Tom Burrell

Liberty and Common Consent

Magna Carta and Due Process of Law

Magna Carta and Due Process of Law: The Road to American Judicial Activism

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Privileges and Immunities and the Journey from the Articles of Confederation to the United States Constitution: Courts on National Citizenship, Substance, and Antidiscrimination, 35 Whittier L. Rev. ---- (2014), available at
August 2019
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  • I came across this January 3, 1776 resolution of the Continental Congress and thought it worthy of sharing.

    Resolved, That Colonel Nathaniel Heard, of Woodbridge, in the colony of New Jersey, taking with him five or six hundred minute men, under discreet officers, do march to the western part of Queen’s county, and that Colonel Waterbury, of Stanford, in the colony of Connecticut, with the like number of minute men, march to the eastern side of said county; that they confer together, and endeavour to enter the said county on the same day; that they proceed to disarm every person in the said county, who voted against sending deputies to the said convention, and cause them to deliver up their arms and ammunition on oath, and that they take and confine in safe custody’ till further orders, all such as shall refuse compliance.

    That they apprehend and secure, till further orders, the persons named as principal men among the disaffected in the said county, in a summons for their appearance before the convention of New York, issued the 12 of December last, viz.

    Of Jamaica township, Captain Benjamin Whitehead, Charles Arden, Joseph French, Esq! Johannes Polhemus.

    Of Newtown, Nathaniel Moore, John Moore, [Sr.], Samuel Hallet, John Moore, [Jr.] William Weyman. John Shoals, Jeromus Rapalje.

    Of Flushing, John Willet.

    Of Barnstead, Justice Gilbert VanWyck, Daniel Kissam, Esq. of Cow neck, Captain Jacob Mott, Thomas Cornell,

    [O]f Rockaway, Gabriel G. Ludlow, Richard Hewlet, Captain Charles Hicks, Dr. [Samuel] Martin, Justice Samuel Clowes.

    Of Oyster bay, Justice Thomas Smith, of hog island, Justice John Hewlet, Captain George Weeks, Dr. David Brooks, Justice John Townsend,

    And all such other persons who shall be found in arms, or who shall oppose the carrying the above resolutions into effect, as they the said Colonel Heard or Colonel Waterbury may think prudent to detain.

     Vol. 4. Journals of the Continental Congress, pages 27-28 (footnote omitted).

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    Jonas Phillips to the President and Members of the Convention


     With leave and submission I address myself To those in whome there is wisdom understanding and knowledge.  they are the honouable personages appointed and Made overseers of a part of the terrestrial globe of the Earth, Namely the 13 united states of america in Convention Assembled, the Lord preserve the amen—

     I the subscriber being one of the people called Jews of the City of Philadelphia, a people scattered and despersed among all nations do behold with Concern that among the laws in the Constitution of Pennsylvania [there] is a Clause Sect. 10 to viz—

     I do believe in one God the Creature and governour of the universe the Rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked — and I do acknowledge the scriptures of the old and New testement to be given by a devine inspiration—

     [T]o swear and believe that the new testament was given by devine inspiration is absolutely against the Religious principle of a Jew.  and is against his Conscience to take any such oath — By the above law a Jew is deprived of holding any publick office or place of Government which is Contridectory to the bill of Right Sect 2. viz

     That all men have a natural and unalienable Right To worship almighty God according to the dectates of their own Conscience and understanding, and that no man aught or of Right can be Compelled to attend any Relegious Worship or Erect or support any place of worship or Maintain any minster contrary to or against his own free will and Consent nor Can any man who acknowledges the being of a God be Justly deprived or abridged of any Civil Right as a Citizen on account of  his Religious sentiments or peculiar mode of Religious worship, and that no authority can or aught to be vested in or assumed by any power what ever that shall in any Case interfere or in any manner Controul the Right of Conscience in the free Exercise or Religious Worship—

     It is well known among the Citizens of the 13 united States that the Jews have been true and faithful whigs, and during the late Contest with England they have been foremost in aiding and assisting the States with their lifes and fortunes, they have supported the Cause, have bravely faught and bleed for liberty which they Can not Enjoy —

     Therefore if the honourable Convention shall in ther Wisdom think fit and alter the said oath and leave out the words to viz— [“]and I do acknoweledge the scripture of the new testement to be given by devine inspiration[”] then the Israeletes will think them self happy to live under a government where all  Relegious societys are on a Eaquel footing — I solecet this favour for my self my Childreen and posterity and for the benefit of all the Israeletes through the 13 united States of america. 

     My prayers is unto the Lord.  May the people  of this States Rise up as a great and young lion, May they prevail against their Enemies, May the degrees of honour of his Excellencey the president of the Convention George Washington, be Extollet and Raise up. May Every one speak of his glorious Exploits.  May God prolong his days among us in this land of Liberty – May he lead the armies against his Enemeys as he has done hereuntofore—May God Extend peace unto the united states – May they get up to the highest Prosperetys— May God Extend peace to them and their seed after them so long as the Sun and moon Endureth — and may the almighty God of our father Abraham Isaac and Jacob endure this Noble Assembly with wisdom Judgement and unamity in their councells, and may they have the Satisfaction to see that their present toil and labour for the wellfair of the united States may be approved of, Through all the world and perticular by the united States of america is the ardent prayer of Sires

                 Your Most devoted obed Servant,

                            Jonas Phillips, September 7, 1787 

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