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The Second Amendment: A Personal Natural Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Justice Anton Scalia

“There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”  District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) With those words, Justice Scalia put to rest a debate as to the meaning of the Second Amendment that had persisted for […]

US Constitution’s First Amendment: Right to Petition for Redress of Grievances

Reclaiming the Right to Petition

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights addresses five rights.  The limits on government interference with religion, speech and the press were the result of the uniquely American experience. The right to peaceable assembly was a needed protection to exercise the first three. The First Amendment’s fifth right will come as a surprise to […]

American Federalism: Source, Purpose and Establishment Part II

Federalism

Beginning with The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639,[1] Americans grew increasingly accustomed to local self-government.  They also learned the freedom and liberty that came along with a benign distant central government accepting local citizens’ control of  local law.  Over time, Americans came to live in a world perhaps described as “quasi-federalism”.[2] Among the men who […]

American Federalism: Source, Purpose and Establishment Part I

Thomas Hooker

“The federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers, and designed for different purposes.” James Madison   The Federalist, No.46 The American freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly as protected and practiced were new to the world. Those contributions to the world’s political thought were uniquely American. So it is with […]

The Lithuanian Legend of the Iron Wolf and the Fall of the Soviet Union

Iron Wolf

A legend surrounds the founding of Vilnius, the present day capital of Lithuania. It is The Legend of the Iron Wolf. The legend begins with a hunting trip undertaken by the Grand Duke of Lithuania,[1] Gediminas to the holy woods in the Valley of Sventaragis around the year 1323. Gediminas was joined by the nobles of […]

Separation of Powers in the US Constitution: 1800 Years of Thought

Polybius

All American schoolchildren are taught about the three branches of the federal government: legislative, executive and judicial. The Constitution’s establishment of these branches came from over 1800 years of political thinking. Most of the Founding Fathers were well educated and had studied classical political philosophy. The American government’s structure did not spring miraculously from the […]

The First American Christmas: The Battle of Trenton

Washington_Crossing_the_Delaware

In December, 1776 the British had driven Gen. George Washington and his men out of New York and across New Jersey. Things looked bleak for the Americans. In their escape from the British the Americans commandeered every boat they could find to cross the Delaware River into Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They were starving, sick and […]