Happy Bill of Rights Day to Brits and Americans
By the 18th century, men and women in Britain had struggled for more than a thousand years to affirm these rights—
The freedom to own and sell property
The right to habeas corpus and to trial by jury
The right not to be fined excessively or punished cruelly
The right to be silent under interrogation
The right to speak freely
The right to your house, free of government searches or seizure—‘your home is your castle’
The right to petition your government
The right not to have soldiers quartered in your home
The right to bear arms.
As we’ve noted in our book, the Americans who fought for freedom were British subjects. Many of their ancestors had arrived in America from Britain. In the run-up to the American Revolution, Americans told the Lord Mayor of London that they were fighting for “the bright inheritance of English freedom”.
So it’s not surprising that the rights listed above became part of the US Constitution as the Bill of Rights. There were a few other key amendments, such as the 10th Amendment, which affirmed that powers not designated to the federal government belonged to the people and the states.
On December 15th 1791, the US Constitution was amended with the Bill of Rights. We think it’s a day to celebrate. Brits may be pleased that Americans took their inspiration seriously, and carefully wrote out the rights for which Brits had fought for more than ten centuries.
Let’s not forget them.
We edit and post this piece every year.
YOUR RIGHTS BY BIRTH!!!!!
Conversation this morning Nick Ferrari and a black lady caller- she kicked off with, Im a black woman in my fifties…bla bla bla re Steven Lawrence…she then poo hood the loss of Double Jeopardy- centuries old- but she in her judgement thought it a waste of time- her next comment amazed me, “I have spent my life as a teacher, we have no constitution, so why bother”
OMG A TEACHER- TEACHING OUR KIDS- YET DOES NOT KNOW ANYTHING OF OUR CONSTITUTION!!
AND THICK NICK OR THE LACKEY….
THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION
The structure of the oak, the national tree of England, Wales and the United States, evokes the structure of the British Constitution.
Some people claim that Britain does not have a Constitution or that it is unwritten. That’s surprising since the British Constitution was a model for the constitutions of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
John Adams, the lawyer and US President who helped to frame the American Constitution, called the British Constitution the most stupendous fabric of human invention in history.
What did John Adams know? Is that knowledge being kept from the British people? Is the Constitution being betrayed? And how does the British Constitution resemble an oak tree?
A stupendous invention
A constitution describes how government will be organized and its fundamental principles. The fundamental principles of the British Constitution are rooted in the Christian idea that each of us is an individual created by God to be a free moral agent. Just as our family Christmas traditions are unwritten, some parts of the British Constitution are unwritten. However, many crucial parts of the Constitution are written down and have been for centuries. They are:
1) Common Law
2) The Coronation Oath
3) Magna Carta
4) Statute of Westminster
5) The Petition of Right, Declaration of Right and Bill of Rights
6) The Act of Settlement of 1701
7) The Act of Union
We’ll describe the written documents of the British Constitution and its structure and conclude with
8) Unwritten traditions
1) COMMON LAW
Established by Alfred the Great (AD 871- 899) Common Law has been developed by the British people for more than a thousand years. It is common because it applies to everyone equally.
Common Law is grounded in the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule – treat others as you would be treated. Common Law was developed by British people so they could settle their differences peacefully and fairly.
Common Law incorporates the Charter of Liberties (1100). The Charter makes the Sovereign subject to the law and affirms that no person is above the law. Common Law includes the Council of Westminster (1102), which ended slavery in England. Common Law protects the right established in the Petition of Right (1627) that no person can be arrested for disagreeing with the government. Common Law defends your property rights, your right to self-defence and your right to be secure in your own home – your home is your castle.
Common Law establishes every person’s right to a jury trial and the freedom of juries to declare a person innocent. If a jury believes that a person has been charged under an unjust law, it has the right to acquit. For this reason Common Law is superior to the statute law created by Parliament. In the 17th century the Lord Chief Justice ruled that juries have an inalienable right to freely decide guilt and innocence.
Common Law plainly states that judges are to be guided by precedent – the rulings of previous cases. They are not to make up the law. Where there is no precedent, Common Law dictates that decisions must be made according to principles of fairness recognized by Common Law.
Common Law contributes to the prosperity of Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
2) THE CORONATION OATH
The Coronation Oath is the freely taken and mutual covenant between the British sovereign and the people of Britain. During the coronation ceremony, the people affirm their Sovereign, and the Sovereign swears the Coronation Oath and promises to protect their laws and customs.
