Posts Tagged ‘congress’
I’m reading a review copy of Les Standiford’s excellent Desparate Sons, a very well researched historical narrative featuring the people and events leading up to the American Revolution. In Desparate Sons most of the action takes place between 1765 and 1776, giving us insight into a period of American History that is often overlooked when accounts focus mostly on the Revolutionary War for independence from Britain, the Declaration of Independence, The US Constitution, and the other well-trod literary grounds of Early American History.
Desparate Sons focuses on the colonial discontent that grew partly from ideas of personal liberty but, to this reader, mostly seemed to be a very hotheaded response to Britain’s efforts to tax the colonies. Perhaps one of the reasons school kids don’t learn about this period is that it appears many of the early revolutionary acts were essentially organized mobs bullying those who supported England and English soldiers, many of whom did little to incite any violence whatsoever.
I’ll save a full review until I’m done with the book, but I can already recommend it for both the quality of writing and the depth of historical research into a period critical to an understanding of American Colonial History and US History.
A groundbreaking narrative—a historical political thriller—that explores the role of the Sons of Liberty in the American Revolution.
More than two hundred years ago, a group of British colonists in America decided that the conditions under which they were governed had become intolerable. Angry and frustrated that King George III and the British Parliament had ignored their lawful complaints and petitions, they decided to take action.
Knowing that their deeds—often directed at individuals and property—were illegal, and punishable by imprisonment and even death, these agitators plotted and conducted their missions in secret to protect their identities as well as the identities of those who supported them. Calling themselves the Sons of Liberty, they gathered together in a radical society committed to imposing forcible change. Those determined men—including second cousins Samuel and John Adams, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, and John Hancock—saw themselves as patriots. Yet to the Crown, and to many of the Sons’ fellow colonists, the revolutionaries were terrorists who deserved death for their treason.
In this gripping narrative, Les Standiford reveals how this group of intelligent, committed men, motivated by economics and political belief, began a careful campaign of interlocking events that would channel feelings of vague injustice into an armed rebellion of common cause, which would defeat an empire and give birth to a radical political experiment—a new nation known as the United States.
The Religion News Service has posted an excellent profile of Tulsi Gabbard, the Democrat running for Congress in Hawaii’s 2nd district. Gabbard is leading in the polls by a whopping 52 points and should win in a landslide. Of course, her opponent, Kawika Crowley, lives and campaigns out of bumper-stickered white van. If Gabbard wins, she will be the first Hindu in the United States Congress.
In the RNS article, reporter Omar Sacirbey notes some of the push back non-Christian religions have experienced in Congress:
Not everyone would welcome a Hindu into Congress. When self-proclaimed “Hindu statesman” Rajan Zed was asked to open the Senate with a prayer in 2007, the American Family Association called the prayer “gross idolatry” and urged members to protest; three protesters from the fundamentalist group Operation Save America interrupted the prayer with shouts from the gallery.
Then-Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, said the prayer and Congress’ first Muslim member “are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.” Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum told supporters this summer that equality was a uniquely Judeo-Christian concept that “doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions.” Crowley, in an interview with CNN.com, said Gabbard’s faith was incompatible with the Constitution.
The AFA, Rick Santorum, and Kawika Crowley all sum up notions about Hinduism that have been ingrained in American culture since the early nineteenth century. When the AFA called a Hindu prayer “gross idolatry” they were invoking a view of Hindu religions that began with early European encounters in India and spread throughout America during the rise of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and the missionary movement as a whole. British missionary apologist Claudius Buchanan’s image of the bloody “Juggernaut” (an Anglicization of the god Jagannath) was a popular image of Hindu idolatry in America and Britian. When the ABCFM sent missionaries to Bombay in the first third of the nineteenth century they sent back accounts of “Hindoo idolatry” to be published in missionary magazines. These images dominated the American evangelical imagination of India and the Hindu other throughout the nineteenth century and even to today.
