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The Americanness of the American Revolution - Why the Founders succeeded
City Journal ^ | Autumn 2012 | MYRON MAGNET

Posted on 11/15/2012 4:18:11 PM PST by neverdem

Why was the American Revolution, of all great revolutions, the only successful one, resulting in two centuries and more of unexampled freedom and prosperity? The French Revolution, by contrast, illuminated by America’s example and Enlightenment thought, began in blissful optimism but collapsed into a blood-soaked tyranny much worse than the monarchy it deposed. It spawned a military dictatorship that convulsed Europe and roiled half the globe for over a decade with wars of grandiose imperial aggression that slew at least 3 million. And the result of 25 years of turmoil? The Bourbon monarchy, minus the Enlightenment of its earlier incarnation, settled comfortably back down on its throne.

The Russian Revolution switched one despotism for another; and a century later, after the millions of deaths from its purges, slave camps, and intentionally inflicted famines, Russia remains a despotism, without rights or justice. We all get only one life: imagine someone born under the billowing flags of the new Soviet Union in 1917, who had to live that whole single life without the freedom so much as to speak the truth of the squalid, oppressive reality he saw in front of his own eyes. One single life—and what you can make of the one you have depends so much on what others have done to mold the time and place in which you live.

The Founders knew that truth so well that they announced their nationhood by significantly changing John Locke’s catalog of natural rights. The shift began in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, where George Mason emended Locke’s right to “Lives, Liberties and Estates” to “Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.” Two months later, Thomas Jefferson penned the final pithy formulation of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. The pursuit of happiness! Who but the Americans made a revolution to vindicate the paramount right of each individual to try to make the most of his life by his own effort as he sees fit?

A key reason the revolution succeeded was its strictly limited scope. The Founders sought only liberty, not equality or fraternity. They aimed to make a political revolution, not a social or an economic one. Their Lockean social-contract political philosophy taught them that the preservation of individual liberty was the goal of politics. Its basis was the surrender of a portion of man’s original, natural freedom to a government that would protect the large remainder of it better than any individual could do on his own—the freedom to make your own fate and think your own thoughts without fear of bodily harm, unjust imprisonment, or robbery. The Founders’ study of history taught them that the British constitution under which they had lived—“originally and essentially free,” as Boston preacher Jonathan Mayhew described it—was the ideal embodiment of such a contract. It was “the most perfect combination of human powers in society,” John Adams wrote in 1766, “for the preservation of liberty and the production of happiness”—until George III began to violate it. So Americans didn’t take up arms to create a new world order according to some abstract theory. They sought only to restore the political liberty they had actually experienced for 150 years, and they constructed their new government to preserve it.

The Protestantism of the Founding Fathers also helped the Revolution succeed. Their Protestant worldview placed an intense value on the individual—his conscience, the state of his soul, his understanding of Scripture, his personal relation to God, his salvation. It was an easy step for them to assume that, as each man was endowed by his Creator with an immortal soul immediately related to God, so he was similarly endowed with rights that are “not the Donation of Law,” as Constitution signer William Livingston put it, but “prior to all political Institution” and “resulting from the Nature of Man.” It was easy for them to assume, therefore, that the individual, not the state, took center stage in the human drama. They saw the state as merely instrumental to the fate of the individual.

But their Protestantism also gave them a history that helps explain why the colonists didn’t need or want a social revolution. The many non-Anglican dissenters among them had already had such a revolution: they had been forced to uproot themselves from their relatives and friends, from “the fair cities, villages, and delightful fields of Britain,” fleeing religious persecution into “the arms of savages and barbarians” in pursuit of liberty of conscience, as Mayhew put it in 1763. The Plymouth Pilgrims, who wrote a literal social compact in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, were only the first wave of a tide of such immigrants fleeing persecution: English and Scottish Presbyterians, Baptists, and Quakers; German pietists; French Huguenots; and others followed. In the eighteenth century, their offspring—John Jay, for example, who descended from New York’s huge contingent of Huguenot refugees from Catholic oppression, and Livingston, whose Presbyterian great-grandfather had fled Scotland for Holland after the Stuart restoration—had as lively a sense of lucky escape from the Old Country’s murderous religious tyranny as American Jews whose forebears had escaped Russian pogroms and the Nazi Holocaust had in the twentieth century. They had as acute a sense of having had to start their lives over again in a land that afforded them almost providential religious and political freedom, safety, and opportunity.

