Benjamin Franklin: America’s Greatest Diplomat

Book review: The Real Benjamin Franklin

By Andrew M. Allison and the National Center for Constitutional Studies

Dinner Topics for Monday

key“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” ~Benjamin Franklin

225px-BenFranklin2At sixteen, he was the youngest printer in America. He often wrote under pen names, making  quotations that are powerfully relevant today.

Freedom of speech (this was written under the name of Silence Dogood)

Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech, which is the right of every man as far as by it he does not hurt or control the right of another; and this is the only check it ought to suffer, and the only bounds it ought to know.

This sacred privilege is so essential to free governments that the security of property and the freedom of speech always go together; and in those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything else his own. Whoever would over throw the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech. . .

A renowned scientist and inventor. His kite experiment proved lightning was electricity. Inventions included lightning rod, Franklin stove, bifocals, flexible catheter, daylight savings time.

Pride

There is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive and will every now and then peep out and show itself. . .Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.  P. 61

I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of Deity, that he made the world and governed it by his providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished and virtue rewarded either her e or hereafter. P.62

He wrote short maxims with the youth in mind.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Would you live with ease, do what you ought and not what you please.

Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.

God helps them that help themselves.

Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.

The used key is always bright.

A stitch in time saves nine.

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

Franklin taught himself several languages—French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, and German—chiefly to enable him to increase his knowledge by reading various important works that had not yet been translated into English. He also learned to play the harp, violin, and the guitar (later he would add an unusual instrument of his own design, the “armonica”).

Franklin served on a committee with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to draw up a proposal for the Great Seal of the United States, for which he suggested a motto that Jefferson later used on his own seal: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” P. 205

 

Founding Principles of America 25: Stay Independent from Entangling Alliances

Founding Principles of America 25:

Stay Independent from Entangling Alliances

US Constitution Series 25

keyPeace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship with all Nations—entangling alliances with none ~Thomas Jefferson

Separatism vs. Isolationism

tyranny5-jeffersonThis was the Founders’ doctrine of “separatism.” This was far different from the modern term of “isolationism.” The later term implies a complete seclusion from other nations, as though the United States were to be detached and somehow incubated in isolation from other nations.

In point of fact, the policy of the Founders was just the opposite. They desired to cultivate a wholesome relationship with all nations, but they wished to remain aloof from sectional quarrels and international disputes. They wanted to avoid alliances of friendship with one nation which would make them enemies of another nation in a time of crisis. They wanted to keep American markets open to all countries unless certain countries engaged in hostilities toward the United States. (Skousen, 267-268)

 

“Separatism” replaced by “Internationalism”

“Separatism,” and pursuing a “manifest destiny” to encourage the emancipation of “the whole human race,” was the official policy of the United States for the first 125 years of its history.

Nevertheless, there were powerful influences congregating in the United States, particularly in financial circles, which wanted America in the thick of things, world-wide. Their opportunity came with the eruption of World War I. Congressional investigations by the Reece Committee revealed that long before the Lusitania sinking, these influences were agitating for U.S. involvement.

Although the United States narrowly avoided becoming a member of the League of Nations after World War I, the sage was set for an accelerated involvement of the United States, both economically and politically, in foreign quarrels. (Skousen 274-275)

 

Next, Founding Principles of America 26: Protecting the Role of the Family

Founding Principles of America 24: Peace through Strength

church-state2-reagan‘The book Reagan wanted
taught in high schools’

In “The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World,” you will discover the 28 principles of freedom America’s Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every society that desires peace, prosperity and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5,000 years.

This book describes the problems the Founding Fathers dealt with and how philosophies and ideals collided to form the United States of America. The skills and prosperity of the Jamestown settlers in 1607 greatly contrast those of society after the enactment of the United States Constitution.

Shortly after the Constitution was enacted, a free-enterprise system – an economy with little government influence that flourishes with competition of businesses – was established. It is because of this system that America became the most advanced and powerful country that world history has known.

After highlighting the importance of the nation’s foundation, Skousen covers in detail what went into the design of the Constitution. Surveying the original sources for the principles that inspired the United States, the author shows how the Founders developed these principles from the studies of Cicero, Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith.

Skousen also contrasts the affluence of the young United States with that of the present day, showing that it was because of the free-enterprise system that America produced such astounding inventions and ideas, from jet propulsion to the doubling of life expectancy. Within this narrative of success, Skousen weaves the story of America as a Christian nation, guided by divine providence and created for the liberty and rights of mankind.

This book also analyzes problems throughout history (such as national debt) that have come from failing to adhere to the Constitution.

5000leap“The 5000 Year Leap” gives the reader a greater understanding of the origins of the United States of America, the consequences of deviating from the principles on which it was founded and all the characteristics that have made this nation great.

