America Embraces The Tyranny Its Founders Fought To Reject


By Mike Maharrey

The American Founding generation fought a long, bloody war to free themselves from a tyrannical government, only to see the people eventually embrace the very system they struggled to throw off.

That may seem like a stinging indictment, but careful examination of U.S. governance today reveals that it rests on essentially the same philosophical foundation as the 18th century British system Americans rejected.

The founding generation developed a brand new conception of government, resting it on the consent of the governed and the idea that governing institutions must operate within constitutional constraints. Today, we still see the vestiges of those founding ideals in political rhetoric and popular conscience, but the U.S. government long ago threw off constitutional fetters and now functions much like the English system Americans fought to free themselves from.

In Rights of Man, Thomas Paine captured the essence of American constitutionalism that evolved during the Revolution, characterizing the Pennsylvania constitution as “a political bible.”

“Nothing was more common when any debate rose on the principles of a bill, or on the extent of any species of authority, then for members to take the printed Constitution out of their pocket, and read the chapter with which such matter in debate was connected.”

In America, law was king and constitutions stood as the supreme law of the land.

It wasn’t that the British system lacked a constitution, but the English conception of its place in the political order was vastly different than the one that evolved in the American states.

In American thought, constitutions remained above governments. They limited the action of every governmental branch, and political systems were subject to words of their constitutions. In short, constitutions stood as the supreme law of the land, and the entire system of government flowed out of them.

The Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution captures the essence of American constitutional thought.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” [Emphasis added]

In the English conception, the constitution was not a superior law set above the government. In a sense it was the government. The actions of Parliament, the courts and the King formed the substance of the constitution and were in no way limited by it.

In the British system, the people were not sovereign – Parliament was. In essence, the government itself enjoyed supremacy. As historian Gordon S. Wood put it in the Creation of the American Republic, any limits on Parliament were strictly theoretical – even moral and natural law restrictions. Constitutional and legal limits only bound lawmakers as far as lawmakers were willing to be bound.

For the Englishman, there was no distinction between the “constitution or frame of government” and the “system of laws.” They were the same. Every act of Parliament was, in essence, part of the constitution. Wood quotes Blackstone to make this point.

“The English constitution therefore could not be any sort of fundamental law. Most eighteenth-century writers…could not conceive of the constitution as anything anterior and superior to the government and ordinary law, but rather regarded itself, as ‘that assemblage of laws, customs and institutions which form the general system; according to which the several powers of the state are distributed, and their respective rights are secured to the different members of the community.’ The English constitution was not, as the Americans eventually came to see with condescension, committed to parchment.” [Emphasis original]

Wood makes the implications of this system crystal clear, writing, “All law customary and statutory was thus constitutional.”

In a nutshell, the 18th century British system the Americans went to war to free themselves from rested on a living, breathing constitution. The government itself defined and enforced whatever limits it might have. Essentially, it was unlimited in power and authority.

As American political thought evolved, the English systems became absurd. Political power was conceived as limited, first by principle, and second by the will of the people as expressed through written constitutions.

The founding generation believed equity – justice according to natural law or right – bound and limited all political power. Government served a limited purpose, as Thomas Jefferson put it in the Declaration of Independence, “to secure these rights,” life, liberty and property. It followed that the people establishing government retained the right and authority to maintain it within those limits. Government was not supreme; it was merely an agent of the people. Written constitutions served a limiting purpose. They provide the “political bible” Paine referred to, specifically circumscribing the scope of governmental power. As Paine put it:

A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution, is power without a right.”

Within this philosophical framework, a sovereign government institution such as Parliament is fundamentally tyrannical.

Even a casual look at American governance today reveals a system having much more in common with the 18th century British model than the one the founding generation forged nearly 250 years ago. America operates under a “living breathing” constitution with the U.S. Supreme Court taking on the role of sovereign.

