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

 

Advertisements

Von Mises Economics lesson: Capitalism works; Socialism fails

Dinner Topics for Thursday

keyIf we were to regard the Soviet regime as an experiment, we would have to say that the experiment has clearly demonstrated the superiority of capitalism and the inferiority of socialism.~Ludwig von Mises

 

From Wikipedia

Ludwig_von_MisesLudwig Heinrich Edler von Mises; 29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was a philosopher, Austrian School economist, sociologist, and classical liberal. He became a prominent figure in the Austrian School of economic thought and is best known for his work on praxeology. Fearing a Nazi takeover of Switzerland, where he was living at the time, Mises emigrated to the United States in 1940. Mises had a significant influence on the libertarian movement in the United States in the mid-20th century.

Work in the United States

In 1940 Mises and his wife fled the German advance in Europe and emigrated to New York City.[2]:xi There he became a visiting professor at New York University. He held this position from 1945 until his retirement in 1969, though he was not salaried by the university.[6] Businessman and libertarian commentator Lawrence Fertig, a member of the NYU Board of Trustees, funded Mises and his work.[12][13] For part of this period, Mises studied currency issues for the Pan-Europa movement, which was led by a fellow NYU faculty member and Austrian exile, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi.[14] In 1947, Mises became one of the founding members of the Mont Pelerin Society. Mises had an indirect role in the economic reconstruction of Europe after World War II through his professional relationships with Ludwig Erhard, Charles de Gaulle and Luigi Einaudi.[15] In 1962, von Mises received the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art for political economy[16] at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.[2]:1034

Mises’s work influenced various Americans, including Benjamin Anderson, Leonard Read, Henry Hazlitt, Max Eastman, legal scholar Sylvester J. Petro, and novelist Ayn Rand. His American students included Israel Kirzner, Hans Sennholz, Ralph Raico, Leonard Liggio, George Reisman and Murray Rothbard.[17]

Mises received students at his home in New York.[18] He retired from teaching at the age of 87.[19] Mises died at the age of 92 in New York. He is buried at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, New York. Grove City College houses the 20,000 page archive of Mises papers and unpublished works.[20]

Mises wrote and lectured extensively on behalf of classical liberalism.[22] In his treatise Human Action, Mises adopted [praxeology]] as a general conceptual foundation of the social sciences and set forth his methodological approach to economics.[citation needed]

Mises criticized socialism in his 1922 work Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis:

The only certain fact about Russian affairs under the Soviet regime with regard to which all people agree is: that the standard of living of the Russian masses is much lower than that of the masses in the country which is universally considered as the paragon of capitalism, the United States of America. If we were to regard the Soviet regime as an experiment, we would have to say that the experiment has clearly demonstrated the superiority of capitalism and the inferiority of socialism.[23]

Read more about Ludwig von Mises

 

Founding Principles of America 21: Strong Local Government

Founding Principles of America 21: Strong Local Government

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

U.S. Constitution series 21

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

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

The Golden Key to Preserving Freedom

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

 

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

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

Thomas Jefferson:

National

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

State

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

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

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

Deployment of Power Between the Federal Government and the States

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

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

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

Federal Government to Remain Relatively Small

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

Jefferson wrote:

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

 

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

 

 

Marquis Lafayette: Great among Revolutionary War Heroes

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Marquis Lafayette: Great among Revolutionary War Heroes

By Christopher Ruddy

It is doubtful the American Republic would have been born were it not for the courage and generosity of our greatest French friend, Marquis de Lafayette, who joined the Continental Army at the age of 19 with the rank of lieutenant general.

Ruddy-LafayeteGraveside-(1)Remembering General Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy lays flowers at the grave of the Marquis de Lafayette on July 4, 2015, Picpus Cemetery, Paris.
It is doubtful the American Republic would have been born were it not for the courage and generosity of our greatest French friend, Marquis de Lafayette, who joined the Continental Army at the age of 19 with the rank of lieutenant general.

He helped provision George Washington’s army, led troops in several battles ,and played a key role at Yorktown.

He persuaded France to join the war on our side.

He was Washington’s surrogate son and a beloved American.

lafayetteWhen he died in 1830 he was eulogized by former President John Quincy Adams for three hours, and Congress and the nation mourned his death for 30 days.

