CITES BY TOPIC:  self government

President Theodore Roosevelt; Opening of the Jamestown Exposition; Norfolk, VA, April 26, 1907

“We of this mighty western Republic have to grapple with the dangers that spring from popular self-government tried on a scale incomparably vaster than ever before in the history of mankind, and from an abounding material prosperity greater also than anything which the world has hitherto seen.

As regards the first set of dangers, it behooves us to remember that men can never escape being governed.  Either they must govern themselves or they must submit to being governed by others.  If from lawlessness or fickleness, from folly or self-indulgence, they refuse to govern themselves then most assuredly in the end they will have to be governed from the outside.  They can prevent the need of government from without only by showing they possess the power of government from within.  A sovereign cannot make excuses for his failures; a sovereign must accept the responsibility for the exercise of power that inheres in him; and where, as is true in our Republic, the people are sovereign, then the people must show a sober understanding and a sane and steadfast purpose if they are to preserve that orderly liberty upon which as a foundation every republic must rest.”

[President Theodore Roosevelt; Opening of the Jamestown Exposition; Norfolk, VA, April 26, 1907]


Congressional Record-Senate, Volume 77- Part 4, June 10, 1933, Page 12522

Mr. Logan: "...Natural laws can not be created, repealed, or modified by legislation. Congress should know there are many things which it can not do..."

 "It is now proposed to make the Federal Government the guardian of its citizens. If that should be done, the Nation soon must perish. There can only be a free nation when the people themselves are free and administer the government which they have set up to protect their rights. Where the general government must provide work, and incidentally food and clothing for its citizens, freedom and individuality will be destroyed and eventually the citizens will become serfs to the general government..."

[Congressional Record-Senate, Volume 77- Part 4, June 10, 1933, Page 12522

SOURCE:  http://famguardian.org/TaxFreedom/CitesByTopic/Sovereignty-CongRecord-Senate-JUNE101932.pdf]


Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U.S. 581 (1900)

The right to be proceeded against only by indictment, and the right to a trial by twelve jurors, are of the same nature, and are subject to the same judgment, and the people in the several states have the same right to provide by their organic law for the change of both or either. Under this construction of the [176 U.S. 581, 605]   amendment there can be no just fear that the liberties of the citizen will not be carefully protected by the states respectively. It is a case of self-protection, and the people can be trusted to look out and care for themselves. There is no reason to doubt their willingness or their ability to do so, and when providing in their Constitution and legislation for the manner in which civil or criminal actions shall be tried, it is in entire conformity with the character of the Federal government that they should have the right to decide for themselves what shall be the form and character of the procedure in such trials, whether there shall be an indictment or an information only, whether there shall be a jury of twelve or a lesser number, and whether the verdict must be unanimous or not. These are matters which have no relation to the character of the Federal government. As was stated by Mr. Justice Brewer, in delivering the opinion of the court in Brown v. New Jersey, 175 U.S. 172 , 20 Sup. Ct. Rep. 77, 44 L. ed. --, the state has full control over the procedure in its courts, both in civil and criminal cases, subject only to the qualification that such procedure must not work a denial of fundamental rights or conflict with specific and applicable provisions of the Federal Constitution. The legislation in question is not, in our opinion, open to either of these objections.  

[Maxwell v. Dow, 176 U.S. 581 (1900)]


Prov. 6:11, Bible, NKJV

"Go to the ant, you sluggard!  Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest, how long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep--so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler [and government dependence], and your need like an armed man." 

[Prov. 6:11, Bible, NKJV]

[INTERPRETATION: Laziness allows us to be robbed of our heritage and our birthright, our dignity and our sovereignty, because we are victimized by it and will end up surrendering our rights to the government out of desperation in order to get the sustenance that we were otherwise unwilling to earn.  This makes the government into a Robinhood, which  using the tools of democracy, turns a sword against its own citizens to rob from the rich to give to the poor.  This leads to the downfall of democracy eventually because the government becomes an agent of plunder.]


Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238 (1936)

The determination of the Framers Convention and the ratifying conventions to preserve complete and unimpaired state self-government in all matters not committed to the general government is one of the plainest facts which emerges from the history of their deliberations. And adherence to that determination is incumbent equally upon the federal government and the states. State powers can neither be appropriated on the one hand nor abdicated on the other. As this court said in Texas v. White, 7 Wall. 700, 725, 'The preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National government. The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible States.' Every journey to a forbidden end begins with the first step; and the danger of such a step by the federal government in the direction of taking over the powers of the states is that the end of the journey may find the states so despoiled of their powers, or-what may amount to the same thing-so [298 U.S. 238, 296]   relieved of the responsibilities which possession of the powers necessarily enjoins, as to reduce them to little more than geographical subdivisions of the national domain. It is safe to say that if, when the Constitution was under consideration, it had been thought that any such danger lurked behind its plain words, it would never have been ratified.

And the Constitution itself is in every real sense a law-the lawmakers being the people themselves, in whom under our system all political power and sovereignty  XE "SOVEREIGNTY:Political power and sovereignty" primarily resides, and through whom such power and sovereignty primarily speaks. It is by that law, and not otherwise, that the legislative, executive, and judicial agencies which it created exercise such political authority as they have been permitted to possess. The Constitution speaks for itself in terms so plain that to misunderstand their import is not rationally possible. 'We the People of the United States,' it says, 'do ordain and establish this Constitution.' Ordain and establish! These are definite words of enactment, and without more would stamp what follows with the dignity and character of law. The framers of the Constitution, however, were not content to let the matter rest here, but provided explicitly-'This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land.' (Const. art. 6, cl. 2.) The supremacy of the Constitution as law is thus declared without qualification. That supremacy is absolute; the supremacy of a statute enacted by Congress is not absolute but conditioned upon its being made in pursuance of the Constitution. And a judicial tribunal, clothed by that instrument with complete judicial power, and, therefore, by the very nature of the power, required to ascertain and apply the law to the facts in every case or proceeding properly brought for adjudication, must apply the supreme law and reject the inferior stat- [298 U.S. 238, 297]   ute whenever the two conflict. In the discharge of that duty, the opinion of the lawmakers that a statute passed by them is valid must be given great weight, Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 U.S. 525, 544 , 43 S.Ct. 394, 24 A.L.R. 1238; but their opinion, or the court's opinion, that the statute will prove greatly or generally beneficial is wholly irrelevant to the inquiry. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495, 549 , 550 S., 55 S.Ct. 837, 97 A.L.R. 947.

[Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238 (1936)]


The Atlantic Charter, 1941

THE ATLANTIC CHARTER

The President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.

First, their countries seek no aggrandizement, territorial or other;

Second, they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned;

Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;

Fourth, they will endeavor, with due respect for their existing obligations, to further the enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity;

Fifth, they desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and social security;

Sixth, after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want;

Seventh, such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance;

Eighth, they believe that all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well as spiritual reasons must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armaments.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Winston S. Churchill

Source: Samuel Rosenman, ed., Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, vol.10 (1938-1950), 314.

[SOURCE: http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/53.htm]


Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951)

The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a "right" to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change. We reject any principle of governmental helplessness in the face of preparation for revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion, must lead to anarchy. No one could conceive that it is not within the power of Congress to prohibit acts intended to overthrow the Government by force and violence. The question with which we are concerned here is not whether Congress has such power, but whether the means which it has employed conflict with the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.

[. . .]

