We are losing our freedoms in this country. We are being told what we can eat, drink, say, not say, write, not write, do, not do, how to do it, and we are being spied on by our own government, but we accept all this in exchange for the false sense of security offered by statism. We support it because we don’t want to buck the system or be called racists or fools. Some of us have some misguided notion that statism is somehow fairer and more just.
At a recent luncheon with constitutional lawyer, KrisAnne Hall, she told the story of James Otis Jr. a prominent and distinguished lawyer under King George III.
James Otis Jr.
When King George passed the Writs of Assistance, it was James Otis who stood up, one man alone, against the tyrannical king.
The Writs allowed soldiers to go anywhere, barge into peoples’ homes, rifle through their things and, if they protested, arrest them. Protesting the king’s Writs was an act of treason, punishable by death.
The possibility of death did not stop James Otis Jr. who was renowned and held one of the most important positions a lawyer could hold. He was esteemed, but to whom much is given, much is required.
The 1689 Bill of Rights forbade the king from violating the citizens’ privacy rights. James Otis knew that the king violated the law by enacting the Writs of Assistance and he decided to fight against it at great personal cost for one reason – because it was the right thing to do. In the least, his career was over.
Knowing the risks he took, James Otis stood on the State House floor for five hours arguing that the Writs were against English law.
He wasn’t executed but his career was over and his reputation in ruins. He was defamed, threatened and treated as if he were a traitor.
Mr. Otis believed that standing up for Liberty was more important than his name.
James Otis, unsurprisingly, lost his case, but what he did accomplish was to leave a lasting image in the minds of those who were present to hear him argue that day. He spoke of liberty and people in attendance heard him. The results weren’t immediate but many of those there that day later became signers of the Declaration of Independence.
If you doubt the importance of James Otis’ courageous act, know that forty years later, James Adams said of that day,
“But Otis was a flame of fire!
With a promptitude of classical allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events, and dates, a profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glare of his eyes into (the future), and a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away all before him.
American Independence was then and there born.
The seeds of Patriots and Heroes – to defend the vigorous youth, were there and then sown.
Every man of an immense, crowded audience, appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against Writs of Assistance. Then and there, was the first scene of the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain – then and there, the child Independence was born.
In fifteen years, i.e. in 1776, he grew up to man hood, and declared himself free.”
As KrisAnne spoke to those of us at the luncheon, she reminded us of Crispus Attucks. Crispus Attucks is believed to be the first man to die at the very inception of the American Revolution at the hands of the British redcoats during the Boston Massacre in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall of 1768.
British soldiers were ordered to Boston to quell the growing unrest among colonists following the Stamp Act and Townshend Acts. A mob gathered in Boston as troops, radical Whigs, and colonists all came together.
Colonists confronted a sentry who scolded a boy who was complaining that an officer was late paying his barber bill. Angry words led to violence. The colonists threw snowballs and debris at the solders.
Attucks led a group of men who approached the Old State House with clubs. One soldier was struck with a piece of wood. Some say Attucks did it. Others say Attucks was leaning upon a stick at the time. We will never know for sure. The soldiers opened fire and Attucks was the first man to die.
What makes this so important is not only that he was the first man to die in the cause of liberty during the Revolution, but he was black with Native-American blood and he was or had been a slave. He was only 47 years when he died.
The first man to die for our freedom was a black man. Because of Attucks, battalions of freed slaves fought for freedom during the Revolution, not for themselves, but for the future ages of men.
The point of the stories is this. It only takes one person to make all the difference. If you become discouraged and decide there is nothing you can do, remember that you never know who will be listening. The next James Otis Jr or the next George Washington could be listening to you. Speak for freedom and let nothing stand in your way.
The Easter Rebellion and the fight for Ireland’s independence from England began with seven men who were demonized as oddities. The French and Indian Wars began with one man – George Washington.
Each of us has a calling and we must answer it or be relegated to something much less than what we were intended to be. Each one of us can make a difference in our own way. As an educator, I find that the difference I have made often doesn’t come back to me until decades later and most often, I will never know.
It is important that each person do what she or he is called to do for others.
KrisAnne Hall, the lawyer who spoke to us has answered her calling to stand up for Liberty. She gave up a legal career, with a substantial, steady income, when she was told the Constitution had no place at work and she must give up speaking to Tea Party and Christian groups. She had a choice, a path to choose, and she chose to follow the harder one, the one without financial stability. She believes that God will provide and he has. She speaks to the same groups now and does it for free. She is on a mission to spread the truth. She is a defender of liberty at a time when we need people like her the most.
John Kennedy chose to take us to the moon, an impossible feat, why? ‘…not because it was easy, but because it was hard.’
We have a great nation- an exceptional nation – founded on the concept of freedom and our good fortune also brings with it a debt we must pay to society as good citizens.
The left wants us to think that we can best do this under the control of big government. They say we must become a nation united for the common good under the auspices of a government that wields power over our very souls.
A perfect example is the HHS mandate requiring religious organizations to accept that they must pay for abortions – yes abortions, abortifacients, and birth control – though it goes against their conscience, something we as citizens have never been required to do.
Freedom cannot exist under collectivisim, freedom can only exist as individual liberty. There is no other definition of freedom.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Check out KrisAnne Hall’s blog and find the answers to many constitutional questions you might have about liberty as it relates to our government today. You may or may not agree with everything she says, but you will learn a great deal from which to formulate your own ideas.