Thomas Jefferson: Champion of Liberty

jeffersontyrannygovDinner Topics for Monday

key“I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another; for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents.~Thomas Jefferson

Book Reviews: Thomas Jefferson history

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom, PART 1

Andrew M. Allison

Book Reviews: This is a large book, very easy and enjoyable reading, but also packed with valuable information. I will share with you some notes and quotes, a little at a time. But don’t miss reading the entire book with your family. It belongs in every American’s home library.

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson

C.A. Davidson

Thomas Jefferson rarely spoke in government sessions. He never made a political speech.(p.45) He preferred to remain in the background, but he was famous for his “power of the pen.” He said Congress talks too much, but they are all lawyers, what else do you expect? (pp. 112, 150)

During the deliberations of the House of Burgesses in colonial Virginia, Jefferson declared a day of fasting and prayer to try to resolve issues, but, as usual, the royal governor, Lord Dunmore, dissolved their assembly. (p.49)

Legislative work

Property ownership.  In October 1776 he initiated and passed bills to end the custom of “entail”, which means that the oldest son automatically inherits all the property, and other siblings receive nothing.

Voting. In those days people had to own property in order to qualify to vote. That custom was not eliminated, but Jefferson created an extremely low property qualification for voting. He believed that an agrarian society of many small landholders was the safest foundation for a republican government.

Education

He believed that the exercise of political power should be based on knowledge, not ignorance.

Quote: Experience has shown that even under the best forms [of government], those entrusted with power have in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and. . .the most effectual means of preventing this would be to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large. . . (p.82)

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Part 2

C.A. Davidson

Diplomacy in France

Architecture

The building in Richmond VA is patterned after a Roman temple in southern France. Jefferson did more than any other man to stimulate classical revival in America. He has been referred to as the “father of our national architecture.” P.129

Life in France 

He was critical of the vain and indolent lifestyle of many women in France, and cautioned Americans against European luxury and dissipation.

Maria Cosway was an English artist whom Jefferson befriended in Paris. Some modern writers have tried to call their relationship a “love affair”, but Jefferson was devoted to his deceased wife. Responsible historians  have demonstrated that “there is absolutely no evidence nor reason to believe that the relation became anything but platonic.” P.133

Although Jefferson did not appreciate the morals of Parisian society, he loved the people and,  greatly appreciating French culture, he enthusiastically took in all he could during his stay there. He was a good friend of the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolutionary War. P.135

Constitution

Although Jefferson was not physically present for the writing of the United States Constitution, he was highly influential in the creation of the document. From France he sent Madison 200 volumes on various forms of confederate governments attempted throughout history.

He urged proper division of powers: legislative, executive, and judiciary. He disliked the eligibility of the president to be re-elected indefinitely, and the absence of a bill of rights. pp 139-141

Quote

We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone, without bloodshed. . . but the world is too far oppressed to profit by the example. P. 143

Personal character

He never used tobacco, profanity or playing cards. He gave away much to the poor; deer ate out of his hand.

Several of his inventions are familiar in our era—the swivel chair, revolving table top, folding campstool, adjustable music stand. He appreciated comforts and conveniences. pp 178-186

Andrew M. Allison

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Part 3 The Election

C.A. Davidson

In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. (Allison, p. 200)

The Alien and Sedition acts brought about the permanent dissolution of the Federalist Party.

“I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another; for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. “ p 203

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 The Truth about Thomas Jefferson

Attacks by the newspapers—(really no different from media attacks of today. C.D.)

Jefferson did not even campaign for the presidency, but he was so much liked that people nominated him. There were many slanderous attacks against him.

The charge of atheism was the most pressed in this campaign: it was not only made in the public press; it was hurled from pulpits in various places. . .As the story goes, the time was approaching when Bibles were to be hidden in New England’s wells.  Dumas Malone, Jefferson the Virginian, pp. 479, 481

Jefferson chose not to defend himself publicly against the many vulgar accusations. To James Monroe he said, “As to the calumny of atheism, I am so broken to calumnies of every kind. . .that I entirely disregard it. . .It has been so impossible to contradict all their lies that I have determined to contradict none, for while I should be engaged with one they would publish twenty new ones. [My] thirty years of public  life have enabled most of those who read newspapers to judge of one for themselves.” Pp 203

Those in public office who choose to hurl personal attacks at their opponents, instead of analyzing the policies and principles involved, should pay attention to these words by Jefferson. (C.D.)

On the day that Jefferson’s election to office was publicized, he visited John Adams.

He was very sensibly affected, and accosted me with these words: “Well, I understand that you are to beat me in this contest, and I will only say that I will be as faithful a subject as any you will have.”

“Mr. Adams,” said I, “this is no personal contest between you and me. Two systems of principles on the subject of government divide our fellow citizens into two parties. With one of these you concur, and I with the other. As we have been longer on the public stage than most of those now living, our names happen to be more generally known. One of these parties, therefore, has put your name at its head, the other mine. Were we both to die today, tomorrow tow other names would be in the place of ours, without any change in the motion of the machinery. Its motion is from its principle, not from you or myself.”

“I believe you are right,” said he, “that we are but passive instruments, and should not suffer this matter to affect our personal dispositions.” (Allison, pp 206-207)

Jefferson was the candidate of the party representing republican principles, and also the choice of the people. Aaron Burr was the choice of the Federalist Party. The vote was taken by states, not delegates. The states were equally divided between the Republican and Federalist parties.  Congress was deadlocked for an entire week and for more than thirty ballots. Finally the deadlock was broken on the 36th ballot by James A. Bayard of Delaware, who was the only delegate from his state, Delaware. (p.212)

This procedural problem was corrected by the 12th amendment to the Constitution.(p.207)

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Dinner Talk Topics

1. Compare the events of Jefferson’s election to the political scene in our day.

2. In Jefferson’s time the press (today called the media) was irresponsible in its reporting. Do you find similarities in media reporting today? Which media sources do you think are responsible and truthful?

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History Heroes: Haym Salomon

History Heroes:

Haym Salomon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Early life and education

200px-Salomon,_Haym_financier-american-revHaym Salomon (real birth name Chaim Salomon) was born in Leszno (Lissa), Poland in 1740 to a Sephardic Jewish family descended from Spanish and Portuguese Jews who migrated to the Jewish communities of Poland as a result of the Spanish Inquisition of 1492 and remained there for many generations. Although most Jews in Central and Eastern Europe spoke Yiddish (Judeo-German), some have claimed that because Salomon left Poland while still young, he could not read and write Yiddish. In his youth, he studied Hebrew.[2] During his travels in western Europe, he acquired a knowledge of finance and fluency in several other languages, such as German. He returned to Poland in 1770 but left for England two years later in the wake of the Polish partition. In 1775, he immigrated to New York City, where he established himself as a financial broker for merchants engaged in overseas trade.[3][4]

Revolutionary activity

Sympathizing with the Patriot cause, Salomon joined the New York branch of the Sons of Liberty. In September of 1776, he was arrested as a spy. The British pardoned him, but only after requiring him to spend 18 months on a British boat as an interpreter for Hessian mercenaries – German soldiers siding with the British. Salomon used his position to help prisoners of the British escape and encouraged the Hessians to desert the war effort. In 1778 Salomon was arrested again and sentenced to death. Again, he managed to escape, making his way with his family to the rebel capital in Philadelphia.[5]

Financing of the American Revolutionary War

Once resettled, Salomon resumed his activities as a broker. He became the agent to the French consul as well as the paymaster for the French forces in North America. In 1781, he began working extensively with Robert Morris, the newly appointed Superintendent for Finance for the Thirteen Colonies.[6]

From the period of 1781–84, records show Salomon’s fundraising and personal lending helped provide over $650,000 (approximately $16,870,212.74 in 2013 dollars [7]) in financing to George Washington in his war effort. His most meaningful financial contribution, however, came immediately prior to the final revolutionary war battle at Yorktown.[8]

In August 1781, the Continental Army had trapped Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis in the Virginian coastal town of Yorktown. George Washington and the main army and Count de Rochambeau with his French army decided to march from the Hudson Highlands to Yorktown and deliver the final blow. But Washington’s war chest was completely empty, as was that of Congress. Without food, uniforms and supplies, Washington’s troops were close to mutiny.[8] Washington determined that he needed at least $20,000 to finance the campaign. When Morris told him there were no funds and no credit available, Washington gave him a simple but eloquent order: “Send for Haym Salomon”. Salomon raised $20,000, through the sale of bills of exchange, and Washington conducted the Yorktown campaign, which proved to be the final battle of the Revolution.[4]

Salomon negotiated the sale of a majority of the war aid from France and the Dutch Republic, selling bills of exchange to American merchants. Salomon also personally supported various members of the Continental Congress during their stay in Philadelphia, including James Madison and James Wilson. He requested below-market interest rates, and he never asked for repayment.[9]

Salomon is believed to have granted outright bequests to men that he thought were unsung heroes of the revolution who had become impoverished during the war. One example is Bodo Otto, a senior surgeon in the continental army. Otto joined the army at the age of 65 and served for the entire war. Among other things, he established the hospital at Valley Forge, where he often used his own funds to purchase medical supplies. Due to Salomon’s bequest, Otto was able to rebuild his medical practice in Reading, Pennsylvania at war’s end.

