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Life of Albert Parsons

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Done with his sword for American liberty, describes in his writings the motives and purposes of the men engaged in that conflict. Paine's work, entitled "Rights of Man," embodied the "America Idea" of liberty as then contended for. He says:

It is therefore a perversion of terms to say that a charter (government) gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect, - that of taking rights away. Right are inherently in all the inhabitants, but charters, by annulling those rights in the majority, leave the right by exclusion in the hands of a few. If charters were constructed so as to express in direct terms "that every inhabitant who is not a member of a corporation shall not exercise the right of voting," such charters would in the face, be charters, not or rights, but of exclusion. The effect is the same under the form in which they now stand: the only persons on whom they now operate are the persons whom they exclude.

The period following the war, when the colonies or states were engaged in framing the national constitution, is most instructive, as it was now that the fruits of that struggle were to be garnered. Some of the states were slow to enter the compact and some for a time refused to do so, such was the fear of the people for centralized government. Finally, a reconciliation was brought about mainly by those whose property rights have them influence and power, and delegates from all the states were chosen to the national convention to form the federal Constitution.

Here were the assembled men of varying ideas, instincts and interests. But the predominating influence was the property interest, property in land, etc., but especially in slaves. The people having struggled and suffered for long and bloody years, were alive to the importance of the work of the convention and its possible effects upon their welfare. But there were those who reverenced human rights only so far as these did not intrude upon their property rights. Thus began the game of Politics. The convention found it necessary to conduct their proceedings with closed doors, excluding from its sessions all who were not members. Here, for four months the "Star Chamber" (secret) sessions were held in an endeavor to bring about a compromise of divergent interests and ideas upon the property question. The debates were long and heated. At times the convention was threatened with disruption. There were those who believed in a landed aristocracy and restricted suffrage, led by Alex-

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