Being grateful to Publius and this group I feel compelled to try to give something in return and as is often necessary to have my understanding improved in the process.
The subject title is partially taken from a series of news articles written by John Adams and the Kings Attorney General in which they debate our claim for independence.
This equivalent to our modern blogs took place in 1774 and 75 and ended with the signing of our Declaration of Independence. As a firsthand account of the struggle that ultimately produced our Constitution it is so far as I know unparalleled. If I step out of bounds please forgive the analogy, this original work is to the Declaration of Independence what the Federalist Papers are to the Constitution.
Here is the LINK to the book. It is free, searchable and downloadable. At the very least take a look at the preface. If you’re not interested in reading at length then use the search tools to explore this work as a reference.
There are some really amazing things in there. When, by whom and to whom it was written gave me an appreciation for the Declaration of Independence like nothing else I’ve seen.
My Dear Publius,
They both break and fill my heart. For me, they speak of no less than that spirit which animates mankind’s deep desire to live in freedom. Beyond the dry boundaries of the form and structure of government, they pull at something deep inside of me, something visceral I have no words for.
When I read their words, as they penned them; I’m carried far from any thought of politicians or policy. I do not feel desperation nor despair over what is today. In this place I sense only power and determination. My heart breaks only in that I am not able to instantly share this America I see with my countrymen. I feel its energy rising, patiently, ever so slowly stirring; quietly calling us to her defense, our defense.
I do weep from time to time, not of a sense of loss. I think it’s more akin to the emotional outrage a child feels just before he’s forced to defend himself from a schoolyard bully. My heart is full, I'm ready, come what may.
“We know the cause which we are engaged in, and though a passionate fondness for it may make us grieve at every injury which threatens it, yet, when the moment of concern is over, the determination to duty returns. We are not moved by the gloomy smile of a worthless king, but by the ardent glow of generous patriotism. We seek not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in. In such a case we are sure that we are right…”
Thomas Paine, September 12th, 1777
I would be pleased to think these things might bring you some comfort my friend.
Long live the Republic.
I haven't posted anything on this “bind us in all cases whatsoever” theme in a while so here goes. Never being certain I’m onto something credible it spins me up when I stumble across things that seem to support the case I’m offering. I’ve learned the definition of a word can make a meaningful difference in what’s being said.
Having said that I’m reasonably certain the “in all cases whatsoever” phrase from 1776 meant Parliament was saying it could make any law it wanted, not just any tax anything it wanted. Well it turns out the founders used that very phrase in 1789 in describing the new federal governments authority over DC.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 17: “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings”
Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Congress pretty much makes any law it wants within DC.
No correction needed my friend! you are correct, in the District The United States Government may make ALL LAWS "exclusively". One of the reasons for this new power (Articles of Confederation did NOT have this) is the embarrassing incident in Philadelphia, where citizens of the state ran the Congress out of town PHYSICALLY, and there was nothing Congress could do about it because they were merely "guests" in Pennsylvania, NOT SOVEREIGNS. So in the Constitution, that defect (and its embarrassing consequence) was corrected by setting aside a sovereign district which, once the seat of government, would not be within the geographic boundaries of any State. Maryland and Virginia CEDED land for this purpose to the Federal Government.
This is why it is ludicrous when DC starts clamoring to become a State. It can never happen or Congress will face the same embarrassments.
So Yes. You are correct "all cases whatsoever" is language commensurate with Sovereignty.
I really love old history books, you never know what you’ll find or the connections you’ll make. For instance, while searching Google for books mentioning the Declaration of Independence I found one covering Lincoln/Douglas. It was written in 1959 (not old) but the Declaration was mentioned so many times I decided to give it a review. It mentioned an interesting connection Lincoln made between our founding philosophy, our Declaration of Independence and Constitution to Proverbs 25:11:
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Here’s an excerpt of his “meditation” regarding that connection.
“All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart That something is the principle of “Liberty to all" the principle that clears the path for all gives hope to all and, by consequence, enterprise, and industry to all.
