in 1939. Colonel-General Franz Halder of the Chief of Staff repeatedly visited Hitler with a pistol in his pocket to shoot the dictator, but Halder could not bring himself to do it.(279) Georg Elser, a private citizen, set off a bomb at the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich, but Hitler finished his speech and left before the explosion, and Elser was apprehended while attempting to escape over the Swiss border.(280) Swiss theology student Maurice Bavaud got almost close enough to shoot Hitler with a handgun, but was caught and executed.(281)

Then there was the White Rose, a student resistance group which had no ambition to take arms. However, member Sophie Scholl told a school friend in 1942 that, "If I had a pistol and I were to meet Hitler in the street, I'd shoot him down. If men can't manage it, then a woman should."(282) The friend replied, "But then he'd be replaced by Himmler, and after Himmler, another."(283) Scholl rejoined, "One's got to do something to get rid of the guilt."(284) Before long, the White Rose students were rounded up by the Gestapo and guillotined.(285)

On July 20, 1944, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg set off a bomb to kill Hitler at Wolf's Lair. The plan was to mobilize the Reserve Army and stage a coup in Berlin against the Nazi regime. Hitler survived the blast and the plotters were executed.(286) Thousands more would be rounded up and killed.(287)

In May 1944, Nazi radio broadcast that 1,400,000 German civilians had been trained in the use of rifles and revolvers to defend the Reich. The New York Times quipped: "It is significant that the guarded statement by the German radio does not admit that civilians have been armed, but merely that they have been instructed in marksmanship and the handling of small arms."(288) A totalitarian police state would never trust the people with arms.

Three million Germans were imprisoned for political reasons in the years 1933 to 1945, and tens of thousands were executed. "These numbers reveal the potential for popular resistance in German society--and what happened to it."(289) The same could be said about the far larger numbers of victims of the Holocaust and the mass killings of unarmed peoples of the countries occupied by the Nazis. Once again, what might have been the course of history had firearm ownership been more prevalent and protected as a constitutional right?

Such questions have never been discussed in scholarly publications because the Nazi laws, policies, and practices have never been adequately documented. The record establishes that a well-meaning liberal republic would enact a gun control act that would later be highly useful to a dictatorship. That dictatorship could then consolidate its power by massive search and seizure operations against political opponents, under the hysterical ruse that such persons were "Communist" firearm owners. It could enact its own new firearms law, disarming anyone the police deemed "dangerous" and exempting members of the party that controlled the state. It could exploit a tragic shooting of a government official to launch a pogrom, under the guise that Jewish firearm owners were dangerous and must be disarmed. This dictatorship could, generally, disarm the people of the nation it governed and then disarm those of every nation it conquered.

The above experiences influenced perceptions of fundamental rights in both the United States and Germany. Before entering the war, America reacted to the events in Europe in a characteristic manner. Seeing the Nazi threat and its policies, Congress passed the Property Requisition Act of 1941 authorizing the President to requisition certain property for defense, but prohibiting any construction of the act to "require the registration of any firearms possessed by any individual for his personal protection or sport" or "to impair or infringe in any manner the right of any individual to keep and bear arms."(290)

Today, Germany's Grundgesetz (Basic Law) includes the following provision: "When other avenues are not open, all Germans have the right to resist attempts to impose unconstitutional authority."(291) If the Nazi experience teaches anything, it teaches that totalitarian governments will attempt to disarm their subjects so as to extinguish any ability to resist crimes against humanity. <BR><BR><hr><BR><BR>




The other day, my nine-year-old son wanted to know why we were at war.

My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation.

My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window. He said, "Son, stand there and tell me what you see?"

"I see trees and cars and our neighbors' houses," he replied.

"OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."

Our son giggled and said, "OK."

"Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country," my husband said.

"OK Dad, I'm pretending."

"Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam come out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death.

Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this son....what do you do?"

"Dad?"

"What would you do son?"

"I'd call the police, Dad."

"OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations and they take your call, listen to what you know and saw, but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?"

"Dad...but the police are supposed to help!" My son starts to whine.

"They don't want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that we should all stay out of it," my husband says.

"But Dad...he killed her!" my son exclaims.

"I know he did...but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you're pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his own children."

"Daddy...he kills them?"

"Yes son, he does. What do you do?"

"Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him," our son says.

"Son, your next door neighbor sees what is happening, but he refuses to get involved as well. He'll not help you," my husband says.

"But Dad, I NEED help! I can't stop him by myself!"

"WHAT DO YOU DO SON?" Our son starts to cry.

"OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?"

"What Daddy?"

"Watching you in the window, he walks over to the old lady's house, breaks down her door and drags her out. He sets her house on fire and then he...he kills her. He does this while he laughs at you and her. WHAT DO YOU DO?"

"Daddy..."

"WHAT DO YOU DO?"

Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, "I'd close the blinds, Daddy."

My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him..."Why?"

"Because Daddy.....the police are supposed to help people who needs them...and they won't help.... You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won't help either...they won't help me stop him...I'm afraid....I can't do it by myself Daddy.....I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and... and..... do nothing...so....I'm just going to close the blinds.... so I can't see what he's doing........and I'm going to pretend that it is not happening."

I start to cry. My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband's questions and he says..."Son."

"Yes, Daddy."

"Open the blinds, son, because that evil man.... now he's at our front door..."WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW?"

My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: "I'LL DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!"

I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says... "It's too late to fight him, he's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door son.....you should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone, before it's too late," my husband whispers.

THAT scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq and other terrorists. When good men stand by and let evil happen son, THAT is the greatest EVIL of all. Our President is doing what is right. We, as a free nation, must understand that this war is a war of humanity. WE must remove evil men from power so that we can continue to live in a free world where we are not afraid to look out our window so that my nine year old son won't grow up in a world where he feels that if he just "closes" that blinds the atrocities in the world won't affect him.

"YOU MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT! EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!" BE PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! BE PROUD OF OUR TROOPS!

SUPPORT THEM! SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT IN THE MIDST OF THIS WAR, SO THAT IN THE FUTURE OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE TO CLOSE THEIR BLINDS...."





WHETHER THE SECOND AMENDMENT SECURES AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT
United States Department of Justice - Office of Legal Counsel ^ | August 24, 2004 | DOJ

Posted on 12/17/2004 7:36:19 PM EST by TERMINATTOR

     The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias.

MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Table of Contents

Introduction  

  1. The Unsettled Legal Landscape

  2. Textual and Structural Analysis

    1. "The Right of the People"

    2. "To Keep and Bear Arms"

    3. "A Well Regulated Militia, being Necessary to the Security of a Free State"

    4. Structural Considerations: The Bill of Rights and the Militia Powers

  3. The Original Understanding of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

    1. The Right Inherited from England

    2. The Right in America before the Framing

    3. The Development of the Second Amendment

  4. The Early Interpretations

    1. The First Commentators

    2. The First Cases

    3. Reconstruction

    4. Beyond Reconstruction

Conclusion

Introduction

     The Second Amendment of the Constitution provides: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." You have asked for the opinion of this Office on one aspect of the right secured by this Amendment. Specifically, you have asked us to address the question whether the right secured by the Second Amendment belongs only to the States, only to persons serving in state-organized militia units like the National Guard, or to individuals generally. This memorandum memorializes and expands upon advice that this Office provided to you on this question in 2001.

     As relevant to the question addressed herein, courts and commentators have relied on three different interpretations of the Second Amendment. Under the "individual right" view, the Second Amendment secures to individuals a personal right to keep and to bear arms, whether or not they are members of any militia or engaged in military service or training. According to this view, individuals may bring claims or raise challenges based on a violation of their rights under the Second Amendment just as they do to vindicate individual rights secured by other provisions of the Bill of Rights. (1) Under the "collective right" view, the Second Amendment is a federalism provision that provides to States a prerogative to establish and maintain armed and organized militia units akin to the National Guard, and only States may assert this prerogative. (2) Finally, there is a range of intermediate views according to which the Amendment secures a right only to select persons to keep and bear arms in connection with their service in an organized state militia such as the National Guard. Under one typical formulation, individuals may keep arms only if they are "members of a functioning, organized state militia" and the State has not provided the necessary arms, and they may bear arms only "while and as a part of actively participating in" that militia's activities. (3) In essence, such a view would allow a private cause of action (or defense) to some persons to vindicate a State's power to establish and maintain an armed and organized militia such as the National Guard. (4) We therefore label this group of intermediate positions the "quasi-collective right" view.

     The Supreme Court has not decided among these three potential interpretations, and the federal circuits are split. The Executive Branch has taken different views over the years. Most recently, in a 2001 memorandum to U.S. Attorneys, you endorsed the view that the Second Amendment protects a "'right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms'" but allows for "reasonable restrictions" designed "to prevent unfit persons from possessing firearms or to restrict possession of firearms particularly suited to criminal misuse." (5)

     As developed in the analysis below, we conclude that the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to those persons who serve in organized militia units. Our conclusion is based on the Amendment's text, as commonly understood at the time of its adoption and interpreted in light of other provisions of the Constitution and the Amendment's historical antecedents. Our analysis is limited to determining whether the Amendment secures an individual, collective, or quasi-collective right. We do not consider the substance of that right, including its contours or the nature or type of governmental interests that would justify restrictions on its exercise, and nothing in this memorandum is intended to address or call into question the constitutionality, under the Second Amendment, of any particular limitations on owning, carrying, or using firearms.

     This memorandum proceeds in four parts. Part I addresses the current unsettled state of the law in this area. Part II demonstrates that the text and structure of the Constitution support the individual-right view of the Second Amendment. Part III shows why this view finds further support in the history that informed the understanding of the Second Amendment as it was written and ratified. Finally, Part IV examines the views of commentators and courts closest to the Second Amendment's adoption, which reflect an individual-right view, and then concludes by describing how the modern alternative views of the Second Amendment took hold in the early twentieth century.

I. The Unsettled Legal Landscape

     Recent interpretations of the Second Amendment have been characterized by disagreement and uncertainty. The Supreme Court has not decided the question that we address here, and at least three views prevail in the federal courts of appeals. The Executive Branch has taken varying positions, and the Amendment has been the subject of extensive academic debate for the past two decades.

     The Supreme Court's most important decision on the meaning of the Second Amendment, United States v. Miller, (6) grew out of the enactment of the National Firearms Act of 1934. (7) That Act was the first federal regulation of private firearms. (8) It taxed (and thereby registered) transfers of sawed-off shotguns or rifles capable of being concealed, machine guns, and silencers. It also taxed dealers in such weapons and required anyone who possessed such a weapon acquired before 1934 to register it with federal tax authorities.

     A Second Amendment challenge to this Act produced Miller in 1939, the closest that the Supreme Court has come to interpreting the substance of the Amendment. Miller and a co-defendant were indicted for transporting an unregistered sawed-off shotgun in interstate commerce from Oklahoma to Arkansas, and the district court sustained their Second Amendment challenge to the indictment. On appeal by the Government, neither defendant appeared or filed a brief. (9) The Court, in reversing and remanding, held that the sawed-off shotgun was not among the "Arms" protected by the Second Amendment absent "evidence tending to show that" its use or possession "at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." Citing an 1840 decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Aymette v. State, the Court concluded that it was not "within judicial notice" that a sawed-off shotgun was a weapon that was "any part of the ordinary military equipment" or whose use "could contribute to the common defence." Absent evidence, therefore, the Court could not "say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument." (10)

     After this one-paragraph discussion, the Court quoted the powers that Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16 of the Constitution grant to Congress to provide for calling forth, organizing, arming, and disciplining "the Militia," and stated that the Second Amendment's "declaration and guarantee" were made "[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of" the militia, and that the Amendment "must be interpreted and applied with that end in view." (11) The Court then added a historical discussion demonstrating that "the term Militia" as used in various provisions of the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, referred to a body that "comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense," who "were expected to appear" for occasional training "bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time," which in the 1700's usually meant a "good" musket of proper length. (12)

     Miller did not resolve the question addressed in this memorandum. Although the meaning of the decision is much debated, three points appear evident. First, the holding was limited to the meaning of "Arms" in the Second Amendment and whether a sawed-off shotgun is among the arms protected. In determining that meaning, the Court also interpreted the term "Militia" as used in the Constitution. Second, the Court did not categorically reject Miller's Second Amendment challenge. The Court's decision to address the substance of this challenge to his indictment, as opposed to concluding that only States could bring such a challenge, appears to be inconsistent with a collective-right view.

     Finally, the Court did not clearly decide between the individual-right and quasi-collective-right views. Its holding regarding the meaning of "Arms" is consistent with either view: The Court's limitation of "Arms" to those weapons reasonably related to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia (such as those that are "part of the ordinary military equipment" or that "could contribute to the common defense") could be consistent with a right to "keep and bear" such arms that is restricted to service in an organized military unit such as the National Guard; but that holding is also consistent with an individual right to keep and bear whatever "Arms" the Amendment protects. Similarly, the Court's reference to the need to interpret the Second Amendment's "declaration and guarantee" with the "end in view" of furthering "the continuation and render[ing] possible the effectiveness of" the militia could be consistent with a quasi-collective-right view; but it is also consistent with the understanding of the relationship between an individual right to keep and bear arms and the "Militia" that prevailed at the time of the Founding, an understanding confirmed by early authorities' discussions of the Second Amendment's preface. (13)

     Even so, absent from the Court's opinion in Miller was any discussion of whether the defendants were members of the National Guard or any other organized military force, whether they were transporting the shotgun in the service of such a force, or whether they were "physically capable of" bearing arms in one and thus even eligible for service. The nature of the weapon at issue, not of the defendants or their activities, appeared to be the key fact, and this aspect of the opinion tends to point toward the individual-right view rather than the quasi-collective-right view. In addition, Miller's broad reading of "Militia" is most consistent with the individual-right view, as we explain below in Part II.C.2, and is in tension with the quasi-collective-right view, under which the militia is understood to refer to select military units, akin to the modern National Guard, organized and armed by the States. (14)

     Three years after Miller, in Cases v. United States, the First Circuit read Miller to turn solely on the type of weapon at issue and to suggest an individual-right view of the Second Amendment: "Apparently, then, under the Second Amendment [as interpreted in Miller], the federal government . . . cannot prohibit the possession or use of any weapon which has any reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia." But the court doubted that Miller "was attempting to formulate a general rule applicable to all cases," warned of the consequences of such a view, and asserted that it was "unlikely that the framers of the Amendment intended any such result." (15) The court, instead, adopted what amounted to a quasi-collective-right view: A person has no right under the Second Amendment unless he is "a member of a[ ] military organization" or uses his weapon "in preparation for a military career," thus "contributing to the efficiency of the well regulated militia." (16) Neither in support of its assertion about the Framers' intent nor in its paragraph fashioning this rule did the court cite any text or other authority.





     Also in 1942, the Third Circuit in United States v. Tot applied Miller's definition of "Arms" to affirm the conviction of a defendant who received a pistol in interstate commerce after having been convicted of a felony involving violence. (17) Alternatively, the court rested its affirmance on the ground that the Government may prohibit such a convict from possessing a firearm. (18) Although either of these views is consistent with an individual right, (19) Tot added, in apparent dicta, a one-paragraph historical discussion in support of the view that the Amendment "was not adopted with individual rights in mind, but as a protection for the States in the maintenance of their militia organizations against possible encroachments by the federal power." (20) The court did not address the Amendment's text but instead chiefly relied on the Aymette case's account of the right that emerged from the English Revolution of 1688-1689.

     Over the past few decades, the Executive Branch has taken differing views of the right secured by the Second Amendment. (21) In 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation authorizing requisitions of private property for war use that prohibited requisitioning or new registration "of any firearms possessed by any individual for his personal protection or sport" and, moreover, any impairing or infringing of "the right of any individual to keep and bear arms." (22) In 1959, this Office reviewed a bill that would have secured the custody and disposition of missiles, rockets, and earth satellites. We questioned its definition of "missile," which included "projectile" and "seems to include conventional ammunition," and we commented that if the bill purported "to prohibit private individuals from acquiring, possessing, or receiving any standard ammunition for firearms . . . . serious constitutional problems would arise under the Second Amendment." (23) In commenting on similar bills in 1961 and 1962, this Office cited and reaffirmed its 1959 memorandum. (24) In 1965, however, the Justice Department expressly adopted the collective-right interpretation in congressional testimony by Attorney General Katzenbach. (25)

     Soon after, in 1968, Congress passed the first major federal gun regulation since 1938, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. (26) This statute produced a flurry of decisions in the federal courts of appeals rejecting the individual-right view. Following the Third Circuit's dicta in Tot, the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits eventually adopted the collective-right view. (27) Following the First Circuit in Cases, the Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits adopted quasi-collective-right views. (28) As in Tot and Cases, many of these cases, particularly the initial ones, involved constitutional challenges by persons convicted of felonies or violent crimes, (29) and some involved challenges to restrictions on carrying concealed weapons. (30) These decisions did not analyze, at least not in depth, the Amendment's text or history. Rather, they relied on Tot or Cases (or their progeny), claimed support from Miller, or both. As the Ninth Circuit recently recognized in the course of adhering to its collective-right position, these earlier decisions reached their conclusions "with comparatively little analysis," "largely on the basis of the rather cursory discussion in Miller, and touched only briefly on the merits of the debate." (31)

     In contrast, the burgeoning scholarly literature on the Second Amendment in the past two decades has explored the meaning of the Second Amendment in great detail. The collective-right and quasi-collective-right positions have many adherents, (32) although the preponderance of modern scholarship appears to support the individual-right view. (33)

     Recent decisions of the Fifth and Ninth Circuits have begun to remedy the relatively sparse judicial analysis of the meaning of the Second Amendment. In 2001, the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson adopted the individual-right view, based on an extensive analysis of the Amendment's text and history. (34) The following year, the Ninth Circuit in Silveira v. Lockyer rejected Emerson with an extended counter-analysis and reaffirmed its adherence to the collective-right view. (35) Six members of the Ninth Circuit dissented from denial of rehearing en banc and endorsed an individual-right view. (36)

     In sum, the question of who possesses the right secured by the Second Amendment remains open and unsettled in the courts and among scholars. Accordingly, we turn to the Amendment's text, as commonly understood at the time of its adoption and interpreted in light of other provisions of the Constitution and the Amendment's historical antecedents, to discern its proper meaning.

II. Textual and Structural Analysis

     The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, reads in full as follows:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The Amendment expressly protects a "right of the people," which is "to keep and bear Arms" and which has some relation to the prefatory declaration that a "well regulated Militia" is necessary for the ultimate end of "the security of a free State." We address each of these phrases in turn and then consider how the structure of the Constitution illuminates the Amendment's meaning.

     As explained below, the text of the Second Amendment points to a personal right of individuals: A "right of the people" is ordinarily and most naturally a right of individuals, not of a State and not merely of those serving the State as militiamen. The phrase "keep arms" at the time of the Founding usually indicated the private ownership and retention of arms by individuals as individuals, not the stockpiling of arms by a government or its soldiers, and the phrase certainly had that meaning when used in connection with a "right of the people." While the phrase "bear arms" often referred to carrying of arms in military service, it also sometimes denoted carrying arms for private purposes. The Amendment's prefatory clause, considered under proper rules of interpretation, could not negate the individual right recognized in the clear language of the operative clause. In any event, the prefatory clause - particularly its reference to the "Militia," which was understood at the Founding to encompass all able-bodied male citizens, who were required to be enrolled for service - is fully consistent with an individual-right reading of the operative language. Moreover, the Second Amendment appears in the Bill of Rights amid amendments securing numerous individual rights, a placement that makes it likely that the right of the people to keep and bear arms likewise belongs to individuals. Finally, a consideration of the powers that the original Constitution grants or allows over the militia makes it unlikely that the Second Amendment would secure a collective or quasi-collective right.

A. "The Right of the People"

     The Second Amendment's recognition of a "right" that belongs to "the people" indicates a right of individuals. The word "right," standing by itself in the Constitution, is clear. Although in some contexts entities other than individuals are said to have "rights," (37) the Constitution itself does not use the word "right" in this manner. Setting aside the Second Amendment, not once does the Constitution confer a "right" on any governmental entity, state or federal. Nor does it confer any "right" restricted to persons in governmental service, such as members of an organized military unit. In addition to its various references to a "right of the people" discussed below, the Constitution in the Sixth Amendment secures "right[s]" to an accused person, and in the Seventh secures a person's "right" to a jury trial in civil cases. (38) By contrast, governments, whether state or federal, have in the Constitution only "powers" or "authority." (39) It would be a marked anomaly if "right" in the Second Amendment departed from such uniform usage throughout the Constitution.

     In any event, any possible doubt vanishes when "right" is conjoined with "the people," as it is in the Second Amendment. Such a right belongs to individuals: The "people" are not a "State," nor are they identical with the "Militia." Indeed, the Second Amendment distinctly uses all three of these terms, yet it secures a "right" only to the "people." The phrase "the right of the people" appears two other times in the Bill of Rights, and both times refers to a personal right, which belongs to individuals. The First Amendment secures "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," and the Fourth safeguards "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." In addition, the Ninth Amendment refers to "rights . . . retained by the people." We see no reason to read the phrase in the Second Amendment to mean something other than what it plainly means in these neighboring and contemporaneous amendments.

     The Supreme Court, in interpreting the Fourth Amendment, likewise has recognized that the Constitution uses "the people," and especially "the right of the people," to refer to individuals:

"[T]he people" seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by "the People of the United States." The Second Amendment protects "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms," and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to "the people." See also U.S. Const., Amdt. 1 ("Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble") (emphasis added); Art. I, § 2, cl. 1 ("The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States") (emphasis added). While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that "the people" protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community. (40)

Thomas Cooley, the leading constitutional scholar after the Civil War, took the same view in explaining "the people" in the context of the First Amendment: "When the term 'the people' is made use of in constitutional law or discussions, it is often the case that those only are intended who have a share in the government through being clothed with the elective franchise. . . . But in all the enumerations and guaranties of rights the whole people are intended, because the rights of all are equal, and are meant to be equally protected." (41)

     The Constitution confirms this meaning of "the people" as individuals by expressly distinguishing the "people" from the "States," using each word to refer to a distinct thing. Indeed, the Second Amendment itself refers separately to "the people" and the "State." And the difference is firmly established by the Tenth Amendment, which distinguishes between the powers reserved "to the States" and those reserved "to the people." The "people" are the individuals who compose the States, distinct from - and bearing their federal "rights" apart from - those entities. (42)

     Similarly, the Constitution gives distinct meanings to "the people" and the "Militia." Again, the Second Amendment itself is a notable example, referring to the "well regulated Militia" but granting the "right" to "the people."