It was that historical understanding that made Founders like Livingston and James Madison begin their journey to revolution with an assertion of freedom of conscience, which led to freedom to examine and judge for yourself, to think your own thoughts and speak and write them—and all the rest, since liberty is seamless. An “equal TOLERATION of Conscience,” Livingston wrote, “is justly deem’d the Basis of public Liberty in this Country.” To Madison, for whom America “offer[ed] an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion,” an established, official, obligatory religion, with dogmas you must profess, though it is seemingly “distant from the Inquisition, . . . differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance.” Even George Washington, who never knew that his great-great-grandfather, an Anglican cleric, suffered religious persecution at the hands of Cromwell’s Puritans, often liked to speak of America, with an endearing mix of Old and New Testament echoes, as “a Land of promise, with milk & honey,” which offered a refuge to “the poor, the needy & the oppressed of the Earth; and anyone therefore who is heavy laden.” He wasn’t alone among the colonists in thinking of the settlement of America in terms of the Israelites’ providential deliverance from Egyptian tyranny to the Promised Land.

Others had made their own personal social and economic revolutions by uprooting themselves from home and coming to America for economic opportunity. From laborers signing on as indentured servants, up to younger sons of gentlefolk with no inheritance in prospect, immigrants came to make their own fortunes as best they could. If they believed that their rights came from nature, not from government, they believed the same thing of their property, as people had believed from biblical and classical times and as Locke had reemphasized in the modern era. In explaining the origin of property rights, Locke had remarked of the State of Nature that “in the beginning all the World was America,” where people create property by working “the wild Common of Nature.” Their labor made the land and its produce their own, since “labour makes the far greatest part of the value of things, we enjoy in this World”—in fact, he calculated, “of the Products of the Earth, useful to the Life of Man 9/10 are the effects of labour.”

The colonists, because they and their ancestors had created wealth out of a wilderness, took for granted, with Locke, their right to their own property. And though they believed in the inborn equality of natural rights, they assumed, with Madison, that in a society where every man has the right to pursue his happiness and forge his fate, the unequal distribution of talents will naturally and unobjectionably produce inequality of wealth. So economic equality was no part of their revolutionary goal. Quite the reverse: “an equal division of property,” Madison pronounced in Federalist 10, would be an “improper” and “wicked project.”

Colonists without personal experience of Old World oppression, or oft-heard family memories of it, knew from history and Scripture—from tales of Pharaoh and Herod, of Caesar, Nero, and Caligula, of Bloody Mary and the Stuarts—that even though government exists to preserve liberty, it too often has been freedom’s destroyer. They knew from Magna Carta and from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that Englishmen had had to resist such tyranny at swordpoint and to reassert their own rights as well as the strict limits that the original social contract had placed on royal power. They knew what it had cost to assure, as Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder put it, that “[t]he poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter, the rain may enter—but the King of England cannot enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.” Or as the Jacobean chief justice Sir Edward Coke, whose Institutes of the Laws of England every colonial lawyer had read, phrased it more succinctly 150 years earlier: “A man’s house is his castle.”