 

Founding Principles of America: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

The practical application of this book review of Skousen educated wisdom is to leverage “We, The People’s” knowledge to easily expose ignorance, anarchy and tyranny, and hold the government accountable.

 

 The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

U.S. Constitution Series 1: Founding Fathers and Cicero

U.S. Constitution Series 1:

Founding Fathers and Cicero

Cicero was born January 3, 106 B.C.

The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

keyWorldly philosophies endeavor to blur the distinction between good and evil and eliminate accountability. However, the foundation of Natural Law (the law of the Creator) is the reality of good and evil. The U.S. Constitution was successful in creating a free and prosperous society because its foundation of Natural Law is based on moral accountability to a just God. ~C.A. Davidson

5000leapFrom The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World

By W. Cleon Skousen

1. First Principle: the Genius of Natural Law

(Notes from pp. 37-47)

What is Natural Law?

The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.

The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.

Cicero

Cicero cut through the political and philosophical errors of both Plato and Aristotle to discover the touchstone of good laws, sound government, and the long-range formula for happy human relations. (p.37) He was the only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages. He studied law in Rome and philosophy in Athens.

Cicero’s compelling honesty led him to conclude that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established.

In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

In Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality.

Since the Biblical God is the author of Natural Law, the first two great commandments indicated by Jesus Christ provide the standard for government and human relations.

Internal and External Government

Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke

1. The first great commandment is to love and honor God (the God of Israel).  The simplest way to honor God is to abide by the Ten Commandments. These provide moral absolutes, which if obeyed, build in us a strong internal government, or good moral character.

2. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is based on love. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving God. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. If we have strong internal government, (we discipline ourselves and do no harm to others, by our own choice), then there is little need for much external government, which forces people to obey the rules of civilization.  Internal government is based on love of God, ourselves, and our neighbors. External force is not based on love.

Legislation in Violation of God’s Natural Law is a Scourge to Humanity

All Law Should Be Measured against God’s Law

ciceroCicero set forth the means by which people may discern between good and evil laws. All laws must be measured by God’s Law, which he described as follows:

Therefore Law [of the Creator] is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to Nature’s standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good. (Dr. William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p. 135)

It was clear to Cicero as he came toward the close of his life that men must eliminate the depravity that had lodged itself in society. He felt they must return to the high road of Natural Law. They must pledge obedience to the mandates of a loving and concerned Creator. (Skousen, pp. 45-46)

The Following are Examples of concepts based on Natural Law

  • Unalienable rights
  • Unalienable duties
  • Habeas Corpus
  • Limited government
  • Separation of powers
  • Checks and balances to correct abuses by peaceful means
  • Right of contract
  • Laws protecting the family and the institution of marriage
  • Justice by reparation or paying for damages
  • Right to bear arms
  • No taxation without representation

Principle # 2:  Moral and Virtuous Leaders

Judeo-Christian Worldview: The world before Christ—What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?

Judeo-Christian Worldview:

The World before Christ—What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?

The Incredible Impact of Jesus Christ

As bad as things sometimes get, it would be unimaginable if the light of Christ had never been revealed.

Dr. Jerry Newcombe

Christ resurrectedTwenty-five years ago, D. James Kennedy and I came out with a book called, What if Jesus had Never Been Born? It ended up becoming a best-seller.

The message is very simple: Because Jesus was born, look at all these incredible blessings we have throughout the world.

Hospitals, Education

For instance, the Christian church created the phenomenon of the hospital and has created hospitals all over the world. Christianity has inspired some of the world’s greatest music and arts and has expanded education from the elite to the masses – even creating the entity of the university.

Life

Here are just a few examples of Christianity’s influence, fleshed out a bit: Prior to the coming of Christ, human life on this planet was expendable. Even today, in parts of the world where the Gospel of Christ or Christianity has not penetrated, life is exceedingly cheap. Christianity bridged the gap between the Jews—who first received the divine revelation that man was made in God’s image—and the pagans, who attributed little value to human life. Meanwhile, as we in the post-Christian West continue to abandon our Judeo-Christian heritage, life is becoming cheap once again.

In the ancient world, child sacrifice was a common practice. In ancient Rome, babies were often left to die if the father did not want them. Many Christians saved these babies and reared them in the Christian faith and helped turn the tide. Through His church, ultimately Jesus brought an end to infanticide in the Roman world. 

Christianity also helped to cease the gladiatorial contests – where slaves would be forced to fight unto death for the entertainment of the crowds. And Christianity got slavery abolished in the ancient world and then again in the modern world.