Similarly, Santorum and Crowley’s claim that Hinduism has no claim on the Constitution or American ideas of equality also has roots in the nineteenth century. As a Protestant moral establishment took control of American culture in the nineteenth century they sought to imagine America as a land of white/Protestant/democracy. In this scheme India became a land of dark/Hindu (or heathen)/caste. American writers, in genres ranging form magazine articles to school textbooks, consistently represented India as the opposite of America. Where Hinduism encouraged a hierarchical caste system in India, Christianity encouraged equality in America. Needless to say, both of these representations of Hinduism–as either idolatry or inequality–tell us less about Hinduism and more about the people propounding them.
The RNS article does a great job of outlining Gabbard’s own Hindu belief and practice. She served in the National Guard and was deployed in Baghdad and Kuwait. In that light, I find it interesting that she singles out the Bhagavad Gita as central to her understanding of Hinduism, as that book is itself a meditation on war and the warrior’s duty. Gabbard’s reference to the Gita also reflects another longstanding image of Hinduism in America. Beginning with the first English translation of the Gita by British Orientalist Charles Wilkins in the late eighteenth century, the Gita has been central to more positive representations of Hinduism in America. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman all praised the wisdom of the book. Furthermore, in a culture dominated by logo-centric Protestantism, the Gita was often cited as the “Bible” of Hinduism and compared with the New Testament, with Krishna and Christ put alongside one another.
So, as Tulsi Gabbard runs for, and probably wins, a seat in the the U.S. Congress the earliest American ideas about Hinduism, both for good and ill, endure. Now, if only someone was writing a dissertation about this…
The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress website is a national treasure. And sometimes it’s a real pain.
Say you want to look up material on the Continental Congress. If you go to the “Browse Collections” page, you might spot the link under “Government, Law” for “Continental Congress.” But clicking on that link brings you to the collection for “Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789,” which are the political broadsides printed and distributed in that period.
That “Continental Congress” link doesn’t offer the option of the “A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation” page, which links to the official Journals of the Continental Congress and the useful Letters of Delegates to the Continental Congress, as well as later printed records of national legislatures.
And that’s not the end of the fun. Let’s say you want to read about what happened in the Congress on a certain day. Ask to “Browse” the Journals of the Continental Congress, choose the appropriate volume or year, and the site offers you:
- the text of the first page of the printed volume,
- the first contents page of that volume, or
- the index for that volume.
Only by clicking onto a page and choosing the “Navigator” link underneath its text will you find a handy date-by-date navigator for your chosen volume of the Journals. And you might discover that the Congress was careful about keeping controversies and disagreements out of its official records.
So let’s try browsing the Letters of Delegates, which report more gossip. Each volume will give you a chronological stack of letters with no dates at all. You have to click randomly and then probe up and down to home in on a particular date.
Once you’ve found a letter from a particular date, or a Journals entry, there’s usually a handy “link to date-related documents”—other items created on that same date within that part of the American Memory collection. That can take you over to the other collection, for example.
Again, this mass of information, freely available and fully searchable, is a national treasure. But you have to learn its quirks and how to get around them.
I am reading First Family by Joseph Ellis (slowly, but enjoying it…I just get distracted a lot!) and this part, on Abigail’s opinion of the Senate had me laughing today and so had to share!
Abigail found the debates [on the Residence Act], some of which she witnessed from the Senate gallery, extremely offensive because of the blatantly partisan atmosphere and the wholly argumentative context of the legislative process. “The more I see of Mankind,” she lamented, “the more sick I am of publick life, and the less worthy do they appear to me.” She thought it was a mistake to open the Senate gallery to the public, since ordinary citizens would now see that making laws was like making sausage: not a pretty sight, and not a scene likely to inspire confidence in the new government. So much for John’s idealistic vision of the Senate as the arena for America’s virtuous elite.
According to the endnotes, this is from AA to Cotton Tufts, March 1790
The National Congress of American Indians, a lobbying and organizational group for American Indian tribes, has issued an alert about a major threat to tribal sovereignty.