The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the Revolutionary War but not the financial problems of the newly established nation. America’s war debt to France was never properly repaid, which was part of the cascade of events leading to the French Revolution.

Jewish community

Salomon was involved in Jewish community affairs, being a member of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, and in 1782 made the largest individual contribution towards the construction of its main building. In 1783, Salomon was among the prominent Jews involved in the successful effort to have the Pennsylvania Council of Censors remove the religious test oath required for office-holding under the State Constitution. These test laws were originally written to disenfranchise the Quaker majority (Quakers objected to taking oaths at all), but many were caught up in this anti-democratic ploy. It was Salomon’s old friend Robert Morris, who actually introduced legislation to end the test laws in Pennsylvania. In 1784, Salomon answered anti-Semitic slander in the press by stating: “I am a Jew; it is my own nation; I do not despair that we shall obtain every other privilege that we aspire to enjoy along with our fellow-citizens.”

Death

Haym_Salomon_stampThe financier died suddenly and in poverty on January 8, 1785 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after contracting tuberculosis in prison. Due to the failure of governments and private lenders to repay the debt incurred by the war, his family was left penniless at his death at age 44.[8] The hundreds of thousands of dollars of Continental debt Solomon bought with his own fortune were worth only about 10 cents on the dollar at the time of his passing.

His obituary in the Independent Gazetteer read, “Thursday, last, expired, after a lingering illness, Mr. Haym Salomon, an eminent broker of this city, was a native of Poland, and of the Hebrew nation. He was remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession, and for his generous and humane deportment. His remains were yesterday deposited in the burial ground of the synagogue of this city.”

Legacy

The grave-site of Haym Salomon, Mikveh Israel Cemetery is located in the 800-block of Spruce Street in Philadelphia. Though unmarked, there are two plaque memorials. The east wall has a marble tablet that was installed by his great-grandson, William Salomon, and a granite memorial is set inside the cemetery gate. In 1980, the Haym Salomon Lodge #663 of the fraternal organization B’rith Sholom sponsored a memorial in the Mikveh Israel Cemetery on the north side of Spruce Street between 8th and 9th Streets in Philadelphia. A blue ribbon panel and committee, including Robert S. Whitman, Sidney Bruskin and Marvin Abrams, all lodge past presidents; and Philadelphia, PA residents, arranged for the renovation of the walls and walkways of the cemetery. They then arranged for and oversaw the installation of a large, engraved memorial marker of Barre Granite just inside the cemetery gates, inscribed “An American Patriot”. A memorial bronze marker with an American flag was installed by Robert S. Whitman, marking the dedicated space for the American patriot.[10]

More about

Haym Salomon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haym_Salomon

Champion of Liberty: Ronald Reagan

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Ronald Reagan, American Champion of Liberty

key“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

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Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan!

reaganhappybirthday

 

Ronald Wilson Reagan February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004) was an American actor and politician. He was the 40th President of the United States (1981–89), and served as the 33rd Governor of California (1967–75) before his presidency.

Born and raised in small towns in Illinois, Reagan graduated from Eureka College and then worked as a radio broadcaster. He moved to Hollywood in 1937, where he began a career as an actor, first in films and later in television. Reagan served as President of the Screen Actors Guild and later as a spokesman for General Electric (G.E.); his start in politics occurred during his work for G.E. Originally, he was a member of the Democratic Party, but due to the parties’ shifting platforms during the 1950s, he switched to the Republican Party in 1962.[1]

Perseverance in seeking Presidency

After delivering a rousing speech in support of Barry Goldwater‘s presidential candidacy in 1964, he was persuaded to seek the California governorship, winning two years later and again in 1970. He was defeated in his run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and in 1976, but won both the nomination and general election in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.[1]

culture-war3-reaganAs president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed “Reaganomics“, advocated reducing tax rates to spur economic growth, controlling the money supply to reduce inflation, deregulation of the economy, and reducing government spending. In his first term he survived an assassination attempt, took a hard line against labor unions, escalated the War on Drugs, and ordered an invasion of Grenada to reverse a Communist coup.

He was re-elected in a landslide in 1984, proclaiming that it was “Morning in America“. His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran–Contra affair. Publicly describing the Soviet Union as an “evil empire“,[2] he supported anti-communist movements worldwide and spent his first term forgoing the strategy of détente in favor of rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR. Reagan subsequently negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, culminating in the INF Treaty and the decrease of both countries’ nuclear arsenals. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union occurred soon afterward.

Reagan left office in 1989. In 1994, the former president disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease earlier in the year; he died ten years later at the age of 93. A conservative icon, he ranks highly in public opinion polls of U.S. Presidents and is credited for generating an ideological renaissance on the American political right.

Early Life

Ronald_Reagan_in_Dixon,_Illinois,_1920sRonald Wilson Reagan was born in an apartment on the second floor of a commercial building in Tampico, Illinois on February 6, 1911, the son of Nelle Clyde (Wilson) and John Edward “Jack” Reagan.[3] Reagan’s father was a salesman and a storyteller, the grandson of Irish Catholic immigrants from County Tipperary,[4] while his mother was of half Scots and half English descent (Reagan’s maternal grandmother was born in Surrey, England).[5] Reagan had one older brother, Neil (1908–96), who became an advertising executive.[6] As a boy, Reagan’s father nicknamed his son “Dutch”, due to his “fat little Dutchman“-like appearance, and his “Dutchboy” haircut;[7] the nickname stuck with him throughout his youth.[7] Reagan’s family briefly lived in several towns and cities in Illinois, including Monmouth, Galesburg, and Chicago,[8] in 1919, they returned to Tampico and lived above the H.C. Pitney Variety Store until finally settling in Dixon.[3] After his election as president, residing in the upstairs White House private quarters, Reagan would quip that he was “living above the store again”.[9]

According to Paul Kengor, author of God and Ronald Reagan, Reagan had a particularly strong faith in the goodness of people, which stemmed from the optimistic faith of his mother, Nelle,[10] and the Disciples of Christ faith,[10] which he was baptized into in 1922.[11] For the time, Reagan was unusual in his opposition to racial discrimination, and recalled a time in Dixon when the local inn would not allow black people to stay there. Reagan brought them back to his house, where his mother invited them to stay the night and have breakfast the next morning.[12]

After the closure of the Pitney Store in late 1920, the Reagans moved to Dixon;[13] the midwestern “small universe” had a lasting impression on Reagan.[14] He attended Dixon High School,[15] where he developed interests in acting, sports, and storytelling.[16] His first job was as a lifeguard at the Rock River in Lowell Park, near Dixon, in 1927. Over a six-year period, Reagan reportedly performed 77 rescues as a lifeguard, notching a mark on a wooden log for each one.[16] Reagan attended Eureka College, where he became a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, a cheerleader,[17][18] and majored in economics and sociology. He developed a reputation as a jack of all trades, excelling in campus politics, sports and theater. He was a member of the football team, captain of the swim team and was elected student body president. As student president, Reagan led a student revolt against the college president after he tried to cut back the faculty.[19]

Military service

After completing fourteen home-study Army Extension Courses, Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve on April 29, 1937, as a private assigned to Troop B, 322nd Cavalry at Des Moines, Iowa.[33] He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps of the cavalry on May 25, 1937.[34]

