Property Rights Are Divine Rights

|
Posted: May 10, 2018 10:48 AM
Property Rights Are Divine Rights

Our Forefathers and Founding Fathers understood biblical principle and history.  They were Enlightened, like the Ancient Hebrews.  But also like the Ancient Hebrews, their posterity waned from this Enlightenment and suffered from the transgression.  God does give warnings, as He longs for His children to behave wisely and obediently.  We, as our Forefathers’ and Founding Father’s descendants, would be wise to grasp this principle and its history and return to obedience to God, our Father and creator of all things; return to righteous behavior; that of our Happiness.

Colonial clergy orated this message of divine rights to property from their pulpits, as illustrated by Pastor Elisha Williams in 1744. 

“And every man having a property in his own person, the labour of his body and the work of his hands are properly his own, to which no one has right but himself,” affirms Williams, “it will therefore follow that when he removes any thing out of the state of nature has provided and left it in, he has mixed his labour with it and joined something to it that is his own, and thereby makes it his property…that no man can have a right to the person or property of another:  And if every man has a right to his person and property; he has also a right to defend them, and a right to all the necessary means of defence, and so has a right of punishing all insults upon his person and property.”[1]

Elisha Williams and many other Colonial clergy of the time strongly and regularly pronounced these Fundamental Rights in their sermons and pamphlets; acknowledging that “The members of a civil state do retain their natural liberty or right of judging for themselves in matter of religion.” He was describing their authority and right to conscience, “and the liberty of worshipping God according to their consciences.”[2]  Pastor Williams explains in further detail that “this right of private judgement, and worshipping God according to their consciences, being the natural and unalienable right of every man, what men by entering into civil society neither did, nor could give up into the hands of the community.”[3]

Elisha Williams also acknowledges Natural Law and it’s predominate station of upholding man’s Fundamental Rights to his mind, body and property.  Pastor Williams states that man employs the execution of “the law of nature by his own single authority as he thought fit”[4]and that “every man has an equal right to the preservation of his person and property; and so an equal right to establish a law, or to nominate the makers and executors of the laws which are the guardians both of person and property.”[5]  Concluding in direct Lockean fashion, Williams affirms, “The great end of civil government, is the preservation of their persons, their liberties and estates, or their property.”[6]  Over thirty years later, George Mason and Thomas Jefferson would follow suit.

Founding Father John Dickinson, tying Fundamental Rights, happiness, freedom, and property together, wrote in 1766, “If no man or body of men has such a right [the right to give rights], I have a right to be happy.  If there can be no happiness without freedom, I have a right to be free.  If I cannot enjoy freedom without security of property, I have a right to be thus secured.  If my property cannot be secure, in case others over whom I have no kind of influence may take it from me by taxes, under the pretence of the public good, and for enforcing their demands, may subject me to arbitrary, expensive, and remote jurisdictions, I have an exclusive right to lay taxes on my own property –, either by myself or those I can trust.”[7]

Another absolute manifestation of property rights in the context of a right to conscience, a fundamental right, is the right of association.  The Right of Association is living in liberty.  John Locke spoke to this, but Alexis de Tocqueville, most eloquently stated, “The most natural privilege of man, next to the right of acting for himself, is that of combining his exertions with those of his fellow-creatures, and of acting in common with them.”  He further exerts, “I am therefore led to conclude that the right of association is almost as inalienable as the right of personal liberty.  No legislator can attack it without impairing the very foundations of society.”  Our right of association is constantly under attack.  Tocqueville recognizes this fact only a few sentences later in describing the very issues we have been shackled with today, indicating that “where liberty degenerates into license.”[8]

Our Forefathers set the stage on which our Founding Fathers would act on our behalf.  Our Fundamental Right to property and association are as valid now, although often usurped in today’s unlawful and unfounded political environment, as they were during Colonial America, which was based on God’s establishment at creation.

[1] Elisha Williams, 1744, “The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants,” from Ellis Sandoz, (Ed.), 1991, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era:   1730 – 1805, (Indianapolis, IN:   Liberty Press), p. 57, emphasis added.

[2] Elisha Williams, 1744, “The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants,” from Ellis Sandoz, (Ed.), 1991, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era:   1730 – 1805, (Indianapolis, IN:   Liberty Press), pp. 61 and 97.

[3] Elisha Williams, 1744, “The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants,” from Ellis Sandoz, (Ed.), 1991, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era:   1730 – 1805, (Indianapolis, IN:   Liberty Press), p. 97.

[4] Elisha Williams, 1744, “The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants,” from Ellis Sandoz, (Ed.), 1991, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era:   1730 – 1805, (Indianapolis, IN:   Liberty Press), p. 59.

[5] Elisha Williams, 1744, “The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants,” from Ellis Sandoz, (Ed.), 1991, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era:   1730 – 1805, (Indianapolis, IN:   Liberty Press), p. 58.

[6] Elisha Williams, 1744, “The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants,” from Ellis Sandoz, (Ed.), 1991, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era:   1730 – 1805, (Indianapolis, IN:   Liberty Press), p. 58, Emphasis in original.

[7] John Dickinson, 1766, “An Address to the Committee of Correspondence in Barbados,” Paul Leicester Ford (ed.), 1895, The Writings of John Dickinson, Vol I, Political Writings, 1764-1774, (The Historical Society of Philadelphia: Philadelphia, PA), p. 262, [https://archive.org/details/writingsofjohndi00dickrich].

[8] Alexis de Tocqueville, 2007 (originally published in 1835 and 1840), Democracy in America, Volumes 1 and 2, Unabridged, (Stilwell, KS: Digireads.com Publishing), p. 145.