All Americans today still owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Gen. Lafayette!
Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Ruddy/ruddy-lafayette-hero-revolution/2015/07/04/id/653446/#ixzz3g79vshb3

History Heroes: U.S. Constitution, John Locke, and Founding Fathers

Dinner Topics for Thursday

keyHe that thinks absolute power purifies men’s blood and corrects the baseness of human nature, need only read history to be convinced to the contrary. ~John Locke

John Locke’s Influence on the U.S. Constitution and Founding Fathers

signers3John Locke 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704), widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism,[2][3][4] was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.[5]

Influence on Founding Fathers

The Constitutional Convention began deliberations on May 25, 1787.
Delegates used two streams of intellectual tradition, and any one delegate could be found using both or a mixture depending on the subject under discussion, foreign affairs or the economy, national government or federal relationships among the states. The Virginia Plan recommended a consolidated national government, generally favoring the big population states. It used the philosophy of John Locke to rely on consent of the governed, Montesquieu for divided government, and Edward Coke emphasizing civil liberties. The New Jersey Plan generally favored the small population states, using the philosophy of English Whigs such as Edmund Burke to rely on received procedure, and William Blackstone emphasizing sovereignty of the legislature.
The Convention devolved into a “Committee of the Whole” to consider the fifteen propositions of the Virginia Plan in their numerical order. These discussions continued until June 13, when the Virginia resolutions in amended form were reported out of committee.
All agreed to a republican form of government grounded in representing the people in the states.

Influence

Locke exercised a profound influence on political philosophy, in particular on modern liberalism. Michael Zuckert has argued that Locke launched liberalism by tempering Hobbesian absolutism and clearly separating the realms of Church and State. He had a strong influence on Voltaire who called him “le sage Locke”.

 His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced the written works of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers of the United States. In fact, one passage from the Second Treatise is reproduced verbatim in the Declaration of Independence, the reference to a “long train of abuses.”

 

Such was Locke’s influence that Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Bacon, Locke and Newton … I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences”.[11][12][13] Today, most contemporary libertarians claim Locke as an influence.
But Locke’s influence may have been even more profound in the realm of epistemology. Locke redefined subjectivity, or self, and intellectual historians such as Charles Taylor and Jerrold Seigel argue that Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) marks the beginning of the modern Western conception of the self.[14]

Theories of religious tolerance

johnlockeLocke, writing his Letters Concerning Toleration (1689–92) in the aftermath of the European wars of religion, formulated a classic reasoning for religious tolerance. Three arguments are central: (1) Earthly judges, the state in particular, and human beings generally, cannot dependably evaluate the truth-claims of competing religious standpoints; (2) Even if they could, enforcing a single “true religion” would not have the desired effect, because belief cannot be compelled by violence; (3) Coercing religious uniformity would lead to more social disorder than allowing diversity.[15]

Locke also advocated governmental separation of powers and believed that revolution is not only a right but an obligation in some circumstances. These ideas would come to have profound influence on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Continued

Dinner Talk: Definition of Classic Liberalism vs. Modern Liberalism

John Locke is called the Father of “Classic Liberalism.” The Founding Fathers were considered liberal at the time of the American Revolution because they were in favor of liberty, and they wanted to change the form of government to allow more liberty.Tories were considered to be conservative, because they wanted to conserve the Britiish monarchy.

Today these definitions have almost reversed. Today’s liberals want to change the U.S. Constitution (or destroy it) to decrease the amount of liberty, give more power to the federal government, and remove responsibility from the individual. Today, the Founding Fathers would be considered to be conservative, because they would want to conserve the U.S. constitution which they created, with limited government, and freedom of the people, balanced with individual responsibility.

History Heroes: Amazing Grace, Liberty and Slavery

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

wilberforceAmazing Grace: William Wilberforce

If you have not seen the movie “Amazing Grace” by Walden Media, I highly recommend it. It is a wonderful portrayal of Wilberforce’s heroic achievement. Note that his law made slave trade in Britain illegal, but total emancipation in the United States was not achieved until January 1, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, after the United States fought a bitter civil war over this issue.

~C.A. Davidson

Wilberforce headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.

Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality and education. He championed causes and campaigns such as the Society for Suppression of Vice, British missionary work in India, the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, the foundation of the Church Mission Society, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. His underlying conservatism led him to support politically and socially repressive legislation, and resulted in criticism that he was ignoring injustices at home while campaigning for the enslaved abroad.