I will only quote a little of the alert here. To contact NCAI for more information: John Dossett, General Counsel email@example.com NCAI Contact Information: Derrick Beetso, Legal Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more go to the alliance of tribal sovereigns web site.
“Tobacco Manufacturers and States Target Tribal Tobacco Revenues Through Master Settlement Agreement.
We urge all Indian tribes to begin immediate outreach to their State Attorney General and Governor to ask that the state not sign on the “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU)regarding adjustment of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). (The “Tribal” provisions of the model legislation begin at page 20-37 of the PDF).
Under this proposed agreement, states and tobacco manufacturers are attempting to impose a restrictive state “model statute” on sales of tobacco on tribal lands. Hundreds of millions of tobacco settlement payments would be withheld from states unless they pass and enforce a model statute that targets Indian tribes and attempts to apply state law to all tribal lands. Under the model statute:
[NCIA lists 7 bad outcomes from this proposed agreement.]
Background: The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) is an agreement entered into in November 1998, originally between the four largest US tobacco companies and the attorney general of 46 states. The states settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of tobacco-related health care costs and exempted the companies from liability regarding harm caused by tobacco use. . . .
In the MSA, the original participating manufacturers agreed to pay a mini-mum of $206 billion over the first twenty-five years of the agreement.
Indian tribes and the Indian Health Service have never been parties to the MSA, despite the enormous medical costs incurred for smoking-related illnesses on Indian reservations. In the early years of the Bush Administration, the Department of Justice decided not to pursue claims against tobacco manufacturers for costs incurred by the IHS and military hospitals for smoking related illnesses. As a result, Indian tribes do not share in the settlement funds from the MSA, and in addition, tobacco delivered to Indian reservations is not required to pay into the escrow settlement fund.
A great deal of the MSA is devoted to protecting the market share of the participating manufacturers (PM’s); the large manufacturers who control most of the market. . . .
In these two provisions of the MSA that have led to the proposed MOU that targets Indian tribes. Apparently, the large tobacco manufacturers have decided that Indian tribes threaten their market share, and want to destroy the entire tobacco economy in Indian country. (See, recent related article in the Wall Street Journal)
One of the least understandable provisions of this agreement seems to cut against the hundreds of tobacco tax agreements and compacts that have been reached in Indian country. In general, these agreements provide that the tribe will collect an equal or similar tax, sometimes with revenue sharing with the state. These agreements ensure the generation of critically important tax revenues for many tribes around the country.
NCAI urges tribes to contact their State Attorney General and Governors and urge them not to support this agreement. This is all of the information we have available, and we would encourage tribes to ask for consultation from their state governments.”
I’ve heard this saying – that if Indians are doing well, something must be wrong!
In recent decades some tribes and several Alaska Native corporations have utilized the Small Business Administration 8(a) program to great benefit. Section 8(a) gives preference in federal contracting to minority owned businesses and includes tribally owned businesses.
Congress has been investigating this program after allegations that tribes were getting too good at using it.
Indian Country Today magazine, May 4, 2011, at 13, reports on the latest hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in which tribal leaders urged Congress to protect native participation in the program. Tribal leaders testified to the committee about the great benefits and jobs and economic activity that section 8(a) has brought to their tribal communities.
On December 22, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation sponsored by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden that will assist economic growth for the Klamath, Coquille, Burns Paiute, Siletz, and the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Suislaw in Oregon. The new federal law allows these five Oregon tribes to lease their trust land for up to 99 years. Hopefully, this move will drive long-term business and economic development on these tribal lands. (Long term leases can also be a problem for economic development as business trends and opportunities rise and fall.)
Previously, these five federally recognized tribes had to renew leases every 25 years, a limitation that had been in effect since 1955, and which was seen as hindering economic growth and beneficial business arrangements to develop retail outlets or housing etc.
“This bill allows us to really get to the table and offer something to people interested in a joint venture,” said Bob Garcia, chairman of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, which owns and operates the Three Rivers Casino in Florence.