So when, after 150 years of letting Americans run their own affairs, the British government began to meddle malignly with their liberty once 22-year-old George III became king in 1760, following the death of his grandfather, George II, the colonists unsurprisingly responded to the interference with outrage. After decreeing new colonial customs duties and stricter enforcement in 1764, London imposed its first direct levy on the colonies in 1765 in the Stamp Act, taxing every colonial newspaper, journal, legal document, almanac, playing card, and other paper product, in flagrant contravention of the “standing Maxim of English Liberty,” as Livingston had quoted it more than a decade earlier, “ ‘that no Man shall be taxed, but with his own Consent.’ ” As Washington wrote to a friend, “I think the Parliament of Great Britain hath no more Right to put their hands into my Pocket, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into your’s, for money.” Property doesn’t belong to the government, and the social contract gives government no right to tell you what to do with your own.

The American Revolution, then, was doubly limited in its aims: limited to making only a political change without altering social or economic arrangements, and determined to set strict limits to its new government, fearful that any governmental power beyond the barest minimum necessary to protect liberty too easily could become a threat to liberty itself. So apprehensive were the Founders on this score that the governmental structure they erected after the Declaration of Independence proved too weak to perform its essential function of protecting their lives, liberties, and properties adequately, prolonging the Revolutionary War and increasing the hardships of the men who fought it. With great misgivings, the Founders had to create a new constitution to give government the necessary powers, but their most urgent concern was to make those powers limited and enumerated, hedged around with every check and balance they could think of to prevent tyrannical abuse.

With similar prudence and modesty, when they wrote the new constitution, the Founders nursed no grandiose illusions that they were going to change human nature by altering the structure of government. Except for Thomas Jefferson, they didn’t believe in human perfectibility, as did some of the French philosophes whose worldview Jefferson had absorbed in his years in Paris as well as from his voluminous reading. The Founders certainly didn’t aspire to create something like the New Soviet Man. They had a very clear-eyed assessment of human nature. After all, their social-contract theory rested on a psychology that acknowledged what Patrick Henry called, conventionally enough, “the depravity of human nature,” with its lusts, aggression, and greed no less inborn than its rights. They tried to create a republic that would flourish with human nature as it is, with all its cross-grained passions and interests. They never forgot, as Alexander Hamilton cautioned, “that men are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious.”

Still, they weren’t cynics. Despite human nature’s failings, they believed men capable of virtue, as history, literature, observation, and introspection taught them. Not all men, and not all the time; but if “there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government,” Madison observed in Federalist 55, only “the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring each other.” The question that vexed many throughout the Founding pertained to what conditions virtue needed to thrive. What kind of culture and education would nourish it? Could it survive in a large republic? Would commerce and investment stifle it, especially since they breed luxury, which “the Voice of History” teaches, wrote Livingston, is “a Kind of political Cancer, which corrodes and demolishes the best regulated Constitution”? Just look at “Rome; e’er-while the Nurse of Heroes, and the Terror of the World; but now the obscene Haunt of sequestered Bigots, and effeminate Slaves,” he wrote in 1753. For the next three decades, Americans worried that liberty couldn’t survive a culture of riches, with its “musicians, pimps, panders, and catamites,” as one signer of the Declaration of Independence fretted. In such a money-corrupted culture, some Founders worried, legislators and offices would be for sale.

The best answer to that fear was the example of the Founders themselves—men of luminous public spirit, who had no hesitation in “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions” in the Declaration of Independence. And that is the last, and largest, reason that the American Revolution succeeded, where others failed. Its leaders were men of extraordinary character, merit, intelligence, wisdom, and, in the case of Washington, the Founding’s presiding genius, of heroic private virtue, too. They had the unshakable courage to “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” to assure the Revolution’s success. Already social leaders, professional successes, or both, they had no psychological need to exalt themselves, and certainly not by abasing or terrorizing others, as such revolutionary psychopaths as Robespierre or Lenin did. They never dreamed of placing themselves above the laws that they had made as the people’s representatives, and they wholeheartedly agreed with Madison that if the “spirit that nourishes freedom” should “ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.” And when they had played their parts and done their duty, they were content—indeed, eager—to go home.

That so many great men came together at that time and place to do such great deeds is one of history’s most thought-provoking miracles.