Reagan was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942. Due to his poor eyesight, he was classified for limited service only, which excluded him from serving overseas.[35] His first assignment was at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California, as a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office.[36] Upon the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the cavalry to the AAF on May 15, 1942, and was assigned to AAF Public Relations and subsequently to the First Motion Picture Unit (officially, the “18th Army Air Force Base Unit”) in Culver City, California.[36] On January 14, 1943, he was promoted to first lieutenant and was sent to the Provisional Task Force Show Unit of This Is The Army at Burbank, California.[36] He returned to the First Motion Picture Unit after completing this duty and was promoted to captain on July 22, 1943.[33]

In January 1944, Reagan was ordered to temporary duty in New York City to participate in the opening of the Sixth War Loan Drive. He was reassigned to the First Motion Picture Unit on November 14, 1944, where he remained until the end of World War II.[33] He was recommended for promotion to major on February 2, 1945, but this recommendation was disapproved on July 17 of that year.[37] While with the First Motion Picture Unit in 1945, he was indirectly involved in discovering actress Marilyn Monroe.[38] He returned to Fort MacArthur, California, where he was separated from active duty on December 9, 1945.[37] By the end of the war, his units had produced some 400 training films for the AAF.[33]

Reagan never left the United States during the war, though he kept a film reel, obtained while in the service, depicting the liberation of Auschwitz, as he believed that someday doubts would arise as to whether the Holocaust had occurred.

 

First Term

reagannosurvive-without-God

Prayer in schools and a moment of silence

In 1981, Reagan became the first president to propose a constitutional amendment on school prayer. The school prayer had previously been banned by the supreme court in 1962, and Reagan’s election reflected an opposition to the courts decision.[114] Reagan’s 1981 proposed amendment stated: “Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any state to participate in prayer.” In a message to Congress, Reagan said that his proposed amendment would “restore the simple freedom of our citizens to offer prayer in public schools and institutions.”[115] In a nationally televised speech the following day, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson lauded Reagan’s speech and said the moment of silence would “ensure that children grow up to be decent and upright.”[116] In 1984, Reagan again raised the issue, asking Congress “why can’t [the] freedom to acknowledge God be enjoyed again by children in every schoolroom across this land?”[117] In 1985, Reagan expressed his disappointment that the Supreme Court ruling still bans a moment of silence for public-school, and said he had “an uphill battle.”[118] In 1987 Reagan again renewed his call for Congress to support voluntary prayer in schools and end “the expulsion of God from America’s classrooms.”[119] During his term in office, Reagan campaigned vigorously to restore prayer to the schools, first as a moment of prayer and later as a Moment of Silence.[120

 

1984 Presidential Campaign

reagan-ElectoralCollege1984.svg

1984 presidential electoral votes by state. Reagan (red) won every state except for Washington, D.C., and Mondale’s home state of Minnesota.

 

End of the Cold War

Reagan believed that if he could persuade the Soviets to allow for more democracy and free speech, this would lead to reform and the end of Communism.[252]

berlinwallreaganSpeaking at the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987, Reagan challenged Gorbachev to go further, saying:

“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

He was first among post–World War II presidents to put into practice the concept that the Soviet Union could be defeated rather than simply negotiated with, a post-Détente strategy,[247] a conviction that was vindicated by Gennadi Gerasimov, the Foreign Ministry spokesman under Gorbachev, who said that the Strategic Defense Initiative was “very successful blackmail. … The Soviet economy couldn’t endure such competition.”[332] Reagan’s aggressive rhetoric toward the USSR had mixed effects; Jeffery W. Knopf observes that being labeled “evil” probably made no difference to the Soviets but gave encouragement to the East-European citizens opposed to communism.[247]

Read More about Ronald Reagan

 

Artist Norman Rockwell: American Culture Values Champion

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

Artist Norman Rockwell: American Culture Values Champion

 

Rockwell- Freedom of Worship

Rockwell- Freedom of Worship

Norman Percevel Rockwell (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine over nearly five decades.[1] Among the best-known of Rockwell’s works are the Willie Gillis series, Rosie the Riveter, The Problem We All Live With, Saying Grace, and the Four Freedoms series. He also is noted for his 64-year relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), during which he produced covers for their publication Boys’ Life, calendars, and other illustrations. These works include popular images that reflect the Scout Oath and Scout Law such as The Scoutmaster, A Scout is Reverent[2] and A Guiding Hand,[3] among many others.

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Life and works

Norman Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894, in New York City, to Jarvis Waring Rockwell and Anne Mary “Nancy” Rockwell, née Hill.[4][5][6] His earliest American ancestor was John Rockwell (1588–1662), from Somerset, England, who immigrated to colonial North America, probably in 1635, aboard the ship

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell

Hopewell and became one of the first settlers of Windsor, Connecticut. He had one brother, Jarvis Waring Rockwell, Jr., older by a year and a half.[7][8] Jarvis Waring, Sr., was the manager of the New York office of a Philadelphia textile firm, George Wood, Sons & Company, where he spent his entire career.[7][9][10]

Rockwell transferred from high school to the Chase Art School at the age of 14. He then went on to the National Academy of Design and finally to the Art Students League. There, he was taught by Thomas Fogarty, George Bridgman, and Frank Vincent DuMond; his early works were produced for St. Nicholas Magazine, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) publication Boys’ Life, and other youth publications. As a student, Rockwell was given small jobs of minor importance. His first major breakthrough came at age eighteen with his first book illustration for Carl H. Claudy‘s Tell Me Why: Stories about Mother Nature.

Boy Scouts of America

After that, Rockwell was hired as a staff artist for Boys’ Life magazine. In this role, he received 50 dollars’ compensation each month for one completed cover and a set of story illustrations. It is said to have been his first paying job as an artist.[11] At 19, he became the art editor for Boys’ Life, published by the Boy Scouts of America. He held the job for three years,[12] during which he painted several covers, beginning with his first published magazine cover, Scout at Ship’s Wheel, which appeared on the Boys’ Life September edition.

Painting years

Rockwell’s family moved to New Rochelle, New York, when Norman was 21 years old. They shared a studio with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe, who worked for The Saturday Evening Post. With Forsythe’s help, Rockwell submitted his first successful

Rockwell studio

Rockwell studio

cover painting to the Post in 1916, Mother’s Day Off (published on May 20). He followed that success with Circus Barker and Strongman (published on June 3), Gramps at the Plate (August 5), Redhead Loves Hatty Perkins (September 16), People in a Theatre Balcony (October 14), and Man Playing Santa (December 9). Rockwell was published eight times on the Post cover within the first year. Ultimately, Rockwell published 323 original covers for The Saturday Evening Post over 47 years. His Sharp Harmony appeared on the cover of the issue dated September 26, 1936; it depicts a barber and three clients, enjoying an a cappella song. The image was adopted by SPEBSQSA in its promotion of the art.

Rockwell’s success on the cover of the Post led to covers for other magazines of the day, most notably the Literary Digest, the Country Gentleman, Leslie’s Weekly, Judge, Peoples Popular Monthly and Life magazine.

Rockwell Scout Calendar

Rockwell Scout Calendar

When Rockwell’s tenure began with The Saturday Evening Post in 1916, Rockwell left his salaried position at Boys’ Life, but continued to include scouts in Post cover images and the monthly magazine of the American Red Cross. He resumed work with the Boy Scouts of America in 1926 with production of his first of fifty-one original illustrations for the official Boy Scouts of America annual calendar, which still may be seen in the Norman Rockwell Art Gallery at the National Scouting Museum[13] in the city of Irving near Dallas, Texas.

During World War I, he tried to enlist into the U.S. Navy but was refused entry because, at 140 pounds (64 kg), he was eight pounds underweight for someone 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. To compensate, he spent one night gorging himself on bananas, liquids and doughnuts, and weighed enough to enlist the next day. He was given the role of a military artist, however, and did not see any action during his tour of duty.[14]

World War II

old fashioned family dinner

Rockwell 1943

In 1943, during World War II, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms series, which was completed in seven months and resulted in his losing fifteen pounds. The series was inspired by a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, wherein he described four principles for universal rights: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship[15] and Freedom from Fear. The paintings were published in 1943 by The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell used the Pennell ship-building family from Brunswick, Maine as models for two of the paintings, “Freedom from Want” and “A Thankful Mother”, and would combine models from photographs and his own vision to create his idealistic paintings. The United States Department of the Treasury later promoted war bonds by exhibiting the originals in sixteen cities. Rockwell considered “Freedom of Speech” to be the best of the four.

