Monday, February 10, 2014

"that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive..."

Another engrossed form of the ratification, agreed to on Wednesday last, containing the proposed Constitution of government, as recommended by the federal Convention on the seventeenth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, being prepared by the secretary, was read and signed by the president, in behalf of the Convention

On motion, Ordered, That the said ratification be deposited by the secretary of this Convention in the archives of the General Assembly of this state.

Mr. WYTHE reported, from the committee appointed, such amendments to the proposed Constitution of government for the United States as were by them deemed necessary to be recommended to the consideration of the Congress which shall first assemble under the said Constitution, to be acted upon according to the mode prescribed in the 5th article thereof; and he read the same in his place, and afterwards delivered them in at the clerk's table, where the same were again read, and are as follows:--

"That there be a declaration or bill of rights asserting, and securing from encroachment, the essential and unalienable rights of the people, in some such manner as the following:--

    "1st. That there are certain natural rights, of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
    "2d. That all power is naturally invested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates therefore are their trustees and agents, at all times amenable to them.
    "3d. That government ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people; and that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive to the good and happiness of mankind....

..."17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power....

[The Debates in the Several State Conventions [Virginia] on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot's Debates, Volume 3] Friday, June 27, 1788.]

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