Myron Magnet, City Journal’s editor-at-large and its editor from 1994 through 2006, is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. His new book, The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735–1817, will appear next fall.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012; americanrevolution; banglist; constitution
The early American settlers, including these Pilgrims taking ship in Delfshaven, Holland, in 1620, cherished liberty because they had experienced religious oppression in the Old World, and they made their own personal social revolutions by escaping to the New.
EILEEN TWEEDY/THE ART ARCHIVE AT ART RESOURCE, NY
The early American settlers, including these Pilgrims taking ship in Delfshaven, Holland, in 1620, cherished liberty because they had experienced religious oppression in the Old World, and they made their own personal social revolutions by escaping to the New.

1 posted on 11/15/2012 4:18:22 PM PST by neverdem
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To: Pharmboy; LS

Ping


2 posted on 11/15/2012 4:19:51 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

It is important to note that while John Locke thought labor “the greater part” of value, he fully understood that there was far more to value than just labor, hence the need for property protections and the centrality of intellect and risk. He did not put labor as the sole arbiter of value as Marx (and Hitler) did.


3 posted on 11/15/2012 4:26:13 PM PST by LS ('Castles made of sand, fall in the sea . . . eventually.' Hendrix)
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To: neverdem
The American Revolution, then, was doubly limited in its aims: limited to making only a political change without altering social or economic arrangements, and determined to set strict limits to its new government, fearful that any governmental power beyond the barest minimum necessary to protect liberty too easily could become a threat to liberty itself.

It is NOT just the economy, stupid! Fiscal only conservatives are clueless pseudo conservatives.

The battle for freedom against big government imposed tyranny MUST be fought on both fronts at the same time -social and economic!!!

4 posted on 11/15/2012 4:39:23 PM PST by DBeers (†)
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To: neverdem
The American Revolution succeeded be because of the character of Americans, not just that of the Founding Fathers. Why does Mexico suck? Because it is full of Mexicans. Why did the French Revolution sink to tyranny? Because of the French inclination for passion, lack of pragmatism, and hierarchy. The Russian Revolution failed because Russians are Russians and they like to stagger form high art, to comedy, to tragedy, and finally murder.
5 posted on 11/15/2012 4:52:52 PM PST by WMarshal (Free citizen, never a subject or a civilian)
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To: WMarshal

What will sink this country is the ensuing war of the takers VS the makers. That and political correctness.


6 posted on 11/15/2012 5:04:01 PM PST by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: neverdem; loveliberty2

Another informative 19th Century history, Richard Frothingham’s 1881 600+-page “Rise of the Republic of the United States,” provides insight into the development of the ideas of liberty and is now available on line.
Sadly, those who, today, see it as a “flawed” document, will not be persuaded, for their agenda is to “change” America from the “beacon of liberty” and prosperity it became under the Founders’ Constitution to an oppressive European model the Founders discarded.

92 posted on Sunday, November 29, 2009 1:18:40 PM by loveliberty2
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7 posted on 11/15/2012 5:14:01 PM PST by Jacquerie (Obama voters don't know what they lost, because they never learned what they had.)
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To: neverdem
An “equal TOLERATION of Conscience,” Livingston wrote, “is justly deem’d the Basis of public Liberty in this Country.” To Madison, for whom America “offer[ed] an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion,” an established, official, obligatory religion, with dogmas you must profess, though it is seemingly “distant from the Inquisition, . . . differs from it only in degree.

There's the one loophole that heathens exploit, however, which can only be eliminated by either a) assuming that it is implicitly prohibited or b) amending the Constitution to add in an explicit prohibition. A religion or ideology that seeks to subvert the existing religions and eliminate them can not be logically tolerated without America being reduced to what is no better and most likely worse than what the original settlers fled from to come here.
8 posted on 11/15/2012 5:21:06 PM PST by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves.)
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To: neverdem
No Freeper will be disappointed reading Richard Frothingham's 1872 work, The Rise of the Republic of the United States.
9 posted on 11/15/2012 5:23:34 PM PST by Jacquerie (Obama voters don't know what they lost, because they never learned what they had.)
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To: Jacquerie

Thanks for the link.


