A Proposed State Sovereignty Resolution (“A Re-Declaration of Independence”) for North Carolina | Beaufort County Now | A Proposed State Sovereignty Resolution (“A Re-Declaration of Independence”) for North Carolina

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    (Proposed on March 2021)

A Joint Resolution of the General Assembly of the Great State of North Carolina Affirming States' Rights and Condemning Encroachment of Those Rights by the Federal Government

Reference to the paper “A RE-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE,” by Diane Rufino, January 2021

    In the beginning, there were thirteen independent colonies. During the War for our Independence from Great Britain (the American Revolution), those thirteen independent colonies organized into thirteen independent states. On September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, bringing the Revolutionary War to its final conclusion. Most noteworthy, in Article I, the King acknowledges the individual sovereignty and independence of all of those brave thirteen states. He acknowledged their right to exist as free and independence states.

    Article 1 reads:

  • His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; that he treats with them as such, and for himself his Heirs & Successors, relinquishes all claims to the Government, Propriety, and Territorial Rights of the same and every Part thereof.

    From May through September, 1787, delegates from twelve of the thirteen states (minus Rhode Island) met in Philadelphia to draft a new constitution that each state found acceptable, one that created a suitable common government of limited powers, and that did not endanger its state sovereignty. When the Convention concluded on September 17, several delegates refused to sign it. And in fact, a good chunk of our Founding Fathers and state leaders were suspicious of the Constitution as written, fearing it would allow the central (federal) government to concentrate more power than originally intended and designed, it would encroach on and strip the states of their sovereign rights and powers, and most arguably, it did not contain enough direct limits on the power that the central government could exercise (ie, it did not contain a Bill of Rights, which, as Thomas Jefferson explained: "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference."). In each individual State Ratifying Convention, convention delegates had to address the criticisms, they had to add conditions, propose necessary amendments, and ultimately decide whether to adopt it or not. The debates and outcomes were so tenuous that a series of essays (85 of them) were written to explain the meaning, text, scope, and intent of all provisions of the Constitution. This series of essays is titled The Federalist Papers, with most of the essays written by James Madison (the main architect and drafter of the Constitution) and Alexander Hamilton. The States, in Convention, were meant to rely on the essays (the definitions, the text, the scope, and the intent) in their assessment of the Constitution, and they did. Reliance on such primary writings for meaning and intent, especially the very author and a delegate with intimate knowledge, is an essential legal doctrine in contract/compact law. The bottom line is that the Constitution would not have been ratified had James Madison not promised to add a Bill of Rights in the first session of Congress and had The Federalist Papers not assured the convention delegates of the limited nature of the Constitution.

    In order to further and firmly limit the power and reach of the federal government over each State and over the individual, the States demanded and received a finely-drafted Bill of Rights. They prefaced those first ten amendments with a very important explanation of why they were, and needed to be, added. That Preamble reads:

  • Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
  • The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

    With this Preamble in mind, the Tenth Amendment stands out in particular as one of the "declaratory clauses" designed to prevent misconstruction or abuse of federal power. It was clearly included to further remind the federal government of the federal nature of government (ie, "federalism"); to remind it of the relationship between Federal and state governments and the vital and critical role that division plays. The Tenth Amendment reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."


    The division of government power between the two sovereigns - the States and the federal government ("dual sovereignty";" sovereign v. sovereign") is the final and most powerful of all our checks and balances on the federal government. Each is sovereign and possessor of the powers belonging to it - as outlined generally in the Tenth Amendment - and as such, has the inherent and natural right to be a jealous guardian of those powers and to defend them from encroachment or usurpation by the other. The principle of checks and balances, in this particular case of "federalism," is that each sovereign has power to limit or check the other (just as each branch of government has the ability to check the other two), to keep the federal government, in general, limited to the powers delegated specifically to it in the US Constitution. This principle induces one branch to prevent either of the other branches from becoming supreme, thereby securing political liberty. The philosopher Montesquieu wrote about this concept during the Enlightenment period in his book The Spirit of the Laws (1748).

    In 1861, President Lincoln did the unthinkable...... as a single man, purporting to speak for the entire country and for our very Founding Fathers, he re-interpreted the Constitution as a document written and intended to create a perpetual union. Of course, this was the opposite interpretation. All original sources prove this, most especially the Declaration of Independence (itself a "secessionist" document). Audaciously, Lincoln characterized the secession of the Southern States not for what it really was (an act of secession - of separation from the federated union) but as an act of rebellion, justifying his invasion and submission (subjugation, many will say) of the Confederate States. To accomplish his goal of waging war in order to re-unite the South and preserve the union, Lincoln violated the Constitution in countless and palpable ways. The end result was the large, consolidated, all-powerful, and ambitious government we have today. Instead of the limited government designed and given to us by our Founders, Lincoln ushered in the era of the omnipotent federal government we know today.

