Jefferson’s Promise, Smith’s Fulfillment

by Dennis Wilson
[email protected]

Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

July 4th Reflections on the 36th* Anniversary of the Covenant of Unanimous Consent

What I want to accomplish artistically amounts to nothing more than fulfilling the promise of the American Revolution.
~ L. Neil Smith

Tomorrow being the Fourth of July, 2022, it is timely to again review what L. Neil Smith wrote in 1985 and amended by unanimous consent 36 years ago, in 1986, and what I have described elsewhere as “the fulfillment of the promise of Jefferson’s Declaration”[1].

L. Neil Smith’s Covenant of Unanimous Consent actually FULFILLS the promise of individual freedom in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. The Covenant is simple, rational, personal, easy to understand and even short enough to memorize. It easily fits on one side of a single piece of paper–and is currently available in English, Spanish, French and German![2]

The Covenant also satisfies the objections noted by Lysander Spooner[3] in 1870. Instead of being a document that describes how the government shall act, and a document YOU did NOT sign, the Covenant is a document that describes how YOU will act and is a document that YOU VOLUNTARILY SIGN, IF YOU AGREE.

Those who do not sign (the “dissenters” mentioned by Ayn Rand[4] in 1964) are not punished. They are simply and clearly warned what to expect if they violate the EXPLICITLY CLAIMED rights of Signatories.

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent is indeed the political foundation, the “legal framework needed to establish and maintain a free society open to all, including dissenters” as was suggested by Ayn Rand. I explore that legal framework concept further in my own article, What IS The Bare Minimum…?.

To live together peacefully and productively:

Follow the Precepts of the Covenant and no “government“” will be necessary;
Violate the Precepts of the Covenant and no amount of government will be sufficient.

I think that Mr. Smith’s Covenant of Unanimous Consent has indeed fulfilled “the promise of the American Revolution.” Well done, Mr. Smith. Well done![5]

Dennis Lee Wilson
Signatory: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent

The original version of this article is available on the Wayback Machine.

* There are two “origin” dates associated with the Covenant of Unanimous Consent. It was originally published in 1985 in Chapter XVII of The Gallatin Divergence by L. Neil Smith, Del Rey Books (a division of Random House), and was amended by unanimous consent, October, 1986. This is a slightly modified version of my original tribute that was published in THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE, Number 828, July 5, 2015. The Covenant of Unanimous Consent does not receive nearly the amount of publicity that it deserves. The USA Imperial Empire is in the late stages of fascism (crony-corporatism). The Covenant can play an important role among those who plan now to survive and rebuild after the collapse of the military empire and the breakup of the United States.


[1] “…to Institute new Government, laying its foundation…” – How the Covenant of Unanimous Consent fulfills the promise of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence

[2] Covenant Translations:

[3] Lysander Spooner’s 1870 comment that “The Constitution has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it” comes from his essays No Treason and The Constitution of No Authority.

[4] It is well known that Galt’s Gulch as described in Atlas Shrugged has become THE prime model for those seeking relief from our current culture of ever encroaching tyranny. In The Letters of Ayn Rand, The Later Years (1960-1981) page 626, May 2, 1964, commenting about Galt’s Gulch, Ayn Rand said:

“I must mention that Galt’s Gulch is not an organized society, but a private club whose members share the same philosophy. It exemplifies the basic moral principles of social relationships among rational men, the principles on which a proper political system should be built.
“It does not deal with questions of political organization, with the details of a legal framework needed to establish and maintain a free society open to all, including dissenters. It does not deal with specifically political principles, only with their moral base.”

[5] For convenience, I have collected Mr. Smith’s original articles (one of which has almost vanished from the internet) along with my own and other related articles and have indexed them.

License: Creative Commons Attribution, Share Alike. Permission to redistribute this article, or any portion of it, is herewith granted by the author—provided that appropriate credit is given as per Creative Commons, Attribute, Share Alike


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