US Constitution Series 8: Life, Liberty, Property are Rights from God

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

decofindependence1The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

 

US Constitution Series 8: Men are Endowed by their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights

~Skousen, pp. 124-129

keyThe Founders did not believe that the basic rights of mankind originated from any social compact, king, emperor, or governmental authority. Those rights, they believed, came directly and exclusively from God. Therefore, they were to be maintained sacred and inviolate.

 

johnlockeJohn Locke

The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which …teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions; for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent and infinitely wise maker …

And, being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of Nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us that may authorize us to destroy one another.

 

When is a Right Unalienable?

Blackstone_from_NPGWilliam Blackstone

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)

And these [great natural rights] may be reduced to three principal or primary articles: the right of personal security; the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property.

In other words, we may do something ourselves to forfeit the unalienable rights endowed by the Creator, [such as murder] but no one else can TAKE those rights from us without being subject to God’s justice.

Vested Rights

We have certain other rights called vested rights which are created by the community, state, or nation for our protection or well-being. However, these can be changed any time the lawmakers feel like it.

Examples of vested rights: the right to go hunting during certain seasons, or the right to travel on the public highway. Notice that the government can change both of these “rights” or prohibit them altogether. A region could be declared off-limits for hunting; the highway could be closed.

But [current events notwithstanding] the government could not pass a law to destroy all babies under the age of two, or lock up someone [because of their appearance]. In the one case it would be destroying the unalienable right to live, and in the other case it would be destroying the unalienable right to liberty.

 

BastiatFrederic Bastiat (trying to preserve freedom in France)

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life—physical, intellectual, and moral life.

Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property, this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation and are superior to it.

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws [for the protection of them] in the first place.

Principle 9: To Protect Man’s Rights, God has Revealed Certain Principles of Divine Law.

US Constitution Series 7: Free Enterprise vs. Free Stuff

 

US Constitution Series 7: The Proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not provide Equal Things

 

 

Patriotism Book Review: Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner

Patriotism Book Review:

Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner

Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner

By Rush Limbaugh and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh

Winner of the 2014 Children’s Choice Book Award for Author of the Year

 

It’s the dawn of an important new day in America. Young readers, grab the reins and join Rush Revere, Liberty the horse, and the whole time-traveling crew in this patriotic historical adventure that takes you on an exciting trip to the  past to see our remarkable nation’s most iconic symbols up close and personal!

1787—that’s where we’re rush, rush, rushing off to next with our enthusiastic young friends in the Time-Traveling Crew (but not before causing a major security incident at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.!)

A funny case of mistaken identity and a wild chase through the busy streets of Philadelphia will ledad us to the famously introverted Father of our constitution, James Madison and the heated secret debates over the Constitution and the Bill  of Rights. Fast-forward a few years, and we’ll help his brave wife, Dolly, risk her life to save an important portrait from the White House as the British set Washington afire!

What greater symbol of our exceptional nation’s hard-won freedoms than the Star-Spangled Banner, sewn by American icon Betsy Ross?

Perhaps Francis Scott Key can explain what inspired him to pay tribute to our glorious flag by writing our beautiful national anthem. But watch out for the bombs bursting in air, because when we reach 1814, we’ll be front and center at a major battle to defend our liberty.

Jump back in the saddle with me, Rush Revere, and the Time-Traveling Crew, as my trusty horse, Liberty, takes us on another flying leap through American history into a past teeming with heroes and extraordinary citizens who have so much to teach us about patriotism.

All you need to bring is your curiosity about the birth of our democracy—I’ve got plenty of tricornered hats for everyone!

 

Go back in time to experience fht fight for American freedom firsthand, on the floors of Congress and the battlements of Fort McHenry, and ask:

What do the words of the national anthem really mean?

Who created the first flag of the United States?

What did Dolley Madison rescue when the British burned the Capitol?

Where is the U.S. Constitution kept?

Why was George Mason upset at the Constitutional Convention?

Why was the War of 1812 fought?

How did James Madison become the Father of the Constitution?

 

US Constitution Series 7: Free Enterprise vs. Free Stuff

Dinner Topics for Tuesday

US Constitution Series 7:

Free Enterprise vs. Free Stuff

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

keyThe utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of all the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional. ~Samuel Adams (p.119)

 The Proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not provide Equal Things

Equal Opportunity, Liberty of Enterprise, NOT Equal Income, NOT Free Stuff

redistsocialismillustratedIn Europe, during the days of the Founders, a popular idea was that government should take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots” so that all might be truly “equal.” However, the American Founders believed that this idea contained a huge fallacy.

Suppose a kind-hearted man saw that one of his neighbors had two cars while another neighbor had none. What would happen if, in a spirit of benevolence, the kind man went over and took one of the cars from his prosperous neighbor and generously gave it to the neighbor in need? Obviously, he would be arrested for car theft. No matter how kind his intentions, he is guilty of flagrantly violating the natural rights of his prosperous neighbor, who is entitled to be protected in his property.

What if the “kind-hearted” man got the government to force the prosperous car-owner to give a car to his pedestrian neighbor?

