He That Has Ears To Hear, Let Him Hear (Matthew 11:15-30)
Challenging both secular wisdom and religious doctrines. - Will our descendants know moral virtue?
The Story of America
Resources from The Federalist Papers and more ...
Back to America's Christian Heritage Index
How the Declaration was Drafted - Thomas Jefferson was selected as the author because Richard H. Lee was absent.
“The Declaration of Independence: A Study on the History of Political Ideas” by Carl Lotus Becker - Carl L. Becker’s important study is an analysis of the concepts expressed in the Declaration. His book is a lucid explanation of what the Declaration really is, what views it sets forth, where those views arose, and how they have been accepted or modified by succeeding generations. Becker also examines the theory of natural rights, the view the colonists had of their place in the British Empire, and the literary qualities of the Declaration. A book that every American should read.
Fathers - In this 90 page booklet is a selection of quotes
from our Founding Fathers including George Washington, James
Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams,
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine.
The Miracle of the United States, Discovering the Ancient Principles, Part 4 - From the analysis of Moses’ application of People’s Law discussed in the last essay, Thomas Jefferson discovered a multitude of canons which were tantamount to the system used by the Anglo-Saxons. He quickly realized the same doctrine was suitable to a modern system of government. After Jethro’s reorganization of the Israelite structure, some facets of their culture are obvious. The Israelites were organized as a commonwealth of freemen, characterized by the proclamation: “…proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”[i] Those enduring words were embellish the Liberty Bell, making it part of the United States heritage. Slavery has been an issue throughout history and the Israelites were no strangers to the practice.
About 600BC, they were reprimanded for their bond-servant practices by Jeremiah: 17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom to your own people. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.[iii]
1. A tenacious pledge to the fundamental code of pure morality
was essential to their perfect system of People’s Law. This
facet of constitutional government was constantly underscored by
our nation’s Founding Fathers. Prior to the Constitutional
Convention, Benjamin Franklin wrote to Messrs, the Abbes Chalut,
and Arnaud on April 17, 1787:
“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”[iv]
John Adams was correspondingly unambiguous in his October 11, 1798, letter to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts:
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[v]
The ultimate admonishment was issued very early by John Adams’ firebrand cousin, Samuel, in a 1749 essay written in London, England’s newspaper, Public Advertise:
“Neither the wisest construction nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. We must not conclude merely upon a man’s haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country.”[vi]
2. The small, governable groups that were organized under People’s Law afforded all adults not only a voice in government affairs but also a vote.
3. A vigorous local self-government was the principal prominence of the Israelite system of People’s Law as implemented by Moses.
4. Their monetary system was of honest money backed by gold and silver in accordance with established weights. A consistent system of weights and measures was also established.
13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.[vii]
5. Ownership of the land was established. It was considered a personal guardianship, not a responsibility of government.
6. Property rights were safeguarded.
7. The natural rights of life and individual liberty were also fostered.
8. A majority vote of the people determined the selection of leaders.
4 Then the men of Judah came to Hebron, and there they anointed David king over the tribe of Judah.[viii]
22 They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day.
Then they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king a second time, anointing him before the Lord to be ruler and Zadok to be priest.[ix]
Not only did the Israelites have a voice in government and a vote for their leaders, their system of People’s Law established their right to reject, or recall, a leader.
16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:
“What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!”
So all the Israelites went home.[x]
9. A majority of the people, or their elected representatives, determined when new laws were put in effect.
The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.[xi]
10. A person accused of wrongdoing was considered innocent until proven guilty. Evidence had to be substantial enough to prove guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If evidence was weak, the decision was to favor the accused and the matter was left for God’s final judgment.
15 One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.[xii]
11. The Israelite’s code of justice was based on reparation to the victim of a crime instead of punishment by monetary assessment or discipline by the government. Numerous references are made to this strategy in Exodus chapters 21 and 22. There was one crime for which no compensation could be rendered: first degree murder. The penalty was death.
31 “‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. They are to be put to death.[xiii]
12. The predominant thrust of Israelite government was from the people upward. The only times when the purport of government was reversed, from the top-down, was during a transient emergency. The Frames of our Constitution incorporated this concept from People’s Law under the war powers.