In 1776, the British Parliament acted with absolute sovereign authority. Today, the federal government rules with that same kind of unlimited power. The federal government determines the extent of its own authority through the Supreme Court. Any limits on Congress or the president are merely theoretical, constrained only by the whims of five out of nine politically connected lawyers. Every opinion of the Supreme Court becomes “part of the fabric of the Constitution.”

For all practical purposes, the federal government today operates without any limits at all. Everything the federal government does and approves is considered “constitutional.”

Even though the founders committed the U.S. Constitution to parchment, judges, politicians and academics have morphed the meaning of words and changed the character of the “supreme law of the land” into something that the framers and ratifiers would scarcely recognize.

Americans won the Revolution, but they squandered the fruits of victory in a quest for government solutions to every problem. Instead of a limited government committed to protecting basic rights – life liberty and property – we have an institution that attempts to control every aspect of our lives.

We have become what our forefathers sought to destroy.

Mike Maharrey writes for the where this article first appeared. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty.

  • Mudhole

    Americans are not ’embracing’ tyranny any more than the Chinese embraced cannibalism during the Great Leap Forward. They are just going with the flow, trying to survive.

    • Common Sense

      You couldn’t be more wrong. As far as I am concerned you embody the cowardice that typifies the amercian SUBJECT today. The fence sitters that go along to get along, bowing to perceived authority, ( which by the way have become completely corrupt) instead of having the intelligence, responsibility, maturity and courage to follow the principals and standards that have proven to serve healthy and sane people no matter their race creed color or religion.
      All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do NOTHING.
      Our current position and recent past has proven this behavior is exactly why we are here.
      The american people have become very comfortable in their denial which in turn keeps them in the perpetual down turn.
      We have become more afraid of being called racist or some other PC name than standing up for ourselves and what we know is right.
      Obedience is doing what you are told no matter if it is right, and conscience is doing what is right no matter what you are told.

      • Mudhole

        I agree with everything you wrote, except the first two sentences

      • berrybestfarm

        I struggled with this for a few years before recognizing that most parents really do put their kids first. They wont stand up (even though they believe they should) as the backlash will harm their families. This is an uncomfortable truth of history that is now affecting America. This is why I have taken a physical stand against the tyranny–because of my neighbors and co-workers who are good people at heart but don’t think they can put their families at risk. I am standing for them. We can either get this done cooperatively and by supporting one another where and how we can or we can spin our wheels bemoaning how hard the sheeple are making this revolution. I’m not okay with this but reality is what it is. Keep up the fight my compatriots. We are making progress. I believe we are close to the critical mass to turn the tide. It’s not going to be easy or pretty and many will suffer along the way. Such is the nature of change.

      • SortingHat

        We allowed this greatly under Bush using patriotism as a means for war and if you were not with him your obviously a terrorist in the making and part of the problem. Now Obama has taken that a step further and declare anybody who is for straight marriage a terrorist to communism.

        With Bush muslims were the enemy with Obama American citizens were the enemy while both Presidents used bigger and bigger government to get their way at the expense of the tax payers dollars.

  • James Bennett

    Good piece.
    This chapter represents the culmination of planning that took generations to achieve.
    Employing that black magic of incrementalism, along with it’s partners in crime propaganda / indoctrination.
    Hegel’s Dialectic: Problem / Reaction / Solution.
    Oppression 101.
    You’d think humanity would come to recognize the M.O..

    • Common Sense

      Very good. You said a lot in very few words as opposed to your opposites, the politicians, who say nothing in long speeches.
      It would serve people well to research the main MO you speak, of the introduction of the premeditated PROBLEM, to bring about the planned REACTION from the people so they can implement the SOLUTION they wanted all along.
      Not sure if I am putting that in terms the average american understands but you are being played.

  • Q

    In my mind there are two major contributors to the reason the american people are embracing this tyranny.
    1) First and foremost, abuse or helplessness syndrome. Much like the battered wife who makes excuses for the abusive husband and actually begins sharing and contributing in the dysfunctional relationship by not only allowing it to continue but has begun enabling and promoting it.