Christianity managed to stop the practice in India of widow-burning. Many times a young girl would be married to an older man. When he died, she would be burned to death on his funeral pyre…until the missionaries agitated to put a stop to this. Wherever the Gospel has truly penetrated, the value of human life has greatly increased.

Modern Science

Here’s another example: Christianity and the Bible helped give birth to modern science, beginning in the late Middle Ages. The belief that a rational God had created a rational universe inspired so many scientists to engage in scientific exploration, looking to catalog the laws the Creator had impressed upon His creation.

The early scientists thought of themselves as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him” (in the words of astronomer Johannes Kepler).

The Royal Society in England was the first key scientific group – which is the oldest scientific association still in operation – and it was founded in a Puritan college in the 1660s. I have even filmed an interview at the Royal Society in London (on this very thesis).

Virtually all of the founders of every major branch of science were Bible-believing Christians. We document that in the book with a long list. One of those men, Sir Isaac Newton, was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived – and he was a committed believer who wrote more about the Bible and theology than he did about science.

Religious Freedom

Here’s another example: America as a nation was largely settled and founded by Christians for religious freedom, which they eventually extended to people of other faiths or no faith.

George WashingtonGeorge Washington, the father of our country, said that unless we imitate “the divine author of our blessed religion,” meaning Jesus, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

John Adams noted: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The essence of America is that our rights come from the Creator, and our government was established on that foundation. As JFK put it in his Inaugural Address, “The rights of man come not from the generous hand of the state, but from the hand of God.”

Trading our Heritage for a Mess of Pottage

In short, we are heirs to a great civilization, thanks in large part to Christianity and the Bible. Yet, like Esau of old who sold his birthright for a single meal, we seem bent on trading our heritage in for a mess of pottage.

What if there were no Jesus? There would be no salvation, no Salvation Army, no Red Cross, no YMCA. Many of the languages set to writing would likely never have been codified since missionaries would have had no motive to do so.

Many of the barbarians the world over would never have been civilized. Cannibalism, human sacrifice, and the abandonment of children would likely still be widely practiced, as they were before Christian influence.

To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, if Jesus had never come, it would be “always winter, but never Christmas.”

 

Henry Hazlitt: Economics in One Lesson

Henry Hazlitt:

Economics in One Lesson—Choices and Consequences

This is the root of our economic problems today. People simply do not look at the long term consequences of their actions. Henry Stuart Hazlitt (November 28, 1894 – July 9, 1993)

 

Henry HazlittEconomics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. It can be boiled down, Hazlitt says, to two basic fallacies—the first causes the other.

  1. Selfish interests.
  2. The fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.

Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore. The long-run consequences of some economic policies may become evident in a few months. Others may not become evident for several years. Still others may not become evident for decades. But in every case those long-run consequences are contained in the policy as surely as the hen was in the egg, the flower in the seed.

hazlitt-economics-one-lessonThe whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence.

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

THE LESSON APPLIED

brokenwindowLet us begin with the simplest illustration possible: let us, emulating Bastiat, choose a broken pane of glass.

A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker’s shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier.

As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it. How much does a new plate glass window cost? Fifty dollars? That will be quite a sum. After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $50 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $50 more

Failure of the New Economics

Failure of the New Economics

to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor.

Now let us take another look. The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion. This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier. The glazier will be no less unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death.

But the shopkeeper will be out $50 that he was planning to spend for a new suit. Because he has had to replace a window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury). Instead of having a window and $50 he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit. If we think of him as a part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer.

The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new “employment” has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier.

They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene.

They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.

Hazlitt: Foundations of Morality

Hazlitt: Foundations of Morality

Here is Hazlitt’s major philosophical work, in which he grounds a policy of private property and free markets in an ethic of classical utilitarianism.

Related Posts:

The Fallacy of the Greek Bailout, an amusing analogy

 

Book Reviews: Ronald Reagan’s Victory over Berlin Wall and Communism

Book Reviews:

Ronald Reagan’s Victory over Berlin Wall and Communism

Reagan’s War

Peter Schweizer

The Epic story of his forty-year struggle and final triumph over communism

keyUnderstanding Reagan’s struggle and final triumph over communism involves more than debating the past or deciding who gets the credit. It provides us with wisdom and hope for the struggles of today and tomorrow. Reagan’s hope that we be guided not by fear but by courage and moral clarity is as apt today as it was during the height of the Cold War. ~Peter Schweizer, Reagan’s War

reagans-warReagan’s War is the story of Ronald Reagan’s journey as an anti-communist, from his early days as an actor to his years in the White House. Challenging popular misconceptions of Reagan as an empty suit who played only a passive role in the demise of eth Soviet Union, Peter Schweizer details Reagan’s decades-long battle against communism.