The Constitution's other references to "rights" of "the people," noted above, cannot plausibly be construed as referring to the "Militia." In addition, when granting governmental power over the militia, the Constitution speaks of the militia expressly, without any reference to or suggestion of the broader "people." (43) And the Fifth Amendment's Grand Jury Clause, which distinguishes between all "person[s]" and those serving in the army, navy, or "the Militia, when in actual service," indicates that where the Constitution addresses rights that turn on service in the militia it does so expressly.

     The only truly "collective" use of the "the people" at the time of the Founding was to refer to the people as they existed apart from government or any service to it. The Declaration of Independence refers to "one People" dissolving their political bonds with another and forming their own nation, and "We the people" created the Constitution in ratifying conventions chosen "by the People" of each State. (44) Thus, even in this context, the "people" are distinguished from "the government" or "the State"; nor can the term plausibly be limited to the "Militia." And when "the people" appears in the phrase "the right of the people" in the Constitution, we conclude that it indicates a personal right of individuals, whether that be a right to assemble and petition, to be secure in one's person and property, or to keep and bear arms.

B. "To Keep and Bear Arms"

     The "right of the people&amp;amp;quot; that the Second Amendment secures is a right "to keep and bear Arms." As the previous subpart showed, those who hold the right are, according to the text, "the people" - individuals - not the government or even the militia. The phrase "to keep and bear Arms" is consistent with this conclusion: The phrase "keep . . . Arms" reinforces it, (45) and the phrase "bear Arms" is not inconsistent with it.

1. "To Keep . . . Arms."

     In eighteenth-century English, an individual could "keep arms," and keep them for private purposes, unrelated to militia duty, just as he could keep any other private property, and the phrase was commonly used in this sense. For example, in Rex v. Gardner (K.B. 1738), a defendant charged with "keeping a gun" in violation of a 1706 English statute (which prohibited commoners from keeping specified objects or "other engines" for the destruction of game) argued that "though there are many things for the bare keeping of which a man may be convicted; yet they are only such as can only be used for destruction of the game, whereas a gun is necessary for defence of a house, or for a farmer to shoot crows." The court agreed, reasoning that "a gun differs from nets and dogs, which can only be kept for an ill purpose." (46) The Court of Common Pleas six years later treated Gardner as having "settled and determined" that "a man may keep a gun for the defence of his house and family," (47) and in 1752 the King's Bench reiterated that "a gun may be kept for the defence of a man's house, and for divers other lawful purposes." (48) The same usage appeared in an earlier prosecution of a man for "keeping of a gun" contrary to a statute that barred all but the wealthy from privately owning small handguns. (49)

     William Blackstone, whose Commentaries on the Laws of England, first published in the decade before the American Revolution, was the leading legal authority in America at the Founding, wrote, without any reference to the militia, of "person[s]" who are "qualified to keep a gun" and are "shooting at a mark," apparently on their own property. (50) He also noted that certain persons could not "keep arms in their houses," pursuant to a statute that used "keep" to signify private ownership and control over arms, wherever located. (51) Colonial and early state statutes similarly used "keep" to "describe arms possession by individuals in all contexts," including requiring those exempt from militia service (such as the over-aged) to "keep" arms in their homes for both law enforcement and "the defense of their homes from criminals or foreign enemies." (52) At the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention in 1788, Samuel Adams proposed an amendment prohibiting Congress from "prevent[ing] the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms," indicating ownership by individuals of private arms. (53) And that State's Supreme Court, in a libel case soon after the Founding, likened the "right to keep fire arms" to the freedom of the press, both being individual but not unlimited rights - the former not protecting "him who uses them for annoyance or destruction." (54) The basic dictionary definition of "keep" -"[t]o retain" and "[t]o have in custody"- was consistent with this specific meaning. (55)

     In short, the phrase "keep arms" was commonly understood to denote ownership of arms by private citizens for private purposes. When that phrase is read together with its subject - "the right of the people" - the evidence points strongly toward an individual right. Had the Constitution meant not to protect the right of the whole "people" to "keep" arms but instead to establish a "right" of the States or of only the members of their militias to store them, presumably it would have used different language. (56)

     

2. "To . . . Bear Arms."

     To "bear" was, at the Founding as now, a word with numerous definitions - used with great "latitude" and "in very different senses," as Samuel Johnson noted in his dictionary. (57) Its basic meaning was simply to "carry" or "wear" something, particularly carrying or wearing in a way that would be known to others, such as in bearing a message, bearing another person, or bearing something as a mark of authority or distinction. (58) As a result, "bear," when taking "arms" as its object, could refer to multiple contexts in which one might carry or wear arms in this way. (59) It is true that "bear arms" often did refer to carrying arms in military service. (60) But the phrase was not a term of art limited to this sense. Arms also could be "borne" for private, non-military purposes, principally tied to self-defense. For example, an early colonial statute in Massachusetts required every "freeman or other inhabitant" to provide arms for himself and anyone else in his household able to "beare armes," and one in Virginia required "all men that are fittinge to beare armes" to "bring their pieces" to church. (61)

     There are also several examples closer to the Founding. In 1779, a committee of eminent Virginians including Thomas Jefferson and George Mason, charged with revising the new State's laws, authored a bill penalizing any person who, within a year of having violated a restriction on hunting deer, "shall bear a gun out of his inclosed ground, unless whilst performing military duty." This bill demonstrates that to "bear a gun" was not limited to "performing military duty." James Madison submitted this bill to the Virginia legislature in 1785. (62) Many early state constitutions, including some written before the Founding (Pennsylvania's and Vermont's) and one written a month after Secretary of State Jefferson declared the Bill of Rights ratified (Kentucky's), protected an individual right to "bear arms" in "defense of himself and the State" or in "defense of themselves and the State," indicating that a person might be said to "bear arms" in self-defense. (63) A 1780 opinion of London's Recorder (the city's legal adviser and the primary judge in its criminal court) on the legality of a private self-defense association acknowledged "the rights of the people of this realm to bear arms, and to instruct themselves in the use of them, collectively," albeit within limits. (64) In a newspaper commentary published in major cities after Madison introduced the Bill of Rights in Congress, a friend of his wrote that the proposed Second Amendment would "confirm[]" the people's "right to keep and bear their private arms." (65) Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, in his 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, paraphrased as a "right to bear arms" the right of English "subjects . . . [to] have arms for their defence," an individual right not tied to service in the militia. (66) Finally, other examples of contemporaneous uses of "bear arms" to denote actions of individuals appear in cases from the early 1800's up to the Civil War, discussed below in Part IV.B.

     The Minority Report issued by twenty-one delegates of the Pennsylvania Convention that ratified the Federal Constitution in late 1787 illustrates the various uses of the phrase at the time, including both the right of private "bearing" and the duty of "bearing" for the government in the militia. The report recommended amending the Constitution to recognize "[t]hat the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own State or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game" and also urged exemption from militia service for those "conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms." Although the Minority Report was a product of Anti-Federalists, who had lost at that convention and who lost the battle over ratifying the Constitution, we are unaware of any contemporaneous criticisms that this widely circulated document misused language in giving such senses to the phrase "bear arms." (67)

     In sum, although "bear arms" often referred to carrying or wearing arms in connection with military duty, it was not limited to such a meaning. When, as in the Second Amendment, those words are used in conjunction with "keep arms," which commonly did refer to private action, and the whole phrase "to keep and bear Arms" is used in the context of a "right of the people," (68) we conclude that the core, operative text of the Amendment secures a personal right, which belongs to individuals. We next consider whether the Amendment's prefatory language requires a different conclusion.

C. "A Well Regulated Militia, being Necessary to the Security of a Free State"

     A feature of the Second Amendment that distinguishes it from the other rights that the Bill of Rights secures is its prefatory subordinate clause, declaring: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, . . . ." Advocates of the collective-right and quasi-collective-right interpretations rely on this declaration, particularly its reference to a well-regulated militia. On their interpretation, the "people" to which the Second Amendment refers is only the "people" in a collective, organized capacity as the state governments, or a small subset of the "people" actively organized by those governments into military bodies. "People" becomes interchangeable with the "State" or its "organized militia."

     This argument misunderstands the proper role of such prefatory declarations in interpreting the operative language of a provision. A preface can illuminate operative language but is ultimately subordinate to it and cannot restrict it.

     Wholly apart from this interpretive principle, this argument also rests on an incomplete understanding of the preface's language. Although the Amendment's prefatory clause, standing alone, might suggest a collective or possibly quasi-collective right to a modern reader, when its words are read as they were understood at the Founding, the preface is fully consistent with the individual right that the Amendment's operative language sets out. The "Militia" as understood at the Founding was not a select group such as the National Guard of today. It consisted of all able-bodied male citizens. The Second Amendment's preface identifies as a justification for the individual right that a necessary condition for an effective citizen militia, and for the "free State" that it helps to secure, is a citizenry that is privately armed and able to use its private arms.

1. The Limits of Prefatory Language.

     In the eighteenth century, the proper approach to interpreting a substantive or "operative" legal provision to which a lawmaker had joined a declaration (whether a "Whereas" clause or analogous language) was (1) to seek to interpret the operative provision on its own, and (2) then to look to the declaration only to clarify any ambiguity remaining in the operative provision. (69) It was desirable, if consistent with the operative text, to interpret the operative provision so that it generally fulfilled the justification that the preface declared, but a narrow declaration provided no warrant for restricting the operative text, and the preface could not itself create an ambiguity. This rule applied equally to declarations located in any part of a law, not simply at the beginning of it, and to both statutes and constitutions. We therefore consider this rule applicable to the Second Amendment.

     English Parliaments of the 1700's and late 1600's regularly included prefaces throughout statutes - not only at the beginning (constituting the first section) but also in particular sections. (70) The same rule of interpretation applied to both uses of prefaces. As an example of the latter, a section of a bankruptcy statute recited the problem of persons who "convey their goods to other men upon good consideration" before becoming bankrupt, yet continue to act as owners of the goods; the immediately following clause of the statute provided that if a bankrupt debtor possessed "any goods or chattels" with "the consent and permission of the true owner," was their reputed owner, and disposed of them as an owner, such property should repay the debtor's debts rather than return to the true owner. The difficulty arose when the bankrupt debtor possessed property that never had been his, such as property in trust. A leading case in 1716 read the enacting language to apply even in such cases and rejected the argument "that the preamble shall restrain the operation of the enacting clause; and that, because the preamble is too narrow or defective, therefore the enacting clause, which has general words, shall be restrained from its full latitude, and from doing that good which the words would otherwise, and of themselves, import." (71) The King's Bench reiterated the rule in 1723, rejecting in a criminal case an argument based on declaratory language introducing part of a statute: "Now those general words in the enacting part, shall never be restrained by any words introducing that part; for it is no rule in the exposition of statutes to confine the general words of the enacting part to any particular words either introducing it, or to any such words even in the preamble itself." The court acknowledged that "a construction which agrees with the preamble" was desirable, "but not such as may confine the enacting part to it." (72)

     Blackstone summed up this understanding in explaining that, although the words of an enacting clause were "generally to be understood in their usual and most known signification," yet if its words, after due analysis, were "still dubious" or "ambiguous, equivocal, or intricate," one might look to the context, which included "the proeme, or preamble, [which] is often called in to help the construction of an act of parliament." (73) Chancellor Kent, a leading early American commentator, likewise reasoned that a preamble, although not technically part of the law, "may, at times, aid in the construction of" a statute or "be resorted to in order to ascertain the inducements to the making" of it, "but when the words of the enacting clause are clear and positive, recourse must not be had to the preamble." (74)

     Prefatory language also was common in constitutions, and this rule of construction applied in the same way. Speaking of the preamble of the whole federal Constitution, Joseph Story in his Commentaries reiterated that statutory preambles are "properly resorted to, where doubts or ambiguities arise upon the words of the enacting part; for if they are clear and unambiguous, there seems little room for interpretation," and he could not see "any reason why, in a fundamental law or constitution of government," the same rule should not apply. (75) Similarly, the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution's preamble lacks any operative legal effect and that, even though it states the Constitution's "general purposes," it cannot be used to conjure a "spirit" of the document to confound clear operative language; (76) the Court has, however, also sought some guidance from the preamble when the operative text did not resolve a question. (77)

     The same reasoning applied to declaratory phrases in the language of individual constitutional provisions, the closest analogies to the Second Amendment. The 1784 New Hampshire Constitution provided: "In criminal prosecutions, the trial of facts in the vicinity where they happen, is so essential to the security of the life, liberty and estate of the citizen, that no crime or offence ought to be tried in any other county than that in which it is committed." (78) Even though in some cases a trial outside of the county where a crime was committed might bring it closer to the crime scene, or a judge might think a trial in the county where the crime occurred not "essential to" (or even in conflict with) "the security of the life, liberty and estate of the citizen," neither fact would justify disregarding the clear operative language of this constitutional provision. (79) Likewise, the pre-1787 constitutions of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont declared that freedom of speech in the legislature was "so essential to the rights of the people" that words spoken there could not the basis of "any" suit. (80) One could not use this declaration to avoid the clear immunity conferred by the operative language, even where particular statements made in the legislature - such as an egregious slander unrelated to a pending bill - were not thought "essential to" the people's rights. (81) In addition, Madison's draft of what became the First Amendment's Free Press Clause read: "the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable." (82) The emphasized declaratory language presumably could not have qualified or limited the freedom clearly conferred, such as by exempting from protection, as hostile to "liberty," publications advocating absolute monarchy.

     A discussion at the Constitutional Convention demonstrates the same understanding, including that prefaces in a particular constitutional provision might merely state policy. What would become Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution, empowering Congress to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia," had reached its final form. But George Mason proposed "to preface" it with the phrase, "And that the liberties of the people may be better secured against the danger of standing armies in time of peace." He wished "to insert something pointing out and guarding against the danger of" standing armies. Madison spoke in favor, because the preface would "discountenance" a peacetime standing army while "not restrain[ing] Congress from establishing" one. (83) No doubt an organized, armed, and disciplined militia would generally "better secure" liberties against peace-time standing armies (by reducing the need for such armies and the threat from any that were created), and thus the operative grant of power "agree[d] with" the declaratory preface; (84) but the preface did not restrain or confine the power.

     We see no reason to except the Second Amendment from this broadly applicable interpretive rule. (85) Thus, the Amendment's declaratory preface could not overcome the unambiguously individual "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" conferred by the operative text - even if the collective-right and quasi-collective-right schools' understanding of the preface's meaning were correct, and even though the preface might help resolve any ambiguities concerning the scope of that individual right remaining after one has analyzed the operative text. At the same time, any interpretation of the right ought, if possible consistent with its text, to further the declared justification in general, as the Court in Miller recognized when it stated that interpretation of the Amendment should keep the "end in view" of assuring the continuation and rendering possible the effectiveness of the militia. (86) As we explain in the remainder of this subpart - considering in turn the meaning of "Militia," what a "well regulated Militia" was, and the ultimate end of "the security of a free State" - the individual-right view does further the ends set forth in the prefatory language, and therefore the preface, properly understood, is fully consistent with the individual-right interpretation of the operative text.

2. The "Militia."

     A key claim of the collective-right and quasi-collective-right schools with regard to the Second Amendment's preface is that a "well regulated Militia" is a standing military organization or body of troops, of limited size, organized and governed by state governments, albeit concurrently with the federal Government (akin to voluntary select forces such as the National Guard that were established over a hundred years after the Amendment was adopted). As a result, the argument goes, the Amendment merely protects the States against federal efforts to undermine such forces, either by protecting the States directly or by protecting only persons serving in those forces. (87)

     This argument disregards the understanding of the "Militia" at the time of the Founding. As used in the Second Amendment, and elsewhere in the Constitution, "Militia" referred to a body consisting of all adult male citizens up to a certain age (anywhere from forty-five to sixty), the goal being to include all who were physically capable of service. It was not limited to a select force of persons in active military duty. This entire population of able-bodied male citizens was involuntarily "enrolled" by local militia officials, somewhat as men now register for the selective service (except that enrollment required no action by the citizen), and all enrolled citizens were required by law to join occasional "exercise" - to which they were expected to bring their own, private arms - but they otherwise remained in civilian life. The militia "rest[ed] upon the shoulders of the people," (88) because, as then understood, it consisted of a large number of the "people" at any one time and of all of the able-bodied white men for a substantial portion of their lives. It was the people embodied as an armed force. Thus, a key aspect of the term "Militia" was the composition of the force to which it referred. As a result, the reference to the "Militia" in the Second Amendment's preface "agrees with" the individual right that the Amendment's operative text sets out, (89) because securing to "the people" a right to keep and to bear their own arms made such a broad-based, privately armed force more likely to exist and to be effective. (90)

     The term "Militia" was used in contrast both to a regular, standing army and, more importantly, to a "select militia" or "corps." (91) The latter distinction is evident throughout contemporaneous usage, "select militia" denoting a significantly smaller body, consisting either of better trained military professionals who could remain active for extended periods, or of those chosen selectively, perhaps because of political or other discrimination. (92) For example, at the Constitutional Convention, George Mason mentioned the need for federal regulation of the militia to ensure that they were adequately trained. He suspected that the States would not relinquish "the power over the whole" but would "over a part as a select militia." He added that "a select militia" would be "as much as the Gen[eral] Gov[ernment] could advantageously be charged with," and thus suggested that it receive power only over "one tenth part" of the militia per year. Oliver Ellsworth, later to be a Senator and Chief Justice, objected because a "select militia" either would be impractical or would cause "a ruinous declension of the great body of the Militia." (93) Edmund Randolph, leader of the Virginia delegation, similarly equated the militia with "the whole mass" of the people. (94)

     In the debate over ratification, both sides shared this broad understanding of "Militia." Among the Federalists, Madison in The Federalist predicted that a federal army bent on oppression would be opposed by "a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands" - a group that he likened to the citizen bands that had fought in the Revolution and linked to "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation." (95) Alexander Hamilton described the militia as "the great body of the yeomanry and of the other classes of the citizens," "the great body of the people," and "the whole nation," which he contrasted with a "select corps." (96) A Connecticut Federalist writing as "The Republican" praised as "a capital circumstance in favour of our liberty" that "the people of this country have arms in their hands; they are not destitute of military knowledge; every citizen is required by Law to be a soldier; we are all martialed into companies, regiments, and brigades, for the defence of our country." (97) In a speech, later published, in response to South Carolina's vote to ratify, David Ramsay, a state legislator and delegate to the ratifying convention, praised the Constitution's militia powers and asked, "What European power will dare to attack us, when it is known that the yeomanry of the country uniformly armed and disciplined, may on any emergency be called out to our defence . . . ?" (98) Maryland's "Aristides," in a fairly widely circulated pamphlet, wrote simply that "the militia . . . is ourselves." (99)</sup>

     Among the Anti-Federalists, Mason, in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, asked: "Who are the Militia? They consist now of the whole people," while warning that the new Congress might exempt the rich from service. (100) The Federal Farmer, a leading Anti-Federalist essayist, explained that the "militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves," and counseled "that regular troops, and select corps, ought not to be kept up without evident necessity." If the federal Government properly organized, armed, and disciplined the militia - including in it, "according to the past and general usage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms" - the country would have a "genuine" rather than "select militia." Under such wise regulation, "the militia are the people." (101)

     This common sense of "Militia" also appeared in the House of Representatives' debates on the Second Amendment, discussed below in Part III.C.2, and the Second Congress applied it in the first Militia Act, enacted in 1792, two months after the Second Amendment was officially ratified. The Act required "each and every able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years," to be "enrolled in the militia" by the local commanding officer. Each enrolled citizen was required to provide his own arms - "a good musket or firelock" or "a good rifle" - plus ammunition and accouterments. These private arms were exempted from "all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes." The enrollees were required to appear, armed, "when called out to exercise, or into service," although Congress left the details of exercise to each State. (102) (Since 1792, Congress has only expanded this definition, such as by eliminating the racial restriction and including some women. (103)) Finally, Noah Webster in his 1828 American dictionary defined "militia" in accord with this Act and the above understanding: "The militia of a country are the able bodied men organized into companies, regiments and brigades, with officers of all grades, and required by law to attend military exercises on certain days only, but at other times left to pursue their usual occupations." They were "enrolled for discipline, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies." (104)

     The analogy of the "Militia" to a select (and voluntary) corps such as the National Guard is further strained by the common-law prohibition against the King's deploying the militia outside the country - a rule that Blackstone celebrated as part of the individual's "absolute right" of "personal liberty." (105) The Constitution appears to incorporate this rule, by specifying domestic reasons for the federal Government to call out the militia: "to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions." (106) Implicit in the common-law rule is that the militia was so composed that its members ought to be treated as ordinary citizens doing their duty, rather than as soldiers. President Taft's Attorney General reaffirmed this ancient rule in 1912 as Congress was developing the modern National Guard, which, partly to avoid this rule, was made a component of the regular military forces. (107)

     The Supreme Court in Miller, relying on a brief historical survey, summarized as follows the definition of "Militia" that we have set out and explained above:

The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. "A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline." And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time. (108)

If, as the Court recognized and historical usage confirms, the "Militia" was composed of the general population of able-bodied men, an individual right of the whole people to keep and bear arms would make eminent sense. A large portion of the "people" would be required to appear occasionally for service or simply training, and they were expected to bring their private arms. If the people could be disarmed, it would then, among other things, be impossible for militiamen to make the required provision of their privately provided arms when called up, and the citizen militia would be undermined.