10 posted on 11/15/2012 5:44:59 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: DBeers

Try reading the whole article. Leave economics to the private sector and social stuff to society. Government has but ONE legitimate function: the protection of the equal rights of ALL Americans. That was all the authority granted by the Founders to government. Not telling folks how they had to live under penalty of law or imposing socialist (voodoo) economics on folks.

What you seem to be advocating is just more big government. Thanks but no thanks.


11 posted on 11/15/2012 5:53:36 PM PST by dcwusmc (A FREE People have no sovereign save Almighty GOD!!! III OK We are EVERYWHERE!!!)
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To: neverdem; loveliberty2; LS
You are welcome, but loveliberty2 introduced it to FR.

For LS, check out the first chapters of The Rise of the Republic link in #9. We indeed grew in Lockean fashion during the 17th Century.

12 posted on 11/15/2012 6:00:14 PM PST by Jacquerie (Obama voters don't know what they lost, because they never learned what they had.)
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To: neverdem

Bump


13 posted on 11/15/2012 6:00:34 PM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: dcwusmc
What you seem to be advocating is just more big government. Thanks but no thanks.

I guess it went over your head. Affirmative action and a homosexual military are examples of government imposed social engineering... I am calling for getting government out of the business of social engineering. One does not do this by ignoring the tyranny but rather by opposing it and eliminating it.

14 posted on 11/15/2012 8:49:26 PM PST by DBeers (†)
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To: Sans-Culotte

Yawn

I am pretty sure that Americans are too lazy for revolution these days. What between their favorite tv shows and their trips to McDonalds. There isn’t really time for a revolution.


15 posted on 11/15/2012 9:46:26 PM PST by silentknight
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To: Jacquerie; neverdem

Bump - and thanks!


16 posted on 11/15/2012 11:30:39 PM PST by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional !!)
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To: neverdem
This is interesting but as with much of the writing on both the Revolution and the War Between the States it sanitizes and intellectualizes what was a messy and violent operation. At bottom the American rebels were always far more dynamic and ruthless than their British and Loyalist opponents. In spite of the massive military effort (by 18th century standards) the British engaged in in trying to put down the American rebellion one is left with a general impression of dull orthodox professionals going through the prescripted actions that their template taught them to perform. On the ground in disputed areas such as new York and South Carolina the rebels were well organized and totally ruthless in their treatment of those determined to be Toy or Tory sympathizers. The organization of various grass roots groups of the ‘Sons of Liberty’ type meant that a through domestic spying organization was in place and individuals behaviors and sympathies were subject to constant spying on and monitoring. At the start of the revolution mobs were employed with good effect to terrorize or overawe individual loyalists. The most spectacular but very typical example of the effectiveness of mobbing designated individuals was of Sir Francis Bernard the Royal Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony. If a mob could destroy the home and property of the governor with impunity who could not be given the same treatment? This sort of powerful coercive tactics largely effectively terrorized much of the loyalist community.

Considering the size and enthusiasm of the revolutionary movement the only way it could have been beaten would have been a combination of vigorous and aggressive conventional military operations connected to heavy handed and deliberate terrorization tactics involving extensive deliberate destruction of private and public property. This is basically what the US government used as a strategy to defeat the southern rebellion and this effective terrorism engaged in by Sherman and Sheridan and a host of lesser lights is routinely hailed both here and in the usual conventional nationalist texts as a mark of the wisdom and sagacity of the Union high command.

British efforts along these lines were scattered and unfocused but even those put a real fright into the American rebels. The Wyoming and Cherry valley raids and Arnold's operations along the Connecticut coasts and later in Virginia are mentioned with a shudder in many conventional American accounts of the Revolution. Walter Butler was probably correct in reportedly trying to convince the British in Montreal to greatly expand his raiding force at Niagara and incorporate regulars in it so that raids such as the Wyoming Valley operation could be mounted into the heartland of the revolutionaries and capturing and sacking Albany would have a powerful effect on depressing revolutionary zeal in New York.