A Lesson from Communism

hammerandsickleWhen the communists seized power in Hungary, the peasants were delighted with the “justice” of having the large farms confiscated from their owners and given to the peasants. Later the Communist leaders seized three-fourths of the peasant land and took it back to set up government communal farms. Immediately the peasants howled in protest about their property “rights.”

Those who protested too loudly or too long soon found that they not only lost their land, but also their liberty. If they continued to protest, they lost their lives.

Equal Rights Doctrine Protects the Freedom to Prosper

The policy of the American Founders was to guarantee the equal protection of all the people’s rights and thus insure that all would have the freedom to prosper. There was to be no special penalty for getting rich. (pp. 115-117)

 

Making the Whole Nation Prosperous

wealthspreadworkethicThe Founders felt that America would become a nation dominated by a prosperous middle class with a few people becoming rich. As for the poor, the important thing was to insure the freedom to prosper so that no one would be locked into the poverty level the way people have been in all other parts of the world.

Some would prosper more than others. Some would prosper because of talent, some because of good fortune, some because of an inheritance, but most would prosper because of hard work.

Where people suffered the loss of their crops or became unemployed, the more fortunate were to help. And those who were enjoying “good times” were encouraged to save up in store for the misfortunes which seem to come to everybody someday. Hard work, frugality, thrift, and compassion became the key words in the American ethic. (p. 118)

Why the Founders Made European Theories Unconstitutional

America soon became the most prosperous and best-educated people on earth. The key was using the government to protect equal rights, not to provide equal things. Samuel Adams said the ideas of a welfare state were made unconstitutional:

The utopian schemes of leveling [redistribution of the wealth], and a community of goods [central ownership of all the means of production and distribution], are as visionary and impracticable as those which vest all property in the Crown. [These ideas] are arbitrary, despotic, and, in our government, unconstitutional. ~Samuel Adams (p.119)

Founders’ Formula for Compassion

Benjamin Franklin wrote:

wealthredistribute1To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishments for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need to be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good. (Smyth, Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 3:135)

Highlights from the writings of the Founders suggest the following:

1. Do not help the needy completely. Merely help them to help themselves.

2. Give the poor the satisfaction of “earned achievement” instead of rewarding them without achievement.

3. Allow the poor to climb the “appreciation ladder”—from tents to cabins, cabins to cottages, cottages to comfortable houses.

4. Where emergency help is provided, do not prolong it to the point where it becomes habitual.

5. Strictly enforce the scale of “fixed responsibility.” The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community; finally the county, and, in a disaster or emergency, the state. Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare.

wealthprivatesectorThe Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor. No Constitutional authority exists for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare.

(pp.120-121)

US Constitution Series 6: All Men are Created Equal—Law, Liberty, and Socialism

Next Principle 8: Men are Endowed by their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights

History Facts, William Blackstone, and Law of God

Dinner Topics for Monday

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

 

Independence Day, YouTube Music and Star Spangled Banner Anthem

Dinner Topics for Friday

Independence Day: Liberty and Star Spangled Banner Anthem

news_flag_hdr5At church when we stand and sing the Star-Spangled Banner (it’s in our hymn book), I feel new hope that the majority of the American people still love this country and believe in American exceptionalism.  Politics alone are no longer the solution to our growing tyranny and loss of liberty. It is a cultural problem. Our only hope is to teach our children the gospel of Jesus Christ and the history and constitutional  principles that once  made this country a beacon of liberty to all the world–that is,  teach them Biblical values–the culture of liberty, and to restore America’s covenant with God. ~C.A. Davidson

 

flaghouseBarfootOh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad strips and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and  the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen thru mists of the deep, Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam, of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines on the stream: ‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh, long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our our motto: “In God is our trust!” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

~Francis Scott Key

The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort M’Henry”,[1] a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “To Anacreon in Heaven” (or “The Anacreontic Song”), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner”, it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one octave and one fifth (a semitone more than an octave and a half), it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. “Hail, Columbia” served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee“, whose melody is identical to “God Save the Queen“, the British national anthem,[2] also served as a de facto anthem.[3] Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs emerged to compete for popularity at public events, among them “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

US Constitution Series 6: Law, Liberty, and Socialism

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

All Men are Created Equal

key The Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

decofindependence1The Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that some truths are self-evident, and one of these is the fact that all men are created equal. Yet everyone knows that no two human beings are exactly alike in any respect. They are different when they are born. They vary in physical strength, mental capacity, emotional stability, inherited social status, in their opportunities for self-fulfillment, and in scores of other ways. Then how can they be equal?

The answer is that everyone’s individual differences should be accepted, but be treated as equals as human beings. Constitutional writer Clarence Carson describes two ways all persons should have their equality guaranteed:

1) Equality before the law. this means that every man’s case is tried by the same law governing any particular case. Practically, it means that there are no different laws for different classes and orders of men [as there were in ancient times]. The definition of premeditated murder is the same for the millionaire as for the tramp. A corollary of this is that no classes are created or recognized by law.

