WHY DOES THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MAKE CLAIM TO STATE LAND?
by Michael Gaddy, ©2016, blogging at The Rebel Madman
“On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12 1823
There are a multitude of reasons to accept as constitutional gospel Thomas Jefferson’s words at this point in his life. The letter to William Johnson was written when Jefferson was 80 years old, three years before his death, after he had written our Declaration of Independence; been governor of Virginia during the Revolution; served as Washington’s Secretary of State during his first term; wrote the Kentucky Resolution, served two terms as president and been mentor for presidents Madison and Monroe at various times. No one in this country’s history had or has that level of experience and knowledge.
After 30 years of reading and studying our country’s founding era and the history since that time, it has been my experience that when it comes to “squeezing” meaning out of our Constitution—interpretation that was never intended by the majority of our founders—no one can compare with those who are employees or representatives of our government.
On multiple occasions I have heard these government lackeys refer to Article IV, Section III, Clause 2 as justification for the central government’s continuing unconstitutional seizure of private property and their claim to dominion and control over Public Lands. Of course, to complete the squeezing process requires an ignorance inherent in the people or intentional deception when it comes to the background of why that part of the Constitution was included by those who seek to use it to promote and extend the powers of the central government.
First of all, let us take a look at the wording of the Clause in question.
“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”
Please note the first eight words in the clause. Specifically, this expressly delegates the power to the Congress to “dispose of” property belonging to the United States. Notice also there is absolutely nothing in this clause that states the Congress has the power to acquire, buy, obtain, steal, confiscate, be granted or coerce from anyone, any property, in any state. At the time our Constitution was written and then ratified, not one of our founders ever stated or believed that any part, of any state, was “property belonging to the United States.”
Relevant also is the last part of this clause. It clearly states “nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.” Clearly, the actions of the BLM in various Western states have prejudiced the property rights claims of those states. This is also a total repudiation of the heavy-handed actions of various gestapo forces within the alphabet agencies of the central government reference lands inside the boundaries of any state.
Next, when it comes to “needful rules and regulations” it is specifically noted this pertains only to territories and not the states and “other property” belonging to the United States as mentioned in Article I, Section VIII, Clause 17. This, of course, includes the 10 miles square that is the District of Columbia, places purchased with the consent of the Legislatures of the States; “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock Yards and other needful buildings.”
The discussions during the convention of 1787 and the subsequent ratification conventions reference this part of our Constitution were basically concerned with the 10 miles square that is now the District of Columbia. Some very interesting comments were made during those ratification conventions concerning this Clause. For example, in the North Carolina ratification convention, James Iredell, who would be one of the first Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court, said the following:
“A gentleman who spoke some time ago (Mr. Lenoir) observed, that the government might make it treason to write against the most arbitrary proceedings. He corrected himself afterwards, by saying he meant misprision of treason. But in the correction he committed as great a mistake as he did at first. Where is the power given to them [to do this?] They have power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations. They have no power to define any other crime whatever.”
That statement by James Iredell is most compelling, especially from a man who was not only a founder of this country but a member of our first Supreme Court. He believed and stated, the central government has no power to define any crime whatever outside of the 10 miles square that makes up the country’s capital. Now, that is a subject that must be pursued and elaborated upon in a future Rant.
Iredell is especially interesting, considering months before Jefferson would pen the Declaration of Independence, Iredell wrote “Principles of an American Whig” which contained principles of independence very much like those of the later Declaration. Here are two great examples:
“[t]hat mankind were intended to be happy, at least that God Almighty gave them the power of being so, if they would properly exert the means he has bestowed upon them.”
“That government being only means of securing freedom and happiness to the people, whenever it deviates from this end, and their freedom and happiness are in great danger of being irrevocably lost, the government is no longer entitled to their allegiance, the only consideration for which it could be justly claimed or honorably pledged being basely and tyrannically withheld.”
The Federal Farmer, an Anti-Federalist who was either Melancton Smith or Richard Henry Lee, depending on who you read, wrote “…but in no event can there be any need of so large a city and places for forts, &c. totally exempted from the laws and jurisdictions of the state governments.”
So, our founders believed, and wrote, that even the properties constitutionally owned by the central government in the individual states, “in no event can there be any need of places [being] … totally exempted from the laws and jurisdictions of the state governments.”
Hours and hours of research of source documents, including minutes of both the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and many of the State Ratification Conventions of 1787-88, do not reveal any of our founders who believed or wrote that the central government would have any control over the lands within the states with the exception of joint control (central and state governments) over properties mentioned in Article I, Section VIII, Clause 17. Numerous court decisions, especially those of the Supreme Court, completely ignore this fact. That is the “squeezing” of text or “inventions against” the intent of our Constitution Jefferson warned us about.
“The Constitution applied…to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which gives Congress a power…ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolution 1798.
(all emphasis in bold are mine)
IN RIGHTFUL REBEL LIBERTY
Michael is a political activist, writer and teacher who defends and teaches the Constitution as ratified (originalist), our Bill of Rights and the tenets of our Declaration of Independence. He is constantly trying to understand why the great majority of people in this country are content being slaves to an unconstitutional, criminal government; a government that is systematically destroying the intent of the founders of this country and the culture that brought us Liberty and Individual Freedom. Dependent on readers in continuing this effort, please support his work by mail at: 404 West Main St. PMB 121, Cortez, CO 81321.