Liberty Charters

Native Americans Citizenship

Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States. Many Native Americans had, and still have, separate nations within the U.S. on designated reservation land. Even after the Indian Citizenship Act, some Native Americans weren’t allowed to vote because the right to vote was governed by state law. Until 1957, some states barred Native Americans from voting.

24th Amendment

Outlawed poll taxes as a voting requirement in federal elections. Conservatives used poll taxes to disenfranchise black voters in several states.

19th Amendment

Granted women the right to vote, but not Native Americans.

18th Amendment

Prohibition started with the 18th Amendment and lasted for just 14 years until the 21st Amendment repealed it in 1933.

17th Amendment

Direct election of Senators by the people instead of the state legislature.

16th Amendment

Allows the government via Congress to collect income taxes.

15th Amendment

Granted African American men the right to vote, but not Native Americans nor women, by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

13th Amendment

Abolished slavery in the United States. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation nearly three years earlier and the Civil War which started nearly five years earlier paved the path forward on this issue.

11th Amendment

One state cannot sue another. US courts cannot hear cases nor make decisions against a state if it is sued by a someone who lives in another state or country. 12th Amendment: Procedure to elect a president and VP, then updated in 20th Amendment.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Common Sense is a pamphlet published by Thomas Paine in early 1776 advocating independence for the thirteen colonies from England. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. Per capita, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. the distinction between kings and subjects is a false distinction Of note, Thomas Paine was a self-proclaimed monotheist (believing in one God), but disdained organized religion, proclaiming that his only church was his own mind.

14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War in 1866 and ratified by the states in 1868. It provided all citizens with “equal protection under the laws.” The 14th Amendment bans states from depriving citizens of life, liberty, or property without “due process of law” making the Constitution including the Bill of Rights the law of the land at all levels (a.k.a. “Incorporation Doctrine”). The 14th Amendment made the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, applicable at all levels of law (state and federal) and to all citizens.  

Barron v. Baltimore

The Supreme Court ruled that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states because the Federal government does not have jurisdiction.  “[the Constitution was created] by the people of the United States…not for the government of the individual states.” –Decision written by Chief Justice John Marshall, 1833. This was the law of the land until the 14th Amendment which was ratified after the Civil War in 1866.  

English Bill of Rights

The 1689 English Bill of Rights was a precursor to our Bill of Rights and is referred to in our law. For example, it is referred to in Scalia’s Heller opinion.  The bill outlined specific constitutional and civil rights and ultimately gave Parliament power over the monarchy. The monarchy cannot rule without consent of the Parliament. Freedom to elect members of Parliament. Freedom of speech in Parliament. Freedom from royal interference with the law. Freedom to petition the king. Freedom to bear arms for self-defense. Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail. Freedom from taxation by royal prerogative,..Read More/Comment

Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights was written two years after the signing of the Constitution and ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Georgia refused. In 1939, the three decliners symbolically sent their approvals to Congress. Amendments: 1st: Freedom of speech, press, of and from religion, assembly, and the right to petition the government. 2nd: Right to bear arms 3rd: Protection against housing soldiers in civilian homes 4th: Protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and the issuing of warrants without probable cause. 5th: Protection against trial without indictment, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, and property seizure. 6th: Right to a..Read More/Comment

The Constitution of the United States

The Constitution is a merger uniting the original 13 states with different cultures and laws. Under America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the states acted together only for specific purposes. The final Constitution of 1887 united all the states as members of a whole, vesting the power of the people in a Federal government.

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence expresses the ideals on which the United States was founded and the reasons for separation from Great Britain. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (among others). People have a say in their government.

Mayflower Compact

The Mayflower Compact set out rules for self-governance for the English settlers who traveled to Colonial America aboard the Mayflower ship in 1620. Of the 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower only 41 were Pilgrims. It was this minority body that established the rules for which they tried to force on all. The majority of passengers disagreed with and fought against the compact for many years–a rough start to American democracy. The document was signed by the 41 pilgrims, non of the other white male adults called “strangers” by the pilgrims signed it.  Mike Prestwood Note: One of the Pilgrims and..Read More/Comment

Patent for Providence Plantations, Roger Williams

The first TRUE democracy in America. From the charter largely drafted by Roger Williams who was influenced by his mentor Sir Edward Coke who relied heavily on the Magna Carta in legal proceedings. From Roger Williams’ 1643/4 charter: …full Power and Authority to rule themselves…by such a Form of Civil Government, as by voluntary consent of all, or the greater Part of them… Read the full charter here. The date is an English Double Date so Mar 14, 1643/4 is our modern Mar 14, 1644.

The First Great Charter of King Henry III

Less than two years after the original Magna Carta, the core of the Magna Carta was reissued in “The First Great Charter of King Henry the Third”, granted November 12, 1216–the first year of his reign. This was the first time the Magna Carta was willingly signed by a King. And, King Henry III created the first parliament which was needed because of the need to hear counsel from the barons prior to acting–per the Magna Carta.

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