2) Each man has an equal title to God-given liberties along with every other.

Rousseau’s Error

johnadams2John Adams was in France when Jean Jacques Rousseau was teaching that all men were designed to be equal in every way. Adams wrote:

That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has …But to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people as ever was practiced by monks, by Druids, by Brahmins, …or by the self-styled philosophers of the French Revolution.

Minorities: Crossing the Culture Gap

Being a minority, even in the United States, is painful because acceptance depends on “crossing the culture gap.” This means learning the English language; attaining the general norm of education—which in America is fairly high; becoming economically independent—which often means getting out of the ghetto; and bedoming recognized as a social asset to the community—which always takes time. (Skousen, p. 106)

There is not a single ethnic group in the United States but what has been treated at one time or another as a minority, or less than first-class citizens. The story of minorities in the United States is a fascinating tale. Beginning with the French in the 1500s and the English in the 1600s (and Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Scots, and Irish in between),it was one grand conglomerate of tension, discrimination, malice, and sometimes outright persecution. But the miracle of it all is the fact that they fought side by side for freedom in the Revolutionary War. So all of this became America—a nation of minorities. (Skousen p.107)

The Black Minority

Providing equality for the blacks has never been approached with any degree of consensus. Some felt that with education and job opportunities the blacks could leap the culture gap just as other minorities had done. Others felt they should be made the beneficiaries of substantial government gratuities. Experience soon demonstrated, however, that government gratuities are as corrupting and debilitating to blacks as they are to the Indians [Native Americans] or any other minorities. The blacks themselves asked for equal opportunity at the hiring hall.

Violence Proves Counter-Productive

In the mid 1960s there were groups of Marxist agitators who move in among the blacks to promote direct action by violence. One of these was Eldridge Cleaver, who had been trained in Marxist philosophy and tactics. He became a leader for the Black Panthers. Cleaver describes the rationale behind their philosophy of violence. It was to destroy the whole economic and social structure of the United States so that blacks could enjoy equal right under an American Communist regime. (Skousen p.109)

The crescendo of violence increased year after year. During the summer of 1968 over a hundred American cities were burning. But the burning was always in black ghettos. But the burning and fire-bombing backfired. The black population began to realize it was only the homes of the blacks that were being burned. Other than police, it was primarily blacks that were being hurt in the melee of the riots. In the shoot-outs with the police, nineteen of the Black Panther leaders were killed. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded. He and his wife later fled to Cuba and then to other Communist countries.

The whole scenario of violence had proved tragically counter-productive. It temporarily jolted out of joint a broad spectrum of reforms which the blacks were really seeking and the rest of the nation was trying to provide.

Eldridge Cleaver Returns

Eldridge_Cleaver_1968After nearly eight years as an exile in Communist and Socialist countries, Eldridge Cleaver asked to be allowed to return to the United States and pay whatever penalty was due on charges pending against him. He and his wife were no longer atheists. They were no longer Communists. Those bitter years behind the iron and bamboo curtains had dispelled all the propaganda concerning “equality” and “justice” under Communism. Cleaver told the press: “I would rather be in jail in America than free anywhere else.” He then went on to say:

“I was wrong and the Black Panthers were wrong …We [black Americans] are inside the system and I feel that the number one objective for Black America is to recognize that they have the same equal rights under the Constitution as Ford or Rockefeller, even if we have no blue-chip stocks. But our membership in the United States is the supreme blue-chip stock and one we have to exercise.”

By 1981 Eldridge Cleaver had paid his final debt to society. soon after that he began accepting speaking engagements before schools, churches, community gatherings, and even prison groups to describe his new and yet profound appreciation for America.

He described the despondency which came over him when he found what a betrayal of human rights and human dignity Communism turned out to be. He described the long and strenuous intellectual struggle with his Marxist atheism before he recognized its fraudulent fallacies.

He frankly and patiently dialogued with university students still struggling with similar philosophical problems. He assured them, as Locke had done, that a persistent pursuit of the truth would bring them to the threshold of reality, where the Creator could be recognized and thereafter have a place in their lives. (Skousen, pp. 110-111)

Declaration_independenceThe Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal opportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

Next—

Principle 7: The proper Role of Government is to Protect Equal Rights, Not Provide Equal Things

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

 

US Constitution Series 5: Trust in God

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

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

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

Principle # 5

keyoldIn the Anglo-Saxon language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is “God.” (Skousen p. 96)

creationhandsAll things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible

The Founders vigorously affirm throughout their writings that the foundation of all reality is the existence of the Creator, who is the designer of all things in nature and the promulgator of all the laws which govern nature.

The Founders were in harmony with the thinking of John Locke as expressed in his famous Essay Concerning Human Understanding. In it Locke pointed out that it defies the most elementary aspects of reason and experience to presuppose that everything in existence developed as a result of fortuitous circumstance. The mind, for example, will not accept the proposition that the forces of nature, churning about among themselves, would ever produce a watch, or even a lead pencil, let alone the marvelous intricacies of the human eye, the ear, or even the simplest of the organisms found in nature. All these are the product of intelligent design and high precision engineering. (Skousen, pp.95-96)

How Can One Know There Is a God?

