Tag Archives: Law

The Law of Nature and of Nature’s God

Do you know how many new laws you’re expected to obey in 2015?

Whatever the number, when we combine all lawmaking activities at the federal, state, and local levels, we can see that every U.S. citizen is bound by literally hundreds of new government mandates each year. As business owners and others can attest, it’s becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to comply with these constantly changing legal requirements-or even to keep track of them all!

To Be Just, the Law Must Be Limited

Sadly, this is the very situation our Founding Fathers warned us against. In 1788 James Madison wrote: “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they… undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

Since law is force, it should be restricted to the one purpose for which individuals may legitimately use force–to protect our natural rights. As Thomas Jefferson put it, the law should “restrain men from injuring one another” but “leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits.”

Therefore, whenever a new bill comes before a legislative body, each member ought to ask himself.. “Do I have the right to use force against my neighbor to achieve this goal? Would I be willing to forcibly take his property, lock him in jail, or (in some cases) put him to death for failing to obey this law?” If a legislator isn’t certain it would be just to do so, he should vote against the bill.

Natural Law: The Basis of Proper Government

America’s founders knew that the only reliable basis on which to found a government was on a foundation that never changes. They called it “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

What is Natural Law?

First of all, Cicero defines Natural Law as “true law.” Then he says:

“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions…. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst punishment.”

 It can also be defined as “the rules of moral conduct implanted by nature in the human mind, forming the proper basis for and being superior to all written laws; the will of God revealed to man through his conscience.”

Natural law was central to American thought even before the Revolution. For example, here’s what Massachusetts patriot James Otis wrote in 1764 to oppose an unjust revenue act passed by the British Parliament:  “The supreme power in a state is jus dicere [to declare the law only: jus dare [to give the law, strictly speaking, belongs alone to God…. There must be in every instance a higher authority, [namely,] God. Should an act of Parliament be against any of His natural laws, which are immutably true, their declaration would be contrary to eternal truth, equity, and justice, and consequently void.”

When the U.S. Constitution was completed, its framers looked upon it as an expression of this higher law. According to Madison, it was a product of “the transcendent law of nature.” Alexander Hamilton called it “a fundamental law” and concluded that “no legislative act… contrary to the Constitution can be valid.”

Who Taught the Founders About This?

Where did the Founders learn about natural law? In their historical and political studies, it was a familiar thread that ran through the Greek and Roman philosophers (such as Aristotle, Demosthenes, Seneca, and especially Cicero); the Anglo-Saxon tradition of common law; and many of the European and English political philosophers (such as Sir Edward Coke, John Locke, Baron Charles de Montesquieu, and Sir William Blackstone).

This passage from Blackstone is representative of what they encountered in their reading:

“Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator…. These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all His dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such, among others, are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to everyone his due…. This law of nature… is binding over all the globe, in all countries and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this.”

The Bible and Natural Law

But the most ancient and most influential source from which the Founders drew their understanding of natural law was the Holy Bible, which they had studied from their childhood.  “I will give thee… a law,” the Lord declared to Moses, and He inscribed it on stone tablets to govern the house of Israel. When they vowed to obey this law, God accepted their covenant and promised that if they remained faithful He would make them “high above all nations … an holy people unto the Lord.”

The Israelites were forbidden to alter the words received by Moses, for “the law of the Lord is perfect.” “Great peace have they which love [the] law,” their leaders taught.

“He that keepeth the law, happy is he.” The lord also revealed to the prophet Jeremiah that in the last days He would “make a new covenant with the house of Israel,… I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

In the New Testament, Jesus proclaimed that the two greatest commandments are to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and that “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. ” The Apostle James spoke of Christ’s gospel as “the perfect law of liberty.”

Biblical teachings had a powerful impact on America’s founders. In fact, between the years 1760 and 1805, the Bible was the most frequently cited source in American political writings. John Adams, who regarded politics as “the divine science,” once said: “Suppose a nation… should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited   What a paradise would this region be!”

America Was Built on Natural Law

As our forefathers sought to build “one nation under God,” they purposely established their legal codes on the foundation of natural law. They believed that societies should be governed, as Jefferson put it, by “the moral law to which man has been subjected by his Creator, and of which his feelings, or conscience as it is sometimes called, are the evidence with which his Creator has furnished him. The moral duties which exist between individual and individual in a state of nature accompany them into a state of society,… their Maker not having released them from those duties on their forming themselves into a nation.”

Throughout the first century of US. history, natural law was upheld as a key principle of government by the American people and their leader-not only by Presidents and the Congress, but also by the Supreme Court.

In the view of the Court, its members were to decide cases by exercising “that understanding which Providence has bestowed upon them.” Since the laws they adjudicated were based on “the preexisting and higher authority of the laws of nature,” they relied less on judicial precedent than on “eternal justice as it comes from intelligence and ….. . to guide the conscience of the Court.”

So What Happened in the Twentieth Century?

In the 1900s, however, the Court began to depart from the original American philosophy. By 1947, Justice Hugo Black (following the earlier reasoning of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes) was urging that “the ‘natural law’ formula … should be abandoned”; he even argued that it was “a violation of our Constitution!” The other branches of the federal government have also succumbed to this new line of thinking.

Today, the United States has all but severed its connection to “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” We’ve sold our birthright for a “mess of pottage,” and we now find ourselves harvesting the fruits of that decision. In the recent words of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith H. Jones, our country has plunged into a profound moral crisis “because we have lost the sense of a God who takes interest in what we do.” As a result, she says, we have come to tolerate violence, immorality, and the disintegration of our families-and “are only now beginning to reap the whirlwind consequences” of these evils.

We are reminded of this sober admonition from the Old Testament: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land…. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, … seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:1, 6)

We Must Return to the “Freedom and Unity” Formula

More than ever before, America needs moral, God-fearing statesmen who have the knowledge, integrity, and determination to lead us back to the inspired principles on which this nation was founded. Among the most important of these is natural law. Only by adhering to this law, which is the will of our Creator revealed through the scriptures and through the conscience of every person, can our society enjoy lasting peace, stability, and happiness.

In modern times, many people have accepted the notion that all “truth” is relative and thus every opinion is equally valid, even in life’s most crucial issues. Such a philosophy inevitably tends toward confusion, corruption, and social discord. But absolute, eternal truth-the very substance of natural law-provides a sure standard for consensus by which we can “form a more perfect union” without violating the free will of any citizen.

In fact, we may say that revealed truth is the very center of America’s original “freedom and unity ” formula. Thomas Jefferson pointed out that the divine truths implanted in us by heaven are “those principles … in which God has united us all.” Ironically, they not only unify us but also liberate us, as our Savior assured His disciples. “Ye shall know the truth,” He said, “and the truth shall make you free.”


Earl Taylor, Jr.

The Monroe Doctrine

The Final Act for American Independence

One cannot read the writings of the Founders without discovering that a most singular and important feature of the settlers of America was their overpowering sense of mission — a conviction that they were taking part in a grand latter-day scene of divine design and magnitude. This sense of America’s destiny will be found expressed in nearly all of the inaugural addresses given by the presidents of the United States.

It was not a feeling of superiority or of a conquering imperialistic nature, but of humble recognition that the great yearnings of the human heart of all people is to live in freedom, prosperity, and peace. In the Founders thinking these yearnings were not limited to just the people in the colonies of America, but, if possible, the American experiment could eventually be an example and a blessing to the entire human race. For example, John Adams wrote:

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.”

Thomas Jefferson looked upon the development of freedom under the Constitution as “the world’s best hope,” and wrote to John Dickinson in 1801 that what had been accomplished in the United States “will be a standing monument and example for the aim and imitation of the people of other countries.”

Even while the Constitution was being written, John Adams expressed his hope that America will be the example for other nations to follow:

“The people of America have now the best opportunity and the greatest trust in their hands that Providence ever committed to so small a number.”

A special feeling for our American neighbors struggling for freedom

America’s Founders watched as their neighboring countries to the south struggled, as they themselves had, under the heavy yoke of European tyranny. Spain especially had control of many Latin America countries since the days of Cortez and Pizarro. But when Napoleonic forces created political turmoil in Spain, Spanish control of its American colonies weakened, and, under the leadership of liberators such as Simon Bolivar and others, the Latin American countries began winning their independence from European domination. After Napoleon was deposed, Spain and other European countries tried to regain control of their former Latin American colonies.

In 1823, President James Monroe, with the encouragement of Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, proclaimed in a speech to congress, that this attempted intrusion by European powers into the Western Hemisphere would pose a threat to the security of the United States and other free countries and would not be tolerated. It declared the Americas off-limits to European countries and committed that the United States would stay out of the affairs of the Eastern Hemisphere. President Monroe also stated that, while protecting our southern neighbors from European aggression, the United States would not meddle in the internal affairs of these Central and Latin American countries. This became known as the Monroe Doctrine and served as the basis of our foreign policy until it began to crumble with our entry into World War I.

The Monroe Doctrine A Fulfillment of Providential Design

After nearly forty years of experience and seasoning for the new nation, the Monroe Doctrine was a direct attempt by the Founders to begin to fulfill what they felt was a God-given mandate to America to be a force for good in protecting the rights and privileges of all flesh and to help the peoples of other nations gain the great longings of the human heart–freedom, prosperity, and peace. Where better to start to fulfil this mandate than with our own neighbors and thereby also further securing our own nation?

In the early 1960s, and soon after the Marxist-Communist Fidel Castro forcibly took control of Cuba with the encouragement and support of the Soviet Union, the Kennedy administration had refused to invoke the Monroe Doctrine. Former Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, who had just concluded eight years with President Eisenhower and was one of his trusted advisors on Cuba, explained the importance of the Monroe Doctrine in these words:

“The declaration was directed against the real danger of intervention by European powers in Central and South American affairs, and in particular, against any attempt at restoring to Spain its Latin American colonies, most of which had won their independence a few years earlier. President Monroe’s message was a bold act, a striking example of open diplomacy in the face of danger that loomed large throughout the century of European supremacy. It became securely established in the minds of several generations of Americans.

“Most people generally are quite familiar with the Monroe Doctrine. The basic facts are these. On December 2, 1823, President Monroe delivered his annual message to Congress and enunciated a policy which he and his cabinet had formulated regarding the official attitude of the United States toward future extension of European influence anywhere in the American hemisphere – both North and South America. In essence, that policy proclaimed that the United States would look with disfavor upon any new European colonization in the future, and any attempt by European powers to extend their influence over existing independent countries. In return, the United States proclaimed that it would not interfere with existing European colonies or in the internal affairs of any country in the Western Hemisphere. The purpose was to maintain the current balance of power so that we would not become the targets of future aggressive designs of European nations with massive strongholds on or near our borders. It was felt that the maintenance of an ocean between ourselves and European powers would safeguard us from becoming reluctantly entwined in the perennial intrigues and wars of the [European] Continent.

“Whenever the physical security of the United States is directly threatened, as it was in the Cuban crisis, we must not hesitate to uphold the traditional meaning of the Monroe Doctrine: our unilateral opposition to outside intervention in the Western Hemisphere. This Doctrine laid down as a broad principle of action and applied to world communism enjoys strong public support for foreign policy decisions. While the Monroe Doctrine may be subject to modification and divergent interpretation, it can and should continue to play a useful and significant role in the diplomacy of the United States.

