History Facts about America, Geography of Western Hemisphere: Where Name of America came from

History Facts about America:

Where Name of America came from

Amerigo Vespucci

Amerigo Vespucci (Italian pronunciation: [ameˈriːɡo vesˈputtʃi]; March 9, 1454 – February 22, 1512) was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer who first demonstrated in about 1502 that Brazil and the West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus’ voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to people of the Old World. In 1505 he became a citizen of Spain.[1]

Colloquially referred to as the New World, this second super continent came to be termed “Americas“, deriving its name from Americus, the Latin version of Vespucci’s first name.[2][3]

At the invitation of king Manuel I of Portugal, Vespucci participated as observer in several voyages that explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502. On the first of these voyages he was aboard the ship that discovered that South America extended much further south than previously thought.


US Constitution Series 3 Founding Fathers Quotes: Benjamin Franklin on Good Leadership

Dinner Time Topics for Thursday

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

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

Declaration_independenceUS Constitution Series 3: Founding Fathers Quotes on Good Leadership

NOTE: The following quotations show how the Founding Fathers knew by personal experience, as well as the study of history, how human nature defaults to tyranny, corruption, and plunder in government if leadership is devoid of virtue. Today we are seeing the fulfillment of their sad predictions.

Principle #3

The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders

“…thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness [unjust gain]; and place such over them, to be rulers …” ~Exodus 18:21

A favorite scripture of the day was Proverbs 29:2, which says: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Samuel Adams

But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.

Thomas Jefferson

It would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society.

John Adams

johnadams2Politics are the divine science, after all. How is it possible that any man should ever think of making it subservient to his own little passions and mean private interests? Ye baseborn sons of fallen Adam, is the end of politics a fortune, a family, a gilded coach, a train of horses, and a troop of livery servants, balls at Court, splendid dinners and suppers? Yet the divine science of politics is at length in Europe reduced to a mechanical system composed of these materials.

I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

Making Public Office an Honor Rather than a Position of Profit

As Benjamin Franklin traveled in Europe, he noted that there was a violent struggle for appointments to public office because they paid so well. He felt this was a serious mistake.

In the early history of the United States, community offices were looked upon as stations of honor granted to the recipients by an admiring community, state, or nation. These offices were therefore often filled by those who performed their services with little or no compensation. Even when an annual salary of $25,000 was provided in the Constitution for President Washington, he determined to somehow manage without it. He did the same thing while serving as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during the Revolutionary War. Not all could afford to do this, but it was considered the proper procedure when circumstances permitted it. (Skousen, pp. 64-65)

Franklin’s Address to the Constitutional Convention

225px-BenFranklin2Franklin fervently hoped this policy could be perpetuated in America from generation to generation. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he gave a discourse on the need to fix the course of American public service so that it would always attract men of public virtue and repel scoundrels scrambling for a soft job. He said:

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effect. Place before the eyes of such men a post of honor, that shall at the same time be a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it.

Haggling for High-Salaried Public Offices Was Repugnant to the Founders

Franklin had seen enough of the world to make a general observation to the Constitutional Convention which the members could not help but hear with deep respect. The men at the Convention were there at great personal sacrifice; some, like Madison, on borrowed money. Franklin warned that high salaries for government offices are the best way to attract scoundrels and drive from the halls of public office those men who possess true merit and virtue. (Skousen, p.66)

Benjamin Franklin

And what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will NOT be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government, and be your rulers. And these, too, will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation; for their vanquished competitors, of the same spirit, and from the same motives, will perpetually be endeavoring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Benjamin Franklin’s Prophecy: the road to Government Plunder


Sir, though we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations [increases]; and there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them.

Hence, as history informs us, there has been in every state and kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing and the governed, the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning princes or enslaving of the people.

Generally, indeed, the ruling power carries its point, and we see the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure.