 Rockwell Freedom of Speech

Rockwell Freedom of Speech

That same year, a fire in his studio destroyed numerous original paintings, costumes, and props.[16] Because the period costumes and props were irreplaceable, the fire split his career into two phases, the second phase depicting modern characters and situations. Rockwell was contacted by writer Elliott Caplin, brother of cartoonist Al Capp, with the suggestion that the three of them should make a daily comic strip together, with Caplin and his brother writing and Rockwell drawing. King Features Syndicate is reported to have promised a $1,000 per week deal, knowing that a Capp-Rockwell collaboration would gain strong public interest. The project was ultimately aborted, however, as it turned out that Rockwell, known for his perfectionism as an artist, could not deliver material so quickly as would be required of him for a daily comic strip.[16]

During the late 1940s, Norman Rockwell spent the winter months as artist-in-residence at Otis College of Art and Design. Students occasionally were models for his Saturday Evening Post covers. In 1949, Rockwell donated an original Post cover, “April Fool”, to be raffled off in a library fund raiser.

In 1959, after his wife Mary died suddenly from a heart attack, Rockwell took time off from his work to grieve. It was during that break that he and his son Thomas produced Rockwell’s autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, which was published in 1960. The Post printed excerpts from this book in eight consecutive issues, the first containing Rockwell’s famous Triple Self-Portrait.

Later career

Rockwell’s last painting for the Post was published in 1963, marking the end of a publishing relationship that had included 321 cover paintings. He spent the next ten years painting for Look magazine, where his work depicted his interests in civil rights, poverty, and space exploration. In 1968, Rockwell was commissioned to do an album cover portrait of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper for their record, The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper.[18] During his long career, he was commissioned to paint the portraits for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, as well as those of foreign figures, including Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru. One of his last works was a portrait of Judy Garland in 1969.

A custodianship of his original paintings and drawings was established with Rockwell’s help near his home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and the Norman Rockwell Museum still is open today year round. The museum’s collection includes more than seven hundred original Rockwell paintings, drawings, and studies. The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies at the Norman Rockwell Museum is a national research institute dedicated to American illustration art.

His last commission for the Boy Scouts of America was a calendar illustration entitled The Spirit of ’76, which was completed when Rockwell was eighty-two, concluding a partnership which generated four hundred and seventy-one images for periodicals, guidebooks, calendars, and promotional materials. His connection to the BSA spanned sixty-four years, marking the longest professional association of his career. His legacy and style for the BSA has been carried on by Joseph Csatari.

Rockwell- Saying Grace

Rockwell- Saying Grace

Presidential Medal of Freedom

For “vivid and affectionate portraits of our country,” Rockwell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, in 1977.

Rockwell died November 8, 1978, of emphysema at age 84 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Personal life

Rockwell married his first wife, Irene O’Connor, in 1916. Irene was Rockwell’s model in Mother Tucking Children into Bed, published on the cover of The Literary Digest on January 19, 1921. The couple divorced in 1930, however. Depressed, he moved briefly to Alhambra, California as a guest of his old friend Clyde Forsythe. There he painted some of his best-known paintings including The Doctor and the Doll. While there he met and married schoolteacher Mary Barstow.[19] The couple returned to New York shortly after their marriage. They had three children: Jarvis Waring, Thomas Rhodes, and Peter Barstow. The family lived at 24 Lord Kitchener Road in the Bonnie Crest neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York. For multiple reasons Rockwell and his wife were not regular church attendees although they were members of St. John’s Wilmot Church, an Episcopal church near their home, where they had their sons baptized. Rockwell moved to Arlington, Vermont, in 1939 where his work began to reflect small-town life.[19]

In 1953, the Rockwell family moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, so that his wife could be treated at the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital at 25 Main Street, close to where Rockwell set up his studio.[20] Rockwell also received psychiatric treatment, seeing the analyst Erik Erikson, who was on staff at Riggs. Erikson is said to have told the artist that he painted his happiness, but did not live it.[21] In 1959, Mary died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Rockwell married his third wife, retired Milton Academy English teacher, Mary Leete “Mollie” Punderson, on October 25, 1961.[22] His Stockbridge studio was located on the second floor of a row of buildings; directly underneath Rockwell’s studio was, for a time in 1966, the Back Room Rest, better known as the famous “Alice’s Restaurant.”[23] During his time in Stockbridge, chief of police William Obanhein was a frequent model for Rockwell’s paintings.[23]

From 1961 until his death, Rockwell was a member of the Monday Evening Club, a men’s literary group based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. At his funeral, five members of the club served as pallbearers, along with Jarvis Rockwell.[24]

Champion of Liberty: Charles Montesquieu

Dinner Topics for Thursday

key“Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”~ William Penn

Charles Montesquieu

Famous for his theory of Separation of Powers

montesquieuCharles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (/ˈmɒntɨskjuː/;[1] French: [mɔ̃tɛskjø]; 18 January 1689 – 10 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French lawyer, man of letters, and political philosopher who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He did more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon,[2] and may have been partly responsible for the popularization of the terms feudalism and Byzantine Empire.[citation needed]

Montesquieu’s early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a constitutional monarchy in the wake of its Glorious Revolution (1688–89), and had joined with Scotland in the Union of 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In France the long-reigning Louis XIV died in 1715 and was succeeded by the five-year-old Louis XV. These national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu; he would refer to them repeatedly in his work.

Montesquieu withdrew from the practice of law to devote himself to study and writing. He achieved literary success with the publication of his Lettres persanes (Persian Letters, 1721), a satire representing society as seen through the eyes of two imaginary Persian visitors to Paris and Europe, cleverly criticizing the absurdities of contemporary French society. He next published Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans, 1734), considered by some scholars, among his three best known books, as a transition from The Persian Letters to his master work. De l’Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws) was originally published anonymously in 1748. The book quickly rose to influence political thought profoundly in Europe and America. In France, the book met with an unfriendly reception from both supporters and opponents of the regime. The Catholic Church banned l’Esprit – along with many of Montesquieu’s other works – in 1751 and included it on the Index of Prohibited Books. It received the highest praise from the rest of Europe, especially Britain.

Montesquieu was also highly regarded in the British colonies in North America as a champion of liberty (though not of American independence). Political scientist Donald Lutz found that Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible.[9] Following the American revolution, Montesquieu’s work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably James Madison of Virginia, the “Father of the Constitution“. Montesquieu’s philosophy that “government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another”[10] reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers.

Besides composing additional works on society and politics, Montesquieu traveled for a number of years through Europe including Austria and Hungary, spending a year in Italy and 18 months in England where he became a freemason, admitted to the Horn Tavern Lodge in Westminster,[11] before resettling in France. He was troubled by poor eyesight, and was completely blind by the time he died from a high fever in 1755. He was buried in the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.

Read more about Charles Montesquieu

 

 

Champion of Liberty: Edmund Burke

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Champion of Liberty, Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

keyThose who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.

‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. ~Edmund Burke

From Wikipedia

Edmund Burke 12 January [NS] 1729[1] – 9 July 1797) was an Irish[2][3] statesman born in Dublin; author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party.