“The Monroe Doctrine was entirely within the constitutional prerogative of the President. He could not commit our armed forces to battle, for that is a legislative function. But, as spokesman to the world in matters of foreign policy, he not only had a right but had an obligation to advise other nations of this country’s general position on such matters. Advance declarations of this kind serve a valuable function in the international relations of a non-aggressive nation. Hopeful of maintaining peace for ourselves, and with nothing to hide, there is much in favor of spelling out for other nations what conditions generally will be unacceptable to the point where non-peaceful acts will be contemplated. Other nations then can consider the probable consequences of their acts  prior  to making them, and thus avoid stumbling into a confrontation.

“The Monroe Doctrine is based upon the principle, long recognized in international law journals, that a nation has a right to interfere in the affairs of another nation if such interference is within the framework of self-defense. In other words, if the establishment by a foreign power of unusually heavy military installations is observed on a nation’s frontier, and if that nation has good reason to believe that those installations eventually are going to be used as a part of an offensive attack against it, then it is justified in taking the initiative in destroying those installations, without waiting for the actual attack. Such action, although aggressive by itself, is viewed as part of a generally defensive maneuver.

“Naturally, whether a nation can successfully execute this policy of “preventive self-defense” depends ultimately upon its strength and the advantage of its position. But international law is concerned, not so much with what a nation  can  do as it is with what a nation  may  do and still abide by a code of conduct to which honorable men can subscribe. In this respect, the Monroe Doctrine neither added nor detracted on iota from what the United States had a right to do. All it accomplished was to inform other nations what conditions the United States would consider a sufficient threat to its long-range security to justify involving, if need be, the sovereign right of preventative self-protection. If other nations wished to test our resolve or our strength in these matters, that was up to them, but at least we went on record and laid our cards on the table so that no one could say that they did not know.

“The important point, however, is that, even if the Monroe Doctrine had never been enunciated, the United States – or any nation for that matter – would still be justified in attempting to prevent an upset on the stable balance of power among its friendly bordering neighbors if it were convinced that such a shift in power eventually would result in a threat to its own security. That principle, which is at the heart of a nation’s right to self-preservation, is just as valid today as ever before – and especially so for the United States.

“It should be painfully obvious that the principle of preventative self-defense embodied in the Monroe Doctrine now has been deserted by our leaders in Washington. With a hostile communist regime in Cuba, firmly established only ninety miles from our borders, and with the United States Navy and Coast Guard actively protecting this enemy stronghold against anti-communist Cuban refugees who attempt to raid the island, it is futile any more to expect other nations to seriously believe that the Monroe Doctrine reflects the present attitude of the United States Government.  The Monroe Doctrine is right, it just needs to be applied.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the American people would be angry if they fully realized the extent to which our leaders have abandoned the vital principle of preventative self-defense on behalf of our nation. If a man says he is going to shoot you, and then points a gun in your direction, you don’t have to wait until he pulls the trigger before you take action to overpower him. When the communists say they are going to bury us and then move in a bearded gravedigger right next door, we should grab him by the hair on his chin and  throw him out! And we don’t have to apologize to anyone for our action.

“What we need is a new application of the Monroe Doctrine  –  a declaration to the nations of the world to inform them that no longer are we going to tolerate communist or other hostile regimes on or near our borders.  Give them fair warning. We don’t need to tell them exactly  what  we intend to do. That should be determined by each situation and the need. But there is no doubt that very quickly in the beginning we should have taken strong and swift action against communist Cuba, not only to eliminate that menace from our borders, but to demonstrate that we mean business with what we declare.” (See An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 241-245, compiled by Jerreld L. Newquist, Parliament Publishers, 1969)

A fundamental transformation of the Founders’ foreign policy has happened

On November 18, 2013, our current Secretary of State, John Kerry, completely abrogated what is left of the Monroe Doctrine in these words spoken to the Inter-American League:

“When people speak of the Western Hemisphere, they often talk about transformations that have taken place, but the truth is one of the biggest transformations has happened right here in the United States of America.  In the early days of our republic, the United States made a choice about its relationship with Latin America.  President James Monroe, who was also a former Secretary of State, declared that the United States would unilaterally, and as a matter of fact, act as the protector of the region.  The doctrine that bears his name asserted our authority to step in and oppose the influence of European powers in Latin America.  And throughout our nation’s history, successive presidents have reinforced that doctrine and made a similar choice.

“Today, however, we have made a different choice.  The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over…. The relationship that we seek and that we have worked hard to foster is not about a United States declaration about how and when it will intervene in the affairs of other American states.  It’s about all of our countries viewing one another as equals, sharing responsibilities, cooperating on security issues, and adhering not to doctrine, but to the decisions that we make as partners to advance the values and the interests that we share.”

It is clear that Secretary Kerry, representing the current administration, believes that:

  1. America has no responsibility to help protect our neighbors from the powerful dictatorships of Europe and Asia.
  2. America will be in no real danger having anti-American forces close to our borders.
  3. People of other nations might, if left free to do so, choose slavery and dictatorship.
  4. “American Exceptionalism” is an archaic notion and no longer defensible.
  5. The Founders’ belief that America has a Providential mandate to be an example and a blessing to the entire world and to help free the world’s enslaved peoples is pure fantasy.
  6. Somehow, under the Monroe Doctrine, the United States claims the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, even though it specifically rejects the idea.

From the perspective of the ideals and values of those who founded our American nation, it must be said that such beliefs expounded by our present leaders are dangerously “un-American.”

What a blessing it would be to our friends in North and South America if we would once again proclaim and enforce the principles of the Monroe Doctrine.


Earl Taylor, Jr.

Should we Teach True History in our Schools?

Should we Teach True History or
Revised History in our Nation’s Schools?

As some of you are aware, in addition to my work with NCCS, I am also the founder of one of Arizona’s first charter high schools nearly twenty years ago. A charter school is a public school supported by public state funds and, as such, is obligated to follow state laws in the operation of the school. As the teacher of the state-required class on the U. S. Government, I have been using NCCS’s The 5000 Year Leap as part of our curriculum. As many of you know, this book is the best book we know of which tells, in the Founder’s own words, the source of their great ideas and principles.

After nineteen years, a challenge comes demanding that we stop using this book

In December, 2013, an organization called American United for the Separation of Church and State sent a complaint to our school and to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, our sponsoring organization, containing the following:

We have received a complaint regarding Heritage Academy’s use of a book entitled ‘The 5000 Year Leap,’ by W. Cleon Skousen, in its History curriculum. Heritage requires senior students to read the book, which argues that the United States was founded and should be governed based upon religious teachings and laws. Example chapter titles include: “Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained”; “All things were created by God, therefore upon him all mankind are equally dependent, and to him they are equally responsible”; “To protect human rights, God has revealed a code of divine law”; and “The United States has a manifest destiny to eventually become a glorious example of God’s law under a restored Constitution that will inspire the entire human race.” See National Center for Constitutional Studies, The 5000 Year Leap – A Miracle that Changed the World, at http://www.nccs.net/products/books/the-5000-year-leap-a-miracle-that-changed-the-world.php (last visited Nov. 21, 2013). Moreover, the book’s text extensively quotes the Bible as truth. The endorsement and promotion of religious views and ideologies in a public-school classroom violates both the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article XI, § 7 of the Arizona Constitution. We therefore ask that you remove this book from the curriculum.”

The complainant then launches into what appears to be a cookie-cutter description of court cases which prohibit teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools, Bible reading and prayers in public schools, distributing Bible pamphlets and requiring Bible-owning teachers to keep it out of sight of students, and refraining from reading the Bible silently during school hours—all apparently implying that we do such activities at our school, which we do not.

The complainant continues:

The Arizona Constitution contains a prohibition on religious instruction in the public schools that is stronger even than that of the federal Establishment Clause. Article XI, Section 7 of the Arizona Constitution provides, in relevant part, that “[n]o sectarian instruction shall be imparted in any school or State educational institution that may be established under this Constitution. The use of The 5000 Year Leap in an Arizona public school cannot stand under the plain language of the Arizona Constitution.

For these reasons, we ask you to remove The 5000 Year Leap from Heritage Academy’s curriculum.” (Italics added)

My reply to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools

All charter schools are required to answer any complaint filed with the State Board. My response included the following:

In reply to the complaint filed with you, dated December 4, 2013, by the “Americans United” organization, I submit the following.

Our Government class, which is required of all seniors, conforms to the following State of Arizona requirements/laws/declarations:

From the Constitution of the State of Arizona: Preamble:

“We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.”

Article 2, Section 1: “A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.”

Article 11, Section 7: “No sectarian instruction shall be imparted in any school or state educational institution that may be established under this Constitution, and no religious or political test or qualification shall ever be required as a condition of admission into any public educational institution of the state, as teacher, student, or pupil; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to justify practices or conduct inconsistent with the good order, peace, morality, or safety of the state, or with the rights of others.

From the Arizona Revised Statutes:

ARS 15-710 “Instruction in state and federal constitutions, American institutions and history of Arizona

All schools shall give instruction in the essentials, sources and history of the Constitutions of the United States….”

ARS 15-717 15-717 “American history and heritage

A teacher or administrator in any school in this state may read or post in any school building copies or excerpts of the following materials:

      1. The national motto.
      2. The national anthem.
      3. The pledge of allegiance.
      4. The preamble to the constitution of this state.
      5. The declaration of independence.
      6. The Mayflower compact.
      7. Writings, speeches, documents and proclamations of the founding fathers and the presidents of the United States.
      8. Published decisions of the United States Supreme Court.
      9. Acts of the United States Congress.”

ARS15-508 “Dismissal for failure to comply with certain laws

Wilful neglect or failure on the part of a school superintendent, principal, teacher or other officer of a school to observe and carry out the requirements of section…15-710 is sufficient cause for dismissal or removal of such person from his position, and the superintendent of public instruction shall make necessary arrangements for carrying out the provisions of this section.”

Arizona State Board of Education rule for high school graduation:

R7-2-302.02 (1) (b) (iii). One-half credit of American government, including Arizona government;

The 5000 Year Leap is a book used in our class on Government and the Constitution which identifies twenty-eight principles or concepts that are found in or reflected in the writings of America’s Founders and which form the basis of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Numerous quotations from America’s Founders are included in the book to show the source of their ideas.

The complainant correctly cited three of the twenty-eight chapter titles as having to do with the moral and religious basis for a free society, which is reflected in numerous quotes of the Founders contained in the book. The complainant incorrectly gave another chapter title as “The United States has a manifest destiny to eventually become a glorious example of God’s Law under a restored Constitution that will inspire the entire human race”, seemingly to bolster the allegation that we are inappropriately teaching religion. The correct title of the chapter in the book reads, “The United States has a Manifest Destiny to be an example and a Blessing to the Entire Human Race.” The Founders quotes in this chapter reflect this concept.

Any honest student/teacher of American History must acknowledge the influence of religion in the history of the American nation. Even some organizations which reject and attempt to minimize any religious influence in society today admit that one cannot properly teach the history of America without teaching the influence of religion.

