Fellow-Citizens!

Fellow-Citizens!

It was the declared intention of the people of the United States, when they adopted our present constitution, “to form a more perfect union”—an important object indeed.  The deliberate voice of the people is commonly the voice of reason—the voice of the people ought therefore to be attended to.

Newly elected Governor of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, in his written address to the legislature on May 31, 1794.  Politicians today could take a lesson from Samuel Adams on the importance of the public in electing public servants and making their voices heard.

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Public Day of Prayer

Samuel Adams:  an instigator of the Boston Tea Party, a delegate to the Continental Congress, renowned public servant – had no problem with a public day of prayer.

PROCLAMATION

FEBRUARY 19, 1794

BY HIS HONOR SAMUEL ADAMS, ESQ, LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

A PROCLAMATION FOR A DAY OF PUBLIC FASTING, HUMILIATION, AND PRAYER

IT having been the invariable practice from time to time when our pious and renowned ancestors took possession of this land, at the approaching season of the year, to set apart a day publickly to acknowledge an entire dependence on the Father of all Mercies for every needful blessing, and to express sorrow and repentance for the manifold transgressions of His Holy Laws: And the Practice being highly becoming all people, especially those who profess the Christian Religion:

I HAVE thought fit, by, and with the advice of the Council to appoint THURSDAY, the Seventeenth day of APRIL next, to be observed throughout this Commonwealth, as a day of PUBLIC FASTING, HUMILIATION and PRAYER;  earnestly exhorting the Ministers of Religion to assemble with their respective Congregations on the same day—that deeply lamenting our ingratitude to our Heavenly Father, to whom we are under all possible obligations, and our many deviations from those right and safe Paths, into which, as our Supreme Governor, HE hath plainly directed us, we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon, thro’ JESUS CHRIST, supplicating His Divine aid that we may become a reformed and happy people.  At the same time humbly beseeching HIM, mercifully to regard our lives and health, so that no infectious and mortal distemper may prevail amongst us: To favour our land with the alternate benefits of rain and warmth of the Sun; and that our hopes of a plentiful harvest may not be disappointed by devouring insects, or any other calamity:–To prosper our trade and fishery, and the labor of our hands:–To protect our navigation from the rapacious hands of invaders and robbers on the seas, and graciously to open a door of deliverance to our fellow-citizens in cruel captivity in a land of Barbarians:–To continue and confirm our civil and religious liberties; and for that great purpose to bless and direct our great University, and all Seminaries and Schools of education:–To guide and succeed the Councils of our Federal Government as well as those of the several States in the Union, that under their respective Constitutions they may be led to such decisions as will establish the liberty, peace, safety, and honor of our country:–To inspire our friends and allies, the Republic of France, with a spirit of wisdom and true religion, that relying on the strength of HIS Almighty Arm, they may still go on prosperously till their arduous conflict for a government of their own, founded on the just and equal rights of men, shall be finally crowned with success:–And above all, to cause the Religion of JESUS CHRIST, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide, till the whole earth shall be filled with HIS glory.

And I do earnestly commend that all unnecessary Labor and recreation be suspended on said day.

GIVEN at the Council-Chamber, in Boston, the Nineteenth day of February in the year of our LORD, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four, and in the Eighteenth Year of the Independence of the United States of America.

SAMUEL ADAMS

By His Honor’s command, with the advice and consent of the Council, JOHN AVERY, jun. Secry.

GOD save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

We need more public servants like this today!

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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American Heroes – Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

With the civil war finally over, President Abraham Lincoln went to Richmond, Virginia – not as a conqueror – but as a healer.  It was time to heal and “bind up the nation’s wounds”.  Lincoln knew that he alone needed to be the one to do it.

Slaves, overcome with emotion, that had been liberated greeted Lincoln with tears and reverence, even kneeling to him as their saviour.  Lincoln begged them to not kneel to him but only to God.

One eyewitness observed: “It was the great deliverer meeting the delivered”.

Lincoln had been inspired by American heroes of the past and sought after and promoted the American dream…that if he could come from obscurity to occupy the presidency, the door stood open for anyone who would come after him:

“I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House. I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. . . . The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel”.

The next time you take a penny in your hand, look at the image of the man that saved and re-made a nation.  A man who firmly believed circumstances don’t make a man, and that “right makes might.”

