by Harold D. Thomas
(Editor’s Note: I’m delighted that Mr. Thomas sent this to me. How refreshing and encouraging that there are liberty-minded individuals in Ohio that are secessionists. Read how the author has deftly enumerated the specific injuries to Ohio in the document. Other states might use this declaration as a template for their own declaration of independence.)
Last week, the blog Let a Thousand Nations Bloom had “Secession Week.” Due to time constraints, I was unable to participate at that time; but it appears that I have been running one of my own this week.
Following is the first draft for a Declaration of Independence for the Ohio Republic. I know this is running ahead of public opinion, but it’s not too early to think about it, is it?
Declaration of Independence [i]
The State of Ohio having assumed a separate and equal place among nations, has an obligation to herself, to the United States of America, and to the nations of the world, to declare the immediate causes which have led to the act of secession.
In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on July 4, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, “that they are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.”
They further solemnly declared that whenever any “form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.” Deeming the Government of Great Britain to have become destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies “are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments– Legislative, Executive and Judicial. For purposes of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first Article “that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.”
Under this Confederation the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on September 3, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following terms: “ARTICLE 1– His Britannic 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 and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”
Thus, the Colonies asserted two important principles: the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recognized by the mother Country a free, sovereign, and independent state.
In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on September 17, 1787, these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.
Nine of these sovereign States agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the Federal Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority. Of the original thirteen States, two did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.
By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But to remove all doubt, the Tenth Amendment was added, which declared that 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. On November 29, 1802, Ohio, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution for the United States, having adopted her own Constitution in conformance to the obligations of Statehood she had undertaken.
On June 17, 1851, the electors ratified a new Constitution for the State of Ohio, which reaffirmed in Article I, Section 2, that “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform, or abolish the same, whenever they may deem it necessary.”
Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Federal Government with definite objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.
We hold that the Federal Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.
The ends for which the Constitution of the United States was framed are declared by itself to be “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
In the last century, we have seen the Federal Government change from an agent of the States to carry out the objects assigned to it by the Constitution of the United States; to a tyrannical régime to carry out contrary purposes. Let the following facts be submitted to the world for reasonable witnesses to judge their merits:
— The Federal Government has used the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to collect taxes directly from the American people, so as to institute a régime of extorting the States to do its will by withholding the taxes so collected from the people of the States until their State Governments consent to reduce themselves to mere agents of the Federal;
— The Federal Government has imposed a code of taxation of such complexity it perplexes even those whose are tasked with its enforcement, and provides an easy pretext for the government to find wrongdoing among its citizens.
— The Federal Government has imposed a system of taxation that is inherently unjust, placing heavy burdens on some while exempting others. Coupled with this system is a structure of subsidy in which wealth is taken from one citizen and given to another. Such a system destroys the motivation for productive enterprise within the one who is forced to give and the recipient.
— The Federal Government has used the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to deny State Governments their representation in the United States Senate, thus eliminating any influence by State Governments to prevent the Federal Government from reducing them to mere administrators of Federal policy;
— The Federal Government has sent our youth to risk their lives in wars that have been proven unnecessary to the national defense; exhausting the Federal treasury, wasting the goodwill of friendly nations, and enriching favored individuals and corporations;
— The Federal Government has employed corporations of barbarous mercenaries[ii] to fight its wars and to enforce its will, not subject to any military or civil law;
— The Federal Government has delegated its power to create money to a Federal Reserve Bank, which has debased the currency of the United States to the advantage of vested interests, and to the detriment of the general population;
— The Federal Government has failed to maintain even a semblance of fiscal prudence; having accumulated liabilities so great that they can never be repaid, forcing it to seek credit from nations that now seek to use their creditor status to destroy our economy and endanger our national security;
— The Federal Government has increasingly displayed its disposition to delegate the powers granted to it by the States to international organizations that are not accountable to anyone except themselves; [iii]
— The Federal Government has passed laws in direct conflict with the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing for searches and seizures without warrants; in some instances even denying the accused the right of habeas corpus, and threatening witnesses to such seizures with fines and imprisonment for disclosing the fact such seizure even occurred. [iv]
— The Congress has voluntarily relinquished its responsibility for drafting or even reviewing the legislation it passes, outsourcing the legislative process to special interest groups that have agendas often at odds with the well being of the citizens and the nation as a whole.
— The Federal Government has refused to assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good, and has substituted laws and regulations that are injurious to the welfare and prosperity of the people.
— The Federal Government has refused to be held accountable for illegal and criminal actions, setting themselves above the laws they have imposed upon the people.
— The Federal Government has refused to secure the borders of the United States from those who desire to do injury to its citizens and institutions.
— The Federal Government has used and misused the military forces of the United States, imposing rules and regulations upon them detrimental to their stated mission and purpose. Such actions unnecessarily jeopardize the lives of those who serve in the armed forces and emboldens the enemies that desire to do us harm.
— The Federal Government has embarked upon a course of foreign policy that serves only to anger our staunchest allies and strengthen our enemies. It has also long pursued a course of action that has placed the acquisition of our most criticial natural resources dependent upon the whims of our enemies while unnecessarily restricting the development of those same resources domestically.
— The Federal Government has forbidden the governors and legislators of the many states discretion in their affairs and has imposed burdensome regulations upon them while in many instances refusing to provide the means for their implementation.
— The Federal Government has by law codified discrimination, setting one class of citizens over another, when the other has been responsible for no wrong or injury to the privileged class.
— The Federal Government, through word and statute, has shown contempt for the religious tradition largely responsible for the foundations of this nation and its system of law and justice, and embraced by the vast majority of its citizens.
— The Federal Government has detained and murdered its own citizens without due process or just compensation for the exercise of their rights under the compact of the Constitution or as a consequence of their ancestry.
— The Federal Government has made repeated attempts to intimidate those who oppose its growing power through the exercise of their rights under the Constitution. It has labeled them traitors and has sought to use the power of the government and its agencies to silence them. [v]
— The Federal Government thus, by condoning and promoting acts, which in every age have defined tyranny, has made itself unfit for the rule of a free people.
For the last thirty years, the people of the State of Ohio have patiently supported the Federal Government with the expectation that the economic conditions which have so adversely affected them would find remedies; and repeatedly, those expectations have been disappointed. Our patience has been rewarded, not only with the loss of our manufactures, but of our best and brightest youth, who have found it necessary to emigrate to other States, while the Government of this State has suffered repeated financial shortages caused by the lack of economic capacity to produce revenues; further aggravated by Federal mandates imposed on this State requiring the use of revenues intended for the Government of this State. We have sought reforms to return the Federal Government to its original purposes, but have been met only with repeated injury.
We, therefore, the General Assembly of the State of Ohio, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other United States of America is dissolved, and that the State of Ohio has assumed her position among the nations of the world as a separate and independent Republic; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent nations may of right do.
[i] Modeled on South Carolina’s Declaration of the Causes of Secession, December 20, 1860, reproduced at http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/South_Carolina_Declaration_of_the_Causes_of_Secession (retrieved Nov. 3, 2009).
[ii] For example, Blackwater.
[iii] North American Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the proposed Copenhagen treaty on carbon emissions.
[iv] These are provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.
[v] The last 13 charges are from “Declaration of Independence” in the blog American Revolution, by Patrick Samuels: http://patricksamuels.blogspot.com/, retrieved 11/16/2009.