A few of the country’s smaller religious groups, including Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Jews, have greater numerical representation in Congress than in the general population. Some others, including Buddhists and Muslims, are represented in Congress in roughly equal proportion to their numbers in the adult U.S. population. And some small religious groups, such as Hindus and Jehovah’s Witnesses, are not represented at all in Congress.Perhaps the greatest disparity between the religious makeup of Congress and the people it represents, however, is in the percentage of the unaffiliated – those who describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” According to information gathered by CQ Roll Call and the Pew Forum, no members of Congress say they are unaffiliated. By contrast, about one-sixth of U.S. adults (16%) are not affiliated with any particular faith. Only six members of the 112th Congress (about 1%) do not specify a religious affiliation, which is similar to the percentage of the public that says they don’t know or refuses to specify their faith.
Prior to the official U.S. entry into the Second World War, American merchant ships carried needed supplies that supported the Allies in their desperate struggle against the Axis powers. Although German aircraft and submarines attacked American merchant ships when they entered war zones, the U.S. Neutrality Act of 1936 prevented them from being armed, even [...]
October 14, 1777
Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power, of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath, in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various presences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county:
And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependant on the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace: And whereas it has lately been resolved in parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned:
And whereas, in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made; one entitled, “An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping of goods, wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New England;” another entitled, “An act for the better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New England;” and another entitled, “An act for the impartial administration of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England;” and another statute was then made, “for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec, etc.” All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights:
And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt, by his Majesty’s ministers of state:
The good people of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in general Congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted: Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, DECLARE,
That the inhabitants of the English colonies in North-America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following RIGHTS:
Resolved, N.C.D. 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.
Resolved, N.C.D. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England.
Resolved, N.C.D. 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.
Resolved, 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free government, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed: But, from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are bonfide, restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial benefits of its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects, in America, without their consent.
Resolved, N.C.D. 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.
Resolved, N.C.D. 6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the English statutes, as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.
Resolved, N.C.D. 7. That these, his Majesty’s colonies, are likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes of provincial laws.
Resolved, N.C.D. 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the same, are illegal.
Resolved, N.C.D. 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.
Resolved, N.C.D. 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several colonies, by a council appointed, during pleasure, by the crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous and destructive to the freedom of American legislation.
All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves, and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights and liberties, which cannot be legally taken from them, altered or abridged by any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their several provincial legislature.
In the course of our inquiry, we find many infringements and violations of the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire, that harmony and mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be restored, we pass over for the present, and proceed to state such acts and measures as have been adopted since the last war, which demonstrate a system formed to enslave America.
Resolved, N.C.D. That the following acts of parliament are infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them is essentially necessary, in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies, viz.
The several acts of Geo. III. ch. 15, and ch. 34.-5 Geo. III. ch.25.-6 Geo. ch. 52.-7 Geo.III. ch. 41 and ch. 46.-8 Geo. III. ch. 22. which impose duties for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, extend the power of the admiralty courts beyond their ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judges certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be liable to, requiring oppressive security from a claimant of ships and goods seized, before he shall be allowed to defend his property, and are subversive of American rights.
Also 12 Geo. III. ch. 24, intituled, “An act for the better securing his majesty’s dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores,” which declares a new offence in America, and deprives the American subject of a constitutional trial by jury of the vicinage, by authorizing the trial of any person, charged with the committing any offence described in the said act, out of the realm, to be indicted and tried for the same in any shire or county within the realm.
Also the three acts passed in the last session of parliament, for stopping the port and blocking up the harbour of Boston, for altering the charter and government of Massachusetts-Bay, and that which is entitled, “An act for the better administration of justice, etc.”
Also the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic religion, in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger (from so total a dissimilarity of religion, law and government) of the neighboring British colonies, by the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from France.
Also the act passed in the same session, for the better providing suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in his majesty’s service, in North-America.
Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army is kept, is against law.
To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state, in which both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have for the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable measures: 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or association. 2. To prepare an address to the people of Great-Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America: and 3. To prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeable to resolutions already entered into.
