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The Constitutional Literacy Project
“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” – Samuel Adams

Many Americans know the preamble to the United States Constitution and the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. They also may be able to recite at least some of the enumerated Bill of Rights. But few know these documents are considered our Founding Documents, documents that carry equal importance in the creation and execution of our government. Even fewer understand the principles, history and philosophy surrounding the creation of these remarkable documents. To be an American is to understand and to have a reasonable commitment to the ideas in America's founding documents.

Positive Rights, the Constitution and Conservatives & Moderate Libertarians
Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy
Some recent conversations I've heard about "positive rights" and American legal traditions made me want to repeat something I've written before: While it's true that the U.S. Constitution lacks some of the "positive rights" that people sometimes discuss under that label (e.g., a right to shelter, to medical care, to a subsistence income, and so on), it does secure other positive rights; and indeed, some positive rights are a longstanding feature of American legal traditions. I think such rights should remain limited, but I think one shouldn't deny that they exist, and are in some measure secured by the U.S. Constitution (and state constitutions).

First, some definitions. The term "right" is a broad one, which encompasses many different kinds of entitlement.

Rights can be against the government (e.g., the freedom of speech or the right to keep and bear arms) or against private entities (e.g., the right to be free from trespass, negligent or intentional injury, or defamation).

Rights can be constitutional (e.g., the freedom of speech), statutory (e.g., copyright, which is authorized by the constitution but actually secured by Congressional statute, or freedom from many kinds of private discrimination), common-law (e.g., historically, rights to be free from private trespasses, negligence, defamation, breach of contract, etc.), or contractual, depending on which source of law secures those rights.
Read more...
¨Reading:
The Internet Is Not
Government's to Regulate

Jim Harper, The Cato Institute
Imagine that Congress passed a law setting up a procedure that could require ordinary citizens like you to remove telephone numbers from your phone book or from the "contacts" list in your phone. What about a policy that cut off the phone lines to an entire building because some of its tenants used the phone to plot thefts or fraud? Would it be okay with you if the user of the numbers coming out of your phone records or the tenants of the cut-off building had been adjudged "rogue" users of the phone.

Cutting off phone lines is the closest familiar parallel to what Congress is considering in two bills nicknamed "SOPA" and "PIPA" -- the "Stop Online Piracy Act" and the "Protect IP Act.".


¹Viewing:
Understanding Our Government
Many people in the United States -- and around the world -- believe that the United States is a Democracy. It is not, and for good reason. Our Framers and Founders bequeathed to the citizens a Constitutional Republic, doing so for some very good reasons, chief among them was to avoid the tyranny of the majority, or mob rule.
It is the mission of BasicsProject.org to make sure that every American is afforded the opportunity of understanding these remarkable documents, the covenant between citizen and the uniquely American form of government. We believe that through a greater understanding of the principles on which our government was built our citizenry will better understand that e pluribus unum, the idea that we are out of many, one. Through our representative form of government and through the rule of law created by our Framers, common ground can be found and solutions can be crafted for each critical issue that may arise before the people of the United States. We believe that by understanding these invaluable tools bequeathed to us for our stewardship, we will successfully maintain and bequeath them, yet again, to future generations so the great American experiment can continue.

Examinations
Explore the basic elements of the philosophy used by our Founders and Framers to craft the Charters of Freedom and our unique American system of government; our Constitutional Republic.


Curriculum
Further your knowledge of the Charters of Freedom -- The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The US Bill of Rights by engaging our Constitutional Literacy Program. Included are an examination of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers and much more.
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BasicsProject.org is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) research and educational initiative. Opinions expressed by those not directly affiliated with BasicsProject.org are expressly their own. Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. BasicsProject.org may or may not agree with opinions and/or content presented unless expressly cited. All content offered by BasicsProject.org is copyrighted. BasicsProject.org’s goal is the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

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