American Heroes – George Washington

It was Christmas Day, 1776, freezing cold wintry weather – sometimes snowing, with sleet and rain – making any movement of troops extremely difficult.

After being chased by the British out of Long Island, New York, and retreating off of Manhattan island, across the Hudson River and into New Jersey, Washington was faced with the real possibility of losing the war and the struggle for independence would be lost.  With the British continually pursuing the Continental Army through New Jersey, they crossed the Delaware into Pennsylvania and set up camp in the frigid winter weather.

Facing the loss of the majority of his militia due to expiring enlistments, Washington new he had to attack the British.  With no winter clothing, some of his troops without shoes, he ordered them to march through the deep snow and ice and across the treacherous, icy Delaware river to stage an attack on the Hessians hold up in Trenton.

The snow slowed the march to the river so the river crossing was delayed, the treacherous water and icy conditions caused the crossing to take longer than planned.  Washington walked along the line of the militia, and with a deep solomn voice, encouraged the soldiers to “keep by your officers.  For God’s sake, keep by your officers!”

Washington crossing the Delaware

After getting across the Delaware, marching on to Trenton they found the Hessians more interested in keeping warm than they were at keeping watch.  A quick battle ensued, the Hessian commander was killed, the Hessians surrendered, and a much needed victory was won for the struggling Continental militia and new country.

As a result, Washington was able to encourage many of the soldiers whose enlistments had expired to remain with the army for another month.  Their love of George Washington, a reflection of his respect and dedication to his troops, and his determination to take action when all others felt the cause was lost will forever leave George Washington as a true American hero.

American Heroes – 2nd Continental Congress

The colonial war with Britain had recently started, and the delegates from the thirteen colonies assembled in Philadelphia to direct the war effort, raise armies, appoint diplomats and other necessary acts.  Each of the delegates took their task very seriously and only acted within the authority given by their individual state.

Standing in stark comparison to the actions of today’s elected delegates to Congress, the Continental Congress delegates could not/would not take action or vote in a manner either inconsistent with or without the express authority of their constituent state.

Notes taken by Thomas Jefferson, given to James Madison, tell of the importance each delegate gave to their respective constituent authority:

It was also argued by J. Adams, Lee, Wythe, and others:

That the people wait for us to lead the way:

That they are in favor of the measure, though the instructions given by some of their representatives are not:

That the voice of the representatives is not always consonant with the voice of the people, and this is remarkably the case in these middle Colonies:”

Congress voting independence

Eventually, the delegates consented to vote the consent of their constituent states – to declare independence from Britain.

In the event of constituent desire to have their delegates to Congress take action on a measure that is consistent with their desire and wishes…the Second Continental Congress ultimately took their authority from their constituent states and voted accordingly.  That was the ONLY action they could take.  Today, we see a Congress that takes action NOT in accordance with the wishes and desires of the majority of their constituents – it is for THEIR desire and glory only!

Oh for the dedication, commitment, and individual responsibility to those who send congressional representatives to Washington today as was displayed in the minds and actions of the Second Continental Congress.

The Flag

In honor of Flag Day, June 14th:

An Infamous Flag and an Infamous Photo

IwoJima

An 8-square mile island in the South Pacific, Iwo Jima was to become the most deadly spot on earth.  Some 70,000 Americans and 21,000 Japanese troops battled for control of the island.  For 36 days, fierce fighting would claim the lives of 20 of every 21 Japanese; and 1 of every 3 Americans would be injured or killed.

Mount Suribachi, the 556 foot high fortress, became the key to victory.  After four days of bloody fighting, the Marines reached the summit and planted an American flag.  It was replaced by a larger one ‘that could be seen by every Marine on the island’.

The flag, rescued from a sinking ship in the Pearl Harbor attack, now part of a famous photograph, lifted the spirits of a war-weary homefront and emboldened the battle-weary on the front lines.

So Help Me God

It’s a tradition that just seems right.

Having been unanimously elected as the first President of the United States, George Washington risked his reputation, as he told this friend Henry Lee, ‘for the good of my country.’

It was now up to the new President to strengthen this new government by maintaining with all his effort the powers the Constitution assigned to his office.  Knowing that this undertaking was to be one of his greatest challenges, he would draw upon the opportunity of divine strength.