The complainant has listed a number of court cases relative to the teaching of religion, implying that Heritage Academy is participating in such prohibited activities. Please know that we intend to follow the law which allows and even requires the proper teaching of history and also has certain prohibitions. These legal requirements are reflected in our policies, which include:

    1. We do not endorse or require students to embrace any religion or denomination.
    2. We respect the right of all students to believe or not believe according to their own conscience.
    3. We have had students enrolled and/or graduated who held many differing religious views (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.) or with no religious belief at all.
    4. We do not forbid any student from expressing his or her religious belief.
    5. We do not teach “creationism” in our science classes.
    6. We do not teach sectarian or denominational doctrine in any class. We do not require the reading of the Bible or any other religious text at this school.
    7. We do not require prayer at this school.
    8. We do teach the influence of religion in America’s founding, using the words of the Founders themselves.
    9. We do not require that students believe what the Founders believed, but we do require that students know what the Founders believed that made them act the way they did in founding this country, thus fulfilling state law which requires a “frequent recurrence to fundamental principles” and the “instruction in the essentials, sources, and history of the Constitutions of the United States.”

It is interesting to note that of the twenty-eight principles of government outlined in The 5000 Year Leap, those referred to by the complainant are only three or four that specifically mention religion. There are many more principles, such as the separation of powers, checks and balances, limited and delegated powers, strong local self-government, avoiding entangling alliances, etc., making a total of twenty-eight.

No other book outlines so clearly the ingredients which the Founders incorporated into their formula for freedom as does The 5000 Year Leap. It is the simplest and clearest explanation of what the Founders believed, supported by their own words, as they built the first free people in modern times. It is not associated with any sect or denomination. It is one of the best books written to help our students fulfill our school’s mission statement to understand the ideals and values of those who founded the American nation. (end of reply)

State Charter Board Determines Heritage Academy is within the law

The Charter Board’s responses included the following statements:

  1. The documentation you [the complainant] submitted and the school’s response have been reviewed…and the complaint is now closed.”
  2. “…while the complainant provided some examples of content from the two books in question, the complainant has not provided any evidence that the school utilizes the content in a manner that violates the law.”

This month Heritage Academy will begin its twentieth year of operation and teaching history the way it really happened. It is evident, however, that there is a real effort underway to force a revisionist account of our nation’s history, to which, sadly, many schools have succumbed.

George Washington wishes all Americans would remember and teach our true history

Near the beginning of Washington’s First Inaugural Address to the people of the United States he expressed the hope that we would not forget what really happened and what he personally experienced in the founding of our nation. Said he:

Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.”


Earl Taylor, Jr.

Understanding America’s Political Spectrum

In a few days Americans will be celebrating Independence Day, but most will take a day off of work and enjoy a backyard barbeque or go to the lake or some other activity without giving much thought to what our forefathers really accomplished on that day. It really represented a culmination of their study of the real purpose of government.Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson described the history of governments as swinging like a pendulum as a people become tired of dictatorships and authoritarian rulers. The people throw them off only to find a lack of order and security and soon someone comes along promising to solve all the people’s problems. Before long the people realize they are back to a dictatorship. Such is the sad history of national governments. France has experienced this political pendulum swing several times in its history and we are seeing it happening again today.

Over the past few months, the European Union, the government consisting of 28 countries, has been holding elections for 751 members of its multi-national parliament. Establishment bureaucrats are shocked that the so-called far-right National Front party is making big gains in France, even taking the lead over the big two controlling leftist parties, the Union for a Popular Movement or UMP, and the Socialist Party. And so the pendulum is beginning to swing once again. The people are tired of uncontrolled borders, policies for nations being made in Brussels, the headquarters of the EU, and they are demanding dissolution of the multi-national currency. They are experiencing the actions of a run-a-way government too distant to control and too big to change. It is the same kinds of things that caused America’s Founders to become frustrated with King George. But the Founders knew more about the proper political spectrum and how to solve the problems than most leaders today.
What is Left, What is Right?

It is extremely unfortunate that the writers on political philosophy today have undertaken to measure various issues in terms of political parties instead of political power. No doubt the American Founding Fathers would have considered this modern measuring stick most objectionable, even meaningless.

Today it is popular in the classroom as well as the press to refer to “Communism on the left,” and “Fascism on the right.” People and parties are often called “Leftist,” or “Rightist.” The public do not really understand what they are talking about.
These terms actually refer to the manner in which the various parties are seated in the parliaments of Europe. The radical revolutionaries (usually the Communists) occupy the far left and the military dictatorships (such as the Fascists) are on the far right. Other parties are located in between. Today in France, for example, the UMP is often referred to a “center-right” and the Socialist Party as “center-left.” Some sources list as many as 27 political parties in France including the Centrist Alliance, Communists, Democratic Socialist, Christian Socialists, Popular Republican, Populist, Progressive, etc.

Measuring people and issues in terms of political parties has turned out to be philosophically fallacious if not totally misleading. This is because the platforms or positions of political parties are often superficial and structured on shifting sand. The platform of a political party of one generation can hardly be recognized by the next. Furthermore, Communism and Fascism turned out to be different names for approximately the same thing — the police state. They are not opposite extremes but, for all practical purposes, are virtually identical.

The American Founding Fathers Used a More Accurate Yardstick

Government is defined in the dictionary as “a system of ruling or controlling,” and therefore the American Founders measured political systems in terms of the amount of coercive power or systematic control which a particular system of government exercises over its people. In other words, the yardstick is not political parties, but political power.

Using this type of yardstick, the American Founders considered the two extremes to be anarchy on the one hand, and tyranny on the other. At the one extreme of anarchy there is no government, no law, no systematic control and no governmental power, while at the other extreme there is too much control, too much political oppression, too much government. Or, as the Founders called it, “tyranny.”

The object of the Founders was to discover the “balanced center” between these two extremes. They recognized that under the chaotic confusion of anarchy there is “no law,” whereas at the other extreme the law is totally dominated by the ruling power and is therefore “Ruler’s Law.” What they wanted to establish was a system of “People’s Law,” where the government is kept under the control of the people and political power is maintained at the balanced center with enough government to maintain security, justice, and good order, but not enough government to abuse the people.

The contrast between Ruler’s Law (all power in the ruler) and People’s Law (all power in the people) could be graphically illustrated as follows. Note where the power base is located under each of these systems. Also compare the relationship between the individual and the rest of society under these two systems.

peopleslaw Understanding America’s Political Spectrum

rulerslaw Understanding America’s Political Spectrum

Can you recognize Ruler’s Law in today’s governments?

It is critical that people be educated to recognize the destructive elements of Ruler’s Law so they can immediately resist it and correct the course of government. This writer has found that instructing youth in these elements is particularly gratifying because they begin seeing what is really happening in America. Here are the basic characteristics of Ruler’s Law:

  1. Authority under Ruler’s Law is nearly always established by force, violence, and conquest.
  2. Therefore, all sovereign power is considered to be in the conqueror or his descendants.
  3. The people are not equal, but are divided into classes and are all looked upon as “subjects” of the king.
  4. The entire country is considered to be the property of the ruler. He speaks of it as his “realm.”
  5. The thrust of governmental power is from the top down, not from the people upward.
  6. The people have no unalienable rights. The “king giveth and the king taketh away.”
  7. Government is by the whims of men, not by the fixed rule of law which the people need in order to govern their affairs with confidence.
  8. The ruler issues edicts which are called “the law.” He then interprets the law and enforces it, thus maintaining tyrannical control over the people.
  9. Under Ruler’s Law, problems are always solved by issuing more edicts or laws, setting up more bureaus, harassing the people with more regulators, and charging the people for these “services” by continually adding to their burden of taxes.
  10. Freedom is never looked upon as a viable solution to anything.
  11. The long history of Ruler’s Law is one of blood and terror, both anciently and in modern times. Under it the people are stratified into an aristocracy of the ruler’s retinue while the lot of the common people is one of perpetual poverty, excessive taxation, stringent regulations, and a continuous existence of misery.

The Founders’ Attraction to People’s Law

The Founders’ goal was to have a government that protected the unalienable rights of the people and otherwise left the people completely free to do as they will. The government was not to become oppressive of the people. Thus they put into a written Constitution such concepts as separation of powers, checks and balances, limited delegated powers, etc., to keep chains around the structure of government to keep it from moving to the left or right along the political spectrum.

Jefferson described exactly the goal of the Founders when he noted:

“We are now vibrating between too much and too little government, and the pendulum will rest finally in the middle.”
In our teaching of the Constitution we like to call the position sought by the Founders on the political spectrum as the “balanced center.” It is balanced between too much and too little government. It is important to emphasize to our students of government that if they identify with the Founders’ positions on government they are not on some right-wing binge as some would attempt to label us, but we are actually in the “balanced center” of the political spectrum—right where the Founders were! It feels good to be a balanced person!

In direct contrast to the harsh oppression of Ruler’s Law, the Founders, particularly Jefferson, admired the institutes of freedom under People’s Law as originally practiced among the Anglo-Saxons. As one authority on Jefferson points out:

“Jefferson’s great ambition at that time [1776] was to promote a renaissance of Anglo-Saxon primitive institutions on the new continent. Thus presented, the American Revolution was nothing but the reclamation of the Anglo-Saxon birthright of which the colonists had been deprived by a ‘long trend of abuses.’ Nor does it appear that there was anything in this theory which surprised or shocked his contemporaries; Adams apparently did not disapprove of it, and it would be easy to bring in many similar expressions of the same idea in documents of the time.”

Characteristics of the Balanced
Center position or People’s Law

Here are the principal points of People’s Law which the Founders recognized in ancient Israel and in Anglo-Saxon Common Law culture. Once again, as this writer teaches these concepts to seniors in high school it becomes very apparent to them how far we have slid from the balanced center. These concepts create a feeling of optimism and hope in the human heart and are really a part of the Biblical concept of “the perfect law of liberty.”

  1. They considered themselves a commonwealth of freemen which means that all are equal and have the same obligation to perpetuate freedom for oneself and all others.
  2. All decisions and the selection of leaders had to be with the consent of the people, preferably by full consensus, not just a majority.
  3. The laws by which they were governed were considered natural laws given by divine dispensation, and were so well known by the people they did not have to be written down in detail.
  4. Power was dispersed among the people and never allowed to concentrate in any one person or group. Even in time of war, the authority granted to the leaders was temporary and the power of the people to remove them was direct and simple.
  5. Primary responsibility for resolving problems rested first of all with the individual, then the family, then the tribe or community, then the region, and finally, the nation.
  6. They were organized into small, manageable groups where every adult had a voice and a vote. They divided the people into units of ten families who elected a leader; then fifty families who elected a leader; then a hundred families who elected a leader; and then a thousand families who elected a leader.
  7. They believed the rights of the individual were considered unalienable and could not be violated without risking the wrath of divine justice as well as civil retribution by the people’s judges.
  8. The system of justice was structured on the basis of severe punishment unless there was complete reparation to the person who had been wronged.
  9. They always attempted to solve problems on the level where the problem originated. If this was impossible they went no higher than was absolutely necessary to get a remedy. Usually only the most complex problems involving the welfare of the whole people, or a large segment of the people, ever went to the leaders of the nation for solution.

A Note on Political Parties

Notice that the elements of People’s Law do not include the influence of political parties. America’s Founders were well acquainted with political parties, sometimes referred to as factions and they gave specific warnings in regard to them. There is nothing wrong with people of like minds getting together to support correct principles of government. That is a human tendency. But when political parties are granted political power through laws, then political influence is exercised by unelected people and the contests become party oriented as we now see in Europe and in America. The Founders warned against this and we can see the damaging results testifying of the Founders’ wisdom.

