1776 – U.S. Declaration of Independence is signed
“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
[To celebrate the 4th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQP563gKwIU]
1892 – The Populist Party adopts the “Omaha Platform,” its founding document
“We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them…
“We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private…without the use of banking corporations…
“Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people. The telegraph, telephone, like the post-office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people…
“The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only…
Full Platform at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5361/
1935 – National Labor Relations Act goes into effect
The NLRA protected workers’ rights to organize unions and bargain collectively in the U.S. without employer interference with a union drive. Workers gained the right to self-organize.
1798 – The Alien Act is enacted
The law authorized the President of the United States to apprehend and deport resident aliens if their home countries were at war with the U.S. The act had no expiration date and remained in force until the early 21st century.
1307 – Death of King Edward I, first to utilize the “quo warranto” written order
Quo warranto is a Medieval Latin term meaning “by what warrant?” It’s a written order by a governing power (e.g. Kings in the past, legislatures early in U.S. history, and courts in the present) requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising a claimed right or power. It originated under King Edward I of England to recover previously lost lands, rights and franchises.
This power was transferred to states following the American Revolution. State legislatures utilized “quo warranto” powers to challenge previously chartered or franchised corporations that acted beyond their original privileges granted by the state. The result was frequent revocation of corporate charters and dissolution of the corporations — in the name of affirming sovereignty/self-governance.
All 50 states still retain elements of quo warranto. The authority concerning the creation and dissolution of corporations was meant to be a legislative power, not judicial.
1896 – Remarks of William Jennings Bryan before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago (Bryan was the Democratic Party Candidate for President)
“We say in our platform that we believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government…Those who are opposed to the proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson…and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business…”
(Bryan was the Democratic Party Candidate for President.)
1926 – Birth of John Dingell, 29-term Democratic congressman from Michigan
In 2014, just before he retired, Dingell said: “Allowing people and corporate interest groups and others to spend an unlimited amount of unidentified money has enabled certain individuals to swing any and all elections, whether they are congressional, federal, local, state … Unfortunately and rarely are these people having goals which are in line with those of the general public. History well shows that there is a very selfish game that’s going on and that our government has largely been put up for sale.”
2011 – Leading Libertarian questions money in politics and corporate constitutional rights
Michael D. Ostrolenk, a leading national Libertarian; cofounder and National Director of the Liberty Coalition and CEO of the Transpartisan Center commented on politico.com: “[E]ach time either of the two parties had the reigns (SIC) of power including the presidency and congress, what did they do with that power? They helped to entrench their own special interests and set themselves up for larger and larger donations from corporations and unions.”http://www.politico.com/arena/archive/hill-democrats-entitlement-mentality.html#13B4FC26-E1FD-4451-BA8B-554F57493EC6
More recently, he has stated, “As a conservative, I support property rights and freer markets but have to question the notion that corporations deserve the same constitutional protections as ‘we the people.’”http://www.bkconnection.com/static/Corporations_Not_People_2nd_ed_EXCERPT.pdf
1868 – The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passes — black males are now citizens
“…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It was this second use of the word “person” that corporate lawyers argued should be applied to corporations.
In first 50 years after adoption, 0.5% of cases related to it brought to the Supreme Court were on behalf of African Americans, 50% were for corporations. Between 1890 and 1910, 19 cases dealt with the rights of African Americans and 288 dealt with corporations.
1832 – Andrew Jackson vetoes legislation to renew the charter of the private Second Bank of the United States
“Is there no danger to our liberty and independence in a bank that in its nature has so little to bind it to our country?… Should its influence become concentrated, as it may under the operation of such an act as this, in the hands of a self-elected directory whose interests are identified with those of the foreign stockholders, will there not be cause to tremble for the purity of our elections in peace and for the independence of our country in war? Their power would be great whenever they might choose to exert it; but if this monopoly were regularly renewed every fifteen or twenty years on terms proposed by themselves, they might seldom in peace put forth their strength to influence elections or control the affairs of the nation. But if any private citizen or public functionary should interpose to curtail its powers or prevent a renewal of its privileges, it cannot be doubted that he would be made to feel its influence.”