Principle 2: Virtuous and Moral People

Principle 4: The Role of Religion

History: Christian Art and Michelangelo

History: Christian Art and Michelangelo

keyIt is instructive to study the great art that—albeit done by persons of imperfect character—was inspired by Jesus Christ, and still blesses us, hundreds of years later. ~C.D.

michelangelomadonnaMichelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni[1] (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo (Italian pronunciation: [mikeˈlandʒelo]), was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.[2] Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time.[2] A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence.[2] His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.

Prophet Jeremiah as depicted by Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel on Sistine chapel ceiling

Prophet Jeremiah as depicted by Michelangelo,
on Sistine chapel ceiling

In a demonstration of Michelangelo’s unique standing, he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive.[3] Two biographies were published of him during his lifetime; one of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino (“the divine one”).[4] One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo’s impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.


Michelangelo arrived in Rome 25 June 1496[19] at the age of 21. On 4 July of the same year, he began work on a commission for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, an over-life-size statue of the Roman wine god, Bacchus. However, upon completion, the work was rejected by the cardinal, and subsequently entered the collection of the banker Jacopo Galli, for his garden.

In November 1497, the French ambassador in the Holy See commissioned one of his most famous works, the Pietà and the contract was agreed upon in August of the following year. The contemporary opinion about this work – “a revelation of all the potentialities and force of the art of sculpture” – was summarized by Vasari: “It is certainly a miracle that a formless block of stone could ever have been reduced to a perfection that nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh.”

In Rome, Michelangelo lived near the church of Santa Maria di Loreto. Here, according to the legend, he fell in love with Vittoria Colonna, marchioness of Pescara and a poet.[citation needed] His house was demolished in 1874, and the remaining architectural elements saved by the new proprietors were destroyed in 1930. Today a modern reconstruction of Michelangelo’s house can be seen on the Janiculum hill. It is also during this period that skeptics allege Michelangelo executed the sculpture Laocoön and His Sons which resides in the Vatican.[20]

Sistine Chapel ceiling

Main article: Sistine Chapel ceiling

cistenechapel2Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; the work took approximately four years to complete (1508-1512)

In 1505 Michelangelo was invited back to Rome by the newly elected Pope Julius II. He was commissioned to build the Pope’s tomb. Under the patronage of the Pope, Michelangelo had to constantly stop work on the tomb in order to accomplish numerous other tasks. Because of these interruptions, Michelangelo worked on the tomb for 40 years. The tomb, of which the central feature is Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, was never finished to Michelangelo’s satisfaction. It is located in the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.

During the same period, Michelangelo took the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took approximately four years to complete (1508-1512). According to Michelangelo’s account, Bramante and Raphael convinced the Pope to commission Michelangelo in a medium not familiar to the artist. This was done in order that he, Michelangelo, would suffer unfavorable comparisons with his rival Raphael, who at the time was at the peak of his own artistry as the primo fresco painter. However, this story is discounted by modern historians on the grounds of contemporary evidence, and may merely have been a reflection of the artist’s own perspective.

Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but lobbied for a different and more complex scheme, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation through the prophets and Genealogy of Christ. The work is part of a larger scheme of decoration within the chapel which represents much of the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

michelangelo-God-and-adam-handsThe composition eventually contained over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from the Book of Genesis, divided into three groups: God’s Creation of the Earth; God’s Creation of Humankind and their fall from God’s grace; and lastly, the state of Humanity as represented by Noah and his family. On the pendentives supporting the ceiling are painted twelve men and women who prophesied the coming of the Jesus. They are seven prophets of Israel and five Sibyls, prophetic women of the Classical world.

Among the most famous paintings on the ceiling are The Creation of Adam, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the Prophet Isaiah and the Cumaean Sibyl. Around the windows are painted the ancestors of Christ.

Continued at Wikipedia

Dinner Time Topics:

In today’s society, why do you think it’s important to preserve sacred art, music, and writings derived from epic stories of the Holy Bible?

How does the Judeo-Christian moral code preserve and protect freedom and civilization?


George Washington Facts, Quotations

Dinner Topics for George Washington’s Birthday

Heritage Foundation:

George Washington Deserves His Own Day, Not Presidents Day


It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.
~George Washington

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. ~George Washington

Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. ~George Washington

2nd Amendment

Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.