When Washington was sworn in as President on April 30, 1789, he raised his right arm to the square.  After repeating the oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

he spontaneously added the words, ‘so help me God’.

Washington's Inauguration

Washington's Inauguration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever since, those few, powerful words, ‘so help me God’ have been considered a part of the Presidential oath of office.

Washington’s Christmas Gift – Across the Delaware

Amid the bitterly cold winter of 1776, General George Washington huddles his rag-tag army at Valley Forge. With supplies, food, and clothing dwindling and an incompetent and infighting Continental Congress not getting supplies to the army, it becomes aparent the war and Revolution may be lost. Washington needs a victory to bolster the war and the army.

He gathers his army for the final effort that may revitalize the army which has shrunk to about 5,000 men and all appears to lost. Washington tells his army on Christmas Day to prepare to take the offensive and cross the Delaware to attack the Hessians at Trenton.

The task will be monumental – crossing the Delaware in a blizzard and a near frozen river. Washington himself will lead his soldiers in battle, the first time he has done so in the war.

At 11 p.m. the boats begin to cross the Delaware – it will be a painfully difficult task – high wind, increasing snow and ice. It takes most of the night to get the army over the river, costing more time than planned.

Washington considered turning back, but determined to push on. At 5 a.m. the temperature continues to drop, soldiers begin to succumb to the elements. Many have no shoes, most have no coats, but trudge forward through the deep snow.

Two soldiers lay down in the snow, never to get up again, the others continue on. Speed and stealth is a priority – Washington’s new way to fight a war. Washington had learned some hard lessons but now will change the rules.

He catches the Hessians off guard and a fierce battle ensues. The Hessians scramble to get to their arms – finding a different kind of enemey. Fighting with a fierce spirit and bloody determination, the battle lasts less than an hour and the Hessians don’t stand a chance.

A thousand Hessians are captured or killed out of 1,500. Washington’s Christmas Day gift to America illustrates his genius. Demonstrating the Continental Army will always live to fight another day.

On December 31, 1776 it is the last day of many of the soldier’s commissions and they want to go home. Washington tells them they have done everything America has asked of them, and asks them to do it one more time. He offers them an additional $10 pay, more than a month’s salary which he did not have. Then one soldier says “Well, I might as well keep fighting” and steps forward. Then others step forward.

The tide has turned and the army will continue to exist – Washington has revived the Revolution because the army IS the Revolution.

Presidential Election – Popular Vote or Electors

Having just concluded the election by the public for the 44th President of the United States, our attention will once again turn to the constitutional requirement of the ‘Electoral College’ to meet, cast ballots for President and Vice President, and submit their votes to the President of the Senate of the United States.

What was that you said – another vote for President after we already voted?  The President is not chosen by a nation-wide popular vote, the electoral vote determines the winner.  It is the manner stipulated by the Constitution of the United States.  The Constititution does not provide for an election of the President by the public of each state.  Instead, it requires each State to ‘appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress’

Each State in their constitutions and laws and Congress in its laws has provided for the requirements for elections within the states.  However, every four years when we go to the voting booth and cast our vote for President, we are actually casting a vote for the slate of Electors of our respective states who will make up the Electoral College.  These Electors will then meet in each state, cast their votes for President and Vice President and submit it to the U. S. Senate.

Some states have laws that stipulate that the Electors are required to cast their vote in accordance with the popular vote in their state, other states do not.  There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that would require them to do so.

On December 15th, the Electors meet in each state to cast their votes.  Of the fifty states and the District of Columbia, all but Maine and Nebraska are “winner-take-all” states where all of the state’s electoral votes go the winner of that state’s popular vote no matter what the percentage difference is between candidates.

In the drafting of the Constitution, the original proposal was for the President to be selected by the U. S. Senate.  However, after just disengaging the country from the despotic rule of the British Crown, they were extremely cautious in creating a process where the President would be beholden to such a small group of individuals instead of the people at large.  Along with other powers provided the President by the Constitution and oversight by the Senate, it was an obvious situtation that could cause cabals, intrigue and coercion.  Something they desperately wanted to avoid.  Even having the subsequent vote by the House of Representatives (one vote for each state in this case) in the case of a tie or no one receiving a majority was seen as a way of eliminating any corruption of the President by the Senate.

