- Published: 08 January 2012
There was a great difference between this Twin Revolution of 1776 and the revolution in France which commenced in 1789. The latter had no such sound foundation in the French people's experience but was entirely theoretical--in support of merely abstract ideas of only a few leaders; it was destructive of existing institutions and customs and entirely lacked any element of the constructive based on established principles previously put into practice by the people. This is why the French people, after enduring some years of wanton tyranny and ruthless terror under revolutionary leaders, voted in favor of a return to their own political servitude through restoration of the philosophy and system of Government-over-Man, under Napoleon as emperor. Those destructively revolutionary ideas and theories of the French Revolution's leaders entirely lacked the main characteristic of the principles of the American Revolution--the Twin Revolution of 1776: firm conviction and dedication born of the people's long experience; and, furthermore, those ideas and theories were fundamentally the very antithesis of the American principles---chief of all the godlessness of the French Revolution's philosophy. This element of godlessness made nonsense of the assertion by these French leaders that they considered certain political rights to be unalienable; because rights can properly be termed unalienable only because God-given--the element of unalienability depending entirely upon the fact that they are bestowed upon Man by his Creator. (See Par. 2, p. 25, ante.)
The uniqueness of the philosophy of the Twin Revolution of 1776 is indicated by the fact that no other people in all history had ever advocated this philosophy's principles, much less proclaimed and acted upon them as a basis for creating such a system of self-government; although some Old World philosophers had, of course, written about some aspects of a few of these principles but only as abstract ideas unrelated to governmental reality. Former President John Quincy Adams commented to this effect in his 1839 "Jubilee" address.
This uniqueness is highlighted particularly by the fact that nothing even remotely like it had ever been conceived as a governmental philosophy, much less put into practice, even by the people of Great Britain. There the people had discarded centuries earlier the idea and system of the divine right of kings, of unlimited royal power and rule; but they adopted as a substitute the principle of unlimited power of the national legislature (Parliament) and, therefore, the absolute power of The Majority, so the philosophy and system of Government-over-Man was thus continued, and it continues to the present day. This development reflected a tradition in England of Authority Supreme--over Man, in an environment of a stratified society divided into sharply and rigidly separated classes. Long before the American Revolution, this English tradition was expressed by the famous English judge, Sir William Blackstone, as follows: ". . . there is and must be in all of them [States] a supreme, irresistible, absolute, uncontrolled authority . . ." and he further declared that Parliament is the possessor of this supreme power: ". . . the power of Parliament is absolute and without control." (Quoting his famous Commentaries.) The supremacy of Parliament is commented on, for example, in The Federalist number 53 by Madison. This supremacy is due to the fact that Britain has no written Constitution--nothing even remotely resembling the United States Constitution. Her so-called "Constitution" is nothing but the aggregate of all laws--which Parliament makes and can change at will--and customs concerning things governmental, all judicial decisions and traditional governmental practices; that is, in a general sense, all basic things of a governmental nature--all subject to Parliament's control.
The supremacy of Parliament is explained in the writings of the English legal authority, Albert V. Dicey, especially his Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution. In this authoritative work, Dicey comments expressly about the peculiarly vague meaning of the terms "Constitution" and "constitutional" in England--that their so-called Constitution is not any "more sacred or difficult to change than other laws" and that "the meaning of the word 'constitutional' is in England so vague" that it is seldom used concerning any law. This topic is discussed also in the celebrated volume, The American Commonwealth, originally published in Great Britain in 1888 and dedicated to the above-mentioned Dicey, by the famous Englishman, James Bryce--also a legal authority--who was better known as Lord Bryce. He states without qualification that Parliament is omnipotent, can change any "constitutional statutes" such as Magna Carta the same as any other law--for instance a highway act, and can abolish any and all institutions such as the Crown and even Parliament itself; all because it possesses complete power and its will is law--is supreme.
This absolute supremacy of Parliament--in reality today of the House of Commons alone--spells The Majority Omnipotent because the decisions of this House are reached by vote of at least half-plus-one. Any such decision is completely controlling as to everything and everybody in Britain; so The Individual has no inviolable rights there, is completely helpless legally, as against The Majority.