~George Washington

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. ~George Washington


Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason

and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ~George Washington

The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.

~George Washington

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

~George Washington

Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession. ~George Washington

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. ~George Washington

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light. ~George Washington

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. ~George Washington


George Washington Facts, Character Education

Dinner Topics for Monday

Glenn Beck: Being George Washington, Part 2

George WashingtonkeyWithout the high regard that the French had for Washington, would they ever have agreed to fund the effort? And, if they hadn’t, what might have become of the revolution? It’s hard to say, but it goes to show you just how much character matters. In the end, it might not have been Washington’s leadership, intelligence, or military skills that actually won the war—it might have been his honor. It’s something so simple, yet so many people today dismiss it was outmoded or unnecessary. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.79

Character Education was important to George Washington; he worked hard on it himself.

Try this award-winning Epic Stories for Character Education in “Byte-size” Dinner Topics. Keep our precious Judeo-Christian traditions alive! It’s as easy as eating dinner.

Learn more here


Character Matters

Without the high regard that the French had for Washington, would they ever have agreed to fund the effort? And, if they hadn’t, what might have become of the revolution? It’s hard to say, but it goes to show you just how much character matters. In the end, it might not have been Washington’s leadership, intelligence, or military skills that actually won the war—it might have been his honor. It’s something so simple, yet so many people today dismiss it was outmoded or unnecessary. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.79

Everything that we do in life—every battle that we fight and every mountain that we climb, no matter how many times that we may fall—may be for no other purpose than to prepare us for that moment when we are called upon to make a difference in this world.

In fact, every decision that we make, even those that seem small and perhaps irrelevant—perhaps especially those that seem small and irrelevant—may be moving us toward that moment when we can change a life for the better.

We may only get one chance to make a difference. But there is no doubt that such a moment in each of our lives is going to come.

The only question that really matters is, Will we be ready for it? ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.177

Compromise … But Not Your Principles

My point is that you should never surrender your core principles. Never—ever—never. But don’t try to get 100 percent of what you want from an ally, while giving up zero percent.

And don’t expect to get everything you want this instant; this is going to be a long fight. It won’t be decided in the next election. It may not be decided ever. The key is to continually push the needle in your direction and lay the foundation for the next group of people to push it a bit further. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.212

Judeo-Christian Religion and the Founders

When the Continental Congress learned of the British surrender to Washington at Yorktown, representatives walked together to a Philadelphia church and prayed. Nearly a thousand other people joined America’s leaders in worship around the city. In fact, Congress recommended that the entire nation might want to observe a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” to celebrate the victory.

How times have changed. Can you imagine if Congress declared a national day of prayer after a military victory these days? The ACLU would file a lawsuit before you could say “God bless you.” On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, New York’s Mayor Bloomberg even banned all clergy from the Ground Zero ceremonies. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.152

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. ~Benjamin Franklin to Constitutional Convention (The motion did not pass, because the group did not have funds to pay the clergy.)


The Rules of Civility let Washington display poise in the small moments and thus gravitas in the big ones. He applied these prescriptions to everyday life and they became second nature. The lesson for us is that leadership and vision don’t exist in a vacuum—or spring to life all at once. They must be practiced, and they can grow within you until they become a part of you. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.243


Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, relation and morality are indispensable supports … And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ~George Washington, farewell address


No section on the Constitution is complete without revisiting the topic of slavery. It’s become accepted fact that the Founders believed that blacks were worth only “three-fifths” of a human. That, however, is simply wrong.

The “three-fifths” clause was really about the census and, consequently, state representation in Congress. Slave populations in the southern states were huge at that time. If slaves were counted on a one-for-one basis then southern states would have far larger populations, and therefore, far more federal representation than the northern ones. As a result, slavery would have been nearly impossible to abolish.