    2) Conditioning. When you tell a lie loud enough and long enough the truth becomes foreign.
    We have generations of people lied to that will grow up not knowing any different.

    The solutions for these abnormal conditions are truth and encouragement

    Your abusers know this and that is why they try to make you believe the situation is hopeless.

    • James Bennett

      Fiat currency and redundant taxation keeps folks kinda busy too.

  • yEshUA ImmAnUEl * ben-‘Adam

    John 13:
    6. Then cometh he to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
    7. Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shall know hereafter.
    8. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part of me.
    “Unless we reach that state where we will be washed, that is to say, become cleansed, by the power which is greater than our mortal self — by the awakened Soul WITHIN, who is from the Father, and about the Father’s business — we will not become Soul Conscious. It is only as a result of the cleansing of the mind and the resulting exaltation of desire and the Will to obey the Law, that we can come into the truth that makes man free, and thereby become enlightened, or Illuminated.
    We must be washed, cleansed, made free, by the Soul within, or we will have no part of, or with, the Christ who (which ) alone can change ‘mortality into Immortality’; the ‘Son of man into the Son of God.’ “

  • Kingdom Ambassador

    18th-century Americans (non-Christians and Christians alike) tragically embraced the constitutional framers’ tyranny against God when they usurped His exclusive executive, legislative, and judicial authority, per Isaiah 33:22, etc.

    Google online Chapter 4 “Article 1: Legislative Usurpation” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.”

    Then Chapter 5 “Article 2: Executive Usurpation” and Chapter 6 “Article 3: Judicial Usurpation.”

    Then find out how much you REALLY know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey in the right-hand sidebar and receive a complimentary copy of a book that EXAMINES the Constitution by the Bible.

    • Grundune

      Are you intentionally misinterpreting the scriptures or are you just unable to understand them?

      To make the claim that the U.S. Constitution usurps God’s authority, you have show from the scriptures that God forbids man to exercise temporal authority over other men.

      You cite Isaiah 33:22, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Then you imply that ONLY the Lord can judge, legislate and rule. If man does any of that, man is usurping God’s authority.

      The only problem with your logic is that when Isaiah said that, there were kings in Israel and he didn’t declare they were usurping God’s authority.

      So you are definitely wrong. The U.S. Constitution, a contract between men and their earthly government, does not usurp God’s ruling authority.

      God’s covenant with man is not effected by the Constitution.

      Just for the record, I think you are intentionally twisting the scriptures to push your agenda of abolishing the U.S. Constitution.

      • Gregory Alan of Johnson

        “The only problem with your logic is that when Isaiah said that, there
        were kings in Israel and he didn’t declare they were usurping God’s
        The very words of Isaiah 33:22 state that usurpation. Either the Kings are, or the Lord is.

        • Grundune

          Then how do you account for a prophet of God, Samuel, anointing Saul king?

          Seems that God endorses earthly mortal kings contrary to your stupid theory that the every existence of earthly kings usurps God’s authority.

          • Gregory Alan of Johnson

            Was it not sin against Yahweh? Did Yahweh not speak to Samuel that the people Israel had rejected the Creator Himself?

          • Grundune

            You’ve been caught and now you strain to explain.

            Christ said a house divided cannot stand. If, as you argue, God condemns the practice of having kings rule as a usurpation of His authority, why did God through His prophet anoint one?

            You can stop straining to explain. Just relax and choose honesty. God does not consider earthly monarchs a usurpation of His authority. As I just mentioned, He has actually anointed one.

            The U.S. Constitution is a legal framework for a government and, as such, is authorized by God just as He has authorized a king. You cannot show from the scriptures where God considers contracts between men such as the Constitution to be, as you put it, “a sin against Yahweh”.

            Your position is completely untenable by any measure and to champion it is complete foolishness on your part.

          • Gregory Alan of Johnson

            My “dear” brother, you are in for the biggest shock of your eternal existence when you stand before Him.

          • Grundune

            Didn’t think you could come up with an intelligent defense of your fringe theology.