In his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke insisted that everyone can know there is a divine Creator. It is simply a case of thinking about it. To begin with, each person knows that he exists.

Furthermore, each person knows that he is something. He also knows that a something could not be produced by a nothing. Therefore, whatever brought man and everything else into existence also had to be something.

This something would therefore have to be superior to e everything which had resulted from this effort. This element of superiority makes this something the ultimate “good” for all that has been organized and arranged. In the Anglo-Saxon language, the word for supreme or ultimate good is “God.” (Skousen p. 96)

So, as John Locke says, there are many things man can know about God. And because any thoughtful person can gain an appreciation and conviction of these many attributes of the Creator, Locke felt that an atheist has failed to apply his divine capacity for reason and observation.

The American Founding Fathers agreed with Locke. They considered the existence of the Creator as the most fundamental premise underlying ALL self-evident truth. It will be noted as we proceed through this study that every single self-evident truth enunciated by the Founders is rooted in the presupposition of a divine Creator. (Skousen pp. 97-98)

Concerning God’s Revealed Law Distinguishing Right from Wrong

The Founders considered the whole foundation of a just society to be structured on the basis of God’s revealed law. These laws constituted a moral code clearly distinguishing right from wrong.

William Blackstone, widely read authority on this subject in the Founders era, expounded it in his Commentaries on the Laws of England.

He said the 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)

[T]he attitude of the Founders toward God’s law (both natural and revealed) gave early Americans a very high regard for the “law” as a social institution. They respected the sanctity of the law in the same way that it was honored among the Anglo-Saxons and by ancient Israel. (Skousen pp.98-99)

The Nearness of God

Days of fasting and prayer were commonplace in early America. most of the Founders continually petitioned God in fervent prayers, both public and private, and looked upon his divine intervention in their daily lives as a singular blessing. They were continually expressing gratitude to God as the nation survived one major crisis after another.

George Washington

George Washington was typical of the Founders in this respect. Charles Bracelen Flood discovered in his research that during the Revolutionary War there were at least sixty-seven desperate moments when Washington acknowledged that he would have suffered disaster had not the hand of God intervened in behalf of the struggle for independence. (Skousen p.99)

trust“In God We Trust”

From all of this it will be seen that the Founders were not indulging in any idle gesture when they adopted the motto, “In God we trust.” Neither was it a matter of superfluous formality when they required that all witnesses who testify in the courts or before Congressional hearings must take an oath and swear or affirm before God that they will tell the truth. As Washington pointed out in his Farewell Address: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?” (Skousen, p.100)

See how you can draw your family closer to God in these troubled times

US Constitution Series 3: Benjamin Franklin on the Good Leader

US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Western Culture Newsletter: Nuclear Family

Western Culture Dinner Topics Theme: Nuclear Family

May 2017 Newsletter

Culture-Wars

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Western Culture Dinner Topics!

                LIFE IS FRAGILE. HANDLE WITH PRAYER. Also fragile is the nuclear or traditional family. More than thirty years ago, Christian leaders warned us: Satan has declared war on the family. As I have endeavored to defend the traditional family over the years, I have found this to be true, first hand.

Popular among the many chants of today’s chorus of moral equivalence is: “all variations of the family are essentially equivalent, so why does Western society agonize over the collapse of the family? What’s the big deal? After all, we know this from decades of experimentation.”

Decades, hmm? Really?

                “The bottom line is that not all family structures are equal, and not all variations are compatible with basic social and human needs,” William J. Bennett, eminent author and champion of moral values reminds us. This he concludes after a profound study of the history of the nuclear family—not of mere decades or scarcely a generation—but of millennia, about three thousand years. Which study is more credible—the one based on whims of instant gratification, or the one with a foundation of time-tested human experience?

“Why? What is the big deal?”

                In their mad scramble for self-fulfillment, comfort, and convenience, adults overlook the greatest victims of their selfishness: children.

                Which family structure best meets the needs of children? “We desperately need to reestablish marriage as an exclusive arrangement between a man and a woman,” Bennett continues. “Marriage, monogamous and freely chosen, must be the institution through which children are conceived and born, loved and disciplined, nurtured and raised. And marital permanence must once again become the ideal to which individuals commit themselves and which they strive to maintain.”

Truths restored from ancient history remain unchanged.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.[1]

           Someone wisely said we study history to “know who we are.” As Paul told the Romans, “we are children of God.” Knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent His Son to rescue us from the misery of sin, we can safely conclude that God approves of the family unit, and that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”[2]

The nuclear family is not the result of mere happenstance. “Shaped as we are by long human experience, we must be all the more careful not to lose what has required so much time and so much effort to accomplish. The modern nuclear family is a rare construct; we tamper with its essentials at our peril. As the long record of human experimentation attests, civilizations, even great civilizations, are more fragile and perishable than we think.” (Bennett, The Broken Hearth, 67, 70)

Thanks for visiting. Come often; Stay Late,

To forever families,

Christine Davidson

Teach your family the Key to Survival in a Difficult World

So from now on, we are sharpening the focus of Western Culture Dinner Topics on what matters most— to continually define and defend Judeo-Christian values, more about Israel, our spiritual  brother in the house of Israel,  and to know our enemy, so as not to be deceived.

