Renewing the American Spirit

Patriot Week begins on 9/11 and ends on 9/17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution (Constitution Day)) and renews America’s spirit by celebrating the First Principles, Founding Fathers and other Patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags that make America the greatest nation in world history. Many of current holidays have become overly commercialized or have lost their deeper meaning. We need to invigorate our appreciation and understanding of America’s spirit. This blog is dedicated to keeping the spirit of Patriot Week - and America - alive all year long.....

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Sacred Call of Duty

"The only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country. These manly sentiments, in private life, make good citizens; public life, the patriot and the hero." James Otis (1761)

James Otis held a position in the British Empire most would covet.  He was the leading lawyer for the crown in the colonies.  When British began to oppress the colonists by authorizing Writs of Assistance (which in essence, were open ended warrants which allowed customs officers to search and seize person and property without any requirement that there be probable cause for such actions), he was asked to defend them as the Advocate-General.  

Instead, Otis quit and took up the side of those who challenged the legality of the writs.  He walked away from wealth, power, and position to do what was right in defense of our unalienable rights.  In his famous attack on the Writs in 1761, he explained that a man's house - no matter how humble - was his castle, and that the crown had no right to ransack it at will. He remarked that the writs were an instrument of "slavery" and "villainy," constituting "the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law that ever was found in an English law-book."

Otis declared that his sacrifice was a call of duty, and the essence of patriotism.  His bold opposition was one of the sparks that eventually lit the American Revolution.  

How much we have forgotten, how far we have fallen.

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