This is a critical question. It was asked by Samuel Adams as the colonists were determining if they would become a free people controlling their own lives, making their own choices, and having their own thoughts or would they continue to have government dictate how they live their lives, choices they must make, and thoughts they could have. The colonists made the choice they would free themselves from the tyranny of government and become a free people. This debate, however, will people be free or will they be slaves, continued soon after October 18th and 19th of 1781.
Those who supported freedom, prevailed for the most part during the Constitutional Convention. Freedom was able to demand that the Constitution place specific limits on the power of government. This was done in Article 1. Section 8 of the Constitution and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
Article 1. Section 8 of the Constitution grants ONLY these powers to the federal government:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States.
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes.
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.
To establish Post Offices and post Roads.
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court.
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years.
To provide and maintain a Navy.
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.
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.
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;—And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
The 10th Amendment states, “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.”
The above powers are the only powers the federal government has.
The question of will we be free or will we be slaves is raging through our country today.
Congress is debating a domestic terror bill. The bill seeks to create domestic terrorism offices at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI that would be responsible for monitoring and examining possible domestic terror activity. It is first of all difficult to find the power that allowed the Department of Homeland Security to be established. Perhaps you could make a far-fetched argument it is made possible under the common defense and general welfare clause, however, that clause indicates that congress can collect taxes for that purpose. This clause does not read that congress shall institute agencies and laws to protect against domestic terrorists. No other clause remotely refers to Homeland Security and Domestic Terrorists.
The Declaration of Independence on the other hand asserts that the people have a duty to overthrow any government that does not protect the liberties endowed to us by our Creator. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The domestic terror bill and the Department of Homeland Security are spying on citizens that disagree with government policies that take our liberties from us. We are being called Domestic Terrorists when we insist on protecting all life, all liberties, and our right to pursue our happiness which also means protecting our property.
Our three branches of government violate our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence by refusing to adhere to it in both body and spirit. Both were intended to limit the power of government and protect the liberties of the people. The Department of Homeland Security and the proposed domestic terror bill do exactly the opposite; that is, they enhance the power of government and abridge, limit, and eliminate liberties.
It is time the people of this nation explicitly declare it they will be free or slaves. If we declare free, it means the government of the United States must be reduced in power and scope, in expenditures, in numbers of personnel, and must become completely transparent. Many of the departments and agencies must be eliminated. Executive orders and regulations can only be suggestions unless congress makes them law. Judicial branch opinions can only be opinions unless congress makes them law.
My question is, do the American people have the courage and will to become a free people once again or do the American people believe we should be slaves to the dictates of those in government. What do you believe? Do you have the same resolve as did Patrick Henry to be free and say and mean, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
If we are to become a Constitutional Republic and a free nation again, it will demand the resolve of a Patrick Henry from each of us.
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