13. The principle of law was the imperative for government operation, not the caprice of men. On March 6, 1775, John Adams published an essay, under the signature Novanglus (meaning New Englander), in the Boston Gazette in which he wrote about the thoughts of Aristotle and Titus Livius Patavinus (known as Livy in English):
“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.”[xiv]
14. Authority could be easily reassigned from one leader or government to another by peaceful methods because the Israelite’s order of People’s Law embodied the determination of the majority of the people.
All these findings lead us, as it did Thomas Jefferson, to his second area of rigorous examination: the Anglo-Saxons.
[i] Leviticus 25:10b, New International Version
[ii] The National Science Foundation, “The Liberty Bell: Protecting an American Icon”https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/liberty/01_history_02.jsp
[iii] Jeremiah 34:17, New International Version
[iv] “The Writings of Benjamin Franklin,” Albert Henry Smyth, (1906) Vol. IX, p. 569
[v] “The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams,” (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856) 10 volumes, Vol. 9, pp. 228-229
[vi] “The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams,” William Vincent Wells (Little, Brown, and Company; Boston, 1865) Vol. 1, p. 22
[vii] Deuteronomy 25:13-15, New International Version
[viii] 2 Samuel 2:4, New International Version
[ix] 1 Chronicles 29:22, New International Version
[x] 2 Chronicles 10:16, New International Version
[xi] Exodus 19:8, New International Version
[xii] Deuteronomy 19:15, New International Version
[xiii] Numbers 35:31, New International Version
[xiv] Works 4:106
Negroes in the American Revolution
Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution
Patrick Henry Warned About the Infringement on Liberty
John Hancock The Picturesque Patriot by Lorenzo Sears - John Hancock’s famous signature has made him more widely known than most other and later signers of the Declaration of Independence. Yet less is commonly known about him than concerning other prominent patriots of the Revolution. John Hancock was active and conspicuous in his time ; but he left few materials for a biography, and these for the most part in remote hiding places. John Adams once remarked, “The Life of John Hancock will not ever be written.” Twenty years later, when political disagreements were overlooked, Adams wrote, ” If I had the forces I should be glad to write a volume of Mr. Hancock’s life, character, and generous nature.” Prominent as Hancock was in his day and generation, his services to his own State and to the country were of a nature to be overshadowed by more noticeable exploits and achievements, military and civil ; and the accounts of his doings are often incidental and fragmentary in the records of the period. John Hancock’s large contributions to the Revolutionary cause; his skillful guidance of discordant statesmen into agreement in a critical time ; his efficient service in retaining the French good-will when its threatened loss would have entailed eventual defeat at Yorktown; his influence in securing the ratification of the Constitution by Massachusetts, and in consequence by a majority of the States, —all these services and responsibilities together made him a man to be reckoned with in a troubled period.
Christian Life and the Character of the Civil Institutions
Essential Federalist Papers
An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution by Noah Webster - This treatise, originally published anonymously, was second only to the Federalist Papers in influencing ratification of the Constitution and indirectly expounds on Noah Webster’s view of Congressional power in regards to the General Welfare. Webster says, “Every person, capable of reading, must discover, that the convention have labored to draw the line between the federal and provincial powers—to define the powers of Congress, and limit them to those general concerns which must come under federal jurisdiction, and which cannot be managed in the separate legislatures.” Webster makes his views on Federalism and the General Welfare quite clear essentially saying that Congressional power to legislate for the General Welfare only exists when the issue at hand cannot be managed by the state legislatures.
Elementary Catechism of the Constitution
Commentaries on the Constitution by Joseph Story - Abridged
Essays on the
Constitution of the United States - In the great discussion which took place
in the years 1787 and 1788 of the adoption or rejection of the Constitution
of the United States, one of the important methods of influencing public
opinion, resorted to by the partisans and enemies of the proposed frame of
government, was the contribution of essays to the press of the period. The
newspapers were filled with anonymous articles on this question, usually the
product of the great statesmen and writers of that period.
Often of marked ability, and valuable as the personal views of the writers, the dispersion and destruction of the papers that contained them have resulted in their almost entire neglect as historical or legal writings, and the difficulty of their proper use has been further increased by their anonymous character, which largely destroyed the authority and weight they would have carried, had their true writers been known.