Mainly, he is remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. The latter led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig party, which he dubbed the “Old Whigs”, in opposition to the pro–French Revolution “New Whigs”, led by Charles James Fox.[4]

Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals in the nineteenth century.[5] Since the twentieth century, he has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of conservatism.[6][7]

American War of Independence

EdmundBurke1771Burke expressed his support for the grievances of the American Colonies under the government of King George III and his appointed representatives. On 19 April 1774 Burke made the speech, On American Taxation (published in January 1775), on a motion to repeal the tea duty:

Again and again, revert to your old principles—seek peace and ensue it; leave America, if she has taxable matter in her, to tax herself. I am not here going into the distinctions of rights, nor attempting to mark their boundaries. I do not enter into these metaphysical distinctions; I hate the very sound of them. Leave the Americans as they anciently stood, and these distinctions, born of our unhappy contest, will die along with it. … Be content to bind America by laws of trade; you have always done it. … Do not burthen them with taxes. … But if intemperately, unwisely, fatally, you sophisticate and poison the very source of government by urging subtle deductions, and consequences odious to those you govern, from the unlimited and illimitable nature of supreme sovereignty, you will teach them by these means to call that sovereignty itself in question. … If that sovereignty and their freedom cannot be reconciled, which will they take? They will cast your sovereignty in your face. No body of men will be argued into slavery. Sir, let the gentlemen on the other side … tell me, what one character of liberty the Americans have, and what one brand of slavery they are free from, if they are bound in their property and industry by all the restraints you can imagine on commerce, and at the same time are made pack-horses of every tax you choose to impose, without the least share in granting them. When they bear the burthens of unlimited monopoly, will you bring them to bear the burthens of unlimited revenue too? The Englishman in America will feel that this is slavery; that it is legal slavery, will be no compensation either to his feelings or to his understandings.[48]

On 22 March 1775, in the House of Commons, Burke delivered a speech (published during May 1775) on reconciliation with America. Burke appealed for peace as preferable to civil war and reminded the House of America’s growing population, its industry, and its wealth. He warned against the notion that the Americans would back down in the face of force, since the Americans were descended largely from Englishmen:

… the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen. … They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas and on English principles. The people are Protestants … a persuasion not only favourable to liberty, but built upon it. … My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government—they will cling and grapple to you, and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood that your government may be one thing and their privileges another, that these two things may exist without any mutual relation—the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and everything hastens to decay and dissolution.

As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you.[49]

Burke prized peace with America above all else, pleading with the House of Commons to remember that the interest and money received off of the American colonies was far more attractive than any sense of putting the colonists in their place:

The proposition is peace. Not peace through the medium of war, not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of intricate and endless negotiations, not peace to arise out of universal discord…it is simple peace, sought in its natural course and in its ordinary haunts. It is peace sought in the spirit of peace, and laid in principles purely pacific.[50]

Burke wasn’t simply promoting peace to Parliament; rather, he stepped forward with four reasons against using force, carefully reasoned. He laid out his objections in an orderly manner, focusing on one before moving to the next. His first concern was that the use of force would have to be temporary, and that the uprisings and objections to British governance in America would not be. Second, Burke worried about the uncertainty surrounding whether Britain would win a conflict in America. “An armament”, Burke wisely says, “is not a victory”.[51] Third, Burke brought up the issue of impairment; it would do the British Government no good to engage in a scorched earth war and have the object they desired (America) become damaged or even useless. The American colonists could always delve back into the mountains, but the land they left behind would most likely be unusual, whether by incident or design. The fourth and final reason to avoid the use of force was experience; the British had never attempted to reign back in an unruly colony by force, and they didn’t know if it could be done, let alone accomplished thousands of miles away from home.[51] Not only were all of these concerns reasonable, but some turned out to be prophetic—the American colonists did not surrender, even when things looked extremely bleak, and the British were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts to win a war fought on American soil.

It wasn’t temporary force, uncertainty, impairment, or even experience that Burke cited as the number one reason for avoiding war with the American colonies, however; it was the character of the American people themselves:

In this character of Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole…this fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies, probably, than in any other people of the earth…[the] men [are] acute, inquisitive, dextrous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources…”.[51] Burke concludes with another plea for peace, and a prayer that Britain might avoid actions which, in Burke’s words, “may bring on the destruction of this Empire”.[51]

Burke proposed six resolutions to settle the American conflict peacefully:

  1. Allow the American colonists to elect their own representative, thus settling the dispute about taxation without representation;
  2. Acknowledge this wrong and apologize for grievances cause;
  3. Procure an efficient manner of choosing and sending these delegates;
  4. Set up a General Assembly in America itself, with powers to regulate taxes;
  5. Stop gathering taxes by imposition (or law), and start gathering them only when they are needed; and
  6. Grant needed aid to the colonies.[51]

The effect of these resolutions, had they been passed, can never be known. Unfortunately, this speech was given less than a month before the explosive conflict at Concord and Lexington,[52] and as these resolutions were not passed, little was done that would help to dissuade conflict.

One of the reasons this speech was greatly admired was the passage on Lord Bathurst (1684–1775). Burke imagines an angel in 1704 prophesying to Bathurst the future greatness of England and also of America: “Young man, There is America—which at this day serves little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and uncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, shew itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world”.[53] Samuel Johnson was so irritated at hearing it continually praised, that he made a parody of it, where the devil appears to a young Whig and predicts that in short time, Whiggism will poison even the paradise of America.[53]

The administration of Lord North (1770–1782) tried to defeat the colonist rebellion by military force. British and American forces clashed in 1775 and, in 1776, came the American Declaration of Independence. Burke was appalled by celebrations in Britain of the defeat of the Americans at New York and Pennsylvania. He claimed the English national character was being changed by this authoritarianism.[9] Burke wrote: “As to the good people of England, they seem to partake every day more and more of the Character of that administration which they have been induced to tolerate. I am satisfied, that within a few years there has been a great Change in the National Character. We seem no longer that eager, inquisitive, jealous, fiery people, which we have been formerly”.[54]

Regarding the French Revolution

In January 1790, Burke read Dr. Richard Price‘s sermon of 4 November 1789 entitled, A Discourse on the Love of our Country, to the Revolution Society.[75] That society had been founded to commemorate the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In this sermon Price espoused the philosophy of universal “Rights of Men”. Price argued that love of our country “does not imply any conviction of the superior value of it to other countries, or any particular preference of its laws and constitution of government”.[76] Instead, Price asserted that Englishmen should see themselves “more as citizens of the world than as members of any particular community”.

A debate between Price and Burke ensued that was “the classic moment at which two fundamentally different conceptions of national identity were presented to the English public”.[77] Price claimed that the principles of the Glorious Revolution included “the right to choose our own governors, to cashier them for misconduct, and to frame a government for ourselves”.

Immediately after reading Price’s sermon, Burke wrote a draft of what eventually became, Reflections on the Revolution in France.[78] On 13 February 1790, a notice in the press said that shortly, Burke would publish a pamphlet on the revolution and its British supporters, however he spent the year revising and expanding it. On 1 November he finally published the Reflections and it was an immediate best-seller.[79][80] Priced at five shillings, it was more expensive than most political pamphlets, but by the end of 1790, it had gone through ten printings and sold approximately 17,500 copies. A French translation appeared on 29 November and on 30 November the translator, Pierre-Gaëton Dupont, wrote to Burke saying 2,500 copies had already been sold. The French translation ran to ten printings by June 1791.[81]

Later life

In November 1795, there was a debate in Parliament on the high price of corn and Burke wrote a memorandum to Pitt on the subject. In December Samuel Whitbread MP introduced a bill giving magistrates the power to fix minimum wages and Fox said he would vote for it. This debate probably led Burke to editing his memorandum, as there appeared a notice that Burke would soon publish a letter on the subject to the Secretary of the Board of Agriculture (Arthur Young), but he failed to complete it. These fragments were inserted into the memorandum after his death and published posthumously in 1800 as, Thoughts and Details on Scarcity.[129] In it, Burke expounded “some of the doctrines of political economists bearing upon agriculture as a trade”.[130] Burke criticised policies such as maximum prices and state regulation of wages, and set out what the limits of government should be.

The economist Adam Smith remarked that Burke was “the only man I ever knew who thinks on economic subjects exactly as I do, without any previous communications having passed between us”.[132]

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Champion of Liberty: Alexander Hamilton

Champion of Liberty: Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton Quotes

keyFor it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those [toward] whom they entertain the least suspicion. (Federalist Papers, No. 25, p.164)

Every unconstitutional action has usually been justified because it was for a “good cause.” Every illegal transfer of power from one department to another has been excused as “necessary.”

There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.
Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.

A promise must never be broken.

It’s not tyranny we desire; it’s a just, limited, federal government.
Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.
alexanderhamiltonAlexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was a founding father of the United States, chief staff aide to General George Washington, one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution, the founder of the nation’s financial system, and the founder of the first political party.

As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington administration, especially the funding of the states’ debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views; he was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Hamilton played a major role in the American Revolutionary War. At the start of the war in 1775, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior aide to General Washington, the American forces’ commander-in-chief. Washington sent him on numerous important missions to tell generals what Washington wanted. In 1798-99, Hamilton called for mobilization against France after the XYZ Affair and secured an appointment from President John Adams as commander of a new army, which he readied for war. However, the Quasi-War, while hard-fought at sea, was never officially declared and did not involve army action. In the end, Adams found a diplomatic solution which avoided a land war.