Bringing to light previously secret information obtained from archives in the United States, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Russia—including Reagan’s KGB file—Schweizer offers a compelling case that Reagan personally mapped out and directed his war against communism, often disagreeing with experts and advisers, who tended to seek co-existence with tyranny rather than victory for freedom, which they called “detente”, and engaged in endless secret meetings with the Soviets. Jimmy Carter carried on secret meetings with Castro.

Despite constant attacks from the media and establishment politicians, Reagan remained firm and steadfast. He was his own man.

Reinforced by his own spiritual resolve, Ronald Reagan had a brilliant, 3-prong strategy for defeating the Soviet empire:

1) Drain them  economically by escalating the arms race so they could not keep up with the powerful capitalistic economic engine with their failed socialist agenda

2) The Strategic Defense Initiative protected the United States from Russian missile attacks

3) Lend economic and moral support to the captive nations of the empire

Reagan rebuked detente. His Cold War policy was: “We win and they lose.”

Brezhnev Army in Civilian Clothing

Brezhnev secretly used Soviet soldiers to advance his cause. Brezhnev called them the “internationalists,” young, specially trained men who would disguise themselves as teachers, doctors, and agricultural experts. They were an army in waiting, and when they were needed, they would don foreign military uniforms, use Soviet military equipment painted with insignias of another country, and join the myriad of civil wars that were ravaging the developing countries. [Schweizer, 79]

The Hand of God

quote-chronicles7When Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President, he stood stiffly, with his right arm raised. His left hand rested on his mother’s Bible, opened to the seventh chapter, fourteenth verse of Second Chronicles:

                 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Reagan believed that the Soviets were using fear of the bomb to manipulate the West psychologically, and he was determined not to blink. “The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets,” he said, “but a test of wills and ideas—a trial of spiritual resolve.”

 

On March 30, 1981, just two months after his inauguration, Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel on a cool afternoon after having given a speech to the Business Trades Council of the AFL-CIO.

reagan-quote-appeasement                Reagan turned answer a reporter when all of a sudden, there was a Pop. Pop. Pop.

                Lodged under his left arm was a .22 caliber bullet which was designed to explode on impact. It was one of six that had been fired by a deranged young gunman named John Hinckley Jr. One of the shots had ricocheted off the bulletproof limo before penetrating Reagan’s chest muscles.

At 3:24 p.m., doctors were operating to remove the bullet.

Referring to Reagan’s tremendous physical strength, which had given him the confidence to overcome physical threats in Hollywood and Sacramento, one doctor reported, “I have never in my life seen a chest like that on a man his age.”

Reagan had long believed that each individual has a divine purpose in life. He had been spared an assassin’s bullet.  “I have decided that whatever time I have left is left for Him,” he said.

If every person is given a divine purpose, as Reagan believed, he knew what his was to be. He had battled communism close to forty years now. What could be more abhorrent to God than a system that denies God?

Only ten days before the attempt on his life, Reagan had given a speech in Washington on the false hope of communism as compared with real faith in God.  “the crisis of the Western world, Whittaker Chambers reminded us, exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God.”

reagannosurvive-without-God                “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid,” he continued. Now was the time for “renewing our spiritual strength. Only by building a wall of such spiritual resolve can we, as a free people, hope to protect our own heritage and make it someday the birthright of all men.”

In keeping with that policy, Reagan secured the release of many dissidents in oppressed nations.

A  Special Mission for America

He had also believed for some time that not only individuals but some nations are part of a “divine plan.” Since the 1950s he had voiced his belief that America had such a mission, and he always expressed it in terms of demonstrating an “abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage.” [129-137]

After the collapse of the empire, Reagan took no credit.

berlinwallreagan                Since the end of the Cold Warm a debate has raged about how it ended. One person who never got wrapped up in this debate was Ronald Reagan. One of the last items to be removed from his Oval Office desk in January 1989 was a small sign that read: “It’s surprising what you can accomplish when no one is concerned about who gets the credit.”

Understanding Reagan’s struggle and final triumph over communism involves more than debating the past or deciding who gets the credit. It provides us with wisdom and hope for the struggles of today and tomorrow. Reagan’s hope that we be guided not by fear but by courage and moral clarity is as apt today as it was during the height of the Cold War. [284-285]

Founding Principles of America 23: Voter Education, key to Free Republic

Voter Education, key to Free Republic

Founding Principles of America 23: Importance of an Educated Electorate

US Constitution series 23

Principle 23: A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education

The English colonists in America undertook something which no nation had ever attempted before—the educating of the whole people.

characteredClear back in 1647 the legislature of Massachusetts passed a law requiring every community of 50 families or householders to set up a free public grammar school to teach the fundamentals of reading, writing, ciphering, history, geography, and Bible study.

