“We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
Declaration of Independence, 1776
As faction increases in government, the intentions of the process of its self-interest working the gears of government: legislating, creating laws, and managing according to the ideology of a few, become the more obvious, and the observance of the people unto the usurpations becomes more precise. A study of American history parcels a distinct separation between the unified national mood of independency of the times immediately before and during the American Revolutionary War, and the political-judicial change that began at the onset of a political divide that was begun in about 1800. The beginning of a change in the national mood, brought on by political party politicking, — exacted a division in the national government, and signaled the end of the militant-like awareness of the American revolutionary spirit. The establishment of the newspaper industry, the sophistry of identity politics, and a change in the standards on how to approach constitutional interpretation (Marbury v. Madison), signaled a steady entrenchment towards control of the shape, direction, and understanding of the social, political, judicial reality of what American would be. That is where we are today in the 21st century.
It was the beginning of ‘factions,’ groups of people who see that government can be manipulated as a mechanism to accomplish their own self-interest, and / or ideological instrumentalization of government, rather than a selfless regard of what is best for the good of the people. — A shift towards what would become a constant battle of ideas, when as before, during the unified solidarity of the Revolutionary Era, the needs required a singular unification of the people gathered around establishing the defense of a spirit of individual liberty: the promise of that first national spirit of union being a nation that was innately about the value of individual human life, in complete recognition that the people were diverse, and of different heritages.
John Adams favored the continuance of strengthening, not necessarily enlarging bureaucracy, but a strengthening of central, yet limited national government, in order to maintain political national union, and a complimentary Federal & state balance of power, amongst the nascent states. Adams (and his closest advisor, wife Abigail) saw that the strength of the Constitution and the national spirit of union that was sparked with the Declaration of Independence had to be protected to avoid entering a strong state sovereignty-weak national government geopolitical reality. In such a mode, a sovereign state within the context of a weaker central union that would have an extremely limited national duty, could possibly disregard the call to limit, hinder, and end the enslavement of people, though the Declaration proclaims “all men are created equal.” In a sense, Congressional actions from most of the 56 signatories of the Declaration of Independence, as outlined by Abraham Lincoln later on in his speeches and writings, held steadfast enough unto a spirit of national union centered on a solemn remembrance and defense of the promissory note that is our Declaration of Independence.
It was from that framework of natural law that champions of our fundamentals hearkened unto protecting an unalloyed, altruist defense of the spirit of liberty of 1776. John Quincy Adams worked hard in that defense, going far beyond any in government, as the principal lawyer in defense of the freedom of foreigners of black skin color who were to be enslaved (‘Amistad’) in America. Abraham Lincoln’s opposition to Stephen Douglas in the 1850’s centered on the protection of the standard of the Declaration of Independence, of that spirit of 76,’ of the intention of the 56 signatories as exhibited in their works and writings, and the issue of slavery as an opposition anathema unto a standard of government in alignment with the (1) intentions of the founding fathers, (2) the spirit of valuing individual human rights and independency of the American Revolutionary era, and (3) the written word of our fundamental laws.
So the national sentiment was not around the pillars of a central, national government, but the foundation of those pillars, the Declaration of 1776. As a writer, Senator, Secretary of State, President, and then Congressman, John Quincy Adams stood in the breach of obfuscating the awareness and understanding of those standards created by the early Jeffersonian Democrat-Republicans ideology of pushing for a new balance of power, or ‘geopolitical power-differential’ of state and central government. He did so as the southern region of the United States increased its economy on the forced labor of humans of black skin color. Itself, an institution diametrically opposed to the originalist charter agreement of the national spirit of the union, and a call to instead strengthen state sovereignty, that such an economy, based on the institution of human enslavement may grow unhindered from the growing legal-political sentiment to respect our fundamental, natural laws centered around human rights; the foundation of America.
The abolitionist movement itself, was a social-religious mission, but it also had a national focus that fine-tuned its message to a national point of construction, ultimately leaving behind its religious vernacular, and simply invoking the national message of the Declaration of Independence. It was Frederick Douglass, a Christian, an American slave, and then a free man who all at once became a public speaker, writer, publisher, and American intellectual, finding strength through education and the support of a community spanning three countries, becoming the most well-known abolitionist, and in that process, a strengthener of the national document charter that is the Declaration of Independence. His determination to uphold the national promise of individual equality of liberty that is our Declaration of Independence, and to seek redress through the judiciary and the hearts and minds of people across towns, cities, states, and different countries, was itself a compliment to the gentle, yet determined manner of intellectually protecting and exercising the foundation of that spirit of individual liberty that would historically strengthen that national charter, itself that foundation of our national government, and the true spirit of our union.
