To The Daily Sun,
New Hampshire was the very first state to adopt a form of government separate from the British Empire. New Hampshire's first constitution — only 911 words long — was adopted by the state Legislature on January 5, 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The current New Hampshire Constitution was adopted on June 2, 1784, replacing the original state constitution with a two-part document. The first part enumerates some of the unalienable rights which are the birthright of everyone, and the second part lays out the form of government for the state.
The Bill of Rights that constitutes the first part of the New Hampshire Constitution is unique and remarkable when compared to most other modern state constitutions. It retains much of the fervor for self-governing rights that was expressed in Thomas Paine's world-changing "Common Sense," as well as the inspirational and powerful words of the Declaration Independence.
Article 1 declares: All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.
Article 2 declares: All men have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property; and, in a word, of seeking and obtaining happiness.
Article 8 declares: All power residing originally in, and being derived from the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them.
And Article 10 declares: Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
Article 14 declares: Every subject of this state is entitled to a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries he may receive in his person, property or character, to obtain right and justice freely, without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay, conformably to the laws.
As we can see, there should be no shyness about the right and authority of the people of New Hampshire to change their Constitution and style of government when the living generation finds that old ways and new wrongs have the effect of depriving them of their unalienable rights and their ability to govern their own communities.
Systemic errors in our current state and national governments result in violations of the right of local community self-government. It is beyond argument that these violations are real, constant, and have gone without remedy by elected representatives and the court system of the state. It has been left to the people to take corrective action, by demanding constitutional change that will guarantee in specific, unassailable terms that it is the people who govern, that they have the authority, power and right to enact and enforce laws in their own communities that prevent the state from empowering corporations to violate community rights under color of state law.
In the name of the people, the state creates corporations by issuing charters. Corporations are therefore creatures of the state, and governable in their existence and in their actions by the people. But a long train of abuses and usurpations, in which courts and legislatures have elevated corporate power over general community rights suggests an unspoken plan to reduce our democratic rights to proportions manageable by a corporate minority. It is, as our state constitution enumerates, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
- Category: Letters
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