            The only remaining question is how long will you squirm and cling to something that is so wrong that it can’t be defended by appeal to the Bible or even human logic?

          • Gregory Alan of Johnson

            I would ask you the same.

          • Rev. Vernon York

            If he stay his course he will be judged…John Ch 5…rest assured the “lake of fire” has plenty of room!

          • Grundune

            Sure glad God will be the judge not you, Vernon. Remember that “judge not…” passage?

            Back from the West Indies?

          • Rev. Vernon York

            Pull another chain SWINE….I’m not biting……

          • Grundune

            Is that how preachers talk? Or are you besmirching a real preacher’s name.

          • Rev. Vernon York

            Nice try SWINE….STILL NOT BITING

          • Grundune

            You just did.

        • Rev. Vernon York

          Hello Brother..I see you have decided to cast a few more pearls before this swine?
          He is a reprobate and would argue with Yahweh if he could. Next he will try to get people to wonder if you are the real Greg Johnson…….

          • Gregory Alan of Johnson

            There are some things that have to be answered.

          • Rev. Vernon York

            Obviously confirming that I am not an impostor, and in fact a real person with a long documented history of Christian service isn’t very important. Therefore “things that have to be answered” tend to be somewhat subjective according to who is responding??

          • Gregory Alan of Johnson

            While I do see your point, I’m done with this fool-in-his-folly. Just grieved a “brother” refuses to see what is obvious. I guess now I get the undesired position of treating him as unsaved (heathen) according to Matthew 18:17.

          • Rev. Vernon York

            Truth is not hard to uncover if one or more are so inclined. There are some out here that are just ignorant, twisted and are spiritually blinded which is a symptom of unbelief.
            However I sincerely believe that many of these characters out here who hide behind their ridiculous cartoon names and avatars are reprobate paid plants from our current anti Christ regime. Like “Grungedung” they will endlessly and perpetually support the unGodly, while at the same time pretending to be Christian……I believe the book calls them “wolves in sheep clothing”, and there is a fitting place and destiny prepared for them. This is why we have imprecatory prayer.

            Godspeed to You my brother!

          • Common Sense

            How can you take notice of the speck in your brothers eye when you have a beam in your own.

          • Rev. Vernon York

            One with a beam can still SEE the speck, but he might not be able to remove it for his brother if his own vision is impaired. The individual to whom I was referring has an entire lumber mill in his eyes, proved by his own tongue,and is not my brother but a charlatan. Frankly, I suspect you might be the same individual cowering behind another fake name and avatar.

    • Common Sense

      Let me get this straight.
      You guys are going to get in a big fight over who knows God better?
      The omnipotent being creator of ALL things and we argue over who knows him better.
      Sure does make god very small all of a sudden.
      Somehow I don’t that that does him justice.

      • Common Sense

        On a passing note…
        When you speak for God telling others that they will be damned for whatever reason, isn’t that using his name in vain?

  • somitcw

    Mike Maharrey claims what he was taught in U.S. school was true.
    It was not.
    The proper hierarchy is:
    Top to bottom:
    1. Creator
    2. Rights given by the Creator that include one specified in the Declaration of Independence and ones specified in the U.S. Bill of Rights, and other that are not specified in either.
    3. The people.
    4. The Constitution for the United States of America.
    5. The branches of government.
    6. Laws passed.

    That means that no branch can overrule the Creator, rights of the people, the people, nor the U.S. Constitution.
    No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court claims, it cannot create laws that overrule the Creator, the rights of the people, the people, the U.S. Constitution, nor the other branches of government.

  • somitcw

    Top to bottom hierarchy of types of governments:
    1. A limited Constitutional Republic like the one promised in the U.S.
    2. Monarchy.
    3. Dictatorship.
    4. Anarchy.
    5. d-word and r-word government like what the U.S. has become.
    d-word is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.
    r-word is the same idea but slightly hidden.