Born out of wedlock to a Scottish-French mother and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton was orphaned at about age 11. Recognized for his abilities and talent, he was sponsored by people from his community to go to North America for his education. He attended King’s College (now Columbia University), in colonial New York.[1] After the war, Hamilton was elected to the Congress of the Confederation from New York. He resigned, to practice law, and founded the Bank of New York.

Hamilton was among those dissatisfied with the Articles of Confederation—the first attempt at a national governing document—because it lacked an executive, courts, and taxing powers. He led the Annapolis Convention, which successfully influenced Congress to issue a call for the Philadelphia Convention, in order to create a new constitution. He was an active participant at Philadelphia; and he helped achieve ratification by the thirteen states, by writing 51 of the 85 installments of the The Federalist Papers, which supported the new constitution. To this day, The Federalist Papers are the single most important reference for Constitutional interpretation.[2]

In the new government under President George Washington, Hamilton was appointed the Secretary of the Treasury. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist, who emphasized strong central government and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution provided the legal authority to fund the national debt, assume states’ debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports, and later also by a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey.

Embarrassed when an extra-marital affair became public, Hamilton resigned his Cabinet position in 1795 and returned to the practice of law in New York. He kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the Cabinet of President Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton’s opposition to Adams’ re-election helped cause his defeat in the 1800 election. When in the same contest, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the presidency in the electoral college, Hamilton helped defeat Burr, whom he found unprincipled, and to elect Jefferson despite philosophical differences.

After failing to support Adams, the Federalist Party candidate, Hamilton lost some of his national prominence within the party. Vice President Burr later ran for governor in New York state, but Hamilton’s influence in his home state was strong enough to again prevent a Burr victory. Taking offense at some of Hamilton’s comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died the next day.

Constitution and The Federalist Papers

In 1787, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was the first delegate chosen to the Constitutional Convention. Even though Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton‘s faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York’s other two delegates, John Lansing and Robert Yates, and both of them opposed Hamilton’s goal of a strong national government. Thus, whenever the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York’s vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained but with no vote, since two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote.

Alexander Hamilton

Legacy

Hamilton’s interpretations of the Constitution set forth in the Federalist Papers remain highly influential, as seen in scholarly studies and court decisions.[144]

From his first days as a cabinet member Hamilton set a precedent by formulating federal programs, writing them as reports, pushing for their approval by arguing for them in person on the floor of the United States Congress, and then implementing them. Hamilton and the other Cabinet members were vital to Washington, as there was no executive branch under the Articles of Confederation, and the Cabinet itself is unmentioned in the Constitution that succeeded it.

Read more:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Hamilton

History Heroes: Margaret Thatcher, Champion of Freedom

Dinner Topics for Thursday

 History Heroes—

Margaret Thatcher, Champion of Freedom

From Wikipedia

margaretthatcherkeyWhere there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS, née Roberts (born 13 October 1925) is a British politician, the longest-serving (1979-1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post. A Soviet journalist nicknamed her the “Iron Lady“, which became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented Conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975 Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election and became Leader of the Opposition, as well as the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

After entering 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives to reverse what she perceived to be Britain’s precipitous national decline.[nb 1] Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher’s popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until economic recovery and the 1982 Falklands War brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her Community Charge (popularly referred to as “poll tax”) was widely unpopular and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. Thatcher holds a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire, which entitles her to sit in the House of Lords.

Early political career

In the 1950 and 1951 general elections she was the Conservative candidate for the safe Labour seat of Dartford, where she attracted media attention as the youngest and the only female candidate.[23][24] She lost both times to Norman Dodds, but reduced the Labour majority by 6,000, and then a further 1,000.[23] (By an odd coincidence, Edward Heath was elected for the first time in the neighbouring constituency in 1950.) During the campaigns, she was supported by her parents and by Denis Thatcher, whom she married in December 1951.[23][25] Denis funded his wife’s studies for the bar;[26] she qualified as a barrister in 1953 and specialised in taxation.[27] That same year her twins, Carol and Mark, were born.[28]

Education Secretary (1970-1974)

The Conservative party under Edward Heath won the 1970 general election, and Thatcher was subsequently appointed Secretary of State for Education and Science. During her first months in office she attracted public attention as a result of the administration’s attempts to cut spending. She gave priority to academic needs in schools,[43] and imposed public expenditure cuts on the state education system, resulting in the abolition of free milk for schoolchildren aged seven to eleven.[44] She held that few children would suffer if schools were charged for milk, but she agreed to provide younger children with a third of a pint daily, for nutritional purposes.[44] Her decision provoked a storm of protest from the Labour party and the press,[45] leading to the moniker “Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher”.[44] Thatcher wrote in her autobiography: “I learned a valuable lesson [from the experience]. I had incurred the maximum of political odium for the minimum of political benefit.”[45][46]

Thatcher’s term of office was marked by proposals for more local education authorities to close grammar schools and to adopt comprehensive secondary education. Although she was committed to a tiered secondary modern-grammar school system of education, and determined to preserve grammar schools,[43] during her tenure as Education Secretary she turned down only 326 of 3,612 proposals for schools to become comprehensives; the proportion of pupils attending comprehensive schools consequently rose from 32 per cent to 62 per cent.[47]

Prime Minister (1979-1990)

Thatcher became Prime Minister on 4 May 1979. Arriving at 10 Downing Street, she said, in a paraphrase of the “Prayer of Saint Francis“:

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

Privatisation

The policy of privatisation has been called “a crucial ingredient of Thatcherism”.[110] After the 1983 election the sale of state utilities accelerated;[111] more than £29 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised industries, and another £18 billion from the sale of council houses.[112]

The process of privatisation, especially the preparation of nationalised industries for privatisation, was associated with marked improvements in performance, particularly in terms of labour productivity.[113] Some of the privatised industries, including gas, water, and electricity, were natural monopolies for which privatisation involved little increase in competition. The privatised industries that demonstrated improvement often did so while still under state ownership. British Steel, for instance, made great gains in profitability while still a nationalised industry under the government-appointed chairmanship of Ian MacGregor, who faced down trade-union opposition to close plants and reduce the workforce by half.[114] Regulation was also significantly expanded to compensate for the loss of direct government control, with the foundation of regulatory bodies like Ofgas, Oftel and the National Rivers Authority.[115] There was no clear pattern to the degree of competition, regulation, and performance among the privatised industries;[113] in most cases privatisation benefitted consumers in terms of lower prices and improved efficiency, but the results overall were “mixed”.[116]

The privatisation of public assets was combined with financial deregulation in an attempt to fuel economic growth. Geoffrey Howe abolished Britain’s exchange controls in 1979, allowing more capital to be invested in foreign markets, and the Big Bang of 1986 removed many restrictions on the London Stock Exchange. The Thatcher government encouraged growth in the finance and service sectors to compensate for Britain’s ailing manufacturing industry.

Thatcher’s antipathy towards European integration became more pronounced during her premiership, particularly after her third election victory in 1987. During a 1988 speech in Bruges she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community (EC), forerunner of the European Union, for a federal structure and increased centralisation of decision making.[147] Thatcher and her party had supported British membership of the EC in the 1975 national referendum,[148] but she believed that the role of the organisation should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that the EC’s approach was at odds with her views on smaller government and deregulation;[149] in 1988, she remarked, “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels”.[149] Thatcher was firmly opposed to the UK’s membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a precursor to European monetary union, believing that it would constrain the British economy,[150] despite the urging of her Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe,[151] but she was persuaded by John Major to join in October 1990, at what proved to be too high a rate.[152]

On 4 July 2011, Thatcher was to attend a ceremony for the unveiling of a 10-foot statue to former American President Ronald Reagan, outside the American Embassy but was unable to attend due to frail health.[216] On 31 July 2011 it was announced that her office in the House of Lords had been closed down.[217] Earlier in July 2011, Thatcher had been named the most competent British Prime Minister of the past 30 years in an Ipsos MORI poll.[218]

Honours

In the Falklands, Margaret Thatcher Day has been marked every 10 January since 1992,[246] commemorating her visit in 1983.[247][248] Thatcher Drive in Stanley is named for her, as is Thatcher Peninsula in South Georgia, where the task force troops first set foot on the Falklands.[246]