3. The "Well Regulated" Militia.

     Advocates of the collective-right and quasi-collective-right views argue that the Amendment's reference in its preface to a "well regulated" militia indicates that the preface refers to a select, organized body akin to today's National Guard. They claim additional support for this argument from usage of the term "Militia" elsewhere in the Constitution, in the context of governmental power over the Militia. (109) No doubt the "Militia" was, through enrollment, exercise, and command when activated by a governor or president, a creature of the government. But it does not follow that the meaning of "Militia" as used in the Second Amendment depended on congressional (or state) legislation organizing or regulating the Militia. The word's use elsewhere in the Constitution and the Amendment's prefatory reference to a "well regulated Militia," properly understood, in fact suggest the opposite.

     The Constitution distinguishes not only between the "Militia" and the regular armed forces but also between different parts and conditions of the militia. The latter distinctions appear in (1) Article I, Section 8, Clause 15, authorizing Congress to "provide for calling forth the Militia"; (2) the immediately following clause authorizing Congress to "provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States"; (3) Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, making the President commander-in-chief of "the Militia of the several States" when "called into the actual Service of the United States"; and (4) the Fifth Amendment, which withholds the protection of the Grand Jury Clause from persons whose cases arise in the militia, but only when "in actual service in time of War or public danger" (cases in the army and navy, by contrast, are always exempted).

     These provisions indicate that the militia is of a size that will make complete mobilization usually unnecessary, that members of the militia will often not be in service (or that not all parts of the militia will always be in service), and that when any members are not employed in "actual service," they ought to be treated as ordinary citizens. The "Militia" is both large and largely latent. In addition, the reference to "organizing . . . the Militia" suggests an entity that in some sense exists and is definable apart from congressional regulation, in contrast to "Armies," which Congress must "raise," pursuant to another power in Article I, Section 8. Congress might not "organiz[e]" all of the "Militia"; it might organize some parts differently from others; and it would be expected to give necessary precision to the definition of the body's membership by laying down a specific age range for service (as Congress did in the first Militia Act). But the background meaning of the word would remain. As an Anti-Federalist writer recognized: "[T]he militia is divided into two classes, viz. active and inactive," the former, he expected, likely to "consist of young men chiefly." (110) Thus, the use of "Militia" throughout the Constitution is consistent with the common understanding of the word at the Founding.

     Nor does the preface's phrase "well regulated" alter this sense of "Militia"; rather, it presupposes it. Having an armed citizenry, which the operative text protects by establishing a right of individuals, becomes a necessary (albeit not sufficient) condition for a well-regulated militia once one properly defines "Militia." As one academic commentator has put it: "The Second Amendment simply forbids one form of inappropriate regulation," which would ensure a militia that was not well regulated, namely "disarming the people from whom the militia must necessarily be drawn. . . . [T]he one thing the government is forbidden to do is infringe the right of the people, who are the source of the militia's members, to keep and bear arms." (111) A militia composed of the whole body of able-bodied male citizens and only infrequently meeting for state-sponsored exercise is more likely to be "well regulated" in the bearing of arms, and can more readily be trained and disciplined, if its members possess their private arms and are accustomed to them from usage for private purposes between exercises. (112) And an individual right of the people to have arms has the indirect effect of securing the ability of States at least to have their militias armed. (113) As the Court stated in Miller, the Second Amendment seeks "to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of" the militia of "all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense." (114) It protects the minimum for a well-regulated citizen militia.

     In addition, the standard for a "well regulated Militia," as opposed to a well-regulated select militia, or well-regulated army, presupposes the background meaning of "Militia" by taking into account the body's large size and varied source. As the Militia Act of 1792 contemplated, it might be enough to have a county officer enroll persons and ensure that they possessed arms and knew how to use them through basic training once or twice a year. Similarly, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 defined "a well-regulated militia" as simply being "composed of the body of the people, trained to arms." (115) And the first New York Constitution declared that "the militia" should always "be armed and disciplined, and in readiness for service" because "it is the duty of every man who enjoys the protection of society to be prepared and willing to defend it." (116)

     Even those Founders skeptical of the benefits of the citizen militia, and who advocated a more highly regulated select corps, still recognized the distinction between the proper regulation of the two. Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist argued that it would be both "futile" and "injurious" for Congress to attempt to "disciplin[e] all the militia of the United States." Most enrolled citizens would need extensive "time and practice . . . under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would intitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia." But such a burden on so many citizens "would be a real grievance to the people and a serious public inconvenience and loss." Thus, as to "the people at large," he expected that "[l]ittle more can reasonably be aimed at . . . than to have them properly armed and equipped" and, for this purpose, "assemble them once or twice" a year. He therefore recommended that Congress use its constitutional power to provide for organizing the militia also to form a select militia - "a select corps of moderate size." (117) Hamilton was reiterating George Washington's well-known recommendations to Congress for a two-tiered militia, consisting of (1) "the Citizens of America . . . from 18 to 50 years of age," who would be put "on the Militia Rolls" and given minimal training, and (2) "a Corps in every State" consisting of those aged 18-25. (118) From the opposite political pole, the Federal Farmer likewise recognized that Congress might make just such distinctions in "modelling the militia" and warned that creation of a "select corps of militia" would lead to "inattention to the general militia." (119)

     This understanding of the "well regulated Militia," and of the possibilities for congressional organization of it (or not), leads to a view of the preface that not only fits the meaning of "Militia" in common contemporaneous usage, including throughout the Constitution, but also most agrees with the meaning of the Second Amendment's operative text setting out a "right of the people." The "well regulated Militia" and the "people" were not identical, but because of their close relationship, a right of the latter - of individuals - to keep and bear arms would facilitate the former. By contrast, a view rejecting the individual right on the basis of the preface's reference to the "well regulated Militia" struggles to harmonize the operative language establishing a seemingly general and individual right with that prefatory language. As Justice Scalia has written, a narrow definition of "Militia" "produces a guarantee that goes far beyond its stated purpose - rather like saying 'police officers being necessary to law and order, the right of the people to carry handguns shall not be infringed.'" (120) The "Militia" on this erroneous view consists only of those few citizens whom a State chooses to specially organize, arm, and train into professional units, which requires one to reject the normal, unambiguous meaning of the operative text as overbroad, rewriting "the people" to mean either "the select militia" or "the State." If that were the true meaning, the Amendment's authors chose singularly inartful language.

4. The "Security of a Free State."

The preface's express linking of the "well regulated Militia" to the ultimate necessity of "the security of a free State" is also fully consistent with the conclusion that the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is a personal one. The security of a free state at the Founding no doubt was understood to include those things necessary to the security of any state, such as "to execute the Laws . . . , suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions." (121) But the security of a free State was not just these things. It also was understood to include the security of freedom in a state. Thus, while Blackstone recognized the individual liberty of the press as "essential to the nature of a free state," pre-1787 state constitutions described the same right as "essential to the security of freedom in a state." (122) The Preamble of the Constitution states the goal of making "secure the Blessings of Liberty," and the Fourth Amendment highlights the importance of the individual "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects." A secure free State was one in which liberties and rights were secure.

     This clause of the Second Amendment's preface reinforces the individual right to keep and bear arms in two related ways - by supporting the broad meaning of "Militia" set out above, and by identifying a benefit for individuals of the right that the operative text secures. First, to say at the time of the Founding that the militia was necessary to the security of a "free State" was to refer to the citizen militia, composed of the people, who retained the right to keep and use their private weapons. A select militia, particularly if it existed to the exclusion of the citizen militia, might undermine the free state, if citizens excluded from it were left defenseless, or if it disarmed the citizens and infringed their other rights (or both). As we show in Part III.A, that is what had happened in England during the strife that produced in 1689 the express right of individual subjects to have and use arms for their defense, the ancestor of the right in the Second Amendment. (123) Thus the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the only state bill of rights before the adoption of the Second Amendment that expressly tied the militia to the security "of a free State," also emphasized that the "militia" was "composed of the body of the people." (124)

     Contemporaneous writers across the political spectrum acknowledged the link between the citizen militia and securing the freedom of a state. "The Republican" praised "a militia of freemen" as among the "principal circumstances which render liberty secure," and singled out as "a capital circumstance in favour of our liberty" that "the people themselves are the military power of our country," having "arms in their hands" and "military knowledge." (125) The Federal Farmer listed among the "military forces of a free country" the "militia," by which he meant "the people themselves . . . when properly formed." A citizen militia was critical to "the duration of a free and mild government." Absent it, and in the face of an "anti-republican" select militia, "the substantial men, having families and property, will generally be without arms, without knowing the use of them, and defenceless; whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." (126) James Burgh, a Scotsman whose 1774 Political Disquisitions were well-known in America, including being cited in The Federalist, wrote that a "good militia" formed "the chief part of the constitution of every free government" and would "preserve the public liberty." He added that "[t]he possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. . . . [H]e who thinks he is his own master, and has anything he may call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself and what he possesses, or else he lives precariously and at discretion." (127) Thus, "every male" should be trained in the use of arms, or at least "all men of property." (128)

     Second, and related, the freedom of a state was understood at the time of the Founding to include a citizen's individual right of self-defence (that is, defense of his right to life and personal security) when the state cannot assist him. An individual right to arms such as that secured by the Second Amendment's operative text helps to preserve this basic right and thus a free state. As the preface indicates, the existence of a well-regulated citizen militia further secures the link between such an individual right and this aspect of a free state (by increasing the number of persons equipped and trained to exercise the right well), but, as the discussion of the militia in the previous paragraph suggests, this link was not understood to be confined to one's actions while participating in even such a broad-based entity. (129) Blackstone's summary of key English rights explains this point. With no mention of the militia, he described the "right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence" as the last security of individual English subjects for keeping the state, including themselves, free:

[T]he rights, or, as they are frequently termed, the liberties of Englishmen . . . consist primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property. So long as these remain inviolate, the subject is perfectly free; for every species of compulsive tyranny and oppression must act in opposition to one or other of these rights, having no other object upon which it can possibly be employed. To preserve these from violation, it is necessary, that the constitution of parliament be supported in its full vigour; and limits, certainly known, be set to the royal prerogative. And lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next, to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence.

This right to arms, Blackstone added, facilitates self-defense "when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression." (130) John Locke, although not explicitly discussing arms, similarly explained the individual right of self-defense that a free society allows. Discussing the right of self-defense against a robber, he wrote: "I have no reason to suppose that he who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away everything else." Therefore "the law, which was made for my preservation, where it cannot interpose to secure my life from present force, which if lost, is capable of no reparation, permits me my own defence." (131)

     It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the ability of a "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" to further the Second Amendment preface's ultimate end of the "security of a free State" consisted not merely in the existence of a trained band ready to act as soldiers should the State's government call upon them, but also in the ability of the citizens (many of them part of the privately armed citizen militia), by individually keeping and bearing arms, to help secure the freedoms of the State and its citizens. (132) Thus, the "people" in the Second Amendment were distinct from the "Militia" and a "State," but a right of the people to keep and bear arms was understood both to facilitate a well-regulated militia and to help maintain a State that was free. By contrast, the collective-right and quasi-collective-right views would sanction not only the creation of a select militia (to the exclusion of the citizen militia) but also the disarming of the rest of the citizenry, a result antithetical to the true "Militia" as understood at the Founding and to the "free State" that the Founding Generation understood it to secure.

D. Structural Considerations

     Our conclusion that the text of the Second Amendment protects an individual right is further confirmed by the structure of the Constitution, in particular the Amendment's placement and its inter-relation with the powers that the Constitution grants over the militia.

1. The Bill of Rights.

     The Second Amendment is embedded within the Bill of Rights. Every one of the other rights and freedoms set forth in the first nine amendments of the Bill - whether or not phrased as a "right of the people" - protects individuals, not governments; none of its provisions protects persons only in connection with service to the government. (133) As Thomas Cooley summarized, writing of the Bill's first eight amendments, "[I]t is declared that certain enumerated liberties of the people shall not be taken away or abridged." (134) It is therefore reasonable to interpret the Second Amendment to protect individuals just as the rest of these nine amendments do.

     More particularly, the Second Amendment is located within a subset of the Bill of Rights amendments, the First through Fourth, that relates most directly to personal freedoms (as opposed to judicial procedure regulating deprivation by the government of one's life, liberty, or property) - the amendments that, in Story's words in his Commentaries, "principally regard subjects properly belonging to a bill of rights." (135) These four amendments concern liberties that are tied to the right of individuals to possess and use certain property (the printing "press" in the First Amendment, (136) "house[s]" in the Third's restriction on quartering soldiers, and "houses, papers, and effects" in the Fourth's restriction on searches and seizures), or otherwise to act without undue governmental interference (worship, speech, assembly and petition). Again, it seems reasonable to interpret the Second Amendment, consistently with this context, to set out another personal liberty (keeping and bearing) and privileged form of individual property (arms), useful for protecting not only the citizen's person but also the "houses" that the Third and Fourth Amendments guard. (137)

     Finally, the right in the Second Amendment immediately follows the right to assemble and petition, which concludes the First Amendment. The latter right is undeniably personal and individual, not depending on governmental organization, regulation, or service. And the two are aligned, not only in their placement but also in their origin, purpose, and limitations. Antecedents of both appeared in proximity in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. (138) Blackstone, in the passage block-quoted in the previous subpart, discussed in immediate succession their dual utility as guards of the great individual rights of life, liberty, and property, (139) and he did likewise in discussing the criminal law's limitations on abuses of those rights. (140) St. George Tucker, the first leading American commentator on Blackstone and the Constitution (discussed more in Part IV.A, below), noted that both rights had been transplanted to the United States from England, both stripped of many English restrictions. (141) It follows that the former right - that secured by the Second Amendment - also would be individual.

2. The Militia Powers.

     Interpreting the Second Amendment in light of the militia powers granted to the federal Government and the States in the original Constitution likewise suggests an individual right to keep and bear arms rather than a "right" of States, against the federal Government, to maintain select militias or a quasi-collective right to be exercised only by persons who serve in such entities. Clauses 15 and 16 of Article I, Section 8, respectively grant power to Congress:

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; [and]

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

In addition, Article II, Section 2, makes the President "Commander-in-Chief . . . of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

     These clauses, independently of the Second Amendment, presuppose the existence of functioning state militias and leave significant powers over them to the States. The States expressly retain the powers to appoint all officers and to train the militia according to federally specified rules. They implicitly retain the power of "governing" any parts of the militias not in actual service to the federal Government, and of having those state-appointed officers govern the militias even when in such service, subject to the President's supreme authority. The provision regarding officers is why Hamilton could argue credibly in The Federalist that the States always would retain "a preponderating influence over the militia." (142) (143) More broadly, the States implicitly retain the power to call out the militia on their own for domestic purposes. (144)

     The original Constitution also leaves to the States concurrent power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining their militias, so long in so doing they do not interfere with the federal power. This interpretation has been recognized from the beginning: At the critical Virginia Ratifying Convention, Henry Lee (future governor of Virginia and congressman), Edmund Randolph (a Framer who became the first Attorney General), Madison, and John Marshall all made this textual argument in response to attacks on the federal power to make such provision. (145) Story found the arguments for such a concurrent power "in their structure and reasoning satisfactory and conclusive." (146) The Supreme Court approved this reading in 1820 in Houston v. Moore, (147) and has recently reiterated it. Looking to the "general plan" of the Constitution, the Court noted in 1990 that, "Were it not for the Militia Clauses, it might be possible to argue," much as one could regarding federal power over foreign policy and the armed forces, "that the constitutional allocation of powers precluded the formation of organized state militia. The Militia Clauses, however, subordinate any such structural inferences to an express permission while also subjecting state militia to express federal limitations." (148) Even the Ninth Circuit in Silveira so interpreted Article I, Section 8, Clause 16: "The language indicates that the grant of power [to Congress] is permissive. . . . Nothing in the Article or elsewhere in the Constitution appears to bar the states from choosing to arm their respective militias as they wish." (149)

     In at least two respects, the above militia powers in the Constitution suggest an individual-right view of the Second Amendment. First, any constitutional amendment securing to the States power to maintain militias would have been largely redundant, whether the amendment protected the power through a "right" of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militia units that a State had organized. A provision should not be read to be redundant if another reasonable interpretation exists, and the individual-right view of the Amendment is such an interpretation. Second, one also would expect a protection of the States' militia powers to use language analogous to that of Clause 16, which concludes by "reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." (150) Clause 16's parallel to the protection of state power in the Tenth Amendment, which provides that certain powers are "reserved to the States respectively" (while mentioning "the people" separately), is unmistakable, as is the contrast between such language and the Second Amendment's protection of a "right of the people." Given the ready availability of such language, it would be both surprising and inartful for a protection of state authority to create and maintain organized militias to be phrased as the Second Amendment is, whether one conceives of the protection as belonging to the States directly or to those serving it.

     The Militia Clauses therefore suggest that the Second Amendment, to the extent that it furthers the States' authority to maintain organized militias, does so indirectly, as we discussed in the previous subpart (II.C.2&3), by ensuring the minimum of a "well regulated Militia" - that the States' people, the pool for the citizen militia, would continue to be able to keep and to bear their private arms, having them ready and being familiar with them. Thus the Militia Clauses, along with the structure of the Bill of Rights and the preface of the Second Amendment, all support the personal, individual right to keep and bear arms that the Amendment's operative text sets out.

III. The Original Understanding of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

     In the previous part, we focused on the text and structure of the Constitution, considering the meaning of the Second Amendment's words and phrases when they were adopted and how the Amendment's meaning is informed by its inter-relation with the rest of the Constitution. In this part, we take a broader view and consider the Anglo-American right to arms as it existed at the time of the Founding and informed the adoption of the Second Amendment. This history, like the text, indicates that the Amendment secures an individual right.

     We first consider the historical context of the right to arms, both (A) in England beginning with the Revolution of 1688-1689 and (B) in America through the American Revolution and the first state constitutions. The right was consistently a personal one. Beginning with the right of individual English subjects to have arms for their defense, it was supplemented in revolutionary America with the notion that a citizen militia, comprising the armed citizenry, was a particularly important means of securing free government. As one judge recently put it, the Americans of the Founding Generation "were the heirs of two revolutions," both of which had impressed upon them the importance of an individual right to have and use arms. (151) This background understanding of the right is inconsistent with either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views. Next, in Subpart III.C, we turn to (1) the framing and ratification of the Constitution and (2) the framing and ratification of the Second Amendment. This history demonstrates that the background understanding, far from being transformed or curtailed, was incorporated in that Amendment, just as the Bill of Rights incorporated many other traditional rights of individuals. By contrast, separate proposals to amend the Constitution to safeguard powers of the States to establish and maintain organized militias failed.

A. The Right Inherited from England

     As the Supreme Court has recognized, "The historical necessities and events of the English constitutional experience . . . were familiar to" the Framers and should "inform our understanding of the purpose and meaning of constitutional provisions." (152) This rule is particularly applicable to provisions such as the Second Amendment, because "[t]he law is perfectly well settled that the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, were not intended to lay down any novel principles of government, but simply to embody certain guaranties and immunities which we had inherited from our English ancestors." (153)





     The right to arms that colonial Americans inherited from England had been set out first in the English Declaration of Rights of 1689, and then had been expounded by William Blackstone in his authoritative Commentaries on the Laws of England in the decade before the American Revolution. Both the Declaration and Blackstone made clear that the English right was a personal, individual one, not a "right" belonging to any government or restricted to persons in governmental service. The English right could not have been a federalism provision, because England lacked a federal structure; and neither the Declaration nor the law as expounded by Blackstone conditioned the right on a subject's service in any militia.

     The Declaration of Rights was a product of the English Revolution of 1688-1689 (commonly known as the Glorious Revolution). In 1660, a special "Convention" Parliament had restored the English monarchy by crowning Charles II, (154) and two statutes enacted under him provided background for the Declaration's provisions on arms. First was the Militia Act, enacted by the royalist Parliament in 1662. (155) It authorized militia officers on their own warrants "to search for and seize all arms" of anyone they judged "dangerous to the peace of the kingdom," including through entering houses by force if necessary, the arms to be handed over to the militia and no judicial recourse being available. (156) Charles II repeatedly used this power, (157) aided not only by the regular militia but also by a volunteer army that he had organized unilaterally, (158) and by a select militia of about 15,000 that he formed in 1666. (159) The second statute was the Game Act of 1671, which, in the name of protecting wildlife, was "the first law in English history that took from the majority of Englishmen the privilege of having firearms." (160) It outlawed possession of guns (not just their use in hunting) by anyone not among the few rich qualified to hunt game. (161)

     Concerns escalated after the accession in 1685 of Charles's brother, King James II. He was openly Roman Catholic, at a time of sharp political distrust between England's Protestants and Catholics. (162) He disarmed the Protestant militia of Ireland by seizing their arms and placing them in government magazines, while returning the arms of Ireland's Roman Catholics. In England, he continued to use the militia to disarm persons of questioned loyalties, including through strictly enforcing the Game Act, although he ultimately preferred to undermine the militia (whose loyalty he questioned), by restricting musters. He also accelerated and expanded his brother's policy of purging opponents, and Protestants in general, from the militia's and army's officer corps, and geometrically enlarged the standing army. (163)

     James II fled soon after William of Orange landed in England in late 1688 at the invitation of leading Englishmen. A Convention Parliament in early 1689 adopted the Declaration of Rights, which William and his wife Mary (James's daughter) accepted before Parliament proclaimed them King and Queen, and which the ensuing regular Parliament enacted as the Bill of Rights. (164) A hundred years later, Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist celebrated "the revolution in 1688," when at last "English liberty was completely triumphant." (165)

     The Declaration first listed twelve indictments of James II for having attempted to subvert "the laws and liberties of this kingdom," including:

E. By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace, without consent of parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law.

F. By causing several good subjects, being protestants, to be disarmed, at the same time when papists were both armed and employed, contrary to law.





Then, in a roughly parallel list of thirteen "ancient rights and liberties," the Declaration stated:

6. That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against law.

     7. That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their

      Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law.