It is a very unique way of electing a President – one most people do not understand.  The argument against this process and in favor of just using the popular vote is one made in ignorance.  The same arguments prevail with this option – the balance of power in electing the President would reside in only the large, populated states and cities and they would be targeted for or make demands for funding, special favors, etc. in exchange for votes.  Small, less populated states and rural communities would not be necessary in this kind of election and their vote would be disenfranchised.  We truly then would end up at that point as was described by Doctor Benjamin Franklin at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention:

“…I think a General Government [is] necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism as other forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

For more information on the Electoral College: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/2008/

(c) Patriotic Expressions and Patriotic Minute 2008

Not for reproduction without permission of author.

The Pledge of Allegiance

Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge for the observance of the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.  He was an assistant to the editor of The Youth’s Companion magazine, the leading family magazine of its day.  His job was to promote patriotism and the flying of the flag over the public schools.  He was made Chairman of the executive committee in the National Education Association for the National Public School Celebration for Columbus Day in 1892.  He felt every public and private school in the land should fly the flag.  He structured this public school program around a flag raising ceremony and a flag salute – his ‘Pledge of Allegiance.’

Bellamy visited President Benjamin Harrison in Washington to ask him to endorse the idea of a flag over every school house and the teaching of patriotism in all the schools.  On June 21st, 1892 President Harrison signed the Proclamation that said “Let the National Flag float over every school house in the country and the exercises be such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duties of American citizenship!”

The only well know American Flag Salute at the time was written in 1889 by Colonel Balch, and had been first used on the Flag Day, June 14th.  His salute went as follows: “We give our heads and out hearts to God and our country; one country, one language, one Flag.” 

Bellamy decided that the new words for a salute should be more than just a Salute, it should be a vow of allegiance.  This was to be a vow of loyalty for what the flag stood for – a “Republic” founded after the American Revolution which means a nation without a king and does not necessarily imply a democracy.

Bellamy wondered what the basic national doctrines or ideals were that the nation stood for?  The high cost of the Civil War suggested three words: “one nation, indivisible.”  He was tempted to use the slogan of the French Revolution: “liberty, fraternity, equality.”  But “fraternity” was not soon to be recognized or agreed on and the word “equality” would be unacceptable to the state superintendents of education in a society that denied the vote and most civil rights to blacks and women.

The words “Liberty” and “justice” that he used are in the Preamble to the Constitution.  Among the purposes in establishing the Constitution was a desire to “establish justice” and to “secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and out prosperity.”  The words, “liberty” and “equality” are in the fifteenth and sixteenth amendments to the Constitution.  Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment says “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

The concept of equality did not appear in American constitutional law until adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment by the states in 1868 and Americans showed little interest in enforcing the spirit of liberty and equality until well after World War II.  The word, “equality,” had been in the Declaration of Independence – and in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which identified the United States as a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Thus, “liberty and justice” were non-controversial and acceptable and plenty for one nation to accomplish.  Bellamy felt that if “for all” was added these last two words implied the spirit of equality and fraternity – two words he did not dare include because the pledge had to be approved by the NEA’s Executive Committee of Superintendents of Education.

When Bellamy finished writing the Pledge in August 1892, he showed it to James B. Upham, editor of The Youth’s Companion, who liked it and was first printed in Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892.  Here are the now famous, original words:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Mr. Upham suggested a salute that was used by many states up until World War II.  Bellamy first heard the Pledge recited by the students in Boston on the morning of October 21st.  It probably followed the program’s recommended procedure: “At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag.  Another signal is given; every pupil give the Flag a military salute – right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it.  Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”  At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, towards the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.  Then, still standing, as the instruments strike a chord, all will sing “America, My Country ‘tis of Thee.”

At the second National Flag Conference held in Washington, DC on Flag Day, 1924, under the leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed the Pledge’s words, ‘my Flag,’ to ‘the Flag of the United States of America.’  Bellamy disliked this change, but his protest was ignored.

A further change, after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, was made in the Pledge by House Joint Resolution 243 approved by President Eisenhower on June 14, 1954.  This amended the language, by adding the words “under God,” so that it now reads “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

(c) Patriotic Expressions and Patriotic Minute 2008

Not for reproduction without permission from author.