Justice Field concurring in
Supreme Court case of Butchers’
Union cited Adam
Wealth of Nations:
Union Co. v. Crescent City Co., 111 U.S. 746 (1884)
It has been well said that
'the property which every man has is
his own labor, as it is the
original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and
inviolable. The patrimony of the poor man lies in the strength
and dexterity of his own hands, and to
hinder his employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he
thinks proper, without injury to his neighbor, is a plain violation of this most sacred
property. It is a manifest
encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman
and of those who might be disposed to employ him.
As it hinders the one from working at what he thinks proper, so it
hinders the others from employing whom they think proper.' Smith,
Wealth Nat. bk. 1, c. 10.
property. Labor is a "most sacred property".
|Adair v. U
S, 208 U.S. 161 (1908)
In our opinion that
section, in the particular mentioned, is an invasion of the personal liberty, as well as of the right of property, guaranteed by
that Amendment. Such liberty and
right embrace the right to make contracts for the purchase of
the labor of others, and equally the right to make contracts for the sale of one's own labor;
each right, however, being subject to the fundamental condition that no
contract, whatever its subject-matter, can be sustained which the law,
upon reasonable grounds, forbids as inconsistent with the public
interests, or as hurtful to the public order, or as detrimental to the
The right to purchase or
to sell labor is part of the liberty
protected by this Amendment, unless there are
circumstances which exclude the right.
In every case that comes before this court, therefore, where
legislation of this character is concerned, and where the protection of
the Federal Constitution is sought, the question necessarily arises: Is this a fair, reasonable, and
appropriate exercise of the police power of the state, or is it an unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary interference with the right of the individual to his personal liberty or to
enter into those contracts in relation to labor which may seem to him
appropriate or necessary for
the support of himself and his family? Of course, the
liberty of contract relating to labor includes both
parties to it. The one has as much
right to purchase as the other to sell labor.'
Personal Liberty and Personal
Right embrace the Right to make contracts to sell one's own labor.
| Coppage v.
State of Kansas, 236 U.S. 1 (1915)
is fundamental and vital. Included in the right of
personal liberty and the right of
private property-partaking of the nature of each- is the right to make contracts for the
acquisition of property. Chief among such contracts is that of personal employment, by which labor and
other services are
exchanged for money or other forms of property. If this right be struck down or
arbitrarily interfered with, there
is a substantial impairment
of liberty in the long-established constitutional sense.
The right is as essential to the laborer as to the capitalist, to the
poor as to the rich; for the vast majority of persons have no other
honest way to begin to acquire property, save by working for
- The rights
of personal liberty and private property are "fundamental and vital".
- The right of making of contracts for acquistion of
property is "fundamental
(natural person) employment is
such a contract of "fundamental
and vital" right.
services are exchanged for money or other forms of property."
- Labor (a form
of property) is exchanged
for money (a form of property).
Labor for money is a "fundamental and vital"
|Doyle v. Mitchell Bros.
Co., 247 U.S. 179 (1918)
When the act took effect,
plaintiff's timber lands, with whatever value
they then possessed, were a part of its capital assets, and a subsequent change of form by conversion
into money did not change the essence.
"Subsequent change of
form by conversion
into money did not change the essence", Nor could it. Timber
lands are property, money is property, labor is property.
|Flint v. Stone Tracy, 220
U.S. 107 (1911)
Excises are 'taxes
laid upon the manufacture, sale, or consumption of commodities
within the country, upon licenses to
pursue certain occupations, and upon corporate privileges.'
Any tax upon property is a direct tax, subject to the rule of apportionment. A
natural person exchanges property for property BY RIGHT, not by
license. Therefore, no
excise - privilege tax can be laid on the transaction.
How then, do you end up
paying a Direct - Unapportioned tax on your compensation for
labor? You volunteer through ignorance of the WRITTEN words of