Importance of Good Local School Boards

The success of this educational effort was due largely to the careful selection of highly conscientious people to serve on the school committees in each community and supervise the public schools.

European and American Literacy Compared

225px-BenFranklin2The unique and remarkable qualities of this program are better appreciated when it is realized that this was an age when illiteracy was the common lot of most people in Europe. John Adams, who spent many years in France, commented on the fact that of the 24 million inhabitants of France, only 500,000 could read and write. (Koch, The American Enlightenment, 213,217.)

In the American colonies the intention was to have all children taught the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic, so that they could go on to become well-informed citizens through their own diligent self-study. No doubt this explains why all of the American Founders were so well read, and usually from the same books, even though a number of them had received a very limited formal education. The fundamentals were sufficient to get them started, and thereafter they became remarkably well informed in a variety of areas through self-learning. This was the pattern followed by both Franklin and Washington. (Skousen, 251,252)

 

Alexis_de_tocquevilleDe Tocqueville Comments on American Education in 1831

In New England every citizen receives the elementary notions of human knowledge; he is taught, moreover, the doctrines and the evidences of his religion, the history of his country, and the leading features of its Constitution. in the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts, it is extremely rare to find a man imperfectly acquainted with all these things, and a person wholly ignorant of them is a sort of phenomenon.

Education includes Morality and Politics

It cannot be doubted that in the United States the instruction of the people powerfully contributes to the support of the democratic republic; and such must always be the case, I believe, where the instruction which enlightens the understanding is not separated from moral education.

 

constitution1Even Young Children Trained in the Constitution

To appreciate the literal reality of the emphasis on politics in early American education, one need only examine the popular textbook on political instruction for children. It was called a “Catechism on the Constitution,” and it contained both questions and answers concerning the principles of the American political system. It was written by Arthur J. Stansbury and published in 1828.

Early Americans knew they were in possession of a unique and valuable invention of political science, and they were determined to promote it on all levels of education.

 

Early American Educated to Speak with Eloquence

And whatever may be said to the contrary, a correct use of the English language is, at this day [1843], more general throughout the United States than it is throughout England herself. Daniel Webster

It was commonplace for the many people on the frontier, as well as on the Atlantic seaboard, to speak with a genuine flavor of eloquence. Sermons and orations by men of limited formal education reflected a flourish and style of expression which few Americans could duplicate today. Many of these attributed their abilities to extensive reading of the Bible. Such was the case with Abraham Lincoln. Certainly the classical beauty of the Gettysburg Address and his many other famous expressions cannot be attributed to college training, for he had none.

bible1Cultural Influence of Extensive Bible Reading

Not only did the Bible contribute to the linguistic habits of the people, but it provided root strength to their moral standards and behavioral patterns. As Daniel Webster stated, wherever Americans went, “the Bible came with them.” Then he added:

It is not to be doubted, that to the free and universal reading of the Bible, in that age, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of especial revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man. ~Daniel Webster

 

In our own day the public schools have been secularized to the point where no Bible reading is permitted. The Founding Fathers would have counted this a serious mistake.

(Skousen, 253-256)

 

Founding Principles of America 22: Rule of Law protects Constitutional Freedoms

reagan-quote-govt-is-problem

‘The book Reagan wanted
taught in high schools’

In “The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World,” you will discover the 28 principles of freedom America’s Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every society that desires peace, prosperity and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5,000 years.

This book describes the problems the Founding Fathers dealt with and how philosophies and ideals collided to form the United States of America. The skills and prosperity of the Jamestown settlers in 1607 greatly contrast those of society after the enactment of the United States Constitution.

Shortly after the Constitution was enacted, a free-enterprise system – an economy with little government influence that flourishes with competition of businesses – was established. It is because of this system that America became the most advanced and powerful country that world history has known.

After highlighting the importance of the nation’s foundation, Skousen covers in detail what went into the design of the Constitution. Surveying the original sources for the principles that inspired the United States, the author shows how the Founders developed these principles from the studies of Cicero, Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith.

Skousen also contrasts the affluence of the young United States with that of the present day, showing that it was because of the free-enterprise system that America produced such astounding inventions and ideas, from jet propulsion to the doubling of life expectancy. Within this narrative of success, Skousen weaves the story of America as a Christian nation, guided by divine providence and created for the liberty and rights of mankind.

This book also analyzes problems throughout history (such as national debt) that have come from failing to adhere to the Constitution.

5000leap“The 5000 Year Leap” gives the reader a greater understanding of the origins of the United States of America, the consequences of deviating from the principles on which it was founded and all the characteristics that have made this nation great.

