The First Contract with America

February 27, 2013 10:00

The government’s The First Contract with America was a written guarantee that the government acknowledged it had no authority to infringe on the people’s God-given Rights.


By Jack Beavers


In 1994 during the Congressional Election Campaign, the Republican Party unveiled its “Contract with America”. While new to the modern political arena, this was not the first time a contract was offered to the American people – and accepted.

Following our War for Independence, it became obvious that the central government created by the Articles of Confederation was powerless. Therefore, on May 25, 1787 a national convention was convened in Philadelphia to review and revise the Articles of Confederation. By September 15, 1787, The Constitution of the United States had been drafted, edited and polished, voted acceptance by the delegates, and sent to the respective state legislatures for approval and ratification.

However, by January 1788, only five states of the nine needed for ratification had approved the proposed Constitution. While the document described an ingenious framework of control balances for the centralized government, it lacked any mention of the rights of the people being asked to approve the framework. It soon became evident that in order to get the Constitution accepted, it had to be amended to contain a list of specific God-given individual rights. Notably among these, it had to contain the guarantee that every American had the absolute right to speak openly and keep personal firearms. The people would never agree to allow any government to have the power to enslave them.

By December 15, 1791 the proposed Constitution had been ratified by the people’s state legislatures – but only because The First Contract with America had been added as its first ten amendments. Known as the “Bill of Rights”, these first ten amendments constitute a binding contract between the American people and their central government, e.g. the people approved the control framework of how they would be governed with the stipulation that they keep for themselves their personal liberties, e.g. Bill of Rights. The government’s The First Contract with America was a written guarantee that the government acknowledged it had no authority to infringe on the people’s God-given Rights.


Aka, the Bill of Rights

1. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.

2. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”.

3. “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law”.

4. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”.

5. “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”.

6. “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense”.

7. “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law”.

8. “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”.

9. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”.

10. “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”.

Seventeen (17) additional amendments now follow the original ten – however, these amendments are embellishments and/or clarifications of the original framework and do not apply to Bill of Rights. More importantly, this First Contract with America confirms the people as the owners of the Constitution, not the government, by giving the people the authority and power to change the government if – as the Declaration of Independence so eloquently states – “… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

At his inauguration on March 4, 1861, as required by the Constitution, President Lincoln swore, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He then delivered his first (and only) Inaugural Address in which he proclaimed, “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.”

Because of The First Contract with America, the people have retained their authority and power to “throw off” a government that “evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism”. The Contract’s First Amendment guarantees the people keep the right to “exercise their constitutional right of amending it” and its Second amendment guarantees the people keep the power to “exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it”. No wonder the Washington elites and their commentators are looking feverishly for an excuse to break the The First Contract with America, e.g. silence conservative talk and disarm the population (militia). Let’s hope these “progressive leaders of change” wise up and honor the The First Contract with America. Otherwise, they will demonstrate to the American people that their leaders “[evince] a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism”, and that, per the Constitution, removing them from office is not only justified – it is the people’s duty.


Originally posted at Center for a Just Society. Used by permission.

Jack T. Beavers is an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Consultant with a BS in Chemical Engineering (BSChE), a Professional Engineering (PE) license, a Certification in Business Management (CBM), and a Certification as an Internal Control Specialist (CICS). He has previously held a Certification as an ISO-9000 Internal Auditor – and his work history includes Enterprise Risk Assessment responsibilities as a Manager of Internal Audit. Please email your comments to


The CJS Forum seeks to promote an open exchange of ideas about the relationship between faith, culture, law and public policy. While all the articles are original and written especially for the CJS Forum, they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for a Just Society.


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