The Rights Institute members medallion is a stunning coin-shaped medallion made of one ounce of pure silver, featuring our rights in text and images. Each medallion is minted by Sunshine Minting Inc.
On the face of the members 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 modelled 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 members 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 or self-rule completes the list because the first eight Amendments is not exhaustive, as recognised by the 9th and 10th Amendments. The concept of autonomy covers all of the rights not included in the other five.
Notably, each right is symbolised by an image of a right hand, forming the pun, “Our Rights”. The hand images are all self-explanatory except for autonomy, which requires an explanation. Autonomy means “self-rule” from Greek autos “self” and nomos “rule”. Crossed fingers imply freedom of religion, because they denote hope in going it alone, or if you prefer, with one’s God. Historically, Christians would cross their fingers to invoke the power associated with Christ’s cross for protection, when faced with evil.
The pictures and words on the members medallion pay tribute to all Founding Fathers, but especially John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison.