"These provisions may be fairly divided into two great classes, the theoretical and the practical. The more modern and broad are the theoretical; the general statements that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
"These general statements are valuable to show the progress and drift of thought, but have been rarely subject to much legal or strict construction.
"In discussing the legal scope of the constitutional guarantees, attention may rather be paid to the more specific and therefore more valuable provisions that have been successfully conquered and fortified in the wars of freedom; provisions that tell us of the whole constitutional history of England and America. We find them in detail in constitutions, whether of the union or of particular States; that every man may Worship according to his own conscience, and shall not be compelled to attend any particular church; that there shall be no religious test for office; that everyone shall be free to speak, write or publish the truth, being responsible only for the abuse of that liberty; that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that it shall be their right peaceably to assemble, and to petition for the redress of grievances; that everyone ought to find a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property or character; that his house and possessions shall be free from unreasonable search; that he shall not be held for a capital or other infamous crime without indictment; that his property shall not be taken for public use except by due process of law and upon due compensation therefor; that the privilege or writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended; that the right to trial by jury shall remain inviolate, and that slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, shall not exist in the United States.
"These provisions are familiar; they are almost platitudes. In substance, except as to slavery, they were insisted upon as amendments to the United States Constitution before the consent of the States could be obtained. They are embodied in the fundamental law of the majority of the States. They have come down to us as a legacy of centuries of conflict. They group themselves as supporting bulwarks of the great citadel of freedom. They carry us back not merely to our war of the Union, to the Declaration of Independence, and to the provincial struggle to be let alone; but in thought to the days of the Restoration, of the Puritan, of a compulsory established church, of ecclesiastical commissions, of forced loans and aids, of feudal or kingly
oppression, and finally to the great words of Magna Charta, when King John had to declare--
"No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed, or banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will we pass upon him or commit him to prison, unless by the legal judgment of his peers or unless by the law of the land. We will sell to no man or deny no man right or justice.""The universal repetition of these provisions proves that they are ingrained in the life and love of American freedom. It has been well pointed out by Dr. Lieber in his "Civil Liberty," that they are not mere general statements, but bear the practical character that belongs to our race. The declaration of liberty, equality, and fraternity by the French Republic has never prevented tyranny by police, the interrogation of supposed criminals by the court, prosecution by the judges, the restriction of public speech, writing and printing, police arrest and all the machinery which practically makes a government arbitrary."
[THE TYRANNIES OF FREE GOVERNMENT OR THE MODERN SCOPE OF CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF LIBERTY AND PROPERTY, BY RICHARD WAYNE PARKER OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY. REPORT OF THE EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE American Bar Association HELD AT DETROIT, MICHIGAN. August 27, 28, 29 and 30, 1895 PHILADELPHIA: Dando Printing and Publishing Company, 34, South Third Street. 1895. Pgs. 296-97]
(Richard Wayne Parker (August 6, 1848 - November 28, 1923) was an American Republican Party politician from New Jersey who represented the 6th congressional district from 1895 to 1903, the 7th district from 1903 to 1911, and the 9th district from 1914 to 1919 and again from 1921 to 1923,. He was a grandson of James Parker, also a Representative from New Jersey. Born in Morristown, he graduated from Princeton College in 1867 and from Columbia Law School in 1869. He was admitted to the bar of New Jersey in 1870 and commenced practice in Newark. He was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly in 1885 and 1886. Parker was elected as a Republican to the Fifty-second and to the seven succeeding Congresses, holding office from March 4, 1895 to March 3, 1911. During the Sixty-first Congress he was chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1910 to the Sixty-fifth Congress and resumed the practice of law in Newark. He was then elected to the Sixty-third Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Walter I. McCoy, was reelected to the Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Congresses, and served from December 1, 1919, to March 3, 1928. He was a delegate to the 1916 Republican National Convention. And was elected to the Sixty-seventh Congress, holding office from March 4, 1921 to March 3, 1923.)