 

In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to his friend William Pitt.

 

Conversion

In February 1785, Wilberforce returned to the United Kingdom temporarily, to support Pitt’s proposals for parliamentary reforms. He rejoined the party in Genoa, Italy, from where they continued their tour to Switzerland. Milner accompanied Wilberforce to England, and on the journey they read The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul by Philip Doddridge, a leading early 18th-century English nonconformist.[36]

Wilberforce’s spiritual journey is thought to have begun at this time. He started to rise early to read the Bible and pray and kept a private journal.[37] He underwent an evangelical conversion, regretting his past life and resolving to commit his future life and work to the service of God.[7] His conversion changed some of his habits but not his nature: he remained outwardly cheerful, interested, and respectful, tactfully urging others towards his new faith.[38] Inwardly, he underwent an agonising struggle and became relentlessly self-critical, harshly judging his spirituality, use of time, vanity, self-control, and relationships with others.[39]

At the time religious enthusiasm was generally regarded as a social transgression and was stigmatised in polite society. Evangelicals in the upper classes, such as Sir Richard Hill, the Methodist MP for Shropshire, and Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon were exposed to contempt and ridicule,[40] and Wilberforce’s conversion led him to question whether he should remain in public life. Wilberforce sought guidance from John Newton, a leading Evangelical Anglican clergyman of the day and Rector of St Mary Woolnoth in the City of London.[41][42] Both Newton and Pitt counselled Wilberforce to remain in politics, and he resolved to do so “with increased diligence and conscientiousness”.[7] Thereafter, his political views were informed by his faith and by his desire to promote Christianity and Christian ethics in private and public life.[43][44] His views were often deeply conservative, opposed to radical changes in a God-given political and social order, and focused on issues such as the observance of the Sabbath and the eradication of immorality through education and reform.[45] As a result, he was often distrusted by progressive voices because of his conservatism, and regarded with suspicion by many Tories who saw Evangelicals as radicals, bent on the overthrow of church and state.[24]

Abolition of the slave trade

Initial decision

The British initially became involved in the slave trade during the 16th century. By 1783, the triangular route that took British-made goods to Africa to buy slaves, transported the enslaved to the West Indies, and then brought slave-grown products such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton to Britain, represented about 80 percent of Great Britain’s foreign income.[49][50] British ships dominated the trade, supplying French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and British colonies, and in peak years carried forty thousand enslaved men, women and children across the Atlantic in the horrific conditions of the middle passage.[51] Of the estimated 11 million Africans transported into slavery, about 1.4 million died during the voyage.[52]

The British campaign to abolish the slave trade is generally considered to have begun in the 1780s with the establishment of the Quakers‘ antislavery committees, and their presentation to Parliament of the first slave trade petition in 1783.[53][54] The same year, Wilberforce, while dining with his old Cambridge friend Gerard Edwards,[55] met Rev. James Ramsay, a ship’s surgeon who had become a clergyman on the island of St Christopher (later St Kitts) in the Leeward Islands, and a medical supervisor of the plantations there. What Ramsay had witnessed of the conditions endured by the slaves, both at sea and on the plantations, horrified him. Returning to England after fifteen years, he accepted the living of Teston, Kent in 1781, and there met Sir Charles Middleton, Lady Middleton, Thomas Clarkson, Hannah More and others, a group that later became known as the Testonites.[56] Interested in promoting Christianity and moral improvement in Britain and overseas, they were appalled by Ramsay’s reports of the depraved lifestyles of slave owners, the cruel treatment meted out to the enslaved, and the lack of Christian instruction provided to the slaves.[57] With their encouragement and help, Ramsay spent three years writing An essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British sugar colonies, which was highly critical of slavery in the West Indies. The book, published in 1784, was to have an important impact in raising public awareness and interest, and it excited the ire of West Indian planters who in the coming years attacked both Ramsay and his ideas in a series of pro-slavery tracts.[58]

