Five Solas


Rousas John Rushdoony This Independent Republic 6

Rousas John Rushdoony This Independent Republic 6

6. Liberty and Property

Rousas John Rushdoony

This Independent Republic: Studies in the Nature and Meaning of American History, Vallecito, California: Ross House Books, 2001, pp.49-60

1. Language and Liberty
2. Feudalism and Federalism
3. Legality and Revolution
4. Sovereignty
5. The Right to Emigrate
6. Liberty and Property
7. Equality
8. The Holy Commonwealth
9. Democracy and Anarchy
10. The French Revolution and the American Conservative Counter-Revolution
11. Sphere Law
12. American Anti-Universalism
13. Non-Interventionism as a Constitutional Principle
Appendix: Suggested Additional Reading


This faith crossed the Atlantic with the colonists and flourished there. The county, today the neglected unit, became under the developing colonial and early federal governments the basic American unit of government. For some generations in United States history, the primary importance of the local and county units governed political life. Presidential elections could not compete in importance with state politics, and local and sectional interests governed federal elections, so that Federalist, Republican, American Democratic, and Whig elections were often heavily influenced by non-federal factors. After Washington, no president at least through Lincoln, could be said to be a nationally popular figure, because the federal government did not sufficiently dominate or control the republic to give such stature to a president. It is a mistake to read present evaluations, and the heat of party newspapers of the times, into the popular mind of that day. The triumph of Jefferson, thus, was not a popular movement (John Adams may indeed have had a slightly stronger following), but rather the result of political organization and the able manipulation of local and sectional interests. The Jeffersonians represented an intelligent and able political group rather than a popular movement. The strategic importance of localism, politically and economically, is by no means gone. Land and personal property taxes, as well as basic criminal law, are still in county hands, making it the main bulwark against the power of Washington, D. C., and the states. Any restoration or essential development of American constitutionalism must involve a revival of localism. It is significant that the mounting statist movement has launched an attack on the integrity of county power. (pp.51-52)

Basic to any renewal of localism are three things: (p.52)

1) The religious recognition that the basic government is self-government. There is no freedom for men who will not be responsible. This is, of course, the personal covenant of grace, the responsibility of the Christian man before God. (p.52)

2) Free and responsible men see as their most important obligations those nearest home. If they fail in the immediate responsibility, they cannot be capable of meeting a distant one. Hence, with responsibility, there is major concern with local government, be it personal, family, societal, township, or county. The old Bostonian attitude that an office in Boston or Harvard is more important than an office in Washington is a faint trace of this belief. (p.52)

3) A restoration of religious faith in the significance of real property, and the relationship of ownership and power, is necessary. It should be noted that much of what is written off as land speculation among the founding fathers involved also a religious sense concerning land, and an association of land with true wealth. As has been noted of George Washington: (p.52)