On a cold night in December 1773, some three years after passage of the Tea Act by the British Parliament, colonists were fed up with the British crown’s haughty disregard of their rights as Englishmen, and they dumped 342 chests of the iconic British beverage into Boston Harbor, becoming icons themselves. The protesters (estimates range from as few as 30 to as many as 130) refused finally to be placated by repeated promises of change and reform and, rather than wait for legislative response, they exercised the Lockean right of “self-defense” and boldly resisted the alienation of their God-given liberty.
Modern Americans know something of that level of frustration. It’s been just over a year since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and the Democratic Party assumed majority control of both houses of Congress. In that short time, there has emerged a vociferous band within the electorate who, like their tea-tossing forebears, feel they have been precluded from participating in the direction the ship of state will sail, and they have decided to protest the insupportable behavior of a government that habitually oversteps its constitutional boundaries. Fed up and fired up, they have chosen to exercise their constitutional prerogative of peaceful assembly, hence the Tea Party Movement.
In 1798 Thomas Jefferson secretly drafted another declaration few people know about…
by Derek Sheriff
Most Americans know that Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of “The Declaration of Independence”, the most important of all our founding documents.
Yet few of them have even heard of another document that I would say might be the second most important declaration he ever wrote: The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. He drafted them secretly while he was serving as vice president. It was written in response to the hated Alien and Sedition Acts which were passed under the Adams administration during an undeclared war with France.
The acts authorized the president to deport any resident alien considered dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the United States, and criminalized any speech which might defame Congress, the President, or bring either of them into contempt or disrepute. You could compare it to the Patriot Act, but really it was much worse. Either way, The Alien and Sedition Acts were probably Thomas Jefferson’s worst nightmare.
Some people are surprised to learn that in response to these acts, Jefferson did not hold up the First Amendment in protest. Rather he invoked the Tenth Amendment, which states that:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Essentially, he argued that by passing and enforcing the Alien and Sedition Acts, the federal government had over stepped its bounds and was exercising powers which belonged to the states.
In other words, the Alien and Sedition Acts were acts of usurpation.
This time Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, look at the scandals behind: ‘the owner of Great Britain’ bouncing a $54 million check for a pile of dirt in the Persian Gulf; a currency speculator in Monaco moving currency markets with an ‘accidental Jim Rogers press release’ while Colonel Gaddafi calls for jihad against Switzerland and receives zero market impact; and Alan Greenspan wins major award for causing up global financial markets to explode. Keiser also talks to David DeGraw about his new book, “The Economic Elite versus the People of the United States of America.”
John Adams Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States
[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.
(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.)
[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)
The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.
(Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. VI, p. 9.)
The following is based off a speech I gave at the first annual Tenth Amendment Summit in Atlanta, GA on February 26, 2010.
How can a “crazy” Californian and a “conservative” Georgian be friends? It’s simple – through the principles of ’98. In 1798, the John Adams administration signed into law that Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it a crime to publish “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or its officials. In practice, it was used to quell the freedom of speech in dissent against the sitting administration.
In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson responded:
“the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government”
But wait – that’s not all. He went on to say that all undelegated powers exercised by the federal government are “unathoritative, void and of no force.” And, that a “nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”
There’s been plenty of people talking about nullification lately, but many people don’t know what it really means. I can think of no better way to define it than how my friend Derek Sheriff from the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center has done:
Nullification is not secession or insurrection, but neither is it unconditional or unlimited submission. Nullification is not something that requires any decision, statement or action from any branch of the federal government. Nullification is not the result of obtaining a favorable court ruling. Nullification is not the petitioning of the federal government to start doing or to stop doing anything. Nullification doesn’t depend on any federal law being repealed. Nullification does not require permission from any person or institution outside of one’s own state.
Nullification is something that’s already happening around the country – and Derek explains the process:
Nullification begins with a decision made in your state legislature to resist a federal law deemed to be unconstitutional. It usually involves a bill, which is passed by both houses and is signed by your governor. In some cases, it might be approved by the voters of your state directly, in a referendum. It may change your state’s statutory law or it might even amend your state constitution. It is a refusal on the part of your state government to cooperate with, or enforce any federal law it deems to be unconstitutional.
Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness. That state is most fortunate in its form of government which has the aptest instruments for the discovery of laws. The latest, most modern and nearest perfect system that statesmanship has devised is representative government. Its weakness is the weakness of us imperfect human beings who administer it. Its strength is that even such administration secures to the people more blessings than any other system ever produced. No nation has discarded it and retained liberty. Representative government must be preserved.