As Joshua Benamoz  taught us,

Battered but not beaten, Western Culture wins the day!

Stronger than ever, Western Culture’s here to stay!

Highlights

 

 

You might also like: Excerpt from new novel by C.A. Davidson, Birthright:

Why the Bible Matters

More about Birthright

News and Updates:

Now Available in digital and print at Amazon.

A  novel by C.A. Davidson—Christian fiction on Cultural Heritage. A historical novel so relevant it pops like today’s news! A wholesome classic to share with your children and grandchildren.

Click Here for More  Information and link to Amazon

 

New Parenting Resource!

Life Lessons from Biblical Big Picture

Critical thinking skills are taught in very few public schools anymore. Some of the best resources for character education and critical thinking are found in literary fiction. Using the historical novel, Birthright, by C.A. Davidson, as a platform, parents can teach their families vital critical thinking skills and Life Lessons from the Biblical big picture.

Topics include:

  • Truth–
    • How to Know What is True
    • Discerning Right and Wrong
  • Scientific Method (Empiricism) and Academic Freedom
  • Life Lessons from Historical patterns and literary symbolism

To learn more and obtain your copy, please visit our Birthright Site.

As you read Birthright with your family, you can use its engaging narrative to apply to current events in real life while teaching character education. The Table of Contents in Birthright gives page numbers for each chapter, so you can refer to the text when you converse about the topics.

NEW PAGE!

300-year-old Ceiba tree

Western Culture Center:

Under the Ceiba tree, come meet the memorable characters of Birthright characters, join the Crusaders’ Council, with our motto—

Battered but not beaten, Western Culture wins the day!

Stronger than ever, Western Culture’s here to stay!

 

 Knowing that truth matters and ideas have consequences, come meet with us in the arena of ideas at Nobles’ Western Culture Center as we work together to restore Judeo-Christian values to their rightful place in our society.

And as always—current events, updates, great cartoons, and analysis

 

 

Stress Relief Tip: The Secret to Peace for your Children

Isaiah 54:13

Theme Quotes for May: Nuclear Family

“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

We are created in God’s image and need to mirror Him. My role as a wife must be of more importance than my role as a mother because we are training disciples, not making friends with our children. The payoff will be great in the years ahead because then we will enjoy friendships with our children in a new and special way. ~Esther Saunders

No success can compensate for failure in the home. ~David O. McKay

A man should never neglect his family for business. ~Walt Disney

‘The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home.’ ~Harold B. Lee

Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

 

How to help strengthen the faith of the rising generation

It is so obvious that the great good and the terrible evil in the world today are the sweet and the bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday’s children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If you are worried about the future, then look to the upbringing of your children. ~Gordon B. Hinckley

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. ~The Family Proclamation

We need to boldly defend the Lord’s revealed doctrines describing marriage, families, the divine roles of men and women, and the importance of homes as sacred places—even when the world is shouting in our ears that these principles are outdated, limiting, or no longer relevant. ~Bonnie L. Oscarson

“First because thou lovest God; and, secondly, because that thou lovest me.” Margaret Winthrop stating reasons she loved her husband John.

Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? ~Ronald Reagan

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. ~Gordon B. Hinckley, Family Proclamation to the World

See how you can draw your family closer to God in these troubled times

The family is the most important organization in time or in eternity. The Lord instituted the family to endure eternally. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

Nuclear Family: As the forces of evil attack the individual by tearing away at his family roots, it becomes critical for …parents to maintain and strengthen the family. There are certain old truths which will be truths as long as the world endures, and which no amount of progress can change. 1) One of these is that the family (the organization consisting of father, mother, and children) is the foundation of all things in the Church; 2) another, that sins against pure and healthy family life are those which, of all others, are sure in the end to be visited most heavily upon the nations in which they take place. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

The thought of a nation without the family unit as its fundamental foundation, where all the citizens are comparatively strangers to each other and where natural affection is not found; where no family ties bind the groups together, is one of horror. Such a condition could lead to but one end—anarchy and dissolution. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

The gospel of Jesus Christ is family centered; it must be lived in the family. It is here we receive our greatest and most important training as we seek to create for ourselves eternal family units patterned after the family of God our Father. ~Joseph Fielding Smith

The family is both the fundamental unit of society as well as the root of culture. It … is a perpetual source of encouragement, advocacy, assurance, and emotional refueling that empowers a child to venture with confidence into the greater world and to become all that he can be.

