Secession and Attorneys: Where Are The Lawyers For Liberty?

December 28, 2009

Today I began thinking some more about Secession and leadership. I’ve already written “Cowardice In State Government” and “Who Will Be The New Founding Fathers?” . I’ve already asked where the leaders for secession will come from. But I became curious about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and their occupations. Specifically, I wondered if any of the 56 signers were the governors of any of the colonies.

I found that not one governor was a signatory. Makes sense. The governors were appointed by King George and served at his pleasure. Their income would have ceased if they turned on the Crown…not to mention that they might have danced at the end of a rope for their treason.

I wonder if any of the Governors in the 50 states today are any different than the governors of 1776 who owed their very lives to the Crown. I wonder if any one Governor exists today that would willingly defy Washington and lead his state in either nullification or secession. I doubt it.

But it turns out that, of the 56 men who signed their name on that sacred document, 30 of the signers were attorneys or judges. That’s 54% of the total.

Here is the list of signers and their occupations:

Samuel Huntington, Attorney
Roger Sherman, Surveyor, Attorney
William Williams, Merchant
Oliver Wolcott, Sheriff

George Read, Attorney
Thomas McKean, Attorney
Caesar Rodney, Judge

Button Gwinnett, Merchant
Lyman Hall, Doctor
George Walton, Attorney/Judge

Charles Carroll, Attorney
Samuel Pace, Judge
Thomas Stone, Attorney
William Paca, Judge

John Adams, Attorney
Samuel Adams, Merchant/Brewer
John Hancock, Merchant
Robert Treat Paine, Judge
Elbridge Gerry, Merchant

New Hampshire
Josiah Bartlett, Doctor/Judge
William Whipple, Merchant, Judge
Matthew Thornton, Doctor

New Jersey
Abraham Clark, Surveyor/Attorney/Sheriff
John Hart, Farmer
Francis Hopkinson, Attorney/Judge
Richard Stockton, Attorney
John Witherspoon, Clergyman

New York
Lewis Morris, Farmer
Philip Livingston, Merchant
Francis Lewis, Merchant
William Floyd, Farmer

North Carolina
William Hooper, Attorney
John Penn, Attorney
Joseph Hewes, Merchant

George Clymer, Merchant
Benjamin Franklin, Printer
Robert Morris, Merchant
John Morton, Judge
Benjamin Rush, Doctor
George Ross, Judge
James Smith, Attorney
James Wilson, Attorney/Judge
George Taylor, Foundryman

Rhode Island
Stephen Hopkins, Attorney
William Ellery, Attorney/Judge

South Carolina
Edward Rutledge, attorney
Arthur Middleton, Lawyer/Farmer
Thomas Lynch, Jr., Attorney
Thomas Heyward, Jr., Attorney

Richard Henry Lee, Farmer
Francis Lightfoot Lee, Farmer
Carter Braxton, Farmer
Benjamin Harrison, Farmer
Thomas Jefferson, Attorney/Farmer
George Wythe, Attorney
Thomas Nelson, Jr., Farmer

(For a brief bio on each signer, go to:

The 56 men pledged their “lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to draft and issue the Declaration of Independence.

But let’s concentrate for this article on the 30 men who were schooled in law, both here in America and in England. They were experts in English law, which had its roots going back to the Magna Carta of 1215 AD. At the time that the Declaration of Independence was written, the Commentaries on the Laws of England, written by Sir William Blackstone, had been published only about ten years, and it was said that there were more copies of the work sold in the colonies than in England. So, undoubtedly, the framers of the Constitution were familiar with it.¹ They considered themselves English free men, but in practice were owned subjects of the Crown. Still, they used their knowledge of law to first fashion the Declaration of Independence. Then later, many of them took their place as leaders of the newly seceded colonies that threw off the shackles of King George’s tyranny.

According to the American Bar Association, there were 1,143,358 licensed attorneys in the USA at the end of 2007. The law schools are turning out new lawyers at a feverish pace, so the numbers here at the end of 2009 are likely about 1.2 million.

The medical schools of the USA teach doctors how to treat the symptoms of disease with drugs, technology and surgery. But the education of doctors in maintenance of health and prevention of disease through nutrition is sorely lacking. Few doctors know how to prevent disease, and if you treat symptoms, there is also a financial disincentive to prevent disease.

I suspect that new lawyers are much like new doctors. They are taught the ways to practice law that are based upon a couple hundred years of legal precedents, the symptoms of the terminally-ill legal, judicial and regulatory systems. The law libraries are filled with books that enumerate legal precedents built upon unconstitutional court rulings. I suspect that the law students are not deeply schooled in justice and freedom and liberty…the “fundamental nutrition” of a free society.

Because of the vast complexity of law and regulations in America, lawyers are necessary to protect people. So, just like medicine, there is a financial disincentive for legal professionals to prevent legal “disease,” and a huge incentive to treat symptoms.

That pisses me off.

Every state in the United States of America needs some lawyers and judges who have dedicated some portion of their practices to protecting liberty, justice and freedom. Every state needs men and women who will come together and help design a secession document like the Declaration of Independence. Then those same patriotic legal professionals must work to draft the founding documents for the new nation created by secession.

54% of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were attorneys. I’m glad for lawyers like Kevin Gutzman, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Tim Baldwin, James Bovard, and educators like Walter Block and Butler Shaffer, men writing about and championing the causes of Nullification and Secession. But new voices must be heard in each state.

Hey lawyers, attorneys and judges around the nation! The causes of Nullification and Secession desperately need you! Will you accept the challenge implicit in the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and help us alter or abolish that government that has become destructive to the security of our unalienable rights? We need the brilliance of your minds and the eloquence of your lips.

Step forward! Ride to the sound of the guns. Sic Semper Tyrannis!!

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

¹Edwin Vieira, Jr., JD, Constitutional Homeland Security: Volume 1: The Nation in Arms. Chapter 1, pg. 8.

© Copyright 2009, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.