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Back to Table of Contents, A Declaration of Universal Rights

Article 2 — Self-Government

Section 1; Immutable And Inalienable Rights

All men are by creation equally free and independent and are endowed by their Creator with cer­tain immutable and inalienable rights; among these are the enjoyment and defense of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happi­ness and safety. The exercise and enjoyment of rights constitute the essence of self-government.

 

Section 2: Civil Proceedings; Forfeiture; Obligation Of Contracts

The right of property shall be secured.

No person shall be subject to forfeiture of his life or liberty in any civil proceeding. Nor shall any person be subject to forfeiture of his property, the use or enjoyment thereof, except in satisfaction of a lawful civil judgment rendered by due process, and according to a lawful levy. In controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the right to trial by jury shall not be in­fringed.

No law shall be passed impairing the liberty of contract or the obligation of contracts.

This section concentrates on civil proceedings in which the civil government is not a party or acting in a civil capacity. Civil government, through the judiciary, provides a forum for resolution of legally recognized disputes. Due process of law entails the procedural requirements which must be satisfied before a deprivation of property can occur. Forfeiture of property is only at issue in civil proceedings since the deprivation is not as a result of a criminal wrong, but rather as compensation for the intentional or negligent use or misuse of lib­erty or property. In other words, property may be forfeited as a result of, and in order to satisfy, a civil judg­ment. Life and liberty, however, can never be lawfully impaired or deprived in such a proceeding.

Though the people are free to organize their government in such a way as to secure their liberty, the right of trial by a jury of one's peers, both as to matters of law and fact, is acknowledged to secure their liberties.

As men are free to govern themselves according to the laws of God, they have the right to contract for any lawful purpose. As civil government is instituted to preserve men's rights, no law shall be passed that shall in any manner whatever, interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements, bona fide and without fraud previously formed.

 

 
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