     This seventh article is most relevant here, and it set out a personal right. Neither this article nor the parallel sixth indictment ties possession of arms to service in the militia, which the Declaration never mentions. The sixth indictment instead indicates that being "armed" and being "employed" by the government are distinct - a distinction confirmed by the historical context, which, as we have explained, included subjects being disarmed by the militia. Furthermore, the right belonged to "Subjects," not to any government, and these subjects were allowed arms "for their Defence." (166)

     Critics of the individual-right view contend that the two concluding clauses of the seventh article - "suitable to their Conditions, and as allowed by Law" - so restricted the right that it was a dead letter. Among the restrictions to which these clauses referred was the Game Act, which literally, albeit likely not in practice, barred most subjects from owning firearms. (167) As Lois G. Schwoerer has argued: "English-men did not secure to 'ordinary citizens' the right to possess weapons. . . . Drafted by upper-class Protestants who had their own interests at heart, Article VII was a gun control measure." (168) The Declaration, therefore, the argument goes, could have had little relevance to the right in the Second Amendment.

     But this argument regarding the scope of the right does not speak to the question that we consider here, which is whether the English right was a right of individuals, a right of government, or a right specifically connected with military service to the government. On that question, the answer is clear. Schwoerer herself recognizes that many articles of the Declaration "guaranteed rights to the individual," including the right "to bear arms (under certain restrictions)." (169) Class- and religion-based restrictions did not destroy the personal nature of the right, whatever its scope. The precedent for Americans was an individual right.

     In addition, that Article 7 of the Declaration (and the Bill) only recognized a right to possess arms "as allowed by Law" does not mean that it did not secure a true right. In England's constitutional tradition, particularly evident in the events surrounding the Declaration of Rights described above, formal English rights restricted only the Crown's prerogative, not the legislature's power, which was unrestricted. Thus, although Blackstone was able to explain many years after the English Revolution that a royal proclamation "for disarming any protestant subjects, will not bind," (170) the right to arms, like all other English rights, remained subject to revision or abolition by Parliament. (171) That characteristic of English rights hardly prevented Americans from borrowing and adapting them to a different constitutional structure.

     Finally, whatever the actual ability of ordinary English subjects to have arms for their defense in 1689, by the Founding, a hundred years later, the right to do so extended to most of the country. As Judge Kleinfeld of the Ninth Circuit recently observed, "The historical context of the Second Amendment is a long struggle by the English citizenry to enable common people to possess firearms." (172) In new game laws, particularly that of 1706, Parliament deleted guns from the list of implements that those not qualified to hunt game were prohibited from owning. (173) The courts determined that Parliament had made this deletion "purposely." (174) Thus, notwithstanding the list's catch-all prohibition of "any other engines," they interpreted the deletion - together with the existence of "divers . . . lawful purposes" for which one might keep a gun, such as "for the defence of his house and family" - as protecting the right of individuals to keep guns even if they were not qualified to hunt game, so long as they did not hunt with them. (175) This interpretation of the 1706 game act was considered "settled and determined" by 1744, and in 1752 the Chief Justice of the King's Bench reaffirmed that it was "not to be imagined" that Parliament in that act had intended "to disarm all the people of England." (176) By 1780, London's Recorder - the city's legal adviser and the primary judge of its criminal court - in an opinion supporting the legality of the city's private armed associations formed for self-defense against riots, could announce as "most clear and undeniable" the "right of his majesty's Protestant subjects, to have arms for their own defence, and to use them for lawful purposes," adding that "this right, which every Protestant most unquestionably possesses individually" also "may, and in many cases must, be exercised collectively," subject to certain restrictions. (177) Similarly, an English commentator in the early 1790's wrote that "every one is at liberty to keep or carry a gun, if he does not use it for the destruction of game." (178)

     Blackstone's Commentaries, first published in 1765-1769, were for the colonists and the Founding Generation the leading exposition of England's laws and constitution. In them, he confirmed that the English right to arms was an individual one and explained that it had grounds broader and deeper than the right that had been declared in the Revolution of 1688-1689.

     In the first chapter of the first book, Blackstone detailed the "absolute rights of individuals," (179) that is, "such as appertain and belong to particular men, merely as individuals or single persons" and which "every man is entitled to enjoy, whether out of society or in it." (180) It was the purpose of law "to maintain and regulate" these rights in society, but "wanton and causeless restraint" was "a degree of tyranny." (181) He delineated three "principal or primary . . . rights of the people of England": "the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property." (182)

     But Blackstone recognized that declaring these three primary rights would be "in vain" and a "dead letter of the laws, if the constitution had provided no other method to secure their actual enjoyment." He therefore identified five "auxiliary subordinate rights of the subject" - "outworks or barriers to protect and maintain" the principal rights. (183) The first two were maintaining the constitution of Parliament and clear limits on the King's prerogative. Because these were more properly issues of governmental structure, he postponed their discussion to later chapters. (184) The other three, however, were plainly individual rights: (a) the "right of every Englishman . . . of applying to the courts of justice for redress of injuries"; (b) the "right, appertaining to every individual . . . of petitioning the king, or either house of parliament, for the redress of grievances," so long as no "riot or tumult" resulted; and (c) the "right of the subject . . . of having arms for their defence suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law." He noted that the latter two rights both had been recognized in the 1689 Bill of Rights. (185)

     Blackstone explained the subject's right of having arms as "a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression." (186) By tying the right to the natural - and thus individual and pre-political - right of self-defense, he recognized a deeper foundation than its declaration and enactment in 1689 and confirmed that the right existed independently of any bearing of arms in service to the militia, a subject that he did not mention in connection with the right. (187)

     He returned to the right in concluding the first chapter. Again grouping together the last three auxiliary rights (suing, petitioning, and having arms), he explained that all were means for "the subjects of England" to "vindicate" the three primary rights "when actually violated or attacked." Thus, subjects were "entitled . . . to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence." (188) By his repeated reference to "self-preservation" and his description of the right as including both "having and using" arms, Blackstone reiterated that the right had a personal aspect and was linked to self-defense - to the right to use one's "limbs . . . to protect himself from external injuries," which was part of the individual right of personal security. (189)

     Finally, Blackstone's view of the right as belonging to individuals re-appears in his repeated disparagement of game laws as a pretext to undermine commoners' ability to use or have arms. He traced them to "slavery" imposed after the fall of the Roman Empire by invading generals, who sought to "keep the rustici or natives . . . in as low a condition as possible, and especially to prohibit them the use of arms." Thus, "we find, in the feudal constitutions, one and the same law prohibiting the rustici in general from carrying arms, and also proscribing the use of nets, snares, or other engines for destroying the game." (190) He denounced those arising in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066 as a "tyranny to the commons," (191) and thought their real rationale was an aristocratic desire to "disarm[ ] the bulk of the people." (192) He briefly described England's existing criminal game laws as confused and having a "questionable" nature, their "rational footing" being elusive. (193) But he approved hunting restrictions against trespassing (194) and did not criticize several other restrictions on the use and carrying of arms, involving breaches of the peace. (195)

     Thus, the right to arms that America inherited from England was a right of individuals, and had deep roots by the time of the Framing. It did not depend on service in the government's militia, nor was it a federalism-related "right" of any government. It therefore provides no warrant for a quasi-collective-right or collective-right view of the Second Amendment. And, absent any evidence that Americans wished to abridge this individual right or transform it substantially, a question that we consider next, the English precedent supports an individual-right view of that Amendment.

B. The Right in America before the Framing

     The English colonists in America recognized this right of individual subjects to have and use arms, and they retained it as they broke from the mother country. They also recognized that it furthered the citizen militia to which they looked as a security for their freedom. These related ideas of an individual right to arms and regard for the citizen militia formed the backdrop for the Second Amendment. We first consider the history of the American Revolution and then review the States' first constitutions, written during that war.

1. The Experience of the Revolution.

As the Revolution approached and conflicts with royal authorities rose, colonial leaders both reaffirmed the individual right to arms inherited from England and praised the shared duty of being armed imposed by local law. The colonial militias were broad-based, composed of all able-bodied white men, who were expected to be armed with the private weapons that all households were required to keep (regardless of eligibility for militia duty), there being a "general obligation of all adult male inhabitants to possess arms, and, with certain exceptions, to cooperate in the work of defense." (196) Citizens sometimes were required not only to own weapons but also to carry them, and the class-based distinctions of England generally did not apply. (197) America had its own set of distinctions, based on race, but even free blacks were often allowed to possess arms as individuals, even though usually barred from militia service. (198)

     Boston was the focus of early opposition to Britain, and its leaders invoked both the individual right to arms (as secured by the 1689 Bill of Rights and also as expounded by Blackstone) and the local duty of being armed. A 1768 town meeting led by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and others resolved that the right enacted in the English Bill of Rights was "founded in Nature, Reason and sound Policy, and is well adapted for the necessary Defence of the Community," while also praising the colony's law requiring "every listed Soldier and other Householder" to be armed. The resolution thus requested that any Bostonian lacking arms "duly . . . observe the said Law." (199) Boston newspapers defended the meeting's actions:

[I]t is certainly beyond human art and sophistry, to prove the British subjects, to whom the privilege of possessing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights, and, who live in a province where the law requires them to be equip'd with arms, &c. are guilty of an illegal act, in calling upon one another to be provided with them, as the law directs. (200)

A subsequent article by Adams recounted the English Revolution and then quoted both of Blackstone's primary discussions of the right to arms. Adams attacked critics of the "late vote of this town, calling upon the inhabitants to provide themselves with arms for their defence," as insufficiently "attend[ing] to the rights of the constitution." (201) The New York Journal Supplement reiterated this argument:

It is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defence; and as Mr. Blackstone observes, it is to be made use of when the sanctions of society and law are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression. (202)

     The individual's right to have and use arms for self-defense was reaffirmed in the celebrated "Boston Massacre" murder trial, in 1770, of British soldiers for firing on a harassing crowd. (Soldiers had been garrisoned in Boston since late 1768.) John Adams, counsel for the soldiers, argued that they had acted in self-defense. In his closing argument, he quoted William Hawkins's Treatise on the Pleas of the Crown to establish that "'every private person seems to be authorized by the law, to arm himself'" to defend against dangerous rioters. Adams added: "Here every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arm themselves at that time, for their defence." (203)</sup> Adams reiterated that view in his 1787 Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, recognizing the propriety of "arms in the hands of citizens, to be used . . . in private self-defence." (204)

     British authorities, much like Charles II and James II a century before, moved to disarm the colonists as hostilities mounted in 1774. Britain banned the export of arms and ammunition to any of the colonies and ordered General Gage to consider how to disarm residents of rebellious areas. At least in Massachusetts, some disarmament occurred, and in the "Powder Alarm" of September 1, 1774, British soldiers seized ammunition belonging to the colonial militia. (205) These actions stiffened resistance throughout the colonies (206) and led the colonists to form independent local militias with broad membership, the "Minutemen." (207) Gage's attempts in late 1774 and early 1775 to seize these groups' arms across Massachusetts provoked confrontations with large forces of armed colonists, and the Revolution was famously ignited by his efforts to do so at Concord and Lexington in April 1775. (208) Virginia Governor Dunmore's raid on an ammunitions store in Williamsburg soon thereafter prompted a similar response, as militiamen surrounded his home. (209) British authorities' continuing efforts to disarm colonists were among the actions that the Continental Congress cited when, in July 1775, it declared the colonies' reasons for taking up arms. (210)

     As the colonists armed and organized themselves, their leaders continued to turn to their rights as British subjects and praised the citizen militias that these rights made possible. George Mason's actions in Virginia (in conjunction with George Washington and others) provide an example. In September 1774, he chaired a meeting of Fairfax County citizens to form a private militia association known as the Fairfax Independent Company. Being "threat'ned with the Destruction of our Civil-rights, & Liberty, and all that is dear to British Subjects & Freemen," members promised to keep themselves well armed and to train together under elected officers. (211) The following January, in a document attributed to Mason, the county's Committee of Safety recommended a tax to purchase ammunition, resolved that "a well regulated Militia, composed of gentlemen freeholders, and other freemen, is the natural strength and only stable security of a free Government," and urged residents "from sixteen to fifty years of age" to choose officers, "provide themselves with good Firelocks," and train. (212) In April 1775, Mason addressed the Company and praised it as formed "for the great and useful purposes of defending our country, and preserving those inestimable rights which we inherit from our ancestors." In a time of "threatened . . . ruin of that constitution under which we were born," it was a security "that in case of absolute necessity, the people might be the better enabled to act in defence of their invaded liberty." (213)

     Similar sentiments appeared in North Carolina. Soon after Lexington and Concord, the royal governor denounced those urging people "to be prepared with Arms" and train under committees of safety. (214) But in July 1775, North Carolina's delegates to the Continental Congress urged the committees to "form yourselves into a Militia" in the exercise of "the Right of every English Subject to be prepared with Weapons for his Defense." (215)

     In October 1775, Britain declared the colonies in rebellion, (216) but organizational efforts continued. John Adams, in his Thoughts on Government written in early 1776 in response to requests for advice, recommended a "Militia Law requiring all men, or with very few exceptions, besides cases of conscience, to be provided with arms and ammunition, to be trained at certain seasons." Such a law would be "always a wise institution" but was "in the present circumstances of our country indispensible." (217)

     Many lauded the citizen militias that fought in the Revolution. American General Nathanael Greene, writing to Thomas Jefferson, remarked on the "Enterprize and Spirit" of "this Great Bulwark of Civil Liberty [that] promises Security and Independence to this Country." (218) Americans credited crucial early victories to the citizen militias, even while recognizing their limitations. (219) Well after the war, James Madison could argue in The Federalist that an oppressive army would be no match for citizen militias, as "[t]hose who are best acquainted with the late successful resistance of this country against the British arms" would recognize. He also pointed to "the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation," governments in most of the world being "afraid to trust the people with arms." (220)

2. Early Constitutional Recognition of the Right.

One product of this experience of the American Revolution was that several States included explicit right-to-bear-arms provisions in declarations of rights that they adopted during the war. These appeared in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Vermont, and Massachusetts. In the identical provisions of Pennsylvania and Vermont, the language plainly reaffirmed the established right of individuals to arm themselves for self-defense. In the provisions of North Carolina and Massachusetts, although the express scope of the right may have been narrower, the right still belonged to individuals - these state provisions could not have been intended to protect the States' prerogatives, nor did they restrict the right to participants in militia units. Other States, most notably Virginia, did not include any provision regarding the right to bear arms in their declarations but did praise "a well regulated Militia." (221)

Virginia. Virginia's Declaration of Rights, adopted a month before the Declaration of Independence, was the country's first. Section 13 provided:

That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State: that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. (222)

This provision expressly recognizes the background definition of "militia" explained in Part II.C: It was not a specialized or select force, but rather a force of the people. Such an understanding of the militia is consistent with the right of individuals to have arms - particularly given that, as we have explained, the citizen militia was supposed to be "trained to" its members' private arms. (223) Significantly, the provision's primary author was George Mason, (224) whose public views have already been noted and who would play a leading role twelve years later, explained below, in authoring the proposal of Virginia's ratifying convention that placed together in a single article the individual right and this praise of the citizen militia. (225)

     Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania adopted its Declaration of Rights in September 1776. Article 13, immediately following an article providing "[t]hat the people have a right to freedom of speech," read:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. (226)

While following the same structure as Virginia's (of which the convention members were well aware (227)), this article replaced the praise of the well-regulated citizen militia with a right - a right of "the people," who, just as they had an individual right to speak, also had an individual right to "bear arms," for either of the dual purposes of defending "themselves and the state." The article does not restrict the right to those in militia service, which it does not mention and which Pennsylvania addressed separately: Article 8 broadly provided that "every member of society," receiving protection from it, was bound to contribute money and "his personal service when necessary," while allowing an exception for anyone "conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, . . . if he will pay [an] equivalent." (228) And the plan of government, adopted concurrently, provided for a militia of "[t]he freemen of this commonwealth and their sons." (229)

     The plan of government also provided that persons could use their arms to hunt (without trespassing): "The inhabitants of this state shall have liberty to fowl and hunt in seasonable times on the lands they hold, and on all other lands therein not inclosed." (230) Regardless of the relevance of this provision to the contours of the right to bear arms (a question beyond the scope of this memorandum), the provision does seem to have been viewed as a practical security for, and thus a way of emphasizing the importance of, the right of individuals that Pennsylvania had elsewhere secured. The view that the English game laws - which had provided for disarming many in the name of the hunting privileges of a few - had been a pretext for undermining the right in practice was prevalent at the time. Thomas Paine had criticized the game laws in the Pennsylvania Magazine the year before Pennsylvania adopted its constitution, and one newspaper article, although recognizing that the newer game acts did not prohibit merely keeping a gun, argued that English aristocrats still used them to disarm commoners, by procuring witnesses to claim that defendants had used their arms for hunting. (231)

     Pennsylvania held another convention from November 1789 through September 1790, as the Second Amendment was before the States for ratification. The resulting constitution retained essentially the same individual right. Section 21 of the declaration of rights, immediately following a section providing "[t]hat the citizens have a right" to assemble and petition, provided:

That the right of the citizens to bear arms, in defence of themselves and the State, shall not be questioned. (232)

Separately, in the body of the constitution, the protection of conscientious objectors was combined with the provision relating to the citizen militia:

The freemen of this commonwealth shall be armed and disciplined for its defence. Those who conscientiously scruple to bear arms shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service. The militia officers shall be appointed in such manner and for such time as shall be directed by law. (233)

Thus, the right to "bear arms" remained with individual people, now "the citizens," and existed for the dual purpose of facilitating the defense of individuals and the State. Neither purpose was expressly tied to, let alone limited to, service in the militia. And the duty of "freemen" to "bear arms," including possible exemption from that duty, was distinct and was tied to the militia. In both the 1776 and 1790 Pennsylvania constitutions, "bear arms" could and did bear both meanings.

     North Carolina. North Carolina adopted its constitution and declaration of rights in December 1776. Article 17 of the declaration provided:

That the people have a right to bear arms, for the defence of the State; and, as standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. (234)

This article mentions only the right of the people to bear arms for "the defence of the State." Regardless of the provision's scope, however, the right still belonged to individuals, just as the immediately following Article 18 set out a right of individuals in providing "[t]hat the people have a right to assemble together," and in contrast with Article 25's declaration, in delineating the State's boundaries, of "the essential rights of the collective body of the people" in the "property of the soil." (235) It would not have made sense, in the context of a state constitution, for a "right" of "the people" to protect only the prerogatives of the State. And the provision's text indicates that all of the people (not just those organized by the State into militia units) had a right to bear arms, at least in defense of the State. As an early North Carolina Supreme Court decision recognized, the right in Article 17 belonged "to every man indeed" and "secur[ed] to him a right of which he cannot be deprived," to be exercised "for the safety and protection of his country." (236) Moreover, by expressly protecting the right of the people to bear arms "for the defence of the State" (something that North Carolinians were then doing against the British), the drafters of the North Carolina Constitution do not appear to have intended to abrogate the arguably more modest individual English right. (237); Indeed, the president of the constitutional convention, who served on the committee that wrote the declaration, had been one of the three congressional delegates who the year before, as discussed above, had urged North Carolinians to exercise "the Right of every English Subject to be prepared with Weapons for his Defense." (238)

     Vermont. The Vermont constitution approved in July 1777 provided that "the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State," in an article identical to Article 13 of Pennsylvania's Declaration. (239) As in Pennsylvania, this individual right immediately followed the individual right of "the people . . . to freedom of speech," and the constitution separately included a hunting guarantee, citizen-militia provisions, and an exception for conscientious objectors. (240) All of these remained in Vermont's 1786 and 1793 constitutions. (241)

     Massachusetts. Article 17 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights of 1780 provided:

The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it. (242)

In addition, Article 1 announced as among the "natural, essential, and unalienable rights" of all men "the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties" and "of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property." (243) Massachusetts was the first State to add "keep" to "bear." But this double right was said to be "for the common defence," a phrase that arguably limits the purposes for which one might exercise it. Two towns had unsuccessfully proposed adding "their own and" before that phrase, one arguing that this change would make Article 17 "harmonize much better with" Article 1. (244)

     Even assuming that the phrase "for the common defence" limited the purposes for which arms could be kept and borne, the "right" remained an individual one - residing in "the people," just as Article 19 set out an individual right in providing that "[t]he people have a right, in an orderly and peaceable manner, to assemble to consult upon the common good." (245) Nothing in Article 17 or any other provision connected the right to service in the militia, much less indicated that this "right" of the "people" belonged to the State or was intended to protect its prerogatives. (246) Moreover, the addition of the word "keep" to the right of the people reinforced the individual nature of the right, because, as explained above in Part II.B.1, the phrase "keep arms" commonly referred to individuals privately possessing their private arms.

     The history of the provision reinforces this understanding of its text as securing an individual right. The principal draftsman was John Adams, joined by his cousin Samuel Adams and another individual. (247) As explained above, John Adams publicly acknowledged the individual right inherited from England both before and after he wrote the Declaration, and Samuel Adams both helped lead the Boston town-meeting that had urged Bostonians to exercise that individual right and publicly defended its resolution on the authority of the English Bill of Rights and Blackstone. (248) Much like Mason, Samuel Adams also would, during the ratification debate, urge that the Constitution protect that right, as we explain below.

     Thus, the right of individual English subjects was transplanted to America. Americans also, from their experience in the American Revolution, came to emphasize the citizen militia, which they recognized was furthered by the individual right to private arms. But the English right as Americans came to understand it was not, as a result, somehow newly restricted to a person's service in that militia, much less to service in a select militia. Nor did early Americans see the right as a federalism protection (which would not have made sense in the context of state constitutions) or otherwise the property of the state rather than its citizens.

