No Property, No Freedom

I continue to enjoy Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787. Following are just a couple of intriguing passages:

Stephen Hopkins, arguing from Rhode Island against the proposed stamp tax in the year 1764, had announced that “they who have no property can have no freedom.” The famed Massachusetts Circular Letter of 1768 had declared it “an essential, unalterable Right, in nature… ever held sacred and irrevocable… that what a man has honestly acquired is absolutely his own.” (page 71)

[Reflecting on George Washington’s sentiments:] These meetings would determine whether America was to have a government which guaranteed life, liberty and property, or whether the country was to drift into anarchy, confusion and the dictation of “some aspiring demagogue.” (page 77)

How far we have fallen.

Or, in the half-full interpretation, how great is our opportunity to renew our founding ideals!

One thought on “No Property, No Freedom”

  1. I’m reading it now as well, and agree that it’s very enjoyable.

    One correction to your quote is that it wasn’t Stephen Hawkins, but Stephen Hopkins.

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