First pledged by King Edgar in AD 973, the Coronation Oath binds the Sovereign to deliver justice and fair treatment to the British people. HM Elizabeth II swore to uphold the Common Law and the customs of the people of the United Kingdom.
It is the Sovereign’s duty to protect the people’s laws and freedoms. The Monarch’s grant of Royal Assent allows an Act of Parliament to take effect. The refusal of Assent is a check on the tyrannical power of Parliament. The Sovereign has a Constitutional duty to refuse Royal Assent to unconstitutional acts of Parliament.
The Sovereign plays a fundamental executive role, as was seen at the beginning of World War II when the King asked Winston Churchill to form a government. In the 1970s HM Elizabeth II plainly told PM Heath to make way for Mr Wilson. Acting on Her Majesty’s behalf, her Governors-General play a critical constitutional role in Canada and Australia.
Six British sovereigns were deselected and deposed because they did not protect the people’s laws and liberties.
The Sovereign is supposed to provide an important balance to the power of Parliament. As we will see, this has been forgotten because for many years it was Parliament that was attempting to check the power of the Sovereign.
3) MAGNA CARTA
In AD 1215, knights, barons, clergy and townspeople established and defended Magna Carta. (The support of the people of the big towns has been forgotten, but it was crucial.) The Great Charter affirmed the people’s rights and liberties, including the right to habeas corpus, the right to trial by jury and protection from excessive fines that would devastate your ability to make a living.
As you have read, trial by jury limits the power of the state by giving the power of establishing guilt or innocence to the people. The British people have repeatedly and successfully inhibited tyranny by declaring men and women charged under despotic laws to be innocent.
In 1297 the Model Parliament confirmed Magna Carta in statute law. Magna Carta remains in force to this day. Along with Common Law and the Coronation Oath, Magna Carta is part of the British Constitution.
Statue of Churchill, facing Parliament
Sir Winston Churchill said about Magna Carta –
“In subsequent ages when the state swollen with its own authority has attempted to ride roughshod over the rights and liberties of the people it is to this doctrine that appeal has again and again been made and never as yet without success”.
4) STATUTE OF WESTMINSTER ENABLING PARLIAMENT
Parliament was established because people wanted honest sheriffs, a say in taxation and a curb on foreign adventures. Henry III had resisted those reforms, including some that the people believed they had already won in Magna Carta.
Henry III went to war. Simon de Montfort captured the king and the prince of Wales in battle. He invited the shires and the towns to vote for representatives to Parliament where the reforms would be discussed and implemented. The first Parliament met on 20 January 1265. In August, Montfort died defending the reforms.
But the reforms did not die.
The Statute of Westminster, AD 1275, would appear to be the foundational document that established Parliament. With the Sovereign and the Judiciary, Parliament forms the third branch of government. Its political parties, cabinet, prime minister and whips have gradually evolved as hoary traditions.
Members of Parliament are elected by the people to serve them. MPs are elected to serve as both representatives of their constituencies and as representatives of all the British people. They are supposed to be the defenders of British liberties. They have no right under the Constitution to usurp the power of the Sovereign with whom the people have entered into covenant.
Canada’s House of Commons
Canada’s Constitution and Her Majesty’s Government in Canada are modelled after the British Constitution.
5) THE PETITION OF RIGHT / DECLARATION OF RIGHT / BILL OF RIGHTS
The Petition of Right (1628) at the beginning of the century and the Declaration of Right and Bill of Rights (1689) at the end frame a century-long effort to constrain the power of the Sovereign and to reaffirm the people’s “liberties and free customs”.
The Petition of Right was won from Charles I by Parliament –
Free men cannot be imprisoned without cause. The Government cannot arrest any man because he disagrees with the Government’s policies. (This protection is fundamental to a free society.) Habeas corpus is not to be denied. No person will be compelled to make loans to the King, and there will be no tax without the approval of Parliament. Soldiers and sailors will not be billeted on civilians, and the Government will not impose martial law during peacetime.
In 1689, the Glorious Revolution was won when William and Mary accepted the people’s Declaration of Right as part of their Coronation Oath.
The Declaration of Right limited the powers of the Sovereign and Parliament and all officers and ministers and whatsoever, and reaffirmed certain rights and liberties of the people as their birthright. It was later enacted into statute law by Parliament as the Bill of Rights.
