Historical answers to today’s problems – – –
The Right to speech and assembly also includes the right to associate, freely, with those of like mind. Guilt by association, although sometimes evident in today’s judicial system, is an inherent right without the authority of any government, but guaranteed to be protected by the government, by order of the Constitution; in the First Amendment, which prohibits federal enactments that would limit that Right; and, Article I, Section 8, clause 17, which is outside the jurisdiction of federal authority; Article I, Section 10, clause 1, which prohibits any state from passing any “Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts”, which is the nature of any association; Articles IX , Bill of Rights, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;” and, Article X, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Although nearly every community, circa 1760-1780, had an association, the wording of the Albany Association is still available to us. The Albany Committee was established prior to the First Continental Congress. This General Association was executed in 1775. It was signed by all members of the association at the time. It might provide us an understanding of the necessity for establishing an association of like minded people for the purpose of furthering the discussion of solutions to the problem. The original Albany version:
A General Association agreed to and subscribed by the Members of the several Committees of the City and County of Albany.
PERSUADED that the salvation of the Rights and Liberties of America depends under God on the firm Union of it’s Inhabitants, in a Vigorous prosecution of the Measures necessary for it’s Safety; and convinced of the necessity of preventing the Anarchy and Confusion, which attend a Dissolution of the Powers of Government
WE the Freemen, Freeholders and Inhabitants of the City and County of Albany being greatly Alarmed at the avowed Design of the Ministry, to raise a Revenue in America; and shocked by the Bloody Scene now acting in the Massachusetts Bay Do in the most Solemn Manner resolve never to become Slaves; and do associate under all the Ties of Religion, Honour, and Love to our Country, to adopt and endeavour to carry into Execution whatever Measures may be recommended by the Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for the purpose of preserving our Constitution, and opposing the Execution of the several Arbitrary and oppressive Acts of the British Parliament until a Reconciliation between Great Britain and America on Constitutional Principles (which we most ardently desire) can be obtained; And that we will in all things follow the Advice of our General Committee respecting the purpose aforesaid, the preservation of Peace and good Order and the safety if Individuals and private Property.