PERSONAL LIBERTY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.Individual liberty is very carefully guarded under the constitution. It is everywhere in that instrument treated as of paramount importance. It is guarded by every safeguard known to the law and distinctly set out as the greatest boon of mankind.
Individual liberty Is given the first place in the preamble of the proposed constitution. Rightful government and general welfare and hapful government and welfare and happiness are the other objects set forth as a reason for making a constitution. Of these liberty is regarded as the fundamental proposition and is set forth in these words:
"Invoking the guidance or Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty--* * * we, the people of the state of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this constitution."
This right to personal liberty is by the constitution declared to be one of the "inherent" rights of mankind. This means that even the constitution does not profess to grant individual liberty, but simply presents it as a rightful heritage or every man born into the world. "All persons have the inherent right to liberty," is one of the firm declarations of the bill of rights.
Of course all individual liberty must be exercised with regard to the equal liberty, which is inherent in others. One man may not use, or rather abuse, his liberty to the injury of his neighbor. To this end and to guarantee the equal liberty of other men, government is established and laws are made and courts given power to construe and enforce those laws. Therefore the new constitution provides that. "No person shall be deprived of his liberty without due process of law "
So careful is the constitution of this right of individual liberty that it is provided in section 10 of the bill of rights that: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall never be suspended." There is the absolute right to personal liberty guaranteed, and no man may take it away; and if any person is restrained without due process of law the courts will at once release him. Under this, no department of the government may arbitrarily Imprison or depart any man, as was done in the case of the Colorado miners during the strike. Impeachment would be against any governor of Oklahoma for any act similar to the notion of the governor of Colorado.
Individual liberty in religious matters is solemnly guaranteed and liberty of speech and of tho press is to remain forever inviolate.
The inherent personal liberty of the people has only one guarantee against usurpations by unjust and ambitious government and against the midnight assassin, and therefore it is provided that the right of the people to keep and bear arms must never be prohibited.
Equal personal liberty is guaranteed in all property matters and to that end section 32, of the bill or rights declares that: "Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government and shall never be allowed."
The more one studies the proposed constitution, the more clearly does it appear how much store the convention set by this matter of personal liberty. Indeed, it seems insofar as words and solemn declarations in the written fundamental law can guarantee the right of liberty, to that extent the convention found it to be its duty and privilege to go.
To attain to such heights of individual liberty as those marked by the new constitution, humanity has plunged through rivers of blood and scaled mountains of difficulty defended by all the devilish devices of kingcraft, class privilege and imperialism.[The Guthrie Daily Leader, Guthrie, Oklahoma, Tuesday Evening, August 6, 1907. Volume XXIX Number 81 Pg. 4]