The Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, the Articles of Confederation of November 15, 1777, the Northwest Ordinance of July 13, 1787 and Constitution of September 17, 1787, what do these historic documents have in common?
These four exceedingly important documents constitute the basis of written law in the country bound together by a common language.
Some knowledge among the general public of the first and last is almost is universal, but even a nodding acquaintance with the Articles of Confederation and Northwest Ordinance is rare among the nation’s judges and attorneys. This neglect of these documents has been intentional.
What do the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Northwest Ordinance and Constitution of the United States have in common?
They are the Organic Laws of the United States of America.
Unfortunately for the cause of freedom, the next most common question will be: What are organic laws?
The English writer, Rudyard Kipling, wrote: “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.” The Organic Laws of the United States of America provide the answers to what we need to know about law and government in the United States of America. In the past, however, when Kipling’s “six honest serving-men” were employed at all their employment was limited to the Constitution of the United States.
Using Kipling’s serving-men to explore the meaning of all four Organic Laws of the United States of America leaves us with a totally different sense of the Constitution of the United States.