Roots of Liberty history seminar held
A seminar for junior and senior high school students entitled “Roots of Liberty” was held at Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction on Monday.
More than 70 students and adults were in attendance to hear Constitutional attorney, author and radio show host, Krisanne Hall give a presentation on the 700-plus year history that gave us our founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
“The Preamble (to the Constitution) tells us exactly why we have the Constitution,” said Hall, “to preserve the lessons of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
Hall quoted John Adams who said in an essay on Canon and Feudal Law, “Liberty must, at all hazards, be supported.”
“John Adams is trying to tell us that liberty is the most important thing you have to protect,” said Hall.
She began her history lesson going back to 1014, before the existence of England as a nation.
“Our Constitution begins with British history because our history begins with British people,” Hall explained.
The Anglo-Saxons, not having a king at the time wanted someone to speak for them in the issues of foreign affairs because they were having difficulty organizing communities for their common defense.
The people solicited Ethelred the Unready, who’s family had come from a long line of royalty, to be their king, but only wanted him to address other nations on their behalf-not wanting him to have any rule over the day to day activities of the people.
Hall drew a parallel from this example with our states and federal government. The original intent was for states to have more autonomy and the federal government to have limited control in states’ rights, with their main function as a representative in foreign affairs.
Hall went on to weave together a picture of the overreach and often tyrannical rule of the kings of England, and subsequent revolts by the oppressed people when pushed to the breaking point. She stressed the fact that power-hungry kings tried to change the kingdom over time to have it align with their own agenda to apply foreign law, and if it happened slowly enough, the kings hoped the people wouldn’t notice.
The rulers replaced judiciaries and clergy with those who would be loyal to the king rather than to the law or God. Again, drawing parallels with our own nation and society today.
Our founding fathers were well-versed in history and Hall’s main focus throughout this seminar was to show that they did not come up with our foundational documents on a whim, rather they are primarily a by-product of five documents written over a 700 year time span.
The first was “The 1100 Charter of Liberties”, written by King Henry I, and addressed the issue of abuse of power, and stated that the church would be free from government intrusion, among other things.
The next document is one of the most famous in the world, the “Magna Carta”. This charter of 1215 remains a cornerstone of the British Constitution and the core principals are echoed in our Bill of Rights, and addressed the issue of no one, not even the rulers, being above the law. The Magna Carta also instituted the notion of a fair trial.
The Third document to contribute to our nation’s founding is the “Petition of Right” of 1628, which was written by parliament in response to the overreach of authority by King Charles I. This gave rise to the law of no taxation without representation, and no imprisonment without cause.
Fourth is the Grand Remonstrance of 1641, outlining a list of grievances the Parliament had with the king, namely that he was trying to establish law bypassing Parliament, creating “executive orders”.
Fifth is the “English Bill of Rights” of 1689, established after “the Glorious Revolution” of 1688, which resulted in King James II abdicating the throne and fleeing England. The English Bill of Rights diminshed the powers of the throne and gave that power to the legislative body of Parliament.
Hall was speaking passionately about the rights of the United States citizens and told her audience that there are five liberties contained in the first amendment and that most people can only name two of them.
“If you don’t know what your liberties are, how do you know they’re not already gone?” asked Hall. “You cannot defend if you cannot define.”
Hall teaches, on average, 265 classes in over 22 states every year to people of all walks of life about the the Constitution, our Bill of Rights and how to defend, promote and preserve liberty. She speaks not only to school students, but to civic groups and elected officials as well, free of charge.
More information can be found on her website www.krisannehall.com.