Proclamations are Not Laws

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If any one man can be said to have intellectually armed the American colonists for rebellion, it was Algernon Sidney. So thorough was his impact that historians described his posthumously published work, Discourses Concerning Government (1698), as a practical textbook on revolution. Both Sidney and John Locke wrote their most famous works in response to an earlier book, Patriarcha (1680), by Sir Robert Filmer, that defended the divine right of kings. In an age when even the meanest and poorest could recite biblical passages, the foundation of Patriarcha, which rested upon biblical lessons, was enormously influential in 17th century England.

Sidney would have none of it. He struck down, clause by clause, the supports to every one of Filmer’s biblical arguments. Not only was no man born with a crown upon his head, God created all men as equals, and as equals, they had a God-given right to live under laws of their own design and assent.


Kings are defined by the Law. Royal proclamations are expressions of the king’s pleasure, and as such, are outside the envelope of law. Since neither parliamentary law nor reason openly insinuate such power, we may deny proclamations to be law or have the effect of laws. When monarchs depart from the law, they are no longer kings.

Laws are either immemorial customs or statutes. Statutes are, under God, the best defense of our Lives, Liberties, and Estates. They proceed from the mature deliberations of the choicest persons of the nation, and not from the blind, corrupt, and fluctuating humor of one man. Our ancestors always relied upon these laws, and it is to be hoped we shall not be so abandoned by God, so deprived of courage and common sense, to be cheated of the inheritance which they have so frequently, so bravely, defended. Despite our experience with the failings of parliament and their vices, they are the best help we have.

We hope our members of parliament will take care of our concerns. At least we know that once the session is over, they will go home to live under the same law as everyone else.

While representative government is no guarantee of good laws all the time, what is certain is national ruin if lawmaking and proclamations are put into the hands of one man. It is vain to say we have a good king who will not make an ill use of his power, for even the best are subject to flatterers, of which kings are surrounded. The principal art of a courtier is to observe his master’s passions, and to influence him on that side where he seems most weak. Few men are impregnable in every part. If his judgment comes to be prepossessed by advisers, he and all that depend on him are lost.

Regardless of the person on the throne the same counsels should be applied whether a Moses or a Samuel or a Caligula sits there. Laws should aim at perpetuity because the virtues of men die with them, and often before. If virtue in any respect may be said to outlive the person, it can only be when good men frame such laws and constitutions that save the nation and themselves. This has never been done otherwise than by balancing the powers in such a manner that the corruption which one or a few men might fall into, should not be suffered to spread the contagion to the ruin of the whole. Nations with good kings ought to make right use of them, by establishing the good that may outlast their lives. An unlimited prince might be justly compared to a ship in a storm with too much sail and no rudder.

The nature of man is so frail, that where so ever the word of a single person has had the force of law, the innumerable extravagances and mischiefs it has produced have been so notorious, that all nations who are not stupid, slavish, and brutish, have always abominated it, and made it their principal care to find out remedies against it, by so dividing and balancing the powers of their government, that one or a few men might not be able to oppress and destroy those they ought to preserve and protect.

There has never been a good government that wasn’t mixed.

We are to suffer the proclamations of such princes as law? Never!


By mixed government, Sidney means the three estates of commons, lords and king meeting in parliament. This constituted the whole of society. Being without a nobility, America reduced her Constitutional form to the three functions of any government, yet also took pains to include all of society in congress, just as the Brits had done in parliament. The 17th Amendment violates this fundamental rule of republics and must go.

Throughout his book, Sidney hammers courtiers, those who privately offer bad advice, hire villains to suppress opponents, and work to keep the people base, ignorant, and too weak to provide for themselves or dare resist the king. Of what sorts have the ear of Obama? The evil Iranian Valerie Jarrett.

Our politicians live parallel lives distinct from that of the rest of America. They do not suffer to live under what passes for laws and Obama’s diktats.

What patriot doesn’t cringe when made aware of the latest Obama Proclamation issued by the EPA, HHS, DHS, etc.?

America’s situation isn’t new to history. On the contrary, there is no shortage of nations founded in freedom that gradually slipped into despotism. Some, like the early Romans and late 17th century English, famously turned back the tide and restored free government.

Well, which shall it be? Continue the slide or restore free government?

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