Lady Liberty and U.S. Flag

Our Nation’s Foundations – Lesson Four: Individual Liberty

Individual Liberty

Our nation’s Founders and Framers of the Constitution wanted people to make decisions for their own lives. They wanted the most liberty possible while respecting the rights of others.

Remember, the pillars we’re erecting atop the Rule of Law should represent eternal principles that will strongly support our system of government. The first pillar of principle was Limited Government.  The next pillar of principle is just as vital for strengthening a Republic designed to protect our liberties.

Our next pillar is Individual Liberty.

Create another pillar to erect on the foundation of the graphic to represent Individual Liberty. Let students add note cards with summary facts.

Standing Beside the Bill of Rights

Most of the Bill of Rights, written by James Madison and George Mason, have to do with telling the government to respect the rights and freedom of We the People.

The first 10 Amendments to the Constitution presumes that the people have rights that aren’t even written in the Constitution because all rights are reserved to the people, who grant limited power to government officials – not the other way around! Remember – the government works for us.

Many say that the 2nd Amendment (the right to bear arms, or carry firearms) is the amendment that guarantees all the rest.  In fact, the action that really started the American Revolution was when King George sent General Thomas Gage to disarm the rebels in the colonies. The colonists knew that when your enemy has all the guns, you are going to lose the war! The 2nd Amendment isn’t written to guarantee our rights to hunt or protect ourselves and our property.

The reason our Founders and Framers protected the right of citizens to own guns was because they knew that, in the future, we might have to take up arms against a tyrannical government, just like they did with the British.

Exercising Our Rights is a Responsibility

Benjamin Franklin said,

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Thomas Jefferson said,

“The course of history shows that as government grows, liberty decreases.”

John Adams said,

“A Constitution of Government, once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

That’s scary!

According to our Constitution and the principle of Individual Liberty it was built on, you have the right to do anything you want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s rights. Sadly, because we now have too many federal laws to count, and even more regulations, that is no longer true. Our Founders and Framers would be stunned by how our individual liberties have been restricted.

Our job, as We the People – rulers of a nation – should be to try to restore the liberties we are guaranteed by our Constitution. The best way to do that is to practice our rights with confidence and regularity, especially our right to free speech, assembly, and religion. You have a right to your opinion, and to voice it.

Opinions are conclusions we make after we filter facts through our core principles.

Opinions, by definition, can’t be wrong. That doesn’t mean others must agree with them, however. Facts are indisputable, that is, objectively true – and as a society, we MUST agree to accept facts or our discourse will be meaningless.

Expressing opinions should not be something we’re afraid to do. When a society punishes its members for sharing their opinions, it becomes an instrument of oppression. Go ahead, study the facts, filter them through your strongly-held principles, form your opinions and share them with respect. We the People are stronger for it.

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