The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity.
The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, "fitly spoken” which has proved an "apple of gold" to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple not the apple for the picture.
So let us act, that neither picture, nor apple shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken.
That we may so act, we must study, and understand the points of danger.”
Lincoln’s acknowledgement of philosophy, our DOI and Constitution provides sharp contrast to that of that of some modern public officials. For instance during Elaina Kagen’s Supreme Court confirmation she was asked if there was such a thing as natural rights. Do the natural rights outlined in our Declaration of Independence exist? If so what is their relationship to our Constitution. She indicated she didn’t have an opinion and in any case she could only consider the Constitution (and SCOTUS rulings of course) as a judge. No surprise there. After all it works to the modern day regressive’s end to disassociate us from our beginnings.
I found Lincoln’s meditation refreshing but lacking. I liken the tri-part relationship of our founding philosophy, Declaration of Independence and Constitution to a different scripture, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. It suggests the existence of a “spirit, soul and body”.
In my mind the Law of Nature and of Natures God represents the “spirit” of the law. The Laws expression or “soul” or being laid out in our Declaration of Independence and finally the execution or “body” of the Law our Constitution. Three parts, one big picture, we can’t have one without the other so let us “study”
None the less I did especially like Lincoln’s closing thought, “we must study, and understand the points of danger” so that “neither picture, nor apple shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken”.
Publius, thank you for spending yourself on our behalf, for providing us with an opportunity to “study”.
Thanks also to you for your golden nuggets that you have mined from early writings. All have been very interesting.
I posted this very late the other night and later realized I failed to emphasis one other remarkable part of Lincoln’s musing. Enjoy.
“The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple not the apple for the picture.”
That’s how I feel about our unalienable pre-existing rights. Our Constitution was (and still is IMO) meant to “to adorn, and preserve” our pre-existing rights.
Today's regressives are fond of quoting the first paragraph of our DOI but they never begin with its beginning, the preamble. I expect they would rather we forget about that part. I think we can’t afford to let that happen.
Continuing the subject theme ‘The principle points of controversy between Great Britain and Her Colonies’. I’ve begun to review the preambles of original State Constitutions. It occurred to me that just as in the case of the DOI the authors would be inclined to declare what was really bothering them or perhaps the people of their States. One of the interesting things I’ve noticed so far is the common theme between them. If there’s any interest I’m going to start posting State Constitution preambles and links.
"Whereas the conduct of the legislature of Great Britain for many years past has been so oppressive on the people of America that of late years they have plainly declared and asserted a right to raise taxes upon the people of America, and to make laws to bind them in all cases whatsoever…”
Recognizing I have a bias I’d like to emphasize (once again) something I think we have in common with them; something neither we nor our children were taught. Once again it seems we face a governing body that believes it can create legislation:
“…in all cases whatsoever…”
Great idea, Jon!
Jon, the things you have found and shared with us, I believe to be very interesting. My vote, is please continue to enlighten us. I think you've stumbled (or dug deep until you discovered it) on something here!
Mike & Publius,
LOL I have dug deep AND stumbling all the way. Somewhere in this life I learned if a specific phrase is repeated by many authors in many places it's probably something of importance. The phrase "in all cases whatsoever" just kept showing up in the 1770's materials I have been reading. So I've made it a key word in my research. The idea of looking at State Constitutions occurred to me just last week and sure enough... Here's another example.
"Whereas the British Parliament, claiming of late years a right to bind the North American colonies by law in all cases whatsoever..."
Based on what you have shared, it seems to be a phrase that We the People would take in a negative way, while those imposing it upon us would gain power, money and/or control over us...each time, in all cases whatsoever.
Jon, you are one of my heros in our modern fight! Without people like you and Publius, as well as others on here like Mark; the rest of us would feel like we are just waving in the wind. Thanks to each of you on this study group for all you do to enlighten the rest of us. God bless each of you and I pray you all have a very blessed new year!