  • nimbii

    There was a 60’s movie “Bless the Beasts and Children” where at the end children freed a farmer’s sheep flock and the heart leaping stirring music as the sheep escaped the farmer’s fences stopped when the sheep were about 50 feet outside the farmer’s fence. One underlying message there was as I recall that they were sheep and what else did you expect? Although the sheep did not realize it they needed grass, water, shelter and safety for their flock to survive and only the farmers can provide it.

    Hardly any of us can live in NYC or LA or any city and not wear the yoke of coercion. It’s the price we pay for our lifestyles in America and anywhere else on this planet for that matter.

    There are some steps we could take but that would require Donald Trump type presidents for several terms to get the job done and an electorate willing to pay the price and vote them in.

  • Michael Mayben

    It’s important that America reclaims the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Our current branches of government must be required to adhere to the precepts the framers of the Constitution constructed to protect the rights of the people. The Federal Government has returned to the same tyrannts that our fore fathers fought to free us from. The Constitution must be of and for the people not a government that doesn’t answer to the people. This is what America’s Federal government has morphed into which must be reigned for the sake of Americans freedom and rights provided by the Constitution.

  • John

    The people in charge with all the cards aren’t the ones going to call a misdeal….and everyone rising up to protest will be labeled by the Government as a radical, terrorist, or mental defective….anything so that they are able to do as they please with you, and no one else will object.
    And how is anyone supposed to believe things can change when you look at the politicians that people are voting back into office!?!? Or the criminals that come out of office and are never punished for their crimes!
    Even at their lowest support Bush & Obama have had around 25% of the people that thought they were doing a good job, which means a quarter of the population is so freaking stupid they don’t know when they are getting screwed!
    Doesn’t leave much hope for the rest of us…

  • Bob

    We’ve LOST knowledge of our ROOTS.
    Just like “Christians” lost touch with OUR ROOTS.
    If you ONLY THINK you know something but it’s not true, you’re in for a potential hurting.

  • Gregory Alan of Johnson

    America is suffering from many “things”. Amongst which is having spent 240+yrs in 1Samuel 8, along with about the same in Hosea 4:6. Delusion and dilution add to these dilemmas. Fear multiplies these things. Faith or fear, choose one.

  • Ethnic Assets

    Remember @EdLuce’s advisory was more like we see it at @EthnicAssets: that the 1st and 2nd waves of Americans are dying and they’ve not planted the spores of the kind of liberty that drove them to create a people-first republic. Rather, the subsequent waves of Americans to this day are not people born of colonial idealism – but rather folks who have fled tyranny, dictatorships, kingdoms in underdeveloped societies – for jobs vs a ‘new way of life’. The Spanish speaking populations alone, largely hail from remnants of fascist Spain which was diligently passed on and practised by their defeated scions and esclavos. Where have these migrants from shattered plains of South America or 1970s India decided to send their hard earned monies from the USA? Back “home” to their autocratic, broken governments and impoverished loved ones. Why didn’t the rogue Britons of c.16th America do the same? Because they had no where to ‘go back home’ to. America was a brave new world. Now, its a land of reluctant patriots, rejected progeny and a vengeful creed. Right now, the USA is a young INDIA – with the promise of the same dilapidated fate, where the breed who most resembles the original oppressor (white/Caucasian) will survive.

  • SortingHat

    It’s because we allowed Bush to steer us into tyranny with his 9/11 TSA security which cutting people from allowing to hug their loved ones in the observation lounge does nothing to stop hijackings.

    The reason why observation decks and lounges have never been a problem for terrorism is because the then existing checkpoints were far enough from the gang planks of the airliners that allows airport police to respond in the correct amount of time.

    There was one incident in the JFK airport in the early 00s before 9/11 where a guy with a gun ran past a Delta Check Point that was situated unusually close to the door and the suspect waved his gun around forcing the guard to back off allowing the suspect access to the airplane. He locked himself in the cockpit but they de-powered the airplane so he was not able to start it up.

    He held up for hours demanding to go to various places and then surrendered after it got hot and uncomfortable in the cabin.

    Delta Security since then fixed that issue of being too close to the airplane entrance.

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