May 16, 1918
Be it enacted, That section three of the Act…approved June 15, 1917, be…amended so as to read as follows:
SEC. 3. Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall wilfully make or convey false reports, or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor…with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds…or the making of loans by or to the United States, or whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully cause…or incite…insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty. in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall wilfully obstruct…the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag…or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States, or any language intended to bring the form of government…or the Constitution…or the military or naval forces…or the flag…of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute…or shall wilfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall wilfully…urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things… necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war…and whoever shall wilfully advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any coun try with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both…
AN ACT TO EXECUTE CERTAIN TREATY STIPULATIONS RELATING TO CHINESE
Whereas, in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof: Therefore,
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States.
SEC. 2. That the master of any vessel who shall knowingly bring within the United States on such vessel, and land or permit to be landed, any Chinese laborer, from any foreign port or place, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 for each and every such Chinese laborer so brought, and may be also imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year.
SEC. 3. That the two foregoing sections shall not apply to Chinese laborers who were in the United States on the 17th day of November, 1880, or who shall have come into the same before the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act…
SEC. 4. That for the purpose of properly identifying Chinese laborers who were in the United States on the 17th day of November, 1880, or who shall have come into the same before the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and in order to furnish them with the proper evidence of their right to go from and come to the United States of their free will and accord, as provided by the treaty between the United States and China dated November 17, 1880, the collector of customs of the district from which any such Chinese laborer shall depart from the United States shall, in person or by deputy, go on board each vessel having on board any such Chinese laborer and cleared or about to sail from his district for a foreign port, and on such vessel make a list of all such Chinese laborers, which shall be entered in registry-books to be kept for that purpose, in which shall be stated the name, age, occupation, last place of residence, physical marks or peculiarities, and all facts necessary for the identification of each of such Chinese laborers, which books shall be safely kept in the custom-house; and every such Chinese laborer so departing from the United States shall be entitled to, and shall receive, free of any charge or cost upon application therefor, from the collector or his deputy, at the time such list is taken a certificate, signed by the collector or his deputy and attested by his seal of office, in such form as the Secretary of the Treasury shall prescribe, which certificate shall contain a statement of the name, age, occupation, last place of residence, personal description, and facts of identification of the Chinese laborer to whom the certificate is issued, corresponding with the said list and registry in all particulars…
SEC. 5. That any Chinese laborer mentioned in section four of this act being in the United States, and desiring to depart from the United States by land, shall have the right to demand and receive, free of charge or cost, a certificate of identification similar to that provided for in section four of this act to be issued to such Chinese laborers as may desire to leave the United States by water; and it is hereby made the duty of the collector of customs of the district next adjoining the foreign country to which said Chinese laborer desires to go to issue such certificate, free of charge or cost, upon application by such Chinese laborer, and to enter the same upon registry-books to be kept by him for the purpose, as provided for in section four of this act.
SEC. 6. That in order to the faithful execution of articles one and two of the treaty in this act before mentioned, every Chinese person other than a laborer who may be entitled by said treaty and this act to come within the United States, and who shall be about to come to the United States, shall be identified as so entitled by the Chinese Government in each case, such identity to be evidenced by a certificate issued under the authority of said government, which certificate shall be in the English language or (if not in the English language) accompanied by a translation into English, stating such right to come, and which certificate shall state the name, title, or official rank, if any, the age, height, and all physical peculiarities, former and present occupation or profession, and place of residence in China of the person to whom the certificate is issued and that such person is entitled conformably to the treaty in this act mentioned to come within the United States…
SEC. 7. That any person who shall knowingly and falsely alter or substitute any name for the name written in such certificate or forge any such certificate, or knowingly utter any forged or fraudulent certificate, or falsely personate any person named in any such certificate, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $1,000, and imprisoned in a penitentiary for a term of not more than five years.