Some revisionists would have you believe that those slaves were not going to be counted at all and that the three-fifths clause actually gave the southern states more power than they otherwise would have. (This allegation is, I think, supposed to “prove” just how racist and hateful our Founders really were.) But think about that logically: would the South really have been that willing to give up so much federal representation right off the bat? Of course not—they would have fought to have slaves counted as full people along with everyone else. The three-fifths compromise was just that, a compromise. It appeased the South, got the Constitution ratified, and paved the way for slavery to eventually end. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.210

Dinner Talk

1. Why is it important, even vital, that a leader be accountable to a Being (Judeo-Christian) higher than himself?

2. Select a politician in today’s society who has made corrupt choices. Compare him or her to the standard of George Washington’s character, and discuss how the choices of the corrupt politician are affecting our nation.

3. Why is the study of history important?

Character Education was important to George Washington; he worked hard on it himself.



George Washington Character, Book Review

Dinner Topics for Monday

Character Education was important to George Washington; he worked hard on it himself.

keyBeing George Washington by Glenn Beck is an insightful treatment of the life and service of this magnificent Founding Father. But also Beck gives a “character education” approach. He suggests how we can all use George Washington as a standard for our own good character development, and to prepare ourselves to make a difference. Truly inspirational. Following are highlights, but if you read the entire book with your family, you will treat them to an empowering character education experience.~C. A. Davidson

georgew_beingPart 1

Cultivating Character

No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. ~George Washington, first inaugural address

The Great Author, Revealed

Revisionist historians have tried to diminish Washington’s faith in God, but it is clearly evident in his writings. Washington learned very much from his father, who (as the legend goes) once taught young George a lesson using cabbage seeds. He arranged them in such a way that they spelled “George.” When they began to grow, he showed them to his son and explained to him that they just grew that way by happenstance. When George correctly rejected that premise, suspecting it was his Dad who arranged them, he told George to look around at how perfectly everything else was placed. The trees. The grass. The water. The hills. The sky.

Was it mere coincidence, or was it part of a grand plan?

Washington immediately knew the answer. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.41

The Great Protector

A thousand enemy soldiers were captured, killed, or wounded in battle. But the toll on the rebels’ side was not nearly as dramatic. Washington lost two soldiers, and five others were injured. That’s it. It’s no wonder he believed so fervently in the Invisible Hand.

The list goes on and on, and while many say all of it was simply coincidence or luck, Washington himself did not believe that, writing to his brother: “I now exist and appear in the land of the living by the miraculous care of Providence, that protected me beyond all human expectation; I had 4 Bullets through my Coat and two horses shot under me, and yet escaped unhurt.” ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.42

Washington believed, for very good reason, that God—the Invisible Hand, as he often called Him—oversaw their mission, and that uncovering Arnold’s plot was nothing less than providential. In a message to “the treason has been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfortune. The providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the liberties of America are the object of divine protection.” ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.108

In sheer desperation, Cornwallis attempted to lead an evacuation across the York River in whatever small boats he could muster. Apparently, God did not intend to let them go so easily, as a violent storm appeared out of nowhere. In a rush of ferocious wind and rain, the small British boats were swept downstream.

About the same time as the white flag was being raised in Yorktown, the proud British fleet finally sailed out of the New York harbor, the repairs to their ships from damage inflicted in the Chesapeake having taken almost two weeks longer than expected.

The fleet arrived at Yorktown a week too late. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.140

The power and goodness of the Almighty were strongly manifested in the events of our late glorius revolution; and his kind interposition in our behalf has been no less visible in the establishment of our present equal government. In war he directed the sword; and in peace he has ruled in our councils. My agency in both has been guided by the best intentions, and a sense of the duty which I owe my country. ~George Washington to the Hebrew congregations

Character Education

I know that getting a formal education in political science or economics is wonderful, but I can also confidently tell you that a formal education can also mean polically motivated teachers and a lot of closed-minded thinking. After all, how many professors do you know that will teach kids Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, or Thomas Sowell: nom many. Sometimes educating yourself is not only a necessity but a blessing. It allows you to explore ideas in a way professors like to inhibit with their preconceived ideological notions. As the columnist Heather MacDonald recently pointed out, in the past academic year at Bowdoin College, “a student interested in American history courses could have taken ‘Black Women in Atlantic New Orleans,’ ‘Women in American History, 1600-1900,’ or ‘Lawn Boy Meets Valley Girl: Gender and the Suburbs,’ but if he wanted a course in American political history, the colonial and revolutionary periods, or the Civil War, he would have been out of luck.”