C. The Development of the Second Amendment

     The proposed Constitution that emerged from the Constitutional Convention in 1787 did not have a bill of rights, notwithstanding a late effort by Mason, joined by Elbridge Gerry, to have one drawn up "with the aid of the State declarations." (249) It did contain a careful compromise regarding the militia. The federal Government received, in Article I, Section 8, the powers to call out the militia "to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasions," to provide for "organizing, arming, and disciplining" it, and to govern any part of it in the service of the federal Government (during which the President would be its commander-in-chief); States expressly retained the authority to appoint officers and to train the militia. (250)

     Proposed bills of rights emerged from the ratifying conventions of several of the States. Many of these included protection for the right to arms - usually in language borrowed or adapted from the individual right to arms in the States' declarations of rights, and in any event always in language indicating an individual right. In those proposals, several States for the first time in a single constitutional provision both set out an individual right to arms and praised the citizen militia, uniting language from the different state declarations discussed above. In addition, some Anti-Federalists, concerned about the Constitution's allocation of powers over the militia, sought to protect the ability of the States to maintain effective militias. They proposed to do so expressly, in amendments using language similar to that of Article I, Section 8, and to be placed in the body of the Constitution, not in a bill of rights. (251)

     Yet it was the former proposals that laid the foundation for the Second Amendment. And the latter proposals failed in the Federalist-controlled First Congress, which was, as many recognized at the time, willing to protect individual rights but not to alter the balance of power struck by the new Constitution between the States and the nascent federal Government. Thus, the evidence points to an understanding of the Amendment as securing the individual right to arms already well established in America, rather than safeguarding the ability of States to establish well-regulated militias, whether through a "collective right" of States or a quasi-collective right of militiamen. Rather than "lay down any novel principles of government," the Second Amendment embodied the individual "guarant[ee] and immunit[y]" to which Americans were accustomed. (252)

1. Recommendations from the Ratification of the Original Constitution.

     Although the right of individuals to have arms was not a subject of much direct discussion in the ratification debates, two major topics are relevant. First, Anti-Federalists objected to the absence of a bill of rights, often pointing to the English Bill of Rights (as well as the declarations of the States) as models. (253) The Federalists' response likewise recognized the English precedent, but sought to distinguish it on various grounds or to argue that many rights, such as the English Bill of Rights' ban on "cruel and unusual punishments," or "the liberty of the press" (which developed after the Bill), were too indefinite to provide dependable legal protections. (254)

     Second, Anti-Federalists denounced the militia powers to be granted to the federal Government, warning that it would destroy the militia through any number of means - by neglecting it, by creating a select militia and then neglecting the general militia, or (somewhat inconsistently (255)) by destroying the militia through onerous discipline and excessive deployment. The arguments from neglect rested on the premise that Congress's power of organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia would foreclose any such State power. If true, the militia might be left without any government ensuring its arming and training. The arguments also were premised on the common understanding of the "militia" as the citizen militia: The Federal Farmer, the leading Anti-Federalist essayist, admonished that "to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them," and Patrick Henry, leader in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, warned, "The great object is, that every man be armed. . . . When this power is given up to Congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed?" (256) Anti-Federalists also warned that Congress would use its power to establish a standing army to trample traditional liberties, particularly after it had destroyed the militia. (257) The Federalists' response emphasized the same understanding of the citizen militia, asking how the federal Government could tyrannize over a populace armed as America's was. (258) As already noted in Part II.D.2 above, they also argued that, in any event, the States would retain a concurrent power over their militias, including a power to arm them. (259)

     Two separate categories of proposed amendments resulted from these two sets of arguments. Proposed amendments to protect the right to keep and bear arms not only were phrased as individual rights (even when accompanied by language concerning the militia and civilian control of the military) but also were distinct from proposals that would safeguard state powers over the militia or restrain federal power to create a standing army. (Restriction on standing armies would help ensure that the new government maintained the militia, by ensuring the government's dependence on it.)

     Pennsylvania's Convention, the second to meet, ratified the Constitution by a 2 to 1 margin in December 1787, without proposing amendments. (260) A week later, 21 of the 23 dissenting delegates published their Address and Reasons of Dissent ("Minority Report&;quot;), including amendments that they had proposed but the convention had refused to consider. It drew heavily from the 1776 Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights. The proposal regarding arms was Article 7, immediately following one stating that "the people have a right to the freedom of speech," and it read as follows:

That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own State or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and be governed by the civil powers. (261)

Article 8, immediately following, protected the right to hunt on one's private property and certain other lands. (262)

     Separately, the Minority sought, in Article 11, both to restrict Congress's Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 powers over the militia and to protect state authority over it, by providing "[t]hat the power of organizing, arming and disciplining the militia (the manner of disciplining the militia to be prescribed by Congress), remain with the individual States." (263) They warned that, without this restriction, Congress's power over the militia could place "every man, probably from sixteen to sixty years of age" under Congress's power and military discipline - particularly "our young men, . . . as a select militia, composed of them, will best answer the purposes of government" - and also could leave conscientious objectors compelled to bear arms in the militia. (264) As in Pennsylvania's 1776 declaration and constitution, a right to bear arms was distinct from bearing arms in service to the government. There was no suggestion that the individual right somehow would directly guard the States' power, and this separate proposal and comment indicate that the Minority believed that it would not.

   &;nbsp; The Massachusetts Convention was the first to include with its ratification, in February 1788, a list of recommended amendments. The Federalists prepared and had John Hancock introduce the nine proposals to woo marginal Anti-Federalists. Samuel Adams, while supporting Hancock's list, also led an effort to add several rights that would appear in the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments, plus a ban on standing armies "unless when necessary for the defence of the United States, or of some one or more of them." Regarding arms, he proposed that the Constitution "be never construed to authorize Congress . . . to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." This language indicated that the "people" consisted of the "citizens," who would, so long as they were peaceable, individually keep private arms. Adams's proposed additions were voted down, and the Convention then narrowly voted to ratify and to recommend the Federalists' list. (265)

     Four months later, New Hampshire's Convention, also closely divided, adapted some of Adams's proposals. (266) It recommended the nine amendments that Massachusetts had, but added three: one calling for a supermajority before Congress could keep up a standing army in peacetime; the next barring Congress from making laws regarding religion or infringing the rights of conscience; and the final one providing that "Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion." (267) New Hampshire thus became the first State whose ratifying convention as a body recommended that the Constitution protect a right to arms. Again, the right belonged to the individual citizen.

     Although New Hampshire had provided the crucial ninth State for the Constitution to take effect, (268) the convention of Virginia, occurring simultaneously and concluding four days later (on June 25, 1788), had particular importance, not only because of the possibility that Virginia would be the ninth State to ratify but also because of the State's significance, the prominence of its leaders, and the strength of the Anti-Federalists, led by Patrick Henry. (269) The convention did vote to ratify, but also recommended numerous amendments. Written by a committee of Mason, Henry, Madison, George Wythe, and John Marshall, twenty were proposed for a separate bill of rights and twenty for the body of the Constitution. Those in the former category amounted to the first full bill of rights proposed by a state convention, and most made their way into the federal Bill of Rights. (270)

     The proposal regarding arms appeared in the bill, immediately after the "right[s]" of "the people" to assemble and petition and to speak, write, and publish. It was a synthesis from the leading state declarations, providing:

That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. (271)

The two strands evident in the Revolutionary Era - an individual right to arms and high regard for the citizen militia - were brought together: The proposal combined an individual right-to-arms provision such as those from the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Declarations with the praise of the militia from Virginia's. The "people" would have a right to keep and bear arms, and a well-regulated militia composed "of the body of the people" - the people as an organized whole - would protect "a free state." This language became the foundation for the Second Amendment. In addition, the combination of the two clauses indicates (as the differing first clauses of the analogous articles in the Virginia and Pennsylvania Declarations had done separately) that the individual right and the well-regulated militia both would contribute to the avoidance of standing armies and to civilian rule.

     Only in its separate list of amendments for the body of the Constitution did the Virginia convention directly protect the power of States to maintain militias and restrict the federal power to raise standing armies. It recommended a supermajority vote for Congress to maintain a peacetime army (in the spirit of Samuel Adams and the New Hampshire Convention), and it sought to protect state power over the militia (much as the Pennsylvania Minority had) with the following provision:

That each state respectively shall have the power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining its own militia, whensoever Congress shall omit or neglect to provide for the same. (272)

These distinct proposals confirm what is evident from the declarations included with the proposal for the bill of rights: The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms does not directly guard any power of States to maintain militias. (Much less does it guarantee against standing armies.) But it does indirectly further the policy of having a well-regulated militia of the body of the people, as well as that of mitigating the need for and risk from a standing army.

     The New York Convention, voting just over a month after Virginia's (and ratifying by only 30-27), followed Virginia's model. The separate declaration of rights included both an individual right to keep and bear arms (immediately after the "right" of "the People" to free exercise of religion) and declarations regarding the militia and standing armies:

That the People have a right to keep and bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, including the body of the People capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State.

     . . . .

That standing Armies in time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in Cases of necessity; and that at all times, the Military should be under strict Subordination to the civil Power. (273)

For the body of the Constitution, New York proposed, like New Hampshire and Virginia, an amendment requiring a supermajority for Congress to maintain a peacetime standing army. It did not propose express protection of state power over the militia. (274)

     The force of Virginia's proposals is evident not only in New York's borrowing but also in the first North Carolina Convention. On August 1, 1788, North Carolina became the only State to decline to ratify until the Constitution had been amended to include a bill of rights (Rhode Island had declined even to call a convention), and it proposed verbatim the amendments that Virginia had proposed - including the individual right to keep and bear arms and the separate proposals, for the body of the Constitution, guarding state power over the militias and mandating supermajorities for standing armies. North Carolina's actions made the momentum for a bill of rights "virtually irresistible," and, two months after Congress approved one, a new convention ratified. (275)

     Every recommendation in these state conventions regarding the right to arms sought to protect an individual right - not a "right" to maintain well-regulated state militias, whether belonging to the States or to those serving in such entities (much less belonging just to those serving in well-regulated select militias). Virginia, New York, and North Carolina also appended declaratory clauses to the right suggesting that it would benefit the citizen militia, preserve the freedom of the state, and reduce the need for or risk from a standing army. But those States that wanted to protect state authority to maintain militias (Virginia and North Carolina) followed the lead of the Pennsylvania Minority by proposing separate amendments doing so directly, intended not for the bill of rights but for the body of the Constitution. Thus, regarding the right to arms, those who ratified the Constitution did nothing novel, but rather followed the path marked by the state declarations and the earlier right from England. They proposed an individual right, not a "right" of States and not a right restricted to their militias or militiamen. As the First Congress met, it had before it numerous proposals for an individual right to arms and a few proposals for safeguarding state militias by directly protecting state authority, but none for protecting that authority through a collective or quasi-collective "right" to arms.

2. The Drafting and Ratification of the Second Amendment.

     When the First Congress convened in 1789, Federalist Congressman James Madison moved quickly to win over marginal Anti-Federalists by responding to the calls for a bill of rights. The House soon approved seventeen amendments. The Senate reduced these to twelve, of which the States ratified the ten that form the Bill of Rights.

     The Federalists, victorious in ratification and dominant in Congress, openly avoided any amendment that would materially alter the balance of power with the States or otherwise threaten legitimate federal powers. Thus, the amendments that Congress approved were devoted almost exclusively to protecting individual rights. Of the categories of proposals discussed in the previous subpart, only the first - the individual right of the people to keep and bear arms - received approval. The separate proposals for protecting state power to organize, discipline, and arm the militia and for restricting federal power to maintain standing armies failed.

     President Washington set the stage in his inaugural address, urging Congress to consider amendments out of "a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen" but "carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an united and effective government." (276) Madison reiterated this view in introducing his proposals in June 1789:

It will be a desirable thing to extinguish from the bosom of every member of the community, any apprehensions that there are those among his countrymen who wish to deprive them of the liberty for which they valiantly fought and honorably bled.

. . . .

I should be unwilling to see a door opened for a re-consideration of the whole structure of the government, for a re-consideration of the principles and the substance of the powers given . . . . But I do wish to see a door opened to consider, so far as to incorporate those provisions for the security of rights . . . .

. . . .

I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution], disliked it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercised the sovereign power. (277)

Madison also urged Congress to "expressly declare the great rights of mankind" and provide "those securities for liberty" demanded by North Carolina and Rhode Island. In contrast, he was confident that those who opposed the Constitution's "structure," powers, or restrictions on state powers were a much smaller group. (278) Other congressmen similarly hoped that such an approach would win over many of the disaffected in various States. (279)

     Anti-Federalist leaders recognized this focus on individual rights. Richard Henry Lee, one of Virginia's first senators, reported to Patrick Henry about a week before Madison's speech "that many of our amendments will not succeed, but my hopes are strong that such as may effectually secure civil liberty will not be refused." (280) Soon after Madison spoke, Virginia's other senator, William Grayson, wrote to Henry that Madison's proposals "altogether respected personal liberty." (281)

     Among Madison's proposals was the following, which became the Second Amendment:

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person. (282)

The first and second clauses resembled the proposals of the Virginia, New York, and North Carolina conventions, including by making the connection between the individual right and the militia. The first clause stated, as they had, a right both to keep and to bear arms, which belonged to "the people." Having made this into a full sentence, Madison made the second clause, which had been free-standing in the Virginia, New York, and North Carolina proposals, subordinate to the first. In shortening the second clause, he omitted the definition of the militia, just as Delaware, Maryland, and New Hampshire had done in their declarations of rights. (283) He also omitted the conventions' disparagement of standing armies and admonition to civilian rule, and appended protection for conscientious objectors, which the Pennsylvania Minority, Virginia, and North Carolina had separately requested. As the Pennsylvania and Vermont Declarations had shown even before ratification, there was no inconsistency in recognizing both an individual right to "bear arms" and an individual exemption from being compelled to "bear arms" in military service.

     That Madison envisioned this proposed "right of the people" to secure an individual right is confirmed by the notes for his speech, in which he wrote that those provisions "relat[ing] to what may be called a bill of rights," including this one, "relate . . . to private rights"; (284) by his using in his speech the same language to discuss both the rights of English subjects and those in his proposed bill; (285) and by the location in the body of the Constitution in which he proposed to place these amendments. He recommended that the right to arms, along with antecedents of the First, Third, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth, and portions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, be added in Article I, Section 9, immediately after clauses protecting three other individual rights: the writ of habeas corpus and the prohibitions against ex post facto laws and bills of attainder. (286) It is reasonable to assume that Madison viewed the additional rights as likewise belonging to the individual. (287) Had he instead intended to protect state militias (whether directly through a collective right or indirectly through a quasi-collective right), a more reasonable location would have been in or near the two clauses in Article I, Section 8, that granted congressional power over the militia, one of which already "reserv[ed] to the States" certain powers over the militia. And Madison likely would have drawn from the separate language that Virginia and others had proposed for just this purpose - but those proposals had the potential to threaten the balance of powers, at least by inviting disputes over whether the federal Government had "neglect[ed]" the militia.

     Others also understood Madison's proposal to secure an individual right to keep and bear arms. Leading Federalist Congressman Fisher Ames wrote: "Mr. Madison has introduced his long expected Amendments. . . . It contains a Bill of Rights . . . [including] the right of the people to bear arms." (288) Elsewhere he wrote: "The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people." (289)



Tench Coxe took the same view in his Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution, published in the major cities. Writing as "A Pennsylvanian" (a pseudonym that he had used during the ratification debates), he explained the right that Madison's proposal protected as follows:

As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the . . . article in their right to keep and bear their private arms. (290)

Coxe recognized that the "right" of "the people" belonged to the "citizens," who could both keep and bear "private" arms. He sent his Remarks to Madison the day that they were published, and Madison six days later returned thanks for his "explanatory strictures" and the "co-operation of your pen," noting from New York City that the Remarks "are already I find in the Gazettes here." (291) Neither Madison nor, it appears, anyone else disputed Coxe's interpretation. (292) Samuel Nasson, who had been an Anti-Federalist delegate to the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, described the right similarly in a letter to a Federalist Congressman from the State a month after Madison introduced his proposals:

I find that Ammendments are once again on the Carpet. I hope that such may take place as will be for the Best Interest of the whole[.] A Bill of rights well secured that we the people may know how far we may Proceade in Every Department[,] then their will be no Dispute Between the people and rulers[.] [I]n that may be secured the right to keep arms for Common and Extraordinary Occations such as to secure ourselves against the wild Beast and also to amuse us by fowling and for our Defence against a Common Enemy[.] [Y]ou know to learn the Use of arms is all that can Save us from a forighn foe that may attempt to subdue us[,] for if we keep up the Use of arms and become acquainted with them we Shall allway be able to look them in the face that arise up against us[.] (293)

Like Coxe and others, Nasson understood "the people" as distinct from the government, and included in "the right" of the people private ownership and private uses of arms.

     In late July 1789, a committee, to which had been referred both Madison's proposals and all amendments that ratifying conventions had proposed, issued a revised draft. It provided:

A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, being the best security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms. (294)

The Committee had left unchanged the text of Madison's independent clause stating the right. But it had inverted the first two clauses, modified the language regarding the militia to return it somewhat to what had been proposed by some of the state conventions (including by defining the militia), and revised the conscientious-objector clause.

     There is no reason to suppose that the mere reversal of order, or any of the other changes, had altered the right that Madison, and the ratifying conventions before him, had set out: The operative text of the independent clause was unchanged from Madison's draft, with the militia clause retaining its subordinate relationship; Madison had served on the committee, which does not seem to have had any serious disagreements over content; (295) and the committee had retained Madison's proposal that this amendment, along with the rest of the "Bill of Rights," be placed among the three pre-existing individual rights in Article I, Section 9, albeit moved forward one clause. (296) In the ensuing debates, no member of the House suggested that any change in the right had occurred. The Speaker of the House, from Pennsylvania, wrote to a leading fellow Federalist in the State that the committee's proposals "take[ ] in the principal Amendments which our Minority had so much at heart"; the Minority had, as discussed above, proposed an individual right to bear arms. (297) And an article in Boston, reprinted in Philadelphia, described the committee's proposal as containing "[e]very one of" the amendments "introduced to the convention of this commonwealth by . . . Samuel Adams" (except the restriction against a standing army), including that "the said constitution be never construed . . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms." (298) Clearly, the committee's proposed amendment on arms, like Madison's and like Adams's, was understood to protect an individual right.

     In floor debate that began in mid-August, the focus was on the concluding exemption for conscientious objectors and thus on militia service rather than "the right of the people" that the committee's draft secured. Representative Gerry of Massachusetts, who had refused to sign the Constitution and was a leading Anti-Federalist, (299) objected that this final clause would enable the federal Government to "declare who are those religiously scrupulous, and prevent them from bearing arms." This, he warned, "together with [Congress's] other powers," would enable Congress to "destroy the militia" and establish "a standing army, the bane of liberty." (300) He moved to narrow the clause, but after a debate, including an effort to delete it, the House approved the committee's draft. Immediately after, it resoundingly defeated another Anti-Federalist's motion to require a supermajority to authorize a standing army in peacetime. (301)

     It does not appear from the debates that any congressman shared Gerry's concern, but, in any event, his concern seems more consistent with a view that the amendment secured an individual right than with the alternative views. Gerry presumed that the first two clauses - praising the well-regulated militia and setting out the right of the people - would not suffice to protect the militia in the face of affirmative federal efforts to undermine it. The individual right was inadequate to do so. That understanding is consistent with the individual-right view, as we explained above in Part II.C. It also was the understanding, and concern, implicit in the dual recommendations of Virginia, North Carolina, and the Pennsylvania Minority, which sought separately to protect both state militia powers and the individual right to arms. In addition, if the "right of the people . . . to bear arms" meant some right restricted to serving in an organized militia, rather than a personal right, Gerry's concern would not have made sense: Persons whom Congress declared religiously scrupulous pursuant to the proposed amendment, although therefore not "compelled to bear arms" in the militia, still would, under a quasi-collective-right view of the other clauses of the amendment, have some right to do so, and thus Congress could not, as Gerry charged, "prevent them" from serving.

     After more debate over the conscientious-objector clause on August 20, the House added back "in person" at the end and approved the draft. (302) It attached all of the amendments to the end of the Constitution rather than incorporating them, but no substantive change was intended. (303) The right of the people to keep and bear arms was the fifth of the seventeen proposed amendments that the House then sent to the Senate. (304)

     An Anti-Federalist who during the ratification debates had written widely published essays as "Centinel" was enraged enough by the House's failure to restrict federal, and protect state, power that he took up his pen again, as Centinel Revived. (305) He denounced "the partial amendments making by Congress" and lamented that, although "many of these amendments are very proper and necessary, yet . . . the constitution is suffered to retain powers that may not only defeat their salutary operation, but may, and incontrovertibly will be so decisively injurious as to sweep away every vestige of liberty." He highlighted the Second Amendment for criticism:

It is remarkable that this article only makes the observation, "that a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, is the best security of a free state;" it does not ordain, or constitutionally provide for, the establishment of such a one. The absolute command vested by other sections in Congress over the militia, are not in the least abridged by this amendment. (306)

Centinel understood the Second Amendment not to constrain Congress's Article I, Section 8 &quot;absolute command" over the militia or otherwise secure any power of the States to maintain one (whether by creating a "right" of States or of the members of their organized militia units), and understood the Amendment's prefatory praise of the militia - a mere "observation" - not to have any operative effect. The reasonable inference is that he viewed the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" as one belonging to individuals.

     The Senate reduced the House's proposed amendments to twelve in early September. (307) In so doing, it made three changes in what would become the Second Amendment: (1) deleting "composed of the body of the people," (2) replacing "the best" with "necessary to the," and (3) deleting the conscientious-objector clause. It also voted down a motion to insert "for the common defense" immediately after "to keep and bear Arms." (308) The Senate deliberated in secret, and its minutes are conclusory, so it is difficult to discern the reasons for these changes. One could argue that some of them (deletion of the conscientious-objector clause and rejection of the "common defense" clause) tend to support the individual-right view of the Amendment, although contrary arguments are no doubt possible. (309) One also could argue that deletion of the definition of the militia cuts against the individual-right view's reading of the prefatory language, although there, too, a counter-argument is possible. (310) Because of the lack of historical records and the multiple possible explanations, we are reluctant to attribute any material significance to these actions.

