PATRICK HENRY SAID: "__________"



People, we see, were emphasized in the very beginning of the Constitution. Toward the end, our forefathers spoke of this Constitution as being the supreme Law of the Land.

They might have said "supreme Law of the Nation." But they chose the word Land, instead. Whether there is any significance or not, land is an integral part of the Constitution.

Later, in another chapter, we will spend more time inquiring into the actual land of this continent. Although we already know it, let us bear in mind as we go along, that from the land we get the shoes on our feet, our clothing, the electric light by which you are probably reading this book, the roof over our heads, the elevator, the paved street, oil, metals, foods, medicines.

Indeed everything we know, including the paper upon which was written the Constitution, comes from and is built upon land.

Do not think of land, then, as merely an interesting word for city dwellers and armchair philosophers to muse upon. Think of land as land—a physical reality.

And there is a law of this real land—not a lawyer's law, but a natural law never modified in the slightest by artificial national or state boundaries. Stated quite simply, it is: Ownership of land, or property rights in it, is the basis of all liberties. Land is wealth; wealth is power; power is liberty. In the last analysis, the liberty of a people (or an individual) depends upon the quantity and quality of the land they possess.

Possibly Patrick Henry did say something about liberty and death (some scholars say it is very doubtful), but it is certain he did say, "He is the greatest patriot who stops the most gullies." Patrick Henry knew that the greatest patriot is the one who does the best job of conserving the land. It was, perhaps, the most sensible thing Henry ever said. The reason he said it was because colonists ruined their farms by wasteful methods, and he foresaw that if the practice was continued, there would be nothing to eat and wear. He realized too, that with independence, his fellow Americans were continuing their wasteful practices.

In thinking of our Constitution, our living constitution, we should understand our absolute dependence upon the land. The actualities of Life and Land cannot be divorced from our Constitution.

Anyhow, we might as well know that while we argue and quibble over legalistic phraseology, and throw trick words and empty symbols at each other, our land is washing away. Trickling slowly, then running faster, then faster and faster, then gushing and roaring and storming and flooding, water is carrying our land down to the sea.

The mighty United States of America. Let us rise high in a great steel bird, a twenty-one-passenger, streamlined plane (itself made of the land), and look down upon our continent.