Recent video revelations (check here) have shown various ignorant folks, with half baked knowledge of ‘Articles of Confederation’, resisting arrest on claims of being a ‘Free Inhabitant’. Several such incidences in different situations has led many to question, ‘What is a ‘Free Inhabitant?’
The Articles of Confederation
The ‘Articles of Confederation’ were created in 1777, officially put into effect in 1781, to govern over the 13 original states of US.
Article IV – The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively…
Is This legit?
As, we can see the ‘Articles of Confederation’ itself is nearly 200 year old. Anything in it and not conflicting with the US constitution, would still be legit. It has never been repealed since its inclusion.
Also See: Search On Facebook Without Logging In
US supreme court ruling, in 1869, of the ‘State v. White’ case states that, “since the Articles stated “Perpetual Union”, and the Constitution states “More perfect Union”, the perpetuity of the union remains in effect, since the Articles were never actually repealed.”
In case of clash between the ‘Articles of Confederation’ and the US constitution, the latter would prevail.
Entitled To All Privileges….
A ‘Free Inhabitant’ from another state is entitled to the same privileges as the ‘Free Inhabitant’ from the own state.
What is mentioned above is on the same lines as, “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states” , which is stated in the US constitution.
Ingress & Regress
The no restriction ingress and regress term there speaks of the free entry to inhabitants of all US states to any other state in the US. A way to say that all the states, devoid of borders were equal in the eyes of the confederation. (though it must be noted that the US had only 13 states at that time.)
This means no taxing or permit other US states.
Privileges of Trade and Commerce
As there are no restrictions on the ingress and regress, the privileges of Trade and Commerce are the same.
This means that any inhabitant from any state (in the US), can get involved in the trade and commerce activities within any state in the US. This entitles you to trade at the cost the inhabitants of that state are, without any additional taxes. (though the taxes over trade and commerce on the free inhabitants of the state will still be applicable)
Subject to same duties, responsibilities and restrictions
This basically entails to the equality of every inhabitant of the US to be equal as the inhabitant of the state they either belong to or are travelling.
On a closer look though, this was all a farce as the ‘free inhabitants’ term only applied to the white and free men. As the article clearly states ‘slaves paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives’ are not included as equals.
In a nutshell
While the articles themselves were very wisely put according to the times, they represent the lawmakers of a society 200 years old; and that society was not equal!
It is an appalling sight to see today’ folks actually using those laws and much worse is that they are also failing to understand them.
(Anyways, they still hold good in today’ courts until and unless not clashing with the US constitution.)