Thatcher has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour awarded by the US.[249] She is a patron of The Heritage Foundation,[250] which established the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in 2005.[251] Speaking of Heritage president Ed Feulner, at the first Clare Booth Luce lecture in September 1993, Thatcher said: “You didn’t just advise President Reagan on what he should do; you told him how he could do it. And as a practising politician I can testify that that is the only advice worth having.”[252]

Continued in Wikipedia

 

Rush Limbaugh: Netanyahu a Champion of Western Civilization

Netanyahu is a Champion of Western Civilization

 

Snarky Leftist Caller Buys into Ignorant Stereotype about Conservatives

keyYou know, what Israel does for us, that’s a sad question.  Israel represents the same Judeo-Christian democratic values that we represent and stand for the world over. ~Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

CALLER: Earlier in your show you mentioned how Clinton appeased Arafat, and Arafat actually didn’t want peace, all of which is factual, but haven’t we in the US or Republicans done the same to Israel over the last several years, by giving them a blank check to really do whatever they want with it, and a lot of our support for Israel comes from a misinterpretation of scripture.  They’re not the promised land anymore.  But let me ask you this, Rush.  What has Israel done for us as a country?  And, more than that, why do you support the Jews so much but they’re all so liberal?

netanyahuRUSH:  Well, it’s not a question of supporting Jews.  That’s not the way I look at this.  You, obviously, do.  I do not.  By the way, this moral equivalence that you’ve set up doesn’t exist, either.  There is nothing at all similar in what Israel has been offered in a negotiation with the Palestinians that comes even close to what Clinton offered Arafat.  I mean, Arafat’s making demand left, demand right. Arafat’s demanding all kinds of things, and Clinton gave it to him, and he turned it down.

The point of that is, Arafat, when given everything, when given a solution, when given a Palestinian state, when given everything he demanded, walked away from it, because he didn’t want a solution.  I don’t know what the equivalent that you think is that we have offered Israel.  They are an ally, so, yeah, we provide them with money.  But they are an ally.  They have been an ally since their founding days. 

us-israel-flagYou know, what Israel does for us, that’s a sad question.  Israel represents the same Judeo-Christian democratic values that we represent and stand for the world over.  But to me, this is has nothing to do with biblical prophecy or any of that.  I mean, it’s involved, but as far as I’m concerned, I am not even taking that into account here.  This is a strict geopolitical deal.  This is good versus evil, as far as I’m concerned.  I really don’t understand the concept here, how people like you do not understand the concept of good and evil, good guys and bad guys and how it never seems to fail, we’re not the good guys anymore. Or maybe that’s sometimes in question.  And it isn’t.  I believe in the United States of America all the time.

Israel is attacked and wins wars and claims territory, and everybody says, “You gotta give it back, not fair.”  We were minding our own business and we were attacked, and they still give up the land.  They make concession after concession.  They got a nine-mile-wide country at its narrowest.  They at one point had to give that away.  And now you’ve got the president of the United States is actually running around condemning our ally and painting our ally as the problem in that region.

This snarky — and I’ll leave the names out — we just had this snarky caller who, “What do you care, it’s just a bunch of Jews, the Jews are all liberal, what do you like the Jews for?”  Clearly a call filled with snark.  Now, the caller could have been one of two things.  Could have been an extreme, way, way out anarchist right winger type, or could have been a dyed-in-the-wool leftist.  More than likely, the guy was a leftist.

I love Israel.  What is this?  The caricatures that these people have, and I think this caller had the same thing.  And to me this whole Israeli-Palestinian thing, I mean, supporting Israel for me is not because they’re Jewish.  It has nothing to do with the Bible.  I mean, I could go there if you want me to, but I support Netanyahu ’cause he’s one of us.  Same values.  Same ideology.  Same decency.  It has nothing to do with anybody’s religion. 

The people on the left accuse everybody else of being sexist or racist. They are the most surface oriented people.  They judge everybody on the surface characteristics, what they look like, what their sexual orientation is, what their gender is, their skin color is. That’s how they look at people.  That’s how they decide whether they like ’em or not.  That’s how they judge them. 

Not us.  Certainly not me.  I couldn’t care less about any of that.  But, boy, these people are so lost in their little cocoons where they live with all of this prejudice and bile.  And they’ve convinced themselves that they’re right about it.

Champion of Faith in Jesus Christ

Champion of Christian Faith: Joseph Smith

andersen-answers-192x192Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.

“This great cause … will continue to go forth, changing and blessing lives. … No force in the entire world can stop the work of God. Despite what comes, this great cause will go forward.”23~ Thomas S. Monson

Neil L. Andersen

Jesus Christ chose a holy man, a righteous man, to lead the Restoration of the fulness of His gospel. He chose Joseph Smith.

On his first visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith at age 17, an angel called Joseph by name and told him that he, Moroni, was a messenger sent from the presence of God and that God had a work for him to do. Imagine what Joseph must have thought when the angel then told him that his name would “be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.”1 Perhaps the shock in Joseph’s eyes caused Moroni to repeat again that both good and evil would be spoken of him among all people.2

josephsmith-pamplet-image-eng-192x136The good spoken of Joseph Smith came slowly; the evil speaking began immediately. Joseph wrote, “How very strange it was that an obscure boy … should be thought … of sufficient importance to attract … the most bitter persecution.”3

While love for Joseph grew, so also did hostility. At the age of 38, he was murdered by a mob of 150 men with painted faces.4 While the Prophet’s life abruptly ended, the good and evil spoken of Joseph was just beginning.

Should we be surprised with the evil spoken against him? The Apostle Paul was called mad and deranged.5 Our Beloved Savior, the Son of God, was labeled gluttonous, a winebibber, and possessed of a devil.6

The Lord told Joseph of his destiny:

“The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;

“While the pure in heart, … the wise, … and the virtuous, shall seek … blessings constantly from under thy hand.”7

Why does the Lord allow the evil speaking to chase after the good? One reason is that opposition against the things of God sends seekers of truth to their knees for answers.8

Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. His spiritual work began with the appearance of the Father and the Son, followed by numerous heavenly visitations. He was the instrument in God’s hands in bringing forth sacred scripture, lost doctrine, and the restoration of the priesthood. The importance of Joseph’s work requires more than intellectual consideration; it requires that we, like Joseph, “ask of God.”9 Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.

Many of those who dismiss the work of the Restoration simply do not believe that heavenly beings speak to men on earth. Impossible, they say, that golden plates were delivered by an angel and translated by the power of God. From that disbelief, they quickly reject Joseph’s testimony, and a few unfortunately sink to discrediting the Prophet’s life and slandering his character.

We are especially saddened when someone who once revered Joseph retreats from his or her conviction and then maligns the Prophet.10

“Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, is “like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.”11

Jesus said, “Bless them that curse you, … and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”12 Let us offer kindness to those who criticize Joseph Smith, knowing in our own hearts that he was a prophet of God and taking comfort that all this was long ago foretold by Moroni.

How should we respond to a sincere inquirer who is concerned about negative comments he or she has heard or read about the Prophet Joseph Smith? Of course, we always welcome honest and genuine questions.

To questions about Joseph’s character, we might share the words of thousands who knew him personally and who gave their lives for the work he helped establish. John Taylor, who was shot four times by the mob that killed Joseph, would later declare: “I testify before God, angels, and men, that [Joseph] was a good, honorable, [and] virtuous man— … [and] that his private and public character was unimpeachable—and that he lived and died as a man of God.”13

We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a “truth” filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true.

Years ago I read a Time magazine article that reported the discovery of a letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, that conflicted with Joseph Smith’s account of finding the Book of Mormon plates.14

A few members left the Church because of the document.15

Sadly, they left too quickly. Months later experts discovered (and the forger confessed) that the letter was a complete deception.16 You may understandably question what you hear on the news, but you need never doubt the testimony of God’s prophets.

Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.

We might remind the inquirer that some information about Joseph, while true, may be presented completely out of context to his own day and situation.

Elder Russell M. Nelson illustrated this point. He said: “I was serving as a consultant to the United States government at its National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Once while awaiting a taxi to take me to the airport after our meetings were over, I stretched out on the lawn to soak in a few welcome rays of sunshine before returning to the winter weather of Utah. … Later I received a photograph in the mail taken by a photographer with a telephoto lens, capturing my moment of relaxation on the lawn. Under it was a caption, ‘Governmental consultant at the National Center.’ The picture was true, the caption was true, but the truth was used to promote a false impression.”17 We do not discard something we know to be true because of something we do not yet understand.

