By Richard A. Primus
Richard A. Primus examines 3 the most important classes in American historical past (the past due eighteenth century, the Civil warfare and the Fifties and Sixties) and demonstrates how the conceptions of rights winning at every one of those occasions grew out of competition to concrete political instances. within the first learn of its variety, Primus highlights the impact of totalitarianism (in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) at the language of rights. This publication may be a big contribution to modern political conception, of curiosity to students and scholars in politics and govt, constitutional legislations, and American heritage.
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Extra resources for The American Language of Rights (Ideas in Context)
One antiFederalist author wrote, "I have it in my power to prove that under the proposed Federal Constitution, the trial of facts in civil cases by a jury of the Vicinage is entirely and effectually abolished. " According to his argument, "the appellate jurisdiction as to law and fact which is vested in the superior court of the United States" was the undoing of local juries: How is it possible that the supreme continental court, which we will suppose to consist at most of five or six different judges, can travel at least twice in every year, through the different counties of America, from New Hampshire to Kentuckey [sic] and from Kentuckey to Georgia, to try facts by juries of the vicinage. Common sense will not admit of such a supposition. I am therefore right in my assertion, that trial by jury in civil cases, is, by the proposed constitution entirely done away, and effectually abolished. Let us now attend to the consequences of this enormous innovation, and daring encroachment, on the liberties of the citizens . . . Suppose therefore, 107 U. S. Constitution, III. 2. iii. 108 Storing, The Complete AntiFederalist, vol. V, bk. 16, p. 24. Page 120 that the military officers of congress, by a wanton abuse of power, imprison the free citizens of America, suppose the excise or revenue officers [or] a constable, having a warrant to search for stolen goods, pulled down the clothes of a bed in which there was woman, and searched under her shift, — suppose, I say, that they commit similar, or greater indignities, in such cases a trial by jury would be our safest resource, heavy damages would at once punish the offender, and deter others from committing the same: but what satisfaction can we expect from a lordly court of justice, always ready to protect the officers of government against the weak and helpless citizen, and who will perhaps sit at the distance of many hundred miles from the place where the outrage was committed? — What refuge shall we then have to shelter us from the iron hand of arbitrary power? 109 In this amazing suggestion, the author sets out from a rather benignlooking proviso of the Constitution, specifically that the Supreme Court would have standing as an appellate court of fact in civil cases, subject to exceptions as Congress might declare. 110 He vaults directly to tyranny and degradation, cataclysm in his tone, throwing in a healthy mixture of search warrants and standing armies. The letter reads like a summary sketch of the worst colonial nightmares under British rule. That theme was probably the guiding image behind his argument: all the terrors he lists must be avoided, and he would support no government that did not provide unquestionable rights against them. Free Trade and the Rights of Annapolis Many of the Founders were enterpriseoriented people in a mercantile age, and their documents reflected that general milieu. The federal Constitution guaranteed that Congress would not levy export taxes, give preferential treatment to ports in different states, or require duties on interstate shipping.