Founding Principles of America 21: Strong Local Government

Founding Principles of America 21: Strong Local Government

Strong Local Self-government is the Keystone to Preserving Human Freedom.

U.S. Constitution series 21

keyPolitical power automatically gravitates toward the center, and the purpose of the Constitution is to prevent that from happening. The centralization of political power always destroys liberty by removing the decision-making function from the people on the local level and transferring it to the officers of the central government.

This process gradually benumbs the spirit of “voluntarism” among the people, and they lose the will to solve their own problems. They also cease to be involved in community affairs. They seek the anonymity of oblivion in the seething crowds of the city and often degenerate into faceless automatons who have neither a voice nor a vote. ~Skousen

The Golden Key to Preserving Freedom

news_flag_hdr5How different from the New England town spirit, where every person had a voice and a vote. How different from the Anglo-Saxon tribal meetings, where the people were considered sovereign and every man took pride in participating. And how different from ancient Israel, where the families of the people were governed in multiples of tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, and where problems were solved on the level where those problems originated. All of those societies had strong local self-government. This is what the Founding Fathers considered the golden key to preserving freedom. (Skousen, 235-236)

 

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Jefferson Emphasizes the Role of Strong Local Self-Government

As the Founders wrote their laws, they were determined to protect the freedom of the individual and provide a vigorous climate of healthy, local self-government. Only those things which related to the interest of the entire commonwealth were to be delegated to the central government. (Skousen, 238)

Thomas Jefferson:

National

The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to [perform best]. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations.

State

State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward [township] direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics, from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.

What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or the aristocrats of a Venetian senate.

welfare-government-charity-madisonJames Madison, “Father of the Constitution”

Deployment of Power Between the Federal Government and the States

The Constitution delegates to the federal government only that which involves the whole people as a nation.

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.

The [federal powers] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce . . . The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. (Federalist Papers, no. 45, pp. 292-93)

Federal Government to Remain Relatively Small

local-governmentThomas Jefferson emphasized that if the oncoming generations perpetuated the Constitutional pattern, the federal government would be small and cohesive and would serve as an inexpensive operation because of the limited problems which would be assigned to it.

Jefferson wrote:

The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the states are independent as to everything within themselves, and untied as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.

 

NEXT: Founding Principles of America 22: A Free People Should be Governed by Law and Not by the Whims of Men.

 

 

History Facts about America: 7 Miracles that Saved America Children’s Book Reviews

History Facts about America:

7 Miracles that Saved America

Book Review

By Chris and Ted Stewart

Beautifully illustrated by Ben Sowards

 

The Lord holds Zion in His own hands. ~Doctrine and Covenants 63:25

“This nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” ~Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

  • What if the Founding Fathers had never written the Constitution?
  • What if the Jamestown colony had failed?
  • What if Columbus had sailed back to Europe before arriving in the New World?
  • How would the fledgling American army have survived the massive British forces without the miraculous fog to protect Washington’s retreat?
  • What would have happened in the 20th century if Lincoln had failed to save America as a united country?
  • What would have happened to the Free World if America’s tiny fleet of aircraft hadn’t destroyed Japan’s enormous naval carriers in the Battle of Midway?
  • Would America have been victorious in the Cold War and liberated the oppressed nations if the bullet of Reagan’s would-be assassin had not been off by a mere quarter of an inch?

Have you ever thought of these important moments as miracles?

Based on the bestselling nonfiction book, Severn miracles That Saved America by Chris and Ted Stewart, this  children’s adaptation brings to life seven episodes from US history that chanted the course of the nation and continue to testify that America is indeed a blessed land. With vivid and captivating paints by artist Ben Sowards, this book teaches children the importance of remembering these events and how they can give us hope for the future.

Book Reviews: Hand of God in American Revolution

Dinner Topics for Independence Day

Book Reviews: Hand of God in American Revolution

key“We have a new land, a new constitution, a new government, and I believe now the fight is going to be to keep it. The fight between good and evil. A shooting war comes and it goes, but the war between the good and the bad—it never ends.” ~Matthew Dunson in A More Perfect Union, p.529

Through the eyes of the heroes in this powerful series, the reader can see the Hand of God in the American Revolution, as He prepared the way for a land of liberty to base operations for the spreading of gospel teachings to all the world. ~C.D.

Prelude to Glory

By Ron Carter

Volume 1

prelude-glory1Our Sacred Honor

Few stories are as compelling as that of the birth of the United States of America. It is a story of courage and sacrifice, of commitment to freedom and faith. Above all, however, the events that marked America’s beginnings were a prelude to the glory that would arise upon the land through the restoration of the gospel.