3. In three cases, we have considered the scope and application of the power of the Government to exclude, deport, or denaturalize aliens because of their advocacy or their beliefs. In United States ex rel. Turner v. Williams, 194 U.S. 279, we held that the First Amendment did not disable Congress from directing the exclusion of an alien found in an administrative proceeding to be an anarchist. "[A]s long as human governments endure," we said, "they cannot be denied the power of self-preservation, as that question is presented here." [341 U.S. 531] 194 U.S. at 294. In Schneiderman v. United States, 320 U.S. 118, and Bridges v. Wixon, 326 U.S. 135, we did not consider the extent of the power of Congress. In each case, by a closely divided Court, we interpreted a statute authorizing denaturalization or deportation to impose on the Government the strictest standards of proof.

[Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951)]


Green v. Biddle, 21 U.S. 1 (1823)

As to the objections made on the other side to our interpretation of the compact, that it impugns *63 the right to the pursuit of happiness, which is inherent in every society of men, and is incompatible with these unalienable rights of sovereignty and of self-government, which every independent State must possess, the answer is obvious: that no people has a right to pursue its own happiness to the injury of others, for whose protection solemn compacts, like the present, have been made. It is a trite maxim, that man gives up a part of his natural liberty when he enters into civil society, as the price of the blessings of that state: and it may be said, with truth, this liberty is well exchanged for the advantages which flow from law and justice. The sovereignty of Kentucky will not be impaired by a faithful observance of this compact in its true spirit. It does not prevent her from making any general regulations of police and revenue, which any other State may make; but it does prevent her from confiscating the property of individuals under the pretext of a mere modification of the law as to improvements made by occupying claimants. There can be no doubt that sovereign States may make pacts with each other, limiting and restraining their rights of sovereignty as to proprietary interests in the soil. Such conventions are not inconsistent with the eminent domain which the law of nations attributes to them. Here the sole object of the compact is perpetually to secure the vested rights of private individuals from violation by legislative acts. It is in furtherance of the most sacred duty which society owes to its members. And even if it stipulated a special restraint upon the legislative *64 power, in respect to the public revenue, it would not be the less obligatory. All the new States, on their admission into the Union, uniformly bind themselves not to tax the lands of the United States. Various other restraints upon their sovereign powers have been voluntarily consented to by the States: such, for example, as that contained in the act for the admission of Louisiana into the Union, which provides that all the legislative proceedings shall be conducted in the English language.

[Green v. Biddle, 21 U.S. 1 (1823)]


Adderley v. State of Fla., 385 U.S. 39, 87 S.Ct. 242 (U.S.Fla. 1966)

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE, Mr. Justice BRENNAN, and Mr. Justice FORTAS concur, dissenting.
The First Amendment, applicable to the States by reason of the Fourteenth (Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U.S. 229, 235, 83 S.Ct. 680, 683), provides that ‘Congress shall make no law * * * abridging * * * the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ These rights, along with religion, speech, and press, are preferred rights of the Constitution, made so by reason of that explicit guarantee and *49 what Edmond Cahn in Confronting Injustice (1966) referred to as ‘The Firstness of the First Amendment.'FN1 With all respect, therefore, the Court errs in treating the case as if it were an ordinary trespass case or an ordinary picketing case.

FN1.Where would we really find the principal danger to civil liberty in a republic? Not in the governors as governors, not in the governed as governed, but in the governed unequipped to function as governors. The chief enemies of republican freedom are mental sloth, conformity, bigotry, superstition, credulity, monopoly in the market of ideas, and utter, benighted ignorance. Relying as it does on the consent of the governed, representative government cannot succeed unless the community receives enough information to grasp public issues and make sensible decisions. As lights which may have been enough for the past do not meet the needs of the present, so present lights will not suffice for the more extensive and complex problems of the future. Heretofore public enlightenment may have been only a manifest desideratum; today it constitutes an imperative necessity. The First Amendment, says Justice Black, ‘reflects the faith that a good society is not static but advancing, and that the fullest possible interchange of ideas and beliefs is essential to attainment of this goal.’ (From Feldman v. United States, 322 U.S. 487, 501, 64 S.Ct. 1082, 1088, 88 L.Ed. 1408 (dissenting opinion).)' Cahn, supra, p. 102.

[Adderley v. State of Fla., 385 U.S. 39, 87 S.Ct. 242 (U.S.Fla. 1966)]


Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company, 500 U.S. 614 (1991)

One great object of the Constitution is to permit citizens to structure their private relations as they choose subject only to the constraints of statutory or decisional law. [500 U.S. 614, 620]  

To implement these principles, courts must consider from time to time where the governmental sphere ends and the private sphere begins. Although the conduct of private parties lies beyond the Constitution's scope in most instances, governmental authority may dominate an activity to such an extent that its participants must be deemed to act with the authority of the government and, as a result, be subject to constitutional constraints. This is the jurisprudence of state action, which explores the "essential dichotomy" between the private sphere and the public sphere, with all its attendant constitutional obligations. Moose Lodge, supra, at 172.

We begin our discussion within the framework for state action analysis set forth in Lugar, supra, at 937. There we considered the state action question in the context of a due process challenge to a State's procedure allowing private parties to obtain prejudgment attachments. We asked first whether the claimed constitutional deprivation resulted from the exercise of a right or privilege having its source in state authority, 457 U.S., at 939 -941; and second, whether the private party charged with the deprivation could be described in all fairness as a state actor, id., at 941-942.

There can be no question that the first part of the Lugar inquiry is satisfied here. By their very nature, peremptory challenges have no significance outside a court of law. Their sole purpose is to permit litigants to assist the government in the selection of an impartial trier of fact. While we have recognized the value of peremptory challenges in this regard, particularly in the criminal context, see Batson, 476 at 98-99, there is no constitutional obligation to allow them. Ross v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 81, 88 (1988); Stilson v. United States, 250 U.S. 583, 586 (1919). Peremptory challenges are permitted only when the government, by statute or decisional law, deems it appropriate to allow parties to exclude a given number of persons who otherwise would satisfy the requirements for service on the petit jury. [500 U.S. 614, 621]  

Legislative authorizations, as well as limitations, for the use of peremptory challenges date as far back as the founding of the Republic; and the common law origins of peremptories predate that. See Holland v. Illinois, 493 U.S. 474, 481 (1990); Swain, 380 U.S., at 212 -217. Today, in most jurisdictions, statutes or rules make a limited number of peremptory challenges available to parties in both civil and criminal proceedings. In the case before us, the challenges were exercised under a federal statute that provides, inter alia:

"In civil cases, each party shall be entitled to three peremptory challenges. Several defendants or several plaintiffs may be considered as a single party for the purposes of making challenges, or the court may allow additional peremptory challenges and permit them to be exercised separately or jointly." 28 U.S.C. 1870.

Without this authorization, granted by an Act of Congress itself, Leesville would not have been able to engage in the alleged discriminatory acts.

Given that the statutory authorization for the challenges exercised in this case is clear, the remainder of our state action analysis centers around the second part of the Lugar test, whether a private litigant, in all fairness, must be deemed a government actor in the use of peremptory challenges. Although we have recognized that this aspect of the analysis is often a fact-bound inquiry, see Lugar, supra, 457 U.S. at 939, our cases disclose certain principles of general application. Our precedents establish that, in determining whether a particular action or course of conduct is governmental in character, it is relevant to examine the following: the extent to which the actor relies on governmental assistance and benefits, see Tulsa Professional Collection Services, Inc. v. Pope, 485 U.S. 478 (1988); Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715 (1961); whether the the actor is performing a traditional governmental function, see Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953); Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946); cf. San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic [500 U.S. 614, 622]   Committee, 483 U.S. 522, 544 -545 (1987); and whether the injury caused is aggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority, see Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948). Based on our application of these three principles to the circumstances here, we hold that the exercise of peremptory challenges by the defendant in the District Court was pursuant to a course of state action.

[Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company, 500 U.S. 614 (1991)]