Increasingly, the work to bring slavery to end, to preserve the political union, and to maintain the promise of the promissory note of 1776 was an endeavor that required a diversity of voices, strategies, and interplay of players both in and outside the government. The Federalist Political Party, for example, found its end of purpose at the onset of a fervor for individual human rights that was completely national, born from the concerted ardor, and the political and social intensity and determination of John Quincy Adams, the abolitionists and Frederick Douglass, Senator Charles Sumner, Abraham Lincoln, the start of the Woman Suffragists Movement (1849), and the families and communities of so many ordinary Americans that supported these people, and those endeavors. From those ashes, the Republican Party would be founded, styled almost entirely on the persona, intellectual balance of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln could do this because he put himself aside; he was selfless, and he was intellectually aware of the value of being selfless. This endeared him to many in the nation.
The making of the necessary components to realign the foundational strength of what America was and truly is requires a diversity of determined Americans who endeavor with focused, selfless passion and an independent critical thinking mind to understand how it is that America works best, that national civility: how we treat each other with kindness, respect, and politeness, will only be experienced if we create the national space for a diversity of voices anchored in the originalist understanding of the shared ideas of our Declaration of Independence. The commonality of agreement that we are all created equal, with the right to life and liberty, that we be safe and happy, and assume the solemn duty to be a check on government, that it be of and for the people in accord with the fundamental law that was first written in 1776. Acceptance of that document implies that we are wholeheartedly agreeing that its message: the value of individual human life is precious and to be protected through a government that is founded on those natural principles. In the absence of the people’s duty to be astute as aware individuals who are taught the standard to (1) care about the how government is functioning and (2) how its personnel is aligned unto an originalist interpretation of fundamental law that values protecting human life, government, because it commands powers of law-making, of the printing of money, of the management of commerce, of education, of making war, and economy, — is a temptation unto people who may see it as an ends to instrumentalize their self-interest and possibly, their ideologies. This is ‘activism,’ and it was set as an extra-constitutional precedent in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. He reinterpreted the Constitution according to his own thoughts of how it should be thought of, rather than as it was written and in the spirit of the law, as it was intended. His activism, a precedent itself, invented another precedent, ‘judicial review,’ providing an extra-constitutional power to override Congress and the President’s law-making powers. Marshall’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison was a departure of originalist interpretation, because of its activism in opening the door for Supreme Court personnel to be a law unto themselves, deviating away from the originalist standard of the application of American fundamental law: the spirit of union founded on an agreement of equal individual liberty, of protecting individual life, a thoughtfulness to the intentions of the founding signatories of the Declaration of Independence, as can be studied from their writings and Congressional works, and with that in mind, looking at the written word of the Declaration and the Constitution.
With great care do we approach our care of the national ideas that make us a community founded on the word and spirit of the Declaration, because the quality of life of the people is in that. A battle of ideas for what America means when the answer was already completed in 1776, is useless action on one side, and it begs the question, to what end does the side that is ideological battle? A diversity of voices will obviously create discussion, and yet, the question as to what the foundation of America is, must not be continuously have its meaning overlaid with new interpretations. This is ‘activism’ and review of our fundamental law with the intent to change it to suit a self-interest.
As James Madison remind us, in Federalist #10, the effects of faction may convulse a society, but it will find its end to the measure that it assumes power, because the people will discern the presence and product of tyranny and despotism as the faction, or conglomerate of factions increase its manipulation of government. Between the end of the John Adams presidency and the start of the Civil War, a sequence of ‘supra-slow-moving social-political confrontations’ had been pushed to the forefront by a national, geopolitical dynamic that was about:
- preserving the geopolitical union
- abolishing slavery
- protecting the originalist spirit of liberty of 1776
These three dynamics were existent all at once, at different times, advocated of by a large array of individuals, and not necessarily all in agreement of one another, and yet, they had quashed the state sovereignty platform of the Jeffersonian Democrat-Republicans that also housed slavery as an institution, and they pressured from within government and outside of it as the short-lived compromising political party of the Whigs managed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was enacted to find a middle, political ground of slave states and free states.
