Prior to the Revolutionary War the land where the Thirteen Colonies were established belonged to the Crown (king of England) and it’s heirs perpetually. The government, revenue, property, and residents belonged to the king of England. He was the sovereign and the colonies were feudal states. This legal state of ownership was not unusual, what was unusual, occurred at the conclusion of the war.
Resolved by the Treaty of Paris, the crown acknowledged the Thirteen States to “be free, sovereign and independent States, and that the British Crown and all heirs and successors relinquish claims to the Government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.”
Essentially, the king granted his sovereign authority (and ownership of) to the people of the colonies, not to a king, president, or other ruler. This concept alone was revolutionary, historical, divine.
The new freemen of America did not treat it lightly. Though forces from the beginning worked to destroy it, wise, honest men, willing to sacrifice their all that it would be there for the future generations of this land, worked to save it. They met earnestly in the heat of the summer, in a closed room, where day after day, they drew upon on scripture and the writings of men who based their philosophy on the teachings of the Bible, for their debates. And from the principles found in God’s Word they created a constitutional republic. Not a democracy, but a form of government based on the ability of the people to govern themselves.
James Madison said, “We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.”
Generations later, reflecting on his words, Ronald Reagan said, “This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power, is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves (October 27, 1964).”
The people of America’s past learned to self-govern from their Bibles. It was their primer, their history text, their literature, their moral code for lawmakers and by which the courts judged the laws. Every school child knew “thou shalt not bear false witness,” “Thou shat not steal,” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
When men and women self-govern, they are honest in their dealings with others, they drive prudently, they live on less than they earn, they are good stewards of their environment, they are honorable parents and spouses, they give freely to the poor, they are courteous, generous, and kind; and they submit themselves daily to their maker through prayer.
A self-governing person does not need to be monitored in every aspect of their lives. A self-governing people do not need excessive laws and regulations. What America needs is not more laws, but a people that self-governs once again.