     We do, however, find it significant that the Senate rejected a motion to add a separate amendment securing state power to organize, arm, and discipline the militias if Congress should "omit or neglect" to do so. (311) Notwithstanding the lack of historical records of the deliberations on this motion, the broader historical context suggests that, had Congress sought to secure the States' ability to maintain organized militia units, adopting this provision is how it would have done so. It is hard to ascribe this vote to a view that the proposed amendment was redundant with the right of the people to keep and bear arms: Not only are the texts of the two provisions markedly different, but also, as explained in the previous subpart, the Virginia and North Carolina Ratifying Conventions (from which the rejected language was directly taken) had made distinct proposals, one covering the right to arms and the other covering state power over the militia (the Pennsylvania Minority also had done this). In addition, the Senate was even more Federalist than the House (Lee and Grayson of Virginia being the only Anti-Federalists among the 22 senators). (312) As already noted, the Federalists were determined to avoid amendments affecting the federal-state balance of power and instead to focus on individual rights. If senators had thought that what became the Second Amendment had the effect of this rejected provision, one would have expected them to have refused to approve it as well. Finally, the two Anti-Federalist senators acknowledged that their efforts to obtain amendments affecting the federal-state balance had failed. Senator Lee, like Centinel, complained, in a letter to Patrick Henry, that the amendments were inadequate for "securing the due Authority of the States." (313) Senators Lee and Grayson jointly informed the Virginia legislature of their failure to secure the "Radical Amendments proposed by the Convention." (314) Thus, the Senate continued the House's approach - rejecting attempts to restrict congressional powers or augment state powers, while securing individual rights in the hope of creating a national consensus in favor of the new Government.

     On September 24, 1789, a conference committee agreed to some changes in the Senate's proposed amendments, but there was no change in (or effort to change) the Senate's version of what became the Second Amendment. Congress, through the President, then sent the twelve proposed amendments to the then-eleven States for ratification and to North Carolina and Rhode Island (which still had not ratified the Constitution). (315) The records of the state ratifying conventions are sparse and do not appear to provide any significant material concerning the meaning of the Second Amendment right. (316) The States approved ten of the twelve proposed amendments, and in March 1792, Secretary of State Jefferson officially declared the Bill of Rights ratified. (317)

     The history in this subpart of the immediate development of the Second Amendment reveals a right consistent with, and developed from, the individual right to arms that had been inherited from England, recognized and invoked in revolutionary America, and codified to various extents in early state declarations of rights. In addition, the early States prized a well-regulated citizen militia, as some of their declarations recognized, and understood the individual right to arms to facilitate such a militia. The Second Amendment, following the lead of several of the ratifying conventions, reflects the contemporaneous understanding of this relationship; in so doing, it grants the right to "the people," not to the "Militia" (much less to members of select militia units), or to the "State." Nor does the history support limiting the right secured by the Amendment to any of these entities. Indeed, those who wanted to ensure that the States could have fully functioning militias proposed a separate amendment, expressly protecting state power. Their proposals failed. (318) Thus, the history of the Amendment, like its text, indicates that the Second Amendment's "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is not collective or quasi-collective but rather is a personal right that belongs to individuals.

IV. The Early Interpretations

     Our analysis of the Second Amendment's text and history in the two preceding parts of this memorandum is supported by the views of those who first interpreted the Amendment. In the generations immediately following its ratification, the three leading commentators to consider the Second Amendment each recognized that its right of the people to keep and bear arms belonged to individuals, not to States and not just to members of militias (whether of organized, select militia units or even of the citizen militia). Nearly all of the discussions of the antebellum courts, including in the leading cases, understood the right in the same way, whether they were considering the Second Amendment or similar provisions in state constitutions. This early understanding of a personal right continued at least through Reconstruction. The modern alternative views of the Second Amendment did not take hold until 1905, well over a century after the Amendment had been ratified.

A. The First Commentators

     In the first few decades after the Second Amendment was drafted and ratified, each of the three leading commentators on the Constitution addressed it: St. George Tucker, William Rawle, and Joseph Story. Each agreed that it protects an individual right. Less prominent early commentators also concurred with this interpretation.

     Tucker, a judge and law professor from Virginia, published in 1803 an edition of Blackstone's Commentaries to which he had added annotations and essays explaining the relation of American law, including the new Constitution, to England's. Tucker's Blackstone quickly became the leading American authority on both Blackstone and American law. (319)

     Tucker addressed the Second Amendment at several points. He first did so, repeatedly, in his introductory View of the Constitution of the United States. He tied the federal right, as Blackstone had the English one, to the individual, natural right of self-defense and to the freedom of the state. After quoting the Amendment, he wrote:

This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty . . . . The right of self defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction. (320)

He condemned the use of the game laws in England as a pretext to disarm ordinary people - the "farmer, or inferior tradesman, or other person not qualified to kill game." (321) And he grouped the Second Amendment right with those of the First, confirming that all belonged to individuals:

If, for example, a law be passed by congress, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates, or persuasions of a man's own conscience; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble peaceably, or to keep and bear arms; it would, in any of these cases, be the province of the judiciary to pronounce whether any such act were constitutional, or not; and if not, to acquit the accused . . . . (322)

     Second, in annotating Blackstone's description, in Book I, Chapter 1, of the individual English subject's right to have and use arms for self-defense (discussed above in Part III.A), Tucker praised the Second Amendment "right of the people" for being "without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government" (under England's Bill of Rights) and again denounced the game laws, by which "the right of keeping arms is effectually taken away from the people of England." (323) Finally, in a note to one of Blackstone's (critical) discussions of the game laws, Tucker once more attacked them, because "it seems to be held" that no one but the very rich has "any right to keep a gun in his house" or "keep a gun for their defence," the result being that "the whole nation are completely disarmed, and left at the mercy of the government," and "the mass of the people" are kept "in a state of the most abject subjection." By contrast, "in America we may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty." (324)

     In all of these discussions, the right belonged to individuals - to persons availing themselves of the natural, individual "right of self defence," to the "accused" seeking judicial review of a violation of the Second Amendment, and to "the mass" of ordinary people able to defend themselves because protected by the Second Amendment from class-based pretexts for disarmament. Tucker understood both the English and American rights to arms to belong to individuals, and he thought the latter more secure and broad-based.

     Nowhere did Tucker suggest that the right of the people to keep and bear arms depended on a person's enrollment and exercise in the citizen militia (much less his membership in an organized, select militia unit) or that it was a "right" that belonged to state governments. He did elsewhere, in discussing the Militia Clauses, point out that the Second Amendment eliminated "all room for doubt, or uneasiness" on whether the federal Government could prohibit States from simply providing arms for their militias (doubt he rightly found questionable given that the original Constitution left a concurrent arming power in the States). (325) Tucker did not suggest here that he thought the Amendment had only this effect, and his other discussions confirm that he did not so understand it.

     William Rawle of Pennsylvania published his View of the Constitution of the United States of America in 1825, with a second edition appearing in 1829. After having turned down President Washington's offer to be the first attorney general, he had served in the Pennsylvania Assembly when it ratified the Bill of Rights. His commentary, like Tucker's, gained wide prominence. (326)

     Rawle analyzed the Second Amendment in a chapter entitled "Of the Restrictions on the Powers of Congress . . . [,] Restrictions on the Powers of States and Security to the Rights of Individuals," by which he meant, respectively, Article I, Section 9; Article I, Section 10; and the first eight amendments of the Bill of Rights. (327) He started with the Second Amendment's preface, giving to it, including the word "Militia," precisely the sense and significance that emerges from our analysis above, and making clear that the substantive right belonged to the ordinary citizen:

In the second article, it is declared, that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state; a proposition from which few will dissent. Although in actual war, the services of regular troops are confessedly more valuable; yet, while peace prevails, and in the commencement of a war before a regular force can be raised, the militia form the palladium of the country. . . . That they should be well regulated, is judiciously added. . . . The duty of the state government is, to adopt such regulations as will tend to make good soldiers with the least interruptions of the ordinary and useful occupations of civil life. . . .

The corollary, from the first position, is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both. (328)

Both Rawle's language - the Amendment's prohibition "is general" and protects the arms of "the people" - and his view of the Second Amendment as applying to the States and restricting their power indicate that he saw the right as individual, not as collective or quasi-collective.

     Two additional points further show that Rawle viewed the right as belonging to individuals. Like Tucker, he favorably contrasted the right of the people that the Second Amendment secured with the more selective individual right in England under the aristocratic game laws, including a summary of Blackstone's critique of those laws. In addition, he expressly recognized, as had Blackstone, Tucker, and, in varying degrees, the Pennsylvania Minority, Samuel Adams, and the New Hampshire Ratifying Convention, that the right provided no warrant to breach the peace, including by inciting reasonable fear of a breach. (329) This recognition indicates an individual-right view because there is no need for ordinary criminal law to oversee either the actions of States in regulating their militias or the bearing of arms by members of a State's militia in connection with their service and under state regulation.

     Rawle further explained the individual-right view's understanding of the Second Amendment preface when discussing the President's limited power to command the militia. Although not mentioning the Amendment expressly, he noted: "In a people permitted and accustomed to bear arms, we have the rudiments of a militia, which properly consists of armed citizens, divided into military bands, and instructed at least in part in the use of arms for the purposes of war." (330) Thus, the "people" of the country, as individuals, keep and bear arms for private purposes; they also form the militia; and the former facilitates the latter, but only as a rudiment. That is why the individual right is a "corollary" from the need for a militia.

     The same view appears in the influential 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States of Supreme Court Justice and law professor Joseph Story, as well as in his later Familiar Exposition of the Constitution. The Commentaries appeared first in a three-volume set and then, a few months later, in a one-volume abridgement by Story (the "Abridgement"). (331)

   &nbsp; Story devoted a chapter of his Abridgement to the Bill of Rights. Before turning to its provisions, he recounted the debate over whether to add one and identified several purposes, all related to individual rights: (1) to prevent powers granted to the government from being exercised in a way "dangerous to the people"; (2) as part of "the muniments of freemen, showing their title to protection," to ensure against an "extravagant or undue extention of" powers granted; and (3) to protect minorities. (332) He then singled out those amendments that did not relate to judicial procedure (the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth) as those addressing "subjects properly belonging to a bill of rights." (333)

     With regard to the Second Amendment, he first explained the importance of the militia for "a free country," including as a check on "domestic usurpations of power," and the hazards "for a free people" of keeping up "large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace." He linked these policies to the right: "The right of the citizens to keep, and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." (334) In the unabridged version, he cited Tucker, Rawle, and the House of Representatives' first day of debate on the Amendment in support of this sentence. (335)

     By paraphrasing the "right of the people" as the "right of the citizens" - not of States or members of their militias - as well as by citing Tucker and Rawle's discussions (including borrowing from Tucker's "palladium" language), Story left no doubt that he considered the right to belong to individuals. He reinforced this point in an additional paragraph in the unabridged version, citing both Blackstone's discussion of the "similar provision" in England - clearly an individual right, as explained above - and Tucker's discussion of what Story called the "defensive privilege" there. (336) In his Familiar Exposition, Story began his discussion of the Amendment with an even more explicit statement: "One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposes without resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it an offence to keep arms, and by substituting a regular army in the stead of a resort to the militia." (337)

     Thus Story, like Tucker, Rawle, and others, recognized that the right that the Second Amendment secured was an individual one. He also saw, as they had, that this personal right was necessary for ensuring a well-regulated militia of the people. But he likewise recognized, consistent with the individual-right view, that such a right was not sufficient for ensuring such an entity, wondering how it would be "practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization," and lamenting the decline of militia discipline. (338)

Less prominent commentators shared Tucker, Rawle, and Story's view of the Second Amendment as securing an individual right. Most significant of these was probably Henry Tucker (son of St. George). In an 1831 commentary, he explained:

The right of bearing arms - which with us is not limited and restrained by an arbitrary system of game laws as in England; but is practically enjoyed by every citizen, and is among his most valuable privileges, since it furnishes the means of resisting as a freeman ought, the inroads of usurpation. (339)

He also noted that the right inherited from England and expounded by Blackstone "is secured with us by" the Second Amendment. (340) And Jonathan Elliot, in his record of the ratification debates first published in the 1830's, provided an index of the Constitution that, under the heading "Rights of the citizen declared to be," listed each of the rights of the first nine amendments of the Bill of Rights, including "To keep and bear arms." (341) He grouped the right secured by the Second Amendment with the unquestionably individual rights secured by its neighbors. There was no entry in the index for the militia or its members, aside from reference to the congressional powers in Article I, Section 8, and none of his entries regarding the States included reference to the militia or the Second Amendment. (342) Thus, these early commentators were all consistent in recognizing that the Second Amendment secures an individual right. They did not even mention possible alternative views, whether involving a collective or a quasi-collective "right."

B. The First Cases

     Like the commentators, the early case law also treated the Second Amendment as securing a right of individuals, not a right of governments or those in its service. Without taking any position on the correctness of the courts' holdings or the constitutionality, under the Second Amendment, of any particular limitations on owning, carrying, or using firearms, we find it significant that these decisions consistently understood the right to be an individual one. The earliest cases, although not numerous, consistently recognized that the right to "bear" arms belonged to individuals, just as the right to "keep" them did. Judicial treatment became more common beginning in the 1840's, mostly because of new prohibitions on carrying weapons concealed. The courts upheld these prohibitions (some courts applying the Second Amendment and some applying similar state provisions), but in so doing they all recognized an individual right to arms: All of the decisions recognized an individual right to keep private arms; nearly all, including the leading cases, recognized a right of individuals to "bear" those arms for private purposes; and all recognized some manner of individual right to bear them. Most notably, the Supreme Court of Georgia twice unanimously ruled in favor of individuals on the basis of the Second Amendment.

1. Cases Before 1840.

     The first of the early cases is Houston v. Moore, in 1820. The Supreme Court, in upholding Pennsylvania's power to try a militiaman for failing to report for federal service in the War of 1812, recognized that States had concurrent power to regulate their militias at least when the militias were in the service of their State or in the absence of congressional regulation. Yet it did not mention the Second Amendment. Justice Story, in dissent, also recognized the concurrent power, and he noted that the Second Amendment was probably irrelevant to the question. (343) As we explained above in Part III.C.1, the Anti-Federalists who claimed to fear that the federal militia powers would not allow a concurrent state jurisdiction did not rely on the proposals for a right to arms to resolve their concern, but rather proposed separate amendments (which failed to pass). It appears that the Court in Houston similarly recognized that the Second Amendment did not guard state power to maintain militias, whether by creating a collective right of States or a quasi-collective right of militiamen to vindicate state power. Otherwise, one would expect the Court to have discussed it. Thus, Houston, although far from conclusive, lends some support to an individual-right view.

     Second, in Bliss v. Commonwealth (1822), in what appears to be the first judicial interpretation of the right to bear arms in America, a divided highest court of Kentucky applied that State's constitutional protection of "the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state," first adopted in 1792, to void a ban on wearing certain weapons concealed. (344) The State had argued that the ban merely restricted the manner of exercising the right. The court, although not citing authority, gave two primary reasons for rejecting this argument: (1) the right in 1792 included carrying weapons concealed, and (2) to recognize this one exception would leave no principled basis to reject others, eviscerating the right. (345) The court's specific holding was rejected thereafter - by courts (346) and by the people of Kentucky, who in their 1850 constitution added a clause allowing laws to prevent carrying concealed arms. (347) But the holding was rejected not on the ground that it improperly recognized a right of individuals to "bear arms" (Kentucky's provision remained otherwise unchanged), but rather on the ground that Bliss erred in determining the right's scope. Thus Bliss confirms the individual nature of the right.

     Third, several early references to the right or to "bearing arms" indicate that courts viewed the right as an individual one, or at least that an individual carrying weapons and not in militia service could be said to "bear arms." A Virginia appellate court in 1824, discussing that State's restrictions on the rights of free blacks - "many of which are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, both of this State and of the United States" - cited the restriction "upon their right to bear arms." (348) That the restriction involved their rights as individuals is evident from Tucker's summary of the Virginia laws. (349) In an 1829 libel case, the Supreme Court of Michigan (then a territory) drew a parallel between the freedoms of speech and press and the right of the people to bear arms to explain that individual rights are not unlimited: "The constitution of the United States also grants to the citizen the right to keep and bear arms. But the grant of this privilege cannot be construed into the right in him who keeps a gun to destroy his neighbor." (350) And in a jury instruction while riding circuit in 1833, in a case unrelated to the militia, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Baldwin included the Amendment in a list of potentially relevant individual rights. (351)

     Last of the earliest cases is the 1833 decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in Simpson v. State. (352) The question was the validity of a boilerplate indictment alleging that the defendant had appeared in a "public street and highway . . . arrayed in a warlike manner" and then "to the great terror and disturbance of divers good citizens . . . an affray did make . . . against the peace and dignity of the state.&;quot; (353) The court held the indictment invalid because it alleged neither fighting (an element of "affray") nor any other act likely to have caused public terror and indictable at common law. The court reached this conclusion first by considering the common law, particularly as set out by Blackstone. But because there was some uncertainty regarding the common law, the court also relied on the 1796 Tennessee Constitution, which provided "that the freemen of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence." (354) This right eliminated any doubt whether merely appearing in public armed could create "terror" and thus be criminal: "By this clause of the constitution, an express power is given and secured to all the free citizens of the state to keep and bear arms for their defence, without any qualification whatever as to their kind or nature." (355) The court recognized that individuals could "bear arms" for private purposes, just as they could "keep" them, and included self-defense within "their common defence." Thus, in the first four decades after the Founding, the courts were consistent in recognizing that the right to keep and bear arms was a right of individuals, allowing both the keeping of private arms and the bearing of them for private purposes.

2. Cases from 1840 to the Civil War.

     The leading case from the antebellum period on the right to bear arms, and the first major decision, was State v. Reid in 1840. The Supreme Court of Alabama unanimously upheld the State's new ban on carrying guns or knives secretly, finding no violation of the provision in the State's 1819 constitution that "[e]very citizen has a right to bear arms, in defence of himself and the State." (356) In so doing, the court recognized that the provision's right to "bear arms" was a right of an individual, who could bear them to facilitate his self-defense. The court first looked to the origins of the right in the "provisions in favor of the liberty of the subject" in the English Declaration of Rights. Quoting the right of subjects to have arms for their defense, the court explained: "The evil which was intended to be remedied by the provision quoted, was a denial of the right of Protestants to have arms for their defence, and not an inhibition to wear them secretly." (357)

     The court then adopted the State's factual argument that carrying weapons concealed did not facilitate self-defense but rather served the purpose of aggression and breaching the peace. The court elaborated in explaining the limits of the State's power to enact laws regulating "the manner in which arms shall be borne":

A statute which, under the pretence of regulating, amounts to a destruction of the right, or which requires arms to be so borne as to render them wholly useless for the purpose of defence, would be clearly unconstitutional. But a law which is intended merely to promote personal security, and to put down lawless aggression and violence, and to that end inhibits the wearing of certain weapons, in such a manner as is calculated to exert an unhappy influence upon the moral feelings of the wearer, by making him less regardful of the personal security of others, does not come in collision with the constitution. (358)

The court thus rejected Bliss's holding: "[The constitution] authorizes him to bear them for the purposes of defending himself and the State, and it is only when carried openly, that they can be efficiently used for defence." (359) If the need for defense were immediate, "there can be no necessity for concealing the weapon," and if it were not immediate, there were legal processes for securing protection. If a defendant could prove that it was "indispensable to the right of defence" for him to conceal his weapon, the court might construe the statute not to apply, but Mr. Reid had not done so. (360)

     Eighteen years later, the same court in Owen v. State reaffirmed Reid in recognizing the constitutionality of a similar statute (the legislature, perhaps prompted by Reid, had added an exception for those threatened with or reasonably fearing attack). In so doing, the court made explicit what had been implicit in Reid - that "carries" in the statute "was used as the synonym of 'bears.'" (361)

     Soon after Reid, the Supreme Court of Georgia, in Nunn v. State, relied on Reid, as well as Bliss, in unanimously reversing a conviction for openly carrying a pistol. The court applied the Second Amendment, holding "that so far as the act . . . seeks to suppress the practice of carrying certain weapons secretly, . . . it is valid, inasmuch as it does not deprive the citizen of his natural right of self-defence, or of his constitutional right to keep and bear arms. But that so much of it, as contains a prohibition against bearing arms openly, is in conflict with the Constitution, and void." (362) As had Reid, Nunn looked for guidance to the right to have and use arms in England. The court viewed that right, the right of the Second Amendment, and the rights protected by the States' constitutions as all securing a personal right of individuals: "When, I would ask, did any legislative body in the Union have the right to deny to its citizens the privilege of keeping and bearing arms in defence of themselves and their country?" Likewise, "the Constitution of the United States, in declaring that the right of the people to keep and bear arms, should not be infringed, only reiterated a truth announced a century before, in the act of 1689." (363) This "right of the people" was just as "comprehensive" and "valuable" as those in the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. (364)

     Like Rawle and Story, the Nunn court recognized the harmony between the Second Amendment's individual right and its preface: "[O]ur Constitution assigns as a reason why this right shall not be interfered with or in any manner abridged, that the free enjoyment of it will prepare and qualify a well-regulated militia, which are necessary to the security of a free State." More broadly:

The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. (365)

The preface's reference to the militia as "necessary to the security of a free State" reinforced this understanding and helped convince the court that the Amendment also restricted the States: "If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of the State of Georgia and of the United States, is it competent for the General Assembly to take away this security, by disarming the people?" The right lay "at the bottom of every free government," state or federal. (366) As had Rawle, the court in Nunn, by concluding that the Amendment restricted the powers of the States, confirmed its view that the Amendment did not protect the powers of the States but rather protected the rights of their individual citizens.