America allowed the Founders to test ideas that were considered radical elsewhere. They were allowed to think freely without worry of repercussion. Though highly educated in classical texts, most of the Founders were not weighed down by conventional thinking or pseudoscience and gender studies. That was a blessing.

Washington remained self-conscious about his lace of a formal education his entire life. Ironically, it was this fact that drove his intellectual curiosity and ensured that he would always be overly prepared for any debate. ~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.203

Rules of Civility

Some of the Rules of Civility that Washington copied as a young boy.

  • “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
  • “Let your conversation be without malice or envy. And in all causes of passion admit reason to govern.”
  • “When you speak of God and his attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence.”
  • “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”

~Glenn Beck, Being George Washington, p.245


Next, part 2


Judeo-Christian Culture: History Quotes

Judeo-Christian Culture:

History Quotes

It has been said that the door of history turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. The choices we make determine our destiny. ~Thomas S. Monson

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  –Ronald Reagan

A BATTLE WE MUST WIN. “We are engaged in a battle with the world. In the past, the world competed for our children’s energy and time. Today, it fights for their identity and mind. Many loud and prominent voices are trying to define who our children are and what they should believe. We cannot let society give our family a makeover in the image of the world. We must win this battle. Everything depends on it.”~ Bradley D. Foster

History has been a principal victim of the age of fracture. But it can also be a powerful antidote to it. ~ Wilfred M. McClay

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.~Edmund Burke

Therefore my people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge.~Isaiah 5:13

History often holds the keys to survival. A line well written is worth a thousand words shouted; a moment of faith more than scores of years doubted. A reflection, a moment, a gathered thought is one past overcome, one future bought. ~C.A. Davidson

I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations. ~ Doctrine and Covenants 52:14



US Constitution Series 2: Quotations from Founding Fathers on Virtue

Dinner Topics for Thursday

5000leapThe Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

key“Virtue is not hereditary.” ~Thomas Jefferson


 US Constitution Series 2: Quotations from Founding Fathers on Virtue

Principle # 2

A free people cannot survive under a republican Constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. (Smyth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 9:569)

What is “Public Virtue”?

Morality is identified with the Ten Commandments and obedience to the Creator’s mandate for “right conduct,” but the early Americans identified “public virtue” as a very special quality of human maturity in character and service akin to the Golden Rule. (Skousen, 5,000 Year Leap, p.50)

Summary: Americans of that time had doubts about their ability to be good enough to govern themselves. That’s how important they considered public virtue to be. This prevailing attitude caused a widespread movement of reform and revival of moral virtue.

The Moral Reform Accelerated the Revolution

Many Americans became so impressed the improvement in the quality of life as a result of the reform movement that they were afraid they might lose it If they did not hurriedly separate from the corrupting influence of British manners. They attributed this corruption to the monarchial aristocracy of England. (Ibid, p.52)

James Madison:

Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.

ThomasJefferson“Virtue is not hereditary.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Virtue has to be earned and it has to be learned. Neither is virtue a permanent quality in human nature. It has to be cultivated continually and exercised from hour to hour and from day to day. The Founders looked to the home, the school, and the churches to fuel the fires of virtue from generation to generation. (Ibid, p.54)

George WashingtonGeorge Washington:

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education …reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

225px-BenFranklin2Benjamin Franklin:

I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from the exhortations of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented [in youth] than cured [in adults].

Warning from the Founders

Richard Henry Lee:

I thank God that I have lived to see my country independent and free. She may long enjoy her independence and freedom if she will. It depends on her virtue.

John Adams:

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Samuel Adams:

The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While, on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.

 Principle #3: What is the Key to Preserving a Virtuous Nation?