MARIANNE E. NEIFERT, Dr. Mom’s Parenting Guide

Plague of Permissiveness

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Alexander Pope

May Preview

The Western Culture Dinner Topic Theme for May: Nuclear Family

What is the key to your family’s future? Find it here.

praying handsFeatured Topics

The Parenting Value for this month: Kindness

Defining Moment: The Nuclear Family—a History Timeline

Famous Birthdays: Johannes Brahms, Friederich Hayek, Florence Nightingale, Richard Wagner, Carl Bloch, Albrecht Durer, Isaac Albeñiz

  • Art: The touching story of Albrecht Durer
    • The influential art of Carl Bloch
  • Culture Wars: Un-brainwash your kids
    • A Plea to Women—Learn to discern the different forms of deception
    • Deadly ideology promoted via a fairy tale
    • Hollywood Actor defends American values
    • Christianity vs. humanism, part 1
  • Faith: It will all work out
  • Family: Raising a sin-resistant Generation
    • A Parable for Mothers
  • Founding American Principles 5: Trust in God
  • History: Timeline of the Nuclear Family
    • Honoring Our Vets

Moral Solutions—always looking for reasons for optimism:

And as always—current events, updates, great cartoons, and analysis

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Ongoing

1. Let Us Educate Ourselves:

New Resource: Take this online course from Hillsdale College!

History 102: American Heritage, From Colonial Settlement to the Reagan Revolution

Recommended Readings

The U.S. Constitution is the key to securing liberty for all Americans — yet very few know exactly what it says, and what freedoms it protects. Hillsdale College is dedicating this year to educating millions of Americans about this critical document. That’s why the College is offering its most popular course, American Heritage,  for free, when you sign up now, and receive first lesson by email. 

2. Home Education—Let’s Teach our Children!

 “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

Pass on Judeo-Christian values to your children with this engaging and wholesome classic

Seeing the widespread injury done in any given week, (many incidents go unreported), stay aware of important news and insights at Western Culture Dinner Topics.

Traditional Bible-believing parents may have to consider withdrawing their children from public schools to protect your family spiritually and financially from the rising tide of persecution and ruinous lawsuits by anti-Christian fascists.

If it is not possible for you to home school, try to teach your children Judeo-Christian values at home. The easiest way to do this is to tell stories and discuss principles at the family dinner table. I hope these dinner topics help you with this vital effort. Just don’t give up! Our precious children are worth fighting for!

Learn the Key to Survival in a Difficult World

3. Study the U.S. Constitution!

It is the last remaining safeguard of our precious freedoms! A good way to do this is to study the monthly Constitution series from The 5,000 Year Leap. To access this series of posts, type US Constitution Series in this site’s search bar. Also, look for posts that refer to the Constitution in current events. This month Constitution series #5: Trust in God

[1] Family Proclamation, 1995

[2] Ibid

US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Dinner Topics for Thursday

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

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

By W. Cleon Skousen

US Constitution Series 4: Church, State, and Religion in American Life

Principle #4

christianchurchWithout religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.

Many Americans fail to realize that the Founders felt the role of religion would be as important in our own day as it was in theirs. In 1787, the very year the Constitution was written and approved by Congress, that same Congress passed the famous Northwest Ordinance. In it they emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools. (Skousen, p. 75)

In it, they stated that formal education was to include among its responsibilities the teaching of three important subjects:

1. Religion, which might be defined as a “fundamental system of beliefs concerning man’s origin and relationship to the cosmic universe as well as his relationship with his fellowmen.”

2. Morality, which may be described as “a standard of behavior distinguishing right from wrong.”

3. Knowledge, which is “an intellectual awareness and understanding of established facts relating to any field of human experience or inquiry (i.e., history, geography, science, etc.).”

How to Teach your family about Church and State

George Washington

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion …Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, relgion and morality are indispensable supports …Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”

Washington issued this solemn warning because in Franc, shortly before he wrote his Farewell Address (1796), the promoters of atheism and amorality had seized control and turned the French Revolution into a shocking blood bath of wild excesses and violence. Washington obviously never wanted anything like that to happen in the United States. Therefore he had said: “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness [religion and morality].” (Skousen, p.79)

225px-BenFranklin2Benjamin Franklin

Here is my creed: I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other  children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.

The “Fundamental Points” to Be Taught in the Schools

The five points of fundamental religious belief expressed or implied in Franklin’s statement are these:

1. There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship Him.

2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living shich distinguishes right from wrong.

3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.

4. All mankind live beyond this life.

5. In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.

All five of these tenets run through practically all of the Founders’ writings. These are the beliefs which the Founders sometimes referred to as the “religion of America,” and they felt these fundamentals were so important in providing “good government and the happiness of mankind” that they wanted them taught in the public schools along with morality and knowledge. (Skousen, p.78)

In fact, the Founders had taken the five truths we have already identified as ”religion” and had built the whole Constitutional framework on top of them. (Skousen, p.92)

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Thomas Jefferson

Special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”, thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others; and that libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religions, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals.

The Federal “Wall” Between Church and State

In a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association dated January 1, 1802, [Jefferson] explained his position and said the Constitution had created “a wall of separation between church and state.”