     Fifteen years later, the same court reported that Nunn had "been constantly adhered to," and unanimously applied it to reverse a jury instruction that, for a weapon to be carried openly, it had to be entirely uncovered. Because such carrying was "impossible," such an interpretation "would . . . prohibit the bearing of those arms altogether." (367)

     The Louisiana Supreme Court took the same view of the Second Amendment as an individual right in a series of cases in the 1850's. In State v. Chandler, a murder defendant had sought an instruction that carrying weapons "either concealed or openly" could not be a crime consistent with the Constitution. The court affirmed the denial of the instruction. Like Reid and Nunn, the court saw no factual link between carrying weapons concealed and self-defense. But, also like them, it viewed open carrying of arms differently: "This is the right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and which is calculated to incite men to a manly and noble defence of themselves, if necessary, and of their country." (368) Six years later, the court upheld a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon, finding no Second Amendment violation because "[t]he arms there spoken of are such as are borne by a people in war, or at least carried openly." (369) And two years after that, the same court cited these decisions in upholding another such conviction, again treating the right as belonging to individuals and understanding "carry" to be synonymous with "bear": "The statute in question . . . . is a measure of police prohibiting only a particular mode of bearing arms which is found dangerous to the peace of society." (370)

     Two other state-court cases of this later antebellum period merit special mention. The first and more significant is Aymette v. State, (371) the second, State v. Buzzard. (372) In both, the court's holding was unremarkable - that bans on carrying weapons concealed were constitutional. But the courts' rationales were novel. While still recognizing a right to keep and to bear arms that belonged to individuals, these decisions sharply restricted the purposes for which arms could be borne. Unlike Reid and Nunn, neither case was cited until several years after the Civil War (and then usually just for their holdings), but Aymette acquired some prominence thereafter, and Buzzard is notable for one judge's separate opinion somewhat foreshadowing the collective- and quasi-collective-right views.

     In Aymette, the Tennessee Supreme Court applied that State's 1834 Constitution, which provided "that the free white men of this State have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defence." (The only difference from the provision discussed in Simpson was the change of "freemen" to "free white men." (373)) In upholding the defendant's conviction for carrying a concealed bowie knife, the court limited the state right to "bear arms" to actions done "by the people in a body for their common defense." (374) Some have relied on Aymette's reasoning in arguing against the individual-right view of the Second Amendment. The Ninth Circuit in Silveira, for example, overlooking all of the antebellum cases discussed above, described Aymette as "the most significant judicial decision to construe the term 'bear arms'" and as concluding that the phrase "referred to the performance of a military function." (375) Silveira particularly relied on Aymette's statement that "'[a] man in pursuit of deer, elk and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms.'" (376) Fairly read, however, Aymette does not contravene an individual-right view of the Second Amendment.

     First, even assuming for the sake of argument that Aymette read the Tennessee Constitution not to secure any individual right to bear arms, the decision has two distinctive features that undermine its relevance to the Second Amendment. Aymette's analysis rested heavily on the phrase "for their common defence" in the Tennessee provision, which is absent from the Second Amendment. The phrase pervades the court's brief analysis. The court defined "common" and even described the right to arms in the English Bill of Rights as if it included the word. (377) The court also relied on a conscientious-objector clause that appeared elsewhere in the state constitution, citing it at the end of its opinion, in criticizing Bliss, to make "the case still more clear." (378) Yet no conscientious-objector clause appears in the Second Amendment or even the Constitution. (379)

     Second, and more importantly, Aymette does not reject an individual right either to keep or to bear arms, even though it may exclude individual self-defense from the meaning of "bear." The court was unequivocal on "keep": "The citizens have the unqualified right to keep the weapon," so long as it is a protected "arm." (380) It did describe "bear" as limited to "military use," (381) but by that appears still to have contemplated a right that belonged to individuals rather than to the State or those engaged in its service. (382) The court did not mention the militia. Rather, the "military" bearing that it appears to have had in mind was the people, in an extreme case of governmental tyranny, independently bearing arms as a body to check the government. The court confined "bear" to the most radical of emergencies. Thus, it provided the following account of the English Revolution of 1688-1689:

[I]f the people had retained their arms, they would have been able, by a just and proper resistance to those oppressive measures, either to have caused the king to respect their rights, or surrender (as he was eventually compelled to do) the government into other hands. No private defence was contemplated, or would have availed anything. . . . [The right in the English Declaration means] that they may as a body rise up to defend their just rights, and compel their rulers to respect the laws. . . . The complaint was against the government. The grievances to which they were thus forced to submit were for the most part of a public character, and could have been redressed only by the people rising up for their common defence, to vindicate their rights. (383)

The court also wrote that the people "may keep arms to protect the public liberty, to keep in awe those in power, and to maintain the supremacy of the laws and the constitution." Citizens need to be prepared "to repel any encroachments upon their rights by those in authority," and the right "is a great political right. It respects the citizens, on the one hand, and the rulers on the other." (384)

     Subsequent treatment by the same court confirms that Aymette, despite its narrow reading of "bear," still recognized an individual right. In Andrews v. State, a prominent case after the Civil War, the Tennessee Supreme Court interpreted the right of the "citizens of this State . . . to keep and bear arms for their common defense" under the State's 1870 constitution. It was not until after Andrews that Aymette, previously uncited, acquired any prominence. (385) The new constitution had added an exception granting to "the Legislature . . . power by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime," which had been prompted by an enduring dispute between partisans of Aymette and Simpson. (386) The statute at issue prohibited any public or private carrying of "a dirk, swordcane, Spanish stiletto, belt or pocket pistol or revolver." (387) Notwithstanding the added constitutional clause and the arguable implications of Aymette, the court held it unconstitutional as applied to certain revolvers. (388)

     In reaching this holding, the court went far to assimilate Aymette to the reasoning of Reid and Nunn, even while technically retaining Aymette's view of "bear." (389) It did so in three ways. First, it expressly reaffirmed that at least the right to "keep" belonged to individuals: The "right to bear arms for the common defense . . . may well be held to be a political right, or for protection and maintenance of such rights, intended to be guaranteed; but the right to keep them, with all that is implied fairly as an incident to this right, is a private individual right, guaranteed to the citizen, not the soldier." (390) The court added, relying on Story, that it is "to be exercised and enjoyed by the citizen as such, and not by him as a soldier, or in defense solely of his political rights." (391)

     Second, Andrews read "keep" expansively to include broad "incidental use," emphasizing that the goal of the right was to ensure that "the citizens making up the yeomanry of the land, the body of the militia," would be prepared when needed. Thus:

The right to keep arms, necessarily involves the right to purchase them, to keep them in a state of efficiency for use, and to purchase and provide ammunition suitable for such arms, and to keep them in repair. And clearly for this purpose, a man would have the right to carry them to and from his home, and no one could claim that the Legislature had the right to punish him for it, without violating this clause of the Constitution.

But farther than this, it must be held, that the right to keep arms involves, necessarily, the right to use such arms for all the ordinary purposes, and in all the ordinary modes usual in the country, and to which arms are adapted, limited by the duties of a good citizen in times of peace.

Because citizens needed to be able to "become familiar with" the use of arms "in times of peace, that they may the more efficiently use them in times of war, . . . the right to keep arms for this purpose involves the right to practice their use." (392) Use for "ordinary purposes" included a man taking his gun "from his room into the street to shoot a rabid dog that threatened his child" (393) and using them on one's property in lawful self-defense. (394) Such reasoning is in large measure the same as that taken by the traditional individual-right view in explaining the relation between the Second Amendment's preface and operative text.

     Third, consistently with its reading of "keep," the court also broadened "arms." Aymette had defined the word to include only such arms "as are usually employed in civilized warfare, and that constitute the ordinary military equipment." (395) Andrews explained it as follows: "[T]he idea of the Constitution is, the keeping and use of such arms as are useful either in warfare, or in preparing the citizen for their use in warfare, by training him as a citizen, to their use in times of peace." (396) The court took judicial notice "that the rifle of all descriptions, the shot gun, the musket, and repeater, are such arms." (397)

     Thus, setting aside any distinctions based on the specific language of Tennessee's Constitution, the consequence of Aymette, taken together with Andrews, is that "bear arms" was defined more narrowly in those cases, and "keep arms" more broadly, than was usual. The net result seems to be not far from the traditional individual-right view held at the Founding and reflected in the great weight of early authority.

     The divided 1842 decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court in Buzzard did not, even after the Civil War, ever acquire the prominence of Aymette, and when cited it was simply for its limited, uncontroversial holding, upholding a ban on carrying weapons concealed. (398) Nevertheless, coming four years before Nunn, it appears to have been the first judicial holding involving the Second Amendment, and one judge's concurring opinion was the first appearance of something suggesting a collective-right or quasi-collective-right view.

     The reasoning of the leading opinion for the 2-1 court was similar to that of Aymette. The court addressed both the Second Amendment and the 1836 Arkansas Constitution, which, like Tennessee's, provided that "the free white men of this State shall have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defense." (399) Despite the textual differences between these two provisions (in particular the Arkansas provision's "for their common defense" language), the court treated them as the same. (400) Much like Aymette, albeit without distinguishing between "keep" and "bear," the court apparently recognized a right of individuals but gave it a limited scope. (401) The Arkansas court's post-war decisions confirmed that the right secured by the Arkansas Constitution belonged to individuals and included the right to bear arms for at least some private purposes. (402)

     The concurring opinion cited no history or authority and, as far as we are aware, no court or even judge has ever cited it in interpreting a right to bear arms, whether secured by the Second Amendment or by any of the analogous provisions in state constitutions. (403) It did not present what would now be considered a standard collective-right or quasi-collective-right view. Whereas those views address the limits of federal power to interfere with state law, Judge Dickinson addressed the case from the opposite vantage point, stating the question as whether the State's ban on carrying weapons concealed "interfere[s] with any regulations made by Congress, as to the organizing, arming, or disciplining the militia, or in the manner in which that militia are either to keep or bear their arms." (404) In modern terminology, the judge seemed to recast the case as turning on possible federal pre-emption of the state law. The Second Amendment, in setting out what he described as "the power given the militia to keep and bear arms," merely rephrased the express federal powers in Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution, the Amendment being "but an assertion of that general right of sovereignty belonging to independent nations to regulate their military force." (405) The Amendment thus did not add any protection of state powers. That protection was implicit in Clause 16: "[T]he States retain the power to legislate in relation to arms and the mode of carrying and keeping them, provided its exercise is not repugnant to the previous grant to the Federal Government. . . . Could Congress authorize any and every person by express law, to carry deadly weapons concealed about his person, when not composing one of the militia, and not a part of the regulations ordained for their government?" (406)

The dissenting opinion employed the general rule for interpreting prefaces (discussed above in Part II.C.1), and the same reasoning as Rawle, Story, and Nunn, to explain the relation of the Amendment's preface to the right: "Now, I take the expressions 'a well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free State,' and the terms 'common defense,' to be the reasons assigned for the granting of the right, and not a restriction or limitation upon the right itself . . . . [W]hen was it contended before that the reason given for the establishment of a right or its uninterrupted enjoyment not only limited the right itself, but restrained it to a single specific object?" (407) Judge Lacy also pointed to the Second Amendment's reference to a "free State": "To suppose that liberty cannot be in danger, except from a foreign foe or internal disorder, is virtually to deny the importance and necessity of written constitutions. . . . I cannot separate the political freedom of the State from the personal rights of its citizens." (408) He singled out the concurring opinion for granting the right to "the militia alone," and only at "the discretion of the Legislature" - a right "valueless and not worth preserving; for the State unquestionably possesses the power, without the grant, to arm the militia and direct how they shall be employed in cases of invasion or domestic insurrection. . . . [W]hy give that which is no right in itself and guarantees a privilege that is useless?" (409) Finally, the dissent explained the right much as Blackstone had, tying it to self-defense and pointing out that it was no more unlimited than the freedoms of speech and press. (410)

     In sum, the activity of courts closest to the Founding tends to reinforce what the text and history establish - that the right secured by the Second Amendment belongs to individuals. No court questioned the private right to keep arms, and most recognized the traditional individual right to bear them. Two of the three state supreme courts to apply the Second Amendment (Georgia and Louisiana) repeatedly recognized a private right to bear arms for self-defense. The two cases taking the narrowest view of the right (both in States whose constitutions had "common defense" clauses in their right) were ignored, and even they recognized some manner of individual right. Only in an opinion of a single judge, which was and has continued to be ignored, did something like a quasi-collective- or collective-right understanding appear, but even that opinion did not view the Second Amendment as securing any right of States or of state (as opposed to federal) militias. On balance, then, the cases before the Civil War, like the first commentators, confirm that the text and history of the Second Amendment support the individual-right view, not the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views.

C. Reconstruction

     As the Civil War ended in 1865, southern governments enacted "black codes," which, among other things, either directly prohibited the newly freed slaves from keeping and bearing arms or imposed stringent permit systems. In addition, armed white mobs, sometimes including the militias, frequently disarmed the freed blacks. (411) Such practices, coupled with blacks' lack of citizenship, prompted the Thirty-Ninth Congress to take several actions securing the rights of the newly freed slaves and reaffirming the understanding that the right to keep and bear arms was a personal right.

     The first action was enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. One goal of many who sought its passage, noted by them and lamented by their opponents, appears to have been to secure to freedmen the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms. Both representatives and senators highlighted disarmament of blacks and argued that the Act, by making blacks citizens, would secure to them that right. Senator Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a sponsor of the Act, explained that it would counteract those portions of the black codes that "prohibit any negro or mulatto from having fire-arms." (412) In the House, Representative Clarke quoted the Second Amendment and declared, "I shall insist that the reconstructed rebels of Mississippi respect the Constitution in their local laws"; he also decried that newly formed southern governments had been "allowed to rob and disarm our [black] veteran soldiers." Representative Raymond argued, in favor of the Act, that making blacks citizens would give to them "every right which you or I have," including "a right to bear arms." (413)

     The second congressional action was passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in June 1866. Senator Pomeroy, in addressing an early draft, listed as among the "safeguards of liberty . . . under our Constitution" the right of "the freedman" to "bear arms for the defense of himself and family and his homestead," even suggesting that Congress's power to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment's ban on slavery might justify it in protecting this right in the South. (414) One of the Fourteenth Amendment's sponsors, in listing the rights of citizenship that its Privileges or Immunities Clause would extend to blacks, pointed to "the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments of the Constitution; such as the freedom of speech and of the press; . . . [and] the right to keep and to bear arms." (415) The New York Times and other leading newspapers reprinted these comments, including the reference to the Second Amendment, and praised them. (416)

     This history indicates that it was widely recognized that the right to keep and bear arms was to be protected by the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, and that that right was understood to belong to individuals. For example, Raoul Berger, even while arguing against the view that the Fourteenth Amendment "incorporated" the Bill of Rights to apply to the States, explains that "all are agreed" that the Fourteenth Amendment aimed at least "to embody and protect" the Civil Rights Act of 1866; he contends that the Act, in turn, "intended to confer on the freedmen the auxiliary rights that would protect their 'life, liberty, and property' - no more." He quotes Blackstone's listing of these three principal rights and demonstrates Blackstone's prominence in the debates and in the denunciations of the black codes. (417) As explained above in Part III.A, Blackstone described five "auxiliary rights," and the right of individuals to have and use arms for their defense was one of them. Given the language of Section 1 of the Civil Rights Act, it may be that States simply could not discriminate against blacks in the right to keep and bear arms, not that the Second Amendment applied per se, but the point remains that there was a consensus that the right in question belonged to individuals and was a right against the state. (418)

     Were there any remaining doubt on this question, Congress eliminated it a month after approving the Fourteenth Amendment, when it renewed the Freedmen's Bureau over President Andrew Johnson's veto. The act provided that wherever the courts were not open, or in any State that had not been restored to the Union, various rights, largely paralleling those in the Civil Rights Act, should "be secured to and enjoyed by all the citizens . . . without respect to race or color, or previous condition of slavery." Among these were "the right . . . to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, and the acquisition, enjoyment, and disposition of estate, real and personal, including the constitutional right to bear arms." (419) The Congress thus not only enacted the understanding that the Second Amendment protected an individual right, including the right to "bear" arms, but also did so in a way that rested on Blackstone's exposition of the individual right to arms as a critical auxiliary to the three primary individual rights of life, liberty, and property.

     Congress took the same view early in the following year, demonstrating not only its understanding that the right belonged to individuals but also the limited, indirect way in which it protected the States' militias. Responding to the southern militias' depredations against the freed blacks, Congress included in a bill, which the President signed, a provision "[t]hat all militia forces now organized or in service" in the States of the former Confederacy "be forthwith disbanded, and that the further organization, arming, or calling into service of the said militia forces, or any part thereof, is hereby prohibited." (420) Significantly, the bill's sponsor had agreed to strike "disarmed" after "disbanded," in the face of opposition from several (northern) senators that to disarm the citizens from whom the militia was drawn, rather than merely disbanding the militias, would violate the Second Amendment. (421) Congress's actions both in disbanding the southern States' militias and in not disarming their citizens show that it understood the Second Amendment right to protect individuals, not States or their militias. (422) Thus, from the Founding through the Civil War, the overwhelming understanding of the right of the people to keep and bear arms was that it was a right that belonged to individuals.

D. Beyond Reconstruction

     As already suggested by our discussions above of Andrews and cases citing Buzzard, the understanding of the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right continued beyond the Civil War and Reconstruction. Although we do not provide an exhaustive survey of the post-war period, we find it significant that the modern alternative views of the right did not take hold until the twentieth century, well over a century after the Second Amendment was ratified. Before that, the views of the leading constitutional-law scholar of the period, Thomas Cooley, were in accord with his predecessors Tucker, Rawle, and Story, in recognizing an individual right. And the Supreme Court, although making no holding regarding the substance of the Amendment, suggested in dicta that it protected an individual right.

     Cooley's General Principles of Constitutional Law, first published in 1880, gained a prominence on the level of the works of his predecessors. (423) As had the antebellum commentators, he espoused the individual-right view of the Second Amendment. After quoting the Amendment, noting that it was a "modification and enlargement from the English Bill of Rights," and citing Tucker, Cooley added the following:

The Right is General. - It might be supposed from the phraseology of this provision that the right to keep and bear arms was only guaranteed to the militia; but this would be an interpretation not warranted by the intent. . . . [I]f the right were limited to those enrolled [in the militia, a number that the government could constrict], the purpose of this guaranty might be defeated altogether by the action or neglect to act of the government it was meant to hold in check. The meaning of the provision undoubtedly is, that the people, from whom the militia must be taken, shall have the right to keep and bear arms, and they need no permission or regulation of law for the purpose. But this enables the government to have a well-regulated militia; for to bear arms implies something more than the mere keeping; it implies the learning to handle and use them in a way that makes those who keep them ready for their efficient use; in other words, it implies the right to meet for voluntary discipline in arms, observing in doing so the laws of public order. (424)

Cooley's rejection of any collective-right and quasi-collective-right view is consistent with the understanding of the Amendment's prefatory clause that is evident from the Founding and had been reiterated before the Civil War by Rawle, Story, and Nunn. Even Cooley's heading echoed Rawle's statement over fifty years earlier: "The prohibition is general." (425) Cooley likewise treated both keeping and bearing as private rights of citizens, and recognized that the right has limitations ("the laws of public order"), just as any other individual right does. (426) Conversely, in discussing the Militia Clauses of Article I, Section 8, in a separate part of his treatise, he made no mention of the Second Amendment. (427)

      Cooley reiterated this individual-right interpretation in his even more celebrated Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations, first published in 1868. (428) Among the clauses common in state constitutions, he explained, were "[t]hose declaratory of the fundamental rights of the citizen," among which were freedom of speech and of the press and "that every man may bear arms for the defence of himself and the State." (429) In a later chapter he included the right among the "the constitutional protections to personal liberty": "Among the other defences to personal liberty should be mentioned the right of the people to keep and bear arms." He explained the right's English origins, noted the importance for a "well-regulated militia" of "the people" being "trained to bearing arms," praised the lack of legislation "regulat[ing] this right," and cited Bliss, Nunn, and a case concerning the right of self-defense. (430) Finally, in elsewhere explaining the scope of a State's concurrent power to organize and discipline the militia, Cooley simply cited Houston v. Moore, not mentioning the Second Amendment. (431) Like the Court, he apparently did not see the Amendment as relevant to the scope of the State's power to maintain a militia.

     The Supreme Court did not address the substance of the Second Amendment during this period, because of its view that the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, did not apply to the States. (432) In Robertson v. Baldwin, however, the Court invoked the history of, and limitations on, the various rights in the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, to illustrate and defend a holding regarding the limitations on the Thirteenth Amendment's ban on slavery:

The law is perfectly well settled that the first ten amendments to the Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, were not intended to lay down any novel principles of government, but simply to embody certain guaranties and immunities which we had inherited from our English ancestors, and which had from time immemorial been subject to certain well-recognized exceptions arising from the necessities of the case. In incorporating these principles into the fundamental law there was no intention of disregarding the exceptions, which continued to be recognized as if they had been formally expressed. Thus, the freedom of speech and of the press (art. 1) does not permit the publication of libels, blasphemous or indecent articles, or other publications injurious to public morals or private reputation; [and] the right of the people to keep and bear arms (art. 2) is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons . . . . (433)

The Court added similar illustrations from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The Court thus suggested that the Second Amendment protected an individual right, both by treating it in parallel with the individual rights in the rest of the Bill of Rights and by pointing to the right's English origins.

     Not until 1905 was a view rejecting the individual-right view truly born, and then in a decision interpreting not the Second Amendment but rather a provision in a state constitution. In City of Salina v. Blaksley, the Kansas Supreme Court held that a clause in the Kansas Bill of Rights, providing that "'[t]he people have the right to bear arms for their defence and security,'" referred only "to the people as a collective body" and dealt "exclusively with the military. Individual rights are not considered in this section." Rather, the "people shall exercise this right" through the power of their legislature, set out in the body of the state constitution, to organize, equip, and discipline the militia. The right extended "only to the right to bear arms as a member of the state militia, or some other military organization provided for by law." (434) The court seems to have been influenced by a provision in the state constitution admonishing against standing armies in time of peace, and praising civilian control of the military, that immediately followed the text of the right. (435) The court also, without citing historical authority and with little explanation, pointed to the Second Amendment as analogous and reinforcing its reading. (436) Salina's novelty was not missed. One state supreme court soon after, in a survey reaching back to Bliss, Reid, Nunn, and Aymette, described Salina as having gone "further than any other case" by holding that the right to bear arms in the Kansas Constitution imposed no limit on the legislature's power to prohibit private individuals from carrying arms. (437)

Conclusion

     For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms. Current case law leaves open and unsettled the question of whose right is secured by the Amendment. Although we do not address the scope of the right, our examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views. The text of the Amendment's operative clause, setting out a "right of the people to keep and bear Arms," is clear and is reinforced by the Constitution's structure. The Amendment's prefatory clause, properly understood, is fully consistent with this interpretation. The broader history of the Anglo-American right of individuals to have and use arms, from England's Revolution of 1688-1689 to the ratification of the Second Amendment a hundred years later, leads to the same conclusion. Finally, the first hundred years of interpretations of the Amendment, and especially the commentaries and case law in the pre-Civil War period closest to the Amendment's ratification, confirm what the text and history of the Second Amendment require.