Principle #1: Natural Law



History Facts: What the Constitution Really says about race and Slavery

History Facts:

What the Constitution Really says about race and Slavery

David Azarrad

Daily Signal, Heritage Foundation

keyIn no way can the Constitution be said to be pro-slavery. The principles of natural right undergirding it are resolutely anti-slavery. Its language conveys disapproval of slavery. Contrary to a popular misconception, the Constitution also does not say that only white males who owned property could vote.

lincoln-statueOne hundred and fifty years ago this month, the 13th Amendment officially was ratified, and with it, slavery finally was abolished in America. The New York World hailed it as “one of the most important reforms ever accomplished by voluntary human agency.”

The newspaper said the amendment “takes out of politics, and consigns to history, an institution incongruous to our political system, inconsistent with justice and repugnant to the humane sentiments fostered by Christian civilization.”

With the passage of the 13th Amendment—which states that “[n]either slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”—the central contradiction at the heart of the Founding was resolved.

constitution1Eighty-nine years after the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed all men to be free and equal, race-based chattel slavery would be no more in the United States.

While all today recognize this momentous accomplishment, many remain confused about the status of slavery under the original Constitution. Textbooks and history books routinely dismiss the Constitution as racist and pro-slavery. The New York Times, among others, continues to casually assert that the Constitution affirmed African-Americans to be worth only three-fifths of a human being.

Ironically, many Americans who are resolutely opposed to racism unwittingly agree with Chief Justice Roger Taney’s claim in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) that the Founders’ Constitution regarded blacks as “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect, and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.” In this view, the worst Supreme Court case decision in American history was actually correctly decided.

The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution.

Such arguments have unsettling implications for the health of our republic. They teach citizens to despise their founding charter and to be ashamed of their country’s origins. They make the Constitution an object of contempt rather than reverence. And they foster alienation and resentment among African-American citizens by excluding them from our Constitution.

The received wisdom in this case is wrong. If we turn to the actual text of the Constitution and the debates that gave rise to it, a different picture emerges. The case for a racist, pro-slavery Constitution collapses under closer scrutiny.

Race and the Constitution

The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution—or in the Declaration of Independence, for that matter—are human beings classified according to race, skin color, or ethnicity (nor, one should add, sex, religion, or any other of the left’s favored groupings). Our founding principles are colorblind (although our history, regrettably, has not been).

The Constitution speaks of people, citizens, persons, other persons (a euphemism for slaves) and Indians not taxed (in which case, it is their tax-exempt status, and not their skin color, that matters). The first references to “race” and “color” occur in the 15th Amendment’s guarantee of the right to vote, ratified in 1870.

The infamous three-fifths clause, which more nonsense has been written than any other clause, does not declare that a black person is worth 60 percent of a white person. It says that for purposes of determining the number of representatives for each state in the House (and direct taxes), the government would count only three-fifths of the slaves, and not all of them, as the Southern states, who wanted to gain more seats, had insisted. The 60,000 or so free blacks in the North and the South were counted on par with whites.

Contrary to a popular misconception, the Constitution also does not say that only white males who owned property could vote. The Constitution defers to the states to determine who shall be eligible to vote (Article I, Section 2, Clause 1). It is a little known fact of American history that black citizens were voting in perhaps as many as 10 states at the time of the founding (the precise number is unclear, but only Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia explicitly restricted suffrage to whites).

Slavery and the Constitution

Not only does the Constitution not mention blacks or whites, but it also doesn’t mention slaves or slavery. Throughout the document, slaves are referred to as persons to underscore their humanity. As James Madison remarked during the constitutional convention, it was “wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”

The Constitution refers to slaves using three different formulations: “other persons” (Article I, Section 2, Clause 3), “such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit” (Article I, Section 9, Clause 1), and a “person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof” (Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3).

Although these circumlocutions may not have done much to improve the lot of slaves, they are important, as they denied constitutional legitimacy to the institution of slavery. The practice remained legal, but slaveholders could not invoke the supreme law of the land to defend its legitimacy. These formulations make clear that slavery is a state institution that is tolerated—but not sanctioned—by the national government and the Constitution.

Reading the original Constitution, a visitor from a foreign land would simply have no way of knowing that race-based slavery existed in America. As Abraham Lincoln would later explain:

Thus, the thing is hid away, in the Constitution, just as an afflicted man hides away a wen or a cancer, which he dares not cut out at once, lest he bleed to death.