The leadership of the American Revolution was certainly more dynamic and just plain smarter than those of George III and Great Britain but their lieutenants on the ground were also just plain more focused and ruthless in terrorizing, defeating, and beating both the redcoats and the large loyalist community. These are lessons that would be well for the modern GOP and those who call themselves conservatives to ponder. The enemies of liberty this time are better organized and far more focused and smart and ruthless than their opponents and they will win unless confronted with people who are just as ruthless and determined and if necessary unprincipled as they are. The rats know what the American rebels knew “Winning is not just the most important thing , it is the only thing’.

17 posted on 11/16/2012 12:03:37 AM PST by robowombat
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To: neverdem
Few Americans realize that “Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” created an economic miracle.

By 1750 the Colonies had the highest standard of living in the world and the highest per capita income in the world.

This would be the case for more than 200 years, when some of the wealthiest European countries finally caught up to us.

18 posted on 11/16/2012 12:19:32 AM PST by zeestephen
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To: neverdem
The founders told us why they succeeded.

"I accept, with much pleasure your kind Congratulations on the happy Event of Peace, with the Establishment of our Liberties and Independence. Glorious indeed has been our Contest: glorious in its Issue; but in the midst of our Joys, I hope we shall not forget that, to divine providence is to be ascribed the glory and the Praise."

-- George Washington, Letter to Rev. John Rodgers, June 11, 1783


19 posted on 11/16/2012 12:23:30 AM PST by EternalVigilance (Like sand through an Etch-A-Sketch, this is how republics die.)
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To: robowombat

Excellent, well-founded comments with multiple modern connections and parallels. Your final paragraph frames the current political context very well. Your view as regards “unprincipled” is certain to be controversial but that makes it no less vital a subject for discussion.


20 posted on 11/16/2012 2:46:27 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: T-Bird45; robowombat
Your view as regards “unprincipled” is certain to be controversial but that makes it no less vital a subject for discussion.

Agreed.

Sam Adams and Dr. Warren were rabble-rousers and mob organizers. Did they retain their honor?

21 posted on 11/16/2012 6:05:10 AM PST by EternalVigilance (Nice 'til I'm not.)
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To: silentknight
I am pretty sure that Americans are too lazy for revolution these days. What between their favorite tv shows and their trips to McDonalds. There isn’t really time for a revolution.

There was a story of one of Holder's peeps calling 9-1-1 because a McDonald's was out of chicken McNuggets. Maybe a McNugget shortage will spark a revolution?

Getting back to the article: we're a nation of world citizens now; not Americans.

22 posted on 11/16/2012 6:39:17 AM PST by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: neverdem; Jacquerie; LS; robowombat; dcwusmc; All
Thanks, Jacquerie, for reposting the link to the Frothingham history. Why this work has not been retained as a national treasure would be a mystery, were it not that technology now enables us to trace the termite-like work of so-called "liberals," or "progressives," as they now describe themselves, in removing such well-researched and thoughtful histories of the development of "the Republic of the United States" from libraries and public educational institutions.

According to his Preface, Frothingham, as one of the "proprietors and editors" of a Boston newspaper, had, over a period from 1838 to 1872, already written many articles and histories of the Revolutionary Period, the Declaration, etc., his "Rise of the Republic. . ." was a massive undertaking at writing about the principles and ideas which motivated such a remarkable achievement on behalf of human liberty.

Now, may I suggest another provocative and extensive look at that achievement from a man of Frothingham's period, and a man whose perspective, given today's "progressive" interpretations, may be of special interest.

In that case, the man is Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, an Ohio Legislator and Minister in the A.M.E. Church, who was invited to provide the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence Thanksgiving Sermon in November 1876 in the city of Urbana, Ohio. On his way to conclusions about America's founding and 100-year history, he traces the histories of governments throughout recorded history.