SEC. 8. That the master of any vessel arriving in the United States from any foreign port or place shall, at the same time he delivers a manifest of the cargo, and if there be no cargo, then at the time of making a report, of the entry of the vessel pursuant to law, in addition to the other matter required to be reported, and before landing, or permitting to land, any Chinese passengers, deliver and report to the collector of customs of the district in which such vessels shall have arrived a separate list of all Chinese passengers taken on board his vessel at any foreign port or place, and all such passengers on board the vessel at that time…
SEC. 9. That before any Chinese passengers are landed from any such vessel, the collector, or his deputy, shall proceed to examine such passengers, comparing the certificates with the list and with the passengers; and no passenger shall be allowed to land in the United States from such vessel in violation of law…
SEC. 11. That any person who shall knowingly bring into or cause to be brought into the United States by land, or who shall knowingly aid or abet the same, or aid or abet the landing in the United States from any vessel of any Chinese person not lawfully entitled to enter the United states, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in a sum not exceeding $1,000, and imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year.
SEC. 12. That no Chinese person shall be permitted to enter the United States by land without producing to the proper officer of customs the certificate in this act required of Chinese persons seeking to land from a vessel…
SEC. 13. That this act shall not apply to diplomatic and other officers of the Chinese Government traveling upon the business of that government, whose credentials shall be taken as equivalent to the certificate in this act mentioned, and shall exempt them and their body and household servants from the provisions of this act as to other Chinese persons.
SEC. 14. That hereafter no State court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship; and all laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.
SEC. 15. Thatt he words “Chinese laborers,” wherever used in this act, shall be construed to mean both skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining.
Approved, May 6, 1882.
An Act to secure Homesteads to actual Settlers on the Public Domain.
SEC. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies, shall, from and after the first January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, be entitled to enter one quarter section or a less quantity of unappropriated public lands, upon which said person may have filed a preemption claim, or which may at the time the application is made, be subject to preemption at one dollar and twenty-five cents, or less, per acre; or eighty acres or less of such unappropriated lands, at two dollars and fifty cents per acre, to be located in a body, in conformity to the legal subdivisions of the public lands, and after the same shall have been surveyed: Provided, That any person owning and residing on land may, under the provisions of this act, enter other land lying contiguous to his or her said land, which shall not, with the land so already owned and occupied, exceed in the aggregate one hundred and sixty acres.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the person applying for the benefit of this act shall, upon application to the register of the land office in which he or she is about to make such entry, make affidavit before the said register or receiver that he or she is the head of a family, or is twenty-one years or more of age, or shall have performed service in the army or navy of the United States, and that he has never borne arms against the Government of the United States or is given aid and comfort to its enemies, and that such application is made for his or her exclusive use and benefit, and that said entry is made for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not either directly or indirectly for the use or benefit of any other person or persons whomsoever; and upon filing the said affidavit with the register or receiver, and on payment of ten dollars, he or she shall thereupon be permitted to enter the quantity of land specified: Provided, however, That no certificate shall be given or patent to issued therefor until the expiration of five years from the date of such entry; and if, at the expiration of such time, or at any time within two years thereafter, the person making such entry; or, if he be dead, his widow; or in case of her death, his heirs or devisee; or in case of a widow making such entry, her heirs or devisee, in case of her death; shall prove by two credible witnesses that he, she, or they have resided upon or cultivated the same for the term of five years immediately succeeding the time of filing the affidavit aforesaid, and shall make affidavit that no part of said land has, been alienated, and that he has borne true allegiance to the Government of the United States; then, in such case, he, she, or they, if at that time a citizen of the United States, shall be entitled to a patent, as in other cases provided for by law: And provided, further, That in case of the death of both father and mother, leaving an infant child, or children, under twenty-one years of age, the right and fee shall enure to the benefit of said infant child or children; and the executor, administrator, or guardian may, at any time within two years after the death of the surviving parent, and in accordance with the laws of the State in which such children for the time being have their domicile, sell said land for the benefit of but for no other purpose; and the purchaser shall acquire the absolute title by the purchase, and be entitled to a patent from the United States, on payment of the office fees and sum of money herein specified.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the register of the land office shall note all such applications on the tract books and plats of his office, and keep a register of all such entries, and make return thereof to the General Land Office, together with the proof upon which they have been founded.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no lands acquired under the provisions of this act shall in any event become liable to the satisfaction of any debt or debts contracted prior to the issuing of the patent therefor.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That if, at any time after the filing of the affidavit, as required in the second section of this act, and before the expiration of the five years aforesaid, it shall be proven, after due notice to the settler, to the satisfaction of the register of the land office, that the person having filed such affidavit shall have actually changed his or her residence, or abandoned the said land for more than six months at any time, then and in that event the land so entered shall revert to the government.
