Monday, January 30, 2017

While most people lean on the Declaration of Independence to support the concept of life and liberty (as well as the "pursuit" of happiness), few realize that the Constitution has something to say about life and liberty, too.

The Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution declare that governments cannot deprive any person of "life, liberty or property" without due process of law.

As a U.S. citizen, you are constitutionally guaranteed the right to life. Without due process of law, your right to life cannot be deprived by the government. The same is true of your right to liberty. Likewise, property. (There is no right to the pursuit of happiness in the Constitution itself).

Amendment 5: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 14: All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; 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.

The federal government (not to be confused with any other governmental entities) must exercise due process of law in order to take from a citizen his right to live, his right to liberty and his right to own and keep property.

In order to understand those rights, you have to know what each means. IN my next post, I will provide for you the meanings imparted by those words at the time they were written and how they apply today.

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