It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgements of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince. Such was MAGNA CHARTA, obtained by the barons, sword in hand, from King John. Such were the subsequent confirmations of that charter by succeeding princes. Such was the Petition of Right assented to by Charles I., in the beginning of his reign. Such, also, was the Declaration of Right presented by the Lords and Commons to the Prince of Orange in 1688, and afterwards thrown into the form of an act of parliament called the Bill of Rights. It is evident, therefore, that, according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government.
It is this paragraph which makes me hold Alexander Hamilton in much higher regard than most that I know who think somewhat like I do. Yes, Alexander Hamilton is arguing against the Bill of Rights. But examine closely what he says:
Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations.
In other words, why does the Constitution need a Bill of Rights? The people already have a Bill of Rights, it was written in 1689. Now, the (Yes, I understand how important they are)semantics of this is not what I want to discuss, others can discuss the need(or lack therof) of a Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. They have for over 200 years now. I wanted to demonstrate to you that English history is American history, and I have done that. And I can do so again.
John Adams writes in his A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law:
liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.
Fathers? John Adams does not mean John Adams, Sr., or rather, only John Adams, Sr. He means his grandparents, and fathers of others around him going back several generations.
In other words, Englishmen. As an aside note, let it be remembered that the first seven Presidents were all born subjects to the British Crown.
Like I said. English history is American history. Progressive educators would wish that you did not know this, but much to their consternation it is easily proven.
As another side note, Hamilton makes it fairly clear that the US Constitution would not exist without five documents prior to it. He lists three of them right there in Federalist #84. Those documents are: (2) The Magna Carta, (3) the 1628 Petition of Right, and (5) the 1689 Bill of Rights. Those who know enough of their English history know that Magna Carta is predicated on (1) the 1100 Charter of Liberties.
The entirety of the 1600's in England were a rough place to be. The (4) 1641 Grand Remonstrance is also in there - that helped confirm the need for the 1689 B.O.R. These upheavals kept happening not just because of monarchical tyranny, but because the people knew that the monarchs were being tyrannical. One thing leads to another. 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... ... (6), the US Constitution. Actually, it would be 6 The Declaration, 7 the Articles, and then 8 The Constitution... But who's counting anyways? :o)