Those pivotal pre-Restoration events are brought to life in the epic historical fiction series Prelude to Glory. In volume I, Our Sacred Honor, author Ron Carter transports readers to the 1770s to witness key episodes of the Revolutionary War, from the opening encounter at Lexington (where “the shot heard round the world” is fired) to the incredible sea battle off the east coast of England (where the American commander John Paul Jones exclaims, “I have not yet begun to fight!”). But this is much more than a story of kings and generals. Though we certainly get to meet the likes of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Benedict Arnold, the author focuses on the perspective of common people. Thus, through the eyes of the fictional Dunson family of Boston we see what it was like to live in everyday colonial America, to fight among the minutemen, to sail the seas at wartime and to experience love and heartache as America’s destiny unfolds.

The underlying spiritual nature of that destiny is powerfully woven into the fabric of the story. And this spiritual perspective will give readers a better understanding of why the Founding Fathers were moved upon to champion a cause to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

Volume 2

prelude-glory2The Times That Try Men’s Souls

By Ron Carter

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” writes journalist Thomas Paine at the end of 1776, a dark time in America’s struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 of the monumental Prelude to Glory series show, the high price of liberty for which colonists fought would include great sacrifice and endurance—even in the face of apparent defeat.

Focusing primarily on events between June and December 1776, this book follows Billy Weems (friend of Matthew Dunson from volume I) tot eh battlefields in the New York area, where General George Washington commands the Continental army. Early on, Billy meets and befriends Eli Stroud, a white man raised by Iroquois Indians, who lends his unusual talents to the Revolutionary cause. But as events unfold, the Americas’ situation looks more and more bleak. A series of engagements with the enemy leaves the colonial soldiers pummeled and staggering, driven to disastrous retreat again and again. By December 1776, the war for independence seems all but lost. Nevertheless, determination and hope remain alive, along with a powerful sense that divine providence is watching over the Americans.

As with the previous volume, author Ron Carter re-creates these historic episodes in such a way as to transport readers back in time. Along with fascinating fictional characters, he provides engaging portraits of such luminaries as George Washington, Nathan Hale (“I regret that I have but one life to give for my country”), and the intrepid John Glover. Through this powerful story, readers will come to appreciate the fortitude it took for Patriots to stand firm and resolute during these times that tried men’s souls.

 

Volume 3

prelude-glory3To Decide Our Destiny

Washington spoke. It seemed his voice was subdued, quiet, yet it reached every man in the Delaware Regiment.

“My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses, and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay only one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty, and to your country, which you probably never can do under any other circumstances. The present is emphatically the crisis which is to decide our destiny.”

He stopped. He raised a hand as though to speak further, but there were no words he could think of that would add strength to what he had already said. He slowly lowered his hand and reined his horse to the right and raised it to a trot, back towards his officers and Turlock.

Turlock did not know how long he stood without moving, without breathing, aware Washington had been touched by a power not of any man, knowing that at that moment, somehow, the course of the world’s history hung in the balance.

In the frigid winter marking the end of 1776 and the beginning of 1777, the Continental army is faced with the overwhelming truth that they are losing the Revolution. The British have pummeled them with a series of bloody battles that have ripped the Americans to tattered shreds and have driven them to retreat so vast that it crosses two colony lines. The American camp, now crouching on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, is helpless as the British move more than three thousand Hessian soldiers into position. Only the black waters of the Delaware River prevent a total ruin. Only a desperate plan promises a chance of success.

Volume 4

prelude-glory4The Hand of Providence

“Writing home?” Billy asked.

“To Mother. How does this sound? ‘It was a glorious sight to see the haughty Brittons march out and surrender their arms to an army which but a little before they despised and called palltroons.’”

Men slowed and stopped, listening in the firelight as Boardman read on.

“Surely the hand of Providence work’d wonderfully in favour of America.”

More than fifty men had gathered to listen as Boardman concluded

“I hope every heart will be affected by the wonderful goodness of God in delivering so many of our enemy into our hands, with so little loss on our side.”

Boardman raised his eyes back to Billy, and for the first time realized he was surrounded. The men peered down at him, sitting beside his campfire. They wiped at their eyes, then nodded to him as they moved on.

Boardman watched them go, then turned back to Billy. “Was it too much? Did I say it too strong?”

Billy stared at the fire for a moment. “No, it wasn’t too strong. It was fine. It was fitting. The hand of Providence was with us.”

 

Volume 5

prelude-glory5aA Cold, Bleak Hill

December 22, 1777

To the Hnble Henry Laurens, President,

Congress of The United States:

Sir:

It is with infinite pain and concern that I must again dwell on the state of the Commissary’s department. I do not know from what cause this alarming deficiency or rather total failure of supplies arises, but unless more vigorous exertions and better regulations take place, and immediately, this army must dissolve.

