The Rights Institute collectible medallion is a stunning coin-shaped piece made of one ounce of pure silver, featuring Our Rights in text and images. Each medallion is minted by Sunshine Minting Inc. The medallion is a limited edition of 1,250 pieces. Once all 1,250 are sold, no more will be made.
On the face of the medallion is a picture of Heracles having conquered Cerberus, the mythical three-headed dog who guards the underworld. This inspirational image of the eponymous hero and his moral victory over death is modeled after an 18th century sculpture by Lorenzo Mattielli located at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.
Heracles (Hercules to the Romans) is famous for his unmatched strength and having made the choice to pursue virtue over vice. Heracles’ capture of Cerberus was the last of twelve penances, the one that earned him his freedom and immortality. Heracles secured his freedom and immortality by overpowering Cerberus without the use of any weapons (one of the conditions imposed on him by Hades).
Below the image of Heracles and his victory over slavery and death is a quote commonly misattributed to Andrew Jackson, which in reality originates from sayings by John Knox and Wendell Phillips. It reads: “One man with courage makes a majority”.
Surrounding the image of a victorious Heracles are the words “Life”, “Liberty”, and “Pursuit of Happiness”, which together form the well-known phrase from the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence, was the third president of the United States.
The second president of the United States was the great John Adams. Adams, a close friend of Jefferson, proposed that an image of Hercules be used for America’s Great Seal. Adams’ design featuring Hercules was rejected by Congress in favour of the Bald Eagle, a decision Benjamin Franklin, another Founding Father, complained bitterly about in a letter to his daughter on January 26, 1784: “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.”
Surrounding the words “OUR RIGHTS” on the reverse of the medallion is a consolidation of the rights listed in the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was introduced by James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. The consolidation reads as follows: Free Speech (Amendment 1), Free Association (also Amendment 1), Self-Defense (Amendment 2), Private Property (Amendments 3, 4 and 5) and Swift Justice (Amendments 5, 6, 7 and 8). The right to Autonomy completes the list because the first eight Amendments are not exhaustive, as recognized by the 9th and 10th Amendments. The concept of autonomy covers all rights not included in the other five.
Notably, each right is symbolized by an image of a right hand, forming the pun “Our Rights”. The hand gestures are all self-explanatory except for autonomy, which requires explanation. Autonomy means “self-government” (from Greek autos “self” and nomos “government”). The concept of autonomy recognizes that every man is an end in him- or herself, not the means to the ends of others. Autonomy means self-responsibility, which in turn means having control over our choices. It also means being accountable for making choices that concern the rights of others. To say “fingers crossed” means “hopefully.” Capitalism, which is the system that fosters and upholds autonomy, brings hope, as Ayn Rand recognized in her 1977 lecture Global Balkanization: “Capitalism … brought such hope, progress and general good will that the young people of today, who have not seen it, find it hard to believe.”
The pictures and words on the medallion pay tribute to the Founding Fathers, but especially to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison.