Discourse, 25 February 1843

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

I have read the Constitution. & find my doubts. removed.— the constitution is not a law. but empowers the people to make laws.— constitution govern the lands of but is not a law for the people. constitution tells what shall not be lawful tender— Constitution section 10 this is not saying gold & silver shall be lawful tender— it only provid[e]s the states may make a law— to make gold and silver— lawful Tender. [p. [219]] the Ligislature have ceded up to us the privilige of enacting laws we stand in the same relation as the state.— This clause is for the Legislature, is not a law— for the people. diametrically contra[r]y to the constitution. this have passed a stay law. making it lawful <​to​> tender to property. and if we creat[e] no law. we must be govend [governed] by them.— shall we be such fools as to abide their laws. which are unconstitutional? No. we will make a law for Gold & Silver then their law ceases & we can collect our debts.— “Powers not delegated to the states— or reservd fr[o]m the states” is constituti[o]nal, [p. [220]]
congress. or constitution acknowledgd that the people have all power not reserved to itself) <​I am a Lawyer​> I am big Lawyer. & comprehnd heavn earth & hell— to bring forth knowledge which shall cover up all Lawyers & doctors—) this is the doctrine of the constitution so help me God.— the constitution is not Law to us— but provision to make laws, Where it provides that no one shall not be hinderd from worshipping God acording to his own conscenc [conscience] is a law.— No legislatu[r]e can enact a law,— to prohibit constitution provid[e]s to regulate [p. [221]] bodies of men not individuals [p. [222]]


  1. 1

    JS and other Nauvoo citizens interpreted the state legislature’s granting of the city charter as its giving the city government broad powers similar to those that the federal constitution granted to the states, provided Nauvoo’s laws were “not repugnant” to either the United States Constitution or the constitution of Illinois. (See Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840; “Remarks on Chartered Rights,” Wasp, 24 Dec. 1842, [2]; and Historical Introduction to Ordinance, 14 Nov. 1842.)  

    The Wasp. Nauvoo, IL. Apr. 1842–Apr. 1843.

  2. 2

    Appraisal laws regulated the work of county appraisers, while stay laws provided debtors with additional time to pay their debts before creditors could seize their property for payment. The new Illinois laws stipulated that foreclosed property could not be sold for less than two-thirds of its appraised value. If the property remained unsold, it would return to the debtor. Another law allowed the debtor twelve months to redeem the property and avoid foreclosure. The laws’ opponents feared that as a result of the depressed real estate market at the time, the two-thirds requirement would make sale of the property impossible. The provisions prohibited the creditor from simply auctioning the property to the highest bidder. (An Act Entitled “An Act Regulating the Sale of Property on Judgments and Executions” [6 Jan. 1843], Laws of the State of Illinois [1842–1843], pp. 186, 188, secs. 1, 4; An Act to Amend “An Act concerning Judgments and Executions, Approved, January 17th, 1825” [19 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], pp. 168–169, sec. 1; see also Bronson v. Kinzie et al., 1 Howard 311 [1843].)  

    Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835. Vandalia, IL: J. Y. Sawyer, 1835.

    Howard / Howard, Benjamin C. Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States. 25 vols. Various publishers. 1843–1860.

  3. 3

    TEXT: Possibly “there”.  

  4. 4

    JS’s statement regarding powers not delegated to the states paraphrases the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states, “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.”  

  5. 5

    TEXT: Possibly “the his”.  

  6. 6

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution stipulates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”