In early 1787, Thomas Clarkson, a fellow graduate of St John’s, Cambridge, who had become convinced of the need to end the slave trade after writing a prize-winning essay on the subject while at Cambridge,[56] called upon Wilberforce at Old Palace Yard with a published copy of the work.[63][64] This was the first time the two men had met; their collaboration would last nearly fifty years.[65][66] Clarkson began to visit Wilberforce on a weekly basis, bringing first-hand evidence [67] he had obtained about the slave trade.[65] The Quakers, already working for abolition, also recognised the need for influence within Parliament, and urged Clarkson to secure a commitment from Wilberforce to bring forward the case for abolition in the House of Commons.[68][69]

Following Pitt’s death in January 1806 Wilberforce began to collaborate more with the Whigs, especially the abolitionists. He gave general support to the Grenville-Fox administration, which brought more abolitionists into the cabinet; Wilberforce and Charles Fox led the campaign in the House of Commons, while Lord Grenville advocated the cause in the House of Lords.[118][139]

Lord Grenville, the Prime Minister, was determined to introduce an Abolition Bill in the House of Lords rather than in the House of Commons, taking it through its greatest challenge first.[147] When a final vote was taken, the bill was passed in the House of Lords by a large margin.[149] Sensing a breakthrough that had been long anticipated, Charles Grey moved for a second reading in the Commons on 23 February 1807. As tributes were made to Wilberforce, whose face streamed with tears, the bill was carried by 283 votes to 16.[144][150] Excited supporters suggested taking advantage of the large majority to seek the abolition of slavery itself but Wilberforce made it clear that total emancipation was not the immediate goal: “They had for the present no object immediately before them, but that of putting stop directly to the carrying of men in British ships to be sold as slaves.”[151] The Slave Trade Act received the Royal Assent on 25 March 1807.

Continued

YouTube Music: Beethoven Overture Champions Liberty

YouTube Music:

Beethoven Overture Champions Liberty

Egmont Overture by Beethoven Champions Liberty

keyIn the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The Overture later became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

 

Count Egmont

Count Egmont

Egmont, Op. 84, by Ludwig van Beethoven, is a set of incidental music pieces for the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.[1] It consists of an overture followed by a sequence of nine pieces for soprano, male narrator and full symphony orchestra. (The male narrator is optional; he is not used in the play and does not appear in all recordings of the complete incidental music.) Beethoven wrote it between October 1809 and June 1810, and it was premiered on 15 June 1810.

The subject of the music and dramatic narrative is the life and heroism of a 16th-century Dutch nobleman, the Count of Egmont. It was composed during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, at a time when the French Empire had extended its domination over most of Europe. Beethoven had famously expressed his great outrage over Napoleon Bonaparte’s decision to crown himself Emperor in 1804, furiously scratching out his name in the dedication of the Eroica Symphony. In the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The Overture later became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

Beethoven composed Klärchen’s songs, “Die Trommel gerühret” (“The drum is a-stirring”) and “Freudvoll und leidvoll” (“Joyful and woeful”), with the Austrian actress Antonie Adamberger specifically in mind. She would later repeatedly and enthusiastically recall her collaboration with him.[2]

The music was greeted with eulogistic praise, in particular by E.T.A. Hoffmann for its poetry, and Goethe himself declared that Beethoven had expressed his intentions with “a remarkable genius”.

The overture, powerful and expressive, is one of the last works of his middle period; it has become as famous a composition as the Coriolan Overture, and is in a similar style to the Fifth Symphony, which he had completed two years earlier.

History Facts, William Blackstone, and Law of God

History Facts, William Blackstone, and Law of God

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

William Blackstone Quotes

keyMan, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this. ~Blackstone

The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed … tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity [happiness]. (Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England. 1:29-60, 64)

Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as are life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are: neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture. (Blackstone: Commentaries on the Laws of England)

Laws for human nature had been revealed by God, whereas the laws of the universe (natural law) must be learned through scientific investigation. (Commentaries, p.64) Blackstone stated that “upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws …” (Ibid., p.65)

“Free men have arms; slaves do not.”
William Blackstone

“The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public: to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity.”
William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 4: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769

 

William Blackstone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blackstone_from_NPGSir William Blackstone KC SL (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician of the eighteenth century. He is most noted for writing the Commentaries on the Laws of England. Born into a middle-class family in London, Blackstone was educated at Charterhouse School before matriculating at Pembroke College, Oxford in 1738. After switching to and completing a Bachelor of Civil Law degree, he was made a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford on 2 November 1743, admitted to Middle Temple, and called to the Bar there in 1746. Following a slow start to his career as a barrister, Blackstone became heavily involved in university administration, becoming accountant, treasurer and bursar on 28 November 1746 and Senior Bursar in 1750. Blackstone is considered responsible for completing the Codrington Library and Warton Building, and simplifying the complex accounting system used by the college. On 3 July 1753 he formally gave up his practice as a barrister and instead embarked on a series of lectures on English law, the first of their kind. These were massively successful, earning him a total of £60,000 in 2014 terms, and led to the publication of An Analysis of the Laws of England in 1756, which repeatedly sold out and was used to preface his later works.

