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Thus, the laws of nature, which werecreated by God, and the laws of God entitle the Americans to create forthemselves a new political society.Standing on the reasoning of the The Nature of Man in Early American State Constitutions 101Declaration, then, New York grounds the basis for its political orderon both divine law and the divinely legislated natural law.The equality of human beings is addressed by New York in itsclause that protects every member of society s  rights orprivileges. ccviii One must conclude that the individual rights to life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as cited in the Declaration fallunder this guarantee, as does the following guarantee of religiousworship.ccixThis convention doth further, in the name and by the authorityof the good people of this State, ordain, determine, anddeclare, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religiousprofession and worship, without discrimination or preference,shall forever hereafter be allowed, within this State, to allmankind: Provided, That the liberty of conscience, herebygranted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts oflicentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peaceor safety of this State.ccxThe phrase,  to all mankind, seems to be a way of emphaticallygranting this right to every human being in society.Both the rightslisted in New York s Preamble and the right to worship are prior to, ormore fundamental than, the political order.On the topic of conscience,New York demonstrates that it believes people, generally speaking,have the capacity to make right moral choices.Its constitution pointsout that any attempt to justify political conflict or  licentiousness byan appeal to conscience is the result of a faulty view of  the liberty ofconscience.A violator of another s rights may claim,  I did X because I wasguided by my conscience. New York will not permit someone to stealsomeone else s horse, for example, because his or her religious viewsclaim that doing so is required.In addition to injustices that involve theviolation of the life, liberty and property of others, New Yorkrecognizes that people can appeal to conscience in order to engage inprivately immoral practices.Some religious group might claim thathaving sexual relations with animals that they own is one of theirreligious rituals.Section XXXVIII in New York s constitution refers tojust this sort of thing.It claims that even when no other person isharmed by such acts, an appeal to conscience can never legitimize whatit calls licentious behavior.Human conscience will never guide a Faith, Reason, and Consent102person to act in a manner that is morally depraved.In other words,licentious behavior is not merely that which threatens the peace orsafety of the community, it is behavior that is morally unacceptableeven when there is no immediate affect or consequence on others inpolitical society.Some behavior is simply wrong for anyone to do.New York makes the assumption that everyone knows whatlicentiousness includes, since no description of it is included in thispassage.In light of the preamble, however, the standard of moralitymust be presumed to be the natural and divine law, which can never beviolated by an appeal to conscience or otherwise.Therefore,government may rightly punish persons who exercise or advocate someform of private immorality.Government must also make judgmentsregarding religious institutions and their practices, and it can do so onthe basis of  the benevolent principles of rational liberty.The passagepoints out a necessity for overlap between church and state.It requiresthe state to make judgments of religious organizations and individuals,in terms of both private morality and public safety.VERMONTVermont takes many of its comments in its Preamble fromPennsylvania verbatim, with the exception of a section justifying itsclaim to be a newly independent state.Thus, all the comments aboveconcerning Pennsylvania s preamble apply to Vermont.Individualnatural rights are grounded on the  Author of existence. ccxi WhenVermont begins its  Declaration of Rights it borrows section I fromPennsylvania.However, Vermont makes a striking and originaladdition to the statement concerning the rights to life, liberty andproperty.I.THAT all men are born equally free and independent, andhave certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, amongstwhich are the enjoying and defending life and liberty;acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuingand obtaining happiness and safety.Therefore, no maleperson, born in this country, or brought from over sea, oughtto be holden by law, to serve any person, as a servant, slave orapprentice, after he arrives to the age of twenty-one Years, norfemale, in like manner, after she arrives to the age of eighteen The Nature of Man in Early American State Constitutions 103years, unless they are bound by their own consent, after theyarrive to such age, or bound by law, for the payment of debts,damages, fines, costs, or the like.ccxiiThis is the first case in which a state constitution explicitly prohibitsslavery, consistently applying the principles of individual natural rightsto all its inhabitants.Notice also that both males and females areincluded under this section, protected from being bound to anotherperson as  servant, slave, or apprentice. Vermont makes a clearstatement in this section regarding its view of the equality of humanbeings, whether they have a history of being enslaved or have adifferent ethnic heritage.Between sections I and II, Vermont makes another change incomparison to Pennsylvania.Instead of immediately following sectionI on natural individual rights to life, liberty and property with a sectionon the natural right to freedom of worship as Pennsylvania did,Vermont inserts an original passage on the topic of property.That private property ought to be subservient to public uses,when necessity requires it; nevertheless, whenever anyparticular man's property is taken for the use of the public, theowner ought to receive an equivalent in money.ccxiiiThis passage is like a parenthetical explanation of Vermont sunderstanding of the relationship between property and the politicalcommunity.On the one hand, all private property is subject to theexigent needs of the community.Someone who owns a farm near anencampment of the Continental Army may be required to give up someof his stored wheat, so that the soldiers do not face starvation.However, private property is a natural individual right that must not beviolated by a just government.Therefore, the constitution makes itclear that in the farmer s scenario, either Vermont or the ContinentalCongress must make provision to repay the farmer for the share of hiswheat given for an urgent public necessity [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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