Here’s ARTICLE 1, from the “Bill of Rights” of the NH State Constitution:


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NH State Constitution / “Bill of Rights” 

Article 1. [Equality of Men; Origin and Object of Government.] All men are born equally free and independent; therefore, all government of right originates from the people, is founded in consent, and instituted for the general good.

June 2, 1784

I am accustomed to thinking of “RIGHTS” as spiky, durable, non-negotiable things — granitic outcroppings, say, of the existential bedrock of humanity.  Drawing this article made me wonder if perhaps sometimes our rights are more fragile than that, in need of tending and protection — thus the butterfly.

Three things I notice while looking through NH’s Bill of Rights:

  1. The framers of NH’s state constitution had some really powerful, radical ideas back in 1783!
  2. The online version of our state’s founding document has a surprising amount of dumb typos in it.
  3. Most of the time, the original text says “MEN” instead of citizens, and apparently nobody’s ever gone back and legally changed that.  WHY NOT?  Would anybody in this day & age debate changing “MEN” to “PEOPLE”?  Would it really take all that much time or effort?  What other kinds of murky interpretation are we encouraging by leaving archaic language as it is?
    “Aw, never mind the words, you know what they MEAN….”
    Well, at least in my comics version, I’ll just patch in “PEOPLE” where it’s needed.



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