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), former slave and abolitionist broke whites' stereotypes about African Americans in the decades prior to the U.S. Civil War. His literary and oratorical excellence, and his dignified bearing, converted many to support the abolition of slavery in the United States. 1855 portrait. (Newscom TagID: evhistorypix007462.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), former slave and abolitionist broke whites’ stereotypes about African Americans in the decades prior to the U.S. Civil War. His literary and oratorical excellence, and his dignified bearing, converted many to support the abolition of slavery in the United States. 1855 portrait. (Newscom TagID: evhistorypix007462.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

One could go even further and argue, as Frederick Douglass did in the lead-up to the Civil War, that none of the clauses of the Constitution should be interpreted as applying to slaves. The “language of the law must be construed strictly in favor of justice and liberty,” he argued.

Because the Constitution does not explicitly recognize slavery and does not therefore admit that slaves were property, all the protections it affords to persons could be applied to slaves. “Anyone of these provisions in the hands of abolition statesmen, and backed up by a right moral sentiment, would put an end to slavery in America,” Douglass concluded.

Those who want to see what a racist and pro-slavery Constitution would look like should turn to the Confederate Constitution of 1861. Though it largely mimics the Constitution, it is replete with references to “the institution of negro slavery,” “negroes of the African race,” and “negro slaves.” It specifically forbids the Confederate Congress from passing any “law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves.”

Contrary to a popular misconception, the Constitution also does not say that only white males who owned property could vote.

One can readily imagine any number of clauses that could have been added to our Constitution to enshrine slavery. The manumission of slaves could have been prohibited. A national right to bring one’s slaves to any state could have been recognized. Congress could have been barred from interfering in any way with the transatlantic slave trade.

It is true that the Constitution of 1787 failed to abolish slavery. The constitutional convention was convened not to free the slaves, but to amend the Articles of Confederation. The slave-holding states would have never consented to a new Constitution that struck a blow at their peculiar institution. The Constitution did, however, empower Congress to prevent its spread and set it on a course of extinction, while leaving the states free to abolish it within their own territory at any time.

Regrettably, early Congresses did not pursue a consistent anti-slavery policy. This, however, is not an indictment of the Constitution itself. As Frederick Douglass explained: “A chart is one thing, the course of a vessel is another. The Constitution may be right, the government wrong.”

Congress and the Slave Trade

ThomasJeffersonIn his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called the African slave trade an “execrable commerce” and an affront “against human nature itself.” Because of a concession to slave-holding interests, the Constitution stipulates that it may not be abolished “prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight” (Article I, Section 9, Clause 1).

In the meantime, Congress could discourage the importation of slaves from abroad by imposing a duty “not exceeding 10 dollars on each person” (Article I, Section 9, Clause 1). Although early Congresses considered such measures, they were never enacted.

Early Congresses did, however, regulate the transatlantic slave trade, pursuant to their power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). In 1794, 1800, and 1803, statutes were passed that severely restricted American participation in it. No American shipyard could be used to build ships that would engage in the slave trade, nor could any ship sailing from an American port traffic in slaves abroad. Americans were also prohibited from investing in the slave trade.

Finally, on the very first day on which it was constitutionally permissible to do so—Jan. 1, 1808—the slave trade was abolished by law.

The law, which President Thomas Jefferson signed, stipulated stiff penalties for any American convicted of participating in the slave trade: up to $10,000 in fines and five to 10 years in prison. In 1823, a new law was passed that punished slave-trading with death.

Congress and the Expansion of Slavery

Banning the importation of slaves would not by itself put an end to slavery in the United States. Slavery would grow naturally even if no new slaves were brought into the country.

Although Congress could not prevent this, it could prevent slavery from spreading geographically to the territories from which new states would eventually be created.

Congress has the power “to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States” (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2), to forbid the migration of slaves into the new territories (Article I, Section 9, Clause 1), and to stipulate conditions for statehood (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2).