In recent years the Supreme Court has undertaken to use this metaphor as an excuse for meddling in the religious issues arising within the various states. It has not only presumed to take jurisdiction in these disputes, but has actually forced the states to take the same hands-off position toward religious matters even thought his restriction originally applied only to the federal government.

justice gavelNOTE: In its 1963 ruling, the Supreme Court in actuality did not take a hands-off position. Instead, it established atheism as the national religion. (Atheism, as a system of beliefs, qualifies as a religion.) Today, the preferred religion in schools is Islam, while Christianity continues to be banned, even persecuted. The Supreme Court violated the clause in the US Constitution which forbids the federal government from both “establishing” religion and “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Because of this national decree by the Supreme Court, the states are failing to protect religious freedom on the state level. Hence, the rampant atheist and Islamic indoctrination in the state schools. ~C.A. Davidson

This obvious distortion of the original intent of Jefferson (when he used the metaphor of a “wall” separating church and state) becomes entirely apparent when the statements and actions of Jefferson are examined in their historical context. (Skousen, p.89-90)

Jefferson and Madison were anxious that the states intervene in religious matters so as to provide for equality among all religions, and that all churches or religions assigned preferential treatment should be disestablished from such preferment. They further joined with the other Founders in expressing an anxiety that ALL religions be encouraged in order to promote the moral fiber and religious tone of the people. This, of course, would be impossible if there were an impenetrable “wall” between church and state on the state level.

Jefferson’s “wall” was obviously intended only for the federal government, and the Supreme Court application of this metaphor to the states has come under severe criticism. (Dallin Oaks, ed., The Wall Between Church and State, 1963, 99.2-3)

Alexis de Tocqueville

He emphasized the fact that this religious undergirding of the political structure was a common denominator of moral teachings in different denominations and not the political pressure of some national church hierarchy.

                De Tocqueville Describes the Role of Religion in the Schools

De Tocqueville found that the schools, especially in New England, incorporated the basic tenets of religion right along with history and political science in order to prepare the student for adult life.

                De Tocqueville Describes the Role of the American Clergy

After noting that all the clergy seemed anxious to maintain “separation of church and state,” he nevertheless observed that collectively they had a great influence on the morals and customs of public life.

In America, he noted, the clergy remained politically separated from the government but nevertheless provided a moral stability among the people which permitted the government to prosper. In other words, there was separation of church and state but no separation of state and religion. (Skousen, p. 82-83)

Why the Founders Wanted the Federal Government Excluded from All Problems Relating to Religion and Churches

The Supreme Court has stated on numerous occasions that to most people freedom of religion is the most precious of all the unalienable rights next to life itself. When the United States was founded, there were many Americans who were not enjoying freedom of religion to the fullest possible extent. At least seven of the states had officially established religions or denominations at the time the Constitution was adopted.

Under these circumstances the Founders felt it would have been catastrophic …if the federal government had tried to establish a national policy on religion or disestablish the denominations which the states had adopted. Nevertheless, the Founders who were examining this problem were anxious to eventually see complete freedom of all faiths and an equality of all relations, both Christian and non-Christian. (Skousen, p.86)

Read more about Church, State, and the Court Decision to Ban the Bible

Principle 3: Virtuous and Moral Leaders

Principle 5: The Role of the Creator

 

U.S. Constitution, James Madison, and Founding Fathers

Dinner Topics for Thursday

James Madison

from Wikipedia

madisontyrannydefineJames Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 (O.S. March 5)  – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman and political theorist, the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). He is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights.[1] He served as a politician much of his adult life.

After the constitution had been drafted, Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify it. His collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay produced the Federalist Papers (1788). Circulated only in New York at the time, they would later be considered among the most important polemics in support of the Constitution. He was also a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention, and was instrumental to the successful ratification effort in Virginia. Like most of his contemporaries, Madison changed his political views during his life. During the drafting and ratification of the constitution, he favored a strong national government, though later he grew to favor stronger state governments, before settling between the two extremes late in his life.

In 1789, Madison became a leader in the new House of Representatives, drafting many basic laws. He is notable for drafting the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and thus is known as the “Father of the Bill of Rights“.[4] Madison worked closely with President George Washington to organize the new federal government. Breaking with Hamilton and what became the Federalist Party in 1791, Madison and Thomas Jefferson organized what they called the Republican Party (later called by historians the Democratic-Republican Party)

As Jefferson’s Secretary of State (1801–1809), Madison supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation’s size. After his election to the presidency, he presided over renewed prosperity for several years. As president (1809–17), after the failure of diplomatic protests and a trade embargo against Great Britain, he led the nation into the War of 1812. He was responding to British encroachments on American honor and rights; in addition, he wanted to end the influence of the British among their Indian allies, whose resistance blocked United States settlement in the Midwest around the Great Lakes. Madison found the war to be an administrative nightmare, as the United States had neither a strong army nor financial system; as a result, he afterward supported a stronger national government and a strong military, as well as the national bank, which he had long opposed.