From an examination of over forty files of newspapers and many thousand separate issues, scattered in various public and private libraries, from Boston to Charleston, the editor has selected a series of these essays, and reprinted them in this volume. From various sources he has obtained the name of the writer of each. All here reprinted are the work of well-known men. Five of the writers were Signers of the Declaration of Independence; seven were members of the Federal Convention; many were members of the State Conventions, and there discussed the Constitution.
All had had a wide experience in law and government. Their arguments are valuable, not merely for their reasoning, but from their statement of facts. New light is thrown upon the proceedings in the Federal Convention, so large a part of which is yet veiled in mystery; and personal motives, and state interests, are mercilessly laid bare, furnishing clues of both the support of and opposition to the Constitution. Subsequently most of the writers were prominent in administering this Constitution or opposing its development, and were largely responsible for the resulting tendencies of our government.
Jefferson and Madison Guide to the Constitution - by J. David Gowdy - This publication is intended to assist teachers, students, parents, and citizens in understanding and appreciating the Constitution of the United States of America. It is designed as a handbook for studying the Constitution in the tradition of the founders, using the source documents and writings identified by them as the “best guides” to its principles and meaning. These sources include the writings of Locke and Sidney, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and Washington’s Farewell Address. A main purpose of this book is to serve as a teacher and student manual for use in secondary schools, but is also for use by parents in the home, as well as by individual citizens. It is intended to organize and summarize in a clear and usable fashion, all of the sources identified by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as those required to teach and understand our constitutional liberties and unalienable rights. It is incumbent upon each of us to study and ponder the heritage of liberty, and to assist in fulfilling the intent of our Founding Fathers to “advance and diffuse” this essential knowledge concerning human rights, equality, and the Constitution into our nation’s schools and homes, which in the past have stood on the front line as guardians of the “sacred fire of liberty.”
Quotes from Our Founding Founders - Volume 1
Religion and Public Life in America
Woman's Life in Colonial America
Stories of Great Americans For Little Americans
Washington - The Man and the Mason
George Washington on Rule of Civil and Decent Behavior
The Maxims of George Washington - Political, Social, Moral, and Religious - The example of George Washington and his precepts are a legacy, not only to America, but to all mankind. You are invited to read, in his own words, his maxims. These are adapted to the use of statesman, soldiers, citizens, heads of families, teachers of youth, and, in a word, all who should aim at what is great and good, in public and in private life. That generation after generation shall be animated by the spirit of Washington and exemplify his precepts. The Maxims of Washington is a small collection of the writings of George Washington taken by the author from public documents, private letters, manuscripts and printed volumes, with a view to the completeness and interest of the collection found within. Nothing but authentic materials were used in this compilation. This edition was originally published in 1854.
The Wisdom of George Washington - A collection of quotes from his writing and speeches
Washington's Farwell Address
John Adams – Statesman of the American Revolution - John Adams entered public life with the first session of the Continental Congress, which met at Philadelphia, September 5, 1774, and re- upon mained in the service of the country almost uninterruptedly until the close of his administration, March 4, 1801. Of this period, nine years were covered by the American Revolution, in which he took a leading part and held it with undiminished zeal and constancy until the Treaty of Peace in 1783. His influence during this period of national history was mainly due to his ability ; but he was fortunate in the time at which he intervened in public affairs, as also in the character of the colony from which he was a delegate to the Congress.
The Letters of John and Abigail Adams - “The Letters of John and Abigail Adams” provides an insightful record of American life before, during, and after the Revolution; the letters also reveal the intellectually and emotionally fulfilling relationship between John and Abigail that lasted fifty-four years and withstood historical upheavals, long periods apart, and personal tragedies. Covering key moments in American history-the Continental Congress, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, and John Adams’s diplomatic missions to Europe-the letters reveal the concerns of a couple living during a period of explosive change, from smallpox and British warships to raising children, paying taxes, the state of women, and the emerging concepts of American democracy.