Happy Fourth of July,

Earl Taylor, Jr.

Who Really Owns America’s Land?

Who Really Owns America’s Land?

Under English common law, a most unique significance was attached to the unalienable right of possessing, developing, and disposing of property. Land and the products of the earth, in their natural state, were considered a gift of God to man, but then man was commanded individually to cultivate, beautify, and subdue it and bring it under his dominion.

This is the root of private property ownership, for without a certain exclusiveness, one cannot fulfill the command to “subdue” and gain “dominion” over property.

America’s Founders took this Biblical injunction literally and believed that no government official has a right to interfere with this God-given, unalienable right and mandate. Their belief that the land belonged to the people, not the king, was the impetus for including the grievances in the Declaration of Independence that, 1) “He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States;… and rais[ed] the conditions of new Appropriations of Land, and, 2) the “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” King George also attempted to prevent the colonists from possessing the new lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Land belongs to the people, not the Government or the King

This, like many other ideas of the Founders, led them to reject the old established way of centralized control of land and to institute orderly control at a much more local level which would be administered close to the people for their benefit. State, counties, and local governments became the support for organized, private ownership of land, with only a little bit dedicated to the common usage of the people.

To ensure that this arrangement would forever be maintained, the Founders gave very specific restrictions to the federal government concerning the ownership and control of land. While the federal government would maintain control of territories such as the District of Columbia, Article I, Section 8, clause 17 of the U. S. Constitution clearly states that land within the boundaries of a state may only be acquired by the national government if, first, it has the consent of the state legislature, and, second, it must only be for one of four purposes: military forts, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.

It is interesting to note that no state legislature exists before a state exists, so all the land within a state comes within state jurisdiction when a state is created. Thereafter, the federal government may ask the state legislature for specific parcels of land for the above-stated purposes. It was this procedure that was to guarantee that the age-old tendency of power-hungry national or kingly governments to grab up and deprive the people of their God-given land would forever be avoided in the United States.

New States would come into Union on an
Equal Footing with the Original Thirteen States

The Founders made sure that the original thirteen states had both dominion and sovereignty with respect to land within the states’ borders and that the national government’s land holdings were very little and in accordance to the purposes outlined in the Constitution. But what about new states that were surely to come into the Union at a later date?

The Founders declared in several documents that all future states were to be accepted into the Union on an “Equal Footing” in all aspects with all the original states. Language such as, “…on an Equal Footing with the original states, in all respects whatsoever…” and “…and shall have the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other states;” is found in documents such as The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and others which outline the specific procedures for accepting new states into the Union.

It is interesting to note that when land came into possession of the United States in the Founders’ Era, such as the huge Louisiana Territory, efforts were made to organize it so that, when sufficient population was present, it could be converted into sovereign states. Much of the land was sold directly to the people and the proceeds used to pay off the national debt. The year 1835 was the only time in our history the national debt was completely paid off. The Founders were loyal to the Constitutional requirements in two ways: 1) The disposition of land to the people, and 2) The paying off of the national debt.

Enabling Acts of the Western States

The original thirteen states and the later Midwestern and Southern states currently have very little federal lands (as low as 1%) within their boundaries as required by the Constitution. But when the western states applied for statehood, a whole new philosophy was in vogue in Washington, D. C. It is as though the age-old kingly philosophy that the Founders fought so hard to eliminate had returned and the central powers saw opportunities to control the people by retaining control of their lands, even after statehood was granted.

Statehood Enabling Acts are passed by Congress to facilitate the creation of each state. They provide, among other things, for the state to enjoy equal footing with the other states and that the federal government will be unhindered in its disposal of previously held lands. The California Enabling Act is reasonably typical of all other western states, with some modifications. It says:

“…That the State of California shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one, of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an Equal Footing with the original States in all respects whatever.” And

“…That the said State of California is admitted into the Union upon the express condition that the people of said State, through their legislature or otherwise, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of public lands within its limits, and shall pass no law and do no act whereby the title of the United States to, and right to dispose of, the same shall be impaired or questioned;…”

The passage of the Forest Reserve Act of 1891

It was not long after some western states came into the Union (e.g. California in 1850, Nevada in 1864) that the tendency grew for the federal government to not dispose of land within the respective states as agreed in the Enabling Acts but to “set aside” lands for other purposes. Yosemite and Yellowstone were among these. Congress finally passed the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 which included authority for the president to do just that, even though it was outside the boundary and authority of the Constitution. This act included a short rider to Section 24 which reads:

“That the president of the United States may, from time to time, set apart and reserve, in any state or territory having public land bearing forest, in any part of the public lands wholly or in part covered with timber or undergrowth, whether of commercial value or not, as public reservations; and the president shall, by public proclamation, declare the establishment of such reservation and limits thereof.”

As a result the federal government today claims to own or control the following percentages of the western states: Nevada – 86%, Arizona – 75%, Utah – 75%, Oregon – 75%, Idaho – 75%, Alaska – 71%, Wyoming – 65%, New Mexico – 60%, California – 55%, Colorado – 50%, Montana – 45%, Washington – 40%.

How the West was Lost

In his book, How the West Was Lost: The theft and usurpation of state’s property rights, author William C. Hayward documents the gradual and powerful takeover of one of America’s most precious resources – its land. It is interesting that the loss of America’s property ownership nearly parallels the ongoing loss of individual rights in so many other areas. It is a new philosophy that is engulfing this majestic land and a philosophy that will destroy America if we do not awaken to our awful situation. The following are excerpts from Mr. Hayward’s book.

“This 1891 Act was used by Presidents Harrison, Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt. This one-sentence rider of this act gave to the president a new, far reaching authority [although unconstitutionally] to unilaterally, by decree, establish reserve land – land to be known later as forest reserves. They withdrew millions and millions of acres of the West’s hills and mountain ranges from public settlement. This was done in the name of conservation. Thus the National Forests began, as did the precedent of set-aside land. As we know it today, these millions and millions of acres of set aside public lands that found their beginning in 1891 are under the administrative control of the BLM, the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Defense. In more recent years parts of these public lands were further designated as ‘wilderness’ by the Wilderness Act. Thirty-eight million acres have been set aside as wilderness. Eighty-five percent of this land is in the state of Alaska. While it is well known that no motorized vehicles are permitted within wilderness areas, little known is the fact that any and all natural resources of all kinds are likewise set aside: mining, timber harvesting, etc. are precluded from exploitation or use…. In the name of conservation, Yellowstone national park, set aside in 1872, became the first of what are today 364 National parks, monuments, or reserves – far more than most people realize.

“Presidents since Teddy Roosevelt have set aside public land by their personal edict and without further authority from Congress [or the Constitution]. President Carter did so as well in the only place Public Domain remained of any consequence – Alaska. Today, Alaskans are still bitter over this huge reserve established by a single decree of President Jimmy Carter. Alaskans were upset. They still are! Among other things, their bitterness is over the proposal by the federal government that any new oil royalties will be shared on a 50 percent-50 percent basis rather than the present 90 percent-to percent basis. The oil is under Forest Reserve land. Not surprising; the composition of Alaska land is as follows: 59 percent federal, 28 percent state (which came from the federal lands as a trust for education), 12 percent Alaskan native, leaving 1 percent in private ownership…. Today these reserves, along with the other set-aside land, constitute a third of the nation.

“One could surely ask how an act such as the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, whose constitutionality must surely have crossed more than one congressman’s or senator’s mind, could have been passed. If the issue of constitutionality was brought up, little has been said about it. The paramount issue, therefore, must have been the simple need, in their minds, for preservative legislation. From a historical point of view, the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 was the culmination of a mounting concern for the preservation and wise use of the nation’s natural resources as well as the preservation in perpetuity of natural, scenic wonders such as Yosemite and Yellowstone. This concern was voiced and debated across the nation. The media for this debate were a number of magazines, such as Atlantic Monthly, North American Review, Review of Reviews, Yale Review and a number of others. The West was captivating to the Easterner; he could enjoy its adventure and grandeur vicariously. The mystique of the West was captivating. Artists such as Remington and Russell gave spice and verve to this presentation of the West with their illustrations and art. Conservationists such as John Muir presented their verbal picture as well; all appeared in these and other early magazines, tabloids and journals.

“Another factor was quietly increasing in importance: the expansion to the West itself. And the census reports every ten years reflected this movement – ever westward. In each census report the Western frontier was traced as though it were a waterline of a rising tide. Its line moved inexorably westward, leaving the reader ‘with the impression or certain knowledge that land was running out.

“Such misstatements were compounded by claims that loggers ‘simply burned over twenty-five million acres of forest each year and managed to cut four-fifths of it in less than a century.’ The message was plain: Waste!”

The Westerner didn’t have a chance

“This was the stage-setting for the pivotal Forest Reserve Act of 1891. Something had to be done about waste and abuse and Congress was ready to do just that [even without any Constitutional authority]. The Westerner didn’t have a chance, for the East was the center of communications, commerce and commitment. Further, the population centers were concentrated in the northeastern states, giving numerical superiority in the House of Representatives to those manufacturing-oriented states. For most representatives, their understanding and judgments were based upon what they read or heard[most had never even been out west]. And it was romanticized or negatively exaggerated! But part of it was real. By 1891 the mind-set was reasonably firm: Waste and abuse had to be stopped. Commitment to this end was a reasonably foregone conclusion. The nearly sole voice of John Wesley Powell was not enough to sway the East and Congress; supposed waste must be stopped; natural resources must be preserved and husbanded; land must be retained. After all, they were told, there was very little left!” (Excerpts from Hayward, pp. 22-24)

What is to be done?

After all is said, what are constitutionally-minded Americans to do? First, we must recognize that the entrenchment of the Washington D. C. bureaus and agencies is so deep that they will not willingly relinquish claim on western lands. They really believe they own it. Second, governments which have become too top-heavy eventually collapse of their own weight. In the meantime, we must, knowing time is always on the side of truth, continue to teach correct principles of land ownership and try to elect people who understand it, so that when the time comes we will be ready with an answer – the Founders’ answer for Constitutional ownership of America’s land.


Earl Taylor, Jr.

Common Core vs. Heritage Academy’s Standards

Common Core vs. Heritage Academy’s Standards

Note: A number of states have adopted the new and mostly unknown Common Core Standards for K-12 education. Nearly all of the “adoptions” have not been done by state legislatures, but by state Boards of Education, a prime example of how administrative law-making is replacing legislative law-making in our country. With the increased attention and rising public opposition to some elements of Common Core, I asked our American History teacher, Cara Palmer, to evaluate how the Common Core standards measure up with what we require at our charter high school, Heritage Academy.

Cara Palmer graduated from Heritage Academy in 2000 where she also served as our Student Body President. She went on to receive her B. A. from Southern Virginia University, her Master of Education from the University of Arizona, and 21 additional upper level history credits at Arizona State University. She now teaches American History at Heritage Academy where students can also receive dual enrollment college credit as they earn credits toward high school graduation.

The following is a summary of her report. The full text may be found here.