The full text may be read at the "Library of Congress - Historical Collections" -

"African-American Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection," 1820-1920; American Memory, Library of Congress

Washington, DC,

CENTENNIAL Thanksgiving Sermon, DELIVERED BY REV. B. W. ARNETT, B. D., AT ST. PAUL A. M. E. CHURCH, URBANA, OHIO 1876

Beginning on P. 45 of this Sermon, Rev. Arnett begins a section he calls "The Danger to our Country." He identifies the leading proponents of the movement of individuals who self-identify as "liberals" and quotes from their literature of the fundamental "changes" they wish to bring about. Read that listing, prepared by one of their own, and see if it does not match the accomplishments of those we now identify as "progressives."

A third piece of writing from the period beginning in the 1870's through the early part of the 20th Century which sheds further light on our departure from the founding ideas can be read at the Liberty Fund Library here.

Titled, "The Impracticability of Socialism," Edward Stanley Robertson's essay, part of a collection on the Library site, provides clear distinctions between the ideas of today's Administration policies and those of America's Founders.

"Freedom is the most valuable of all human possessions, next after life itself. It is more valuable, in a manner, than even health. No human agency can secure health; but good laws, justly administered, can and do secure freedom. Freedom, indeed, is almost the only thing that law can secure. Law cannot secure equality, nor can it secure prosperity. In the direction of equality, all that law can do is to secure fair play, which is equality of rights but is not equality of conditions. In the direction of prosperity, all that law can do is to keep the road open. That is the Quintessence of Individualism, and it may fairly challenge comparison with that Quintessence of Socialism we have been discussing. Socialism, disguise it how we may, is the negation of Freedom. That it is so, and that it is also a scheme not capable of producing even material comfort in exchange for the abnegations of Freedom, I think the foregoing considerations amply prove." - EDWARD STANLEY ROBERTSON

23 posted on 11/16/2012 9:12:17 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: loveliberty2

Thank you very much. I bookmarked it.


24 posted on 11/16/2012 11:41:19 AM PST by Jacquerie (Obama voters don't know what they lost, because they never learned what they had.)
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To: neverdem
That so many great men came together at that time and place to do such great deeds is one of history’s most thought-provoking miracles.

And this is why some of us insist that the founding of the USA, the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution, truly a 5000-year leap in human existence, are stronger evidence of Divine Intervention than any or all the religions and religious writings that preceded them throughout history.

25 posted on 11/16/2012 11:52:56 AM PST by meadsjn
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To: PieterCasparzen

I wish I could go back in time and give the Founders a snapshot of our downgraded America, so that they could build in some safeguards.

All religions would be tolerated, so long as they conformed to the ideals of the U.S. Constitution. Any attempt to infringe upon another’s rights under the guise of religion - atheism, secular humanism, or agnosticism included - would be intolerable.


26 posted on 11/16/2012 9:21:34 PM PST by scott7278 ("...I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked..." - BHO)
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To: WMarshal
So, why does Mexico suck ~ well, could be depends on where you are.

Mexico, too, is one of the top places to live on this planet ~ but from the perspective of the US or Canada it looks crumby ~ but from Africa the folks there can't even tell the difference between Mexico and the US ~ we are all rich and technologically advanced compared to them.

BTW, Mexico has a republican form of government and people have property rights ~ all modeled on the American design.

Not that I don't want that wall built but they have social customs with which I disagree and are best kept in their own country.

27 posted on 11/17/2012 1:59:56 PM PST by muawiyah
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To: zeestephen
Since 1648 everybody in the Colonies ate meat every day ~ not just the Indians. The great plague in the winter before had been a total disaster for them and they had to turn to commercial meat hunting for white customers.

The rest of the world wasn't like that. Still isn't.

28 posted on 11/17/2012 2:02:55 PM PST by muawiyah
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