    And then there was the coup de grace..... The judges who sit on the benches of our federal courts, most especially the US Supreme Court, decided to treat the Constitution as a living, breathing document, instead of as a compact - permanent memorialization of the people's government. In doing so, they have released themselves from their constitutional oath (to strictly "interpret" the document) and have allowed themselves to re-interpret, re-define, and transform its meaning and scope as they please, thereby going around the legal, constitutional process - Article V. And thus, the Supreme Court has completed the federal monopoly over the meaning, intent, and scope of its powers in the Constitution. The federal government now has a monopoly over its own power and its existence - a far cry from what the States intended and declared in the Declaration of Independence. Where are the umpires in the federal courts for the States?

    For a state that prides itself in the nickname "First in Freedom," it would be a travesty and disgrace, not to mention a betrayal of our state's history, for North Carolina to continue to accept the current course of tyranny by the federal government.

    "First in Freedom" is a slogan referring to the action of an assembly of representatives in colonial Halifax, North Carolina, the Fourth North Carolina Provincial Congress, that adopted a nonimportation agreement, or set of resolutions, on November 2, 1769. The Halifax Resolves were unanimously adopted by all 83 delegates assembled. This document "took measures for preserving the true and essential interests of the province," according to Assembly Speaker John Harvey. The action was in line with the sentiments of many other colonies, which were resisting such measures as the Stamp Act, an act allowing Parliament the right to levy taxes in the colonies. This was reputedly the first time such a legislative body took action in protest of Parliament's right to tax the colonies. Some historians believe that the slogan "First in Freedom" refers to the Halifax Resolves, adopted by North Carolina on April 12, 1776, which was the first official state action urging a declaration of independence from England. From ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NORTH CAROLINA edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press]. The slogan perhaps also includes a reference to the Mecklenburg Resolves, or Charlotte Town Resolves, which were a list of statements adopted at Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, on May 31, 1775. They were drafted in the month following the fighting at Lexington and Concord, fearing that the British would attempt the same subjugation over the colonists in North Carolina. The Resolves annulled and vacated all laws originating from the authority of the King or Parliament and ended recognition of the Crown's power in the colony of North Carolina and all other American colonies. It became the first colony to formally do so, taking place about a year before the Halifax Resolves were passed by the Fourth North Carolina Provincial Congress. The two dates - corresponding to the adoption of the Halifax Resolves and the Mecklenburg Resolves - are proudly included on the NC state flag.



    WHEREAS, the Constitution of the State of North Carolina declares that "the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established...." It then goes on to list 38 individual rights in its "Declaration of Rights" (Section 1) - far more than recognized by the federal government in the US Constitution;

    WHEREAS, North Carolina's right to recognize the "great and essential principles of liberty and free government" may never be denied or delegated to the United States Congress;

    WHEREAS, "The Creator has made the earth for the living, not for the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things." (Thomas Jefferson). Rights and powers do not originate or belong to a government, unless that power is exercised for the People - on behalf of them - and NOT against them;

    WHEREAS, the several States, by a compact under the style and title "Constitution for the United States," and of amendments thereto, voluntarily constituted a general government for special common purposes;

    WHEREAS, the several States are parties to the compact (Constitution), with the people of said States acting in their own conventions to consider, debate, deliberate, and ratify it;

    WHEREAS, on November 21, 1789, the General Assembly, meeting in Fayetteville, ratified the United States Constitution, relying on guarantees and definitions in The Federalist Papers as well as the addition of a Bill of Rights, making North Carolina the twelfth state to adopt it and to join the second union of States (The Articles of Confederation establishing the first union). The Constitution, without contestation, is a compact created and established among fellow States;

    WHEREAS, a compact, contract, (and even a treaty) are defined by contact law and legally must be implemented consistent with the terms and understandings in place at the time it is entered into;

    WHEREAS, our government structure is predicated on separation of powers between the States, as sovereigns, and the federal government, which is sovereign with respect to only certain responsibilities (Article I, Section 8; express language, as re-affirmed in the state ratifying conventions and the Federalist Papers, the leading authority on the meaning and intent of the Constitution);

    WHEREAS, this separation of powers, known as federalism, is a critical feature of our government system, intended to safeguard the "precious gem" of individual liberty by limiting government overreach;

    WHEREAS, there is no provision in the Constitution nor any grant of delegated power by which the States can be said to have (willingly or intentionally) surrendered their sovereignty, for it is clear that no State would have ratified the document and the Union would not have been established;

    WHEREAS, the States were too watchful to leave the opportunity open to chance and using an abundance of caution, insisted that a series of amendments be added, including the Tenth Amendment, as a condition of ratification and formation of the Union;

    WHEREAS, the Preamble to the Bill of Rights expressed the unambiguous intention of those amendments, and reads: "The Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution";


    WHEREAS, that relationship between the states and the federal government is defined by the Tenth Amendment, which reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people";

    WHEREAS, the critical relationship has been eroded through the many Supreme Court decisions which have transferred power from the States to the federal government in order to enlarge its sphere of influence;
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( April 28th, 2021 @ 11:03 am )
Thanks Wes. There is a second resolution that I have yet to publish due to time constraints, but now that I know you are interested, I will rush it along.
( April 28th, 2021 @ 10:25 am )
As usual, a very good analysis of an issue that seems to have gone by the wayside with our current progressive government. I commend Diane for her insightful work, which needs to be read by every North Carolinian. And, thank you, BCN, for publishing it

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