Earl Taylor

How the Two Align: Common Core State Standards and
Heritage Academy’s American History Curriculum (Summary Version)


Words from a Concerned Teacher – After reviewing the Common Core State Standards, a teacher at Heritage Academy had some apprehensions of just what American History lesson is being taught to students through the new standards. The teacher made the following comments in a message to the director of the school:

I just took a more thorough look at the Informational Texts and Sample Performance Tasks that you sent us this last week for the content area of History. I am working really hard to be an optimist in this situation, but I am having a hard time seeing how these suggested texts benefit, protect and preserve our country. Are these texts going to be the required texts? Do I have to use these exact excerpts? Every document that I viewed pulls down America’s foundation. I was not too surprised about the texts on the Battle of Little Bighorn and the “Declaration of Sentiments” from the Women’s Convention at Seneca Falls since most public schools and universities place great emphasis on these topics already. However, as I read the letter they chose to represent George Washington and the section they picked from Democracy in America, it became apparent what the motive and objective is behind these standards. Why didn’t they pick a section from Washington’s Farewell Address or choose an excerpt from Democracy in America that shows the benefits of religion and beliefs in our free nation? (2013)

These questions and concerns, as well as many others, steered the administration and staff of Heritage Academy to conduct a more thorough study of just what the Informational Texts and Sample Performance Tasks are not just asking students to do, but what they are teaching them on various topics, such as American History.

An Overview of American History in
the Common Core State Standards

In a broad perspective there are 333 texts selected for grades K- CCR (CCR means “College and Career Ready” in Common Core) in Appendix B (English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects), at least 72 of these texts are related to significant historical periods and topics taught in American History classes today. Of these 72 texts, at least 32 focus on the stark topic of racism (such as slavery, segregation, white supremacy, etc.) which comes out to be approximately 42% of the American History content. Only 10 of the 72 (approximately ) have the actual words or fundamental documents written by the men who were key players in America’s founding as a free nation (two of which are a collection of primary documents from American History) and of that ten only four are found in the sections assigned for History/Social Studies. Many of the prominent primary documents, such as The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, the United States Bill of Rights and George Washington’s “Farwell Address,” are found in other sections, mainly the English Language Arts and not under the History/Social Studies sections.

A Young Student’s American History
Experience Under Common Core

The first document a child will read, under the Common Core Standards, related to American History is in Kindergarten or 1st grade. It is the story of George Washington Carver titled A Weed is a Flower: The life of George Washington Carver (Liki 1965). This book has an inspiring message of a man who overcame all odds (slavery and racism being the main ones) to becoming a wonderful scientist of horticulture, who assisted the South greatly in their agricultural achievements. In this document there is also a story being told of America. The first page points out that George was the “son of slaves” and “there was no hope for the future” (3). It explains that George through his life had turned “[e]vil into Good, despair into hope and hatred into love” (3). The story goes on to describe his family running in fear from a band of white kidnappers and tells the sad story that he never saw his mother again. This is the only text related to American History a child will get in Kindergarten and 1st grade. There is no patriotic poem, story or lyrics. There is no story about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. What might be a child’s perception of America based on this introduction? More importantly, why was this the only text chosen in relation to American History and none others? If a student is expected to learn about the life and function of a tree (as in A Tree is a Plan by Clyde Robert Bulla), wind power (National Geographic Young Explorers’ “Wind Power”) or the history of learning to fly (in Fran Hodgkins’ and True Kelley’s How People Learned to Fly), why can’t they learn the basic structure of our government or basic principles of freedom taught by the Founders of this Country? Instead the topic of slavery is their first lesson. This type of pattern continues from grade to grade and into their high school years (read the full response to get a more thorough layout and better details).

The Curriculum Focus at Heritage Academy

What lessons on American History does Heritage Academy teach? More importantly, what type of students emerge from a curriculum that focuses on the “lives, beliefs and accomplishments of the heroes of America—our founding fathers and mothers—and to better understand the values and principles which governed their lives and upon which they built the American nation” (2013, www.heritageacademyaz.com/index.cfm/about-us/)? Heritage Academy for the past eighteen years has worked tirelessly to teach this lesson to its students. What are the results? The following comments from students all come from the most recent school year, 2012-2013, in their American History classroom (Heritage Academy Students, Final Inquiry Paper Presentations, Spring 2013).

“Our Constitution is truly phenomenal” said one Heritage Scholar to her classmates at Heritage Academy at the end of the school year. Students at Heritage Academy are given the opportunity to really read, study and gain a love for the Constitution and the foundational principles that make this Nation great. Another student made this comment, “I truly believe that if we as a nation adhere to the principles our Founders incorporated into the Constitution, we will be able to preserve our freedom.” On the same topic a young man made this explanation of what freedom now means to him:

The Founders secured to the American people a treasure which few had ever before possessed, freedom. The individuals of the United States were left to pursue their own happiness, to create their own success, to ease their own hardships, and to remedy their own problems. Such was, and such remains, the responsibility which the preservation of our sweet, priceless liberty demands. There is neither a cause more noble, nor a task more rewarding than the protection, through diligence and courage, of this essential right.

This leads to another important lesson that students discovered after receiving an in-depth understanding of America’s Founders and founding documents, which are the responsibilities that rest on the American citizens. One scholar pointed out that “government is not the road to your independence and well-being, but being unified in the same principles is the key.” The words of another scholar explained the need for proper self-government in order to have liberty:

Liberty and self-government coincide with each other. Liberty is the power to do as one pleases, or the power of choice. Self-government is self-control, or self-command. These two ideas go hand in hand. Without liberty, we cannot have self-government because we don’t get to choose; we don’t have our freedom to choose. Without self-government, someone else is making our choices, so therefore, we have no liberty. Self-government is just as important as our liberty and our inalienable rights.

This principle of self-government went deeper as a scholar explained the importance of religion and morality:

Without religion and morality, true patriotism can never be acquired. Our Constitution promises us freedom of religions, not freedom from religions. We need right now to set the example of liberty, equality, and morality to the whole world, but we cannot achieve this unless we ourselves are free, equal and virtuous. Virtue and morality are not just things we can apply whenever we want to; they must be enforced every minute of every day of our lives. What makes our country special is not just that we have these standards, but that we live up to them.

It takes self-control, unification and moral principles to remain a free people. As one scholar put it, “You cannot compromise principles. This is a mistake we made as a nation. We sacrificed our freedom for a nice sounding deal.” Of course there is still more to the equation of being a truly free and equal people and the scholars of Heritage Academy have worked hard to piece it together.

It became obvious to many scholars that education is another vital piece to this puzzle. One scholar explained that, “Knowledge is one thing that, if lacking, a person wouldn’t be able to decipher and apply their own rights. When the people are uneducated, then their rights can easily be taken away from them. […] Lacking knowledge and learning, America would unknowingly vote its freedoms away.” The citizens of America must be educated on these topics to know how to uphold, defend and preserve their freedoms. Another student realized the drastic differences that set modern day America apart from days of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin; in response he made this comment: “The world we live in is different, but those principles shouldn’t perish from this world. Kennedy said, ‘And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ In the end ask yourselves should America still follow the Constitution’s principles and moral laws?” Is having a deep and meaningful understanding of our Nation’s founding principles unnecessary in today’s world? On this topic another Heritage Academy student made this statement:

This is our America. Remembering and expanding our education is the first step we must take. We must then understand and apply these principles to help us win our internal and external battles. As we learn to do this, we will become more united as a nation, ready to take on the hardships thrown our way. In conclusion, as a country we must always look to and learn from the past, keep ourselves in line with good values and remain determined to continue forward.

What type of curriculum prompted this type of learning in the young scholars of Heritage Academy? This past year the students in American History (grades 10 & 11) have worked through a curriculum consisting of a vast collection of primary documents which were directly related to the time periods and topics being studied. Over the course of one year the students studied over 75 primary documents. Of the 75 documents, 30 focus on the founding of the American Nation, which is 40% of the documents. Documents included in this collection were, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, The Declaration of Independence and “The Writing of the Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson, “George Washington to Martha Washington” by George Washington, “Diary of Albegence Waldo at Valley Forge” by Albigence Waldo, “Letter to John Adams” by Abigail Adams, “Speech of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin, The Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights, “Farewell Address” by George Washington, Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville and many more.

One student expressed that she had her own “personal revolution” throughout her experience in American History this last year. In her own words she explained,

The other day in history, I received a letter. This letter was addressed ‘To: my future self, from [name withheld].’ Inside was mostly advice from last semester; however there was one sentence that stood out in particular. It read, ‘Remember, to be free you must first have a personal revolution.’ What could I have possibly meant? […] I believe that it is time for each of us to have a personal revolution of our own. […] Now is the time to change our thinking and not look at history as just some class that we are required to take, but a class to learn from America’s past so we can help build America’s future. Our Founding Fathers knew that in order for America to truly be a nation of liberty and freedom for all, the people must possess the principles and virtues of which this country was founded upon.

What would America be like if every student in this nation had an education that taught them these types of lessons, rather than an education that focuses on racial conflict and prejudice? Would America flourish? As the reader of this response, it is your responsibility to answer this question.


What are the messages that emerge from the two different objectives of the Common Core State Standards and Heritage Academy? Do these objectives align themselves? The answer, after looking at all the details, is no. They do not align. Is it not ironic that a school that teaches principles of liberty, meant to sustain and preserve our nation, is now being forced to accept and implement standards with an opposing objective and purpose? Does this seem right? Why is focusing on the founding fathers and principles of America not the focus of the Common Core Standards? Please help Heritage keep the messages of freedom alive, for as one Heritage scholar explained, “Freedom is something to be grateful for and to not take lightly. It is extremely fragile and must be vigilantly kept safe.” If we the people of this Nation lose sight of these principles and lessons, what will happen to our Nation? A concerned student made this statement: “Will we chant for the founding fathers until they become a whisper and finally forgotten? If there is one thing I know it’s that those men sacrificed all they had to build the strong foundation America stands on, and that is NOT to be forgotten.”

The Seventeenth Amendment

The Seventeenth Amendment and the Destruction of Federalism

One of the most heated topics in all of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 concerned the protection of the states from an overpowering national government. In the beginning, the large states wanted both houses of congress to be representative of the population of the different states. The small states, of course, saw this as a means by which they would be robbed of their voices and the large states would have total dominance in congress. This problem nearly split and destroyed the convention.

It wasn’t until Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed his Great Compromise that the influential leaders began to see the wisdom of this new system—the House would represent the states according to population and the Senate would represent the states equally. Each side of the issue would thus be represented. It was at this time that Washington admitted he was wrong at first and that this new idea truly had merit in forming a more perfect union. What some may not have realized fully was the protection this new idea gave to the people against an abusive national government.

When the Founders had finished their work in Philadelphia , they had created a government that was limited, divided, and balanced. Graphically, it could be represented as follows:

federalism-diagram-pre17 The Seventeenth Amendment

Notice how:

  • Each level of government is separate and distinct and has its own duties which it does best.
  • The national government is in the balanced center of the political spectrum—not too little and not too much governmental power. It is divided into three heads or branches.
  • The lines coming from the national government stop at the states. The states deal directly with the national government. The states provide the great bulwark of protection for the people against any overpowering move by the national government.
  • The Senate is made up of senators who are sent by the states to see to it that the national government never intrudes into states’ rights and reaches down to the people. They are chosen by the state legislators who know better than the people when the national government is encroaching onto states’ rights.

Even though Washington became a foremost proponent of the senators being chosen by the state legislatures, some of the others were slow to see the wisdom of that system. One of those was Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was not at the convention and was not privy to the many heated debates prior to the Great Compromise. He was a great populist and always thought representation should be by population. Even though he had tutored Madison by sending him many books prior to the convention, still he had questions about this new procedure.