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That no individual shall be permitted to acquire title to more than one quarter section under the provisions of this act; and that the Commissioner of the General Land Office is hereby required to prepare and issue such rules and regulations, consistent with this act, as shall be necessary and proper to carry its provisions into effect; and that the registers and receivers of the several land offices shall be entitled to receive the same compensation for any lands entered under the provisions of this act that they are now entitled to receive when the same quantity of land is entered with money, one half to be paid by the person making the application at the time of so doing, and the other half on the issue of the certificate by the person to whom it may be issued; but this shall not be construed to enlarge the maximum of compensation now prescribed by law for any register or receiver: Provided, That nothing contained in this act shall be so construed as to impair or interfere in any manner whatever with existing preemption rights: And provided, further, That all persons who may have filed their application for a preemption right prior to the passage of this act, shall be entitled to all privileges of this act: Provided, further,That no person who has served, or may hereafter serve, for a period of not less than fourteen days in the army or navy of the United States, either regular or volunteer, under the laws thereof, during the existence of an actual war, domestic or foreign, shall be deprived of the benefits of this act on account of not having attained the age of twenty-one years.
SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That the fifth section of the act entitled “An act in addition to an act more effectually to provide for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and for other purposes,” approved the third of March, in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-seven shall extend to all oaths, affirmations, and affidavits, required or authorized by this act.
SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act shall be so construed as to prevent any person who has availed him or herself of the benefits of the first section of this act, from paying the minimum price, or the price to which the same may have graduated, for the quantity of land so entered at any time before the expiration of the five years, and obtaining a patent therefor from the government, as in other cases provided by law, on making proof of settlement and cultivation as provided by existing laws granting preemption rights.
APPROVED, May 20, 1862.
An Act in addition to the act, entitled “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”
SEC. 1 Be it enacted…, That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty; and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot. unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.
SEC. 2. That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them. or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.
SEC. 3. That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.
SEC. 4. That this act shall continue to be in force until March 3, 1801, and no longer…
ART. 4. For the better security of the peace and friendship now entered into by the contracting parties, against all infractions of the same, by the citizens of either party, to the prejudice of the other, neither party shall proceed to the infliction of punishments on the citizens of the other, otherwise than by securing the offender, or offenders, by imprisonment, or any other competent means, till a fair and impartial trial can be had by judges or juries of both parties, as near as can be, to the laws, customs, and usage’s of the contracting parties, and natural justice: the mode of such trials to be hereafter fixed by the wise men of the United States, in congress assembled, with the assistance of such deputies of the Delaware nation, as may be appointed to act in concert with them in adjusting this matter to their mutual liking. And it is further agreed between the parties aforesaid, that neither shall entertain, or give countenance to, the enemies of the other, or protect, in their respective states, criminal fugitives, servants, or slaves, but the same to apprehend and secure, and deliver to the state or states, to which such enemies, criminals, servants, or slaves, respectively below.
Saturday, Oct. 19th, 1765, A.M. — The congress met according to adjournment, and resumed, etc., as yesterday; and upon mature deliberation, agreed to the following declaration of the rights and grievances of the colonists in America, which were ordered to be inserted.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
The members of this congress, sincerely devoted, with the warmest sentiments of affection and duty to His Majesty’s person and government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of the Protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on this continent; having considered as maturely as time would permit, the circumstances of said colonies, esteem it our indispensable duty to make the following declarations, of our humble opinions, respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists, and of the grievances under which they labor, by reason of several late acts of Parliament.
