What are you Oregon? A State or a Territory?
by Ryan Bundy:
The United States Constitution is a positive document, creating and granting. Through it our central government was formed and tasked with certain particular duties to perform. Vested with few and specific powers to enable it to carry out those duties; nothing more.
Federalist Essay 45:
“…..Ask the question what degree of power was absolutely necessary for the purposes of the Federal Government? ….The objects of the Union cannot be obtained that such a government may derogate from the importance of the governments’ of the individual states. ”
Our founding fathers had just fought a long and bloody war to free themselves from an overpowering government, Great Britain. They were not about to create another one just like it.
Federalist Essay 45:
“..We have heard of the impious doctrine in the Old World, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the New, in another shape that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form?…..The Federal Government will owe its existence, more or less to the favor of the State Governments and must consequently feel a dependence towards them. The powers delegated by the Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the States’ government are numerous and indefinite. The federal powers will be exercised principally on external objects as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the States’ will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people. The operations of the Federal Government will be most extensive in times of war and danger; those of the State Governments in the times of peace and security.”
The central government that was created was one whose powers were few and defined. The limit on that power was not spelled out in detail, but was purposely omitted. The US Constitution is a positive document, creating and granting only. Our founders made this perfectly clear by stating in the Tenth Amendment, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution…, are reserved to the States or to the People.”
It is therefore clear, without question, that the central government is limited to possess only those powers that were specifically granted to it and none other. Government does not have power or authority in and of itself. We the people, each one of us separately, are sovereign. Meaning that the power and the authority resides with us, each one of us are free and possess within ourselves the right and ability to make our own choices in every situation.
We collectively delegate to an organization that we call government a small amount of our authority to perform certain tasks that we feel would be best performed by a group than by ourselves alone. This group, this government however does not and cannot assume power and authority that we have not specifically given to it. Simply by omitting authority our power to it we retain the same to ourselves. This is what is communicated through the Tenth Amendment.
Additionally, the Ninth Amendment points out that we have more rights powers and authority than can be spelled out. We retain all of these. Our founders, from experience, knew that power without limit, disparages the lives and liberties of the individual people. Ours was to be a country of freedom from such oppression forever more. Our central government was vested with just sufficient power to protect the union from outside invasion, to regulate foreign commerce and relations and to ensure domestic tranquility.
In order to enable the central government to fulfill its vested responsibilities, our founders knew Congress would need some land to accomplish that design. They included Cl 17, to Article 1, Sec 8 of the United States Constitution; ceding to Congress a ten-mile square to be the seat of government and allowed Congress to purchase additional land from a state, only with its consent for the purposes to erect forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings. The latter may be construed to include courthouses, post offices and such, but restricted to buildings. No other purpose was Congress given power to own or control land within an admitted State of the Union. This was done purposefully and with calculation, they knew, given the ability to own or control large portions of land, the central government could and would subdue a State and her people into undue obedience.
If Congress could have such large tracts of land, the people on the land would be nothing more than subjects, serfs and slaves to the king of the land, King Congress. Again, our founders were not about to create a monster like the one they just had to free themselves from. One of the safeties for this prevention was to limit the amount of land the central government may own or control to small tracks with limited purpose. It is this simple, the government cannot own land within and admitted State in the Union, except for those express purposes outlined in Art 1, Sec 8, Cl 17.
We must at this point consider the definition of “a State”. A State is as defined in the world, is a sovereign entity, its own government with its own boundaries its own land mass; its own people. The definition of a State is the same as a nation; a nation is a State, such as in, the State of Great Britain, or the State of Israel, equal to any State or Nation in the world.
The original thirteen states were upon Equal Footing with the State of Great Britain, the most powerful nation in the world at that time, after the Revolutionary War. Each State was independent and sovereign; they could have remained separate and independent forever. It was, however, always their design to unify and they did so under the Articles of Confederation and later under the Constitution of the United States. Yet each one maintained its independent sovereignty, its boundaries and ownership of the land and resources within it.
This Constitution created a union and a central government to perform certain necessary functions that would protect the whole of them together better than each of them could do for themselves alone. This union is just that, a union. A union by definition is made up of multiple independent members, joined together for a common cause or purpose. Yet each member maintains its individuality. Such as would any person that joined a union, would still be a person individually. To imply that the States submitted their independence in all cases subjecting themselves completely to the union would diametrically destroy the definition of “State” and “Union”, our country could then be called the Imperial Provinces of America, for the terms “Union” and “States” would no longer apply. Ours however, is a union of several independent states joined together, not completely, but partially for a few particular purposes. The sovereignty of each state is of the utmost importance to the protection of the rights and liberties of the people, Thus the importance that the land and resources be kept from the ownership or control of the central government. This was the original intent of our founding fathers.
In the drafting of the Kentucky Resolution, 1798, Thomas Jefferson said; “The several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government. But by a compact under the style and title of the Constitution for the United States…they constituted a general government for specific purposes…delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself the residuary mass of right to their own self-government and that whenever the General Government assumes undelegated powers its acts are unauthoritative, void and of no force.”
The original intent of our founding fathers was to create a union to serve as an adhesive element to join the states together for collective strength to conduct business and to defend from foreign forces, not as a monarchial over lording mother government that the States must answer to.
As stated by James Madison, “The western states neither would nor ought to submit to the Union that degraded them from equal rank with the other states.” This is speaking of the proposed new states which would be formed from the land known as the Northwest Territories. George Mason, further stated “they [the new states] must be treated as equals and subject to no degrading discrimination. They will have the same pride and other passions which we have and will either not unite with us or will speedily revolt from the union if they are not, in all respects placed on equal footing with their brethren.”