Father of the Constitution

constitution2The Articles of Confederation established the United States as a confederation of sovereign states with a weak central government. This arrangement did not work particularly well, and after the war was over, it was even less successful. Congress had no power to tax, and as a result was not paying the debts left over from the Revolution. Madison and other nationalists, such as Washington and Alexander Hamilton, were very concerned about this. They feared a break-up of the union and national bankruptcy.[20] The historian Gordon S. Wood has noted that many leaders such as Madison and Washington, feared more that the revolution had not fixed the social problems that had triggered it, and the excesses ascribed to the King were being seen in the state legislatures. Shays’ Rebellion is often cited as the event that forced the issue; Wood argues that many at the time saw it as only the most extreme example of democratic excess. They believed the constitution would need to do more than fix the Articles of Confederation. Like the revolution, it would need to rewrite the social compact and redefine the relationship among the states, the national government, and the people.[19]

As Madison wrote, “a crisis had arrived which was to decide whether the American experiment was to be a blessing to the world, or to blast for ever the hopes which the republican cause had inspired.”[21] Partly at Madison’s instigation, a national convention was called in 1787. Madison was crucial in persuading George Washington to attend the convention, since he knew how important the popular general would be to the adoption of a constitution. As one of the first delegates to arrive, while waiting for the convention to begin, Madison wrote what became known as the Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan was submitted at the opening of the convention, and the work of the convention quickly became to amend the Virginia Plan and to fill in the gaps.[22][23] Though the Virginia Plan was an outline rather than a draft of a possible constitution, and though it was extensively changed during the debate (especially by John Rutledge and James Wilson in the Committee of Detail), its use at the convention led many to call Madison the “Father of the Constitution”.[24] He was only 36 years old.

During the course of the Convention, Madison spoke over two hundred times, and his fellow delegates rated him highly. For example, William Pierce wrote that “…every Person seems to acknowledge his greatness. In the management of every great question he evidently took the lead in the Convention… he always comes forward as the best informed Man of any point in debate.” Madison recorded the unofficial minutes of the convention, and these have become the only comprehensive record of what occurred. The historian Clinton Rossiter regarded Madison’s performance as “a combination of learning, experience, purpose, and imagination that not even Adams or Jefferson could have equaled.”[25] Years earlier he had pored over crates of books that Jefferson sent him from France on various forms of government. The historian Douglas Adair called Madison’s work “probably the most fruitful piece of scholarly research ever carried out by an American.”[26] Many have argued that this study helped prepare him for the convention.

Federalist Papers and ratification debates

The Constitutionsigners3 developed by the convention in Philadelphia had to be ratified. This would be done by special conventions called in each state to decide that sole question of ratification.[29] Madison was a leader in the ratification effort. He, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers, a series of 85 newspaper articles published in New York to explain how the proposed Constitution would work, mainly by responding to criticisms from anti-federalists. They were also published in book form and became a virtual debater’s handbook for the supporters of the Constitution in the ratifying conventions.[30] The historian Clinton Rossiter called the Federalist Papers “the most important work in political science that ever has been written, or is likely ever to be written, in the United States.”[31] They were not scholarly arguments or impartial justifications for the constitution, but political polemics intended to assist the federalists in New York, which was the only state to have a coordinated anti-federalist movement. Madison was involved in the project mainly because he was a delegate to the lame duck Confederation Congress, which was meeting in New York.

If Virginia, the most populous state at the time, did not ratify the Constitution, the new national government would likely not succeed. When the Virginia convention began, the constitution had not yet been ratified by the required nine states. New York, the second largest state and a bastion of anti-federalism, would likely not ratify it if Virginia rejected the constitution, and Virginia’s exclusion from the new government would disqualify George Washington from being the first president.[32] Virginia delegates believed that Washington’s election as the first president was an implicit condition for their acceptance of the new constitution and the new government. Without Virginia, a new convention might have been held and a new constitution written in a much more polarized atmosphere, since the constitution did not specify what would happen if it was only partially ratified. The states might have joined in regional confederacies or allied with Spain, France or Britain, which still had North American colonies.[33] Arguably the most prominent anti-federalist, the powerful orator Patrick Henry was a delegate and had a following second only to Washington (who was not a delegate). Most delegates believed that most Virginians opposed the constitution.[32] Initially Madison did not want to stand for election to the Virginia ratifying convention, but was persuaded to do so because the situation looked so bad. His role at the convention was likely critical to Virginia’s ratification, and thus to the success of the constitution generally.[32]

Father of the Bill of Rights

Though the idea for a bill of rights had been suggested at the end of the constitutional convention, the delegates wanted to go home and thought the suggestion unnecessary. The omission of a bill of rights became the main argument of the anti-federalists against the constitution. Though no state conditioned ratification of the constitution on a bill of rights, several states came close, and the issue almost prevented the constitution from being ratified. Some anti-federalists continued to fight the issue after the constitution had been ratified, and threatened the entire nation with another constitutional convention. This would likely be far more partisan than the first had been. Madison objected to a specific bill of rights[41] for several reasons: he thought it was unnecessary, since it purported to protect against powers that the federal government had not been granted; that it was dangerous, since enumeration of some rights might be taken to imply the absence of other rights; and that at the state level, bills of rights had proven to be useless paper barriers against government powers.[4]

Read more about James Madison