The Life of Thomas Jefferson
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Letters of Silence Dogood by Benjamin Franklin
The True Benjamin Franklin by Sydney George Fisher - There are many Benjamin Franklins — or at least he has taken on many different forms in the history books of the last two centuries. Some historians have shown us an aged statesman whose wise and steadying influence kept the Constitutional Convention together in 1787, while others have conjured up sensational tales of a lecherous old diplomat. Unfounded myths are now being repeated and embellished in school textbooks and educational television programs. Which of all these Benjamin Franklins, if any, is real? This book is an attempt to answer that question. The Real Benjamin Franklin seats us across the table from the one person who really knew Benjamin Franklin — that is, Franklin himself — and gives him an opportunity to explain his life and ideas in his own words. Part I of this book details his exciting biography, and Part II includes his most important and insightful writings, all carefully documented from original sources.
The Life of Samuel Adams
“On The Education Of Youth In America” by Noah Webster: EDUCATION is a subject which has been exhausted by the ablest writers, both among the ancients and moderns. I am not vain enough to suppose I can suggest any new ideas upon so trite a theme as Education in general; but perhaps the manner of conducting the youth in America may be capable of some improvement. It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of Education should be adopted and pursued, which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences, but may implant, in the minds of the American youth, the principles of virtue and of liberty; and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government, and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.
“The Great Awakening” by Joseph Tracy - The Great Awakening was a period of great Christian revivalism that spread throughout the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s. The revival movement unlike the earlier doctrine of the Puritans, promised the grace of God to all who could experience a desire for it. In New England, in particular, the Great Awakening represented a reaction against the growing formality and the dampening of religious fervor in the Congregational churches. Elsewhere in the colonies, the Anglican church, indeed no single church, was able to satisfy the population’s spiritual and emotional needs. The Great Awakening carried profound consequences for the future. It was the first experience shared by large numbers of people throughout all the American colonies, and therefore contributed to the growth of a common American identity.
“The Whiskey Rebellion of
1794″ by H.M. Brackenridge - Angered by an excise tax imposed on whiskey in
1791 by the federal government, farmers in the western counties of Pennsylvania
engaged in a series ofattacks on excise agents. The tariff effectively
eliminated any profit by the farmers from the sale or barter of an important
cash crop, and became the lightning rod for a wide variety of grievances by the
settlers of the region against the federal government. While citizens in the
east did not find it difficult to abide by the concept that individual states
were “subservient to the country,” people west of the mountains were less
accepting of decisions made by the central government.
The rebel farmers continued their attacks, rioting in river towns and roughing up tax collectors until the so-called “insurrection” flared into the open in July of 1794 when a federal marshal was attacked in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Almost at the same time several hundred men attacked the residence of the regional inspector, burning his home, barn and several outbuildings. Pittsburgh was another scene of disorder by enraged mobs.
On August 7, 1794, President Washington issued a proclamation, calling out the militia and ordering the disaffected westerners to return to their homes. Washington’s order mobilized an army of approximately 13,000 — as large as the one that had defeated the British — under the command of General Harry Lee, the then-Governor of Virginia and father of Robert E. Lee. Washington himself, in a show of presidential authority, set out at the head of the troops to suppress the uprising.
This was the first use of the Militia Law of 1792 setting a precedent for the use of the militia to “execute the laws of the union, (and) suppress insurrections,” asserting the right of the national government to enforce order in one state with troops raised in other states. Even more importantly, it was the first test of power of the new federal government, establishing its primacy in disputes with individual states. In the end, a dozen or so men were arrested, sent to Philadelphia to trial and released after pardons by Washington.
The Life of Daniel Boone - by Reuben G. Thwaite Poets, historians, and orators have for more than two hundred years sung the praises of Daniel Boone as the typical backwoodsman of the trans-Alleghany region. Despite popular belief, he was not really the founder of Kentucky. Other explorers and hunters had been there long before him; he himself was piloted through Cumberland Gap by John Finley ; and his was not even the first permanent settlement in Kentucky, for Harrodsburg preceded it by nearly a year. Nevertheless, Boone’s picturesque career possesses a romantic interest that can never fail to charm the student of history. He was great as a hunter, explorer, surveyor, and land-pilot—probably he found few equals as a rifleman; no man on the border knew Indians more thoroughly or fought them more skillfully than he; his life was filled to the brim with perilous adventures.
The Life of Davy Crockett
The Great Plains - The Romance of Western American Exploration, Warfare, and Settlement, 1527-1870
Back to America's Christian Heritage Index
Home | About | Search | Newsletter | Contact