Having The Means
By Cheryl Myrie
Post the month of July in which the United States celebrates its Independent’s Day and it’s drafting of the U.S. Declaration.
I have some observations I would like to share, beginning with two of the framers of United States Declaration.
George Mason one of the delegates from Virginia statement I believe said it best when he said “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights…namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” The key words in my opinion are “the means” of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
However, George Mason’s statement was altered by Thomas Jefferson to read “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Certainly the nation would return to the issue of having the means to pursue, and that would be with the ending of slavery. The division that split the states, a division that created an atmosphere where those states for slavery, drafted a second Constitution called The Constitution of the Confederate States (March 11, 1861). That’s how serious those states that continue to use slavery as a means of their economic system felt about maintaining that means (slavery) which had been establish. Prior to the Civil War a law had come into effect where the transport of slaves to the United States was illegal. Yet the operation of slavery remained legal in the country.
One of the last major slave ships seized, by a United States Naval ship the USS Constellation, was a ship by the name of Cora. There had been a lengthy pursuit of this vessel by the USS Constellation that had been on patrol in (African Waters). None the less it was captured and brought to New York City for prosecution of the captain and the crew. According to sources slaves were not returned to their original origin once a vessel was seized. However the ship Cora was apprehended once again in March 1861, she was suspected of transporting slaves.
The patrol of these waters for ships transporting slaves would end with the announcement of the Civil War, which meant in some cases those who were once comrades would become opposing forces during the Civil War.
Such corruption that comes in the form of discrimination, sexism, classism and deceit, breeds the mind set of disrespect, poverty, thievery and mental illness.
A seemingly endless cycle, the cycle beginning with a group of people who felt as George Mason said “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights” or as Jefferson said that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” which ever choice of words you prefer, their point was they felt their rights had been fringed apond more than they were willing to submit under Britain’s rule.
“Inherent rights”,” unalienable rights” there were laws in place during that period in England, which mandated as to how and to whom estates of the deceased, family members would be disturbed.
Certainly these rights also apply to human rights, which brought about the amendment of the U. S. Constitution with the Bill of Rights.
The means to obtain the necessities and comforts of life is what every human being should have access to without impeding on another’s right to the same necessities and comforts in life. This struggle is what birth this nation, yet remains an imbalance for her today.