The work of four Americans: John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln, had such a tremendous gravitational weight in giving direction, — ‘gravitas,’ and a determined, selfless spirit to protect what America was supposed to be about, that the effect of their combined intellectual work of duty ‘to care’ shined a light so ardently powerful upon all the ploys and spotted works of the slavery faction, even as they continued to push for new judicial activist inventions (Popular Sovereignty) with the stubborn intent to push slavery unto the entire nation, and its new territories. Seeing no way out legally or intellectually, the slavery faction simply walked away from the civility of discussion and the process of law. The reliance of its ‘go-to’ action of manipulating the branches of government ended, and it simply took up weapons because it would not relent on its economy of human slavery.
These three forces:
- preserving the geopolitical union
- abolishing slavery
- protecting the originalist spirit of liberty of 1776
…weakened the (1) push for states to become something closer to independent sovereignty’s, (2) the call for states governments to be able to exercise the doctrine of ‘Popular Sovereignty, that a person can own a person, and a third person, nor state or national government objecting). The dynamic of these brought about a solidarity of American sentiment threading a national spirit of union not willing to stray too far away from the spirit of 1776, a spirit of solemn respect for the protection of individual human rights, and to have a government founded upon such fundamental law.
The resolute refusal of altruist champions of liberty refusing appeasement would not let the matter rest, for doing so would require a reinterpretation of American fundamental law, and a nation no longer for individual human liberty. The hardening of the slavery faction’s position into a geopolitical regional confederation, having its personnel in the highest political offices of the Federal government branches: the office of the President, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court (Chief Justice Tanney and his opinion on the Dred Scott case), legislating, and establishing unconstitutional precedents in direct opposition of the national promissory note charter of 1776, our Declaration, all, further heightened national awareness of the people, and the need for a national solution to establish national civiliy, and ultimately, national peace. How would that be created if, the slavery faction refused to end slavery? Can peace amongst people be had if there is a kind, polite, respect in our local and national community interactions, and all Americans, regardless of age from the time of their creation, regardless of their skin color, religion, level of intelligence, ethnicity, or walk of life, be able to enjoy the unalienable, natural right to life, liberty, and the right to be safe and happy? The effect of that national agreement is civility. And who has civility if we are being purposefully brought towards having a binary, oppositional battle of ideas that either interrupt the possibility of tranquilly in our family, in our community, and in our work; or position large regions of the country in general contrariness as it regards unto our understanding of how to accomplish a peace that emanates from true national civility?
At the rounding of the first quarter of the 21st century, does it behoove the American people to return unto an altruist understanding of America’s founding as a nation for the unequivocal protection of individual human rights? Can it be so that we have been led to shift away from the first and only true agreement that created our national union and have been pitted into a binary, oppositional ideological battle of ideology, and away from a national community understanding that has the Declaration and spirit of 1776 at its center, that we experience a diversity of individual voices? Where is the voice of justice and what is its sound that we may know its calling? How do we become a people with civility, that there can be national peace? A diverse people, — whose fundamental fountain spring and spirit of civil solidarity can only be found in the awareness and determined defense of the promise of the Declaration of Independence because the acceptance of those shared ideas that proclaim a national agreement that all human life is precious and of great value, each individual having the right to life, liberty; to be safe and happy, and the right to institute a government in solemn defense and respect of these unalienable rights. The last liberty proclaimed in the Declaration, that individual right to alter or abolish government that is not in alignment or accord with these liberties, is expounded upon in the breadth of the promissory note. So important is the solemn duty of the individual American to care about how government aligns and exercises its duties unto our fundamental law, that the right to assure government’s duty to meet those standards is entrusted unto the people.
Intellectual awareness, critical understanding and selfless defense of the originalist interpretation of fundamental law within government and amongst the people is the requisite to accomplish national civility, because it strengthens the foundation of valuing individual human life, and the unequivocal protection of human life and liberty, that we be safe and happy, therin bringing about the end of societal strife.
The people’s education would need to be of such solemness itself to emphasize that duty and determination to care about how government works in accord with the original spirit of liberty of our nation’s founding fathers, and the fundamental laws they created to form a national union of such diverse people. Ultimately, a standard of altruist critical thinkers, anchored in an originalist understanding of the foundation of our fundamental laws: the protection of individual human rights; and having financial independence, would needs be the required educational and financial reality for such Americans to earnestly exercise their duty as individuals, and altogether as a nation to uphold such a standard. Critical thinkers listen, observe, ponder, are reasonable and practical, they are trained to be altruist (selfless and unspotted) in their conclusions and reasonings; they are problem solvers, and solution creators; they are analytical, and scientific; they are altogether, intellectuals of the best order.