I would ask of you, how much of the land in each of the original thirteen States did Great Britain retain after their Independence was won? Anyone with a reasonable mind would know that the answer is none. Each State now, independent from Great Britain; owned all of the land within its borders and was sovereign. The definition of a State is found in the powers possessed by the original thirteen. Our founders knowing that new States would be formed and admitted into the union, made clear that new States would be equals with the original thirteen in all respects whatever. This principle was established for the formation of new states in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Art 5. The States, Vermont and Kentucky were the first new states to enter the Union establishing the precedence and procedure for the formation of new States. No terms or conditions were extracted from either, by Congress to be admitted.
If these new states are truly equal with the original in all respects whatsoever, it is clear to understand that, it includes the ownership and control of all the lands and resources within its borders. To maintain otherwise, is to deny that the new State had been admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original.
This territory Northwest of the River Ohio, previously belonged to several of the original 13 States individually. These States voluntarily relinquished the land for the precise purpose of creating new states in the near future. In the meantime, organization was needed in the territory to assist the people in claiming, using and maintaining the land and resources until new States could be formed. For this purpose Art 4 Sec 3 Cl 2, of the US Constitution was included. “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 Claim of the United States, or of any particular State. This clause vested Congress the power to dispose of those Territories and to make temporary rules and regulations while the land was still in Territorial status.
Referring again to the Tenth Amendment, Congress only has what power it was given it, all other powers being retained by the States and the People. No place does the Constitution grant or vest power in Congress to retain territorial property, only do we give Congress power to dispose of them. If Congress has the power to dispose of the territories, but not the power to retain, then Congress must dispose of them. This holds true to the intent of the founders to prevent the central government from gaining overpowering dominance by possessing large amounts of land and its precious resources. Congress must dispose of the land. This they did as was designed and set a precedent in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, up until these eleven Western States (MT, WY, CO, NM, AZ, UT, ID, WA, OR, NV and CA) were formed. At which time the federal government began to claim and retain the unappropriated land within a State, which they have no Constitutional authority to do.
In order to dispose of land congress may sell it, as they did with the Northwest Territories. They could give it away as they have in the Midwest with the Homestead Act and in the Oregon Territory with The Donation Land Act. The ultimate tool of disposal however, is the formation of and admittance of a new State. At the very moment a Territory becomes a State, everything changes; Art 4 Sec 3, Cl 2 of the US Constitution no longer applies. This article is respecting a Territory not a State. The “other property” mentioned in Art 4 Sec 3 Cl 2 is not arbitrary undefined land. If there be other land that the Congress may own it will be defined in the Constitution, if it is not, it will be retained by the State or to the People as the Tenth Amendment makes clear. The only other property defined in the Constitution is in Art 1 Sec 8 Cl 17, which outlines the ten mile square we now call Washington, DC and allows for forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings. As new States enter the Union, doing so upon equal footing with the original in every respect whatsoever, all of the land within its borders immediately at the point of Statehood belongs to the State and her people. Nothing can be construed otherwise. Art. 1 Sec 8 Cl 17 says that Congress may have Exclusive legislation over “all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be…” The Federal government today claims the land belonged to them before it became a State therefore it is still
theirs. But this thought raises the question. If it is theirs’, why does the Constitution say that they have to purchase it? And why do they have to get the consent of the State Legislature to do so? Also, if the land does not belong to the State and her people; how then can they sell it?
In the court case, Pollard’s Lessee v Hagan it was decided that the States maintain equal footing when admitted as a State, including unappropriated lands.”
It is this simple, the land and the resources within the boundaries of every State belong to the People of that State. The federal government has been in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America for claiming ownership of lands within a State. The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, that spent time at the Malheur Wildlife National Refuge, in January this year had no criminal intent and have not committed any crime. They only had intentions to, and have brought to the forefront this gross violation by the government. In retaliation the government has fabricated criminal charges against them in an effort to quell the momentous message they shared. The State of Oregon and her people own this land and the rich resources on it.
The central government our founders created was never meant to be a member of the Union (the District of Columbia has no vote or representation in Congress), but rather the adhesive element to hold the several members or states together, a glue to keep the various parts as one, like a honey comb the central government is the waxy comb that holds the sweet States together.
The United States is like a book, the States are like the individual pages, with the value of information on them while the central government is the binding and cover that keeps them together and protects them all.
The United States is like an item of clothing, the States being the fabric patterned and fit together. The central government is the thread that sews them together like one piece of clothing. Nobody wears just a ball of string, or reads just the binding or swallows the wax.
Territories like the pollen brought in from which honey and comb is made, never more comb than is needed to store the honey, never honey more than comb to fill. A book without a binder, the pages would fly away with the faintest breeze, the value, however, is found on the pages, not in the binding. Our clothing is admired by its fabric, the thread never being thought of, but without would fall as rags leaving us exposed. Our Union is our clothing, our book, our hive, honey and comb; the value is in our Independent Sovereign Equal States held together by the adhesion of our central government, together we are the United States of America. Our founding fathers created a union of equal independent States, the Union itself, not a member, but rather the element that connects us all together. — Ryan Bundy, 09/2016
I believe his comment about collective ownership is merely to point out that federal management (quasi-ownership if you will) is synonymous with the lands being held in trust for the American people. Technically, anything owned by the government is by definition owned collectively. The government is is after all