When Jefferson finally returned from France , he asked Washington why the senators were not elected by the people. Washington asked him why he poured his hot drink in his saucer before drinking it. And Jefferson replied, “To cool it.” “And that,” Washington replied, “is what the Senate is for.” The Senate is to cool down any hotheaded or imprudent legislation coming out of the House.

The Temptation of Representatives in the House

One might ask, “What is there about the House members that would engender hotheaded or imprudent legislation?” They are elected every two years, which means they have to campaign for re-election every two years. Since Representatives in the House have mostly to do with raising and spending money (all revenue bills must begin in the House) they just might be tempted to say to their constituents, “Look what I have done for you! I have brought you all of this federal money down into our district, down into our schools, our towns and cities, our hospitals, our county, our health care systems, etc. Re-elect me so I can keep these monies coming to us.” In other words, the House members would be the most likely ones to get the people hooked on federal money by building a “money bridge” from Washington , D.C. directly to the people. And, of course, they would fall prey to the age-old technique of taking from those who have in order to give more and more to those who have not.

If this happens, what level of government would be completely left out of the process? The states! The very level of government meant to stand between the national government and the people!

The Eminent Danger of a Leveling Spirit

James Madison felt this whole balanced system would be destroyed because of this weakness of human nature. He described it this way:

“These [the ‘have-nots’] may in time outnumber those [the ‘haves’] who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage [each person has one vote], the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country; but symptoms of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarter to give notice of the future danger.”

He then explains that the Founders created the Senate to prevent leveling from occurring:

“How is this danger to be guarded against, on the republican principles? How is the danger, in all cases of interested coalitions to oppress the minority [the ‘haves’], to be guarded against? Among other means, by the establishment of a body, in the government, sufficiently respectable for its wisdom and virtue to aid, on such emergencies, the preponderance of justice, by throwing its weight into that scale. Such being the objects of the second branch in the proposed government [the Senate], he thought a considerable duration [six-year terms] ought to be given to it.”

Madison words above explained why the Senate was to guard the property of those who “have” against those who “have-not” but the Senate also protected the people from the very wealthy “haves” who sought power over everybody else.

The original Senate also stands in the way of those who want centralized government
The Founders’ formula for the Senate also prevented some of the super-wealthy ‘haves’ from gaining power by centralizing power in Washington . The Industrial Revolution produced some very wealthy capitalists, a few of which sought to control the machinery of the national government. In their attempts to do so, the states stood in their way. It was difficult to centralize power in Washington when those pesky states are always there to say “no” to proposals which would usurp power from the states and infringe on states’ rights. One of the things these wealthy people did, however, is get control of much of the media in order to influence public opinion. This set the stage for major changes in the structure of the national government. It was dubbed the “progressive” era.

The scheme to rip the states out of the
machinery of the national government

Because the state legislatures were the ones who elected U. S. Senators, there were a few charges of irregularities or corruption in the process in a couple of states. This is all the centralized power-schemers needed. When the charges of bribery began to surface in some states, the media picked up the stories and cried out to the people, “Do you really want those politicians in your state capitals electing your senators? Wouldn’t it be more ‘democratic’ (a new progressive era term) to let the people elect the senators?” This scenario was the perfect storm to destroy the states influence in the national government.

When the proposal was made in congress to amend the Constitution to require election of senators by the people it was first resisted by the Senate. It knew what this would mean—a total destruction of the great states’ bulwark of protection of the people. But the media frenzy was too strong and enough senators finally caved in to the pressure and Congress approved what was to become the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Many of the states also at first refused to ratify the amendment, knowing they would be giving up their ability to hold a check on the national government. But once again, enough state legislatures eventually yielded to the pressure and the amendment eventually received the required three-fourths approval of the states to become the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution. The states had just given up their trump card to protect the people from powerful influences in Washington . They no longer had real power in the workings of national politics.

The sad result of this destruction of the beautiful balanced, divided, and limited federal system the Founders gave us was to give way to those who so desperately wanted to centralize power in Washington so they could work their power schemes to begin to control nearly every aspect of American life. The very year the Seventeenth Amendment was passed, the Federal Reserve Act was passed which institutionalized control of our monetary system in the hands of very powerful private banking interests. Also in the same year, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, which allowed congress access to huge sums of money through income tax. With all this money and control, the national government began moving to the left on the political spectrum. Over the decades since, the so-called progressive movement has changed our federal system to look like this:

federalism-diagram-post-17 The Seventeenth Amendment

Notice how:

  • The national government has moved far to the left, usurping more and more power.
  • Because the state legislatures no longer send their representatives into the U. S. Senate, the states are powerless to protect the people from an overpowering national government.
  • The national government, with all its agencies, bureaucracies, regulations, and enforcement powers, comes right down into the pocketbooks, homes, schools, and communities of the people dictating nearly every aspect of life.
  • The states are left powerless, except to pass resolutions and beg Washington, D. C. for mercy.

We, at NCCS, are convinced that this monstrous power combine will soon crumble from its own weight of unwieldy power. At that time, the millions of freedom loving Americans will be able to restore the beautiful system the Founders gave us. But, of course, Americans must first learn the Founders’ marvelous formula for freedom. That is the continuous mission of NCCS.


Earl Taylor, Jr.

Understanding Federalism

Understanding Federalism: A Key to Solving America’s Problems

The American system of government, as established by the Founders, was unique in all the world. Founder James Wilson expressed it this way:

“After a period of six thousand years has elapsed since the creation, the United States exhibit to the world the first instance, as far as we can learn, of a nation, unattacked by external force, unconvulsed by domestic insurrections, assembling voluntarily, deliberating fully, and deciding calmly, concerning that system of government under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live.”

Wilson was referring to the federal system invented by the Founders. Federalism is defined as a system of government whose powers are distributed to different levels. The basis for the distribution was which level of government could exercise that particular power more efficiently and economically without violating the rights of the people. The different levels in the federal system are the national, state, county, town or city, and family or individual. Technically speaking, the term “federal government” refers to the entire system of properly assigned powers to all levels of government. As the powers of government have gradually concentrated in Washington D. C., the term “federal government” has come to mean that level associated with Washington, D. C. Thomas Jefferson and other Founders used the terms “national” or “general” when referring to the government of the nation, however, one still finds the term “federal” occasionally used in their writings referring to the national as a matter of convenience.

The Principles Underlying the Concept of Federalism

From the Principles of liberty established by the Founders, we find the following to be supportive of the concept of federalism:

  1. All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Just because men are chosen to serve in “higher” levels of government does not mean they can deny others of their unalienable, God-given rights. They are no more intelligent nor do they have more abilities than others at different levels of government or of the people themselves.
  2. A Constitution should be structured to permanently protect the people from the human frailties of their rulers. The weaknesses of human nature are present at all levels and the people need to be constantly alert to those officials who want to assume more and more power. As Jefferson said of Supreme Court justices, “Our judges [of the national government] are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps….”
  3. A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power. Strong provisions must be made in the federal system to prevent one level of government from assuming the duties and rights of the others.
  4. Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained in the people. All power to government comes from the people. There is no power in any level of government except what the people delegate to it. And the people cannot delegate a power they do not themselves possess. The Founders’ formula mandated that the farther the level of government was from the people, the fewer and more defined should be its powers. James Madison put it this way: “The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite.”
  5. Efficiency and dispatch require the government to operate according to the will of the majority, but Constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority. The Founders believed that the body politic must move as dictated by the majority, not the minority, and that in a republic each member of society was bound to follow and obey the decisions of the majority. At the same time, they recognized the real possibility that even the majority could become tyrannical, so they dictated that Constitutional provisions on the national level be made to protect the rights of the people from a tyrannical national government and that constitutional provisions on the state and local levels be made to protect the people from tyrannical state and local governments.
  6. Strong, local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom. The Founders clearly said in the Tenth Amendment that the few and defined powers not delegated to the national government in the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people. Madison said: “The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.” In other words, the highest level of government which should touch the lives, liberties, and property of the people should be the state government. Actions which directly affect the lives, liberty, and property of the people are specifically declared as beyond the authority of the national government.

The National Bill of Rights and the States’ Declaration of Rights

The preamble to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which few Americans even know exists, declares the reason the Founders adopted the Bill of Rights. It reads:

“The Conventions of a number of states, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution, [be it] resolved….”

According to this then, each of the articles of the Bill of Rights applies only to the actions of the national government and not to the actions of state or local governments. For example, the Second Amendment could be read as follows: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed by the national government.” All the other restrictions and prohibitions in the National Bill of Rights also only apply to the national government.

One might ask, “If the National Bill of Rights only applies to the national government, how, then, are the rights of the people protected from imprudent actions of state and local governments?” The Founders indicated that the states must also adopt a Declaration of Rights in their state constitutions in order to assure the people that states will not violate the people’s rights. Hence, as states have adopted constitutions, they have included a Declaration of Rights. Most of these are much more extensive and include many more rights than are listed in the National Bill of Rights. This whole concept is based on the principles, as outlined above, that people in the states are just as intelligent and just as capable in protecting their rights as those are on the national level, and as such, have every right to do so.

According to the Founders’ original formula, then, when a state or local government acts in an inappropriate manner which seems to violate the rights of the people, the remedy is not to look to Washington D. C. by claiming such local action violates the federal Constitution. Such action invites more national control over the lives of the people which, we have learned by sad experience, national officials are anxious to do. The correct action is to look to our own state constitutions and local municipal charters for the remedy. This is real local control which, as outlined in the principles above, best preserves human freedom. Once again, the purpose of the national Bill of Rights is to keep the national government out of these sensitive areas and leave it to state and local governments who can then best protect the people according to their changing needs and local situations.

While serving as governor of New York, it is apparent that even Franklin D. Roosevelt understood the founders’ original formula when he said:

“As a matter of fact and law, the governing rights of the states are all of those which have not been surrendered to the national government by the Constitution or its amendments…such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare, and of a dozen other important features. In these, Washington must not be encouraged to interfere.”

“Looking to Washington” encouraged by a runaway federal judiciary

This beautiful and delicate distribution of power as developed by the Founders in order to insure strong, local self-government was severely damaged by the Supreme Court in 1925 by its decision in the Gitlow case and continuing in some subsequent cases. In these reinterpretations, the court reached clear back to the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, and gave a completely different spin to its original meaning. It said that the original prohibitions of the Bill of Rights, which were designed to restrict the national government’s actions, now apply to all levels of government. In other words, for example, instead of the First Amendment reading, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”, the court said it shall now mean, “Congress, the states, the counties, the cities, the school districts, etc., shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

The practical effect of these actions has caused local jurisdiction to cease celebrating the Christmas holiday as the local people wish, or cease trying to prevent undesirable elements such as gambling, liquor, and porn shops from coming into their cities, because someone claims to have a “constitutional right” to do so and governments are prevented from stopping them by the First Amendment. This has transferred a huge workload of cases to the federal courts, which, under the Founders’ formula, would have remained in local jurisdictions.

Other areas which have been taken out of state and local control in whole or in part and thus severely damaged the whole idea of federalism are: religion, speech, press, marriage, education, welfare, labor, manufacturing, property rights, gun ownership, law enforcement, elections, land, abortion, and numerous other areas. These areas were left by the Founders strictly under state and local control. The Tenth Amendment was adopted with the simplest language possible to ensure this would be so.
What could the states and local governments do under true Federalism?

The answer is—about anything the people want to do. Remember, the states are the great crucibles in which experiments can be undertaken to see what laws best promote the happiness of people. Some states may adopt more restrictive measures while others do not, and then we will see what works and what doesn’t work. And because it is done on a state or local basis, it is much easier to change or even repeal. The key is to keep the national government from interfering in matters in which it has no Constitutional authority. This, of course, necessitates a continuing program of education among the people, so that national intrusions into state and local matters can be identified and stopped.

It may surprise some to learn that under true federalism, a state may adopt a state religion, unless its Declaration of Rights forbids it (which most do). A state may adopt strict gun control, unless its Declaration of Rights forbids it (which most do). A state may ban liquor, unless its Declaration of Rights forbids it (which no state does. In fact, 19 states had declared themselves “dry” before the 18th Amendment was ratified, taking it to the national level, which proved to be a mistake). While the Founders adopted the federal Constitution of very limited and defined powers to the national government, they hoped the states, acting under the umbrella of federal protection, would continue to experiment to find the best level of government for the maximum freedom and protection of the people.

A misunderstanding of Federalism deprives people
of responsibility and accountability for freedom

Lacking a commitment to true federalism allows people to yield to the temptation to shift the responsibility to the national government to protect us in nearly everything we do and from nearly every possible harm. It also gives the feeling of not having to feel accountable for what happens to others in society. Some of our libertarian friends, in their desire to be free, get caught in this trap.

A form of libertarianism advocates that because the Constitution is so limiting in its delegated powers to the national government, that the states and local governments are also limited by that same authority. Hence, they speak of “government” as being all-in-one and that local governments should be as removed from the people as the national government is. However, local government is merely a group of people who have joined together to create a better atmosphere in which to raise families by saying that these freedom-destroying influences will not be allowed in our communities. William Blackstone, the great commentator on the laws, whose writings became the legal bible for all law students clear up to the Civil War, explained the point at which the people can use laws to keep communities free from harmful influences:

“Let a man therefore be ever so abandoned in his principles, or vicious in his practice, provided he keeps his wickedness to himself, and does not offend against the rules of public decency, he is out of the reach of human laws. But if he makes his vices public, though they be such as seem principally to affect himself (as drunkenness, or the like), they then become by the bad example they set, of pernicious effects to society; and therefore it is then the business of human laws to correct them….”

Blackstone recognizes that a person can be as wicked as he wishes as long as he keeps his vices to himself and does not affect another person. But he then recognizes that there are some vices, the influence of which can never be kept private because it is the nature of evil to spread. He uses the example of liquor and its ill effects on families and society, and says that when certain vices always affect other people, then it becomes a public matter and it then is proper and necessary to use public laws to control the spread of such vices. Hence, communities are completely justified under federalism to control the proliferation of such nuisances or to ban them altogether.

This local use of federalism shows all people and especially our Creator that we treasure the precious gifts of agency and that we are both responsible and accountable to create an atmosphere of freedom and safety where His children can experience the full measure of liberty.

Let us have the courage to understand and restore the Founders marvelous doctrine of federalism. It will lead to solutions to America’s difficulties.


Earl Taylor, Jr.

The Power to Tax…

“The Power to Tax is the Power to Destroy”

These are the words of Daniel Webster and Chief Justice John Marshall who lived in the days of the Founders.

Americans have recently witnessed the Supreme Court upholding a legislative act passed by congress that is one of the most oppressive measures in our Nation’s history.The Founders’ formula for individual freedom not only excluded this kind of taxation, but the Constitution they wrote specifically forbade Congress from doing the very thing the Supreme Court said they could do.

It is another powerful example of what has happened as we have ceased studying the Founders’ freedom formula and have let powerful, anti-American philosophies enter into our thinking and transform our great Nation before our very eyes. Here is how it happened.

The Founder’s Fear of the Power to Tax

One of the driving forces motivating the Founders to declare independence 236 years ago was the oppressive nature of King George’s taxes. The Founders knew governments had to have financial means to survive. But their study of history proved that it is the nature of almost all men who come to power, to abuse the people by taking more and more from them through government taxation. It was for this reason that the first government of the Unites States of America (the Articles of Confederation) contained no power in the national government to levy any kind of tax. If taxes were to be levied they would be by the states, and the national government would then request each state to voluntarily give its fair share to the National government.

It was not long after the Revolutionary War began that the Founders realized this system was too weak. General Washington was in the field seeing his men starve, freeze, and die. His pleadings to Congress for more help were answered mostly by an apologetic excuse that the states had been requisitioned and it was up to them to send Washington the needed provisions. Some did and some didn’t. No one knew the desperate need for more energy or power in the federal government than George Washington. Nevertheless, it would be many years before he would see that happen. Meanwhile, he had a war to fight and the inability of Congress to raise the necessary funds was one reason we almost lost the war for independence.

The Founders’ lessons about taxation

As a result of many years of trial and error, the Founders learned some powerful lessons about taxes:

  1. Just taxing the states is impractical, since the only way to enforce such taxation is to send in an army.
  2. There is a difference between direct and indirect taxes. Direct taxes are levied on a person or his property and must be paid by the individual. Indirect taxes are levied on things and are paid indirectly by those collecting the taxes on goods sold. Direct taxes are harsher and sometimes involve force to collect. Indirect taxes are more discretionary.
  3. It was felt that the federal government’s limited roles would be supported entirely by tariffs on imports. The Founders did not anticipate the government needing to reach inward to the people for support in ordinary times.
  4. It was recognized, however, that in an emergency such as war, there would be less imports on which to collect tariffs. At the same time the demands for money would necessarily increase. It was for this reason that the Founders provided a way to tax the people directly in dire emergencies.
  5. In these very limited situations where taxes would need to be collected from the people or the states, the allocation would be on one basis and one basis only – population. It would be done according to census or enumeration. Taxes would not be based on any other premise – not on income, not on wealth, not on inheritance, not on those who chose to buy a certain product or not buy a certain product – only on counting people. It would be as simple and unobtrusive as counting heads!

Constitutional limitations on the power to tax

The Founders felt so strongly about the need to control government officials in their desire to get more money that they put the following restrictions on the taxing power right into the Constitution:

Article I, Section 2:

“Direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states … according to their respective numbers.”

Article I, Section 9:

“No capitation [tax of so much per person regardless of circumstances] or other direct tax shall be laid except in proportion to the census or other enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

With these limitations in mind, the Founders felt confident that future generations would be spared the heavy-handed oppression of tax collectors who would invade one’s privacy and confiscate large portions of a person’s property.

The Sixteenth Amendment destroys
Constitutional Safeguards against abusive taxation

The very wording of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution shows how the restrictions on the power to tax have been completely eliminated:

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

With the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the precious protections from power-hungry politicians were destroyed. As a result, Congress has used this unlimited taxing power to impose all kinds of taxes on the American people on whatever basis they chose – income, wealth, inheritance, and yes, even choices they make concerning what they buy or don’t buy, even health insurance. And the Court has ruled it doesn’t even have to be uniform; it can be graduated and even discriminatory. It is whatever the Congress passes. This position would have been repulsive to the Founders but their protections were destroyed in the Sixteenth Amendment. Since then Americans have been subjected to the same intimidation and property confiscation as were our colonist ancestors who rebelled.

The Supreme Court has used the authority of the Sixteenth Amendment to give unlimited power to Congress to tax and regulate the people for any reason and in nearly everything.

Not only does Congress have broad powers to levy taxes, but the Supreme Court has allowed the government to acquire several fringe benefits by ‘regulating’ some of the subject matter selected for taxation. For example:

“1. The federal government has been sustained in regulating the packaging of taxed articles to prevent fraud in the collection of the tax. This has included the packaging of tobacco, and oleo-margarine. The court justified these regulations under the clause which authorizes Congress to do anything which is ‘necessary and proper’ to carry out the provisions of its enumerated powers, and collecting taxes is one of them.

“2. For the same reason, the Supreme Court has allowed the federal government to impose rigorous restrictions on the manner in which certain things may be sold or transferred and has imposed heavy penalties on persons dealing with these items in any other way. This is the basis for the federal control of the means of dispensing drugs and selling firearms.

“3. Congress may tax any activity which is being carried on, even if it is illegal. These are referred to as federal licenses, for which a fee is paid. These ‘license’ taxes have been imposed on gambling equipment and on the accepting of wagers, regardless of whether these are permitted or prohibited by the United States or the particular state. This was the basis for allowing the government to levy a heavy tax on liquor dealers who operated in violation of state laws during the Prohibition era; also on slot machines which have been outlawed by a state.

“4. Federal taxation has even been used to suppress as well as regulate certain articles. This was the case with the imposition of extremely heavy taxes on machine guns initiated during the gangster era. It has been held that where the tax is imposed unconditionally, so that no other purposes appear on the face of that statute, the court has refused to inquire into the motives of the lawmakers and has sustained the tax despite its prohibitive side effects.” (The Making of America, p. 380)

Following the open-ended and unlimited nature of the Congress’s power to tax made possible by the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, Chief Justice John Roberts justified his recent decision that the Affordable Health Care Act passed by Congress, otherwise known as “Obamacare” is constitutional. Said he:

“The federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance…. The federal government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance.”

Under the Founders’ restrictions placed upon Congress prior to the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, this whole issue would never have been allowed to happen.

The people are relying too much on the federal judiciary

In the same recent opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts reminds the people that the ultimate decisions rest with the people themselves. He wrote:

“We (the Court) possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Perhaps a reminder is in order of the warning Thomas Jefferson gave about the danger of relying too much on the federal judiciary to solve issues which the people should be solving in their legislative bodies. Here are several quotes from our third president on the subject:

“You seem to think it devolved on the judges to decide on the validity [or the constitutionality] of the… law, but nothing in the Constitution has given them a right to decide…. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.

“The Constitution intended that the three great branches of the government should be coordinate, and independent of each other. As to acts, therefore, which are to be done by either, it has given no control to another branch…. It did not intend to give the judiciary … control over the executive…. I have long wished for a proper occasion to have the gratuitous opinion in Marbury v. Madison [which established the right of judicial review] brought before the public, and denounced as not law.

“My construction of the Constitution … is that each department is truly independent of the others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the Constitution. in the cases submitted to its action; and especially where it is to act ultimately and without appeal.

“You seem … to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps…. Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”

Oh, for the original, beautiful, balanced, and limited Constitution our Founders gave us. May we all work tirelessly to restore it, for ourselves and for our posterity!


Earl Taylor, Jr.

Proper Lawmaking…

A Statesman’s Guide to Proper Lawmaking

Just ten years before Thomas Jefferson died and after many years of observing people in offices of political power, he commented: “Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their powers….” He could have made the same observation in our day nearly two centuries later. Evidence is plentiful to show that when people are elected to public office and especially after they have been in office awhile, they begin to feel they have authority to do about anything they want as long as they can get enough votes to do it.

Any honest student of the U. S. Constitution can easily outline the limits of power of the federal government. That document gives Congress, for example, the power to do about 20 things which can be itemized quickly by reading Article I, Section 8. The 10th Amendment clearly limits the federal government to those express powers outlined and says that all other powers remain with the states and the people. Although the tenth amendment is violated daily on the federal level, no Congressmen can plead innocent of knowing the tenth amendment prohibitions – they are there for all to see.