Regarding the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council and their declared wish that this army should attack the enemy, I can assure those Gentlemen that it is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fireside than to occupy a cold, bleak hill and sleep under frost and snow without clothes or blankets. However, although the Council seems to have little feeling for the naked and distressed soldiers, I feel superabundantly for them, and from my soul pity those miseries they are now suffering, which it is in my power neither to relieve nor prevent.

George Washington

Valley Forge

 

Volume 6

prelude-glory6The World Turned Upside Down

Having underestimated the resolve and strength of the Continental Army in New England, Great retain adopts a new strategy in the war to subdue the American rebels. British general Sir Henry Clinton leads British and German Forces in an invasion of the South, hoping to use success there as a springboard to subdue the Northern colonies.

At first the British Southern campaign seems an unqualified success when in December 1778, American general Benjamin Lincoln surrenders his entire command army at Savannah, Georgia, and a second army at Charleston, South Carolina. But the British are not prepared for the fierce resistance from the common people in the Southern colonies. Famed guerrilla fighters Dan Morgan, Nathanael Greene, and Frances Marion (the Swamp Fox) use frontier skills and tactics learned in Indian warfare to erode the British forces and wear down British resolve.

Meanwhile, Benedict Arnold enters into treasonous negotiations to surrender Fort West Point to the British, thus betraying the American cause and earning for himself the ignominious title of traitor.

Finally, with the French providing much-needed financial, naval, and military aid, General Washington traps the British at Yorktown, where American and French forces mount a prolonged siege and compel the surrender of General Charles Cornwallis. The embittered and once-proud British see the American victory as evidence that the world has truly been “turned upside down.”

In this sixth volume of his acclaimed Prelude to Glory series, author Ron Carter has crafted another compelling chapter in his depiction of the Revolutionary War. Readers will be interested to learn the fates of beloved fictional characters. Through their stories and others, Carter brings to vivid life the legendary places, people, and battles that were part of America’s quest for liberty and independence.

Volume 7

prelude-glory7The Impending Storm

October 19, 1781: The great guns at Yorktown fell silent, British General Cornwallis surrendered, and England conceded the war. For one euphoric moment a shout of jubilation rolled forth in America – and then harsh reality gripped the country. America was thirteen separate countries, each with its own money, political organization, culture, and history. Congress was essentially powerless. Border tariffs sprang up between states, with cannons to enforce them. Quarrels over control of the great rivers brought states to the brink of war. Banks lacked gold and silver to support their paper currency; bankruptcies raged. The military was paid with unenforceable written promises, and destitute soldiers marched on to Philadelphia, demanding their wages. Finally, in 1786, still unpaid, the soldiers revolted, closing down many New England courthouses to stop the bankruptcy courts from seizing their farms. Shooting erupted; Americans killed Americans. The impending storm was threatening to break.

 

Volume 8

prelude-glory8A More Perfect Union

Within minutes each delegate had a copy spread on his desk and was leaned forward, locked in silence, with an intensity seldom seen during the convention, while he slowly, thoughtfully read the document.

The preamble no longer named all thirteen states. Rather, it stated with simple dignity, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

For several minutes a hush held in the East Room. Every man sensed a feeling in his soul that rose in his breast to hold him silent. What had they created? No one had gotten everything he had contended for, but everyone had gotten something. Some were satisfied with it, some disgruntled, a few disappointed. Some reckoned it was the work of fifty-five men who had reached inside themselves for the best they had. Others remembered the words of John Adams: “God is the great legislator of the universe.”

“We have a new land, a new constitution, a new government, and I believe now the fight is going to be to keep it. The fight between good and evil. A shooting war comes and it goes, but the war between the good and the bad—it never ends.” ~Matthew Dunson in A More Perfect Union, p.529

 

Volume 9

prelude-glory9By the Dawn’s Early Light

On the deck of the sloop, soaked to the skin, squinting in the rain, the Americans, Key, Skinner, and Beanes, stood at the rail, transfixed, watching the British warships rain destruction on the fort as never before in history. They saw the yellow fire trails of the rockets and the white bursts of bombs over the fort, and they listened to the continuous roar of the big guns, staring, unable to believe tat Armistead had not surrendered rather than face total destruction.

Key stood frozen to the rail as the dull light strengthened in the rain, and he could see the dim outline of the fort.

Something fluttered above the black outline, and then it took form and shape, and Key gasped when he understood it was the flag! Key’s heart was pounding in his chest. He wiped at his eyes and then reached inside his coat for an envelope and a pencil, and began to write the thoughts that came flooding from deep within.

Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light. . .