On 20 October 1758 Blackstone was confirmed as the first Vinerian Professor of English Law, immediately embarking on another series of lectures and publishing a similarly successful second treatise, titled A Discourse on the Study of the Law. With his growing fame, Blackstone successfully returned to the bar and maintained a good practice, also securing election as Tory Member of Parliament for the rotten borough of Hindon on 30 March 1761. In February 1766 he published the first volume of Commentaries on the Laws of England, considered his magnum opus—the completed work earned Blackstone £1,648,000 in 2014 terms. After repeated failures, he successfully gained appointment to the judiciary as a Justice of the Court of King’s Bench on 16 February 1770, leaving to replace Edward Clive as a Justice of the Common Pleas on 25 June. He remained in this position until his death, on 14 February 1780.

Blackstone’s legacy and main work of note is his Commentaries. Designed to provide a complete overview of English law, the four-volume treatise was repeatedly republished in 1770, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1778 and in a posthumous edition in 1783. Reprints of the first edition, intended for practical use rather than antiquary interest, were published until the 1870s in England and Wales, and a working version by Henry John Stephen, first published in 1841, was reprinted until after the Second World War. Legal education in England had stalled; Blackstone’s work gave the law “at least a veneer of scholarly respectability”.[1] William Searle Holdsworth, one of Blackstone’s successors as Vinerian Professor, argued that “If the Commentaries had not been written when they were written, I think it very doubtful that [the United States], and other English speaking countries would have so universally adopted the common law.”[2] In the United States, the Commentaries influenced John Marshall, James Wilson, John Jay, John Adams, James Kent and Abraham Lincoln, and remain frequently cited in Supreme Court decisions.

Read more about William Blackstone

 

Book Reviews: Hand of God in American Revolution

Dinner Topics for Independence Day

Book Reviews: Hand of God in American Revolution

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

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

Prelude to Glory

By Ron Carter

Volume 1

prelude-glory1Our Sacred Honor

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

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

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

Volume 2

prelude-glory2The Times That Try Men’s Souls

By Ron Carter

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

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

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

 

Volume 3

prelude-glory3To Decide Our Destiny

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

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

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

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

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

Volume 4

prelude-glory4The Hand of Providence

“Writing home?” Billy asked.

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

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

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

More than fifty men had gathered to listen as Boardman concluded

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

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

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

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

 

Volume 5

prelude-glory5aA Cold, Bleak Hill

December 22, 1777

To the Hnble Henry Laurens, President,

Congress of The United States:

Sir:

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

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

George Washington

Valley Forge

 

Volume 6

prelude-glory6The World Turned Upside Down

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

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

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

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

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

Volume 7

prelude-glory7The Impending Storm

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

 

Volume 8

prelude-glory8A More Perfect Union

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

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

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

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

 

Volume 9

prelude-glory9By the Dawn’s Early Light

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

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

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

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

History Facts: Remembering the War Heroes of D-Day Invasion

History Facts:

Remembering the War Heroes of D-Day Invasion

O’Donnell: Beyond Valor: Rangers Lead the Way on D-Day

That was far from the last time the Rangers would meet Germans face-to-face. The elite American forces led the way across Europe, their sacrifices ensuring that freedom and democracy would continue to thrive, as they do to this day.

Patrick K. O’Donnell

“We were about two hundred feet from the beach when a shell blew off the front of our landing craft, destroying the ramp,” recalled Ray Alm from B Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, which landed on Omaha’s deadly Dog Green Beach at approximately 7:40 a.m. on D-Day. “My two best buddies were right in front of me, and they were both killed. I was holding a .45 pistol and carrying a bazooka with eight shells; it was so heavy that I just went right under the water. So I had to let everything go except the shells.”