     Please let us know if we may provide further assistance.

Steven G. Bradbury
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General

Howard C. Nielson, Jr.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General

C. Kevin Marshall
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General




The best link on FR:
Links to our collective Past.







America:Republic or Democracy? The Difference That it Makes


The Liberty Committee | 2001 | Herbert W. Titus Senior Legal Advisor The Liberty Committee
?[O]ur sages in the great [constitutional] convention?intended our government should be a republic which differs more widely from a democracy than a democracy from a despotism. The rigours of a despotism often?oppress only a few, but it is the very essence and nature of a democracy, for a faction claiming to oppress a minority, and that minority the chief owners of the property and truest lovers of their country.
-- Fisher Ames, American statesman, 1805

Indeed, the process set forth in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States does not even guarantee a popular vote for president. As the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, supra,148 L Ed 2nd at 398, acknowledged, "[t]he individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as a means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College." That decision ? not to prescribe a popular, nationwide election of the president ? was no accident, but was an integral part of the deliberate design of America?s founders to create a federal republic, not a national democracy.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powell, anxiously awaiting the results, pressed Benjamin Franklin as he emerged from Independence Hall. She asked, "Well doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Franklin quickly replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

From anti-federalist John Taylor to federalist Fisher Ames; from James Madison of Virginia to Noah Webster of Massachusetts, Americans believed that they had founded a republic, thereby charting a middle course between the Scylla of a monarchy and the Charybdis of a democracy.

John Taylor, the preeminent theorist of Jeffersonian Old Republicanism, proclaimed that "[a] federal republic is the best for maintaining a republican form of government over a country so extensive as the United States," dividing power "between Federal and State departments to restrain ambitious men in both." (J. Taylor, Tyranny Unmasked 263 (Liberty Fund: 1992)) In a series of essays on "Monarchical versus Republican Government," federalist Fisher Ames warned against appeals to "the will of the people," claiming them to be mere camouflage for demagogues to seize tyrannical power without regard for the rule of law. (I Works of Fisher Ames 116-186 (Liberty Fund: 1983))

In Federalist numbers 10, 14, and 48, Madison insisted that the new Constitution established a republic, not a democracy, emphasizing in Federalist No. 10 that a "Republican" form of government protected the people from the dangers of tyranny of the majority. In his "Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution," Noah Webster, writing as an American citizen, extolled the virtues of the American republic?s bicameral legislature; the very design of which was to protect the people from rash and hasty laws passed by a transient, passionate majority.

This unity among America?s founding statesmen remained unbroken as late as 1945, 158 years after the ratification of the Constitution, when the 79th Congress of the United States unhesitatingly approved, by joint resolution, the official pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States, containing the phrase "and to the Republic for which it stands." Yet 60 years later, on the cusp of the 21st century, this affirmation that America is a republic, like the pledge itself, has fallen from favor. In its place is a new declaration that America is, and always has been, a democracy.

Indeed, there is hardly a voice left in Congress, much less in the White House, Republican or Democrat, who refers to our nation?s government as a republic.

Even President Bush declared that his election to the presidency was a vindication of the integrity of "American democracy." In doing so, the new president was simply following suit. For several decades, America?s political leaders have been promoting the virtues of America?s "democratic ideal" within, by shaping public policy according to the latest opinion polls, and at the same time, exporting democracy abroad, by employing American military power to reshape other nations? governments to conform more closely to "the will of the people." Both goals stand, however, in direct contradiction to America?s founding principles.

America Is Not A Democracy

Those who insist that the United States of America is a democracy rest their claim on the foundational principle in the nation?s charter, the Declaration of Independence, "[t]hat governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." To support this claim, they point to the preamble of the Constitution of the United States which begins "We, the people of the United States?do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States." Additionally, they rely upon statements such as the one that appears in Article I, Section1 of the Florida constitution that "[a]ll political power is inherent in the people," a phrase that appears in one form or another in every one of the 50 state constitutions.

Such statements do not, however, support the proposition that the civil governments in America are democracies ? quite the contrary. Read in context, all of these statements support the proposition that America?s governments are republican in form, not democratic.

First, although the Declaration of Independence does affirm that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, it does not, however, declare that governments derive their purposes from the consent of the governed. Rather the Declaration of Independence avers that those purposes are derived from the nature of a created order, an order in which all mankind are endowed with certain "inalienable rights," namely life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, the Declaration of Independence concludes that governments are instituted to secure these rights, not to enforce the will of the governed.

Second, although the Constitution of the United States does affirm that the people ordained and established the government of the United States, they did so, not to promote the will of the people, but to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?." Likewise, although the state constitutions affirm that all power is inherent in the people, they did not establish state governments to obey the will of the people, but to ensure that all individuals enjoy their pre-existing rights of life, liberty, and property with which they have been naturally endowed.

To achieve these purposes, the people of the United States and of the several states well knew that a government under the direct control of the people was downright dangerous, because, as James Madison put it in Federalist No. 10, "there is nothing to check the inducements [of a majority] to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual." Thus, Madison contended, that a major task for any people seeking a government to protect life, liberty, and property was to "prevent" the majority from imposing "injustice and violence" on individuals who did not share the majority?s "passion or interest."

To that end, Madison and his constitutional colleagues chose a republican, not a democratic form of government.

The Nation?s Republican Form of Government

At the heart of a democratic form of government is the rule of the majority, unhindered by law. As the Florida Supreme Court, in support of its initial ruling extending the statutory deadlines for recounting the votes in the 2000 presidential elections, explained: "[T]he will of the people, not a hyper-technical reliance upon statutory provisions, should be our guiding principle in election cases?." By contrast, in Bush v. Gore, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, writing for himself and two of his colleagues, declared that the rule of the Constitution, in that case the power of the Florida legislature, prevails over any judicial attempt to vindicate the power of the people.

The foremost distinction between a democratic form of government and a republican one, is the subordination of the power of the majority to the rule of law. To accomplish this, there must be rules of law that prevent the majority from imposing their will through the election process. The Constitution of the United States is replete with such safeguards. Not only is the legislative power divided between the House of Representatives and the Senate, but also the number of senators is determined not in proportion to the population, but equally state by state. Even the U.S. House, the membership of which is proportionate to the population, guarantees to each state, regardless of population, at least one representative.

Additionally, a bill does not become law simply upon the vote of a majority of the members of both chambers of Congress. It is subject to the veto of the president, which can only be overridden by a two-thirds majority in both chambers. In addition, as previously mentioned, the state-by-state process by which the president is elected does not guarantee to a nationwide majority of the people the power to elect the president.

Not only do these political checks and balances exist, but there is also the separation of powers among the three branches of government. Even if a majority of the people voted for the president, the head of the executive branch, that same majority cannot elect the members of the legislative branch, thereby ensuring that the elected officials of the two branches answers to different constituencies of the people. As for the judicial branch, its members are not elected, but appointed, and although the president has the power of appointment of federal judges, that power is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

Not only does the Constitution diffuse the powers of government within the federal government, but also it divides the powers of government between two independent and sovereign entities, the federal and the 50 states. As a government of enumerated powers, Congress, the president and the courts are forbidden by the Tenth Amendment from exercising the police power which belongs exclusively to the states.

Finally, the constitutional provisions establishing the system of checks and balances, separation of powers, and a federal union may not be changed by a majority of the people, but only by an amendment process requiring majority votes of two-thirds to propose and three-fourths to ratify. In addition, even these supra majority requirements cannot be exercised directly by the people, but only by their elected representatives.

All of these limits have been placed upon the federal government by the people whose elected state representatives proposed the adoption of the Constitution, and whose elected representatives ratified the Constitution in conventions assembled in each of the original states. By so establishing these safeguards against the absolute rule of a majority, the people of the United States unquestionably created not a democracy, but a republic, which John Adams succinctly defined as a government "bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend." (J. Adams, "Novanglus No. VII," reprinted in The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams 227 (Liberty Fund: 2000))

The 50 States? Republican Form of Government

Not only does the Constitution of the United States prescribe a republican form of government for the nation, but also, by Article IV, Section 4, commands the United States to "guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government?." Each of the 13 original states entered the union, having already formed governments which were republican in form, including political checks and balances and separation of powers in their respective constitutions.

Additionally, those same states came into the union subject to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, thereby committing each state to enact laws to secure the inherent individual rights of life, liberty, and property, not to implement the will of the people.

To ensure that future states admitted to the union were subject in like manner to the republican principles of the nation?s charter, Congress, even before the ratification of the Constitution of the United States, resolved that new states formed out of the Northwest Territories would be "republican?with the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence as the other states." (Sources of Our Liberties 387-88 (R. Perry, ed., Amer. Bar. Found.: 1978)) Thus, the Northwest Ordinance, adopted by Congress, prescribed that the newly formed states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin would be admitted to the Union on an "equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatsoever?." (Id. At 397 emphasis added)

Prior to the admission of these states, and thereafter, all of the states of the Union have been admitted on the "same footing" (Coyle v. Oklahoma, 221 U.S. 559 (1911)), thereby fulfilling the obligation of the United States to guarantee each state a republican form of government.

As to preserving that republican form, the United States Supreme Court has consistently declined to impose a legal definition of a republican form of government, leaving it to Congress to enforce that guarantee by the exercise of Congress?s power to admit to, or exclude from, that body a state?s elected representatives and senators. (See Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433,454-56 (1939)). As for Congress, it has not seen fit to intervene in the internal governmental affairs of the states, leaving it to the people of those states to determine the specific republican form of government by which they will be ruled.

It is certainly arguable that some states have approved some democratic procedures that depart from the pure republican form. For example, the initiative and referendum, whereby the people of some states, by constitutional amendment, have reserved to themselves the power to propose and enact laws independently of the legislative assembly, as well as to approve or reject any act of that body, thereby making it possible for public policy to be made directly by a majority without the political accountability of a representative assembly. (See Federalist No. 10.) Such powers are, however, limited by law to "single subjects" and to legislative and executive implementation. To date, no state has substituted a system of direct democracy in which the people "assemble and administer the Government in person." (Federalist 10)

Conclusion

Just under 200 years ago, Fisher Ames penned an essay warning the people of America not to place confidence in the democratic ideal whereby governments are structured to reflect the will of the people. While the "power of the people is their liberty," he wrote, the people "can have no liberty without strong?restraints upon their power." (I Works of Fisher Ames, supra, at 5) America?s founders knew this to be true because they had studied the history of democracies and discovered that they inevitably destroyed both the morals and liberties of the people. If the modern-day drive for democracy in the nation continues, the American people will experience a similar fate.








Revealing FACTS on the ACLU
from its own writings

;

by Diane Dew

Ever notice how the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) seems to take on only cases that are anti-Christian - pro-sodomy, pro-abortion, anti-family, pro-pornography, pro-prostitution, pro-euthanasia, pro-homosexual, pro-infanticide, pro-crime, pro-humanism, anti-God -- and, except for atheism, anti-religion?

It calls itself the American Civil Liberties Union, but the ACLU is not American; it is uncivil (to the unborn, which are shredded mercilessly to pieces without anesthetic); and it knows nothing of true liberty, which can only be found in Jesus Christ, when one is set free from the bondage of all the SIN this evil organization PROMOTES!

Stated Goals

The ACLU's founder, Roger Baldwin, stated: "We are for SOCIALISM, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself... We seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the SOLE CONTROL of those who produce wealth. COMMUNISM is the goal." (Source: Trial and Error, by Geo. Grant)

The ACLU is destructive to the fabric of our society. Christians must recognize Satan as the source - the instigator - when the end results of an organization's efforts are only "to kill, to steal, and to destroy." All we need to is examine the (rotten) fruit.

Following are some of the stated goals of the ACLU, from its own published Policy Issues:

  • the legalization of prostitution (Policy 211);

  • the defense of all pornography, including CHILD PORN, as "free speech" (Policy 4);

  • the decriminalization and legalization of all drugs (Policy 210);

  • the promotion of homosexuality (Policy 264);

  • the opposition of rating of music and movies (Policy 18);

  • opposition against parental consent of minors seeking abortion (Policy 262);

  • opposition of informed consent preceding abortion procedures (Policy 263);

  • opposition of spousal consent preceding abortion (Policy 262);

  • opposition of parental choice in children's education (Policy 80)

-- not to mention the defense and promotion of euthanasia, polygamy, government control of church institutions, gun control, tax-funded abortion, birth limitation, etc. (Policies 263, 133, 402, 47, 261, 323, 271, 91, 85).

Following is a case in point (from David Barton's "America: To Pray or Not to Pray").

In 1988, California was considering adopting legislation on sex education for public schools requiring that course material and
instruction should stress that monogamous heterosexual intercourse within marriage is a traditional American value.

The Senator promoting the bill received a letter of protest from the ACLU dated April 18, 1988 stating:

; ; ; ; ; ; "It is our position that monogamous, heterosexual intercourse within marriage
; ; ; ; ; ; as a traditional American value is an unconstitutional establishment of religious
; ; ; ; ; ; doctrine in public schools.... We believe [this bill] violates the First Amendment."

Truth is, liberals are unwilling to simply let others be, but rather seek to impose their UNgodliness upon Christians. It is a mission to
them and other atheists to pervert the freedoms of others. The ACLU does not run to the defense of those who are harmed; it aggressively
seeks out opportunities to corrupt pure freedoms.

Finances

How does the ACLU pay for its activities?

George Grant, author of "Trial and Error," puts the ACLU's annual budget (1993) at $14 MILLION (FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS) - much of which is "SUPPLIED BY THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER through the Federal program mandated by the Civil Rights Attorneys' Fee Awards Act of 1976. If the ACLU wins a case that involves a public institution, for instance, the organization collects the full legal fees of its attorneys even though those attorneys offered their services pro bono (without charge).

Membership

1993 membership in the ACLU was 250,000 members, with 70 staff lawyers, and 5,000 volunteer attorneys, handling an average of 6,000 cases at any one time.

You can read about the ACLU at the ACLU's official web site: http://aclu.org/ ;


Ten core values of the British identity



It cannot be said too often that terrorist atrocities are solely the responsibility of those who perpetrate them. To blame the invasion of Iraq, or the occupation of the West Bank, or poverty, or racism, or Western decadence, is both intellectually and morally wrong.

What is reasonable, however, is to ask why modern Britain is breeding so many anti-British fanatics. Muktar Said Ibrahim has lived here since he was 12, and in 2003 he applied for citizenship. Last week he attempted to blow up the No. 26 bus. Why?

Part of the answer has to do with how Britain sees itself. The ancestors of the Leeds bombers, who arrived here in the mid-20th century from countries which had prospered under colonial rule, were infected by the self-belief of the British Empire. They were content, as it were, to buy into a nation whose subjects were so obviously proud of it.

Many countries try to codify their values in law. Some oblige their citizens to speak the national language; others make it a criminal offence to show disrespect to the flag. But statutory patriotism is an intrinsically un-British notion. We prefer simply to set out, in general terms, the non-negotiable components of our identity - the qualities of the citizenship that Muktar Said Ibrahim applied for.

  • I. The rule of law. Our society is based on the idea that we all abide by the same rules, whatever our wealth or status. No one is above the law - not even the government.

  • II. The sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament. The Lords, the Commons and the monarch constitute the supreme authority in the land. There is no appeal to any higher jurisdiction, spiritual or temporal.

  • III. The pluralist state. Equality before the law implies that no one should be treated differently on the basis of belonging to a particular group. Conversely, all parties, sects, faiths and ideologies must tolerate the existence of their rivals.

  • IV. Personal freedom. There should be a presumption, always and everywhere, against state coercion. We should tolerate eccentricity in others, almost to the point of lunacy, provided no one else is harmed.

  • V. Private property. Freedom must include the freedom to buy and sell without fear of confiscation, to transfer ownership, to sign contracts and have them enforced. Britain was quicker than most countries to recognise this and became, in consequence, one of the happiest and most prosperous nations on Earth.

  • VI. Institutions. British freedom and British character are immanent in British institutions. These are not, mostly, statutory bodies, but spring from the way free individuals regulate each other's conduct, and provide for their needs, without recourse to coercion.

  • VII. The family. Civic society depends on values being passed from generation to generation. Stable families are the essential ingredient of a stable society.

  • VIII. History. British children inherit a political culture, a set of specific legal rights and obligations, and a stupendous series of national achievements. They should be taught about these things.

  • IX. The English-speaking world. The atrocities of September 11, 2001, were not simply an attack on a foreign nation; they were an attack on the anglosphere - on all of us who believe in freedom, justice and the rule of law.

  • X. The British character. Shaped by and in turn shaping our national institutions is our character as a people: stubborn, stoical, indignant at injustice. "The Saxon," wrote Kipling, "never means anything seriously till he talks about justice and right."


Not for the first time, we have been slow - perhaps too slow - to wake up to the threat we face. Now is the time to "talk about justice and right", and to act on our words.







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School of Hard Knocks
If people haven't been learning the lessons from Katrina that they absolutely need to learn, then they haven't been paying attention.

1. On Friday evening the National Weather Service predicted the path of the storm heading towards New Orleans. By Saturday morning, it was clear that the storm was growing in strength and it was suggested that people begin evacuating.

2. By Saturday afternoon it was clear that Katrina was growing in strength. The Mayor of New Orleans appeared on TV weepy and sad, expressing concern about what could happen in New Orleans.

3. Sunday morning it was obvious that the storm would hit as a Category 4 or 5.

4. On Sunday the Governor of Louisiana was crying and worried about the state and asked the rest of us to pray for Louisiana.

5. Sunday at 2:00 pm a mandatory evacuation was ordered.

Now let's look at what has happened so far and what we know after the fact:

1. 10% of New Orleans was below the poverty level. It would have been obvious (and was obvious) that these people had no means to leave the city by themselves.

2. Not a single hospital, faced with mandatory evacuation orders, was moved. We've not heard of a SINGLE airlift of patients out of hospitals in the direct path of the storm, moved to areas outside of the impact zone.

3. Not a single school, public, or charter bus left the city carrying people unable to find the means of leaving on their own.

What should happen now:

1. There are hundreds of buses and cars under water in New Orleans and elsewhere in the regions. The Mayor of New Orleans should be brought up on criminal negligence charges for failing to act and refusing assistance until literally after the storm passed and the levees failed.

2. The people should understand that you NEVER elect a sympathetic social worker type to public office. If an individual hasn't served in the military or in an equivalent capacity of managing huge infrastructures and people, they have no business running a government.

3. The Governor of Louisiana should be brought up on criminal negligence charges--she did not call up the National Guard, order a single evacuation plan, or organize shelters until AFTER the disaster hit. She, a babbling idiot, should spend the rest of her days behind bars, watching the death and destruction on a continuous loop in her jail cell.

What people should have learned by now:

When the government says "leave" you LEAVE! You have ready: 3 days of water and food, a "grab and go" bag that contains clothing, toiletries, and cash to get you where you will be safe. If it takes you more than 15 minutes to evacuate, you're doing it wrong and are not sufficiently prepared. If you have more time, you should be able to evacuate with three weeks of supplies.

Every person in your family over the age of about 12 should be trained in the use of firearms. If you live in an area that doesn't allow you to own firearms, MOVE. You should have in your possession a weapon for every member of the family. That includes arming your 12 year old daughter. Because SHE may become separated from you and will need the means of defending herself.

You must have an evacuation plan. Discuss with family every possible need to evacuate--what conditions might require you to leave. Plan the routes, what you'll take, a location to meet up if you are separated, etc. etc.

Do not leave your neighborhood with an empty seat in your car or truck. Make sure you have filled that seat with one of your neighbors. Be prepared to take care of yourself for AT LEAST 3 days.

Expect civil unrest and looting. If you value your property more than the lives of your family, YOU WILL DIE. I repeat: IF YOU VALUE YOUR PROPERTY AND POSSESSIONS MORE THAN YOUR LIFE OR THE LIFE OF YOUR LOVED ONES, YOU WILL DIE.

The Federal Government is not going to be able to help you. As with ALL law enforcement matters and catastrophes, they only come for the clean up. They are not going to help you until AFTER the catastrophe has occurred.

If I hear one more person making a statement that begins with "The President of the United States should..." I am going to punch him in the nose, kick him where it hurts, or knock them over the head with a mallet. This is NOT a Federal matter. There is no way that anyone is capable of doing anything for AT LEAST three days, more likely three weeks.

The Federal Government is not the authority in charge here. The STATE and LOCAL governments are in charge. If the people you've been electing to PROTECT AND SERVE you in your local and state are bureaucrats with no leadership, management, or disaster experience, knowing how to do nothing more than write welfare checks, you are seriously screwed. MOVE.

Looters or anyone stepping outside of civilized behavior should be shot on site--no malice, no concern. You're eradicating pests. Society will be better off without them and the neighborhoods and decent people of the world safer. I'm not talking about someone who is only stealing food or clothing. I'm talking about those taking TVs and other nonessentials. This looting didn't occur when the Mississippi Valley flooded. Civilized people, without prodding and babysitting from government, form distribution networks to equitably distribute food and clothing from the remaining supplies. Civilized human beings DO NOT loot.

You have only one ally in such a disaster: YOU. You are responsible for the health and safety of your family. The looters and thugs of the world WILL crawl from the cracks of society and will prey on you and your neighbors.

This has happened in EVERY SINGLE catastrophe. If you are not prepared! for this, YOU WILL DIE.

Not a single event of this catastrophe is a surprise, with the exception of the extent of the incompetence of the local leadership.