Documents of Concern

If you are not familiar with the following items, read them. Become familiar with these texts and their meanings.

The Declaration of Independence

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

The Articles of Confederacy

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, was the first governing document, or constitution, of the United States of America. The final draft was written in the summer of 1777 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777 in York, Pennsylvania after a year of debate. In practice it served as the de facto system of government used by the Congress ("the United States in Congress assembled") until it became de jure by final ratification on March 1, 1781. At that point Congress became the Congress of the Confederation. The Articles set the rules for operations of the "United States" confederation. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories; it could print money and borrow inside and outside the US.

The United States Constitution

The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.

The Bill of Rights

During the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a "bill of rights" that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered. On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States therefore proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified. Articles 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights.

A preamble by Hayden Wayne

The founding fathers ratified and subsequently signed these documents putting their lives, material wealth and honor on the line.

Embodying the law in which a human being can freely pursue his Life, Liberty, and Happiness as an Unalienable Right, too many of us not only take the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights for granted, but most likely are not aware of most of its contents, if any of it at all.

The founding fathers were very specific, sighting as a self-evident truth, these very Rights, as well as, “ … whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right and Duty of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute New Government.

This was not to happen because of some triviality.

However, in lieu of internal and external policies that seem to perpetually degrade the promotion of our public welfare: a failing educational and health care system, the continued reckless declarations of war which have all but destroyed our economy, the conscious out sourcing of our own industry so corporations can maximize profits, while being totally indifferent to the fact that the loss of these jobs will destroy the middle class. The working class is now expected to work longer hours with less benefits, if any, for less income, while CEO’s are rewarded huge disproportionate salary bonuses for increasing profits, at the workers expense.

Devolving our very own citizen’s ability to critically think, maintain its health as well as perpetuate its financial security is no way to make a nation strong, let alone guarantee its survival.

Because of greed, self-interest and lack of moral accountability, the very fabric that made our nation, these laws, has come under attack. Too few conglomerates control our press. All news seems to be editorial as opposed to strictly even-handed reporting. One now needs a permit to assemble in protest. Habeas Corpus (the Right not to be incarcerated without courtroom trial) is too readily excluded. And presently, there are ongoing discussions, in Congress, whether or not water boarding during interrogation is torture, rather than openly discrediting any form of torture as abhorrent to human dignity and shall not be tolerated by our Nation what so ever.

So, with this in mind, I wanted to share these legal documents that I personally hold most sacred.