In no way could the Constitution be said to be pro-slavery. The principles of natural right undergirding it are resolutely anti-slavery. Its language conveys disapproval of slavery.

Regrettably, early Congresses did not prevent the spread of slavery. Between 1798 and 1822, Congress enacted 10 territorial acts. Only half excluded slavery.

As a result, seven slaveholding states and five free states were admitted into the union. The seeds of what Abraham Lincoln would later call the crisis of the house divided were sown.

Slavery in the Existing States

As for the existing slaveholding states that had ratified the Constitution, what could Congress do to restrict the growth of slavery within their borders? Here Congress had more limited options. After 1808, “the migration” of slaves across state lines could have been prohibited (Article I, Section 9, Clause 1). This was never done.

In principle, slavery could have been taxed out of existence. However, the requirement that direct taxes be apportioned among the states made it impossible to exclusively target slaveholders. A capitation or head tax, for example, even though it would have been more costly for Southerners, would also impose a heavy burden on Northerners.

While one could perhaps have circumvented the apportionment requirement by calling for an indirect tax on slaves—as Sen. Charles Sumner, R-Mass., would later do during the Civil War—such arguments were not made in the early republic.

There was one clause in the original Constitution that required cooperation with slaveholders and protected the institution of slavery. Slaves who escaped to freedom were to “be delivered up” to their masters (Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3). The motion to include a fugitive slave clause at the constitutional convention passed unanimously and without debate. This would seem to indicate that all knew it would be futile to try to oppose such a measure.

James Madison

James Madison

The debate instead focused on the wording. Whereas the original draft had referred to a “person legally held to service or labor in one state,” the final version instead refers to a “person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof.” This change, Madison explains in his notes, was to comply “with the wish of some who thought the term legal equivocal,” as it gave the impression “that slavery was legal in a moral view,” rather than merely permissible under the law.

This remark by Madison captures the Constitution’s stance vis-à-vis slavery: permissible, but not moral. Legal, but not legitimate.

In no way can the Constitution be said to be pro-slavery. The principles of natural right undergirding it are resolutely anti-slavery. Its language conveys disapproval of slavery. And it contains within it several provisions that could have been and were at times used to prevent the spread of slavery.

This may not make it an anti-slavery Constitution. But even before the 13th Amendment, it was a Constitution that, if placed in the right hands, could be made to serve the cause of freedom.




Patriotism: President Trump State of the Union Honors Patriotic Pre-Teen Boy who Respects Veterans


President Trump State of the Union Honors Patriotic Pre-Teen Boy who Respects Veterans

Donald Trump Honors Pre-Teen for Placing Flags on Soldiers’ Graves

Warner Todd Huston

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania take the time during Tuesday’s State of the Union (SOTU) address to honor a California boy who has been placing miniature American flags on the graves of soldiers since 2015.

Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old from Redding, California, started placing the flags on graves to honor the service of American soldiers when he was ten, his family says. The boy was invited to sit in the gallery as first lady Melania Trump’s guest at President Trump’s first State of the Union address, according to a statement released by the White House.

“Preston Sharp was visiting his veteran grandfather’s grave in 2015 when he noticed that other local veterans were not being honored with American flags or flowers,” the White House said in its statement. “Today, Preston has organized the placement of more than 40,000 American flags and red carnations on soldiers’ graves.”

“I knew I wanted to do something, because if it wasn’t for them fighting for us then we wouldn’t be here,” the patriotic young boy told the media.

Preston has also helped raise money to assist in the upkeep of soldiers’ graves.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders noted that inviting guests to attend the SOTU is an important tradition.

Others invited by the first couple include a police officer who adopted a drug-addicted child, small business owners, first-time homeowners affected by the tax reform bill, and an Army sergeant who survived the trauma of an improvised explosive device (IED).

The Trumps will also honor the parents of two teens who were murdered in September 2016 by members of the vicious foreign gang MS-13. Parents Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez, and Freddy Cuevas will be in the gallery to memorialize their slain daughters, Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas.



SOTU: Trump  Honors Pre-Teen for Placing Flags on Soldiers’ Graves