The Declaration and the Bill of Rights affirm that suspending or executing laws or taxes without the consent of Parliament is illegal; that the people have a right to petition the Sovereign; that excessive bail and fines cannot be imposed; and that the people (limited at this time to Protestants who were 98% of the population) have the right to bear arms in their defense.
The right to bear arms gives every person the right to meet violence with reasonable self-defence, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm.
The right to bear arms is recognized as a centuries-old shield against tyranny. Every genocide of the 20th century was carried out by governments who first deprived their people of their right to bear arms.
Further, the Declaration of Right and Bill of Rights plainly state That no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm.
Giving any foreign body authority over the British people is unconstitutional.
The structure of the English oak is a visual sketch of the organizing principles of the British and American Constitutions. The Constitution has three great branches – 1) the Sovereign (in America, the executive branch), 2) the two houses of Parliament (in America, the legislature) and 3) the judiciary. The three branches are meant to check each other’s power and balance each other just as the three main branches of the oak tree balance each other.
The great supporting trunk of the Constitution is rule by just law. The roots of the Constitution are the people. The earth is their God-given birthright of freedom. The people and their freedom nourish the Constitution, and are nourished by it.
6) THE ACT OF SETTLEMENT 1701
The Act of Settlement affirmed that Common Law is the birthright of the people and may never be taken away. The Act declares that the British people are restored to the full and free possession and enjoyment of their religion, rights, and liberties, by the providence of God. The Act makes one essential idea absolutely clear –
Government cannot grant freedom to the people because freedom belongs to the people by birthright. Government exists not to give the people liberty, but to protect their liberty.
7) THE ACT OF UNION 1707
The Act of Union united the kingdom of Scotland with the kingdom of England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The British Constitution became the constitution for the whole Kingdom, which includes Northern Ireland. Scotland retained some of its laws.
8) UNWRITTEN TRADITIONS
Freedom of speech is one of the “free customs” and unwritten traditions that belong to the people. It is not specifically described in these crucial documents (aside from allowing free speech in Parliament) because it is viewed as a “free custom” that has always belonged to the people. It is an ancient tradition of the islands.
This did not mean a person would not get in trouble for saying or publishing something which those in authority did not wish said. But if you were arrested, you could push back, as William Penn did, and be defended by a jury.
Most of the time you were not arrested because the great majority of the British people understood that freedom works – it makes people more prosperous and science more inventive, literature more interesting and life more brilliant and happy.
Just as you know your family’s traditions without writing them down, you understand and value your traditions of freedom, which men and women before you defended with their lives.
The British Constitution that we have described is largely the Constitution which John Adams knew and admired. Its structure of government checked and channeled and balanced power and increasingly defended the people’s liberties. Today the British Constitution is in peril. It may not survive. The biggest threat to its future is clear –
John Adams warned that if a legislature seized executive power that executive power will corrupt the legislature as necessarily as rust corrupts iron. . .and when the legislature is corrupted, the people are undone.
By destroying the power of the Sovereign, and refusing to allow the Sovereign to withhold Royal Assent, Parliament has usurped the executive power, and is becoming tyrannical.
Its recent laws regarding race and terrorism are depriving Brits of freedom of speech. Earlier laws have already deprived them the right to bear arms and defend themselves. Its excessive taxation and borrowing to fund its spendthrift ways are depriving working Brits of their property and their property rights.
Parliament’s 2008 approval of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty will destroy the Common Law and the liberties of the British people and make them subservient to Brussels. The EU is constructed like every other would-be tyranny – it asserts that it gives the people their rights. This is false, but it means that it can take them away.
The British Constitution embodies the natural rights and freedoms of the people, which are theirs by birthright. The British Constitution and British liberties will only survive if the people defend them.
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NO WONDER OUR YOUTH LEAVE SCHOOL- WITHOUT A CLUE OF OUR HISTORY!
KEN CLARKE BILDERBERG MAN AND MP- SEE’S NO NEED FOR US TO HAVE A BILL OF RIGHTS- THERE GOES A MINISTER OF THE CROWN AND LAWYER ACTING LOONY IN CHARGE- PRETENDING HE DOESN’T KNOW WE ALREADY HAVE THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTION….WHATS’ UP KEN- SCARED WE SHALL DEMAND OUR BIRTHRIGHT- THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS?
PUT YOU BUGGERS IN YOUR PLACE!
The English Bill of Rights Project