We might remind the inquirer that Joseph was not alone in the visit of angels.

The Book of Mormon witnesses wrote, “We declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and … we beheld and saw the plates.”18 We could quote many others as well.19

A sincere inquirer should see the spreading of the restored gospel as the fruit of the Lord’s work through the Prophet.

There are now more than 29,000 congregations and 88,000 missionaries teaching the gospel across the world. Millions of Latter-day Saints are seeking to follow Jesus Christ, live honorable lives, care for the poor, and give of their time and talents in helping others.

Sermon_on_the_Mount006Jesus said:

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. …

“… By their fruits ye shall know them.”20

These explanations are convincing, but the sincere inquirer should not rely on them exclusively to settle his or her search for truth.

Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.

Recently while I was on the East Coast of the United States, a returned missionary spoke to me about a friend who had become disillusioned with information he had received about the Prophet Joseph Smith. They had spoken several times, and the returned missionary seemed to have some doubts himself as a result of the discussions.

Although I hoped he could strengthen his friend, I felt concerned for his own testimony. Brothers and sisters, let me give you a caution: you won’t be of much help to others if your own faith is not securely in place.

A few weeks ago I boarded a plane for South America. The flight attendant directed our attention to a safety video. “It is unlikely,” we were warned, “but if cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open, revealing oxygen masks. If this happens, reach up and pull a mask toward you. Place the mask over your nose and mouth. Slip the elastic strap over your head and adjust the mask if necessary.” Then this caution: “Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”

 

The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior. The half-truths and subtle deceptions will not diminish. There will be family members and friends who will need your help. Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking the truth.21

A testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith can come differently to each of us. It may come as you kneel in prayer, asking God to confirm that he was a true prophet. It may come as you read the Prophet’s account of the First Vision. A testimony may distill upon your soul as you read the Book of Mormon again and again. It may come as you bear your own testimony of the Prophet or as you stand in the temple and realize that through Joseph Smith the holy sealing power was restored to the earth.22 With faith and real intent, your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith will strengthen. The constant water balloon volleys from the sidelines may occasionally get you wet, but they need never, never extinguish your burning fire of faith.

To the youth listening today or reading these words in the days ahead, I give a specific challenge: Gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Let your voice help fulfill Moroni’s prophetic words to speak good of the Prophet. Here are two ideas: First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them with family and friends in family home evening, seminary, and your Young Men and Young Women classes, acknowledging that Joseph was an instrument in God’s hands. Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price or in this pamphlet, now in 158 languages. You can find it online at LDS.org or with the missionaries. This is Joseph’s own testimony of what actually occurred. Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek.

The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith is now in 158 languages.

There are great and wonderful days ahead. President Thomas S. Monson has said: “This great cause … will continue to go forth, changing and blessing lives. … No force in the entire world can stop the work of God. Despite what comes, this great cause will go forward.”23

I give you my witness that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He chose a holy man, a righteous man, to lead the Restoration of the fulness of His gospel. He chose Joseph Smith.

I testify that Joseph Smith was an honest and virtuous man, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, did appear to him. He did translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.

In our society beyond the veil of death, we will clearly understand the sacred calling and divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In that not-too-distant day, you and I and “millions [more] shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.”24 In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

The Testimony of Joseph Smith: A Prophet of God

JosephSmithaskofGodWhen Joseph Smith was 14 years old, he wanted to know which church he should join, so he asked God in sincere prayer. In response to this prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph and told him the true Church of Jesus Christ was not on the earth and They had chosen Joseph to restore it.

From that day, Joseph labored in God’s service, working to establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to build up God’s kingdom on earth in the latter days. Faithful members of the Church witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Jesus directs His Church today through revelation to a prophet on the earth. Joseph Smith was such a prophet. Although Joseph accomplished many things during his life, most important was his commitment to being a disciple and witness of Jesus Christ. He wrote, “After the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:22).

Those who receive the Prophet’s testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost will know the truth of the work he was called to do. They can also know the peace and happiness that come through the Savior Jesus Christ, whom Joseph Smith worshipped and served.

Which Church Is Right?

Joseph Smith was born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont. At the time this narrative begins, he was 14 years old, living with his family in New York, and earnestly considering which church to join. The following is Joseph’s experience, written in his own words.

During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness. … I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

Joseph Smith’s First Vision

JosephSmith1stvisionIn accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

One of them … said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.

Persecution

Joseph obeyed God and did not join any existing church. As he told people what he had seen and heard, he began experiencing opposition and persecution.

I soon found … that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.

It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.

However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.

I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it.

So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.

I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned—that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.

I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision.

During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature.

Moroni’s Visit

Persecution continued as Joseph refused to deny that he had seen God. On September 21, 1823, after retiring to bed, Joseph prayed to know his standing before the Lord. The angel Moroni appeared to him.

JosephSmithnMoroniOn the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.

He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.

Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

MoroniburiesplatesHe said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;

Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus:

“For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

He also quoted the next verse differently: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”

In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.

He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.

Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.

After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.

I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.

He commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.

By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his kingdom; otherwise I could not get them.

After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me for the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.

I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.

The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.

I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.

1.Joseph Smith—History 1:33.

  1. See Joseph Smith—History 1:29–46.

 

  1. Joseph Smith—History 1:23.
  2. See Doctrine and Covenants 135:1.
  3. See Acts 26:24.
  4. See Matthew 11:19; John 10:20.
  5.  Doctrine and Covenants 122:1–2.
  6. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (“Come, Join with Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 23). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “This is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 94).
  7. James 1:5; see also Joseph Smith—History 1:11–13.
  8. Daniel Tyler recalled: “Brother Isaac Behunin and myself [visited the Prophet] at his residence. His persecutions were the topic of conversation. He repeated many false, inconsistent and contradictory statements made by apostates. … He also told how most of the officials who would … have [willingly] taken his life, when he was arrested, turned in his favor on [knowing him better]. …

“… Brother Behunin remarked: ‘If I should leave this Church I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Mormonism had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it.’

“[Joseph] immediately replied: ‘Brother Behunin, you don’t know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. … When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant’” (in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 324).

  1. Neal A. Maxwell, “All Hell Is Moved” (Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 8, 1977), 3; speeches.byu.edu.
  2. Matthew 5:44.
  3. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 83; see also Doctrine and Covenants 135:3.
  4. See Richard N. Ostling, “Challenging Mormonism’s Roots,” Time, May 20, 1985, 44.
  5. See Ostling, “Challenging Mormonism’s Roots,” 44; see also Gordon B. Hinckley, “Lord, Increase Our Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 52; Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 41.
  6. See Richard E. Turley Jr., Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case (1992).
  7. Russell M. Nelson, “Truth—and More,” Ensign, Jan. 1986, 71.
  8. “The Testimony of Three Witnesses,” Book of Mormon.
  9. See Joseph Smith—History 1:71, note; see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:23.
  10. Matthew 7:18, 20.
  11. President Henry B. Eyring, in speaking about those with doubts, said: “In your love for them you may decide to try to give them what they ask. You may be tempted to go with them through their doubts, with the hope that you can find proof or reasoning to dispel their doubts. Persons with doubts often want to talk about what they think are the facts or the arguments that have caused their doubts, and about how much it hurts. …

“You and I can do better if we do not stay long with what our students see as the source of their doubts. … Their problem does not lie in what they think they see; it lies in what they cannot yet see. … We do best if we turn the conversation soon to the things of the heart, those changes of the heart that open spiritual eyes” (“‘And Thus We See’: Helping a Student in a Moment of Doubt” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Feb. 5, 1993], 3, 4; si.lds.org).

  1. President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Many years ago when at the age of twelve I was ordained a deacon, my father, who was president of our stake, took me to my first stake priesthood meeting. … [The opening hymn was “Praise to the Man.”] They were singing of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and as they did so there came into my heart a great surge of love for and belief in the mighty Prophet of this dispensation. … I knew then, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God” (“Praise to the Man,” Ensign, Aug. 1983, 2; Tambuli, Jan. 1984, 1, 2).
  2. Thomas S. Monson, “As We Gather Once Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 4.
  3. “Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27.