But what about the vast area of government activity on the state and local levels? Are there specific delineations of powers in state constitutions and city charters so that there can be no misunderstanding as to the powers delegated to these levels of government?

About twenty years ago I undertook the laborious task of reading every bill that was introduced into the legislature of my state. Even though most bills die in committee, I wanted to know what legislators in my state were thinking. I soon discovered that most legislators must think there are no bounds to their lawmaking. I was astonished to see a bill for about any wish any political person ever had. Would you like to give a home to all the poor people? There was a bill to do it! Would you like to provide health care for all the so-called poor people? There’s a bill! Would you like to regulate mothers as to what they can feed their children? There’s a bill! Do you want to save people from their own “stupidity”? There’s lots of bills to do that! You name the idea – any idea, and there probably has been a bill introduced to cover it. I was amazed. I went again to my state’s Constitution to see if there were perhaps some limitations put on lawmakers as there are on the federal level. Even though most state constitutions are many times longer than the U.S. Constitution, there are few clearly defined limits as to what legislators should be doing and what should be off limits to them. I could not agree more strongly with Jefferson’s observation that our legislators are seriously lacking in understanding as to what their role really is.

Whether limits of power are spelled out in constitutions or not, honest legislators should be bound by higher principles of conduct toward those whom they serve. These higher principles should ring so loudly in the ears of public officials that even in the absence of specific written limits, they should know their bounds.

It is hoped that a discussion of these higher principles will provide a better understanding of the proper role of government and the proper role of an elected public official within that government.

The Origin of Human Rights

Any discussion of government power will always lead the honest student back to the question “Where did our human rights come from?” There can be only two possible answers to this question. Either they were given by God or they are granted by government. If one concludes they are bestowed by government, then one also must accept the idea that these rights can be denied by government. The Founding Fathers flatly rejected this concept and in the Declaration of Independence declared “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.” They further defined the “pursuit of happiness” as the right to have and enjoy the fruits of one’s labors.

Volumes have been written attempting to prove that human rights were God-given, but to the Founders it was so logical and self-evident, the discussion need not be carried further. All individuals have the same God-given rights. This is the first premise to our discussion.

Reduce the Complex to the Simple

Remember when you were faced with a difficult problem in math, chemistry, or physics and it looked impossible to solve because it was so complicated? What did your teacher tell you to do? Break it up in small, understandable units and solve it a step at a time. That is especially true today in the field of computer technology.

I have found this method very effective when trying to analyze political questions. Since people existed before governments, what kind of rights did the people have when there were no governments and just a few individuals? The answer: The same right to protect one’s life, liberty and property that we have today. God-given rights have not changed just because we have more people or because we have formed governments.

The Origin of Government

Each of us has a right to stay up all night and watch for intruders who might try to infringe on our right to life. We also have the right to stand out in front of our homes 24 hours a day with a bucket of water just in case a spark lands on our home. We have the God-given right to protect our lives and our properties, two essential elements of our freedom. But none of us wants to spend his time doing this all day and all night. So we get together and agree to pool our resources and hire a sheriff and a fireman. At that moment, government is born. The people have created an entity to serve them.

What Authority Does this Government Have?

When citizens band together and hire others to do something for them, they each give the hired servants certain limited authority. Can the servant do more than what he is authorized to do by his master? Definitely not! Does a sheriff or a fireman automatically accrue more authority with the passage of time? Definitely not! Do the public servants automatically have more power to do more things just because more people join the community? Definitely not! The authority of the public servant is never greater than that of its citizens individually. Government has no innate power or privilege to do anything. Its only source of authority and power is from the people who have created it. People can give to government only those powers as they themselves have in the first place. Since man created government to protect his inalienable rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it. Even one who does not believe in God-given rights can appreciate the logic of this relationship. Proper government activity lies within delegated powers and no further and individuals cannot delegate to government a power they do not have in themselves.

If You Can’t do It, You Can’t Delegate It

Suppose Mr. Jones decides he needs an automobile but doesn’t have the money to buy one. The Smith family next door has two cars, so Mr. Jones decides he is entitled to share in his neighbor’s good fortune. Is he entitled to take his neighbor’s car? Obviously not! If the Smiths wish to give it or lend it that is another question. But so long as the Smith family wishes to keep its property, Mr. Jones has no just claim to it. If Mr. Jones has no power to take the Smith’s car, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. A person cannot delegate a power he does not have.

How About A Public Vote?

Even if everyone in the community desires that the Smiths give a car to the Jones, they have no right individually or collectively to force the Smiths to do it. What if they held a public vote on the issue? The answer is the same. Individuals cannot delegate a power to government they themselves do not have. This principle, as explained by John Locke, was clearly understood by the Founders of our country: “For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself…”

The Key To Proper Government Activity Is Individual Conscience

Government, then, is limited to only those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. The principle is this: People should commit no act in the name of government which would be wrong for them to do as individuals. The inherent nature of a good or an evil act is unaffected by changing the number of people involved in its commission. If an act is good and proper for an individual acting alone, it is good and proper when done in concert. An act which is evil or improper when done by an individual is equally evil and improper when done by a group even when the group is acting in the name of government. The rightness or wrongness of every act performed in the name of government, then, can be determined by applying the test of individual conscience. This is the fundamental key to determine the limits of governmental power.

Two of our great Founding Fathers recognized the importance of public policy having its roots deep in the moral code of the individual. George Washington said, in his first inaugural address, “….the foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality.” Benjamin Franklin stated: “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will revolutionize the world.”

If I Would Punish, then the Government Can Punish

Another important test of proper laws is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so? If punishing my neighbor would offend my conscience then I should never authorize my agent, the government, to do this on my behalf.

Actually when individuals give their consent to the adoption of a law, they are specifically instructing the police – the government – to take either the life, liberty or property of anyone who disobeys that law. This may sound extreme but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results.

What Then Should Government Do?

The fact that government officials have no right to do to the citizens that which the citizens have no right to do to one another is succinctly stated by Jefferson in the following words:

“Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities of the society; and this is all the laws should enforce on him; and, no man having a natural right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to the umpirage of an impartial third. When the laws have declared and enforced all this, they have fulfilled their functions, and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right. The trial of every law by one of these texts, would lessen much the labors of our legislators, and lighten equally our municipal codes.”

Jefferson clearly enumerates the three areas of legitimate government activity – (1) Punishing Crime (2) Compelling each person to bear his fair share of the cost of government and (3) Arbitrating and enforcing rights between citizens. He states that every law may be tested by one of these three requirements.

Temptations of a Politician

The political arena provides a most effective way of exercising control over someone else. Numerous examples in history could be given of individuals or groups which have sought control of government as a means to control the activities, property (including money), and even the thinking of large numbers of people.

Political power is like military power. Tragic history has shown that people usually do not achieve this power because of goodness, honesty, or high morals. They usually achieve prominent positions of power by persuading enough people to support them. Gaining political power is many times a function of how much money one has available or how he can otherwise manipulate public opinion. George Washington expressed concern that Americans would forget that government is force. He is purportedly to have said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence –it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!”

People who hold political offices, then. are in extremely sensitive positions. One decision can mean the livelihood of many people. One decision could mean the success or failure of a whole industry.

Benjamin Franklin said there are two temptations which beset a politician –the love of power and the love of money. The temptation for a politician to do through government what an individual would not have the right to do, that is, to take from the “haves” and give to the “have-nots”, is a very powerful temptation indeed, and although government has no legitimate authority to do such a thing, nearly every politician succumbs to the temptation to do it anyway. Such activity directly violates the equal protection of life and property – principles upon which our republic is based.

A Person’s Honesty and Morality is Expressed
in His Political Philosophy and the Way He Votes

No better measure of the degree in which we believe in equality of mankind was ever given than was declared by Christ in what has become known as the Golden Rule. “All things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matt. 7:12) The kind of people we support for our lawmakers and other public officials and the kind of laws to which we give our consent are, in a very real sense, an expression of how much freedom we want to allow our fellow citizens to enjoy. One of the marks of a truly honest and moral person is that he will desire the same amount of freedom for others that he expects for himself. Every politician shows by his actions if he is or is not a true believer in the Golden Rule. For example, progressive income tax laws which forcibly take from those who have and give to those who have not is a violation of the Judeo-Christian mandate “Thou shalt not steal”. Consenting to welfare laws which take away the work incentive violates the command “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods”. Laws which undercut traditional family moral values tear at the standards “Honor thy Father and thy Mother” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery”.

In a very real sense, the degree to which one is honest and moral is reflected in his political philosophy. The necessity of injecting godly principles into political activity was understood by Cicero, the great Roman statesman, when he said “For there is really no other occupation in which human virtue approaches more closely the august function of the gods than that of founding new states or preserving those already in existence.”

He was saying there was something godly in searching for that balance of laws which equally protects all life, liberty, and property and does not infringe upon people’s personal freedom to achieve or to fail.

Who Should Have This Power?

Once a power has been rightfully granted to government, there is still one more question which must be answered. Which level of government should have this power? It is a wise and time-tested principle that the smallest and lowest level that can possibility undertake a task is the one that should do so. Again it is Jefferson who expressed the Founders’ philosophy in this regard:

“The way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the state governments with the civil rights, law, police, and administration of what concern the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body.”

Once again, however, the temptation of most politicians is to use a higher level of government to force something to happen that they couldn’t accomplish on a lower level. A simple illustration will suffice: Citizens of a single community are very capable of caring for the “homeless” in their own community if they choose to do so. The problem is visible for all to see and any abuse of the help extended to the needy can be easily detected and corrected. But lets say the people of the community choose to take no action through their city government for whatever reason and a do-gooder legislator introduces a bill to appropriate state funds to care for the homeless in this community. This proposal violates the equal protection of property of those in the state who do not live in this community by attempting to take their money to pay for someone else’s problem.

It is so tempting to a politician who has become accustomed to his position of power to try to use force from a “higher level” to make something happen on a “lower” level. By this same twisted reasoning we now have money from one part of the country being sent to Washington D. C. to care for the “homeless” in far distant and unknown communities. By this same logic (or illogic) we could one day have the United Nations directing our cities and towns.

In Summary

To Judge a Proposed Law or Program, ask yourself:

  1. If I were acting individually would it be right for me to require this of my neighbor?
  2. Could I, in good conscience, punish my neighbor for disobeying this law even to the point of personally taking his life, his liberty, or his property?
  3. Is this the smallest or lowest level of government that can possibly undertake this task?

It Takes a Lot of Faith to Be Free

To some this discussion may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals in our society. The battle cry of the “lame, the sick, and the destitute” is a fervid, but false solicitude for the unfortunate and has served the professional do-gooders well who have sought government solutions to all our problems.

But as Henry David Thoreau once said, “And yet government never furthered any enterprise. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more if the government had not sometimes got in its way.”

Actually, the United States has fewer cases of genuine hardship per capita than any other country in the world. Our progress is a direct result of the application of the principle of freedom we have been discussing here. As we see these principles being violated and our system deteriorated we must become so familiar with these ideas that we can discuss them with confidence. We must have faith in freedom. That is really the only way freedom will ever last. It is a contradiction of terms that we can “force freedom to work”.

Let’s teach these principles to our children and spread them to all we know. Faith requires action and it takes a lot of faith to remain free. And for sure, God will help us.


Earl Taylor, Jr.