1st. That His Majesty’s subjects in these colonies owe the same allegiance to the crown of Great Britain that is owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that august body, the Parliament of Great Britain.
2d. That His Majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies are entitled to all the inherent rights and privileges of his natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain.
3d. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted rights of Englishmen, that no taxes should be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.
4th. That the people of these colonies are not, and from their local circumstances cannot be, represented in the House of Commons in Great Britain.
5th. That the only representatives of the people of these colonies are persons chosen therein, by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been or can be constitutionally imposed on them but by their respective legislatures.
6th. That all supplies to the crown, being free gifts of the people, it is unreasonable and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of the British constitution for the people of Great Britain to grant to His Majesty the property of the colonists.
7th. That trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every British subject in these colonies.
8th. That the late act of Parliament entitled, “An act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, etc.,” by imposing taxes on the inhabitants of these colonies, and the said act, and several other acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists.
9th. That the duties imposed by several late acts of Parliament, from the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely burthensome and grievous, and, from the scarcity of specie, the payment of them absolutely impracticable.
10th. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately center in Great Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely to all supplies granted there to the crown.
11th. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of Parliament on the trade of these colonies will render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain.
12th. That the increase, prosperity, and happiness of these colonies depend on the full and free enjoyment of their rights and liberties, and an intercourse, with Great Britain, mutually affectionate and advantageous.
13th. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies to petition the king or either house of Parliament.
Lastly, That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies to the best of sovereigns, to the mother-country, and to themselves, to endeavor, by a loyal and dutiful address to His Majesty, and humble application to both houses of Parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any other acts of Parliament whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is extended as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction of the American commerce.
On September 25, 1789, the First Congress approved twelve (12) amendments to the new Constitution of the United States. Upon congressional passage, those twelve amendments went to the states for ratification. The states ratified ten (10) of the amendments, forming what we now know as the Bill of Rights.
Origin of the Bill of Rights
Rights were critical to the Founders of the United States. Virtually all of them embraced Imago Dei (the Judeo-Christian principle that Man is created in the image of God) as well as the natural law theories of John Locke. Deeply influenced by English traditions of limited government and popular rights (traditions echoed in documents such as Magna Carta and the 1689 English Bill of Rights), the Founders believed that the people derive their fundamental rights from the Creator, whereas government derives its authority from the governed.
These values were enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and in the various state constitutions and bills of rights. One of the most notable expressions of these rights at the state level was penned by George Mason. The author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Mason was a staunch advocate of limited government and individual liberty.
When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was called to address the failures of the Articles of Confederation, there was great reluctance to give too much power to the national government and thus compromise the liberties of the American people and of the various states. George Mason was among the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, and he ultimately refused to sign the document for lack of a bill of rights. Returning to Virginia to join anti-Federalists (opponents of the Constitution) like Patrick Henry, Mason exerted his influence against this new form of government.
As a means of insuring ratification of the Constitution, James Madison agreed to introduce a bill of rights, once the new Constitution went into effect. When Madison was elected to the First Congress, he moved to honor his agreement. Writing to a friend, the Virginia patriot said the amendments are “limited to points which are important in the eyes of many and can be objectionable in those of none. The structure & stamina of Govt. are as little touched as possible.”
Congress Passes Twelve Amendments
On September 25, 1789, the First Federal Congress sent twelve amendments to the state legislatures for ratification. The first two amendments, dealing with numbers of constituents and congressional pay, initially failed to get the requisite number of states to agree to them. Consequently, amendments three (3) through twelve (12) were ratified, becoming the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment concerning the number of constituents remains dead and will likely never again see the light of day. The original second amendment, however, was resurrected nearly 200 years later. It dealt with congressional pay was finally ratified on May 7, 1992, long after Madison and his colleagues were dead.
The Bill of Rights
Upon ratification by the requisite number of states, the Bill of Rights went into effect in 1791. The first ten amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America are as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
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.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
For more information, visit the Library of Congress exhibit page on the Bill of Rights.