He continued, “When we were on the beach, there were two other Rangers and myself running, and a German machine gun was firing at us. We hid behind an anti-tank obstacle. The three of us ducked behind it. We then headed towards the front again. It was terrible; there were bodies all over the place. They wiped out almost the entire 116th Infantry Regiment; they just murdered them. They were floating all over the place, there was blood in the water—it was just dark.”

This June 6 marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. Nothing captures the drama and action of that day better than the words of the men who actually took part in the assault. Particularly poignant are the voices of the elite Army Rangers who led the way off bloody Omaha Beach.

Sadly, most of the men who remember that day have passed on. But their voices are immortalized in Beyond Valor: World War II’s Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat. For nearly twenty-five years, I’ve been interviewing American veterans from WWI to Iraq, and I have captured more than 4,000 oral histories from WWII veterans in elite units such as the Rangers. These men were my friends, men my daughter called uncle. In many cases, these great Americans did the impossible. Their individual actions changed history, and they did their duty in the face of tremendous odds.

On the morning of D-Day, members of the 5th and 2nd Ranger Battalions were making their way through the choppy waters off Normandy to their D-Day objectives. They were divided into three different groups, each focused on specific military targets. Their primary focus was the guns of Pointe du Hoc and the deadly German mortars on the high ground to the extreme left of Omaha.

For the bulk of the Rangers, including the 5th Battalion, their secondary objective if Pointe du Hoc failed was Omaha Beach. Faulty radar and failed radio transmissions led to a chain of events that put the 5th and several companies of the 2nd Rangers on their secondary objective: Omaha. At the right place, at exactly the right time, they led a crucial breakout.

Here are two of their stories:

“We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the ninety foot cliff. . . . When we got up on top we had only nine men left in my platoon,” recalled my dear friend Lt. Sid Salomon.

Salomon was one of the first Rangers on the beach. C Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion landed at 0645. Dodging mortar and machine-gun fire, the men scaled ninety-foot cliffs of Pointe-et-Raz-de-la-Percée. Under fire, the Rangers made it to the top and attacked the Germans in an effort to deny them crucial high ground over the Charlie sector of Omaha Beach.

“We had two platoons, each in its own landing craft,” Salomon said. “I was in charge of one, and the other platoon leader was in charge of the other. Our goal was to cross the beach, climb the cliff, and neutralize the mortars and machine guns that were positioned on top of a beach that intelligence had indicated could threaten the landing at Omaha Beach.”

The fight began even before the Rangers reached the shore. “The trip was tough coming in,” Solomon said. “Keep in mind, it was postponed due to rough seas. The men started getting sick. We were issued paper bags, like you get in airplanes. The men filled them up and threw them over the side. Some men started using their helmets. We could hear the ping of the machine gun bullets hitting the side of the landing craft, and mortar shells were landing near the landing craft. I could see the concentric circles formed by the shells hitting the water. It was quite something, of course. One of the men joked, ‘Hey, they’re firing at us.’ It added a little humor to the situation.”

When the landing craft hit the beach, Solomon was the first to exit the vessel. “When I jumped off, I held my tommy gun over my head. I jumped into not-quite-chest-high water, and it took a few seconds to get my feet on the ground. In the meantime, the second man, Sergeant Reed, jumped off to the left. I always figured that the first man out would be hit. Fortunately, the Germans didn’t know when the ramp would lower. But they had us zeroed in with their machine guns, and the second man, Reed, was hit. He had fallen down, wounded, and had slid underneath the ramp.”

Solomon dragged Reed to the water’s edge and told him, “Sergeant, this is as far as I can take you, I have to get along.”

Then he took off running. “A mortar shell landed right behind me and killed or wounded all of my mortar section. I got some of the shrapnel—it hit my back and I landed right on my face. I fell down in the sand and thought I was dead.” Solomon remembered.

But he refused to give up. “Right then and there, I said to myself that I wasn’t going to die. This was no place to be lying, so I took my maps, I got up, and ran toward the overhang of the cliff,” he recalled.

“An aid man came over to me and took my field jacket and shirt off and started digging shrapnel out of my back. These were the days before penicillin, and each man carried a sulfa pack, and he put it on my back.” The medic told him. “That’s all I can do for you now.”

