Friday, November 03, 2006

...but which they did not think proper to intrust to their agents...

"We admit of no government by divine right, believing that, so far as power is concerned, the beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men; that all are upon an equality, and that the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed. The Constitution of the United States is the instrument containing this grant of power to the several departments composing the Government. On an examination of that instrument it will be found to contain declarations of power granted and of power withheld. The latter is also susceptible of division into power which the majority had the right to grant, but which they did not think proper to intrust to their agents, and that which they could not have granted, not being possessed by themselves. In other words, there are certain rights possessed by each individual American citizen which, in his compact with the others, he has never surrendered. Some of them, indeed, he is unable to surrender, being, in the language of our system, unalienable."
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- President William H. Harrison, Inaugural speech, March 4, 1841. [Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, 1837-1841. MARCH 4, 1841.]

2 comments:

JR said...

Just a quick note to let you know that you do good work my friend. It is appreciated, thanks.

E. David Quammen said...

Thanks J.R. It helps to know that there are those whom get something out of the effort! It provides reason to continue. Have a good one!