Despite the pain, Solomon began to climb the ninety-foot cliff. “Each man had a six-foot piece of rope that had a noose at the end of it and, ideally, we were to link the ropes together and scale the cliff,” he explained. “We didn’t bother with that since, of course, so many men had gotten killed and wounded. . . . We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the cliff.”

But of the 37 men in the company, only nine would survive the climb.

Those nine had overcome tremendous odds, but the fighting — and the dying — weren’t finished yet. Salomon and a fellow platoon leader lay in a shellhole from where they could see the German trench they next needed to assault. “We were there only a minute or two and all of a sudden Bill Moody, the 1st Platoon commander, fell over on my shoulder. He had been killed by a bullet hole through his eyes,” Salomon recalled.

Without pausing to mourn, Salomon grabbed another of the Rangers who had made it to the top and said, “Let’s go!” They ran and jumped into the trench, following it until they came to a dugout. “I threw a white phosphorous grenade through the entrance and waited a minute,” Salomon explained. “We then sprayed the entrance.” With no one inside, they continued moving through the maze of trenches.

“We went a little further around a curve and were face to face with a German soldier. We were both equally stunned, but I grabbed him, and I figured this might be a good time to have a prisoner instead of killing him right then and there. I said, ‘Let’s send him down to the company commander,’ who was down at the beach with dead and wounded men maintaining order.”

“I sent the prisoner down the cliff,” he said. “I don’t know if he got down on his own or if they pushed him down—that was immaterial to me.”

It quickly became obvious that it would be silly to move much farther inland with so few men, Salomon said. “We proceeded to knock out a machine gun section and a mortar section. . . . We knocked out the German position and figured that we were doing our best by still holding our ground.”

***

“We could see the action from the landing craft as we came in,” recalled Ellis “Bill” Reed, a member of the U.S. Army 5th Ranger Battalion who fought at Omaha Dog White on D-Day. “There was a tremendous amount of firepower coming from both flanks. Machine gun fire and artillery fire was pouring in.”

Already, the beach in front of Reed and the other Rangers was littered with the bodies of Americans who had landed only to be gunned down by the Germans. Reed “had to run across about 150 yards of beach” with his platoon leader and his buddy Woody Doorman, who was a bangalore torpedo man. “Our job was to place the torpedo under the wire and detonate it, ripping a hole in the wire for the rest of the troops to move through.”

But before they could carry out their mission, they first had to reach the wire. “When we exited the landing craft many people had flotation belts, and if the water was over your neck you would turn upside down,” Reed remembered. “When we got off the boat and into the wet sand we had to run for the seawall. Men were dying around us, lying in different positions, and tanks were burning.”

Dashing behind the seawall, Reed heard General Cota, the commanding officer on the beach, utter the fateful words that became a motto for the Rangers: “Rangers, lead the way!”

Doorman and Reed did just that. “Woody and I had to assemble each piece of the torpedo, get up from behind the seawall, push the bangalore torpedo across the road on top of the bluff and put it under the concertina wire,” Reed explained. “Once we had the torpedo in place, we took the fuse wire out, pulled the fuse, and yelled, ‘Fire in the hole!’ and jumped back over the wall. The result, if it worked, was a hole in the concertina wire.”

With a laugh, Reed added, “They [the Germans] didn’t stop firing while we were doing this, if you know what I mean. They were firing down the line, and there was a lot of machine gun and mortar fire. I don’t know if I was so scared or what, but I moved as fast as I could to get everything set.” Still chuckling, he continued, “I made sure the fuse lighter went off, since we were told in our training that if it didn’t go off we were to sacrifice our bodies and lay on the concertina wire as the men stepped on us. So I made damn sure that the torpedo detonated.”

The torpedo worked as intended, blasting a hole in the German defenses and creating a crucial exit off Omaha Beach. “As the men moved through our holes in the wire, one of our scouts got cut in half by a machine gun,” Reed recalled. “I was told to fire the rifle grenade at a machine gun nest, but like everything else in the U.S. Army, it was a big dud. So at that point Lieutenant Dawson got up and charged it with his submachine gun and kept blasting. When we got up close they put their hands up. I remember that one German had his arm dangling by only a piece of flesh. That was our first visual face-to-face contact with the enemy.”

That was far from the last time the Rangers would meet Germans face-to-face. The elite American forces led the way across Europe, their sacrifices ensuring that freedom and democracy would continue to thrive, as they do to this day.